Is a steam mop right for your
cleaning tasks, using a steam mop requires absolutely no chemicals. Rather, the
steam mop heats the water (distilled water is often recommended), the heated
water loosens the dirt, and a microfiber pad attached to the mop head absorbs
the dirt. In general, steam mops are suitable for all hard floors; however,
there are a few caveats. Most hardwood and laminate floor manufacturers
recommend against using steam mops -- and doing so can void your floor's
warranty. Many steam mops say they can be used on "sealed" wood
floors, but, again, the manufacturer may disagree with that. Always check your
floor's warranty (if still in effect) to be sure that using a steam mop won't
void it. And, if you want to try a steam mop, do so on an out-of-the way section
of your floor to see if it will work without damaging the flooring.
found a lower level of satisfaction with the cleaning performance of steam mops
on hardwood floors than with linoleum or tile. Quite a few users say the floor
dried with streaks, or that the "scrubbing" pads included with the
steam mop left scratches on their wood floors. Our advice is to be very careful before using a steam mop on any type of hardwood or
laminate flooring. However, if you have tile, linoleum, or most of the other
common types of flooring, a steam mop may be your new best cleaning friend.
Types of Steam Mops
Basic Steam Mop
Designed to do just one thing, steam mop your floors, these feature a built-in water tank, an element to create hot-water vapor and a flat mop head. You just fill it with water, turn it on, wait for it to heat up, and start steaming. Some reach hot enough temperatures to sanitize as well, while with others you may have to hold the mop on the spot for 10 to 20 seconds to sanitize. Basic steam mops are inexpensive to operate and environmentally friendly. Most include microfiber mop pads that are washable and reusable.
Multi-Purpose Steam Mops
These perform another cleaning function in addition to steaming. Some have vacuums to pick up debris before you mop, eliminating the need for using a separate vacuum or broom and dustpan. This saves you storage space over having more than one appliance, and may save money as well.
all you need is a regular mop, see our separate report on mops for the
top choices. We also recommend the best vacuum cleaners, stick vacuums and handheld vacuums for getting your floor debris free and
ready to steam clean.
Finding The Best Steam Mops
"The Best Steam Mop"
"The Best Steam Mops Review"
"The Best Steam Mops of 2017"
the first year that we found a nice range of expert reviews and testing of
steam mops -- and there was a lot of overlap among the top choices, which was
even better because it made it very easy for us to find the best-reviewed
choices right off the bat. Those expert testing sites included TheSweethome.com,
OurBestDigs.com and TopTenReviews.com, which not only offer well-detailed
testing, but also rank and rate the mops against each other.
addition to looking at what the experts had to say, we evaluated thousands of
owner reviews to find out how the steam mops ranked in real-world performance.
This is particularly helpful in finding out if users experiences in things like
ease-of-use and drying time matches up with the experts' relatively short term tests. Even more important, user reviews offer a
great window into a product's long term durability and
the responsiveness of a manufacturer's customer service department when there
is a problem. All of these factors were taken into account when making our
recommendations for the top steam mops.
The best basic steam mops
basic steam mop, experts and owners agree that you can't do better than the (Est. $90). It's
the top pick at TheSweethome.com, YourBestDigs.com and TopTenReviews.com after
extensive testing. Kevin Purdy at TheSweethome.com praises the 1940's
flexibility, ease of use and, in particular, the continuous steam feature,
which is says, "is more convenient and comfortable than pump handles or
triggers." Editors at YourBestDigs.com call the Bissell's removable water
tank their favorite feature, saying, "It was so convenient to pop it out
and bring it to the faucet to refill, or to dump out the extra water when we
were finished cleaning." However, the manufacturer recommends using distilled
or demineralized water "to prolong the life" of this appliance.
testing at all three of the sites mentioned above, the Bissell PowerFresh Steam
Mop 1940 performed well in cleaning a variety of messes, including ground-in
dirt and dried food spills. It also had the ability to produce just the right
amount of steam to get floors clean, without leaving them overly wet.
YourBestDigs.com notes that it took only about two minutes for the floors to
dry after using the 1940, or, as they note, "about the time it takes to
put the unit away and walk back across your floor without leaving a trail of
love the Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop 1940, too, saying it works very well for steam
cleaning your floor on a daily or weekly basis. It also does a good job of removing
stains on grout, some say -- and several reviewers post pictures to prove it.
Many owners say they bought this mop because they felt that regular mops
weren't getting their patterned tile floor clean and are thrilled with the improved
Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop 1940 is a basic mop, meaning it doesn't have any accessories
or attachments to make it suitable for any type of steam cleaning other than
floors, it does have three steam settings (low, medium and high). The 1940 can
also sanitize, but you have to hold it in place for about 20 seconds to
sanitize a spot. However, most owners say they did not buy the PowerFresh to
sanitize, but rather just to clean, so they don't see that as a significant negative. The Bissell's 12-inch swivel head gets much praise
for its ability to fit under most cupboards and clean along the walls. It's extreme maneuverability is one of the reasons that it
lands in the top spot at our three expert test sites, too. It also locks into a
standing position -- something most steam mops don't do and that is a very
PowerFresh 1940 is very easy to use, say owners -- just fill, plug it in, wait
about 30 seconds, and start mopping. And testing at YourBestDigs.com found that
it does heat up that quickly. Some owners would rather see a dedicated power
switch rather than plugging in and unplugging the mop to turn it on and off,
though. The PowerFresh's 15-ounce water tank produces about 15 minutes of steam
on the high setting, and up to 30 minutes on lower settings. YourBestDigs.com
found that 20 minutes was about average.
