The Best Steam Mops Buying Guide of 2015 & 2016

Steam Mop Features To Look For


Steam mops are electric, so they depend on amps for their power. As with most electricity-based units, more amps mean more cleaning efficiency. Steam mops can have as few as 6-6 ½ amps to double that amount at 12-12 ½ amps. More amps on a steam mop just means faster preheat time and more consistently-heated steam, so it is not as if your mop will do a bad job if you choose one with lower amps. They are not like vacuums where crucial functions like suction power are dependent on amps. Many steam mops do not even include their amp-rating upfront. If you plan on using your steam mop a lot and expect to deal with a lot of dried-on, sticky stains, you should probably get a steam mop with more amps.

Water tank

All steam mops have a water tank where you pour in water that turns into the steam. Most tanks are removable, so you just take them out and fill them in a sink. Tap water is fine with most mops, though some recommend distilled water. Unlike tap water, distilled water does not contain minerals that can cling to to the steam mop and make it less effective. If you do use tap water, manufacturers recommend that you wash out your tank every few months or so, to flush out any minerals. This keeps your mop functional and extends its life. Most steam mops have pretty small water tanks because the mops are very thin and light. A large water tank can hold about 500mL. Unlike with regular mopping, you do not add any soap or cleaning solutions to the water tank.

Fast preheat and drying times

One of the benefits of steam mopping is that the water does not take long to heat up to very high temperatures and turn to steam. You only have to wait about 30 seconds before you can push the trigger to release steam on your dirty floor. Drying time takes only seconds, and you do not have to go over a wet floor with a towel like you would with a regular mop that uses buckets of soapy water. This sort of speed allows you to complete mopping chores extremely quickly and with little-to-no hassle.

Steam power

Steam is significantly more effective at cleaning and sanitizing compared to regular mopping with soap and water. The heat kills germs and melts grease or oil-based stains quickly. A steam mop can heat water up to 212 degrees-Fahrenheit, which is much hotter than anything you could get with just water. With this sort of heat, steam mops can get rid of 99.9% of germs without any additional chemicals or cleaner. This way, you do not have to worry about damaging the environment or endangering pets or children. There is zero residue or fumes. Even sticky and set-in stains melt away when exposed to hot steam, and then you just mop up the stain remains.

Power settings

Steam mops typically include settings for variable steam power, so you can adjust the amount of steam you use based on the difficulty of the cleaning task. For light cleaning like dust, spills, and so on, you do not need much steam to clean it up. Larger messes like sticky liquids or dried-on spots require medium to high steam levels. Some mops even include a fourth, more powerful setting with bristles so you can scrub off particularly tricky spots. The names of the steam settings vary from brand to brand. Some just use the normal Low-High labeling, while others can have names like Dust, Mop, and Scrub.

Floor types

Steam mops are primarily designed for use on hard surfaces. Since the mops only use steam and no chemicals, you can use a steam mop on essentially every surface. This includes stone, vinyl, hardwood, ceramic, and linoleum. You can clean every room with hard surfaces, even marble, which requires very specific care and cannot handle any chemicals. Wherever your hard surfaces are – kitchen, bathroom, dining room, etc – you can use a steam mop.

Cleaning pads

The steam on steam mops go through cleaning pads, which clean up what the steam melts. They are usually made from microfiber, so dirt clings to the fabric. Microfiber is also washable, so you can use the same pad for about 20 or so washes before you need to purchase a new one. The cleaning pads often include two sides for more effective scrubbing and drying. When you purchase a steam mop, you usually get at least two pads, so you can wash one and use the other.


Steam mops are well-known for their superior maneuverability. They are all very lightweight and easy on the arms. The lightest mops can weigh only 3 pounds, and rarely reaching over 9 pounds, with water in the tank. This is ideal for quick cleaning and for people who can not do heavy-lifting. The mops are also easily transportable during moves or if you loan it out to a family member or friend. In terms of getting into corners and other tight areas, steam mops have features like 360-degree swivel heads or 180-degree triangular heads. You can easily glide and turn along wall edges, into corners, and other compact areas without needing to remove all the furniture from a room. Wider cleaning heads also allow you to cover more ground faster, so even mopping large rooms goes by quickly.

Best Steam Mop Brands


The Bissell brand began in 1876 when couple Anna and Melville Bissell invented a carpet sweeper to quickly sweep their shop clear of the sawdust that accumulated daily. They began selling this sweeper and when her husband died, Anna Bissell took over the business as America’s first female CEO. The brand took off under her leadership, and in the years following the original owners, Bissell produced more cleaning equipment such as the deep-carpet cleaner, manual carpet shampooer, and pet-specific vacuums and cleaners. Bissell steam mops are on the upper end of most price ranges, but offer superior sanitization and scrubbing.


Shark is part of a family-owned company (SharkNinja) with roots in Europe and a history over a century old. Shark is built on producing uniquely-designed, simple, and affordable vacuums, steam mops, and carpet cleaners that are extremely accessible to anyone. They hold a wide selection of patents such as the Shark Steam and Spray Mop, Steam Pockets, and more.


If something in your house needs to be cleaned and sanitized, Sienna has a product for the job. Sienna creations go way beyond steam mops for floors. The brand has cleaning equipment that can clean clothes, furniture, showers, windows, toilets, and more. The Sienna brand is committed to eco-friendly, green technology, so all of their products are chemical-free and only use natural water and steam.


Hoover is one of the oldest and most famous brands in the US. In 1907, an inventor-turned-janitor invented a sweeper with suction to help his asthma, which was aggravated by his dusty job. He knew his invention was genius, and so took his design to financial backers. He partnered with W.H. Hoover, who bought the suction sweeper patent. Employees at the new business designed more carpet cleaners and came up with the beater bar in 1926, which is still a Hoover staple. Other Hoover products besides vacuums include hard floor cleaners like the steam mop, which removes 99% of bacteria using just water steam.


Founded in 1909 and named after the Greek exclamation for “I found it,” Eureka has always strived for innovation and technological advances. Today, they have over 130 models of upright vacuums, canisters, handhelds, and steam cleaners, as well as a full arsenal of replacements parts like belts and filters. The Eureka brand also strongly values eco-friendly solutions, and so all their products have an Energy Star rating or comply with RoHS (reduction of hazardous substances) standards.

Features of Professional & Commercial Steam Mops

Fresh-scented water

Since steam mops only use water and no cleaning solution or soap, you do not get any kind of fresh scent when you mop. However, some steam mops with extra features have fragrance disks that you can insert in the mop. These disks combine with the steam to release a clean scent as you mop, so your home feels refreshed and springy.

Built-in water filter

Tap water often contains minerals that can clog up a steam mop, making it less effective and wearing it down faster from the inside out. More advanced steam mops include a built-in filter, so you do not have to purchase more expensive distilled water from the store. The filter will protect the mop from any impurities found in tap water, so you can use water from the sink without worrying about hurting your mop.

Can be used on carpet

Most steam mops are intended for hard surfaces only, but brands like Shark make mops that can be used on carpets, as well. Features like a carpet glide attachment allow you to sanitize and freshen your carpet with steam, just like you would on your hard surfaces. The steam mops will not be as powerful as a heavy-duty carpet cleaner, but it does allow you to deal with everyday spills and germs. You can also use the mop on upholstery, curtains, pet beds, and stuffed animals when the mop is carpet-capable.

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