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No matter how hard you scrub, sometimes a regular mop won't do a floor justice. If it regularly looks like a pack of hyenas have had a party in your kitchen, a steam mop could solve your floor-cleaning woes.
Steam mops are a cross between a mop and a steamer. While you'll still have to push them across the floor, added steam power makes clean-up a breeze. The best steam mop is lightweight, with a good-sized water tank, and a long cord. Most have washable pads, and many come with attachments for carpets, windows, and even ovens. We've done the research, so here's our list of Australia's top steam mops.
How we picked
We began by consulting the experts at consumer comparison site Canstar Blue to see which brands came out on top in the steam mop arena. Keeping these results in mind, we checked out CHOICE's steam mop reviews. CHOICE is Australia's leading consumer advocacy group, and they've reviewed several of them. We then compared their reckons with Canstar Blue's top brand recommendations.
Our third port of call was with real Aussies at ProductReview.com.au. We made note of the country's faves, and compared these steam mop reviews with what we'd learned from CHOICE and Canstar Blue. Next, we did some virtual window-shopping to be sure our picks were available at major retailers. This is how we arrived at our list of the 6 best steam mops in Australia.
The best steam mop for most
Choose this if
The Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe is the best steam mop you'll find in Australia. We like that you can refill it on the go, and its long cord and easy-gliding make for a satisfying clean. It also heats up fast, and Bissell reckons it eliminates 99.9% of germs.
What we love
With a quick step on the back pedal, you can detach and expose the SpotBOOST brush for those sticky spots.
Steam only where you need it to reduce leftover water streaks.
Gentle on wooden floors
We reckon it's one of the best steam mops for hardwood or laminate, as you can choose between high and low steam power, and soft or scrubby mop pads.
Nearly 8 metres of cord.
Aussies are fans of Bissell's Spring Breeze scent discs.
The water tank is nearly 600ml which means less refilling.
One of the less awkward-shaped steam mops, this one is stowable in your laundry closet.
The not so good bits
To deploy steam, you have to pull the trigger, which some Aussies aren't happy about, as they'd prefer constant steam. At the same time, it's less efficient for your steam mop to produce constant steam, and it can make for streaky floors.
One or two reviewers complain the Bissell leaves their floors streaky, while others say the opposite. One reviewer has contacted Bissell about this, and Bissell says the solution is to use the trigger as you need it rather than holding it down constantly.
This steam mop is nearly $300.
The Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe is one of the most effective steam mops on the market. Bissell reckons the Powerfresh Deluxe eliminates '99.9% of germs and bacteria' with its steam power. It has an on-board SpotBOOST brush for stubborn sticky bits, and the cord is generous at nearly 8 metres long.
The PowerFresh Deluxe is a mop we can get behind, with a massive water tank of nearly 600ml and a low profile swivel head for hard-to-reach spots. You can choose between the high or low setting, and the trigger means you can let off steam where necessary. It comes with a scrubby mop pad for serious messes, and a soft mop pad for hardwood or laminate. It also includes a carpet glider, and 2 scented discs.
Aussies on ProductReview.com.au love the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe for its quick heat-up and excellent water capacity. One reviewer says they get three tiled rooms done on a single tank. Others say they like how smoothly it glides across their floors. More than one person says it leaves water streaks, but this complaint is common across steam mop reviews. The other downside is the price - the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe retails at just under $300.
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The best value steam mop
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At $49, the Kmart Anko 1300w Steam Mop is our favourite budget steam mop. Aussies love the lightweight, low-fuss design, as well as its 180-degree swivel head and adjustable height. It won't last forever, but its 450mL tank is easy to refill, and it comes with a carpet slider too.
What we love
The telescopic tube means you can adjust this mop between 110cm and 127cm, which makes it easier to store, too.
Fair-sized 450ml water tank with a measuring cup for easy refills.
Heats up quick
This steam mop gets hot enough to use within 20 seconds.
At $49, it's the cheapest steam mop we found in Australia.
The not so good bits
Some complain that the cleaning pads lose their stick over time, so consider picking up a few extras when you take this steam mop home.
Some are frustrated that the water cap breaks quickly.
The power cord is on the shorter side at 5m, which is a pain in larger homes.
Most steam mops cost more than $100, so the price of this product may reflect how ethically it's made (or not).
The Kmart Anko 1300w steam mop is a great entry-level product at a ripper price. It's reviewed by CHOICE, and the brand scores well in Canstar Blue's 'satisfied customer' rankings for steam mops. For $49, you get a fairly grunty product with a 450ml water tank, and a measuring cup, cloth pad, and carpet slider accessory. We love that it has a telescopic tube, so you can adjust the height to suit.
This bargain steam mop heats up in around 20 seconds, and comes with a 180-degree swivel head which goes flat to the floor for tight spots. It scores around 3 stars on ProductReview.com.au, and 4.5 stars from over 200 Kmart customer reviews. Two people complain their Kmart steam mops died just outside of the 12-month warranty, and some are frustrated by the 5m power cord. But for $49? Not bad.
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Others worth considering
One of the heavier-duty steam mops, the Euroflex Vapour M3 weighs in at just under $400. It cleans, sanitizes and disinfects, with a hotplate heat booster and stainless steel boiler. Euroflex says this mop releases hotter, drier steam, which makes for less streaky floors. It has a thermostat, and is designed to be suitable for water sensitive timber and floorboards as well as tiles. It takes 3 minutes to heat up, but that gives you a chance to put the kettle on for a post-mop cuppa.
This Euroflex steam mop is reviewed by CHOICE, and Aussies love it, giving it a full 5 stars on ProductReview.com.au. One of the downsides is that you have to turn it off and let it cool down for 5 minutes before you refill it. The good news is that it has a fairly hefty 600ml tank, which should last around 20 minutes. It’s a little heavier than other steam mops at around 3kg, but there were few complaints about this across the reviews.
The BLACK+DECKER 7 in 1 is a well-priced steam mop with some very handy accessories. We love that it converts to a handheld steam cleaner for mirrors, windows and upholstery as well as floors. It comes with an accessories hose, window squeegee with cover, 2 brushes, and 2 standard pads. This mop is safe for sealed hard floors, but may not be ideal for untreated timber, vinyl, or floorboards.
This BLACK+DECKER steam mop retails at around $170, and scores around 3 stars on ProductReview.com.au. Aussies like that the pads are easy to change. One reviewer says it works brilliantly on grout, tiles, and slate, and even does a stellar job on the oven. Aussies are also into how light this mop is. While most reviews are positive, a few unhappy chaps say their steam mops died around the 6-month mark.
For extra cleaning power, the Vax Steam Fresh VX22 has a dedicated detergent holder. Which means say bye to buckets, and hello to all-in-one cleaning. Its twin tanks automatically mix steam with detergent inside the mop. It has a 500ml water capacity and 250ml detergent capacity.
You’ll get up to 15 minutes of steam time from only 20 seconds of heating. Weighing 3kg, it’s lightweight and easy to move around. The triangular head gets into corners well and it comes with 2 cleaning pads for when one’s in the wash. The cord is a generous 7 metres to let you clean a large area.
It gets middling reviews on ProductReview.com.au with the same sort of complaints all steam mops seem to get - it leaves the floor too wet or streaky.
The Kogan 13-in-1 Steam mop is excellent value. It heats up in less than 20 seconds, and pumps out up to 15 minutes of continuous steam. Kogan reckons you can also use it on your clothes, curtains, windows, mirrors and carpets. They even say its steam jets will break down the grease on ovens and BBQs. Canstar Blue gives Kogan's steam mops 3 stars overall for customer satisfaction.
The Kogan 13-in-1 steam mop comes with numerous accessories: 2 microfibre cloths, crevice tool, steam duster, straight nozzle, wire BBQ brush, garment steamer, window cleaner, plastic tap brush, carpet glider, stair brush blade, surface cleaner, funnel, measuring cup, and extension hose (phew!).
The bottom line
Steam mops are a godsend for homes with tiled living areas, as they take two factors out of the equation: the bucket of hot water and the tedious wringing. They're especially useful when you have kids or pets, getting all the sticky stuff that the vacuum won't budge. Many steam mops also come with carpet gliders, or handheld attachments for windows. Some will even clean your oven.
The Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe is our pick for Australia’s best steam mop. It's a versatile steam mop, with a scrubby pad and SpotBOOST feature for those miscellaneous sticky bits, as well as a soft pad for hardwood or laminate floors. The 8m cord is generous, and it heats up quickly too. It's around $300, but unlike cheaper mops, you shouldn't have to replace it every year.
The Kmart Anko 1300w Steam Mop is an excellent entry-level choice that's easy on the wallet. It's reviewed by CHOICE and ranks well by Canstar Blue's customer satisfaction standards. It comes with a carpet slider, and has a 450ml tank. There's also good news for taller folks: this mop has a telescopic tube so you can adjust the height to suit you.
Features to consider
Aussies have spoken: not all steam mops are worth their salt. Here are some factors to help you think about what you need from a steam mop.
Not all water tanks are refillable during use, as some have boilers which require you to turn the mop off to cool first. Most tanks are around 500ml, but greater steam power calls for higher water capacity.
