At some point in our lives, we’ve all mopped or scrubbed a floor. You’ve probably also drug around a filthy bucket of water filled with some detergent, attempting to keep your floor from getting completely soaked. Aside from steam mops or traditional mops, there are few options for concrete, laminate or hardwood floors. More than that, unless you’re using harsh detergents or steam you aren’t really getting your floors clean, you’re just creating a thin veneer of mud and bacteria across your floor. Plus, mopping is a time-consuming, tiring activity. You could spend an entire afternoon lugging around water, draining out your mop and waiting on your floor to dry, only to be unhappy with the overall cleanliness of your floor. To improve this situation read on as we help you choose the best steam mop.
Top 10 Best Steam Mops Comparison Table
Tank Capacity (Cups)
|BISSELL 1940 Powerfresh|
|Shark Light & EasyTM S3101|
|BISSELL Select 94E9T|
|Click to trigger||
|Shark Light and Easy|
|Shark Professional S3601D|
|BISSELL Deluxe 31N1|
|Gruene Clean System|
How Steam Mops Clean
The best steam mops have been improving the way we clean for years now, and many have a wide variety of useful features that ensure your house gets cleaner than ever. As we become busier and busier with work, children, and hobbies we have less time to spend cleaning our houses than we used to. They work by rapidly heating up water to temperatures high enough to evaporate into steam (much like a boiling pot of water). This steam is then forced through a spout directly into your floor.
Imagine how much easier stains will be to remove when you apply super-heated steam. Scrubbing is all but eliminated as the grime is pulled from the floor and allergens are destroyed. Steam loosens up dirt particles, and these particulates and grimy materials are sucked back into a hose or vacuum.
You’ll soon learn that your new steam mop is far more versatile than you thought. Most people know how versatile these devices are on linoleum, tile and hardwood; but there are also models that come with attachments to clean high-traffic, dirty areas, including your counter tops, showers, grout, and upholstery. Just make sure that nozzle of your steam mop isn’t too big or small for a space.
The Many Benefits of Using a Steam Mop
Because steam mops are so efficient and fast drying, they’re quickly becoming more popular than traditional mops. Add in the fact that they’re friendly to the environment (because you don’t have to use cleaners) and easier to use, and you’ll probably never want to use a mop again.
Here are some other benefits of steam mops you might not have considered:
- Steam mops are compact and versatile. Many even come with specialized mats that keep your floors from absorbing the residual heat that steam mops create. Because you’re not carrying around a bucket, you don’t have to worry about space either!
- No more backbreaking transportation or labor. Steam mops are usually incredibly light and easy to use. Most of the time, you fill the small reservoir (which can vary from 10 ounces to several quarts) and effortlessly breeze around your house. In no time you’ve got a sparkling clean house without using as much scrubbing and bleach to eliminate a set- in stain.
- Steam mops are far more sanitary than a traditional mop. When you watch survivor shows and they drink water from weird places, they always boil it. Why? Because boiling kills germs and bacteria that make you sick. These same germs are found all over your house, deep in your carpets and coating your floors.
- You won’t spend any more time waiting on your floors to dry. Traditional mops have severely limited time limits for when you can actually clean, because you need to leave about 30 minutes to dry. One of the most frustrating things in life is a footprint or paw print on your newly cleaned floor from an impatient child or pet. The only time that steam mops leave any water behind is when you have to leave a mop head in place for a while.
- Instead of having to have multiple tools, steam mops do everything all at once. This eliminates a lot of unnecessary costs that you might not have considered (like detergents, scrubbers and mop heads).
- The only added costs in the future are new cleaning cloths. Typically you can usually rewash and reuse them multiple times, and you can also purchase other options for your windows or counters. Some people complain because they need to be washed immediately to remove the dirt and grime, or sometimes because they develop a mildew-smell. This is why we recommend always letting your mop pads dry completely to inhibit the growth of mold.
Finding the right steam mop for your home
There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to steam mops, making it difficult to know exactly which one is best for your purpose. By far, the most common steam mop brands are BISSELL, Shark, Hoover, Dyson, and Black & Decker because they’re the most user friendly and reliable. No matter the brand you choose, you should consider the following features before deciding on a model:
- Opt for easier handling over size. You’ll prefer a more maneuverable steam mop when you’re working your way into crevices and corners.
- You’ll want more cordage rather than less. The average steam machine cords average between 15-30 feet, and you’ll want at least 20. 25 feet gives you about a room’s worth of space without having to constantly unplug and move your mop.
- Depending on the size of the rooms that you’re cleaning, you might need a larger water tank that holds more water. A quart of fluid can keep you cleaning for up to an hour without stopping to refill your steam mop. You should also insist on purchasing removable tanks that you can fill from the tap and regularly clean.
