Keeping your floors clean can be extremely challenging, especially if you have little ones, a large household, or pets. If you have any of the above, then buying the best steam mop for your home is crucial.
Unfortunately, making a buying decision is harder than ever. There are so many homeware brands available today that sell steam mops, and all of them offer their own set of unique features as well.
To help you make your final decision, we’ve created this buying guide which will explain to you what a steam mop is and how it works. We’ll also share some information on the history of steam mops, and why you need to make your decision carefully.
Lastly, we’ll highlight some key features you should be looking for and give you our top five recommendations for this year’s best steam mops.
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Best Steam Mops
Best Steam Mop For Pets
Without further ado, let’s get started:
As the name suggests, a steam mop is a mop that uses steam to clean surfaces, most notably, different types of floors. Rather than using bleach and other chemical-based detergents, steam mops uses the heat from the steam it projects onto the floor to disinfect it.
Steam mops normally come with a removable pad at the end that catches dirt and can either be disposed of or washed.
Today, they also come with a mound of features, some of which include a water tank, variable steam controls, a heat indicator light, fast heating, and a cooling mat, among others.
As mentioned above, steam mops use steam to clean surfaces. They heat their water tanks to approximately 250 degrees Fahrenheit, which transforms it into steam. This steam then passes through the mop dampening the pad, allowing it draw off dirt from the surface.
Steam mops sanitize both your floor and the air around it by killing off any germs or bacteria. In addition to cleaning floors, steam mops can kill off dust mites and restore your floor’s natural shine.
The steam mop was invented by a Korean woman called Romi Haan in 1998. It started off as a prototype in 2001 that she could use herself to spend less time on her hands and knees cleaning tough floors in Korea.
After creating a product that worked, she decided to market her new invention in 2004 and started her own corporation. Romi Haan runs Haan Corporation which employs 80 people and makes approximately $120 million a year.
While Haan’s invention has now taken the world by storm, there are a mound of models on the market today. With this in mind, it is important that you choose your steam mop carefully as they all have something different to offer.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself when choosing the best steam mop for your home:
When choosing a steam mop, it is essential that you check each model is compatible with the flooring you have in your home.
While you may find that the manufacturer says its steam mop can be used on all floors, some leave more moisture residue than others which can damage your surface in the long run.
Double check with both the steam mop’s manufacturer and your flooring manufacturer before using your steam mop in order to not void the warranty on either.
Often the removable pad at the bottom of your steam mop can just be chucked in the washing machine and reused. There are models that only allow you to use them a couple of times which can cost you more money in the long run.
You may want to also consider choosing a model that uses double sided removable pads. These allow you to clean double as much surface before needing to wash them.
The length of time it takes a steam mop to sanitize a surface will depend on the model. Some only heat to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and others can go up to 250. Also, some models can take longer than others to get to their maximum temperature.
If you want a steam mop that will completely sanitize your floor from harmful pathogens such as salmonella and e-coli, it’s important that you read the manufacturer's instructions to know how long your steam mop needs before reaching its optimal temperature.
It’s important to note that with the best steam mop, you won’t need to use other sanitizing agents such as bleach or chemical-based detergents.
Some steam mops come with added features that allow you to not only steam, but sweep as well. Best known as vacuum steam mops, these devices allow you to sweep and then mop with the same appliance.
While these may sound like extremely handy tools, they should only be used for light cleaning jobs as they do not offer the same capabilities as classic steam mops.
While steam mops are most commonly known for cleaning floors, the latest models come with features that allow you to also steam surfaces such as mirrors, shower walls, bathroom fixtures, and even grout.
If you also need to clean some of these types of surfaces, remember to choose a steam mop that can be tipped upside without the water falling out. You can also find models that have additional attachments.
Once you’ve answered all the above questions, you need to start thinking about the essential features that your steam mop must have. Here are some factors to keep in mind:
A number of steam mops today are only good for hard surfaces, so you need to consider how much versatility you need. By spending a little extra cash, you can find a steam mop that comes with adaptors allowing you to clean countertops, mirrors, and bathroom fittings.
Remember to look at the size of the mop head. If you choose one too large, you may find it hard to clean smaller crevices and if it’s too small it will take you longer to clean in general.
One of the main reasons people like to use steam mops is because they don’t leave the water residue that classic mops do.
