Best Robot Mops of 2020: Reviews and Buying Guide
Who doesn’t want to automate cleaning, especially mopping? Before you rush out to buy the best robot mop on the market, you may want to browse our 2020 reviews of the top sellers. Not all mopping robots are created equally. They’re also not quite as advanced as robotic vacuums …yet. Even the best robot mops have some growing to do with features and performance, but they’re getting there fast.
What robot mop options are available?
You have basically 3 robot mop options available on the market rated by efficiency and price:
- Buy a Robot Mop and Vacuum Hybrid – meaning a two-in-one machine. Multi-taskers are hit or miss when it comes to home appliances. They’re often jacks of all trades, but master of none. Certainly, hybrids have come a long way and continue to do so. Some of them are impressive performers, such as the Roborock S6 model, for example.
- Buy a Single Function Robot Mop – Maybe you already have a robot vacuum, or maybe you prefer to vacuum manually. Whatever the reason, if you’d rather just have a robot with a wet mopping function, you should look at the iRobot Braava Jet m6 model.
- Buy a cleaning duo – meaning both a robot mop plus a separate robot vacuum that work together. We think this is the most efficient but also the most expensive option. The best example of such a dynamic duo is the iRobot Roomba s9 + and Braava Jet m6 model.
The mopping performance on these models is somewhat limited since they only use a small water tank that supplies a slow water drip to a microfiber cloth with no scrubbing action. This is similar to a simple pass with a spray mop and won’t be as effective for stuck-on stains or scuffs.
The entire design of a single function appliance is dedicated to that one job, so a robot mop can concentrate all its energy on wet mopping your floor. These models usually spray water directly on the floor to soften up dirt and stains while using some type of agitation to scrub the spot. This means it’s likely to provide a more thorough cleaning.
These two devices sync to one another so that when the vacuum is done with its cycle, the mop then sets out to clean the freshly-swept hard floors. Right now, iRobot has cornered the market on these pairings, but we have no doubt other manufacturers will soon step up with their own combos.
Top-Performing Robot Mop Reviews of 2020
Why bother with a floor mopping robot
To robot mop or not to robot mop. That’s the question of the day. In our tech-loving time, we’re always looking for the next cool gadget we can control with an app or voice commands. Robot vacuum and mop developers are listening. As more models arrive on the market, more improvements and innovations are coming while the price is decreasing. Where at one time, you couldn’t find a robot vacuum for less than $1000, you can now get both robot vacuums and mops starting at prices below $200.
What you WON’T get with a robot mop is a heavy duty cleaning machine. They’ll never quite match the cleaning power of a traditional mop. You will always be the better mopper since you have almighty elbow grease and a smarter brain.
So why even buy one? Convenience!
Very few June Cleavers exist today. Even full time moms are busy with side jobs, children’s activities, volunteering, laundry, dishes, grocery shopping…finding time to keep floors clean is hard. We often wait until we’re wading through cat litter or sticking to Kool-Aid spots before we break out the cleaning equipment because it’s just so time-consuming and tiring.
That’s where robot mops & vacuums can really save the day. You just have to be realistic. You shouldn’t wait until your floor is hidden under dirt to send these out. They’ll just make a streaky path through it, get upset, and go back to their dock to escape.
The best thing to do is, once you give your floors a thorough sweeping and/or mopping, THEN set these guys up to run on a daily schedule. That will lengthen the time needed between deep cleanings, which in turn will save you time, energy, and cat litter sticking to your feet.
Robot mops are maintenance tools
It bears repeating: don’t throw out your mop and bucket. For heavy-duty cleaning, nothing beats a scrubbing with a good hand-held mop. Robot mops are best for maintenance between manual mopping sessions. They can take care of daily pet shedding and food splatters.
Some of the current models are gentle on delicate surfaces such as wood floors. Instead of only a strong jet of water which can damage wood, some robot mops now use a slow drip with microfiber cloths. Some even act as dust mops. The most advanced models can be controlled with apps or voice control, and some can interact with other smart home devices..
When looking for a robotic mop, keep in mind that the tech isn’t on par with robot vacuums, especially when it comes to smart navigating and timed schedules. Robot mops with water tanks are a bit more challenging because volume is limited, so large rooms may require a couple of refills.
For true “automation” during a workday, for instance, a robot mop might not clean your whole kitchen or family room, but could tackle the foyer or a bedroom or bathroom. Larger spaces will require some babysitting.
Things to consider when shopping:
- Battery life – Robot mops for larger homes should have batteries that last around 90 minutes. Apartments and condos can get away with 60 minutes runtime. Look for models that can return to the charging dock automatically so you won’t have to babysit them as much.
- Sensors – Your robot should be able to sense obstacles such as walls, rugs, and carpeting. Higher tech models can also map the floorplan. Many mop robots can’t tell one floor type from another, however, but they often come with some type of virtual barrier so you can block off carpeted areas.
