There are subtle, and some not-so-subtle, differences between the iRobot Braava 320 and the Braava 380t. First, note these floor mopping robots are very comparable to the Mint 4200 and Mint 5200+, not surprisingly since iRobot bought Evolution Robotics – developer of the Mint floor cleaning robots – in 2012 (read more). One of the most obvious differences is the price. Currently, the list price for the 380t is about $100 higher. Is it worth the extra cash?
|Braava 320||Braava 380t|
|Works with Multiple Cubes||up to 3|
| Floor Coverage |
|Up to 150 Sq. Ft.||Up to 150 Sq. Ft.|
| Floor Coverage |
(With Cube - Dry Mode)
|Up to 800 Sq. Ft.|| Up to 1000 Sq. Ft. |
Up to 2000 Sq. Ft. with multiple cubes
| Floor Coverage |
(With Cube - Wet Mode)
|Up to 250 Sq. Ft.||Up to 350 Sq. Ft.|
| Cleaning Session |
|Up to 3 hrs.||Up to 4 hrs.|
| Cleaning Session |
|Up to 2 hrs.||Up to 2.5 hrs.|
|Multi-Purpose Cleaning Pad|
|Pro-Clean Reservoir Pad||optional|
|Turbo Charge Cradle|
|Charging Time||8-10 hrs.||2 hrs. with Turbo Charge Cradle|
|- Sealed Hardwood|
|- Laminate Flooring|
|- Waxed Floors|
|Weight||4 lbs||4 lbs|
|Review||Braava 320||Braava 380t|
|Where to Buy?||Best Price||Best Price|
Basic Features, Compared
Certainly there’s very little difference in the physical characteristics of the Braava 320 and the 380t, apart from the color scheme. The 320 is much lighter; the 380t is a Darth Vader black.
The 320 measures 8.5″ square and stands 3″ high; the 380t is the same case size. It’s a wash. At that height either model will get under a lot of lower kitchen or bathroom cabinets. The 320 weighs 4 lbs and the 380t tips the scales at the same 4 lbs. Again, no difference.
Similarly, the rubber wheels, the magnetic pad holder, bumpers, and other immediately visible attributes are virtually identical. On the basis of all that, there isn’t much to distinguish the two floor mopping robot cleaners.
Pro-Clean Reservoir Pad
On the inside (or at least the not-so-visible areas), however, there are some factors that – at a stretch – might justify a higher price for the 380t.
Both robots come with a Multi-Purpose Cleaning Pad that can be used with disposable dry and wet cleaning cloths or reusable microfiber cloths. The 380t also comes standard with something the company calls a Pro-Clean Reservoir Pad.
You fill up a little tank usually with a proprietary cleaning solution such as Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner or Clorox ReadyMop but it also works well with water. The liquid then drips slowly onto the pad as the robot moves along the floor. Nifty.
The Braava 320 comes equipped with the feature that allows it to work with the Pro-Clean Reservoir Pad but it does not come as part of the package. It can be purchased as an accessory.
The alternative with the 320 is to simply wet the cleaning cloth before you begin, then pray it stays wet enough to do a decent job on your floor. Since it usually won’t, you may find yourself spraying or spilling a cleaning solution around the floor. That’s ok but it does partly erase the value of using a robot floor mopping cleaner. As an alternative you can use the Pause and Resume feature where the unit can be stopped mid cycle to change the cleaning cloth.
Still, the real kicker in any robot cleaner is the navigation system. How do the Braava 320 and 380t models compare?
The traditional iRobot models – both hardware and software components – have long been at the top of the robot game. But along came Evolution Robotics with a very different method and challenged them big time. That method was incorporated into the Mint products, now re-labled the Braava line. Braava robot floor cleaners use Evolution Robotics’ developed IR scanners and sensors. A beam bounces around the room and off the ceiling and walls and can be detected by the base unit.
That NorthStar Navigation System, as they call it, can do that in conjunction with an additional component separate from the unit itself: the Cube. This small device is similar to the iRobot Lighthouse in function and allows the Braava to clean a larger area.
That system is essentially the same in the 320 and the 380t. The beam strength/range is the same and the sensors are the same. The only relevant difference is that the 380t can work with up to 3 Cubes while the 320 can work with only one. Multiple Cubes let you clean more than one room in one session. They aid the robot in navigating more intelligently in larger spaces, too, since one Cube can easily get separated too far from the robot.
Battery Life and Charger System
The 380t offers extended session time and floor area coverage compared to the 320.
In dry (sweeping) mode, the 320 is rated to last about 3 hours or about 800 square feet, and it will live up to that for at least the first year of life. All rechargeable batteries eventually degrade somewhat.
The 380t stretches that single-session cleaning time to a full 4 hours and up to 1000 square feet. When used with multiple Cubes it can even extend the dry sweeping area up to 2000 square feet, so there’s that to consider. If your floors will all get cleaned in the smaller time frame the extra hour or coverage area is really no benefit.
Similarly, in wet mode (mopping), the 320 manages a very respectable 2 hours. The 380t can go for 2.5 hours. Measured an alternative way, the 320 mops up to 250 square feet in one session while the 380t will cover 350 sq ft. Here, the difference is even less likely to get anyone excited.
There are those marginal situations, of course. Anyone who needs that extra time/coverage might well be willing to pony up the extra money to get done in one session. That’s more likely to be true, though, if you’re trying to clean multiple floors in one go.
Since the charging time on the 380t can be as short as 2 hours, thanks to the Braava Turbo Charge Cradle that’s included in the package, cleaning multiple rooms in one session is easier with the higher-end model. Neither model will return automatically to a charging station. You have to move it manually when the robot stops.
For the technically minded, the 320 has a 1500 mAH battery and the 380t 2000 mAH, which explains the different cleaning times. Both are standard NiMH rechargeables. Both systems use standard C batteries to power the Cube(s).
Overall, the Braava 320 and 380t robot floor moppers are more similar than they are different. They’re almost identical physically and have the same navigation systems. The 380t has a few nice options – the Pro-Clean Reservoir, Cube-to-Cube navigation and Turbo Charge Cradle. The battery system in the more expensive model provides more cleaning time and therefore coverage.
All in all, in my book, there isn’t enough difference here to prompt me to plop down an extra $100 for one robot floor cleaner over the other. But that’s me. Your budget and needs might very well differ. It’s always nice to have a choice.