Grab the best steam mop to achieve a perfect floor finish. Sure, a classic mop is fine for sucking up a spill or similar mess, but to truly clean your floors there is little that will outdo a steam mop.
As you might imagine, using hot steam to clean your floors it not only gives a great looking finish but also works well to kill off any germs and bugs that might otherwise linger. Another positive to adding steam to your floor cleaning arsenal is that it can be faster too, letting you glide over a spot to get a deep clean without the need to mop back and forward as you might with a basic mop.
Steam mops will cost you a bit more than a traditional one, and can need replacement pad heads, so that cost is worth keeping in mind. You'll also want to check where you can use the steam mop as they're fine on most tiles but can be a bit too strong for some types of wooden flooring, for example. Some even work on curtains and upholstery, so be sure to check before you buy to make sure the model you pick does all you need.
Factors to think about include the water tank size, how much freedom of movement the swivel head offers, how well it is rated for killing germs, and what the ongoing costs are going to be for you.
Of course even the best mop is only as good as the clean that's gone before so be sure to kit yourself out by using the best carpet cleaners (opens in new tab), best deep clean vacuums (opens in new tab) and the best vacuum cleaners for home (opens in new tab).
Best steam mops
The Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe Steam Mop comes out on top as our best overall steam mop. Designed to clean away 99.9% of germs from your floors, this steam mop is suitable for both hard and bare floors.
Handy features include the SpotBoost brush which is ideal for getting rid of tough stains or dirt. We also like the scent discs which add a nice aroma while you clean. The discs however, will need replacing. The mop pads can be easily removed so that you can wash them.
Releasing enough steam to power through dried on spills and dirt, the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe didn’t leave behind pools of water. The Swivel Steer functionality also makes cleaning in corners and underneath furniture a little easier.
- Read our Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe Steam Mop review (opens in new tab)
The H2O Mop X5 offers a lot of cleaning power that starts with flooring. It is an absolute marvel for maneuverability, getting into corners with its swivel, triangular head that other steam mops could not access. It was very efficient in our testing, coming out as one of the top two steam mops for getting rid of dried on mess.
The H2O Mop X5 was the most versatile product we tested. You can add several different attachments so that it can steam windows, clothing, carpets and other surfaces. It's nice to have the option of cleaning without chemicals on more than just flooring. The H2O X5 is ready to use in seconds. It had the shortest heat-up time of all the steam mops we tested, adding to its convenience.
One problem with this mop is that it leaves surfaces a little too wet. Most of the mops we tested left behind less water. You will have to keep people off the floors for a while after using the H2O X5. It also has an almost-unmanageable cord that is thick and stiff. It does not wind easily around the cord keepers on the back of the unit. One other drawback is the H2O X5's relatively small water tank is not removable. You will have to use a pitcher or head to the sink to refill often due to the small tank.
- Read our H2O X5 review (opens in new tab)
The Bissell PowerFresh Slim Steam Mop promises to remove 99.9% of germs and bacteria simply by using steam alone.
We found this steam cleaner to be impressive in our at-home testing. It left laminate floors, hardwood floors and tiles clean and shining when used as a standard steam mop. When used as a handheld unit with one of the four attachment heads, it managed to remove baked-on grease from ovens and baking trays, sticky residue from sinks and baths, and even cleaned the shower door. As Karen Barrigan, a cleaning expert for Housetastic (opens in new tab) and a cleaning business owner, notes: “It’s best suited to those with smaller homes who want to perform quick cleans with the steam mop.”
While the accessories are in a handy toolkit that can be slotted onto the base of the unit, some of them could be of better quality. We found the brush bristles were bent out of shape after one use. The unit itself is heavy to handle too, so people with mobility issues or problems with upper body strength may struggle to use it for extended periods. You also need to keep the trigger depressed during operation, which isn’t the case with some of Bissell’s rivals.
The Bissell PowerFresh Slim Steam Mop fares well on Amazon, with thousands of 5-star reviews. Customers like how easy it is to assemble and use, how quick it is to heat up and how well it cleans. Negative reviews mention how heavy the unit is and how the brush bristles quickly lose their shape.
Overall though, this is a well-built steam mop that heats up quickly, does the job well, and can be stored away easily when not in use.
- Read our full Bissell PowerFresh Slim Steam Mop review (opens in new tab)
Ideal for cleaning floors without the hassle of a cord getting in the way, the ROLLIBOT M6 has a cordless runtime of 50 minutes and has a large water tank.
Designed to be easy to use, the ROLLIBOT M6 has a spray button, which is handy for controlling the amount of cleaning solution, or water, you’d like to use. Working well on dirty floors, the mop’s handy cleaning power comes from two mop pads that spin at up 190 RPM, which is ideal for tackling stains and dirty floors.
The dual heads also spin inwards to trap any dust and dirt and prevent it from smearing across the surface.