Several steam mops come with special carpet gliders or sliders, so you can use your mop to freshen up your carpet. This won't deep-clean your carpet, though. Some have stands so you can rest your mop off the floor, while others include attachments for hand-held cleaning. This makes light work of dirty windows, mirrors, grout - sometimes even BBQs or clothes.
Most steam mops use washable, reusable microfiber pads to soak up dirt and steam. Basic models tend to come with a single pad, but some have softer or more abrasive options for different surfaces. It's useful to have at least 2 standard mop pads in case one's in the wash, or for tougher cleaning jobs.
If you have large tiled areas in your home, shorter power cords are bound to leave you frustrated. This is less of a concern in apartments or small homes. On the other hand, if a steam mop's only deal breaker is a short power cord, your problem is easily solved with an extension cable.
This is a contentious issue in ProductReview.com.au reviews. While many Aussies want a steam mop that produces continuous steam, this isn't an efficient use of power, and it's often the culprit behind streaky floors. A trigger lets you decide when you need more oomph, but if it's held down constantly, the steam mop may not have a chance to catch its breath. In this case, it may start to pump out lukewarm water rather than steam.
What you get if you spend more
A great steam mop can be a real investment if you're serious about sparkling floors. Here are some features that stood out across pricier products.
Pricier steam mops usually have longer warranties than cheaper steam mops. Cheaper mops tend to be lightweight, but they're often flimsier.
Steam mop reviews on ProductReview.com.au show that higher-priced products tend to have bigger water tanks, last longer between refills, and leave less water streaks across floors. Generally speaking, mops in the top price bracket were also better-suited to different kinds of floors, as the drier, hotter steam produced means less water is left behind to soak into floorboards.
Cheaper models come and go more quickly than expensive, big-brand mops. It can be hard to find replacement pads for cheaper mops, especially if they've been discontinued or replaced.
Do steam mops really work?
If you've ever tried to scrub chocolate cake off kitchen tiles after a party, you'll know that heat and water are key to banishing sticky spots. Steam mops generate steam to loosen dirt and grime from floors. The dirt is then picked up with a cloth cleaning head, usually made from microfibre. A steam mop won't do the job of a vacuum, but it should get grubby residue off your floors.
Does a steam mop get rid of bacteria and viruses?
Many steam mop brands claim that their product kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. It's true that heat and steam kill viruses, and most nasties die at 100 degrees celsius. At the same time, steam mops send steam through a pad, which absorbs some of that heat.
This means the temperature of the mop head may not be as high as the steam coming out of the mop itself, so bacteria and viruses might not disappear with a quick swipe. It's also important to wash pads after every use with laundry detergent, as these chemicals break down bacteria picked up by the mop.
What floors can you steam mop?
While some steam mops are designed to cater to different flooring types, steam mops are safest on tiles made from hard, non-porous materials like concrete, slate, or porcelain. This is because heat and moisture can get between the cracks of floorboards, or under vinyl seams. Heat and water may warp floorboards, or damage adhesive.
If your floors are made of hardwood, vinyl, or laminate, we recommend checking that your steam mop is suitable for these surfaces before getting stuck in. Pricier models tend to produce hotter, drier steam, so your mop leaves fewer water streaks. This, in turn, could reduce the chance of hot water soaking into your floorboards.
Is a steam mop better than a normal mop?
If you hate dragging buckets of hot water between rooms, or find it a strain to wring out a mop head, you may find it much easier to use a steam mop. Steam mops plug in at the wall, and have small tanks you refill rather than dunking them into a bucket. They aren't designed to remove stains, but they are an efficient way to remove residue from hard surfaces without too much mucking about.
How do you take care of a steam mop?
If you want your steam mop to go the distance, it's best to use distilled or purified water to fill the tank. This reduces the build-up of scale and mineral deposits, which, over time, may clog up the insides of your machine. Always read the manual first, as in most cases it's safer to fill the tank before turning the mop on.
Adding chemicals to the water tank is likely to void your warranty, so steer clear of this unless the manual says otherwise. Cleaning the steam nozzle and water reservoir regularly also helps to prevent mould or build-up. It's hygenic to wash your mop pads after each use too, and to replace them when they start looking ragged.
Do steam mops leave water streaks?
Several Aussies complain about streaky floors with trigger-type steam mops. These steam mops have a trigger you pull to deploy steam for stubborn or sticky spots. Many people are frustrated by this, as they would like constant steam. Most of the lower-priced steam mops are not designed to produce constant steam. If your steam mop hasn't had a chance to heat up again, it may push out lukewarm water instead of steam. This is why holding the trigger down constantly can make for streaky floors.
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