Is there a more mundane – and messier – household task than mopping the floor? Firstly, mopping involves effort – a lot of effort – and on a regular basis if you have muddy pets, kids or outdoorsy householders who regularly leave a trail of countryside all over the kitchen floor.
Granted, there are some very interesting bog-standard mops on the market, including the cheap-and-cheerful Vileda Turbo and Flash Powermop. And there are also some very decent steam-based mops like the exceedingly good Kärcher SC3 EasyClean Upright which you can read about in our full review.
But these all involve getting off one’s bottom and sloshing water all over the shop, not to mention the uncomfortable effort of constantly pushing and pulling a soaking cloth or a stringy mass of sodden thick cotton strands across the floor. It’s a first world problem to be sure, but first world problems need first world solutions and the iRobot Braava Jet M6 might just be one of them.
So, since I have one here right now with me, let’s give it a whirl to see if it’s actually any good.
Where can I purchase an iRobot Braava Jet M6?
Living Stateside? Try Amazon and Walmart, where it’s shifting at a knockdown $399. If you live Down Under, your best bet is Amazon again (A$947 – ouch) and Robot Specialist (A$988 - double ouch) or Australia Robotic (A$1195 – triple ouch).
iRobot Braava Jet M6 review: design
iRobot is a world leader in robotic household vacuum cleaners that successfully go about their business autonomously with very little intervention by the householder. Whether it’s the entry-level i3+, the new J7+ or the class-leading S9+, the iRobot range is as rocksteady as current technology allows it to be.
Well the company has applied most of the navigation and mapping tech of its higher-end robovacs to the Braava Jet M6, a bona fide mopping bot that uses a 440ml water tank, a front-mounted spray and a simple mopping pad to autonomously clean most types of hard flooring.
At just 26cm square, the Braava Jet M6 sits ready for action on its small recharging plinth awaiting either a press of its big clean button, a command via the excellent iRobot app (iOS and Android), a voice command via Google Assistant or Alexa, or a signal from a cloud-based schedule. And when it’s completed its mopping task, it returns to its home base for a recharge. In other words it works just like most robot vacuums.
iRobot Braava Jet M6 review: navigation
Like the iRobot J7, i7 and S9 robot vacs, the Braava Jet M6 uses a camera and sensors in tandem with its cutting-edge navigation software to map the entire home. It can perform this task while it actually mops the floor or, better still, by asking it to perform a mapping run. To initiate a mapping run, fit the supplied dry mop and the M6 will navigate its way around the home, creating a map in the process without dispensing any water. How does it know it’s in dry mopping and not wet mopping mode? Easy, it reads a code imprinted on the mop attachment.
Before setting it off on its first full wet mopping run, I would advise reaching for your old mop and bucket for hopefully the last time and giving the floor a good seeing to, especially if there are any ingrained stains and indelible marks. That way the floor will start off in tip-top condition and remain that way henceforth. Why? Well, most robot mops – this one included – may be great at maintaining a clean floor on a regular basis but they’re still no match for a bit of elbow grease. Yes, you can easily ask this bot to perform a spot clean which works exceptionally well on recent stains and marks but, truth is, when it comes to the toughest stains, nothing beats a good bit of manual scrubbing.
Rather crucially, the Braava Jet M6 is capable of avoiding carpets and rugs. When it detects carpet or rugs – even thin and flimsy ones – it cleverly navigates around them. Having a robot mop that can circumnavigate rugs is an essential prerequisite for anyone with lots of them scattered across their hard floors. However, there is a small caveat. If you have a large rug that completely straddles two rooms or a section of room, the Braava will not cross over it. I have just such a layout in my pad with a large rug that occupies the space between the living room and the kitchen. It isn’t a major problem but it does mean I have to pick up the Braava and place it in the kitchen where it proceeds to create a different map. It also means the robot is unable to return to its charging dock from the kitchen unless I physically place it back in the living room or in the vicinity of its dock.
iRobot Braava Jet M6 review: cleaning method
The Braava Jet M6 utilises a simple mopping pad on the rear and an adjustable spray on the front. It’s a much more efficient mopping system than any 2-in-1 hybrid I know of, the excellent Roborock S7 included. Instead of just dragging a damp mop around, this one sprays the floor first (you can adjust the amount of spray in the iRobot app) before moving forwards and backwards a couple times, as if emulating the method one would adopt if using a manual mop. Its route is pretty logical too, since it mops in straight lines up and down a room, including the edges.
It’s easy to set the Braava’s mopping behaviour by delving into the app’s settings. Here you can adjust the amount of spray in three steps from short to long. You can also select from three main mopping functions: Standard, Deep and Extended Coverage. Standard strikes a balance between cleaning power and the total area covered, Deep is for maximum cleaning power in a smaller area, and Extended covers a wider area in a shorter space of time.
iRobot Braava Jet M6 review: using the app
The iRobot app is one of the best out there and a dream to use. It makes syncing to home wi-fi a cinch and there are plenty of user-friendly functions available like scheduling, room partitioning and creating no-go zones. With the new iRobot Genius algorithm on board, you can even program the Braava to mop when you leave the house so everything’s spotless on your return. Not only that, but if you already own an iRobot i7, J7 or S9 robovac, the Braava Jet M6 will automatically do its mopping once the floors have been vacuumed.
iRobot Braava Jet M6 review: what’s in the box?
The Braava Jet M6 is available in black or white and ships with a base station, one washable woolly mop pad, two disposable paper-towelling pads, a dry pad and a sample bottle of iRobot-branded hard floor cleaning solution. The robot can detect whether it has a wet or dry mopping pad attached and will activate or deactivate the water spray accordingly.
iRobot Braava Jet M6 review: performance
It’s inevitable, but the Braava Jet M6 will miss a spot or two – all robots, both vac and mop do – but in general this model performed exceedingly well in tests. It managed to skirt around furnishings with ease and it didn’t leave too much water in its wake. Granted, this writer was a little nervous of letting it loose on my hardwood flooring when using the wet mop but I haven’t noticed any damage. That said, I did set it to the lowest spray setting and only let it complete one run. For delicate wooden floors I would suggest using the lowest spray setting and selecting the ‘Extended’ function on the app so the Braava doesn’t spend too much time on the floor.
However, when it comes to linoleum, tiles and stone, the Braava Jet M6 is absolutely in its element. On these surfaces you can opt for the highest spray setting and the Deep Coverage function in the app for maximum cleaning power.
In my bathroom test the Braava did a great job of removing a couple of dried liquid stains I prepared, though it naturally couldn’t compete with the manually-operated Kärcher SC3 steam cleaner when it came to removing a couple of really old marks. Mind, I wasn’t expecting it to make much impression in that regard because it only has the weight of the machine to press the pad into the floor whereas with the steam cleaner I was really giving it some serious back forth action.
iRobot Braava Jet M6 review: verdict
When it comes to deep cleaning and full 100% coverage of a room, I’m not sure that any robot mop is a substitute for a standard mop and bucket, let alone a steam cleaner. But when it comes to keeping a marginally tainted floor in pristine condition on a daily basis, the Braava Jet M6 excels. Once it’s in situ and knows the layout of the home, it will maintain all hard floors to a higher and more regular degree than most humans. And without grumbling about it.
Want the best hybrid robot vac and mop in one tidy unit? Read our full review of the new Roborock S7