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The steam mop SHOW DOWN: Results of steam mop first hand comparisons & studying of comps
on August 7, 2009
(update: This review was updated on 11-2-09 after I got to compare the Bissell as well as add notes about the Ladybugg steamer at the bottom)
I live in a neighborhood where EVERY home is "green built certified" this means that, to have that certification, the builder built no homes with carpet. All the main floors are polished concrete and the upper floors wood. The bathrooms all have tile and/or slate in every home.
Because of this, as you could imagine, steam mops are quite the neccessity...not only because they get the hard surfaces better than anything else, but because they are also "green" and clean chemical free. I'll be honest, for us...that's a bonus but we weren't cleaning chemical free before. We like chemical free for our pet's paws but I'll confess I was mopping with chemicals before I got my steamer and just kept the pets out of the room while doing it because, up until then, I couldn't get it clean any other way.
Okay, so that said...we decided to have a steamer show down to compare 5 different steamers because my friends and I knew as long as we are in these homes we are gonna have to have a steamer to get all these hard floors clean...we may as well figure out which one to buy next go round. Because my own home is graced with 2 cats, 3 dogs, and two gregarious cooks, my kitchen floor (which had not ever been cleaned by a steamer since my steamer had just arrived) was the testing spot.
Mind you, I vaccuum twice per week and do a mega mop twice a week. I THOUGHT I had pretty clean floors in spite of my pet capacity.
I thought wrong. These picked up dirt so well it's scary
So here's the results:
1. steam mops are the mac daddys of clean floors. What these things picked up was tremendous and no comparison to my vigorous prior constant major mopping.
2. So now I'll break down the elements of each mop we used and then go into more detail about each at the end.
We tried out:
"S": The shark by Europro
"E" The Envirosteamer by Eureka
"H" the haan steamer
"M" the Monster
"B" The Bissell Green Tea
CORD LENGTH: so you don't have to stop and unplug and replug in somewhere else:
Shark ( will be referred to as S):20 feet
Envirosteamer (will be referred to as E): 25 feet
Haan: (will be referred to as H)19'8"
Monster (will be referred to as M): 25 feet
Bissell (will be referred to as B) 17 feet
STEAM TEMPERATURE: this is a primary element. The hotter the steam, the more dirt picked up and hot steam will also kill parasites, mold and mildew and loosen more dirt:
S 110 degrees. lame
E 220 degrees. very hot
H 212 degrees. very hot
M 266 degrees. hottest...although the envirosteamer and haan seemed plenty hot enough. The shark didn't clean nearly as well and this was one reason. 110 degrees just isn't going to melt off stuck on grime.
B 125 degrees. Note that, because of this low steam temperature the manual said that if I wanted to sanitize the floor or pick up caked on spills, I had to hold the steamer on the spot for 15 seconds but no more than 20 because that could damage some floors. Now I don't know about you, but if I can sanitize with one swipe of the other steamers because of their sanitizing temps my floor will be done WAY faster but I don't have a timer to worry about the extra 5 secons where my wood floors could get damaged. My sink water is hotter than this so it would take less time to use a regular mop if I have to hold the steamer on every spot of my floor for 15 seconds to santize. Just sayin
We found how it was made corresponded with issues with the steamer. The Shark, for example, was quite flimsy and they actually sell replacement handle kits because so many people have issues with the handle breaking! We know this because my neighbor's shark broke and the store had a replacement handle kit on the shelf because he said "it happens often". That's an extra cost.
Envirosteamer: Was 5.4 lbs which made it lightweight but strong enough that you didn't have to press down to clean. Very well made and strong parts
Haan: not made as well as the envirosteamer but it's more expensive so this was a surprise. A bit flimsy and you need to press down on it more to clean at 3.15 lbs.