- When it comes down to actual cleaning, look for mops that swivel easily and fold flat. This makes it easier to clean around obstacles and furniture (as well as underneath furniture). Many handles also stretch and bend so that you don’t have to.
- If you’re going to be using your steam mop on hardwood or other delicate surfaces, you’re going to need a microfiber cloth to prevent scratching or damage. Plus, microfibers are best at picking up dirt and dust.
- Good steam mops heat up in about 30 seconds. This statistic is more important if you consider that you’ll be cleaning more than one area and probably unplugging your device and starting the heating process from the beginning of the cycle every time you do.
- Well-built steam mops are equipped with a dial or trigger that delivers the amount of steam that you want to a spot, and not a spray more. This is great for different styles of floor that respond poorly to moisture.
- Make sure that the mop that you purchase is equipped with a built in power on/ off switch.
Top 10 Steam Mop Reviews
What you’ll discover with the help of our report is that any of the models of steam mops that we report on are going to be a good buy. Expect to spend more on better features or more powerful, robust models of steam mops. The best part is, even if you can’t afford to spend a lot, you can still get a great steam mop for the purpose you require.
Without any further ado, here are our steam mop favorites:
BISSELL 1940 Powerfresh
The 1940 Powerfresh is a small and affordable model from Bissell, but unfortunately, it doesn’t come with vacuum suction or get hot enough to easily sanitize a room. However, it does work on a large variety of sealed floor types (like tile, vinyl, hard wood or laminate) and freshens carpets (with a separate attachment).
Another great feature of this mop is that the pad is actually made of an antimicrobial material that resists mold and mildew, so your pads will never stink. It swivels easily, has a very thin design, and boasts a 23 foot cord. The manufacturer calls it a “PowerFresh” is because it holds small cartridges that keep your home fresh.
Some negative features about this model include:
- It doesn’t come with a cooling pad, which can be awkward when you get finished cleaning because you have to wait until it’s cooled down to put it away.
- The little elastic bands that hold the pad on only stay tight for a short while. Eventually the pads slip off at the front.
- Other similar models have slightly longer cord distances.
- You can put cleaners in some models, but the manufacturers specifically state not to put them in this one.
- As long as your floors are sealed, it’s a good mop for general cleaning purposes.
Shark Steam Pocket Mop
The best feature about the Shark Steam Pocket Mop is how much cord they give you to work with. It heats up in about 30 seconds (which is pretty average) and holds nearly 16 ounces of fluid. We also really enjoyed how the mop head goes all the way around the shark, so that you’re not attaching flimsy attachments that easily fall off over time. At the same time, it comes with both a rectangular head, a duster attachment and a triangular head (for corners). This Shark model also comes with the all important swivel feature that lets you get everywhere you need to- like around toilets with the handy triangular head.
We did have some negative feedback about the Shark Pocket Mop:
- The warranty is relatively short and kind of ambiguous.
- It’s more costly than most models, so some people wouldn’t purchase it.
- It doesn’t get as hot as more robust models.
Shark Light & Easy S3101
If you love the Shark brand but don’t want to pay high prices, the S3101 is one of the highest rated affordable steam mops out there. It uses the power of steam alone to clean, and is guaranteed to eliminate up to 99.9% of bacteria and germs. It’s unbelievably light (at about 3 pounds) and heats up in a flash because the water tank is so small. Because it gets so hot, it doesn’t leave any streaks on a wide variety of surfaces. It comes complete with two washable microfiber cloths that pick up dirt and debris while you mop.
Some of the features about this model we didn’t like were:
- The steaming action is only available when you push down the steamer button
- It has one of the smallest water tanks that you can get in steam mop, making it best for small spaces because it lasts for about 10 minutes before it needs to be refilled.
- The design of this model reminds us of a Swiffer wet-mop. It would be a better buy if it wasn’t awkward to push because of the design and the way that it grabs the floors (because of the design of the cloths).
BISSELL Steam Mop Select
The first thing you’ll notice about this steam mop is that it’s a little bigger than the others, and it comes with only a rectangular head. Because of this, if you’re cleaning a large spot, you might want to consider another floor mop. It does swivel nicely and provide about 14 inches of cleaning path. The 9 steam vents distribute heat and steam evenly to your floor, and it comes with two mop pads with scrubbing strips built in. The water tank holds a considerable 17 ounces of water, but it comes without a filter (so the manufacturers suggest using distilled water).
Our least favorite features about this mop are that:
- It doesn’t have an on or off switch, and the power light pretty much only tells you if your steam mop is turned on.
- Like the 1940, this model still takes 30 seconds to heat.
