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Anyone with pets or young kids will want to have a steam mop in their cleaning arsenal. Why? A steam mop is like your regular mop on steroids. It doesn’t simply push the water and dirt around your floor, and it doesn’t need to be rung out. Instead, it uses the power of steam to loosen dirt and grime, even stuck on stains to leave your floor spotless and—depending on the style of your mop—bacteria- and germ-free. Some work with simple tap water while others use cleaning solutions. It’s up to you and your cleaning style which you prefer.
Read on for our top picks.
Best Overall: Bissell 1940 PowerFresh Steam Mop
This top-selling steam mop works on most types of hard flooring, including sealed hardwood, marble, granite, ceramic, and linoleum. Unlike many other models that produce continuous steam, this one produces steam on demand to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and germs. That, combined with the flip-down easy scrubber brush, earns this mop top marks for getting out tough, dried on messes (think days old cat puke or spilled wine).
In addition to the steamer, you’ll get a number of tools to amp up your cleaning power, including bristle and grout tools, ones for tight angles, a bristle scrub brush, and a clothing steamer tool. It also comes with BISSELL fragrance disks to leave behind a fresh, not perfume-y scent.
"Arguably the best feature of the Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop is its water tank—a removable 16-ounce bottle that clicks into the unit. It was very easy to refill, much easier, in fact, than some of the more expensive models we’ve reviewed."—Brie Dyas, Product Tester
Best Multipurpose: Bissell 1544A PowerFresh Lift-Off Pet Steam Mop
Steam isn’t just helpful for cleaning floors! It can be used to clean numerous other areas of your home, which is why the Bissell PowerFresh Lift-Off Pet Steamer is a worthwhile investment. This steam mop comes with a variety of additional attachments that allow you to use it on everything from curtains to grout.
This versatile tool includes a “Lift-Off Pod” that you can take off the handle, essentially transforming it into a handheld steamer. There are 13 attachments included with the machine, including a window squeegee, fabric steamer, grout tool, flat scraper, extension hose, and more. No matter what surface you use it on, the Bissell PowerFresh Lift-Off will kill 99.9 percent of germs without the use of harsh chemicals. Many users love the versatility of this product, saying it makes cleaning quick, easy, and almost fun.
"What’s great about this product is it’s more versatile than your average steam mop. The body detaches from the handle, which allowed us to use it as a handheld device with several different attachments, including a steam brush, scraper, and squeegee. We found these brushes handy for cleaning grout and kitchen appliances."—Brie Dyas, Product Tester
Best for Tile: Shark Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System Pocket (S5003D) Steam Mop
Tile floors can get fairly dirty, especially if they’re in the bathroom or a high-traffic area. However, you can keep your tile and grout looking fresh with a tool like the Shark Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System. This steam mop features unique double-sided pads that allow you to clean further, and you’ll love the touch-free release that saves you from handling damp, dirty cleaning pads.
There are several features that make the Shark Genius worth every penny. It includes a “Steam Blaster” option that you can use to target tough messes and dirty grout, and its dual-sided pads are incredibly absorbent. You never have to touch dirty cleaning pads thanks to the unique release system—simply drop them off the mop into the laundry to wash. Users write that this mop is easy to use right out of the box, and many note it cleans further than other comparable steam mops thanks to its large water tank and double-sided pads.
"The blackened mop pad is proof that the Shark steam mop really does clean floors. Our one complaint is that we wish that it took less effort to scrub; we really had to push hard to remove anything stuck to the floor."—Brie Dyas, Product Tester
Best Splurge: Hoover Professional Series FloorMate Deluxe Hard Floor Cleaner
There’s nothing worse than having a kid in muddy sneakers or a four-legged friend walk across your freshly mopped floor. With its dual washing and drying capabilities, Hoover's Professional Series FloorMate Hard Floor Cleaner is a great solution. This all-in-one cleaner will eliminate the need for handheld mops, buckets, and dust brooms.
One of its standout features is its SpinScrub brushes, which rotate to wash and scrub floors from all different angles. They're also pretty gentle, so you can use them on more delicate surfaces like sealed wood, vinyl, tile, and grout. If you're attacking high-traffic areas (or a particularly stubborn mess), you can activate the Clean Boost Control, which applies extra detergent to difficult spots. The dual tank system separates your clean and used water, so you won't end up spreading dirty water right back on your floors—an issue that often arises with your standard rope mop.
Best for Hardwood: O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop
The O-Cedar steam mop is a cult favorite both for its ease of use and stellar cleaning abilities, especially when it comes to hardwood floors. Using only water, it kills 99.9 percent of bacteria (even E. coli), leaving floors sanitized and sparkling clean.
The secret? Its microfiber mop heads, which are made of millions of tiny synthetic fibers. When put into action, they loosen and turn into veritable dirt and bacteria magnets. The mop heats up in only 20 seconds after you plug it in, and features an adjustable steam level for ultimate control. Its triangular shape allows you to get into every nook and cranny in your house—and once you're done, just toss the mop heads in your washer and dryer for next time.
Best for Laminate Floors: Shark Steam Pocket Mop Hard Floor Cleaner
This powerful steam mop offers three different settings—dust, mop, and scrub— so not only is there a level for every type of job, but it’s also safe to use on most floorings, including laminate.
Ready to go in less than a minute after plugging it in, this mop cleans and sanitizes with regular tap water (so you won't have to invest in any additional supplies). The reusable mop pads are double-sided, so you get more cleaning mileage out of each use—whether it's a quick everyday wipe or a deep clean.
The best overall steam mop is the Bissell 1940 PowerFresh Steam Mop, which is lightweight, easy to fill, and fairly priced. Depending on your needs, you can choose from three different steam settings for use on all sealed floors. If you’re looking for a more versatile option, the Bissell PowerFresh Pet Lift-Off Steam Mop has a 10-in-1 design that allows you to clean hard floors, glass, grout, and more.
What to Look for in a Steam Mop
Consider what areas you’ll be cleaning regularly. A larger reservoir means a more cumbersome appliance, but if you have a big area to clean, you’ll spend less time refilling the tank.
Do you have kids or pets? If so, look for a model with an adjustable steam output so you can crank up the heat when you need to tackle tough stains.
A basic steam mop will do for occasional cleaning jobs, but some options come with extra tools that make it easier to reach certain areas of your home. Models with special nozzles for windows, blinds, countertops, and car upholstery are more expensive but more versatile.