Steam mop Finder: The ins and outs of buying a steam mop for you home

Find out how to compare different types of steam mops and learn what types of floors you can use them on.

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mother cleaning the floor with a steam mop

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Best Steam Mops

Best Rated Steam Mops Brand: Vax

If you're in the market for a steam mop, then the data suggests you should choose Vax. Aussies gave it the best rating for cleaning performance, features and functions and ease of use.

Quick facts about steam mops

  • Steam mops can't be used on all types of floors.
  • Prices range from $50 to over $500.
  • Additional attachments can help with cleaning windows, carpets and even ovens.

What is a steam mop?

If you've ever felt that your floors don't get properly clean with an ordinary mop, a steam mop is worth considering. Steam mops use steam to loosen dirt and grime and wipe them away with minimal effort.

Steam mops look similar to normal mops but have a water tank and a water boiler that produces steam which is released from the cleaning head. This process kills dust mites and bacteria, without the nasty chemicals found in a lot of floor cleaners.

However, while they can clean and freshen up hard floor surfaces, steam mops are not suitable for cleaning up large spills nor should they be used for removing heavy stains. Even though a steam mop will pick up small bits of dust and dirt, you should still use a vacuum cleaner over your floors before steaming to pick up as much debris as possible first.

What floors do steam mops work on?

Steam mops are suitable to use on most hard floors such as stone, marble, ceramic tiles and lino. They are not recommended for unsealed timber or cork tiles as the steam can cause the wood to expand or buckle over time. Steam can also weaken the adhesive used for vinyl tiles.

Before using a steam mop, make sure to check the suitability for your specific type of flooring for peace of mind. You can read more about our recommended steam mops for laminate, tile and hardwood floors.

How to compare steam mops

When deciding which steam mop is the right one for your home, consider the following points to compare different models.

Cost

Budget models cost around $50 while high-end models cost over $500. The more you spend on a steam mop, the more features you will get, but a middle-priced mop may be sufficient for your needs.

Water tank

The more water your steam mop holds, the more cleaning you will be able to do without needing to fill up. If you have a larger home, you should look at one of the larger water tank capacities, but smaller homes should do fine with an average tank.

A water tank should be able to be filled up without having to wait for the steam mop to cool down so you can get through your cleaning without too much hassle.

Steam heat-up time

If you don't like to wait, a steam mop with a fast heating time is important so you can get on with cleaning relatively quickly. Look for a mop that says it will heat up in 30 seconds or less and that has an indicator that lets you know when it's ready.

You should also check if there is a lock switch for continuous steam, rather than having to hold a button down.

Cloth material

The material that sits on the bottom of the mop can be made from different materials, but microfibre gives the best performance. As well as being able to trap dirt better than other types, it washes easily and lasts a long time.

Mop head shape

Your steam mop should have a swivel joint for the head so that you can manoeuvre it easily around furniture. A triangular head helps to get into tight corners, so you can clean more effectively.

Power cord

So you can clean more of your house without having to plug and unplug the power cord often, look for a longer cord that will allow you to move freely from room to room. This is not necessarily a deal breaker though as you can purchase an extension cord to use with your mop.

Adjustable telescopic wand

Having a telescopic wand that is easily adjustable makes cleaning easier for people of different heights. If you are tall, check that the wand can be extended to a length that will reduce your need to bend your back while cleaning the floors.

Attachments and accessories

There are certain attachments and accessories that either come with a steam mop when you purchase it or can be bought separately. These include:

  • Carpet glider.A carpet glider attachment enables you to use your steam mop over your carpets to keep them fresh. For more effective cleaning you can spray on a little carpet stain remover before steaming.
  • Pad rest.Leaving the steam mop sitting on the floor while you take a quick break can cause damage if left on, so ensure your model has a pad rest to hold the mop.< li>
  • Window cleaner.For simple streak-free cleaning, some steam mops come with an attachment to make light work of windows, mirrors and glass.
  • Brush and jet nozzles.If you have a brush or jet nozzle to put onto the end of your mop, you can clean hard to reach places such as in between tiles, ovens or shower cubicles.

3 things to consider

  1. If you live in a hard water area, you should make sure that your mop has a filter for the water tank. This will increase the life of the mop and reduce any build-up or blockages. If you don't have a water filter, use distilled water.
  2. Mop cloths can get dirty very easily, especially if you haven't cleaned your floors for some time. You should expect to use at least two or three cloths while doing a full clean of a large house, so it's worth having 4-6 cloths on hand at all times.
  3. Microfibre cloths should be washed regularly but they can not be dried in sunlight as this can damage the material.

Best rated steam mop brand award breakdown

Overall rating Value for money Cleaning performance Ease of use Features & functions
Bissell 4.19 4.09 4.16 4.14 4.05
Black & Decker 3.91 3.98 3.85 3.87 3.87
Hoover 4.16 3.92 4.14 4.02 3.98
Kmart 3.7 3.72 3.56 3.8 3.56
Kogan 3.91 3.94 3.7 3.98 3.83
Philips 4.18 4.06 4.06 4.02 3.7
Vax 4.24 4.24 4.18 4.27 4.18
Other 4.26 4.08 4.28 4.38 4.18
Data: Finder Retail Brand Survey, 2020, Kantar. Metric out of 5 stars unless indicated. Methodology and more info. Kantar logo

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