iRobot Scooba 385 floor-washing robot

The iRobot Scooba floor-washing machine is a robotic mop that takes the hassle out of an almost always neglected household chore

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iRobot Scooba 385
  • iRobot Scooba 385
  • iRobot Scooba 385
  • iRobot Scooba 385
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Cleans well, easy to take apart and clean, mops the floor for you!

Cons

  • Very loud, soap is not sold in Australia, expensive

Bottom Line

The iRobot Scooba 385 floor-washing machine delivered good results during our tests. It is painfully loud, but it's probably not as painful as actually mopping floors yourself. It also uses considerably less water than conventional mopping.

Would you buy this?

If you're not a fan of vacuuming, then surely you would have to agree that its uglier brute of a cousin, mopping, is even less enjoyable. Thankfully the iRobot Roomba robot vacuum cleaner has an equally helpful floor-cleaning counterpart: the Scooba 385.

iRobot Scooba 385: First impressions

After un-boxing the Scooba 385, it is crucial that you read the instructions before you use it. The battery needs to be charged for a full 12 hours prior to use and you should never leave the battery stored inside the unit. Furthermore, the Scooba 385 does not require a floor cleaning solution at all. If you put any floor-cleaning detergent in the Scooba 385 it will likely destroy the unit and the 12-month warranty will be voided. iRobot soap for the Scooba 385 is only sold in the US, but 100ml of white vinegar or a pinch of bi-carb soda dissolved in cold or warm water will do the trick (it's better for the environment too!)

After charging the battery for the suggested time, we placed it in the unit and were ready to get cleaning! A removable water tank for the Scooba 385 has two compartments — one side is for clean water, the other is for dirty water which gets sucked up off the floor. We poured 100ml of white vinegar into the detachable water chamber, filled it to maximum capacity with warm water, and slotted it back into the Scooba 385. We then pressed the power button and discovered the Scooba 385's worst trait: how loud it is! In our tests, it was much louder than the Roomba 577 and Roomba 530 combined; we found ourselves almost having to yell at one another in order to communicate while the Scooba 385 was cleaning. Nevertheless, the iRobot Scooba 385 wasted no time in getting on with the job of cleaning the floor.

iRobot Scooba 385: Performance

We found the Scooba 385 to be highly efficient at mopping the floor. According to iRobot, one full tank can wash up to 425 square feet (around 40 square metres) before it requires refilling. We didn't have an area quite that big to test it in, but we can tell you that one tank allowed the Scooba 385 to do a thorough clean of our kitchen and dining areas (approximately 30 square metres), going over the same spots multiple times, resulting in a great overall clean.

A four-stage cleaning process takes place as the Scooba makes its rounds: it preps (picks up dirt and debris), washes, scrubs and dries.

Just like the Roomba 577 and Roomba 530, the Scooba 385 is fitted with bumper and cliff sensors to ensure it doesn't ram into things or tumble down stairs or ledges. When it encounters an obstacle, the Scooba 385 slows down and manoeuvres away from the object or carefully navigates around the edges of the obstacle.

At the end of the cleaning cycle, we removed the tank from the unit and emptied out the dirty water, then gave the whole unit a quick clean. Maintaining the Scooba 385 is easy. Components slide out easily and pretty much just need a quick rinse. Once we put all the pieces back into the Scooba 385, we pushed the power button twice to activate the unit's self-drying mode. The Scooba 385 sucks in air to assist in the drying process; once it's dry, the battery can be removed and stored back in its box.

iRobot Scooba 385: Cleaning results

We were very impressed with the results the Scooba 385 gave us. The tiled floors we tested it on were noticeably cleaner after the 385 finished. If the noise really gets to you, then you can program the Scooba to undertake its cleaning cycle while you're not at home. According to iRobot the Scooba can clean up to 79 square meters (four average size rooms) on a single battery charge so you could get the groceries done (something robot's can't do — yet) and come home to cleaned floors!

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Read more on these topics: robots, iRobot, cleaning appliances, home appliances
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