Sick of scrubbing with subpar tools? We lined up 13 of the best steam mops available today and scoured hundreds of square feet of stone, tile, and synthetic flooring to find out which will remove the pain of keeping your home clean. Pushed to their max against tough pet stains, kitchen messes, and grimy multi-year build-up, these mops did their best to clean it all. We tested them on floors, in showers, under furniture, and around corners. We measured tanks and cords and tested every accessory. Whether you're trying to wipe down a single muddy entryway or deep clean an entire home's worth of grout, we've got the right steam mop for your house and your wallet.
The Bissell PowerFresh is a formidable contender in a competitive class of steam mops. Its user-friendly design and quick heating make it a handy go-to for quick clean-up. The mop's powerful and consistent steam output, smooth gliding motion, and nimble head make cleaning hard-to-reach areas a breeze. The washable elastic mop head covers are easy to remove and replace. Additionally, the PowerFresh boasts a handy fold-down scrub brush at the back of the mop head to tackle stubborn stains easily.
While the PowerFresh is a great steam mop, it falls short in the attachment department. The model is designed for floor cleaning and includes no attachments or features beyond its two washable pads, a carpet glide plate, and a built-in scrub brush. Although the mop head has an articulating neck that allows it to reach into the tightest of spots, the head design made it a bit more difficult to clean along baseboards than other models we've tested. That said, if you're looking for a steam mop that excels at cleaning up daily spills and dirt, the PowerFresh's stellar performance and competitive price make it an excellent choice.
If you're the type of cleaner who starts wiping the floors and then gets distracted by the grime in the shower grout, the Bissell PowerFresh Lift-Off Pet is the steam mop for you. This powerful steamer is painless to maneuver on just about any surface, reaching into corners and narrow spots with ease. The removable water tank lets you attach a host of included accessories to clean far more than just your floors. A foot-activated scrub brush on the back also enables you to spot clean without breaking stride.
However, for larger areas that need scrubbing, this quick-fix step brush isn't a long-term solution. The Lift-Off has a host of possible attachments for whatever you're hoping to steam clean, though swapping between them can be cumbersome because the tank must be removed first. Yet once the unit is set up, every one of its clever attachments does a great job getting things clean. If you're after the steam mop for more than just your floors, this is the one for you.
Cord Length: 16' plus 6'6" hose | Water Tank: 1600 ml
REASONS TO BUY
Industrial strength cleaning accessories
Massive water tank with great pressure
Easy to swap between attachments
REASONS TO AVOID
Head only pivots side to side
Crummy cleaning pads
The Dupray Neat Steam has one of the largest water tanks in the class, and that's just the beginning of what makes it an excellent choice for deep cleaning. Unlike most steam mop designs, this model puts the water tank on wheels like a canister vacuum, allowing you to trail it around while scrubbing. This design makes it easier to move around and makes swapping head attachments a breeze since the head is that much lighter. The array of swappable accessories also allows you to customize your stain removal tactics throughout various surfaces in the home.
The large water tank on the Dupray is a boon for big jobs, yet that larger water store takes longer to heat than most models we've tested. For instance, most mops are ready to steam in under a minute, while the Dupray requires 8 minutes to heat up. That's not the longest heating time we've seen, but it makes this model less likely to be used for a quick spot clean. Further hindering its ease of use is a mop head limited to lateral movements. This design oversight makes it more difficult to clean under cabinets and furniture. Finally, the unit's mop head pads soil quickly, requiring frequent swap-outs. Despite these design issues, we are fans of the useful scrubbing attachments and large water tank for big, tough messes.
The McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe steam mop is a versatile tool that excels at removing tough messes and stains over large areas. The unit's pressurized steam allows it to blast through problem areas, and it does particularly well on synthetic flooring as well as smooth concrete. The mop's vast array of brushes and attachments include a squeegee and nozzle (to name just a few). The rolling canister relieves the user of carrying the water, and the long hose makes extended reaches possible.
On the other hand, the McCulloch is a canister steam mop which is generally less convenient than an upright mop. The large volume of water is slow to heat up, taking around 12 minutes with a full tank. Although you can wheel the canister around, the unit's bulk makes it difficult to maneuver in tight areas. Lastly, the rounded edges of the large mop head make it hard to clean in tight corners. Despite the difficulties of managing the bulky McCulloch, it can't be beat when it comes to cleaning large areas or targeting trouble areas.
The Bissell Symphony steam cleans and vacuums simultaneously, allowing you to pick up debris and sanitize your kitchen floor in one fell swoop. For those who find themselves cleaning high-traffic areas several times a week, this can vastly cut down on overall cleaning time. Some do-it-all machines fall short, but the Symphony performs its double duties exceptionally well, keeping the contents of its dust tank dry, so it's easy to discard while still blasting away stuck-on filth and stains with steam. It comes with a scrubbing pad for extra stubborn stains, which easily cut through all of the set-in grime we threw at it during our testing. It's easy to turn off the steam and simply use this as a stick vacuum on your carpets, or you can purchase the carpet glide attachment to use the steam to deodorize your rugs.
If you need to clean up stubborn stains or deeply rooted grout grime, the relatively simplistic Symphony falls a little short. It lacks any additional accessories to really get into those harder areas or put extra elbow grease into serious stains. We're not particularly impressed with its performance on tile, without any scrubber pad, but it still does the job for everyday dirt. If you're more of a frequent-and-casual cleaner, this combo mop/vacuum may be exactly what you've been looking for to streamline your cleaning process.
We researched more than 50 mops for this review before compiling a list of the models most likely to serve our readers well. We then bought those mops and, as always, paid the list price (we never want to be swayed by gifts from manufacturers). Next, we brought them into our testing lab to run them through their paces. Testing involved creating controlled messes of mud, ketchup, and grime and making cleaning passes with each mop, one right next to the other. We also filled and refilled water tanks, changed and washed cleaning pads, timed heating cycles, and ran each mop into the tightest crevices and most acute corners we could find, all to assess relative user-friendliness and maneuverability. To top it all off, we used all of the extra bells and whistles each mop offers to discover whether these additional features might be helpful in the average home.
Our comprehensive testing is grouped into four weighted rating metrics:
Cleaning Performance (40% of overall score weighting)
Ease of Use (25% weighting)
Maneuverability (20% weighting)
Features (15% weighting)
This review is headed by veteran Research Analyst Michelle Powell. Michelle has over a decade of experience working in the commercial food service industry, giving her a ton of hands-on experience with deep cleaning. She's backed up by Maggie Nichols, a longtime gear tester with a background in scientific research. Both of these analytic testers live in muddy mountain towns with pets and variable hard surface flooring, providing excellent opportunities to test these mops.
In the most recent iterations of this review, Nick Miley, and Genaveve Bradshaw joined the testing team. Nick has over a decade of consumer product review work under his belt, backed by a master's degree in environmental sciences. Genaveve's diverse professional background makes her well-suited to the practicalities of testing and rating products such as steam mops.
Analysis and Test Results
We did a deep dive to find the best steam mops, combing through spec sheets to find those products most likely to deliver good performances. We then spent more than two weeks dirtying floors and cleaning them up to see which mops cleaned the best, which were easiest to use, and which were most maneuverable. We also tested any extra attachments included with the mops. With this data, we rated all of the attributes. Continue reading for the details of which models performed the best in each metric and why.
If a low price is a priority in a purchase, you will usually have to give up some performance in the deal. However, now and then, a product manages to perform at the highest level and still maintain a low price. Such is the case with the Bissell PowerFresh. This impressive steam mop outperformed the other models in the class while being one of the least expensive models we've tested. The Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe is also a solid budget pick that gives users more scrubbing power with its detachable steam scrub brush.
We consider cleaning performance the most important aspect of any steam mop. Therefore, we purposefully tracked mud onto tile, stone, and laminate flooring before we began testing. We also created a concoction of coffee grounds and ketchup to smear onto the surfaces to simulate tough stains and caked-on gunk. The Dupray Neat Steam, Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe, Bissell PowerFresh, and McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe topped the class in this assessment. While some of the other models performed well in various cleaning performance submetrics, these models — particularly the Neat Steam — delivered the best all-around performances.
The models best equipped to clean stone, tile, and synthetic flooring are the Neat Steam, PowerFresh, and PowerFresh Deluxe, as shown by their near-perfect scores in both categories. The McCulloch wasn't too far behind, though, losing some ground on the synthetic flooring as it tended to get jittery on uneven surfaces. The other models passed smoothly over inconsistencies and required minimum passes to remove the heavy mud we ground into these surfaces.
The Bissel Symphony Pet and the Bissel PowerFresh Lift-Off Pet earn honorable mentions for their performances on synthetic flooring. However, these two mops fell behind on more demanding tile and stone due to their difficulty with grout. That said, the Bissell Symphony sets itself apart from the competition with its integrated vacuum that works with the steam mopping function, thus saving you the effort of pre-sweeping with a broom in many cases.
When it comes to busting stubborn stains and removing heavy-duty gunk build-up, the Dupray Neat Steam sets the bar. It should be noted that the majority of steam mops are most effective when used for regular cleaning rather than for removing stubborn stains that have spent a long time setting. However, a few models have powerful steam jets and attachment nozzles, making them better suited to such tasks. The Neat Steam is one such model.
The McCulloch also proved quite effective. Both the McCulloch and the Neat Steam put out clouds of steam when needed, with good pressure, and giant water tanks so they can go the distance. They also come with a plethora of attachments, so there's usually one to match the job. Such accessories make these steam tools good choices for deep cleaning tile showers, countertops, and stove hoods.
The Bissell PowerFresh, PowerFresh Deluxe, and PowerFresh Lift-Off Pet proved very effective in mopping up the residue of our coffee grounds and ketchup mess. In large part, this was on account of their excellent mop pads. However, their built-in scrubbing attachments proved necessary in many cases. Conversely, the McCulloch lacks pads of comparable quality. At times, testers were reduced to hand wiping up the liquefied goop that the pad wouldn't pick up.
Ease of Use
In general, steam mops are simple to operate, but some are more user-friendly than others. We based scores for this metric on three focal points: the water tank, cleaning pads, and mop feel. We evaluated the water tanks based on capacity, how easy they were to fill, and how long they took to heat up. We rated cleaning pads by how easy they were to put on and take off and how easy they were to clean. Finally, the mop feel is a more general assessment of how the tester interacted with the device. For example, we looked at the steam control, whether the mop stood up independently, and whether the device felt well-balanced.
The Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe was the easiest steam mop to operate, though by a slim margin. This model feels quite solid and can reliably stand up on its own — an underrated feature that makes storing and stepping away from the mop significantly more convenient. It comes with two thick, elastic pads of different textures that are easy to get on and off and safe to toss in the washing machine. And it has one of the larger tank capacities (562ml) of the upright models with a flip-open lid that makes it easy to monitor the water level.
The Shark Genius Steam Pocket is also near the top of the pack. This model separates itself from the rest of the field with its touch-free pad changing, nearly instant steam production (under one minute), and a clear water tank that is easy to fill. The included pad is double-sided, and the power button features hands-free operation. It only falls short of the competition because the mop head pivots in every direction, and pushing it in a straight line is challenging, particularly over textured surfaces.
The Bissell Symphony, Bissell PowerFresh, and Bissell PowerFresh Lift-Off Pet are iterations of the PowerFresh Deluxe and share in many of its features. All these models stand up independently and have quality, washable pads. The differences, minor as they are, were in our assessment of the tank design and mop feel. For example, the PowerFresh requires you to remove the water tank to see the water level, whereas the Lift-Off Pet has a small (3/4") tank opening that is difficult to fill without spilling.
Heating the water to make steam is a key aspect of a steam mop. Most mops we tested heat up rapidly, producing steam within one minute of being plugged in. However, the models with bigger tanks take longer. These models are the Dupray Neat Steam and McCulloch, which take 8 and 15 minutes, respectively, to heat up when their tanks are full. That said, they hold 3-4 times as much water as the average model.
