Both the cheapest and least appealing of Shark's offerings, the Steam Pocket failed to impress us in our testing. Annoyances with steam dispersion, water tank filling, and cleaning pad removal left us wishing we'd saved the money and bought a standard mop instead. Though the $80 price tag is certainly appealing, we personally would either save money and just use a standard mop or pony up a just a little extra cash for the $90 Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe, which is a far superior product. We don't mean to totally discount the Steam Pocket, it does a decent job of cleaning, we just don't feel it offers enough of an advantage over a standard mop to justify the extra cost.
Shark Steam Pocket Review
Pros: Decent cleaning performance
Cons: Hard to fill water tank, poor steam distribution
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Putting up average to below average performances in all of our tests, the Shark Steam Pocket ended up as one of the lowest ranked mops we tested. For details on all of its shortcomings, and its few relative strengths, read on below.
The Steam Pocket cleans well enough, but not nearly as efficiently as the top scoring models. It also has trouble with stubborn stains. This earned it an average score of 5 out of 10.
On tile and stone flooring, the Steam Pocket was able to eliminate regular dirt and grime in our testing without too much fuss. However, its steam is not as evenly distributed, making the edges of the cleaning pad less effective than the center. This translates into more passes to get the floor clean. This problem isn't present in more capable models like the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe or this mop's big sibling, the Shark Genius Steam Pocket. These models create more even steam, so the edges of the cleaning pad are just as efficient in terms of cleaning as the center of the pad.
For stubborn stains the Steam Pocket is, in the end, only a minor help. The steam certainly helps loosen stains a bit, but in every case we had to finish the job by getting on the floor and scrubbing with a sponge or brush. While all steam mops are still going to require some elbow grease to get stains out, others require less than the Steam Pocket. Both the Genius version of this mop and the Shark Lift-Away Pro can shoot an extra burst of steam to better loosen stains. The Bissell has an attached scrubbing brush so you can scrub while the steam is hitting the stain, and can do so in a mostly upright position.
The Steam Pocket is also one of the few mops we tested that cannot adjust its steam output. We would not recommend using any steam mop on anything but a tile or stone floor, but that recommendation goes double for the Steam Pocket, as you can't turn the steam down to reduce the risk of floor damage.
The Steam Pocket isn't particularly difficult to use, but we found some salient annoyances that somewhat sullied our cleaning experience. This resulted in another average score of 5 out of 10.
This mop's water tank capacity is 450ml, which feels adequate (the average is around 425). However, the tank is opaque, so you never know how much water is left. Most models have clear tanks so you can get an idea of how much water is left at a glance. The cleaning pad attaches via velcro. We found this to be the least convenient attachment methodology, as it requires you to get a good grip on the grimy cleaning pad in order to remove it. In contrast, the Bissell has an elastic connection with a pull tab to remove it, and both the Genius Steam Pocket and the Lift-Away Pro allow for hands-free pad changing.
The Steam Pocket also has an odd pump design, where you actually have to pump the handle up and down multiple times to get steam to come out. It usually took around 10 pumps to get the steam moving. Once steam was flowing, the normal back and forth motion of mopping provided all of the pumping power needed. This is the only mop that requires any kind of pumping, so this felt somewhat odd.
The Steam Pocket was just a bit above average in our testing when it came to maneuverability, earning a score of 6 out of 10.
This mop glides relatively smoothly, noticeably better than models like the O-Cedar Microfiber or the Pure Enrichment PureClean XL Rolling, but nowhere near as smooth as models like the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe or the more expensive offerings from Shark. The cleaning head is pretty much retangular (it has very slight angles that technically make it a trapezoid) which is fine for getting into most corners. However, due to poor steam distribution if is very hard to really get steam into corners and along edges. The better steam distribution of models like the Bissell and the Genius Steam Pocket are much more effective in this regard. The cord length of 20' is around average and feels adequate.
The Steam Pocket essentially has no extra features apart from including 2 cleaning pads, earning it one of the lowest scores in this metric.
We feel that the Shark Steam Pocket is a poor overall value at $80. In every way it is a mediocre steam mop, and for just $10 more you can get an exceptional steam mop in the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe.
Like all the mops we tested, The Shark Steam Pocket does a decent job of cleaning, but a number of user friendliness issues make it one of our least favorite mops.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata