The Shark Steam Mop S3101 became famous as a staple of as-seen-on-TV infomercials, and it remains one of the better-known steam mop brands. Most owners find it easy to assemble and easy to use. It weighs just 3 pounds and takes only 30 seconds to warm up. The Shark Steam Mop S3101 comes with two machine-washable microfiber mop covers that attach by hook-and-loop strips.
Reviewers caution that Shark steam mops require a fair deal of muscle because you need to pump the handle to release steam. At 46.9 inches long, the mop handle is somewhat short and many complain that it is flimsy. The 10-ounce tank produces about 10 minutes of steam time, but the vapor is not hot enough to kill dust mites or major bacteria. Moreover, the mop head has only one steam hole, which tends to oversaturate the pad and leave too much water, and the lack of a swivel head. If sanitization is your goal, the Haan FS-20 (*Est. $80) makes a better choice than the Shark Steam Mop S3101. If basic cleaning is your goal, the Eureka Envirosteamer 313A (*Est. $55) may be a better choice.
There are a number of professional and user reviews of the Shark available. ConsumerReports.org provides ratings on 10 steam mops after testing them in various categories and in side-by-side comparisons. An excellent, detailed, user review on Amazon.com also provides good side-by-side comparisons of the Shark Steam Mop S3101 and six other steam mops, while the Wall Street Journal compares it with four other models. The Shark Steam Mop S3101 also is compared with five other steam mops on About.com. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.) Hundreds of owner-written reviews on the Shark S3101 are available at Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com, and handfuls of reviews spread out over a few other sites help to provide a complete picture.
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ConsumerReports.org has a buying guide and forums to discuss common questions with steam mops. It rates and reviews 10 models and discusses their effectiveness on different flooring types, as well as the residual water left on the floor and how long the units can produce steam. Though it offers an area for user reviews, at the time of this report, no user reviews are posted.
Review: Recommended Steam Mops, Editors of and Contributors to ConsumerReports.org
This detailed comparison review by a resident of Austin, Texas, is highlighted among other owner-written reviews of steam mops at Amazon.com. Reviewer "Chandler" enlists her neighbors in a comparison test of seven popular steam mops. The Shark Steam Mop S3101 is judged uncomfortably short at 40 inches and has a handle prone to breaking. The Shark S3101 requires manual pumping to release steam which, measured by a commercial cooking thermometer, is not hot enough to sanitize.
Review: The Top Steam Mops, "Chandler", Aug. 7, 2009
3. The Wall Street Journal
None of the five steam mops tested here elicit reviewer enthusiasm, though all are in the $100 price range. Three of the mops do a better job of cleaning stains: the Reliable Steamboy T1, Shark Steam Mop Deluxe and Shark Steam Pocket Mop S3501. (Note: The Shark Steam Mop Deluxe S3102 is a version of the Shark Steam Mop S3101 offered at certain retailers. It has a larger water reservoir, a longer power cord and comes with three extra cleaning pads.)
Review: More Elbow Grease Needed, Willa Plank, Feb. 26, 2009
About.com's guide to housekeeping describes her personal experience cleaning with the Shark S3101 Steam Mop. She is impressed by the mopping pad's absorbency and ability to stay in place, and she also appreciates the steam mop's light body and large water tank. However, the forward pumping motion required for steam release proves to be exhausting, and the handle appears flimsy. The Shark S3101 earns a rating of 2.5 stars out of 5. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Shark Euro-Pro Steam Mop, Sarah Aguirre
Amazon.com invites consumers to post reviews of the products they own. These reviews and ratings often cover several years of use, making it easier to compare steam mops for durability, performance and ease of use. Over 490 Amazon.com users rate Shark Steam Mop S3101 3 stars out of 5, but more users give it 1 star than 5 stars. Happy customers feel that the Shark S3101 is easy to assemble and use, and that it does a good job of cleaning floors. It is criticized for the effort required to pump out the steam, the low temperature of the steam and for a flimsy handle prone to breaking.
Review: Euro-Pro Shark Steam Mop, Electric, S3101, Contributors to Amazon.com
With more than 450 owner reviews, the Shark Steam Mop S3101 earns a rating of 3.9 stars out of 5. Owners like its light weight and ease of use, and feel it helps them cut down on time spent cleaning. However, the handle pump mechanism used to release steam is tiring to many reviewers, and they wish the mop had a larger water reservoir. A few owners say their steam mops stopped working after only a few months.
Review: Shark Steam Mop S3101, Contributors to Walmart.com
Target.com publishes owner-written reviews and ratings for the steam mops it sells. The highest rating goes to the Shark Steam Mop S3501, followed by the Shark Steam Mop S3101. Users say the Shark S3101 is easy to use and cuts mopping time in half, but the handle does occasionally disconnect when mopping because of the pumping mechanism needed to release steam.
Review: Shark Steam Mop, Contributors to Target.com
Epinions.com invites consumers to post reviews of the products they own, and you can sort the models by their average rating to find top-rated models. The Shark Steam Mop S3101 has only a handful of reviews but rates above average with owners, who cite its ease of use and ability to clean a variety of stains. The handle pump required to release steam is viewed as a drawback.
Review: Euro-Pro Shark Steam Mop S3101 Stick Vacuum, Contributors to Epinions.com
9. WTAE (Pittsburgh)
This brief review includes a link to a video showing tests of the Shark Steam Mop on tile and wooden floors. The tester, who usually cleans floors on her hands and knees, says the Shark "steams the dirt right out of" the grout and leaves the floors noticeably cleaner, so the Shark earns the highest possible rating here.
Review: Test It Tuesday -- The Shark Steam Mop, Andrew Stockey, July 29, 2008
10. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)
Reporter Lauren Keith puts the Shark Steam Mop S3101 through extensive tests, first in the bathroom and kitchen of a Sikeston, Mo., insurance company, then on a wooden floor in another tester's home. The Shark requires several passes to remove caked-on dirt from a tile floor, but it removes scuff marks that other tools haven't been able to remove and makes quick work of various other stains. Floors dry quickly after use, but the testers only rate the Shark a B-minus because they say it's pricey.
Review: Shark Steam Mop: Does It Work?, Lauren Keith, Jan. 23, 2008
11. Random Thoughts
This blogger does an excellent job of highlighting the pros and cons of the Shark Steam Mop S3101. The reviewer, a computer programmer and mother of four, tests the Shark in her home and finds that it cleans about as well as a standard mop. She notes that it works well on her wood floors and that you can refill the tank without waiting for the mop to cool. She lists the required handle pump action to produce steam as a benefit because it gives her arm a workout. In a 2010 update, she says the mop stopped working after three years and she decided that she doesn't miss it enough to purchase a replacement. Many readers add comments pro and con.
Review: Shark Steam Mop Review, R.C. Stanley, Oct. 10, 2007
Drugstore.com offers owner reviews with highlighted sections of pros and cons. The Shark Steam Mop S3101 receives about 10 reviews here, with a top 4.5-star rating. Owners say the Shark S3101 is easy to use, effective and convenient, though one reviewer says he would not recommend it for anything beyond light cleaning.
Review: Shark Steam Mop, Ready to Use in 30 Seconds, Contributors to Drugstore.com
This independent user review website provides overall product scores on a scale of 1 to 100. Individuals also review products and rate various aspects of their performance on a scale of 1 to 5. , The Shark Steam Mop S3101 earns a product score of 78 out of 100 from around 130 users, just barely over the category's average score of 77. Sixty-nine percent of owners say they would recommend it. The mop is praised for its light weight and ease of use, but reviewers say it has a small water tank and cheap assembly, and needs a stronger handle.
Review: Shark Steam Mop S3101 Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com
HomeDepot.com users definitely have a strong preference for Steamfast steam mops, but about a dozen owners provide reviews of the Shark Steam Mop S3101. The steam mop earns an average rating of 3.7 out of 5 stars, and approximately 75 percent of reviewers say they would recommend it to others.
Review: EuroPro Shark Steam Mop, Contributors to HomeDepot.com
This glowing review of the Shark Steam Mop S3101W lists the steam mop as a ConsumerGuide Best Buy, giving it 5 out of 5 on its rating scales for value, performance, ease of use and features. The steam mop's light weight, powerful steam and multi-surface use are among the positive attributes cited by the reviewer. As for drawbacks, the lack of an on/off button is the only one mentioned.
Review: Expert Review: Euro-Pro Shark Steam Mop S3101W, Experts at ConsumerGuide Products