Which steam mop is best?

A steam mop is a great way to quickly deep-clean hard floors. While you may be used to the effort required by the traditional mop and bucket, a steam mop works painlessly to loosen stubborn dirt. Glide your steam mop across obstinate stains or spills and eradicate the mess along with the bacteria. 

The best steam mop will be durable enough to handle the job with a sizable water reservoir and reliable handling. If you want the top choice, then consider the Shark S5003D Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System.

What to know before you buy a steam mop

How a steam mop works

If you want, you can throw your old mop and mop bucket away. A steam mop is a modern wonder designed to make house chores even easier.  It uses an internal water boiler to heat the water added to the reservoir. Once heated, this water is turned into steam, which is then pushed into the cleaning head. As you move your steam mop across your floor, the steam heats and cleans your floors. Steam loosens any dirt on the floor, even working up sticky residue. With a removable cleaning pad, you can get your floors spotless without product waste or excessive scrubbing.

Your floor type

It’s worthwhile to evaluate your floor surface before investing in a steam mop. Some floor types don’t do well with moisture accumulation. In some cases, the dampness and heat will damage your floors. Typically, vinyl and linoleum floors do well with a steam mop. Ceramic or porcelain tile also handles it well. Many types of laminate floors can handle a steam mop. Sealed hardwood floors will be fine, but an unsealed hardwood floor can be seriously damaged from a steam mop. 

Tips for success

There are some things you can do to make your steam mopping more successful. First, remove any obstacles like chairs or tables. Sweep or vacuum to remove surface debris like crumbs and loose dirt. If you have areas of your floor that are particularly soiled, allow your steam mop to sit on top of the area for a few seconds to relax the dirt, then mop normally. If you’re wanting the best results, use distilled water in your steam mop. This is especially important if you live in an area with hard water. To help your steam mop last longer, be sure to empty the water reservoir after every cleaning session and remove the cleaning pads.

What to look for in a quality steam mop

Water reservoir

The best steam mops have a sizable water reservoir to make cleaning easier. Consider the size of the tank and the square footage of your floors. The more water your steam mop’s reservoir can hold, the less you’ll need to stop to refill while cleaning. Choose a model you can easily refill without needing to power off your mop and let it cool down between refills.

Cord length

The length of your steam mop’s power cord affects your ability to quickly clean. A cord that’s too short will prevent you from reaching all the necessary areas while something too long may be cumbersome to maneuver. Ideally, your steam mop should have a power cord that’s at least 20 feet long. If you have larger spaces without enough convenient power outlets, you can consider an even longer cord. 


Choose a steam mop that’s comfortable to handle and not so heavy to make cleaning more challenging. You can find some steam mops that weigh as few as 5 pounds while others can be as many as 15 pounds. Something lightweight will be much easier to use, especially when cleaning large surface areas.

Head shape

The shape of your steam mop head can determine how easy it is to clean your floors. Something too large and bulky won’t get the difficult areas under your cabinets or in corners. You can usually find a rectangular or triangular shape. Rectangular heads are great for covering large surface areas while triangular heads are good for corners and small areas. Some steam mops even come with swivel heads to make maneuvering easier. 

How much you can expect to spend on a steam mop 

Steam mops tend to be around $60 for the simplest mop and up to $150 for high-end models with special features and abilities.

Steam mop FAQ

Can you reuse the cleaning pads on steam mops?

A. Most steam mops come with reusable pads. However, those pads need to be cleaned between mopping sessions. Some cleaning pads can be machine washed on a gentle cycle, but check your mop’s owner’s manual before machine washing.

Does a steam mop require maintenance?  

A. Occasionally, yes. Cleaning your steam mop and the water reservoir regularly can help you maintain it. To extend its lifespan and reduce expensive repairs, empty the water tank between uses and store your mop without moist cleaning pads on it. Clean the nozzle every once in a while to remove dirt deposits. If any serious issues arise, consult the manufacturer. 

What’s the best steam mop to buy?

Top steam mop

Shark S5003D Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System

Shark S5003D Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System

What you need to know: You’ll enjoy the touch-free technology and reliable operation of this steam mop.

What you’ll love: With a 220-milliliter tank capacity, you’ll get all your hard floors clean in no time. Forget harmful chemicals and cleaners like bleach and detergent since the steam channeling will remove stains and dirt. You’ll fall in love with the intelligent controls and intuitive cleaning. 

What you should consider: The water reservoir isn’t removable and is difficult to access for some users.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top steam mop for the money

Shark S3501 Steam Pocket Mop

Shark S3501 Steam Pocket Mop

What you need to know: Many money-saving parents will love this streamlined steam mop for washing up quick spills and messes. 

What you’ll love: A large water reservoir means you won’t need to refill as often. It comes with two microfiber pads to clear away dirt. The soft handle allows you to easily maneuver this steam mop without a lot of strain. The powerful steam will wipe away 99.9% of germs and bacteria. 

What you should consider: This steam mop’s power cord is shorter than some of its competition, limiting cleaning ease when washing large floors.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Bissell Steam Mop

Bissell Steam Mop

What you need to know: With this reliable steam mop coming from a reliable brand, any homeowner will prize this tool over the ancient bucket and mop.

What you’ll love: Guarantee successful deep cleaning when you use this genius steam mop. Choose your desired steam strength based on dirt levels. As a bonus, Bissell is a proud supporter of the Bissell pet foundation, so every purchase goes to help save homeless pets. 

What you should consider: If you have high-gloss floors, this steam mop may end up leaving some streaks behind.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Abbey Ryan writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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