Designed to clean bathrooms, kitchens, and hardwood floors, iRobot's new $199 Braava Jet is also the company's least expensive robot vacuum yet. About the size of a few Stephen King hardcover books, the Braava Jet should make short work of those frightening dust bunnies and hairballs lurking in the corners of your bathroom.
Unlike other iRobot vacuums, which sweep debris into a receptacle, the Braava Jet only has a replaceable pad that picks up stains and spills. However, it has a small 150ml water reservoir, which is sprayed out by the Braava when cleaning.
The Braava Jet has three modes: Dry sweeping, damp sweeping, and wet mopping, and a corresponding pad for each mode. The pads are coded, so that the Braava will automatically enter the appropriate mode depending on which pad you insert. The pads also have cleaning agents, so that you don't ave to worry about adding disinfectant to the water.
The Dry Sweeping mode doesn't use any water at all, while the damp sweeping uses a little water, and the wet mopping uses the most. The Braava's cleaning pad also vibrates, to help scrub up any stains on the floor.
There's a bit more manual labor required with the Braava Jet than with iRobot's other vacuums. For example, you can't set a schedule for the robot; rather, you have to place it in the lower lefthand corner of whatever room you want cleaned, and press the start button. The robot will then traverse up and down the room in a cornrow pattern.
Also, unlike its more expensive robot vacuums, which automatically return to a docking station to recharge, you have to remove the Braava's battery and plug it in to the wall yourself. (iRobot estimates that the Braava Jet's rechargeable battery will be good for about 200 square feet). Still, those are acceptable trade-offs for something that costs only $199.
The Braava Jet comes with a pair of each type of pad (Dry, damp, and wet), and refills will cost $7.99 for a pack of 10.
Stay tuned for our full review of the Braava Jet.