The 7 Best Steam Mops to Deep Clean Your Floors
A steam mop is an unsung cleaning hero—not only does a steam mop clean deeper than a traditional mop, but most models have extra features that make it much easier (and more convenient) to use.
To find the best steam mops, we thoroughly researched the most popular models on the market and compared factors like cord length, weight, steam output control, and recommended floor types. We also consulted multiple cleaning experts for tips on how to choose the best steam mop for your needs.
Our top pick, the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe Steam Mop, is a versatile cleaning appliance that's incredibly easy to use. It's lightweight, has a large tank capacity, and is highly effective at cleaning all types of hard floors.
Here are the best steam mops to clean your floors.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall Steam Mop: Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe Steam Mop
- Best Budget Steam Mop: Shark Steam Mop
- Best Multipurpose Steam Mop: Black+Decker 7-in-1 Steam Mop
- Best Steam Mop With Vacuum: Bissell PowerFresh All-in-One Vacuum and Steam Mop
- Best Steam Mop for Tile: Shark Steam and Scrub All-in-One Steam Mop
- Best Steam Mop for Laminate: Shark Steam Pocket Mop
- Best Lightweight Steam Mop: Light 'N' Easy Steam Mop
1 Best Overall Steam Mop: Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe Steam Mop
2 Best Budget Steam Mop: Shark Steam Mop
3 Best Multipurpose Steam Mop: Black+Decker 7-in-1 Steam Mop
4 Best Steam Mop With Vacuum: Bissell PowerFresh All-in-One Vacuum and Steam Mop
5 Best Steam Mop for Tile: Shark Steam and Scrub All-in-One Steam Mop
6 Best Steam Mop for Laminate: Shark Steam Pocket Mop
7 Best Lightweight Steam Mop: Light 'N' Easy Steam Mop
Overall, we recommend the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe Steam Mop for its effectiveness, large tank capacity, and versatility. Although it doesn't offer full steam output control, it has two steam settings and is safe to use on most sealed hard flooring.
How to Shop for Steam Mops Like a Pro
Manufacturers usually explicitly state which types of floors can be cleaned with each specific steam mop, and you can typically find this information on the packaging or in the product description online. But if you want to play it safe, go for a multipurpose steam mop.
But the floor type that a steam mop is safe for is usually based on its steam settings—more on that below.
Steam Output Control
While the most basic steam mops simply shoot out steam at a standard temperature and volume, more advanced models allow you to control different aspects of the steam output. If you only plan on using your steam mop on tile floors or carpets, you can get away with single-level steam mops. But if you plan on using your steam mop for multiple types of flooring—or some heavily soiled areas—it's better to have control over steam output.
When deciding which steam output to use, keep in mind that the higher the temperature, the deeper it cleans. This is great if you're doing some heavy-duty sanitizing, but the temperature is also important for hardwood and laminate floors. You need to treat those floor types delicately, so you should use the lowest temperature possible. The same relationship applies to steam volume. High volume is best for deep cleaning, whereas low volume should be used on more delicate floors.
All steam mops have tanks to hold the water that gets turned into steam, but tank capacity can vary a lot depending on the model. Higher capacities above 16 ounces are better when you need to cover more surface area, as you won't need to refill it as often. (Steam mops take anywhere from 30 seconds to over a minute to heat up, so the less you have to stop and refill, the more time you'll save.)
Just like with vacuums, lighter steam mops are usually easier to maneuver than heavier ones. Steam mops certainly reduce the effort required to scrub your floors—just push them around to get a solid clean—but heavier models could make them a bit more burdensome. Keep in mind that a full water tank (especially a large one) will increase a steam mop's weight.
If you plan on cleaning more than just floors, you'll want to pay attention to the accessories that come with a steam mop. Some models include a variety of attachments that make it possible to clean multiple surfaces, including curtains, carpets, and windows. Others convert into handheld steamers for you to clean small areas besides the floor (like countertops and grill grates).
You should also consider the number of mop pads that come with your steam mop. Most models come with reusable microfiber or terry cloth pads that scrub your floors. They need to be regularly cleaned for optimal performance (most are machine washable), so it's a good idea to have several extras on hand.
Questions You Might Ask
How do you use a steam mop?
Steam mops are generally very easy to use. "Pour distilled water into the container, put the microfiber pad on, plug in the AC cord, and set the desired steam temperature if your steam mop has that option," says Barton.
But before you start using a steam mop, you'll have to do a little prep work. "They work best when all loose dirt and grime is removed," says Jessica Samson, a cleaning expert with The Maids, who adds that you should "always sweep and vacuum the floor before you begin."
If you're trying to cut down on cleaning time, a steam mop that doubles as a vacuum is a great idea—and even Barton says these multipurpose appliances are "worth every penny."
Who should use a steam mop?
If you're sick of manually scrubbing your floors, whether with a mop or on your hands and knees, then it's definitely worth getting a steam mop. These appliances are very easy to operate and require minimal effort to get a deep clean. They typically provide an extra level of sanitization, too, as the strong heat can help kill germs and bacteria. That's why steam mops are also a great cleaning tool for pet owners or anyone who has a high-traffic home (like people who often host parties or playdates).
Are steam mops safe for hardwood and laminate floors?
For starters, it's always a good idea to consult your flooring manufacturer to find out if your specific flooring material can be cleaned with steam mops. But generally speaking, steam mops can be safe for hardwood and laminate floors as long as you follow some guidelines.
"Most hardwood floors are not waterproof, and excessive use of water or heat can cause warping, discoloration, or encourage the growth of mold and mildew," says Guy Peters, owner and founder of Mop Stars Cleaning Service. "But using a steam cleaner as part of your monthly or quarterly deep-cleaning projects should be just fine."
To be safe, Peters suggests testing your steam mop on a small, inconspicuous area to make sure your floors are water-resistant before using it all over your home. He also notes that if you're going to use a steam mop on laminate, linoleum, vinyl, or concrete, the floors need to be properly sealed—otherwise, you might risk damaging them.
Many manufacturers list out which types of flooring each specific steam mop can clean safely. You can also keep an eye out for steam mops that allow you to change settings depending on the floor type. (Whenever possible, it's best to use lower temperatures on hardwood and laminate floors to help prevent warping.)
Do cordless steam mops exist?
Unfortunately, cordless steam mops don't exist yet. There are cordless electric mops that have scrubbing capabilities, but batteries are not powerful enough to heat the water to a temperature that can create steam. The good news is that most steam mops have decently long cords (some up to 25 feet), which allow you to clean every corner of your home with ease.
Take Our Word for It
This article was written by Stefanie Waldek, a contributing writer for Real Simple with seven years of experience writing about home and three years of experience reviewing products. To come up with these recommendations, she spent hours researching steam mops and ultimately narrowed down the list based on steam output, cord length, weight, and additional features. She also tapped four experts for professional input: Emma Barton of Steam Clean Queen, Jessica Samson of The Maids, Guy Peters of Mop Stars Cleaning Service, and Dean Davies of Fantastic Cleaners.