One of the most tedious aspects of cleaning floors can be scrubbing hard-to-reach spots, including corners and narrow sections between appliances. We tested maneuverability by mopping various spaces and assessing mop head glide, corner and edge cleaning, and cord length. The top scorers in this metric glided smoothly across any surface and left no nooks or crannies unclean.
The most maneuverable model we tested is the Bissell PowerFresh Slim. Though many others glide just as well or have cords just as long, this nifty little steam mop outstrips the rest when it comes to getting into tight spots. Its elastic pads cover all edges of the mop head, allowing you to use any side, and it easily turns sideways to fit into narrow areas. Unlike other Bissell models, the Slim's mop head is straight on all four sides to better follow the edges in your home from any angle. It's also a touch smaller than the Shark models we tested, helping it to squeeze into all but the tightest spots.
Second place in this metric is a four-way tie between two Bissell models — the PowerFresh Deluxe and PowerFresh Lift-Off Pet — and two Shark models — the Lift-Away Pro and Genius Steam Pocket. The Bissells glide smoothly on all but the roughest floors, with just a few points lost for the curved backs of their mop heads, making them more difficult to use on all four sides. The Shark models are the opposite — they have huge pads with straight sides that easily turn sideways and pivot in any direction. However, their large pads catch a bit on more textured floors like ceramic tile and stone.
The Dupray Neat Steam glides like a pro but loses out here with its unidirectional head that only tilts from side to side, making it difficult to get under furniture. The Bissell Symphony Pet glides smoothly, even with its added wheels to support vacuum functionality. However, the vacuum section sets the mop pad slightly behind when going straight forward, leaving a small portion of the floor unmopped.
While some mops we tested are spartan in design, others come with various attachments and accessories that make them much more versatile cleaning machines. We tested every attachment and feature, scrubbing anything in our homes that had lost its luster to test the functionality of cleaning brushes and steam adjustability. The McCulloch is virtually peerless in this metric, as it has more attachments and cleaning versatility than any other machine we've tested.
What sets the McCulloch apart is its 12 accessories (including a squeegee and steam jet nozzle), with many others available for purchase. The unit also has a dial allowing you to fine-tune the steam pressure. As a result of these tools and the steam they utilize, this devices also received a high score for its cleaning adjustability.
The Black+Decker 7-in-1, Hoover Steam Complete Pet, PurSteam 10-in-1, and Shark Lift-Away Pro came in behind the McCulloch in this metric. These mops come with useful components, accessories, and extra mop pads. The steam settings on these devices are adjustable, though they are not as powerful as the McCulloch. Moreover, swapping between tools isn't always the easiest — particularly on the PurSteam and Shark Lift-Away Pro.
The Dupray Neat also comes with many extra tools and features. It has extra mop pads, a cleaning brush, and a hose attachment to increase reach. We also like that swapping out accessories only requires pushing a button. However, there's no adjustability to its steam setting, so it loses a few points on that limitation.
The Bissell PowerFresh Slim 3-in-1 and Bissell Lift-Off Pet also include numerous accessories. However, it's not quite as easy to swap between them. Both models include a single mop head and two steam settings — low and high. The PowerFresh Deluxe and Symphony Pet are limited to just low and high settings for steam expulsion, whereas the PowerFresh has three settings. The Symphony Pet is the only model we tested with both vacuum and steam mop functions, allowing you to clean faster and with fewer tools. However, it lacks any other accessories except an extra mop pad. The Shark Genius Steam Pocket lacks extra pads, features, or cleaning accessories but has the most adjustable steam levels of any model we tested.
Anyone with a sealed hard surface floor in their home (i.e., not hardwood) can benefit from having a steam mop around for at least occasional cleanings. Whether you're after something simple to take the hassle out of the old mop and bucket setup or something that tackles bathroom and kitchen surfaces just as easily as floors, there's a steam mop for your home, lifestyle, and budget.
Genaveve Bradshaw, Nick Miley, Maggie Nichols, and Michelle Powell