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How to buy the best steam mop

By Sarah Ingrams

There are huge differences between the best and worst steam mops. Paying more won't guarantee better quality. Find out what to look for.

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How much should I spend on a steam mop?

This mainly depends on what features you're looking for in a steam mop. As a rough guide, steam mops are typically priced from £25 to £100, with one or two more expensive models above this.

We've tested and rated more than 70 steam mops and have uncovered big differences in quality and cleaning power between the different brands and models.

Our tests show that pricier doesn't always mean better, as we've found a Best Buy steam mop for less than £40.

The best steam mops we've tested make light work of cleaning and leave floors grime-free, polished and virtually dry. Poorer-scoring models require much more effort to scrub away dirt and can leave the floor sopping wet, making them an unnecessary and expensive alternative to a traditional mop and bucket.

Go straight to our full list of Best Buy steam mops to find out which are worth the cash.

Which steam mop features should I look for?

Typically, the more added extras a steam mop has, the more you'll pay so it's worth thinking about which of these you'd use when choosing the best steam mop for your home. Useful features include:

  • Extra cleaning pads - for cleaning different household surfaces
  • Different floor heads - for cleaning carpets, wooden floors and tiles
  • Detergents and floor polishes - to tackle tough, ingrained grime
  • Larger water tanks - in general, greater capacity means more steaming time
  • Built-in limescale filters - to prevent your mop from clogging up
  • Removable handheld units - for small spillages and surfaces other than floors.

Some steam mops, such as the Vax S86-SF-C Steam Fresh Combi, come with a detachable handheld unit, for cleaning small or hard-to-reach areas such as upholstery, bathroom tiles and kitchen surfaces - these are known as two-in-ones (or 2-in-1s).

Having the option to switch between a handheld and floor steam mop can be a real benefit, but it does come at a price. Two-in-one steam mops typically range in price from £40 to £130. However, we've uncovered a Best Buy two-in-one steam mop for less than £100.

Are some steam mop brands better than others?

Bissell, Vax, Shark, Karcher and Thane are all big names in the world of steam mops, and there are some key differences between the different brands.

Shark steam mops tend to be pricier than average, with models ranging from £70 to £100 for its standard models, and £150 for the two-in-one Shark Sonic Duo. You can find out whether their cleaning power lives up to their price tag in our Shark steam mop reviews.

Vax steam mops, by comparison, are cheaper, with prices starting at £40 for more basic models, and ranging up to £100 for the more advanced versions. Check our Vax steam cleaner reviews to find out how they fare in our tests.

Which are the best steam mops?

This guide should give you a better idea of how much to spend on a steam mop, which brands to look out for, and which features you might want to splash out on.

Our independent lab test reviews can tell you which steam mops can clean your floors quickly with minimal effort, and which will leave you wishing you'd stuck to the mop and bucket. To find out which steam mops topped our tests, head straight to our steam cleaner reviews.

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