Never mind the whole inevitable robot takeover thing—everyone's favorite robot vacuum is on sale for Black Friday, and you can definitely count me IN. How good are the Black Friday deals, you ask? Well, how does $200 off sound to you? If you're in the market for a good automatic floor cleaner, then now is the best time to grab one. Amazon is slashing the prices of some iRobot vacuums (plus a mop!), and pro tip: Run, don't walk to this major sale, because in true Black Friday fashion, these markdowns aren't going to last. Peep the deals, below, and scroll through for an in-depth review of just how good the iRobot Roomba vacuum and mop are.
Growing up, my two siblings and I had to split the main chores evenly. My brother always took out the trash, which left my sister and I to decide who took on wiping down the tables and counters and who cleaned the floors. For no logical reason, sweeping crumbs out of the baseboard corners really did not sit well with me, so I always called dibs on the tables.
After all these years, I’ve experienced zero growth. Having to unravel the long vacuum cord, listening to the loud AF motor, dumping the cloudy collection receptacle and inadvertently inhale god knows what, and then rolling that cord yet again? I’m shaking at the very thought. And don’t even get me started on mopping or having to pull out a dripping wet pad and punching the soggy wipe into the little plastic mop attachment holes. Hard pass!
When the opportunity to test out two hands-free all-surface floor cleaning robots came up, I said a very professional, "Hell yes." (TYSM, iRobot reps!) On top of my cleaning aversion, another thing that made me want to test it out the iRobot Roomba i7+ and the Braava Jet M6 was that my grandma had a Roomba and used it on the regular—and her house was always spick and span even though she couldn’t physically vacuum. Plus, in one of my old workplaces, my desk neighbor turned their iRobot Roomba into a DJ Roomba just like on Parks and Recreation. Which, how could you not want that in your life? (Note: I did not tape my portable speaker to the vacuum for the purpose of this review, but you never know what the future holds.)
As soon as the robots arrived on my—okay, fine—my mom’s doorstep, I unpacked them, connected them to the WiFi, and tucked them away in their new home AKA one of the far corners of the house by the garage. For the record, these aren’t an eye sore, so it would be NBD if you left them in your main living area, but it was just personal preference to keep it out of sight!
Meet the Roomba
Within a couple of hours, both cleaning devices were linked to the iRobot app on my phone, charged up, and ready to change my life. As soon as I deployed the Roomba for the first time, I was amazed at how methodical it was to ensure it didn’t miss a single spot. It used its sensor to move in rows, hug corners, and get as close to the basement stairs without tumbling down. I quickly realized that guarding the steps and holding out my hands and anticipating the worst was completely unnecessary.
Perhaps the coolest part about it was how it easily it adapted while moving from carpeted rooms to hardwood floors to tile bathrooms. And when it moves across the carpeted areas, it leaves that satisfying organized pattern in the material. You know the one that proves you're not a slob and definitely cleaned recently?
When it was all done, I pressed a button on my phone to “send it home” to its docking station, where it emptied out all the debris into its contained trash tower. The Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal allows the Roomba to be empty itself for up to 60 days, which means I don’t have to deal with the trash until I muster up the energy to do a chore. Fair warning if you’re scheduling it to clean at night: the empty bin setting makes a super loud whooshing noise, so don’t set this while you sleep unless you want to be woken up.
As the vacuum was mapping out the house the first few times I used it, it understandably wasn’t as efficient as can be and went around the same areas multiple times. But after two to three uses, I could tell my Vroom Vroomba, as I named it, was in the final learning stages, which is also reflected in the app. The coolest thing is that when the robot has all the rooms fully mapped, you can name them and schedule it to clean certain areas at certain times.
Get to Know the Braava
When it comes to the Braava Jet M6, which I named WA(mo)P, it can do dry sweeping and wet mopping, and was noticeably quieter. When it’s in wet mopping mode, it’s definitely slower than the Roomba because it sprays out a little cleaning solution at a time. Unlike the Cardi B-inspired name I picked for it, the Braava Jet takes care not to spray too much product on the floor. Because of the small amount of solution applied to any area and the way the mop reverses and basically double wipes the area, everything dries pretty quickly, so there’s no need to make any room off-limits for an extended period of time, follow it around with a bucket and a second mop, or worry about surface water damage if your floors are properly sealed.
Because the Braava moves slower than the Roomba and there’s quite a bit of ground to cover in this house, I don’t think I’d use this to mop every week because doing so manually would probably be faster. Also, if you’re using it as a dry sweeper, it doesn’t collect bigger debris like the Roomba does. That said, I’d definitely use it a few times a month to mop the entire house or if I just wanted to focus on a specific room and didn’t have bigger pieces to sweep up.
Because the prices on the Roomba and Braava are obviously more expensive than a run-of-the-mill vacuum, broom, and wet mop, here’s my advice: If you can only afford one or the other and psychically can’t sweep or mop, pick the Braava because it can do both. If you don’t care so much about the mopping and don’t mind doing that yourself, pick the Roomba because the quicker speed and larger size means a faster and more efficient cleaning jobs. If you can swing both, make the investment because they’re a perfect little team.
Let’s just say when the robot takeover eventually happens, I’ll pray they’re of the Roomba and Braava variety because these fully changed the game for me and it’ll mean a perpetually tidy home.
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