A quality steam mop uses steam to lift away grime, scuffs, and stubborn stains, leaving your floor spotless without the use of any cleaning solution. While traditional spin mops and flat mops have likely been on your radar and in your closet for years, it's very possible that steam mops are a new cleaning product you're as curious about as Dyson's latest vacuum.
"Increased interest in steam [cleaning] was a natural evolution of the green trend, as steam doesn't use any chemicals but packs a super-strong cleaning punch," stresses Melissa Homer, The Spruce's Cleaning Review Board member and Chief Cleaning Officer at MaidPro. Steam can loosen stains and spills, as well, so they're easier to pick up.
We tested dozens of steam mops in The Lab and at home, evaluating their effectiveness, capacity, steam output, and accessories. Our top pick is the PurSteam 10-in-1 Steam Mop Cleaner. Not only did it perform very well in testing, but it also heats up quickly, is effective on many surfaces, and it comes with multiple attachments to help you achieve a deeper clean.
Here are the best steam mops to spruce up your floors.
PurSteam 10-in-1 Steam Mop Cleaner
Can use as an upright or handheld steamer
Easy to switch out cleaning pad
Mop head easily turns
Mop head flipped up over sticky stains
The PurSteam 10-in-1 Steam Mop Cleaner is our top pick because it's efficient, can be used on many surfaces, and comes with multiple attachments and cleaning pad replacements. It earned perfect scores in our lab test for ease of use, portability, and value. "All stains were completely removed," our tester noted, also adding that the model took less time than the manufacturer noted to heat up—less than 30 seconds—and that the manual was short, but effective. They liked the images next to the instructions further detailing how to use the mop. In addition, they enjoyed the lightweight design once they began using the mop to pick up stains.
Notably, this pick works on flooring and fabric. This means you can use the detachable handheld steamer on all your upholstery, curtains, and even clothes. The replacement pads make it easy to switch out the cleaning pad if you've steam cleaned through a muddy spot on the floor and then would like to switch to a different task. Our tester noted that the head easily turned on flat surfaces, which could make it difficult to get into tight spaces—but, "a benefit is that a larger space can be cleaned more quickly," they added. The pump inside the tank makes a sound and vibrates when the tank runs out of water, too, which they noted is a great feature.
The only potential problem that we encountered during testing was a minor one: "My only issue was the head of the mop kept flipping up when passing over sticky stains, such as the chocolate milk and syrup," our tester said. But, the other positive features and price tag of this pick outweigh this negative, making this steam mop our top one overall.
Price at time of publish: $70
Bissell 1940 PowerFresh Steam Mop
Multiple steam settings
Includes scrubber brush
Generously-sized water tank
No additional accessories
Directions not included
The Bissell 1940 PowerFresh Steam Mop works on most hard floors including sealed hardwood, marble, granite, ceramic, linoleum, and laminate floors. It produces three levels of steam on demand (unlike many other models that produce continuous steam). That, combined with the flip-down easy scrubber brush, earns this option top marks for getting out tough, dried-on messes. Plus, it delivers this powerful performance at a reasonable price. Our tester noted, "The price is $18 less than the median price of all steam mops tested." The mop features a handy removable scrubber brush, too.
Otherwise, this steam mop doesn't come with any extra accessories, except for Bissell fragrance discs to leave your floors smelling fresh, so it's not the most heavy-duty, feature-filled option on the market. It does, however, have a nice, 16-ounce water tank that will get you through all of your messes. "This steam mop did a really good job of completely removing the stains," our tester reported. It took them less than 10 passes to remove spills on tile and concrete. "All grout stains were removed with the exception of the hot sauce," they added, noting, "The removable easy scrubber was used for this." Grout cleaner was a boost, too.
While the lack of directions left a bit to be desired—none were included, and our tester printed what they found online—if you're looking for something that's affordable, reliable, and easy to use, this Bissell mop is a great and effective option.
