The Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe is both the most effective steam mop we tested, and one of the easiest to use. This combo made it a shoe-in for our Editors' Choice Award. Its scrubbing brush in particular set it apart from the rest of the field, making it the best model we've found for cleaning really stubborn stains. Top all that off with convenient controls, an easy to fill water tank, and a cleaning head that easily gets into hard-to-reach corners, and you have a top notch steam mop. It even sells for a relatively inexpensive $90. This mop's only flaw is the fact that it does not offer hands-free cleaning pad replacement. If you have a lot of area to clean, or often need to clean up significant messes, you might want to consider the Shark Lift-Away Pro instead. Though this mop costs nearly twice as much, it does let you change cleaning pads without having to wait for the mop to cool down. This saves lots of time for cleaning up big messes or large areas. The Lift-Away also nearly equals the Bissell's overall performance, so you're not making much of a sacrifice there.
Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe Review
Pros: Powerful, maneuverable, great scrubbing brush, reasonably priced
Cons: No hands-free cleaning pad changing, few accesorries
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe is the first, and in many cases the only steam mop we would recommend to most people. Its combination of great performance and relatively low price means it checks pretty much all of our boxes. In our opinion the only reasons to even consider a different mop is if you have a lot of area to clean (more than the standard kitchen and 2 bathrooms), if you find yourself frequently mopping very dirty floors, or if you want something with accessories for steam cleanign surfaces other than floors.
The Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe came out on top in our testing, earning the top overall score. For more information on its specific performance in each one of our tests, read on below.
The Bissell was the most effective mop we tested when it came to cleaning, largely due to its aggressive scrub brush attachment. This earned it the top score of 9 out of 10.
When doing standard cleaning, the Bissell provides nice, even steam that easily cuts through everyday messes. It even has a small scrub brush on the back of the cleaning head, so you just need to lower the mop a bit in order to do some moderate scrubbing for more stubborn stains. In this manner it cleans about as well as other top scoring models like the Shark Lift-Away Pro and the Shark Genius Steam Pocket.
Where the Bissell really sets itself apart is its large scrubbing brush (not the small one on the main cleaning head, it has a hefty scrubbing brush as well). You can remove the main cleaning head of this mop to expose this large scrubbing brush. It is quite stiff and capable of attacking really stubborn stains. It is also placed towards the end of the mop, allowing you to apply some elbow grease while standing and not hunching over too much. Some other models, like the Shark Lift-Away Pro, have similar brushes, but they attach at the end of a hose. This means you'll have to be on your hands and knees if you want to scrub something on the floor. We also found the Bissell's brush to be more capable at removing stubborn stains than any other model.
Finally, the Bissell allows you to adjust its steam output so you can lower it for small messes and ramp it when necessary. This is not a necessary feature, but if you want to clean floors that aren't ideal for steam mops, like wood or laminate, it's vital to be able to turn the steam power down (note: we would not recommend using a steam mop on any floor surface except tile and stone, but if you insist on doing so you'll want to turn the steam down as low as possible). It's also nice to not turn the kitchen into a sauna every time you want to clean up a small mess. Most models have this feature, with the low-priced Shark Steam Pocket and the very large Pure Enrichment PureClean XL Rolling being notable exceptions.
The Bissell also provides 2 'scent discs' that can be placed in a slot on the cleaning head to give the steam a light, fresh scent. This does make things smell nice, but we certainly wouldn't pony up to buy more than the 2 provided discs. Also, many people are interested in steam mops to reduce the use of chemical cleaners, and the scent discs run somewhat against that goal.
The Bissell offered one of the best user experiences of all the mops we tested. In fact, the only mops that scored higher than the Bissell in this metric were ones that offer hands-free pad changing, which is only useful in certain situations.
The Bissell uses simple buttons to control its steam output. Other than that you don't need to do anything to release the steam. This is much better than models like the Shark Steam Pocket that utilizes a small pump to release the steam. The water tank has a large opening and is very easy to fill. It even has a detachable measuring cup with a spout so you can easily get the right amount of water, and don't have to search around for a cup to fill the water tank with. The tank itself is clear, so you can tell at a glance how much water is left. That seems like a basic feature, but models like the Pure Enrichment PureClean XL Rolling and the O-Cedar Microfiber have opaque tanks, so you can never tell how much water you actually have left. The Bissell's tank capacity of 450ml felt adequate for us, as we were able to clean a moderately messy kitchen and two bathrooms on a single tank. The water also gets up to temperature in less than a minute, so even if you have to refill the tank you won't be wasting too much time.
Bissell also added some thoughtful design touches to its scrubbing brush, which is accessed by removing the cleaning head from the main body. There is a small foot pedal on the back of the cleaning head that you can depress to release the cleaning head, then when you're done scrubbing you can just slide the main body back onto the cleaning head, all without having to bend over or get your hands anywhere near the steam.
The one place where the Bissell falls a bit short is the fact that it doesn't offer hands-free cleaning pad changing. For most people this won't be a huge inconvenience, as we've found that most standard messy floors can be cleaned with a single pad. However, if your floors are particularly messy, or you have a lot of area to clean, you may have to change pads in the middle. For the Bissell, this means you'll have to wait a few minutes while the machine cools down enough for you to safely touch and remove the pad. Models like the Shark Lift-Away Pro offer hands-free pad changing, so you can just change pads on the go without waiting for anything to cool down. However, this feature does come at a higher price.
The Bissell was one of the most maneuverable models we tested, sharing the top score of 8 out of 10.
The smooth mop head combined with good steam power allowed the Bissell to easily glide over every surface we cleaned. The trapezoidal shape and low profile of the cleaning head also allowed us to easily get into tight corners and under the edges of low kitchen cabinets. The steam distribution was even enough that these hard-to-reach places got clean. It also has the longest power cord of any of the models we tested at 25 feet.
Overall we found most of the mops we tested to be reasonably maneuverable, so the Bissell isn't exactly a standout. However, it is clearly better than models like the O-Cedar Microfiber and the Shark Steam Pocket, which don't glide as easily and have oddly shaped cleaning heads that can't get into corners as easily.
The Bissell is somewhat spartan when it comes to extra features. It doesn't come with any additional mop heads (besides a coarser scrubbing pad, which seems a little redundant considering how good the scrubbing brush is). It also doesn't have a hose or any of the accessories that would come with one (like attachments to clean your stovetop or other surfaces that won't be damaged by steam). It does have that scrubbing brush that we love so much, and it does allow you to adjust the steam level, but that's about it. It was still enough to earn the Bissell a slightly above average score in this metric, as most mops have few if any extra features.
If you're looking for something with a lot of extra features, we would recommend the Shark Lift-Away Pro. It has plenty of attachments for all your cleaning needs. However, it also costs nearly twice as much as the Bissell.
The Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe lists for $90, which is very middle-of-the-road when it comes to steam mops. This is a rare instance where we would almost call the Bissell a double winner of both the Editors' Choice and Best Buy Awards, as all of the less expensive models pale in comparison and, in one way or the other, the Bissell is better than all of the higher-priced models.
The Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe is both high performing and reasonably priced, making it the best choice for the vast majority of those looking for a steam mop. The only reasons to look elsewhere is if you want a mop with a lot of different cleaning attachments or have very large areas to clean, though these abilities will end up consting you quite a bit more.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata