The Best Steam Mops for Cleaning Floors
The right steam mop can make this dreaded chore much less of a time-consuming hassle. Ahead, read our guide to understanding these cleaning tools and choosing the best option to bring into your home.
Keeping your floors clean doesn’t need to be as much of a chore with a steam mop. These handy home appliances remove dirt and grime from your floors and kill bacteria with their hot, powerful steam. The best part of all is that using a steam mop eliminates the need to deal with buckets or cleaning solutions.
Mopping is among the most dreaded cleaning tasks in a typical American home. According to a survey conducted by the American Cleaning Institute, 20 percent of Americans would rather forgo mopping. However, since the floor is the biggest surface in most homes, most people cannot ignore this chore.
Thankfully, technological advancements have made mopping easier. Although it might not necessarily make mopping more enjoyable, a steam mop can help you get the job done quicker, with less hassle.
When it comes to choosing a steam mop, there are several key considerations to bear in mind. Continue now for our guide to navigating the features and factors to remember when choosing the best steam mop for your needs—and don’t miss our roundup of top picks, below!
- BEST OVERALL: LIGHT ‘N’ EASY Multifunctional Mop
- EASIEST TO USE: Shark Genius Hard Floor System
- BEST FOR PET OWNERS: Bissell Symphony Pet Steam Mop
Before You Buy
Steam mops generally are safe for use on ceramic tile, grout, sealed wood floors, or linoleum flooring, but always check the care instructions from your flooring manufacturer to avoid accidentally voiding your warranty. According to the National Wood Floor Association (NWFA), using steam or excessive water might damage a wood floor over time. Some hardwood flooring companies advise against using steam mops on hardwood or engineered floors. If the floor manufacturer says it’s OK to use steam, the best steam mop for wood flooring is one with an adjustable steam control and an absorbent mop pad that leaves minimal moisture on the floor surface.
Key Shopping Considerations
Water Reservoir Capacity
Steam mops have a built-in reservoir that holds water so you don’t have to lug a bucket around. Tank size varies, but the bigger the tank, the longer a cleaning session. The average water reservoir holds about 11 to 13 ounces. For most models, that means it will take between 20 and 30 seconds to heat up before it will produce steam.
Having a larger tank also makes the mop heavier, and a smaller reservoir is lighter but you have to refill it more often. The best water reservoir capacity for your needs depends on these weight and time considerations, especially on how much square footage you typically need to clean at a time.
Detachable Water Tank
A detachable tank makes filling and emptying the reservoir easier than the task can be for those that don’t detach. Mops with an attached tank require you to use a cup to fill the reservoir. And, if you need to drain the reservoir for some reason, you’ll have to turn the mop upside down to empty one that has an attached reservoir.
All homes have odd nooks and crannies that are almost impossible to clean. Like traditional mops, steam mops have different features depending on the model you purchase. Some of these options include swivel mop heads and detachable components for cleaning those hard-to-reach areas in your home. Some steam mops include a detachable handheld steamer for cleaning curtains, appliances, and other surfaces.
Mop Cloth Options
Most steam mops come with washable, reusable pads made from terry cloth or microfiber. The cloths typically are machine washable (on the delicate cycle and with minimal detergent) and will last for a couple of dozen cleanings. The mop might come with only one or two extra reusable pads, but don’t let that deter you. You often can buy extra pads or even third-party mop covers that will fit your mop. It’s a good idea to have extras on hand so you won’t run out during a mopping session.
Some mops have multiple steam control options. This feature lets you control the amount of steam delivered. Basic steam mops have only one steam option and that’s typically good for most floors. An adjustable steam option lets you release more or less steam, depending on the floor’s grime level. The best choice for any buyer depends on how much control they want over the steam.
Many steam mops come with several attachments that each serve a different purpose. Some options include attachments for deep cleaning, scrubbers, extra cleaning pads, upholstery tools, ironing attachments for curtains, and squeegees for windows and glass. Though all these bells and whistles can make the mop more expensive, they also make it a more versatile cleaning tool for the entire house.
Our Top Picks
1. BEST OVERALL: LIGHT ‘N’ EASY Multifunctional Mop
The LIGHT ‘N’ EASY is a versatile steam mop. Along with the main upright mop, the water reservoir detaches easily, transforming the tool into a multipurpose handheld steamer with several interchangeable attachments for tackling multiple surfaces. The LIGHT ‘N’ EASY and its attachments can clean virtually any surface, including floors, vinyl, glass, and upholstery. It can even remove wrinkles from shirts! Though compact, this mop can produce steam in less than 30 seconds at temperatures of up to 175 degrees, with three levels of steam output. The handle collapses for easy storage.
2. EASIEST TO USE: Shark Genius Hard Floor System
Perhaps the worst part of steam mopping is handling removable pads after you finish mopping. The Shark Genius can help. It features unique double-sided pads to take your cleaning further and a touch-free release so you don’t have to handle the damp, dirty cleaning pads. This mop has three steam settings, including an option for blasting stuck-on dirt. You can control the steam based on the floor surface or grime level. It comes with two dual-sided pads and a flask to fill the tank. This model is easy to use right out of the box. The only con to Shark Genius is that the tank isn’t removable.
3. BEST FOR PET OWNERS: Bissell Symphony Pet Steam Mop
Having pets in the home usually means that floors need more frequent cleaning. This Bissell Symphony Pet Steam Mop vacuums and steams at the same time, so you can clean up dust and pet hair before you wash the floors in one fell swoop! It features a hands-free emptying system and disposable pads when you’re dealing with pet messes you’d rather throw away. The Bissell comes with reusable microfiber pads for everyday cleaning and is safe for all types of hard surfaces.