UPDATE: The Scooba is no longer being manufactured and has been replaced by the iRobot Braava 380t Mopping Robot

iRobot Braava 380t Mopping Robot – Robotic Mop,Black

I had the opportunity to adopt a Scooba for a few weeks. The little bundle arrived via UPS, and I couldn’t wait to unwrap it.   The model I received is the mid-range model (#350) which comes with one virtual wall (more about that later), a battery that’s said to last the length of time needed to clean one to three average rooms, and a small bottle of cleaner.

It took me just minutes to unpack it and assemble the few pieces necessary to get it started on its way. Because it must charge overnight the first time you use it, I plugged it in and waited patiently until the next day.  When the time arrived to try it out, I filled the tank with warm water and then added the prescribed amount of Clorox floor cleaner.  I loved the smell of the cleaner, so I was looking forward to seeing how it would work on my floors.

Scooba Virtual Wall - Photo (c) iRobot

I chose our 30-year old bathroom floor to try it out on. It’s the old rolled linoleum that was popular in the 70s and hideous now.  After clearing the bathroom rug, I pressed the on/off button and let it go.  The little guy started whirring and took off across my floor.  Not in a straight line mind you, but in memorizing circles and with a redirecting bounce now and then against the shower, toilet, etc.  Just when I thought I could anticipate where it was headed, it fooled me and stopped, circled, and headed the other way.  To say I sat and watched it for the entire time would make me look a little crazy, but I did!

It cleans by sucking up the dirt and then laying down the cleaner, scrubbing it with the brushes  & squeegee, and then sucking up the extra water. It leaves behind hardly a trace of water, and there’s surprisingly little in the dirty water tank once the floor is done.  It cleaned beautifully, and my small bathroom took about 15 minutes to complete.  Sure, I had to clean behind the toilet, but it did a fabulous job everywhere else.

As I waited for it to finish the bathroom, I read the instructions and was HORRIFIED to find out it can’t be used on Pergo floors! You see, we replaced all the carpet in our house with Pergo floors about a year ago. I was heartbroken!  Now we do have the top of the line Pergo, and it probably would have been OK (water is a real problem with engineered floors), but my husband wasn’t about to let me try it out.  He also wasn’t impressed by the amount of plastic used on the unit.  It didn’t bother me because it seemed very durable, it’s going to spend most of its time on the floor, and there are replacement parts available on the iRobot site for almost every piece of the unit so if you do trip on it or drop it, you can probably fix it.

The Roomba in action - Photo (c) iRobot

Disappointed, I cleaned it up (easy to do) and packed it up for its return to the iRobot people. I’d envisioned the Scooba taking care of my floors from now on, but the two tiny bathrooms that haven’t had new floors put in yet wasn’t a good enough reason to keep it. I never got to try the virtual wall – a small battery-operated piece that tells the Scooba to turn around and head the other way.  I hear they work fabulously, but in the bathroom, I just closed the door.

I’m was bummed to have to give it back, but its brother, the Roomba is on his way here.  I think he’ll be a perfect fit….but I’ll never forget my first…the Scooba!  I only hope the iRobot people get busy on a Scooba for engineered floors.  Until then, I have my memories.

So long Scooba, you’ll be missed!


NOTE:  The Scooba is available in three models: Scooba 5800 ($299.99) cleans 250 square feet per charge, Scooba 350 ($399.99) covers 500 square feet per charge, and Scooba 380 covers 850 square feet per charge.  Also, you’re required to use Clorox Scooba Cleaning Solution or vinegar in your machine. Using anything else can damage the electronics and voids your warranty.  I buy the Clorox Solution online – it’s hard to find in my local store and Amazon has a better price.

I got to enjoy the Scooba 350 at no charge. However, it did not affect my review, and it was returned to iRobot.  Simply put, I LOVED it and didn’t want to let it go!