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.

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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 top seven 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, homeowners cannot ignore mopping.

Thankfully, modern technological advancements in home appliances have made cleaning easier. Although it might not necessarily make mopping more enjoyable, a steam mop can make the chore much easier. When it comes to choosing a steam mop, there are a few 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 cleaning floors—and don’t miss our roundup of top picks.

  1. BEST OVERALL: LIGHT ‘N’ EASY Multifunctional Mop
  2. BEST VALUE: O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop
  3. EASIEST TO USE: Shark Genius Hard Floor System
  4. BEST FOR PET OWNERS: Bissell Symphony Pet Steam Mop
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Photo: amazon.com

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.

Versatility

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.

Steam Options

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.

Accessories

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

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Photo: amazon.com

1. BEST OVERALL: LIGHT ‘N’ EASY Multifunctional Mop

The Light ’N’ Easy is a truly versatile steam mop. Along with the main upright mop, the water reservoir detaches easily, transforming this into a multipurpose handheld steamer with several interchangeable attachments to tackle multiple surfaces in your home. The Light ’N’ Easy and its attachments can clean any surface in the house, including floors, vinyl, glass, and upholstery, and it can even remove wrinkles from shirts. This mop is compact but can produce steam in less than 30 seconds at temperatures of up to 175 degrees. It has an adjustable steam output with three flow levels. With this flexibility, you can tailor the flow to better tackle a multitude of surfaces, as well as stuck-on grime. It also features a collapsible handle for easy storage. For an all-in-one cleaning tool, you can’t go wrong with the Light ’N’ Easy.

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Photo: amazon.com

2. BEST VALUE: O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop

The O-Cedar Microfiber steam mop weighs in at only 5 pounds. That might not seem super impressive but if you’re mopping an entire home, your arm won’t tire out as easily with this low weight. It heats water in less than 20 seconds so you can get cleaning immediately. It also has a cleaning attachment that will help freshen your carpet. This model comes with only one extra mop pad and the water reservoir is opaque, which makes it difficult to keep an eye on the water level. However, it’s a good starter steam mop to have, especially in a small home.

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Photo: amazon.com

3. EASIEST TO USE: Shark Genius Hard Floor System

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.

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4. BEST FOR PET OWNERS: Bissell Symphony Pet Steam Mop

We love our furballs, and Bissel does too. Having pets in the home 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. Best of all, a portion of every purchase goes to the Bissell Pet Foundation, the company’s nonprofit organization that supports animal welfare organizations.