Price at time of publish: $93
Best for Attachments
BLACK+DECKER HSMC1361SGP 7-in-1 3-Speed Multipurpose Steam Cleaner
Comes with steam glove and other accessories
Heats up quickly
Some leaking from water tank
The BLACK+DECKER 7-in-1 Multipurpose Steam Cleaner not only performed well in our testing in The Lab, but it comes with multiple attachments and can switch from an upright to a handheld steamer in just seconds. Its outstanding performance and versatility really make it a standout product. Once we put this steam mop to the test, it "cleaned all the stains with relative ease; the lighter soils and stains requiring only two passes and the toughest stains requiring no more than 10 passes," as noted by our tester. They added that "because the steam was dispersed over the entire pad and the unit is very maneuverable, cleaning in the corners was easy and effective."
Besides being easy-to-use and effective, this steam mop comes with a plethora of attachments and tools that really make it a multipurpose cleaning system. While it's on the expensive side, this single purchase can replace several household tools. Your purchase comes with a 2-in-1 steam mop and handheld steamer, a grout tool, a copper brush, a plastic brush, an adjustable steam nozzle, an accessory hose, a steam glove accessory, a fabric steamer, and replaceable pads for the mop and steam glove.
The steam glove is an especially intuitive and clever solution that helps you access hard-to-reach spots that an upright or handheld appliance can't, and also apply more dedicated pressure to tough stains. A bit of advice from our tester, though: "The instructions are daunting due to the number of attachments provided." Our tester also noted that there was some leaking when the reservoir was at max capacity, and especially when the handheld component was detached and held overhead, so be warned that you might need to adjust and accommodate.
All in all, if you're looking for a steam mop that can get your floors clean and do so much more, opt for the BLACK+DECKER 7-in-1 Multipurpose Steam Cleaner.
Price at time of publish: $200
Bissell 1806 PowerFresh Deluxe Steam Mop
Effective cleaning abilities
Has a power switch
Replacement scent pads cost extra
Emptying excess water can be cumbersome
Having a lightweight appliance in your household makes cleaning less of a workout and more of a satisfying and fun task you get to do. "This mop made steam mopping enjoyable, if it can be believed," our tester raved. "The price was fair and the mop exceeded my expectations in terms of how well it cleaned." It was a standout for effectiveness, taking only three slow passes to completely remove sticky, dried-on maple syrup in The Lab. "The same task took most other models anywhere from 12, up to 60 passes," noted our tester. The 12-inch cleaning path ensures you can move quickly over your floors, too.
Another perk? The on-off button, "which was woefully absent in most of the steam mops I tested," added our tester. "Being able to turn the steam mop off even while its plugged in should be standard in every small appliance!" The accessories were built right into the mop, too, so you don't have to find extra storage or make cumbersome adjustments when you're in the middle of cleaning. The included scent discs were also a big hit, and left a lovely smell in our testing space.
Ultimately, "this mop outperformed so many other higher-priced models," our tester said. While it doesn't come with a multitude of extra attachments, the smart design choices, efficient cleaning, and easy maneuverability still make it a standout.
Price at time of purchase: $103
Best for All Floor Types
Bissell 1544A PowerFresh Lift-Off Pet Steam Mop
Can function as a handheld steamer
Easy to set up
Heavy, not as maneuverable as some
Potentially difficult to store
Steam isn’t just helpful for floors—it also can be used to clean numerous other areas of your home, which is why you may want to consider a feature-packed pick like this one. "I was tempted to find other ways to test this steam mop after I completed testing," noted our tester. "Mopping with [it] was so much fun, I didn't want to stop."
This versatile tool includes a lift-off pod that you can take the handle off of, essentially transforming it into a handheld steamer. It comes with 13 additional attachments that allow you to use it on everything from curtains to grout, including a window squeegee, a fabric steamer, a grout tool, a flat scraper, an extension hose, fragrant discs, and more. According to our tester, "it glides over hard surfaces easily, and has a glider for carpet steaming. The accessories allow for cleaning in difficult areas as well, so it's easy to get to a lot of small areas other mops might miss." That said, our tester did add, "It performed so well, but the weight and the clunky maneuverability could be improved upon."
