Three best steam mops - Mar. 2019 - BestReviews

Peter McPherson

Steam pads should be changed regularly, usually when dirt buildup becomes noticeable.

Mopping is the only way to truly clean hard flooring, but it can be exhausting, and it can take a long time for your floors to dry. A steam mop does the same job better -- using heat to kill germs and requiring less effort on your part. A steam mop is far more efficient at cleaning cracks and other difficult-to-reach areas, and the floor dries much more quickly.

Though all steam mops function in a similar way, each mop is a bit different when it comes to head style, warming speed, cleaning pads, and water tank. The right one for you depends on the size of the spaces and the types of floors you need to clean. A good steam mop is an investment that should last for years, so it's important to choose a durable, powerful model. This guide has some tips and recommendations to help you as you shop.

Considerations when choosing steam mops

Steam mops work by boiling water from the water tank and turning it into dry steam to loosen dirt and kill germs. Most steam mops simply use water to clean, without the need for chemicals or soaps. A steam mop may be a good option for you if you have a sizable hardwood, linoleum, or tile area that you clean regularly. Some steam mops can also clean carpets.

Durability is important, too. Most steam mops will last for a few years, depending on how frequently you clean.

Steam mop features

There are several factors to keep in mind when looking for the right steam mop for you.

Size and weight: These determine how easy it is to maneuver, transport, and store the steam mop. Weight varies greatly, with some models weighing as much as 15 pounds, and the added water only increases that weight.

Water tank: The size of the water tank determines how long you can mop before having to refill it. A small water tank can be annoying if you have to turn off the mop and then wait for it to reheat before you can start cleaning again. Many mops have a removable water tank that you can easily fill up in the sink. Some mops require you to funnel water into the attached tank.

Settings: A range of steam settings allows you to set the appropriate steam output for a specific type of floor or stain.

Cord: When it comes to cord length, longer is better. A 20-foot cord is about as short as you want to go.

Controls: Most steam mops have digital controls. Intuitive controls help you quickly find the settings you need. Some models have a trigger, but this should be avoided because it can quickly become tiring.

Heat-up time: The time it takes the water to heat up (ranging from half a minute to several minutes) determines how quickly you can start cleaning.

Heads: A rectangular head is best suited to mopping large areas. A triangular head is good for cleaning corners. A swivel head is convenient for working around furniture.

Accessories: Look for a steam mop that includes accessories like additional or specialty pads, attachments for different jobs, and a landing pad for holding the steam mop when it's not in use.

Steam mop prices: Most steam mops cost between $50 and $200. The more expensive models boast a larger water tank and faster heat-up time.


Q. What type of flooring can a steam mop clean?

A. The manual will indicate which flooring types are safe to steam, but most mops can handle marble, sealed wood, and laminate.

Q. How do I take care of my steam mop?

A. Limescale deposits are the main thing to look out for, especially if you use tap water. Clean the tank after each use, and occasionally use a pin to clean the steam nozzle, too.

Steam mops we recommend

Best of the best: Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop

Our take: This model, from a reliable company, is the best steam mop available.

What we like: Heats up within half a minute and runs for 15 minutes at a time. Intuitive and easy to use. Different attachments included for specific cleaning jobs, including carpet.

What we dislike: Handle doesn't adjust, but this is a small issue for a capable machine.

Best bang for your buck: O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop

Our take: Budget-priced steam mop with triangular head that swivels to easily reach corners.

What we like: Chemical-free steam cleaner that includes two replacement pads. Inexpensive, but it delivers performance comparable to more expensive steam mops.

What we dislike: Four-minute heating time, which is longer than most other mops.

Choice 3: Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop

Our take: Compact steam mop performs well, but has a fixed water tank that could prove frustrating.

What we like: If you're looking for a smaller model, this is a good option. Powerful. Hands-free pad removal. A great cleaner for targeting tough stains.

What we dislike: Inability to remove the water tank is a nuisance. Might be too expensive for some customers.

Peter is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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