Consumer Reports

What to know before you buy a robotic mop

NBC Universal, Inc.

When it comes to cleaning, everyone loves a shortcut. So imagine a product that mops your floors without you having to lift a finger. The future is here, with something called a robotic mop. But are they too good to be true? Consumer Reports’ expert testing reveals whether or not you can ditch that messy mop for good.

Never heard of a robomop? Consumer Reports explains what they are. Robotic mops range from basic models that are operated by remote control to sophisticated hybrid ones that mop and vacuum and are controlled by a remote or an app.

Robotic mops are designed to clean hard-surface floors—like tile, vinyl, or some hardwood—not carpet.

To test how well a robotic mop can actually mop, Consumer Reports' testers spill espresso and V8 juice on ceramic tile and vinyl flooring and then let it dry. 

The best robomops tackle the stains and leave a clean floor behind. Hint: Models with spinning mop heads did the best job.

In the navigation test, Consumer Reports sees how well a mop can avoid obstacles, how well they steer around furniture, as well as how they interact with both cords and carpet fringe.

In Consumer Reports tests, the pricey hybrid model from Narwal came out on top, and it has an auto-clean function that will wash the spinning mop heads as well. The Narwal T10 4 in 1 Robotic Mop cost $1,050; on sale, $699; and on Amazon, $799 (Canada, $1,408; on sale, $940; and on Amazon, $1,074). 

For much less, the basic Samsung mop matched the Narwal test for test, but it won’t clean itself. As a bonus, it can also be used as a handheld scrubber for surfaces like your shower. One downside of the Samsung: It’s more than 5 inches tall, which means it may not fit under some furniture or the toe kick of your kitchen cabinets. The Samsung Jetbot Mop cost $300; on sale, $150; and on Amazon, $250 (Canada, $403; on sale, $201; and on Amazon, $335).

If that’s an issue for you, the moderately priced Bissell SpinWave also did well in Consumer Reports tests and is less than 3½ inches tall. The Bissell SpinWave Wet and Dry Robotic Vacuum (3115) cost $212 (Canada, $285).

So how long does it take for a robomop to clean your floors? Consumer Reports says the models in its ratings range from 50 to 100 minutes.

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