While this is slightly above the median cost of the tested steam mops, this mop ultimately performed better than many other higher-priced models. Just take note that it's a bit bulkier than other options and thus harder to store. You'll likely need to keep it in a dedicated space in your laundry room or utility closet. Another important note is that, while this steam mop is marketed for pet owners, some experts warn against using steamers on untreated pet urine because the heat can further set the stain and odor into your carpet . Of course, as most pet owners know, our furry friends can get into plenty of other messes to make this a worthy choice.
Price at time of publish: $145
Best for Tile Floors
Hoover Steam Complete Pet Steam Mop
Multiple useful attachments
Heats up and cools down quickly
Especially effective on grout
Design of brush leads to rolling and stretching
The Hoover Steam Complete Pet Mop is another great choice, especially if you have tile floors in your home. "My favorite thing was the attachments that cleaned the grout (remarkably better than other units I tested)," our tester said. They also praised the variety and usefulness of the attachments in general, as well as the mop's efficient heat-up and cool-down times. In fact, our tester observed that "the cool down was immediate." The many attachments also allow you to tackle your windows, upholstery, stovetops, and more.
Like other picks, this steam mop does take some getting used to as you're using it around your space. Our tester found it hard to maneuver around a chair because the mop head kept stretching out. The weight of the the steam mop and overall design made it very portable, though, even with the two tanks completely filled. And yes, two tanks means extra water capacity—it holds up to 18 ounces in total.
All in all, our tester believed this mop was a great value, though, based off of their entire experience. It heated up quickly, cleaned the stains in the grout effectively, and came with a great set of attachments. They could get past the mop head issue with ease.
Price at time of publish: $83
Our top pick for a steam mop is the PurSteam 10-in-1 Steam Mop Cleaner, because it has everything you need to clean your home. It's easy to use, it comes with multiple attachments, and it heats up almost instantly. You might also want to consider a more budget-friendly choice, the Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop. It delivers a powerful clean at a fraction of the price of other steam mops on the market, and features multiple steam settings.
Other Options We Tested
Shark Steam Mop Hard Floor Cleaner S1000: Shark products have a great reputation, so we were optimistic about this sleek and streamlined model. While there are some definite perks, we found that it just wasn't a top performer when compared to other brands and models. "The mop pad attaches and detaches very easy, but this is a problem because the mop pad rolls under the mop when you move it over the tile floor," our tester observed. Plus, it wasn't as effective as we would have liked. "The mop took a lot of pumps with the handle to get the pad wet enough to remove the stains." However, at $63, it was priced well below the median, and our tester still thought this was a fair price.
Shark S5003D Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System Pocket Steam Mop: This steam mop also performed well, and was competitive with a number of options named above. However, it ultimately didn't earn one of our top spots since our tester ran into a few hiccups with it. They overfilled it the first time due to some unclear instructions. Our tester also would have preferred a stand to help it stay in place—plus, an on-off button instead of indicator lights.
BLACK+DECKER Classic Steam-Mop HSM13E1: Another option that had positive features, but not enough to garner a top spot is this pick from BLACK+DECKER. Unfortunately, it didn't remove stains to our satisfaction, and posed a potential safety issue. "[The pad] stuck to the syrup portion of the test and had to be moved back into place," our tester explained. Notably, this could easily result in burns if you tried to re-attach the pad while the hot steam was coming out.
True & Tidy Heavy Duty Steam Mop STM-500: This mop proved to be good, but not great, during our testing process. "This mop would be great for everyday, light-duty work," our tester said, but they didn't think they could recommend it for tough stains or higher-traffic areas. "I had the steam mop on max steam, and if you left it over a stain for 30 seconds to a minute on max, the stain came up a lot faster. Even when doing that, it still took a lot of passes to get the stain up." If you had the opportunity to use or borrow this mop, you'd probably find it to be a helpful tool, but when it comes to value, you can find more high-performing models at similar costs.