That said, if you’re cleaning difficult to remove stains then you may have to leave your steam mop on the dirtier spots for longer. The steam may turn back into water and you may have to allow for the floor to dry like you would with a traditional mop.
Nearly all steam mops are easy to use. They cut out the need to carry around a heavy bucket of water and you won’t need to scrub as hard on tougher stains. That said, you should consider the weight and size of your steam mop before making your final choice.
Some people don’t like steam mops because you need to clean them after every use, but the process is no more tiresome than that of a traditional mop.
The steam mop itself should not need any maintenance, you just need to store it in a dry, room temperature part of your home when not in use.
The removable pads need to be cleaned after every single wash, but you can normally just chuck them in the washing machine once they’ve been used.
The most important thing is to remember to hang them to dry as mildew can set into the pad, thus requiring you to purchase new ones.
Because steam is extremely hot it is essential that you read the manufacturer’s instructions before using yours.
Some steam mops come with a mat which allows you to put down your mop even when it’s hot, others do not, so they can be dangerous for both your surfaces, your home, as well as your loved ones.
You can also choose a model that comes with steam lock switches. These stop the steam flow from turning on when the water tank is open.
In addition to all the above, you should consider how long you need your power cord to be, whether or not you want a carpet glider to remove stains from your carpet, and added indicators that remind you when to fill up your water tank.
If you’ve decided that you’re in the market for a steam mop but don’t know where to start your search, here are five models that we recommend you look into:
Here is our recommendation for the best steam mop.
If you’re looking for a versatile, yet powerful, and feature packed steam mop than the Bissell 1940 PowerFresh Steam Mop Hard Floor Steam Cleaner may be just what you’re looking for.
The Bissell 1940 works twice as fast as others of its kind thanks to its built-in scrubber, which allows you to clean up the toughest stains, including dirt, grout, and sticky substances no matter whether they’re dried on or still damp.
Not only this, it has been proven to kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria and comes with Febreze Spring Breeze fragrance discs which add a layer of freshness to your room after every use. You can also use your Bissell steam mop with traditional removable pads if you prefer.
What we love most about the Bissell 1940 PowerFresh Steam Mop Hard Floor Steam Cleaner is that it has a SmartSet digital, variable steam control with three modes: low, medium, or high.
The low mode is great for light messes, the medium perfect for spills, and the high mode is perfect if you’ve got some stubborn stains on your surface.
In addition to all the above, this model comes with a 23 feet power cord, two different pads, and a removable water tank. One pad can be used for everyday cleaning while the second one can be used for tougher cleaning jobs including small edges and corners.
The Bissell 1940 PowerFresh Steam Mop Hard Floor Steam Cleaner weighs a mere 6.2 pounds and comes with an awesome 2-year warranty.
Lastly, coming in at just under $90, the Bissell 1940 can be bought from Amazon where you can read the nearly 8,700 reviews which have given it aa great overall rating.
Second on our list of best steam mops is the Shark Steam Pocket Mop S3501. While it does not come with quite as many features as the Bissell model mentioned above, for its lightweight of just 4.9 pounds, the S3501 packs a serious punch!
Designed for use on hard floors, the Shark Steam Pocket Mop offers 99.9% sanitization of wood, vinyl, tile, and linoleum, just to name a few.
Better yet, you won’t need to use any harsh chemicals like bleach or detergents and it releases super heated steam on-demand using your usual mopping motion. To top it off, it heats in just 30 seconds.
Its signature name comes from its patented Shark Steam Pocket technology which provides double-sided cleaning with every single pad it uses.
All you need to get the S3501 going is tap water and one of its microfiber pads and you’ll be able to get even the toughest dirt, dust, and dried stains off your surfaces.
Last but not least, this model comes with an extra large water tank capable of holding up to 450 ml of water at a time and is best known for its superior cleaning capabilities and faster than average drying times.
With a great rating from more than 2,600 reviews, the Shark Steam Pocket Mop S3501 can be bought for just under $60, and if you head over to Amazon, you can purchase an additional 2 years of protection for less than $2 extra.
If both the above are not quite what you’re looking for in your steam mop, we suggest you check out the O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop.
From the moment you plug it in, this O-Cedar model takes only 20 seconds to heat up for use. Not only this, you can choose your steam settings manually according to the surface you plan on steaming.
What we love most about the O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop is that it comes with a unique triangle shaped head which makes it easier than ever to clean hard to reach edges and hidden away corners.
It has been designed with every type of user in mind, weighing a mere 5 pounds, making it easy to maneuver. It also comes in a very slick and stylish black and red finish.
The O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop comes with two microfiber pads which absorb dirt and dust, and kills up to 99.9% of bacteria without the need for any added bleach or chemical-based detergents.
Plus, once you’ve used them, you can just chuck them in the washing machine for 25 minutes and they’ll be ready for their next use.
And, if all the above isn’t enough to impress you, it comes with a snap-on carpet glider so that you can give your carpet a quick once over as well.
The O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop has our seal of approval as one of the best steam mops on the market today, but if you don’t believe us, customers on Amazon have also given it a great rating most of the time.
Priced at just under $60, this model can also be purchased with an additional 2 or 3 years of protection for just under $7 and $10 respectively.
Last on our list of best steam mops is the SKG 1500W Powerful Non-Chemical 212F. Equipped with 1500W hot steam, this model cleans and sanitizes a huge variety of surfaces without the need for any chemicals whatsoever.
In just 15 to 30 seconds, the SKG steam mop heats the water to up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing it to produce environmentally safe steam that delivers 99% sanitization against bacteria without affected anyone in your household.
The SKG 1500W Powerful Non-Chemical 212F steam mop comes with a professional carpet cleaning feature in the form of a clip on carpet glider and is designed with a 180-degree swivel triangle head so that you can maneuver it to even the toughest corners and edges.
To top it all off, it comes with a 6-in-1 cleaning feature which makes it perfect for cleaning carpets, hardwood floors, laminate, marble, glass, and even tires, among other surfaces.
For extra safety, it has a regular beeping alert when in use which gets louder as the water levels in the tank get lower. It comes with three reusable and washable microfiber pads which are washing machine friendly.
Coming in slightly heavier than other models, the SKG 1500W Powerful Non-Chemical 212F weighs 11.1 pounds but does come with a fast drying, lightweight shoulder strap which makes it easy to transport and clean.
While slightly more expensive at just under $90, the SKG 1500W Powerful Non-Chemical 212F received positive reviews almost every the time.
Finally, here is our recommendation for the best steam mop for pets.
If you’ve got pets, small, messy children, or just a large household that is likely to get very dirty, then you need a steam mop that will help you keep your house in check and that will be able to handle even the toughest of stains.
With that in mind, there is no better than the BISSELL Symphony Pet All-in-One Vacuum and Steam Mop. Equipped with 2-in-1 cleaning powder, this steam mops allows you to vacuum pet hair and dry debris, while steaming your floor all at once.
It comes with three settings, low, high, and vacuum and can be adjusted easily thanks to its Easy Touch Digital Controls.
It also comes with a new and improved suction system so that nothing gets left behind during the cleaning process.
This Symphony steam mop uses only water and heat to clean surfaces and is 100% natural, meaning you can rest assured knowing that your loved ones are not inhaling any chemicals.
It comes with two types of mop pads, washable ones for everyday messes and disposable Swiffer BISSELL SteamBOOST ones for the tougher pet stains.
And, if you want to add a hint of freshness to your home, it is also compatible with scented discs.
What we love most about the BISSELL Symphony Pet All-in-One Vacuum and Steam Mop is that it comes with its Drop-In-Tank-Emptying system. With it, you never have to get your hands dirty when cleaning your floors. With just one click, the mess goes straight in the trash.
While more expensive than other models at just over $160, the BISSELL Symphony Pet All-in-One Vacuum and Steam Mop has some of the most advanced features on the market today.
It can be bought with an additional 2 or 3 years of protection on Amazon for just under $19 and $21 respectively.
If you’re in the market for a new steam mop then you have to make sure you do your research before making your final decision. Always consider what types of surfaces you will be cleaning, how large these surfaces are, and how quickly you need them to dry.
You also need to take into account who you will be cleaning up after. If you’re looking for the best steam mop for everyday use we suggest the Bissell 1940 as it comes packed with features at a reasonable price.
That said, if you’ve got a tighter budget than the Shark Steam and O-Cedar models are also awesome, and for versatility, you could also check out the SKG steam mop in more detail.
Lastly, for a sturdy, heavy duty steam mop that can also vacuum and requires no hands on action, the BISSELL Symphony Pet All-in-One Vacuum and Steam Mop is by far the best on the market.