They’re here to make mopping so much easier and—dare we say—enjoyable.

By Kat de Naoum
February 07, 2020
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If you want to minimize the time and effort it takes to complete one of the most dreaded chores known to man—yes, mopping—then you should consider adding a steam mop to your collection of cleaning supplies, pronto. We’re not exaggerating about the ‘most dreaded chore’ part; a 2018 survey reported that 20 percent of Americans have listed mopping as the bane of their household jobs list.

There’s certainly a lot to miss from the days of yore, but having to get on your hands and knees to scrub the floors definitely isn’t one of them. Thankfully, modern technology advancements in home appliances have made the cleaning game easier. Although you might not be jumping for joy at the thought of cleaning your floors, a good steam mop is guaranteed to change the way you view this task forever.

Benefits of a Steam Mop

With all the benefits a steam mop can provide, chances are, you’ll never want to go back to a regular old mop and bucket after you give it a try. Once you fill a regular bucket with hot water, it immediately starts getting cold and losing its disinfecting and sanitizing properties—not to mention, it often gets dirty after the first mop rinse. A steam mop, on the other hand, retains its heat, so it always stays at the optimal temperature to disinfect floors. Thanks to this, you’ll never have to use harsh chemicals with overpowering scents—which aren’t ideal for use around kids, pets, or anyone with allergies—to make sure your floors are as clean as possible.

Another plus is that the high temperatures a steam mop reaches lift tough stains without requiring extra scrubbing, providing a deep clean for even the yuckiest of bathroom floors. It also gets them spick and span in a fraction of the time because it eliminates the need to stop, re-soak, strain, scrub, and repeat. With a trusty steam mop in hand, you just pass over the whole floor once, and voila. 

And since floors dry pretty much instantaneously with a steam mop, you won’t have to wait eons before you can walk on the freshly cleaned floor. You’ll never need to empty out grimy mop water, either, which equals less contact with dirt all around!

How to Use a Steam Mop

Although the instructions may vary slightly from model to model, using a steam mop is super-easy. Just fill up the steam tank with water, replace the mop cloth—available in disposable, or the more eco- and pocket-friendly reusable wipes—plug it in, and you’re good to go. Scrubbing is limited to extremely stubborn, stuck-on stains, but if anything can get rid of those, it’s a good steam mop.

Now that you know why a steam mop trumps a regular mop in more ways than one, we  found 11 of the best—from trusted brands like Bissell, Shark, and Hoover—that’ll make cleaning your home a breeze.

Best Quality: Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop 1940

Killing 99 percent of germs and bacteria, the Bissell PowerFresh 1940W steam mop is one of the most popular and effective models around. Its low-profile mop head can easily access hard-to-reach corners and edges, and there’s an optional flip-down scrubber for cleaning any stuck-on grime. This model is only available at Walmart and comes with a two-year warranty. 

Over 2,000 users gave this mop a positive review; one such happy customer wrote, “I can honestly say I will never go back to the old mop-and-bucket method again. This is so much more sanitary and uses a fraction of the water... It exceeded my expectations. And I love knowing that the floors are germ-free and sparkling clean, using steam to do the job instead of harsh chemicals.”

To buy: $79 (was $100);

Best Easy-to-Use: Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop System

When you’re done cleaning the floor with the Shark, you simply press a button, and the dirty mop cloth gets released directly into the washing machine or laundry hamper—meaning you don’t need to have any direct contact with grime and dirt. This hands-free model also has a steam blaster option for tough spots, getting rid of them with almost zero effort on your part.

Thousands of reviewers seem to agree that this Shark model is lightweight and easy to use. One of the many five-star reviews reads, “I just had shoulder surgery and carpal tunnel surgery, this is the perfect steam mop. It has made my life so much easier. There’s no fighting with the pads to put them on or take them off. Plus, I don’t have to touch the dirty ones afterwards.”

To buy: $120;

Best-Rated: PurSteam ThermaPro Steam Mop

This 10-in-1 cleaning machine is the No. 1 best-selling steam cleaner on Amazon, with over 3,000 reviewers singing its praises—and for good reason. Along with the main upright mop, the PurSteam comes included with a variety of other cleaning accessories:  a detachable built-in handheld steam cleaner to use on your curtains and garments, a window squeegee, a straight nozzle for corners and baseboards, a bent nozzle to tackle hard-to-reach areas, and various other nylon brushes. 

It’s suitable for all types of flooring and hard surfaces, and, what’s more, you can even use the detachable handheld device as a steamer for your clothes. Heating up in just 30 seconds, it’ll be ready to clean the floor, the ceiling, and—literally—everything in between.

To buy: $70;

Best 2-in-1: Hoover FloorMate Steam Cleaner Mop

Like Bissell, Hoover has been pioneering in the art of floor-cleaning for well over a century. One of the brand’s more recent models, the FloorMate steam cleaning mop, removes 99.9 percent of harmful bacteria and gets rid of even the most stubborn stains thanks to its direct steam spray option and built-in scrubber brush. 

This 2-in-1 option has a detachable compact steamer that allows you to steam garments, linens, or any other areas of your home that aren’t reachable without a handheld device. It’s also customizable; you can control the amount of steam you want released at any time, and it has one tank for water and one for cleaning solution (should you wish to use one). Plus, the larger tank size means that you can clean multiple rooms in your home without having to stop for a refill.

To buy: $100;

Best Heavy-Duty: Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner

To achieve a professional-grade clean on larger-than-average areas, opt for the Dupray Neat steam cleaner. This multipurpose, heavy-duty cleaner can run for 50 minutes before you’ll have to fill up the water tank again—cleaning and sanitizing everything in its path—so you can likely reach every room in your home with one pass. With wheels and a retractable handle, it comes with 18 professional cleaning accessories to give your floors their deepest clean yet. 

Customers rave about its professional-grade cleaning abilities, with one writing, “Thank you, Dupray! I have a 1,000-square-foot home…this cleaner holds half a gallon of water and that's more than enough to steam-clean all of my floors in about 30 minutes. It's freakin’ awesome!” Another said it offers “professional quality at a reasonable price.” 

To buy: $150 (was $320);

Best Affordable Steam Mop: Salav Multi-Surface Cleaner

If you like the idea of using a steam cleaner, but don’t want to spend a lot of money, at only $50, this Salav multi-surface steam mop is just what you need. It has a slim angle mop head that rotates a full 360 degrees for cleaning corners and other tight spaces, and there’s even an LED light on the mop head, which comes in handy when trying to clean under furniture or in dark crevices.

In just 45 seconds, the slim and easy-to-maneuver mop heats up to a bacteria-zapping 248 degrees and features an automatic safety shut-off mode if the water runs out.

To buy: $50 (was $89);

Best for Tile Floors: Swiffer Bissell SteamBoost

Two of the biggest names in cleaning appliances—Swiffer and Bissell—teamed up to create this lightweight-yet-powerful mop. The SteamBoost is just as easy to use as your regular Swiffer sweeper, with the addition of two more easy steps: fill the water tank, and plug it in!

It’s safe and effective for use on tile, laminate, and finished wood flooring. It comes with two boxes of disposable steam pad refills that you simply latch on. One reviewer said it “makes cleaning easy” and added, “I have a love-hate relationship with my ceramic tile floor because I have two dogs who insist on tracking in everything. This steamer has made cleanup a breeze. I heartily recommend it.”

To buy: $135;

Best for Hardwood Floors: Reliable Steamboy Pro Floor Mop

With its grout-scrubbing, heavy-duty bristles, this steam mop is perfect for any hardwood flooring as it can simultaneously steam and scrub the area with every pass for the deepest and quickest clean yet. “I have used the Reliable Steamboy Pro Steam Floor Mop to clean my wood floors,” reported one customer. “This is by far the ‘cleanest’ clean they have been.” 

In addition to cleaning bare floors, the Steamboy Pro can also sanitize carpets thanks to its 245-degree vapor steam temperature. An ergonomic handle, a foot release locking function, and a 180-degree swivel head are a few added bonuses that make for an extremely comfortable user experience.

To buy: $119;

Best Cordless Steam Mop: Bissell Spinwave

The Bissell Spinwave hard mop not only gives you 20 minutes of battery-powered, cordless freedom to roam around the whole house, cleaning every floor in sight, but it also has dual rotating mop heads that scrub the floor for you. The on-demand spray shoots out cleaning solution for getting rid of those tough spots, and the reusable microfiber pads—which are unforgiving on messes, but gentle on sealed hard floors—are machine-washable so you can use them time and time again.

More than 1,500 Amazon reviewers left this savvy appliance a perfect five-star rating, touting its convenient design and quiet-yet-effective operation as major wins. One reviewer called it “the best hardwood floor cleaner you can buy,” while another said, “I have fallen in love with an appliance.” A third mentioned its ergonomic construction: “The tool is heavy enough where it pushes down on the ground and actually gets up stubborn dirt and grime, but the second you turn it on it feels as light as a feather. I could move it around with a single finger.”

To buy: $146;

Best Lightweight: O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop

According to the brand, the O-Cedar microfiber steam mop was tested on E. coli bacteria and killed 99.9 percent of it without any cleaning chemicals. Impressive stuff! Heating up in a mere 20 seconds, it has adjustable steam settings and an ergonomic triangular mop head to reach any area in your home. It also comes with two reusable and machine-washable microfiber pads—which are ideal for reducing waste—and a snap-on glider brush that allows you to clean carpets. And at just 5 pounds, the O-Cedar steam mop is one of the lightest of its kind; it’s perfect for carrying up and down the stairs or cleaning multiple rooms without getting a sore shoulder.

“This is an incredible steam cleaner,” wrote one customer. “Very easy to assemble and use. It is lightweight and easily gets into corners with the triangle shape head. It is easy to fill and easy to empty when you are finished. It cleans beautifully; I had no idea my floors were so dirty!”

To buy: $68;

Best Vibrating Steam Mop: Sienna Luna Steam Mop

The Sienna Luna steam mop provides a unique cleaning experience that uses 90 vibrations per second to break up and loosen stubborn dirt or stains, so you don’t need to add in any elbow grease. This micro-pulsing technology is combined with a 180-degree swivel mop head and an LED headlight that lets you see dirt that would otherwise be invisible, resulting in a super-effective clean with little effort on your part. 

“Hands down this is the best machine I have ever owned. Long cord, large tank, the light is super-great, and the vibration does a nice job releasing sticking spots,” wrote on reviewer. “[I have] no reservations recommending this machine.”

To buy: $96;