Which steam mop is right for you?

Consumer Reports tests steam mops

SAN ANTONIO – For people who don’t want to fuss with an old-fashioned mop and bucket, there’s the steam mop, the latest convenience in cleaning machines. Consumer Reports put several to the test.

“Steam mops seem like they’d be a more convenient option,” said Haniya Rae, CR home editor. “And, that steam really seems like it would be tough on grime.”

Testers smeared jam, mustard and ketchup on white floor tiles, and then hooked the mops up to a machine to run them over the tiles. Photo imaging software was used to compare results.

They found that just because there’s steam, that does not mean all of the mops can clean.

With the $80 Shark Steam Pocket, you have to keep moving the mop back and forth to pump steam to the head, something testers found annoying.

The Bissell PowerFresh Slim for $130 got top ratings for out-cleaning the other mops.

CR also recommends the $100 Shark Genius. It has convenient cord storage and you can spray steam directly on a stain as well as use both sides of the mop.

For tough stain scrubbing, CR’s “Best Buy” is the $90 Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe. It comes with an extra brush for deeper scrubbing.

Something else to consider: All of the steam mops tested require distilled water. And all left residual moisture behind, which is a no-no for hardwood and laminate floors.

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