Is A Steam Mop Worth It – Buying Guide, How To Choose The Best One

You may have heard of steam mops but don’t really know all the details. And if you are reading these words now, then give yourself a big pat on the back.

Obviously, you are putting in the time to do the research before making a purchasing choice – always a good choice.

Steam mops work like regular mops but they have a built in reservoir of water. The reservoir is then heated by an internal heating element to generate steam which is ejected out of the mop head. The steam helps lift stains, grime, dirt and even kills bacteria because of the heat.

A lot of people like steam mops because they offer a deeper, more sanitary clean than traditional squeeze mops. And while these kinds of mops are indeed useful for a great many applications, they aren’t for everybody.

You have done your due diligence by finding our article, now let us do ours. In the following article we will be taking a detailed look at these home appliances and telling you everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

Is A Steam Mop Worth Buying?

The short answer to this question is yes – if you have hardwood or tile floors.

The first thing you need to know about steam mops is that they can only be used on hard floors. Secondly, these appliances are powered by electricity so they must be plugged in.

But they offer great advantages like deeper sanitation and quicker floor drying times compared to regular squeeze mops.

There are some steam mops that reach temperatures of up to 245 degrees Fahrenheit which leaves your floors looking, smelling and feeling incredibly clean and fresh. This is a big reason why steam mops have become so popular recently.

And with all the concern over home sanitation during the pandemic, it’s no wonder why more and more people are making the switch to steam mops.

So to put it in greater detail: steam mops are worth it if sanitation and deeper cleaning are of paramount importance to you.

What to Consider When Buying A Steam Mop?

Wanting a deeper clean for your home isn’t enough. If you want to make a wise purchasing decision on steam mops, you should consider the following:

Cleaning Area

Keep in mind that these are corded appliances. If the area that you need to clean is large or spans multiple rooms, plugging and unplugging a steam mop may prove to be too inconvenient.

This may be doubly true of you have back or joint problems.

Attachments & Functions

Some steam mops will come with special attachments that allow you to widen the cleaning path or clean upholstery.

Some even detach at the head to convert into a handheld steam cleaner. Consider the attachments and functions you are likely to need before you make your purchase as periphery functions and attachments will surely cost you more.

Water Tank Capacity

If you have a larger area to clean you will probably want to get a steam mop with a larger water tank capacity.

It makes operation more convenient as you won’t have to stop to refill the reservoir quite so often.

Size and Weight

No mop you buy will be any good if you can’t properly wield it. That’s why you should get one that is light enough for you to use without straining your body.

Germ Killing

Some steam mops are better than others at killing bacteria and allergens. If this is your chief concern, you may want to look into steam mops that have a higher heating capacity.


In general, you will find that different steam mop models cost anywhere from $50 to $200+.

Naturally, you will want to find the mop that has the features you want that still fits your budget. Try to avoid features you don’t want or need to get the best deal.

Steam Mop Pros

  • Dissolves Dirt – You won’t have to work as hard to lift dirt and grime with a steam mop because the heat dissolves dirt so that it can be easily swept away – saving wear and tear on your joints in the process.
  • Quicker Drying – Compared to regular mops, your floors will dry much quicker with a steam mop.
  • Non-Toxic – With a steam mop you won’t have to use harsh chemical cleansers to get your floors completely clean.
  • Great for Pets – Steam mops are really good at collecting dirt and pet fur from hardwood and tile floors.
  • Eliminates Allergens – If you suffer from allergies, you can get powerful models that kill allergens and bacteria in the floor.

Steam Mop Cons

  • Corded Operation – Your mobility and range will be limited as steam mops need to be plugged into an electrical outlet.
  • Wait Time – While the wait time is hardly ever substantial, you will still have to wait a few minutes for the device to heat up and be ready to use.
  • Can’t be Used on All Floors – Obviously carpet is out of the question. But unfinished wood floors, waxed floors and even vinyl floors are out of the question.
  • Can’t be Left to Idle – If you leave a steam mop running and idle over one spot for more than 15 seconds, that spot could get damaged.
  • Cost – Naturally, a steam mop will cost more than a regular squeeze mop.

What Areas Can A Steam Mop be Used On?

You should always consult with your user’s manual before use to see what surfaces are safe for your particular model.

In general though, you can use steam mops safely on tile floors, finished hardwood floors and linoleum.

What Areas Should you Avoid?

With a steam mop, it is not advisable to clean any type of flooring where there are gaps such as vinyl tiles or vinyl planking. Waxed floors should also be avoided as should unfinished hardwood.

Who Should Consider Buying A Steam Mop?

In general, if you have finished, unwaxed hardwood floors or tile flooring and if your cleaning area isn’t too expansive, you would be a good candidate for a steam mop.

Steam Mop Vs. Regular Mop

The obvious benefit of a regular mop over a steam mop is the price. A regular mop will always be cheaper than a steam mop. Some other advantages of a regular mop include:

  • Mobility – You won’t be constrained to the length of a power cord.
  • Better for Larger Areas – Regular mops may be more suitable for larger homes.
  • No Wait – You won’t have to wait for a regular mop to heat up or be concerned about the safety of electrical components.

However, a regular mop tends to be a lot messier than a steam mop and with a steam mop, you won’t have to worry about squeezing and wringing. You also won’t have to lug around a bucket of water.

A regular mop would probably work best for small homes and in households with no pets or toddlers. A steam mop would work great in smaller homes that need deeper cleaning.

Steam Mop Vs. Vacuum Mop

A vacuum mop will suck up debris while it essentially washes your floors. This would be a great choice for anyone who wants to save time or doesn’t want to have to buy a vacuum and mop separately.

However, vacuum mops can’t sanitize hard floors the way that steam mops can.

The main benefit that vacuum mops have over steam mops is that you won’t have to change any cleaning pad like you have to do with a steam mop.

However, you will still have a filter to change every so often with a vacuum mop.

Steam Mop Vs. Electric Mop

Electric mops are handy because some models are cordless. They give you better mobility and use an electric brush to help sweep up dirt and break up tough grime.

Some electric mops can’t disinfect floors though.

Electric mops would be best for anyone with larger homes or anyone who doesn’t want to be limited by a power cord.

Steam Mop Vs. Spin Mop

A spin mop is basically the same thing as a regular mop. It cleans the same way and the only difference is how it’s wrung out.

It uses a specialized bucket with a foot pedal to spin the mop head and fling dirt and dirty water off the head and into the bucket.

Again, you get better mobility and lower cost but a steam mop will provide a deeper clean and won’t leave your floors so wet.

Is Steaming Floors Better Than Mopping? – In general yes because steaming disinfects and doesn’t leave the floor so wet.

How Do I Prepare A Surface For Steam Mopping? – The only thing you should do is either vacuum or sweep the floor.

What Floors Can You Use A Steam Mop On?

You can use a steam mop on:

  • Hardwood floors.
  • Tile floors.
  • Laminate floors.
  • Linoleum floors.

You cannot use a steam mop on:

  • Vinyl plank floors.
  • Vinyl floors.
  • Unfinished hardwood floors.
  • Waxed hardwood floors.

Can you steam mop windows? – If the head can be detached you can use the handheld steamer to gently steam windows but you should followup only with hand cleaning.

What Are The Best & Most Reliable Brands Of Steam Mop Available?

Bissell and Shark are some of the oldest manufacturers of these kinds of mops and their products tend to be the most reliable.

But in 2022, other manufacturers like O-Cedar and Light ‘n’ Easy have emerged with quality steam mops.

Steam Mop FAQ’s

Q: Can you put vinegar in a steam mop?

You should only need pure water but for harder messes, you can add just a small tablespoon of vinegar.

Q: Why is my floor sticky after I steam mop?

This may be the result of any cleaning solutions that have been used on the floor prior to steam mopping.

Q: Does steam cleaning damage grout?

No, grout can stand up to high temperatures from steam.

Q: Can I steam clean my shower?

Yes, it can help get rid of tough soap scum and bacteria.

Q: Will a steam cleaner clean shower glass?

Yes, a steam cleaner can be used to clean shower doors.

Q: Can you steam clean a toilet?

Yes, steam can be used on virtually any hard bathroom surface.

Q: Will steam remove hard water spots?

A steam cleaner should be enough to clean hard water spots but for tough spots, spray on vinegar first.

Q: Does a steam cleaner remove Mould?

Most molds tend to die at temperatures between 140 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit so steam should be able to kill most types of mold.

Q: How sanitary are steam mops?

Very. After the cleaning cloth has been used it can simply be thrown in the trash. In addition, the temperature from the steam is enough to kill many strains of bacteria, allergens and other harmful contaminants.

Q: What can you put in a steam mop to make it smell nice?

You can add lemon juice or essential oils like orange and lavender.

Steam Mop Solution Recipe

  • 2 cups water,
  • ½ vinegar,
  • ½ lemon worth of lemon juice,
  • 5 drops of lemon essential oil.

Final Thoughts

So is a steam mop worth it? We certainly think so. They add a sanitation factor to your mopping and make your floors fresher than regular mopping alone. Granted, the cord can be inconvenient -especially if you have toddlers running around the house.

But this is a minor inconvenience at the end of the day. Still, you have to know what you need and what you don’t need to buy the one that’s perfect for you.

So check out the models and types we have listed in the guide above and start enjoying a cleaner home!

Check Out The Best Affordable Steam Mops on the market right now here: