Push the ‘On’ Switch, the Simply Relax

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Mopping floors isn’t easy or fun. So, why do it when you can get someone – or something – to do it for you?

The Braava Jet 240 from iRobot (http://www.irobot.com) is a small, highly efficient workhorse that will clean your kitchen, bathroom and all hard surface floors (tile, stone and hardwood) while you sit back and enjoy life. Hidden under the cute appearance of this little (ro)bot, which is slightly larger than a compact lunchbox, is an intelligence that maps, sweeps and mops floors.

There is only one button on the Braava, which starts or stops the unit. It selects one of its cleaning modes – dry sweeping (like a Swiffer), damp mopping (for light duty) and wet mopping (for heavy duty) – according to the cleaning pad that you slide on to attach.

When dry dusting (Swiffer-type), the Braava gives the room a single pass, picking up dust and debris as it goes. For the damp mopping cycle, it makes two passes while spraying the floor with water before it mops the spot. For wet mopping, it makes three passes along with the water spray.

Setup is simple. If you are using the damp or wet mop pad, all you need to do is fill a small reservoir with plain water. Like a mini Zamboni on steroids, the Braava sprays the water in front of it as it moves along, going over the wet spot several times before moving onto the next section.

The pads themselves (available from iRobot) are infused with a water-activated cleaning solution and a mild sent, so not only are the floors cleaned, but it leaves the room with a clean, light aroma.

It is fun to watch this bot as it navigates the room. In fact, since it is so quiet when running, watching it is the only way to know if it is working.

You can run the Braava via a free app on your Android or iOS phone or tablet, if the two are within range of one another. Basically, the app functions like a remote, allowing you to start, stop and adjust it without ever having to tear yourself away from the game or the latest soap opera. Interestingly, it asks you to give the bot a name (I call mine Eugene or “Clean-Gene”). Beside starting and stopping, the remote function lets you adjust how much water is sprayed.

The retail price of the Braava is $199. However, you also need to factor in the cost for special cleaning pads. At a price of $8 for 10 pads, they will not break the bank, but do need to be considered in the overall cost of owning and using it. Washable/reusable wet and dry pads are also available.

The little Braava – which measures about seven-inches square and weighs less than three pounds – uses a rechargeable, removable battery pack that has sufficient power to cover approximately 200-250 square feet of floor space (depending on they type of pad being used).

In my case, I found that I could use a single mopping pad to clean two bathrooms and a laundry room area without the need to recharge the battery. Once the battery is dead, you need to remove and recharge in the separate recharger unit.

Despite the need to purchase special pads, the Braava Jet 240 is an efficient way to keep your floors sparkling without breaking you budget or your back.

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