Top 5 Best Steam Mops of 2019: Buying Guide

Do you enjoy mopping? We’ll be honest – We don’t either. Mopping is one of those dreaded but necessary household chores. The invention of sponge mops and microfiber mops has made this back-breaking task easier than it was when the only kind of mop that was available was a yarn mops (you know, like that battle-worn one that your grandma still uses faithfully).

O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop

O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop

While made of different materials, sponge, microfiber and yarn mops all require the use of harsh chemicals. You have to squeeze or wring excess water out of each one every time you make a few passes on the floor. When the water in the mop bucket gets cold or dirty, you have to dump the old water and refill the bucket.

Then, there’s the elbow grease you must apply to remove stuck-on messes. If that mysterious sticky substance simply won’t budge, you end up on your hands and knees, toiling away with a small scrub brush. By the time you’re done, your hands feel raw, your back aches and your body feels grimy. Plus, there is no way of telling if the floor is truly germ-free.

Now, there is an appliance that resolves many of the problems that were once an inherent part of mopping – the steam mop. With a steam mop, you don’t have to slave away like Cinderella. Steam mops save a ton of time and physical labor. They require no long-term expense. Most importantly, you’ll never have to worry about bacteria lurking on your spotless floor. Why are steam mops so superior to mechanical ones? Find out by reading our FAQs section below.


Steam Mop FAQs

How Do Steam Mops Remove Dirt and Grime So Fast and Easy?

Watching a steam mop loosen and lift stubborn grime is almost like watching a magician do a magic trick. With a steam mop, there is no mystery behind its effectiveness and efficiency. The high temperature of the steam busts up dirt and sticky substances. Wet steam is a natural lubricate, which means you don’t need to create utilize friction via scrubbing to clean your floors.

How Hot Does the Steam Get?

For water to become steam, it must reach a boiling temperature, which is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, water turns to steam and becomes a vaporized sanitizer, destroying bacteria, mold, mildew, and viruses on surfaces with which it comes into contact.

Once steam is released from a mop, it begins to cool. To keep the steam hot enough to kill germs, the steam mop heats the water well-above 212 degrees. The maximum temperature varies by model, but the water in most steam mops reach anywhere from 248 to 265 degrees Fahrenheit.

LIGHT 'N' EASY Steam Mop (S3601 Model)

LIGHT ‘N’ EASY S3601

How Long Does It Take for the Mop to Produce Steam?

If you’re in a hurry, you can count on a steam mop to be in a hurry right along with you. It doesn’t take very long for a steam mop to heat the water. The majority of steam mops only need 30 seconds to 1 minute to get the water hot enough to create steam.

Can I Add a Chemical Cleaner to the Mop Tank?

Chemical cleaners are not only bad for a steam mop but also unnecessary to use in one. The temperature of the steam makes it a natural sanitizer. Common household cleaning solutions may damage the rubber and plastic parts in the mop, shortening the appliance’s lifespan. Stick to using only water. However, it’s okay to spray the floor with a floor cleaner if you like the scent it leaves behind.

What Kind of Water Should I Use?

It depends on the municipal water supply in your area. Tap water works perfectly fine in steam mops as long as the water isn’t hard. In other words, the water should not have an abundance of mineral deposits. If your bathtub or toilet is quick to produce a pink ring along the water line, you have hard water.

If your home has water, you should opt for distilled, filtered or purified water. Otherwise, the minerals will block the mop’s water flow.

Should I Fill the Tank Before or After I Plug in the Steam Mop?

A steam mop is an electric appliance that uses water, so proper precautions are necessary to prevent electrical shock. Fill the reservoir when the mop is unplugged. Then, plug the cord into an outlet. If you need to refill the tank in the middle of a mopping session, unplug the mop before you add water. Depending on the manufacturer’s instructions, you may need to wait a few minutes before refilling it.

Can I Leave Water in the Tank When I Put Away the Steam Mop?

If the water is distilled or filtered, leaving water in the tank won’t cause any damage. However, this is not a good practice to follow regardless of the type of water you use. The longer water sits stagnate in the tank, the more likely bacteria and mildew will accumulate inside of the reservoir.

Shark Steam Pocket Mop

Shark Steam Pocket Mop

What Kind of Hard Floors Can I Steam Mop?

You can use a steam mop on all sorts of hard-surface flooring from the laminate in your kitchen to the hardwood in your dining room. Bamboo, marble, stone, and tile can also withstand the hot temperature of the steam. As long as the floor is glazed or sealed and not waxed, you’re good to go.

What Would Happen If I Try to Steam Mop an Unsealed or a Waxed Floor?

Steam mopping an unsealed floor is not the best idea. The moisture from the steam will cause your floor to buckle and warp. As the water seeps into surface or the gaps in between flooring boards, mildew mold may eventually grow; this is particularly true for unfinished hardwoods.

As far as waxed floors are concerned, the steam will strip the shine you love right off the surface. If you’re unsure as to whether the flooring can withstand a round of steam mopping, clean a small, unnoticeable area first (such as underneath a couch).

Can I Use a Steam Mop on Carpeting?

Yes, steam mops can be used to sanitize carpets and area rugs. While it’s not the same as a carpet cleaner, there are some steam mops that come with a specialized attachment called a glider. The glider snaps onto the mop’s head, elevating the steam outlet above the carpet’s surface.

Can I Use a Steam Mop on Non-Floor Surfaces?

If you buy a multi-purpose steam mop, there is almost no limit to what you clean and sanitize with the appliance. Multi-purpose, or lift-away, steam mops have a detachable unit that’s designed to work with accompanying attachments like nozzles and brushes. With one of these tools in place, you can apply the power of steam to plumbing fixtures, grill tops, and counters.

Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop (1940 Model)

Bissell 1940

Do I Need to Sweep My Floors Before I Steam Mop?

Steam mops do make floor cleaning faster and easier; however, you still have to do the prep work. Before you use a steam mop, you’ll need to sweep or vacuum the floor. If you don’t, the mop will and scatter the dirt and debris, and your floors will not look or be any cleaner when you’re finished. If the flooring is delicate, hard debris may scratch the floor’s surface as you push the mop.

How Do I Clean the Mop Pad?

Usually, mop pads are reusable as long as you take care of them. The trend among steam mop manufacturers is the microfiber mop pad. Unlike regular cloth, microfiber lasts longer if it’s air dried. However, if you’re in a time crunch, it won’t hurt to tumble dry the pad on low heat occasionally.

Toss the mop pad in the washing machine after each use. You may use laundry detergent, but don’t add any liquid softener or bleach. Softener and bleaching agents will create a buildup on the microfiber pad that may leave cloudy streaks on your floor.

LIGHT 'N' EASY Steam Mop (S3601 Model)

LIGHT ‘N’ EASY S3601

The Best Steam Mops

Natural cleaning methods are en vogue. The public as a whole is learning that there are toxins in many of the cleaning products used in homes. Steam mops don’t emit or create any substance that is dangerous to your health or the environment. However, not all steam mops are made equal. Don’t get stuck with a second-rate steam mop when you can have one of these high-quality, surprisingly affordable models.

5. O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop Review

The O-Cedar Steam Mop‘s most distinctive feature is its triangular-shaped head that leaves no corners untouched. With a weight of 5 pounds and a 90-degree handle, the steam mop is easy to maneuver. Once you plug in the 20-foot cord, the mop produces steam in an astounding 20 seconds – There’s even a visible steam-ready indicator.

If you have carpets, click the glider into place. The dial allows you to tailor the steam output to the surface you’re cleaning. O-Cedar gives you two microfiber pads and a handy cup for reservoir refills.