finds one minor quibble about the Bissell PowerFresh 1940: he says the mop
heads are fiddly to remove and replace -- especially when the mop is hot. That
matters because the 1940 includes two mop heads, one for general cleaning and a
more heavy-duty version for scrubbing. If you need to change them out mid-task,
be careful not to burn yourself.
steam mops, the PowerFresh is intended to clean only with water, although, as
we've already noted, the manufacturer recommends distilled, rather than tap
water. For those who like the "clean smell" of scented cleaning
products, Bissell includes several "scent discs." Purdy describes
their fragrance as "Febreze-like." There is also an upgrade to the
Bissell 1904, the (Est. $90). The 19404 is the version tested by
YourBestDigs.com, it's identical to the 1904, with just a few differences in
the accessory package.
The (Est. $55) is a more affordable option that
does well in professional testing. It also receives thousands of owner reviews that
are nearly as high as those of the Bissell PowerFresh. This Shark steam mop is
the number four mop after testing at YourBestDigs.com, but the number two mop
is actually a steam cleaner (which we cover in a separate report) and
the number three steam mop, our former runner up in this category, the Shark Professional Steam Pocket 3601D (Est. $100) was recently
discontinued, although it's still available at retail for now.
testing at YourBestDigs.com, the Shark Steam Pocket had good results in
cleaning high traffic areas (the Bissell earned an excellent in that regard),
and took about 12 seconds to remove dried soil. It also dried in two minutes
and heated in 30 seconds. At 4.8 pounds, it's lighter than the Bissell, but
with a shorter, 20-foot power cord. It was also the quietest steam mop editors
tested, making no noise at all. Ultimately, they name it their top budget pick.
Steam Pocket S3501 scores lower at TopTenReviews.com, coming in ninth out of 10
steam mops tested there. In particular, as both Angie Parkinson at
TopTenReviews.com and the editors of YourBestDigs.com point out, you have to employ
some elbow grease to use the Shark: producing steam requires you to pump the
trigger and push the mop back and forth. That makes it harder to use than the
Bissell, as does the fact that the water tank is not removable. The Shark works
best for light messes, both sites agree, rather than heavier, dried-on dirt or
we noted, owners rank the Shark Steam Pocket 3501 very highly. One feature in
particular that they say is pretty nifty is Shark's signature "flippable,"
2-sided cleaning pad. When one side is dirty, just flip it to the other side to
finish the job -- both expert test sites like that feature too, because you
don't have to touch a dirty, hot, wet pad with your hands. The pads can be
tossed in your washing machine. Shark says that each pad lasts for about 20
washes, but replacement (Est. $9 for 2) are readily available, as are generic options.
the Shark Steam Pocket may not be the best for heavy-duty cleaning, experts and
users love it for everyday touchups. Except for the fact that you have to use a
bit of elbow grease to generate steam, which owners barely mention, but it's
otherwise extremely maneuverable and easy to use. The Shark steam mop includes
a flask for filling the tank -- and the manufacturer recommends you do so with
distilled, not tap water. As with all steam mops, we see a few durability complaints
about the Shark Steam Pocket. Some say it didn't work or the tank leaked right
out of the box. However, Shark gets great reviews for its responsive customer
heavier-duty cleaning or bigger homes where you might need longer-lasting
steam, we recommend the (Est. $100). It's almost identical to our Best Reviewed spray
mop/steam mop combo, the Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop System S6002 (Est. $130),
which we cover in our discussion of the Best Steam Vacuums elsewhere in
this report. However, it does not convert to a spray mop as the S6002 does, and
the S5003D has three steam settings as opposed to the S6002's one setting.
TheSweethome.com where Kevin Purdy tests the S6002, he recommends the Shark
Genius S5003D as an upgrade for bigger steaming jobs if you don't need the
spray mop option. Owners give it very good ratings too, saying it's easy to use
and they love that "flippable" pad technology. Again, the main
complaint we see about this steam mop -- and all Shark steam mops -- is that it
does not stand up by itself and you have to lean it against a wall.
sanitizing is your top priority, we recommend you take a look at the Sienna Luna Plus Steam Mop (Est. $170). With the ability to heat
up to 212 degrees, it sanitizes your floor more quickly than most steam mops, however
you still have to hold it over the area you want to sanitize for a minimum of 8
seconds, but no more than 15 or the very hot steam could damage your floor.
the expert reviewer at Allergy Buyer's Club gives the Sienna Luna top marks for
its quick heating time, maneuverability and steam quality. Users also say it's
a fantastic steam mop and they like the option to convert it to a handheld
steamer for cleaning other surfaces. It's also the number four pick at
TopTenReviews.com, where they like it's adjustable settings and included
accessories, like brushes and extension hoses, which make it more versatile for
other jobs as well.