How We Tested the Steam Mops
We've tested dozens of steam mops in The Lab and at home to find the best ones available. During our hands-on process at The Lab, we timed the setup of each mop, and made note of how long it took each mop to heat up and be ready for use. We evaluated each model's effectiveness on both tile and concrete stained with: hot sauce, chocolate milk, syrup, and dirt. We noted how many passes it took to clean up a stain, working with the steam mop's various features and attachments. We considered each mop's overall ease of use, noting how clear the instructions were and how smooth the setup process proved to be.
Portability, or how easy and comfortable it was to carry the steam mop around, was also considered, along with maneuverability, which we determined based on whether or not the mop was well-designed to get into crevices and corners, and how easily it could clean around obstacles. Finally, value was considered, with specific attention to how well the product performed, and if it was or wasn't worth the listed price based on our entire experience. Once testing was complete, our editors reviewed the results and boiled them down to the steam mops we believe are the best.
What to Look for in a Steam Mop
Water Tank Capacity
Water tank capacity is important because it determines how much you can clean at one time. How do you know what size you might need? Consider what areas you’ll be cleaning regularly. If you have a larger home, choose a mop with a capacity of around 16 ounces, so you can tackle a lot at once. If you have a smaller home or fewer spaces you intend to clean with your steam mop, a larger reservoir may mean a more cumbersome and heavy appliance, and a smaller reservoir could make more sense for you.
Most residential steam mops have a 12 to-15-ounce water tank capacity, and all of our picks range from 11 to 19 ounces. The highest-capacity steam mop we note is our "best for attachments" pick, the BLACK+DECKER 7-in-1 Multipurpose Steam Cleaner, at 19.2 ounces. It's followed by our "best for tile floors" pick, the Hoover Steam Complete Pet Mop. Thanks to two water tanks, it has an 18-ounce capacity.
"If you're going to invest in a steam cleaner, do the research and select a model you can actually use and maintain properly," says Melissa Homer, The Spruce's Cleaning Review Board member and Chief Cleaning Officer at MaidPro. "Beyond the maintenance, look for models with the most versatile attachments, largest tank, and highest wattage heater you can afford, as these key features will really determine how much usage you can truly get out of the machine." Your lifestyle and cleaning habits will also determine what will be effective for your household. For example, a home with two toddlers that love spaghetti and a big dog that loves puddles will have very different needs than an adults-only household with no pets.
Most of our picks should be effective for a variety of households and families. On that note, if you're looking for an all-around, tried and true choice, consider our "best overall" pick, the PurSteam 10-in-1 Steam Mop Cleaner, which you can use in multiple ways.
A basic steam mop is great for occasional cleaning jobs, but some options come with extra tools that make it easier to reach certain areas of your home. "If you have lots of nooks and crannies, be sure to opt for a steam mop with the proper attachments, and if you need to clean large spaces often, get one with a large water tank," says Kathy Cohoon, operations manager at Two Maids & A Mop.
Popular extras include grout tools, scrub brushes, squeegee tools, and even fabric steamers. Models with special nozzles for windows, blinds, countertops, and car upholstery are typically more expensive than your basic steam mop, but are also more versatile and could potentially replace some of your other cleaning tools. Our "best for attachments" pick, the BLACK+DECKER 7-in-1 Multipurpose Steam Cleaner, includes 11 attachments, including an intuitive steam glove.
A steam mop that is too cumbersome to use, or that tires your arm out after just a few minutes, will not do you much good in the long run. For each of our picks, we considered how easy it is (or isn't) to move the tool and clean with it around your space. The item's size and weight are the main factors that influence how easy they are to move, but there are design elements to consider, too, like wheels or an included stand, so you can easily set the mop down.
We heartily agree with our tester who lamented the absence of on-off switches on many steam mops. As it turns out, it's not uncommon for the electrical cord to be the mop's main power switch. Or, in some cases, the power switch can be encased in plastic, making it more inconvenient. We love to see a tool with easy, accessible buttons or switchers that simplify its on-off process. Notably, our "best lightweight" recommendation, the Bissell 1806 PowerFresh Deluxe Steam Mop, has an easy button placement that excited our tester.