Taking just two hours to charge in full, this steam mop is also lightweight. It isn’t suitable for use with essential oils or oil-based cleaners, as this can block the sprayer.
The speedy heat up time on the Costway 1500W was one of our favorite features. Taking 20 seconds to heat up, this steam mop has a removable water tank and the mop head is triangular - which is handy for awkward corners and spaces.
Whilst some reviewers have noted the awkward position of the cord on this model, this steam cleaner does come with a soft-grip handle. It isn’t the most powerful steam mop out there, but is ideal for everyday cleaning or tidying up spills.
Another handy feature is how lightweight this steam mop, making it easy to move around and not too big to store away. It's also worth noting that the water tank can be removed, making it much easier to refill and there's also no need to use a pitcher to fill up the tank.
The Shark Lift-Away Pro Steam Pocket Mop transforms from a floor steam mop into a handheld steam cleaner with a push of a button. It features a variety of attachments, including a blasting nozzle, a brush for grout and a general all-purpose tool for above-the-floor cleaning. It also features an accessory hose, crucial to relieving arm and hand strain when using the handheld unit.
Two steam modes allow users to opt for everyday or deeper cleaning, and you can take a break from steaming by using a standby function. In addition, the water tank is larger than many steam mops, allowing for extra cleaning time, while you can flip the double-sided floor mop mid-clean to save you from having to fit on a fresh one.
We found the floor mop a little disappointing in our at-home testing, but the handheld unit was a joy to use, delivering an excellent cleaning performance. Our only gripe with the accessories was a damaged grout brush after just one use. But the above-the-floor cleaning tool and copper scrubbing brush work brilliantly on everything from sinks to tiles to ovens.
As Karen Barrigan, a cleaning expert for Housetastic (opens in new tab) and a cleaning business owner, notes: “It's more expensive than other steam mops, but its versatility justifies the slightly higher price.”
With 4.5 stars on Amazon, users praise how easy and lightweight the unit is to use and how quick it is to change the mop pads. However, negative reviews mention that the unit isn’t freestanding or that the cord is too short compared to other steam cleaners.
- Read our full Shark Lift-Away Pro Steam Pocket Mop review (opens in new tab)
What to look for in a steam mop
First up, it's important that you get the right steam mop for the job or jobs you need, so think about where you want to use this. Is it tiles and wooden floors? Do you also need to use this on curtains and upholstery? If it's just basic tile flors, then you may be able to save money by getting a model that's built specifically for that task alone.
Next up, give some thought to how large the area is you need to clean. If you have a lot of floorspace that's going to be covered than you'll want to think about a model that offers one of the larger water tanks. This will save you refilling but also means less waiting around for that water to be hot enough to steam. Also keep in mind how many obstacles you need to work around, as some models offer more head flexibility than others, which can help make this task easier and faster.
Think about ongoing costs, on top of the up front price, as you will likely need to replace the pads, and may need various types for different materials. These vary in price so factor that cost in before you make the initial purchase and commit to these replacements.
Power is another factor, with most models offering a wattage number. The higher this goes, the faster your mops will be heated up and ready to steam clean, generally. But this will also mean a higher electricity cost, so if you're not in a hurry then a lower number here could save you money in the longer term.
Some models also offer spinning head action, which can make the process of actively cleaning the floor far easier, with less elbow grease required from you to get an even better end result. You'll pay more, but you get better results with less effort.
Can steam mops be used on wooden floors?
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Worried about damaging your prized flooring? Hardwood flooring can be an investment so it’s no surprise that you want to protect it. If you’re wondering whether you can use a steam mop on a wooden floor, the short answer is no.
Be aware that heated water can result in wood cupping and lasting damage to wooden flooring. There’s also a risk that the steam will get rid of any polish or finish and make your flooring look dull. The type of cleaner you use can also wreak havoc on wooden floors. Vinegar breaks down the finish while soap can leave those dreaded streaks.
Yet if you have sealed hardwood floors, you’ll be pleased to know they’re generally compatible with steam mops as the seal offers additional protection. You’ll find some models in our guide that are suitable for use with sealed hardwood, including the PowerFresh Deluxe.
So how do you clean hardwood floors without causing damage? Stick to gentle cleaning methods such as using plain room-temperature water on a cloth or a standard mop. Avoid soaking your floor with excess water as it can damage it. Be sure to remove any standing water as soon as you can. We recommend protecting your floors from damage with strategically placed rugs and mats in entryways and other high-traffic areas.
Can you use steam mops on upholstery and curtains?
In addition to helping your surfaces gleam, the best steam mops give your upholstery and curtains a thorough clean. They’re a great way of eliminating germs and grime from these hard-to-clean areas.
You won’t have the faff of taking down your curtains as steam mops allow you to clean in situ. The long handle lets you reach the top of the curtains. For best results, turn the steam setting down and move the mop gently and swiftly over the area. This avoids the fabric becoming too soggy.