Monster: hefty and well made at 9 lbs but a bit too heavy unless you want a good workout. (Note: They have changed the Monster handles on the mops now and they are all plastic and people are having breakage issues)
Bissell: It's 8.4 pounds but that includes a water filter that you have to get for this one (see notes below)
WATER CAPACITY: Very important because having to stop and add more water just adds on to the time you have to spend cleaning, especially if you are cleaning a hallway or livingroom or some other area that has no sink:
S: only holds 10 oz of water. Lasted for 10 miinutes of cleaning
E: holds 20 oz. of water. Lasted for over 20 minutes of cleaning (we stopped at 20 and it was still going)
H: holds 11.83 oz of water. Lasted for 13 minutes of cleaning
M: holds 17 oz. of water. Lasted for 15 minutes of cleaning
B: holds 13 oz of water, lasted for 12.5 minutes of cleaning AND you have to undo and remove the tank from the machine every time you fill it up then hook it back on and the steam tank is on the handle rather than the base so the steam doesn't flow directly out after heating up which may explain why it's not as hot once it leaves the machine. The way this mop is made the water flows past heating elements which can, according to Bissell, develop calcium deposits on it so this is the only mop where, because of this, you also have to use a water filter with it and replace the water filter when there is build up which means and extra 12 bucks every few months. The better mops are made to heat the water in a metal tank so this is not an issue and you pour the water directly into the tank.
STEAM HOLES: We found a difference although you'd think they'd all be the same. The shark only had one hole that the steam came out of so it wasn't cleaning things on the edges, just in one spot. All the others had steam coming from bottom and sides.
SIZE: The taller it is the less stooping, the wider the mop head, the more it covers
E: 50"Hx13.25"Wx6.75"D (the fact that this depth was smaller made it reach under applicances better...it fit better under things)
B: 45.25H (this was uncomfortably short) x11 x8.4 (even though this didn't fit under cabinets because of the depth it did swivel the best)
Conclusion of comparison: First it must be pointed out that, in order to use the shark and the Bissell, you had to keep pumping the water. This was the most annoying feature of anything...the others just steamed on their own and didn't wear out your fingers. Hated this feature of the shark and Bissell. We liked that the Monster and the Shark and Envirosteamer and the Bissell came with 2 cleaning pads rather than one. The Haan only came with one at the time of the review (I double checked since when she bought hers it was also only one and as of today, that hasn't changed) so that ups the price even more because I can't imagine only wanting one to clean. All worked well on sanitizing mattresses and showers. too.
But the winner picked by all of us unanimously as the mop we want to have for our next steam mop order?
The Eureka Envirosteamer. It picked up the most dirt, was made as well as the Monster but was less expensive, held the most water, emitted the most very hot steam so it sanitized as well, lasted 3 times as long with one water resevor fillup as the others, and had a cord as long as the monster. BUT if you have carpets than I would recommend the Monster because it has a carpet attachment that allows you to steam clean your carpets and it picked up pretty close to the same amount of dirt as the Eureka Envirosteamer, and had close to the same features...a bit heavier though but that may make it last even longer. It is costlier, but to clean 2 surfaces I would think that might make it worth it.
UPDATE: The Haan just started including 2 pads with the mop according to the product description page. Not that this changes our opinion since it didn't work as well and the parts were flimsier, but it should be noted that this issue of not having enough cleaning pads has now been resolved and is equal to the other mops.
ANOTHER UPDATE: 1. The Shark came out with a new machine that holds more water and has a longer cord BUT it still only heats the water to 110 degrees so it won't sanitize or get rid of trapped grime at this "bathwater" temperature.
Another update: I haven't tried it yet but was told about an even better mop than the Eureka Envirosteamer but I can't personally afford it...still, it's worth mentioning in case you can. It's called the Ladybug XL2300 and is a canister steam mop. It heats the water to 298 degrees (woah!) so it's a super sanitizer but it's over a thousand bucks. It also comes with 6 towels. I didn't include it in my review because I haven't ever tried it and I wanted to only include mops I personally tried but it's got great enough stats that, even though it's out of my price range, I thought I'd pass it on as a super sanitizer when I read about it.
Also: Don't spend money buying extra pads for the Eureka. I was in a pinch and used a kitchen dish towel...the rectangular kind...just clip on both ends. It worked just as good or better...because they are thinner so the steam penetrates faster and therefore reaches the floor hotter. However, I would recommend still only using the thick pads that come with it for your wood floors just to be safe. But the super hot steam penetrating the dish towel worked excellent on tile and hard floors. Also, you can flip both the towel and the pads that come with it on the Eureka to double the usage...when it gets dirty, just flip it over and use the other side. I use several old dish towels with this but I like best the kind that just have a bit of texture but no squares sewn on them...but they all work great. So do the pads.