What type of cleaning you'll be doing. Spray mops and other flat head mops are great for everyday cleaning, but for heavy-duty mopping jobs you need a string or rag mop. Also, spray mops do not absorb liquids, so, for spills, you'll also need a rag or string mop. Many people keep a spray mop nearby for touch-ups, and a string mop and a bucket in a closet for deeper cleaning. For really deep-cleaning your hard floors, you need a steam mop, which we cover in a separate report; however, these are meant for more occasional, rather than daily, use.
The type of floor you have. We do not make a delineation between wood and other types of hard floors in this report, because you can generally use any type of mop on any of these surfaces. You just need to be sure the cleaning solution you use is appropriate to your flooring type.
Your total floor area. For larger areas, mops that use disposable pads aren't very efficient, since you'll need several pads. If you have lots of floor space, consider a mop with reusable pads or a string or sponge mop.
The ongoing costs. Most mops are relatively inexpensive, but some require replacement pads, cleaning solution and, in the case of spray mops, even batteries. The cost of such consumables can mount up over time.
How you're going to prep the floor. You'll get the best results when mopping if you prepare the floor first by dry dusting. This gets up larger bits of debris, as well as cleaning away some looser dirt so the mop can get the more ground-in grime. Some of the mops in this report can double as dry mops so you can use them to dust the floor before dunking the mop head for wet-mopping. Some people buy extra mop heads for this purpose to be sure that they are not mopping with an already dirty mop, though a good rinsing between tasks can do the trick as well. Others just use a broom or a vacuum cleaner meant for hard floors. We cover vacuums that will get your floors ready for wet mopping in our separate reports on upright vacuums, canister vacuums and stick vacuums.
Elsewhere in this report: