The Scooba 230 is iRobot’s latest in home robotic mastery. The tiny Scooba 230 is only 3lbs, yet packs a punch inside of its tiny body. It will wash, scrub, and squeegee away all the dirt and grime on your tile, linoleum, and sealed hardwood floors. I’m not one for mopping my floors, so anything that helps complete this arduous task is a welcome guest in my home. That being said, the iRobot Scooba 230 will fit in and around almost anything, and when done, it can discreetly sit out of sight because of its small footprint.
Because of the size of the Scooba 230, the packaging has shrunk tremendously – to almost the size of a larger shoebox. Inside the box you will find the iRobot Scooba 230, 1 rechargeable battery, 1 battery charger, 1 storage mat, 2 Virtual Walls which require 2 D batteries that are not included, 3 extra removable bottom plates, and 4 packets of Scooba Hard Floor Cleaner.
What sticks out most about the iRobot Scooba 230 is that it is very petite. It’s small enough to tuck away behind the toilet bowl or stash in a closet. or even leave out unsuspecting in a corner of a room somewhere while charging. And unlike the other iRobot home robots, the Scooba 230 is not only the smallest of the bunch but also the quietest! That is probably due to the fact that there is no sweeping abilities inside of it that enable a vacuum like sound from the machine. Also, because this is an electrical device that uses water, all the necessary jacks and port doors are rubberized to keep water out or in. Lastly, the control center of the device is similar to the rest of the iRobot Roomba series in that it has a simple Clean button smack in the middle, a status indicator light, service indicator light, and power button indicator. However, there is no scheduler function available on the Scooba 230. There is also a carry handle to easily move your Scooba from room to room and the bottom plate (which has the brushes and squeegee) removes so that you can replace it with a new one or rinse the one in use.
The prep for the Scooba 230 is more than I anticipated at first. The first thing you must do is charge the device for 8 hours. Which is a bit much for this day in age, but ok. Before you charge the device you have to make sure that the battery is pushed in well or the battery charger will never charge the Scooba 230. It will pulsate for a few minutes and then just fade to black, indicating it’s not charging anything. This happened to me on my first try and I just removed and reinserted the battery and the battery charger began to pulsate, after it fully charges, the battery charger will display a steady-on green light.
Once the device is charged, you will want to actually vacuum or sweep your floor prior to using the Scooba 230. Unlike the rest of the iRobot Scooba line-up, the 230 model doesn’t feature a sweeping function that will clean up light debris before washing the floor. That is understandable for its size, but nonetheless it’s still an extra chore that you need to perform. And if you don’t, the robot will just push around and drag hair, crumbs, and other debris it picks up while mopping.
Once you have swept or vacuumed the floor, you have to place the bottom plate on the bottom of the device. The bottom plate consists of brushes and a squeegee and is ultimately the part of the machine that is doing all the heavy lifting. Once the bottom plate is attached, you can use the included Scooba hard floor cleaner and cool water to clean your floors. Then, once you fill up the Scooba with either the cleaning solution or water, the device is ready to mop that floor.
The Scooba 230 utilizes iAdapt Responsive Cleaning Technology which allows the Scooba to move about your home regardless of any obstacles that it may come in contact with and also enables multiple passes in your room, until the floor is completely covered (cleaned). Alternatively, you can confine the Scooba to a specific area by using the included virtual walls.
We placed the Scooba 230 down to clean and it quickly did its thing, cleaning up our extra dirty white tile floor. You could tell that the solution was getting on the floor because of the chemical smell (it wasn’t anymore overwhelming than any other household cleaner) that emanated from the bathroom. I stood and studied each pass of the machine along the floor and it wiped clean every muddy spot I had created. However it also collected an insane amount of icky dirt clumps that I had to collect while the Scooba 230 made its way around the bathroom floor. After a 20 minute first pass, I emptied Scooba 230 of its dirty water and gave it another go by adding more water and more solution. The Scooba did its thing for another 20 or so minutes and then it was done and needed to be recharged. So in total the Scooba 230 lasted about 45 minutes or so on a single charge. You can either do one long cleaning that will last 45 minutes or two short ones that last about 20 minutes each.
The Scooba 230 has no base that it scampers back too, so once the floor-washing is complete, you’ll have to go and pick it up and charge it again for another couple of hours. Cleanup takes about 10 to 15 minutes depending on how dirty your floor was that you just ‘mopped.’ You’ll have to empty the dirty water (that was sucked up during cleaning), rinse the bottom plate or toss it, and clean around the rubber wheels that may have collected dirt along the way like hair and other debris.
Notably, the iAdapt technology certainly does seem to be working very will in this newest addition to iRobot. It quickly moved around, avoided obstacles, or if it ran into them, the Scooba knew how to back-up and maneuver away to continue on.
While I think the Scooba 230 is an adorable addition to the iRobot Scooba line, it does take a bit of prep before you can actually have the robot perform properly. Vacuuming or sweeping the floor prior to using the Scooba is a bit annoying, yet it is essential. I also didn’t care for having to run after the machine as it dragged bits of dirt around that I missed. It would also have been ideal if the vacuum that sucks up the water, also sucked up some light debris as well, instead it just dragged it along creating a dirty trail behind it. Battery life could also be more impressive. However, the Scooba 230 did shine in the areas it needed to most. It scrubbed my floors clean, the iAdapt technology seemed to be working better than ever, and within a few minutes after cleaning the floor, I was able to walk on my bathroom floor afterward, and the bathroom smelled nice and fresh. For small rooms, the Scooba 230 will certainly excel, and it is perfect for bathrooms and kitchens – ideally it will clean up to 150 square feet in a single cleaning session. Larger rooms with sealed hardwood floors may find that the Scooba dies before its done cleaning. So you’ll have to be the judge on whether or not your room fits into the 150 sqft criteria.
Overall, if you despise mopping your floor or have guests coming and want someone or something else to handle the cleaning of your floors, Scooba 230 is your guy. It will quickly do its thing and be inconspicuous about it too. Despite its few drawbacks, good things do come in small packages. The iRobot Scooba 230 retails for $299.99 and the additional cleaning solution retails for $11.99.
The Good: Small in size, big on performance. Features iRobot’s iAdapt technology for getting around obstacles. Thoroughly cleans your floor and leaves it dry enough to walk on within minutes.
The Bad: You have to sweep or vacuum your floors beforehand. Battery life could be better. Should cover more square feet for the price. Clean-up could be an arduous task.