By Christine Persaud
I’ve been a user of an iRobot Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner for some years now, so when the opportunity arose to try out the iRobot Braava Jet m6, which can both wet and dry mop floors, I was excited to try it out.
Alongside its ability to scoot across floors, mapping your home then dutifully mopping the surfaces using special cleaning formula and reusable or disposable pads, it is also ultra smart, able to work hand-in-hand with the vacuum through Imprint Link Technology. While away at the office or on your way home, press one button in the app to initiate a vacuum, followed immediately by a mopping cycle. Or do one or the other.
With both devices in tow, I set out to give the m6 a try, using it for a month on the main level of my home.
How it Works
Plug in the charging base, attach a dry or wet cleaning pad, open the compartment, add some cleaning solution and water, then leave the unit to charge. Once ready, press the “Clean” button on the device or via the app (once connected to your home’s Wi-Fi using a short set-up process), and the unit will get going. You can also control it by voice via Alexa or Google Assistant by adding the necessary skill.
Like a tiny robot, smaller than the size of a small takeout pizza box, it starts working its way across the floors, going back and forth as it sprays some of the cleaning solution and water mix then does a few passes over the area.
I did several cleans of my main level, including living room, hallway, dining room, and kitchen, all of which is hardwood flooring or tile minus a small carpet runner, then put it in “training” mode so it could explore and learn the layout of the home, like where walls, doors, and furniture typically is. It takes a few passes to fully understand the layout, so expect it to bump into a few things at first as it learns. It uses iAdapt 3.0 Navigation with vSLAM technology and Imprint Smart Mapping to accomplish this. Having already gone through the process with my Roomba, I was confident it would work just fine. I wish there was a way, however, for existing Roomba owners to transfer the map from the vacuum to the mop. However, iRobot advises me that because the m6 is smaller and works a bit differently, it needs to map the home on its own. Once set up, however, just like with the vacuum, you can tell the m6 to mop only the kitchen, for example, versus the entire level of your home. I did find, however, that the vacuum was able to devise a much more accurate map of my main level after a few passes than the m6 did.
You can use either wet mopping pads or dry sweeping ones. Wet Mopping mode requires the Braava jet Hard Floor Cleaning Solution. It’s recommended to only use this solution – not even water and vinegar is recommended. But it has a nice, fresh smell that is pleasant and not too overpowering after a clean. In Dry Sweeping mode, the Dry Sweeping pad uses electrostatic force to capture dirt, dust and pet hair. It’s a great option to grab anything leftover after a vacuuming session, since the m6’s square shape might be able to pick up dirt in areas that a circular Roomba can’t. And if you have pets, it’s a great way to get any excess hair that’s lying around.
The m6 works on virtually any hard floor surface, including hardwood, tile, and stone. A Maximized-Edge design helps it get right into corners and along edges. Indeed, I watched as it crept as close as possible to the edges between the floor and wall, ensuring that it cleaned every nook and cranny.
You can initiate a clean by pressing the button, as noted, on either the device or in the app, set it to clean on a schedule, like every Sunday morning, or even use your voice: it works with both Alexa and Google Assistant. Just set up the skill and link the device to your account and you’re good to go. If the floors need a deep clean and the m6’s battery is running low, it will head back to its dock, recharge, then keep going.
My first observation was that the m6 seemed to want to avoid my kitchen. While my main level is quite small, and there are lots of obstructions in the way, it seemed to pass through areas like the dining room and living room multiple times while avoiding the tiled kitchen. This, I later discovered, was because of an about a half inch bump in the flooring between the dining room and kitchen that the m6 may have believed to be a transition to stairs. (My home is over 100 years old.) Unfortunately, there’s no way for me to correct this, which means I have to manually place the mop in the kitchen whenever I want to clean there. It also passed over the thin carpet runner and proceeded to spray out solution and clean it, somehow not recognizing that it was not flooring. In subsequent cleans, I simply removed the carpet runner first to avoid this (it’s a good idea to clean the floor underneath it anyway!)
Once in the kitchen, with lots of dirt and grime on the floors from shoes coming in from the outside and small spills, I ran the m6 to see how it would do. The clean wasn’t as sufficient as I’d hoped; I get a much deeper clean mopping by hand. But for occasional passes to keep the floors in good condition, it does the trick. That said, you can adjust the cleaning mode in the app from standard to deep clean, which will see it clean with maximum power and do more passes over an area. After trying it in this mode, it seemed to do a much better job.
The m6 is ideal for larger homes: in my small home, it had a hard time finding its way back to the base due to the layout of my main floor, as well as where I placed it and some obstructions in the way, like bar chairs. The solution, of course, is to place the mop somewhere where there’s enough room around it so it has a clear path of exit and entry.
When done cleaning, hold the m6 over a garbage can and press the eject button to release the dirty pad if you’re using a disposable one. (Reusable washable wet and dry cleaning pads are available for purchase separately as well.) Each pad slides neatly into a dedicated slot on the bottom of the device, so you can only use iRobot pads for cleaning. Disposing was a bit awkward since the eject button and the pad release are on the opposite side of the recessed handle, but you get the hang of it after a few cleans. You can pop a reusable pad in the washing machine on delicate cycle, then just let it air dry; or hand wash it if you prefer.
Just like with the Roomba vacuum, you can get a full report of the clean in the app, including how long the m6 cleaned, where it went, and any issues it encountered. As noted, once it has enough information to create a smart map of your home or a specific floor, you can name each room then use voice commands or the app to set customized cleans.
For owners of both a compatible Roomba vacuum, including the new s9+ as well as the i7+ model I used, Imprint Link Technology lets them intelligently communicate with each other.
When selecting either the Roomba or the m6 in the app and pressing the “Clean” button, you’ll see an option to mop after your vacuum with the Roomba, or vacuum first with the m6. Choose this, and the two machines will work hand-in-hand to ensure your floors are free of debris and dust and sparkling clean. You can set them both to do a full clean, or specify which rooms you want them to clean. Maybe you want the Roomba, for example, to vacuum the entire main floor, but only want the kitchen mopped once it’s done. I tried this and it worked perfectly, as long as the mop had a cleaning pad attached and the tank was full. Note that the tank really needs to be full: if I had an ounce less of water and cleaning solution than what was required, however, the mop would not initiate its clean. I’d sometimes have to remove the tank and place it back in the unit a second time, even when full, for it to register. This was only a minor annoyance.
You can check the app for notifications on when each was done its job, so you can follow along on your route home or while at the office.
The iRobot Braava jet m6 won’t replace the need to do thorough mops of your floors, especially in areas like the kitchen where lots of dirt, dust, and grime can build up. But if used regularly, it’s an effortless way to keep the dirt, grime, and debris from your hardwood floors so you have to do a manual clean less often.
So would I throw out the handheld vacuum, broom, and wet mop? Not just yet. But you’ll have to use all of them far less often by leveraging this smart robotic cleaner.
The Braava jet m6 robot mop starts at $699. Disposable cleaning pads retail for $10 for a box of seven, or you can get washable ones for $35 for a box of two. Keep in mind that you might have to order the cleaning solution online through iRobot.ca or retailers like Best Buy: I had a hard time finding them, and other accessories, in actual retail stores.
The Roomba s9+ robot vacuum with Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal is available starting at $1,649 online. It can also be purchased without the Clean Base starting at $1,299, and the Clean Base with Automatic Dirt Disposal for Roomba s9+ sells on its own as well for $449. Additional Dirt Disposal Bags can be purchased for $20 for a pack of three. You can read my detailed review of the vacuum here.