O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop

4. Shark Steam Pocket Mop Hard Floor Cleaner Review

The 10.5-inch-long head on this steam mop from Shark swivels and even flips, so you can use the same pad twice before washing it. With no trigger on the soft-touch ring-style handle, all you have to do is turn the quick-release hook, plug in the steam mop’s 20-foot cord and start cleaning.

A 30-second heating time promises fast steam from the 450-milliliter windowed tank. If you find the mop to be too short or tall, you can adjust the height via a locking latch.

Shark Steam Pocket Mop

3. Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop (1940 Model) Review

Got gum or congealed gummy snacks stuck on your floor? The Bissell PowerFresh‘s scrubber attachment will take that mess right off. A digital button below the D-shaped handle lets you choose from three levels of continuous steam that generates in 30 seconds flat.

The 6-pound steam mop boasts a 16-ounce removable reservoir, and the pull tab keeps your hands clean when you take off the elastic pad. Measuring 23 feet, the power cord is extra-long. If you love scented products, the PowerFresh 1940 is compatible with Bissell’s fragrance discs and aromatic demineralized water.

Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop (1940 Model)

2. Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop Hard Floor Cleaner (S5003D Model) Review

This sleek Shark steam mop promises to keep your hands clean with its one-touch pad release-attachment button. Press the buttons on the tank to deliver evenly applied steam at one of three levels. For stubborn grime, activate the mop’s steam blaster.

A circular handle offers an ergonomic grip, and the 22-foot power cord won’t have your outlet jumping with the 5.5-pound steam mop. There is a cup for refilling the 350-milliliter reservoir, and two double-sided pads, so you can wash one while you use the other.

Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop Hard Floor Cleaner (S5003D Model)

1. LIGHT ‘N’ EASY Steam Mop (S3601 Model) Review

LIGHT N’ EASY thought of everything when they designed the S3601. This model is part floor mop, part handheld steamer. As a floor mop, the head swivels and the steam generates only when the unit is tilted. In handheld mode, the S3601 relies on a sensor for on-demand steam.

The 11.5-ounce tank heats the water in under a minute, and there are three steam strengths from which to choose. The power cord measures 20 feet in length, and you can see through to the inside of the reservoir. You’ll also appreciate the detachable handheld steamer’s integrated handle and tapered nozzle.

LIGHT 'N' EASY Steam Mop (S3601 Model)

Steam Mop Buyer’s Guide

Want to know more about the features that are available on steam mops? This guide is packed with information. From attachments to triggers, here are the features savvy steam-mop shoppers should consider.

Attachments and Extras

The more attachments a steam mop has, the more areas of your house you can clean. A carpet glider is the most common steam-mop attachment. If the model has a handheld unit, you may also get a tapered nozzle or a hose. There are also scented goodies and scrubbing brushes. It just depends on the particular model.

Floor-Head Style

Triangular, rectangular, curved – floor heads come in all shapes. Those with flat sides do best in corners and along walls edges. Floor heads also vary in terms of width. The wider the width, the bigger the cleaning path. Shoot for a steam mop with a head that measures 9-12 inches across.

If you have a lot of furniture pieces in a room, you can clean around without having to move anything if the steam mop’s head swivels. There are some steam mops with a head that flips, allowing you to use the microfiber pad twice as long before washing it.

Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop Hard Floor Cleaner (S5003D Model)

Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop

Pad Design

The design of the mop pad makes all the difference in terms of absorbency and usability. Out of all materials, microfiber steam-mop pads are the most absorbent, which means they can go the longest in between washings. Plus, they’re reusable.

Velcro, fasteners and elastic are the three most common products manufacturers use to keep pads in place. Some manufacturers build their steam mops in a way that prevents your hands from getting dirty, using a release button or a pull tab for pad removal.

Quantity of Pads

Typically, a steam mop comes with one or two pads. One pad is fine as long as it’s washable (the majority of them are). Two pads let you mop with one while the other pad is in the washing machine or air drying. If you need more mop pads, you can buy a couple for a few bucks.

Weight and Height

When in doubt, always go for a lightweight steam mop. With a lightweight mop, you won’t struggle to pull, push or carry it. Aim for one that weighs in between 5 and 10 pounds. In regard to height, most steam mops aren’t adjustable, and that works great for most people. If you’re short or tall, look for a model with a telescopic wand.

Handle Configuration

Companies that make floor-cleaning appliances are finally catching on to consumer demands for a comfortable handle. More often than not, you’ll see steam mops with an ergonomic handle. Ergonomic relates to comfort and efficiency. Whether the handle is built-in, angled or looped, there’s no reason it should feel awkward when you grip it.

Detachable or Fixed Reservoir

Detachable and fixed reservoirs have their own benefits. A detachable tank tends to have an extra-secure lock or cap. With a fixed one, you don’t have to lug a tank to the sink. Instead, you bring the water to the steam mop. Virtually every fixed-tank mop comes with a refill cup. It really comes down to your personal preference.

Tank Capacity

You should also look at how much water the tank can hold. The larger the capacity, the fewer fill-up trips. A capacity that ranges from 11 to 16 ounces should be able to produce enough steam with one full tank to clean most, if not all, your floors in one go-round. If you want to check the water level without removing the tank or the cap, pick a steam mop that has a viewing window.

Heat Time

The tank’s capacity has a direct effect on the amount of time it takes for the water to reach a boiling temperature. Some steam mops produce steam in as few as 15 seconds. One minute or less is a more than acceptable heat time. Many steam mops are equipped with an indicator light that tells you when the mop has made steam.

Pieces to Assemble

Nobody wants to spend the better part of an afternoon putting together their new appliance. Steam mops usually come in three or four pieces. Some pieces simply snap together while others require a screwdriver. Either way, it should only take you 5 minutes to assemble a steam mop.

LIGHT 'N' EASY Steam Mop (S3601 Model)

LIGHT ‘N’ EASY S3601

Cord Length

For any corded appliance, the length of the power cord is an important consideration, especially if you live in a large home. Even if your house is cozy instead of palatial, you don’t want the hassle of changing electrical outlets multiple times as you mop. Therefore, choose a steam mop with a power cord that measures 20 feet, give or take. A quick-release cord hook is also a nice feature to have.

Levels of Steam

Depending on the task at hand, you might need a light stream or a powerful blast of steam. An adjustable-steam function is becoming more commonplace on steam mops. With adjustable steam, you can select two or three steam levels.

If you opt for a model that only has one level of steam, pay attention to how the manufacturer describes the flow of the steam. You want the flow to spread evenly across the steam mop’s floor head. If you have young children or indoor/outdoor pets, get a steam mop with a central blaster on the head – It will cut through grime like nobody’s business.

Control Options

Steam mops that put out different levels of steam will have a control that lets you adjust the level. The control will either be a dial or a button. If you prefer to increase or decrease the flow gradually, a dial is the best choice. If you want a control that’s streamlined, go for a button-style control.

Trigger or Trigger-Free

One way to categorize a steam mop is by its flow. Mops that release continuous steam won’t have a trigger. With these mops, you simply plug them in and get to work. The steam stops as soon as you unplug the cord, which means your hand won’t get tired or sore.

The other category is on-demand. Most steam mops in the on-demand category have a trigger. Their benefit is that you can start and stop the steam without unplugging the appliance, saving water and time as you move around the room. A few on-demand steam mops are equipped with trigger alternatives such as a pump handle or a sensor, giving you the best of both on-demand and continuous types.

A Quick Recap

Get rid of that old mop bucket and strongly scented chemical cleaner. Steam mops are an easier and safer choice. Unlike a traditional mop, a steam mop won’t mildew as it sits in storage. You won’t have to replace it every few months like you would a yarn mop, and there are even some that do above-floor duty too. With a steam mop, you can make a chore that once left you sore an exhausted a chore that is fast and, dare we say, fun.