- The cord is pretty short, which can be a make-or-break for some buyers.
- It doesn’t work on carpets.
O- Cedar Microfiber
The O-Cedar isn’t a common steam mop brand, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deliver a good value. It’s affordable and powerful, killing germs with adjustable heat and steam level settings. In fact, it heats up enough to disinfect within 20 seconds of plugging it in, and it refreshes carpets easily. It’s only 5 pounds and comes complete with microfiber cloths for your hard wood and laminate surfaces.
Features that we didn’t like about this steam mop include:
- The pads are pretty hard to clean and might not be completely spotless when they come out of the washer.
- It’s got a one year warranty, but the product wasn’t made in the United States. The warranty is only valid when it’s purchased in Canada.
- The O-Cedar model isn’t clear, so it’s hard to see exactly how much water you have left, so you might have to use a flashlight (like the one on your phone).
Shark Light & Easy Steam S3251
The Light and Easy series is great for people who only need to clean small spaces, and do so regularly. It removes a lot of the hassle of modern mopping, but it’s not the sturdiest model out there. It’s actually pretty similar to the Shark Light & Easy S3101, plus it can hold detergent. It’s easy to use, and gets hotter than the S3101, but the water capacity is so low, you’ll be filling it quite a bit.
Some of the features we didn’t like about this steam mop include:
- The pads that this model of Shark come with are harder to wash than other models.
- This model doesn’t come with the triangular head that the 3101 does, which takes away some of the value.
- You have to push a button to release the steam, which can be awkward for some users, who prefer free-flowing steam mops.
BISSELL Symphony Steam Cleaner
We consider this model to be a hybrid between a steam mop and a steam cleaner, which means that it gives you the most important features that you look for in a steam mop: versatility. It cleans and vacuums, picking up dirt and grime that other models might just push around. With all of these features, it still clocks in at only 10.1 pounds with a generous quart of water storage.
Some of the features we don’t like about the Symphony Steam Cleaner include:
- This model can be very sensitive to hair and litter.
- The pads are softer than other models, limiting their cleaning ability
- The symphony doesn’t come with any extra attachments, making cleaning especially narrow spaces or corners impossible.
Shark Professional Steam Pocket S3601D
With an interchangeable design and the promise of santization, the Steam Pocket S3601 is one of the more expensive shark products on the market today. Luckily, it’s easy to assemble and easy to use, and unlike other Shark products, it produces constant steam in variable amounts, cleaning quickly and effectively without leaving streaks.
There were a couple of features we didn’t like:
- Sometimes, the Shark pad didn’t pick up dirt like other microfiber pads, meaning you might want to pick up new ones.
- The water tank is in an awkward location that doesn’t provide direct supply or support to the pad to the floor.
- There’s no on/off switch on this model.
BISSELL Steam Deluxe Cleaner 31N1
This Bissell has a lot of features that we like, such as a long running time and great deep cleaning capabilities. Plus, it’s another combination unit that can handle carpet as well as linoleum, making sure that your house is as spotless as possible. It’s got four different settings to make sure that all of your flooring stays safe and sound.
A couple of issues with this model:
- That this model is prone to leaks, especially where the storage area meets the machine.
- It doesn’t come with a filtration system, so if you’ve got hard water it clogs up fast.
- Customer service regarding warranty can be a little hard to reach.
Gruene Clean System Steamer
We really like the Gruene system, despite the small capacity. It cleans virtually any surface with ease, plus it’s lightweight and trendy. The hose arm is long enough to reach both high and low places, and it comes with a plethora of accessories and attachments; including shoulder straps and tool caddies. It’s lightweight, not prone to leaking, and is easy to use to boot.
What we didn’t like about this model:
- The water storage on this model could be bigger to allow more area cleaning
- It’s a little pricier than other options
- It’s best for hard floors, and doesn’t do carpets.
Now you can choose the perfect steam mop for your home or business with confidence!
While there are a lot of different models out there, there are definitely some clear winners as seen in our steam mop reviews. The models that we’ve suggested are extremely popular because they work well and have great reliability ratings. Plus, you know your home is going to be clean. You know that bacteria and grime has been eliminated. Your home will smell fresh and natural, and you’ll have far more free time to do the things that you really enjoy. Remember to consider your needs, and exactly what features your new model offers.
Make sure to read the instructions! Now that you know what you’re looking for, you’re bound to be very excited to get started, but take time to notate everything that the directions tell you to do, to make sure that you don’t damage your floors. Don’t leave your steamer sitting around unattended either. We have a feeling that mopping will soon become one of your favorite chores, especially with these models of steam mop. Using the best steam mop will be a breeze.