- Setup – The simpler it is to charge, program, and fill water tanks, the better. If you’re not a tech lover, you may want to steer clear of those models that require WiFi and smartphone apps to operate them.
- Apps – Tech lovers love this feature in today’s “smart” mops. If available, apps should be intuitive, meaning you shouldn’t need a computer science degree and 5 hours to get to the menu you want. Look for those with apps that have the most practical features such as scheduling and no-go zones.
- Performance – Under real-life situations, your robot mop should clean various hard floors without damaging them while picking up lots of grime in the microfiber cloth. If the cloth isn’t dirty when it’s done, either your floor is already spotless, or the mop isn’t that thorough.
Tips & tricks to get the most from your robot mop
With these devices, there are less physical tips and tricks to use than with manual cleaning tools, but there are still some little hacks you can keep in mind to make your robot vacuum or mop your BFF.
Wet it first – Yes, the robot mop will be continually dripping or spraying water as it goes (unless you want dry mopping only), but it will take a while for the cleaning pad to get wet enough to actually mop. By then, it’s made a few passes of just dry mopping. So, to give it a head start, spray the mop pad with cleaning solution or a water/vinegar solution before you turn on the machine.
- Stains need some TLC – No mopping robot will tackle really sticky or dried on stains as well as a mop. Take a minute to spray some cleaner or vinegar solution on those spots to pre-treat and soften them up for easier removal.
- One room wonders aren’t bad – Some people are annoyed if they have to refill the water tank or change a cleaning pad between rooms. Don’t be. This is NOT a bad thing. By the time your robot’s done with a room, the pad will be saturated with dirt. If you let it go off into another room, it’s just going to drag the dirt along and be unable to pick up new grime.
- Nobody likes streaks – You’ll probably see a few, especially on darker floors. So, opt for fast-drying cleaning solutions & always use distilled water. Same goes for steam mops.
- Read that manual – For some robot mops, you must only put water or a specific cleaning solution into the water reservoir. Make sure you follow those directions. It could void the warranty otherwise. If you find it’s not cleaning well with plain water, try spraying an undiluted floor cleaner like Mop & Go on the cleaning pad to wet it first.
Stuff to avoid
We learn a lot from researching real customer reviews and testimonials. Homeowners care a lot about keeping their homes clean while holding down jobs and taking care of families. So anything that makes cleaning easier and less costly is right up their alleys. They’re great about relating what works as well as what didn’t work.From reading these experiences, we’ve discovered there are a few things that robot mops just don’t play nice with. Pay particular attention to these before you purchase and operate a robot mop so you’re not out $200 – $800 for a broken hunk of plastic.
Most of us have a number of wires in our home for electrical and mobile devices. We don’t think twice about leaving them where they are on the floor if they’re not tripping hazards. Robot mops, despite their “smart” technology, aren’t really that smart. They’ll go right under the end table or behind the couch where they can easily get tangled up in the wires.
Then you may lose both robot wire AND your charging cord. Those with scrubbing rollers are especially bad at this. So, before you set your little mop loose, take a couple minutes to get all electrical wires and charging cables off the floor where the robot may wander.
- Strings, long hair & shoelaces
These pose a similar hazard to wires and cables, but aren’t always as obvious. Have a look around. Pick up any stray tennis shoes, ribbons, play jewelry, yarn, etc.
If you or your kids have long hair, make sure you’ve given your floor a good weekly/bi-weekly sweeping so none of this stuff gets clogged up in your robot mop wheels or scrub rollers.
Even the best high-tech robot mops with room mapping capabilities and drop off sensors can sometimes take a tumble down stairs. Carpeted stairs provide a better cushion, but any stairs have the potential of damaging your robot mop.
The fall can also make dents in the stairs and wall on the way down. For safety’s sake, consider blocking off stairs with a baby gate or pillows while the mop’s running.
- Throw rugs & carpet
Most robot mops are great with room mapping and virtual walls so they’ll stay off the carpet and rugs. Others not so much. If you don’t want soppy rugs and a wet path through your carpet, you may want to pick up those rugs and block off carpeted areas with virtual walls or baby gates.
Last but definitely not least…
- Dog doo
You may have come across one dad’s horrifically hilarious recounting of a run-in between a Roomba and a fresh pile of dog doo. He referred to the resulting mess as “a home that closely resembles a Jackson Pollock poop painting.”
As we said before, robot mops and vacuums are smart(ish). They have one job, and that is cleaning your floor. They can’t quite determine which messes they need to leave to the warm-blooded primates with opposable thumbs. As admirable as their work ethic is, you really don’t want to run your robot mop as you sleep only to wake up to a floor covered with dog mess.
Of course, you can’t always control those accidents when you have pets, but if you have a puppy (or toddler) you’re potty-training or an incontinent older dog, consider NOT running the robot mop or vacuum while you’re asleep or gone. Sure it’s less convenient, but you’ll save yourself a 3 AM nightmare.