If you're in the middle of using your steam mop, there's a whole host of reasons you may not want to set it down on the floor. A stand, or at least a carefully balanced design, helps with this issue, but these features are, unfortunately, not standard with every mop. Among the picks here, our tester appreciated our "best budget" pick, the Bissell 1940 PowerFresh Steam Mop's, stand in particular. They said it "made it easier to insert the water tank."
How do you use a steam mop?
Once you've vacuumed, prepare your steam mop by filling the water tank with distilled water and letting it heat up. Katie Berry, The Spruce's Cleaning Review Board member, notes, "Filtered water, such as that from a Brita or fridge dispenser, is also fine—the idea is just to ensure there are no minerals like those in water directly from the tap." The minerals can build up in your appliance, compromising its effectiveness and lifespan.
Your steam mop will usually let you know when it's ready to go (typically by a light on the handle). Choose your desired level of steam output, starting with the lowest setting. If you have a tough stain to tackle, work your way up to a stronger output. If your pad becomes dirty, have clean ones on hand to change out while using. That way, you won't be smearing any excess dirt or grime onto the floor.
Steam mops come in different shapes and sizes, and most have an adjustable steam output. However, you'll want to think about the task you're trying to complete before you starting it. "Steam mops are typically not the best for dealing with dust, hair, and other dry debris on floors, so be sure to sweep and/or vacuum before steam-mopping for best results," says Cohoon. "Also, be sure to leave adequate dry time for floors to ensure the shiniest sparkle."
Are steam mops good on all types of floors?
Steam mops should only be used on sealed floors, since excess moisture can cause damage to other kinds of surfaces. Generally, steam mops are safe to use on vinyl, linoleum, ceramic or porcelain tile, some types of sealed hardwood, and some laminate flooring. If you're unsure about whether you can use a steam mop on your particular floors, check with the flooring manufacturer.
If you'd like to test sealed hardwood floors to see whether it's safe to use a steam mop on them, you can do so by dripping a few drops of water onto the floor. If, after five minutes, the water hasn't been absorbed into the floor, it's probably safe to use a steam mop. However, Berry stresses: "Avoid using a steam mop on any flooring that has warped or which has gaps." The steam can seep through into those areas and cause damage to the subfloor and trap moisture, which can lead to mold.
Can you put floor cleaner in a steam mop?
Although there are some dual-function steam mops on the market that use both water and cleaning solution, for most models, you should not put floor cleaner in a steam mop. Most steam mops are designed to be used with water and nothing else. The hot, high-powered steam does a great job of cleaning surfaces on its own.
Do you put hot or cold water in a steam mop?
A general rule of thumb is to use cold water in your steam mop. Remember, the mop is programmed to perform the heating process quickly and efficiently. However, there are other recommendations. "Always use distilled water in your steamer, even if the manufacturer says you can use tap water. Tap water can leave mineral deposits inside the machine that eventually clog the steam holes and make it stop working." says Homer.
Can you use a steam mop on pet odors and stains?
We don't recommend it, because the heat can potentially worsen your situation by further setting the stain and smells into your carpet or upholstery fibers. Although the industry is a bit divided on the topic, with many brands and steamers marketing to pet owners and promising trouble-free results, we still recommend steam-free methods for taking care of pet messes.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was originally written by Anne Fritz, a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience covering home topics. It was later updated by Erin Johnson, a commerce editor at The Spruce who focuses on appliances, cleaning, and organization, and Dena Ogden, a lifestyle and commerce writer who’s been writing professionally since 2016, and with The Spruce since August 2022.
For this roundup, Dena sorted through testing data from The Lab, and considered each steam mop's ease of use, steam output, capacity, additional features, practicality, and customer reviews. Additional insight was provided by two of The Spruce's Cleaning Review Board members: Melissa Homer, Chief Cleaning Officer at MaidPro, and Katie Berry, an internationally recognized home-cleaning expert and the author of 30 Days to a Clean and Organized House. Kathy Cohoon, operations manager at Two Maids & A Mop, offered additional insight into what to look for when purchasing a steam mop, and helpful features to keep in mind.
What Is Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce. we want to ensure that we fully stand behind every product we recommend and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all of these products ourselves, though occasionally, we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.