Apart from redesigned aesthetics, the Shark Genius Steam Pocket is essentially the Shark Lift-Away Pro but without all of the extra cleaning accessories. That lack of extra features bumps the price down from $160 to $120. This makes it a more economical option for those that want to take advantage of the great cleaning performance and the hands-free cleaning pad changing that both of these mops offer, but don't have interest in cleaning anything but floors with steam. However, that hands-free pad changing really only comes in handy if you have a lot of tile and/or stone flooring in your house (more than a kitchen and 2 bathrooms), or you consistently have to clean up lots of mud and grime that will quickly soil cleaning pads. If you don't fit into either of those categories, we would suggest you save a bit of money with the $90 Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe. In general, it cleans just as well as the Steam Pocket and has a scrubbing brush that makes it better for stubborn stains. It just doesn't offer hands-free pad changing, so you'll have to wait for it to cool down if you need to change pads in the middle of cleaning.
Shark Genius Steam Pocket Review
Pros: Very good cleaning performance, hands-free pad changing
Cons: Somewhat expensive, no scrubbing brush
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Shark Genius Steam Pocket is the least expensive option we've found with a hand-free pad changing feature. This makes it a good choice for those that have a lot of tile or stone to mop, or are constantly cleaning very big messes. Otherwise, there are options available that clean just as well and cost less, but don't have hands-free pad changing.
The Shark Genius Steam Pocket did well across the board in our testing, falling relatively short only in the features category, as it doesn't have many accessories. This resulted in a fairly high overall score.
The Genius Steam Pocket shined in our cleaning testing, earning one of the top scores.
We found the Genius Steam Pocket to produce high powered, even steam in our testing. This meant that anything touched by any part of the cleaning pad, even the extreme edges of it, got a good dose of steam. In terms of general cleaning, this put it even with its sibling, the Shark Lift-Away Pro, and the Editors/ Choice winning Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe.
When it comes to stubborn stains the Genius Steam Pocket was good, but not the best. It does have a burst of steam feature that we found to be moderately successful at loosening stubborn stains. However, we found that truly cleaning those kinds of stains still requires old fashioned elbow grease and scrubbing. This mop did make cleaning these stains a bit easier, but we still had to get down and do some scrubbing with a brush or sponge. In contrast, the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe has a scrubbing brush built-in, so you can scrub while the steam is doing its work. You can also scrub in a mostly upright position as the brush is towards the end of the mop.
The Genius Steam Pocket does have 3 different steam setting, from low to high. This allows you to not fill your kitchen with steam for cleaning up a small mess. It also means you can somewhat reduce the risk of damage if you feel the need to use your mop on less than ideal surfaces. However, we'd like to reiterate that we would only use a steam mop on sealed tile or stone floors, and nothing else. Most models do have this feature, with the Shark Steam Pocket (not the genius version) and the Pure Enrichment PureClean XL Rolling being notable exceptions.
Like its sibling, the Shark Lift-Away Pro, the Genius Steam Pocket earned the top score of 9 out of 10 in our user friendliness testing.
The Shark Lift-Away Pro offers pretty much everything you want in a steam mop user experience. It has a clear water tank with a large, easy to fill opening. It can go from zero to steam temperature in less than a minute. It has simple buttons for changing the steam level and using the burst of steam feature. And, to top it all off, it has a fairly simple hands-free pad changing feature. All you need to do is press a button to release the old pad, throw the new pad on the floor, slide the cleaning head in, flip it forward and back to lock it in and you're good to go.
The only slight downside of the Genius Steam Pocketis the relatively small, 350ml water tank. However, the tank is so easy to fill, and it heats up so quickly, that this doesn't feel limiting. Also, we were usually able to get through cleaning a kitchen and 2 bathrooms on 1 tank, so it likely won't be an issue at all for most people.
The Genius Steam Pocket was amongst the most maneuverable of all the models we tested.
The rectangular cleaning head of the Genius Steam Pocket swivels deftly enough and provides even enough steam that we had no trouble getting into tight corners and under cabinets. The cord is also a generous 22 feet, so you generally won't have to switch outlets too much. We also found the cleaning head to glide very smoothly and not require too much effort to slide around.
The only minor maneuverability shortcoming of the Genius Steam Pocket is that the rectangular cleaning head can't really get into acute corners. However, corners in houses are rarely less than 90˚, so this won't be an issue for the vast amount of people. If you do have any acute corners the trapezoidal head of the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe or the optional triangular head of the Shark Lift-Away Pro will likely work a bit better for you.
When it comes to special features, the adjustable steam level, the extra burst of steam, and hands-free pad changing are about all the Genius Steam Pocket offers. There aren't any additional cleaning accessories. While this isn't much, it is actually more than most mops, which earned it a slightly above average score. If you're looking for lots of cleaning accessories we would suggest upgrading to the Shark Lift-Away Pro.
At $120, the Shark Genius Steam Pocket is somewhat on the pricier side. However, it is also the cheapest model we've encountered with hands-free pad changing. If you have enough area or big enough messes to go through multiple cleaning pads in one session, this slightly higher price seems worth the added convenience. Otherwise, the $90 Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe is a better value.
The Shark Genius Steam Pocket is the least expensive option we've found for people that want or need hands-free pad changing.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata