Don’t tell me you still use a dirty old mop, or actually get to your hands and knees to scrub your floor?! Why take so much of hassle of lifting buckets and wringing mops or cloths to wipe the floor when the same work can now be done using half the effort and time using a steamer? This device cleans all types of floors, and most even sanitize the floors, to give you clean floors and more free time!
Okay. So you now agree and decide that you need a floor steamer. You however have a problem here as there are so many brands and models that it’s difficult making a choice! So to help you out, here is a sort of mini-guide to choosing the best steam mop, and a few reviews of popular brands in the market!
Comparing to choose the best steam mop
As it was mentioned earlier, there are so many brands and models that it’s difficult choosing the right floor steam cleaner for yourself. While the above mentioned guide does help you make your choice, here are the features, pros and cons of some of the present market’s top-rated cleaners.
- Bissell 1940 Powerfresh
It is safe to use on bare floors and effectively cleans and sanitizes your hardwood, stone, marble, tile, ceramic, linoleum and laminate flooring. It’s Febreze spring breeze fragrance discs gives added freshness while mopping.
- The Bissell Powerfresh steams and provides 99.9% sanitization of floors without chemicals.
- Customized washing with its low, medium and high vapor control.
- Disposable Febreze spring breeze fragrance discs provide for added freshness.
- Water changing and refilling is easy as water tank is located at the top of the mops.
- Its 23 ft. power cord, ergonomically designed handle and soft grips adds comfort while mopping for long periods.
- Microfiber pads with Microban antimicrobial protection.
- Reasonably priced.
- Be careful while pressing down on the scrubber as the steam can burn and wet your toes and you risk falling.
- Cleaning can leave floors wet; use spare heads or a towel to dry the floor.
- Too much steaming can heat the floor and burn your bare feet which is dangerous for toddlers.
- Filtered water is preferred over tap water.
- Leaves floors with a streaky look.
- Some find moving the machine difficult as its pad tends to fold under the mop.
- The handle sometimes comes out randomly while carrying or pushing around.
- Shark Pocket (S3501)
The imported Shark S3501 uses tap water to vapor and eliminate 99.9% of the germs and bacteria on sealed hard floors including wood, vinyl, tile and linoleum. It takes just 30 seconds to steam and its on-demand steam lets you customize your vapor output.
This device offers XL water capacity for longer and superior cleaning without breaks and faster drying times. Its technology offers faster double-side scrubbing to clean double the area.
- The right amount of steam in Shark is ready at the perfect temperature in 30 seconds.
- Provides for 99.9% sanitization of hard floor without any harsh chemicals.
- XL water tank provides for continual washing.
- Its patented two-sided microfiber pads cleans double the area for faster cleaning.
- A push-forward motion automatically releases steam.
- You have to vacuum or sweep first before using the steam mop as it doesn’t pick up dirt and little things.
- It’s challenging using the mop to clean baseboards as the pad does not easily stay flush against baseboards. You have to squat to put your hand closer to the pad, which is an inconvenience.
- Its carpet glider doesn’t seem to do anything to the carpet.
- Leaves some dull streakiness on the floor.
- Some complain of the handle breaking after constant use.
- No automatic shutoff to prevent the building up of pressure.
- No water filter.
- Shark Professional Pocket (S3601D)
It works on an XL water tank and with its 2-sided steam pocket pads, all it takes is a quick flip of the steam head to clean twice the area. Its Intelligent Vapor Control features offers 3 settings to choose from for different floors and cleaning needs.
- 99% sanitization against germs and bacteria without chemicals.
- Double scrubbing speed with its 2-sided cleaning pads. Takes just 30 seconds to start steaming.
- Intelligent Steam Control feature offers 3 steam settings to choose as per your floor and washing needs.
- Choose between Dust, Mop or Scrub; or more steam for tough cleaning tasks, less for everyday clean and light for light dusting.
- 2 quick release mop heads-a rectangular one for general scrubbing purposes and a triangular one for cleaning corners and hard to reach areas.
- Washable microfiber pockets gives a thorough clean with quick drying results and each pad lasts 20 washes.
- Shark does not offer warranty on their products sold on Amazon.com.
- Some complain it’s not safe on wood floors as the floor shows more grain as it is softened by the steam.
- SKG 1500W Powerful Non-Chemical 212F
The SKG 1500W naturally cleans, sanitizes and kills 99% of germs, ticks, parasites, fleas and harmful bacteria without using any chemicals. It refreshes carpets too where you can choose between light and tough cleaning.
The set contains 6 useful accessories to clean every area of your home like windows, bathroom, carpet, floors and ovens. Can be used to mop sealed hard floor surfaces including wood, laminate, vinyl and tile.
- Provides for environmentally safe steaming of your floors within 15-30 seconds without using chemicals.
- Its 180 degree swivel triangle head provides for easy maneuvering for cleaning hard to reach areas.
- Min to Low settings for light cleaning and High to Max for tough scrubbing jobs.
- The mop comes with 3 washable microfiber pads.
- Sound alert system reminds you if the steamer is accidently left on. It gives regular beep when in use and grows louder if water has to be refilled.
- 6 accessories to choose and use while cleaning laminate, hardwood floor, marble, glass, carpet and tires.
- As not all floors are meant for steam washing, it’s better to test on a small isolated area before cleaning the entire floor.
- Can only use distilled water and not hot water.
- Handle doesn’t seem to lock tight enough when fully extended.
- Some complain it doesn’t clean as well as advertised.
- Bissell 1806 Power Fresh Deluxe
The Bissell 1806 Power Fresh Deluxe Mop drastically reduces your cleaning time and gives you sparkling, germ-free floors. This mop sanitizes your floors and eliminates 99.9% of germs and bacteria without any harsh chemicals.
Its on-board Spot Boost brush helps scrub away tough and sticky messes and its spring breeze scent discs leave your room smelling refreshingly clean. Its water tank is easy to fill and comes with a measuring cup.
- Uses steam’s natural power to clean and sanitize floors by eliminating 99.9% of germs and bacteria.
- Has an on-board SpotBoost brush which helps remove tough stains.
- Its spring breeze scent discs leave your room smelling refreshingly clean.
- High and low steam settings.
- Its 5-foot power cord makes cleaning easy.
- Has a 2-year limited warranty.
- Its water tank can be refilled anytime, even when the unit is hot and in use.
- Easy to put together and comes with washable and easily removable mop pads.
- Steam comes out of a hole in the bottom to slowly make a hole in the mop pad.
- Not safe to use on Pergo floors.
- Doesn’t glide over the floor that fluidly.
- Did not work straight out of the box for some people.
Factors to consider
- Size and weight
Generally the size and weight are not much of a bother. It’s only when you have to change the mop head, which has to be done regularly which you may find to be heavy when filled with water. So think about the size and weight of the mop head when it’s full of water and has to be changed. Will you be able to manage it?
While a basic mop can help with basic household cleaning, there are mop with various utility heads you can interchange to clean other surfaces besides dirty floors. Clean windows, bathrooms, worktops and counters is a cinch with these attachments!
- Warming up time
Find out how long the water takes to heat and produce steam as the longer it takes, the more time you waste waiting for the steam! The faster machines generally need only 15 seconds while slower ones may take a minute to produce steam.
- Steaming time
Generally, floor steam cleaners have shorter steaming time than cleaners as they have smaller tanks. Steam mop produce about 10 minutes to about 30 minutes of steam time. Make your choice based on how you intend to use the machine.
If you want to use it to quickly whizz across the kitchen floor, then you don’t need machine which steams for 30 minutes. However if you want to use it to clean many rooms, then look for a machine which gives more steam time as it’s irritating to repeatedly refill and wait for the mop to heat up.
If you opt for mop with smaller tanks as they are light to carry, you need to remember that they also produce less steam time. So whenever the tank runs out of water, you have to head to the kitchen to refill the tank and wait once more for the steam.
There are mops with a trigger mechanism wherein they produce steam only when you are ready to clean. This is a plus point and feature in the machine as it makes best use of the water in the tank.
Steam floor cleaners with a higher temperature give more effective cleaning power to disinfect surfaces better. Machines which produces steam at just the boiling point, may kill germs but need more steam exposure for a thorough cleaning.
- Steam output
The machine’s steam output affects its cleaning power as the more steam it produces, the better it cleans your floors. However some floors need less as excessive steam may damage its finish.
As stains are not created equal, look for device where you can adjust the steam output based on the type of floor you want to clean, and how much of soil has to be removed. Check the manufacturer’s website to find out more about cleaning your flooring. They usually provide recommendations for cleaning particular surfaces.
- Use of detergents
The steam of these mops is usually enough to clean all surfaces. However there are also some situations where you may need some help from a detergent. This is why there are some models which let you use a detergent in the cleaning process. These mop usually have a separate tank for the detergent with an option to turn it on and off as required.
Steam floor cleaners are really rather light and easy to use. However if you are particular about buying a machine which is easy to handle, then look for features like a swiveling head, its shape and how far the handle can recline.
- Operational costs
Steam mops don’t consume much electricity; what you need to worry about is its cloth pads. Find out how many pads come with the mop as you need a couple of pads while washing large areas. All the dirt accumulated on the floor does not end up in a bucket like traditional mop.
Some people even like using a dry cloth to wipe the floor after washing it to make it really dry. As most devices come with just one or two floor cleaning pads, consider the costs of buying additional pads to decide if you can afford them. Some machines which come with washable mop pads, which saves money but have the additional hassle of washing the pads after use!
There are also some machines which specifically have to be used with de-ionized or de-mineralized water. This can be expensive and inconvenient too! While some machines do come with a filter to prevent scaling to let you use tap water, you will eventually have to pay for, and change the filter.
If you are buying a mop which uses a detergent, you have the additional cost of buying detergent powder. Most of these brands recommend the use of specific detergents, which are usually more expensive than high street brands.
All mops cost anywhere between $40 to $300 and more. You have to make your choice based on your budget, and if you want to buy a simple model or one with accessories and special features. It’s not necessary that the most expensive tools is the best as there are many decent options available at a rate which fits most people’s pockets.
- Tank capacity
The capacity of the tank affects your choice in two manners. While large tanks let you clean a larger area at a time, it increases the machine’s weight. While small tanks may increase the machine’s maneuverability, you have to periodically refill the tank and wait for it to reheat. Generally, floor steamers have water tanks which hold between 0.28 and 0.5 liters of water.
- Cord length
You will need a machine with a longer cord if you will be mopping large areas. Long cords provide far more reach which is why short cords are inconvenient for large cleaning jobs. You don’t want to take breaks in the middle of your cleaning just to find another outlet!
Mops are generally easy to store, as long as there’s space to wrap the cord. However if you buy one with attachments, ensure it has space to store the tools. It’s also nice if the mop has a cooling tray as the machine head gets hot after cleaning and the tray protects the floor while storing it.
- Adjustable handle
It’s better to choose a floor cleaner with an adjustable handle if you are on the taller side. Using a mop with a short handle only leads to potential discomfort and back pain!
- Stand-up mop
Its better buying a steam mops which stands upright on its own. You needn’t worry about it tipping over while you wait for it to heat up or cool down while cleaning.
- Online reviews
Online steam mop reviews can help you make your choice as you learn quite a lot about the machines like how durable they are, if they work as the manufacturer claims they do and if they may break in a few months’ time.
However if you find a machine with many steam cleaner reviews but a low rating, its better avoiding it. Look for a device which fits your budget, has the features you want and more positive reviews.
- Regular steam floor cleaners are best used for cleaning hard floors, for freshening up carpets and lifting stains. These are the cheapest of the lot and can be handheld for other tasks.
- Two-in-one mop do just as the name suggests; both mop your floors and tackle other smaller surfaces. It’s additional accessories make it useful for cleaning windows, tiles, worktops, bathrooms, clothes and tiles too. These mops are more expensive than the regular cleaners.
- Cylinder cleaners too can be used for floors and for smaller cleaning tasks like tiles, windows and upholstery. The benefit here is that they have larger water tanks which steam longer, making this a feasible choice if you have a lot of cleaning to do. However the bigger tank makes these mops heavy and bulky to store, need more time to heat up and are rather expensive.
Its better buying a traditional steam mop if you just need to clean floors. If you plan to use it to clean other surfaces too like your kitchen tops, curtains and bathroom tiles, then a 2-in-1 steam cleaner is a better choice.
While cylinder steam cleaners are large in size, they usually come with wheels, making it easier to drag around. They do most of the things a 2-in-1 steam mop does, is a wise choice if you have a lot of cleaning to do and if you find upright cleaner to be rather heavy.
Attachments prove helpful for tackling other cleaning jobs around your house like window cleaning, car and refreshing carpets. So based on what you need to steam clean, here are some accessories to look out for:
- Squeegee – for cleaning glass
- Scrubbing brushes – removes embedded grime from grout and tiles so much quicker.
- Carpet glider – helps in the carpet cleaning process.
- Cleaning pads – for wiping down surfaces
- Upholstery tool – usually constitute a brush or squeegee tool with a pad on its top for easy refreshing of fabrics and treating stains.
- Scrubbing pad – for removing grease from ovens. Some mops even come with its personal detergent and built-in dispenser.