Best Cordless Steam Mops for 2021 - How to Pick the Best One?
Cordless mops and vacuum cleaners are powered using the energy stored at the onboard battery, giving them independence regarding wall power sockets, but limiting their operating time.
Steam mops are devices that clean and sanitize floors and elevated surfaces combining the power of steam and steam mop pads.
Thus, cordless steam mops would be battery-operated steam mops, but the real-life is slightly more complicated than that.
Updated: October 26, 2021.
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Cordless vs. Corded Steam Mops
Corded steam mops operate using mains power, provided via power cord usually 20-25 feet (6.1 - 7.6 m) long. The power cord provides energy for a water heater which is usually in the 1000-1600 watts range, commonly around 1500 W.
Even such 1500 watts water heater requires on average 20-30 seconds to start to produce steam for cleaning.
Other electrical subsystems of the steam mop (not always present) are spray pump, LED lights, scrubbing mechanism, and similar. Although these subsystems also require electrical energy, their energy requirements are far less than the energy requirements of the water heater.
Although lithium-ion batteries are much stronger and lighter than older lead-acid, Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), they are not yet able to provide 1500 watts for at least 15-20 minutes, at least not for any reasonable price.
Example: Dyson Cyclone V10 Cordless is one of the best cordless vacuums on the market and in the maximum suction mode its 525 watts motor creates 150 Air Watts of suction, and thanks to its high-capacity lithium-ion battery, it is able to operate for about 8 minutes at maximum power on the single battery charge.
Thus, a 1500 W water heater would operate slightly less than 3 minutes using the same battery - and 3 minutes are far too short for steam mops to clean any larger surface. Also, one should not forget 20-30 seconds initially required for the unit to start to produce steam.
For short: at the moment, there are no true cordless steam mops on the market - there are no cleaning devices on the market that are battery powered and that clean using steam and steam mop pads at the same time.
If You Google 'cordless steam mops', there is a great chance that You will open a list of cleaning tools claiming to be the 'cordless steam mop list', but models are corded, or they are not true steam mops.
Cordless Steam Mops - Similar Devices
If you are looking for devices similar to 'cordless steam mops', consider one of the following cleaning tools: Cordless Spray Mops, Cordless Spray Mop/Vac Combos, Steam and Spray Mop Combos, Corded Steam Mops, and/or Corded Steam Mop/Vac Combos.
Cordless Spray Mops
Cordless hard floor mops clean the floors using hard floor mop pads, often combined with cleaning detergent/cleaning solution which is sprayed over the cleaned surface by the user manually or automatically by the unit itself - thus, these are cordless spray mops since they don't require power cord for operation.
In order to improve cleaning and shorten the cleaning time, cordless hard floor mops use a spinning or scrubbing mechanism, allowing the unit to scrub and clean the surface, while the unit is being gently pushed-pulled across the floor surface by the user.
Cordless hard floor mops don't have water heaters but can operate using warm cleaning solutions in order to improve cleaning.
Their operating time on the single battery charge is usually around 15-20 minutes, allowing the users to clean a large area, without recharging the battery.
A typical example of such a hard floor cleaning mop is Bissell 2307 SpinWave Cordless Hard Floor Mop, but there are many other models on the market, too.
Bissell 2307 SpinWave Cordless Hard Floor Mop
Bissell 2307 SpinWave is powered via an onboard 18V lithium battery providing energy for up to 20 minutes of almost effortless cleaning.
When the unit arrives, the box contains the hard floor mop, 4 mop pads (2x soft pads, 2x scrubby pads), 2 trial size Bissell Multi-Surface cleaning formula, a charger, a storage tray, and of course, the instructions/manual.
Bissell 2307 SpinWave is a rather lightweight unit, weighing 'just' 11 pounds (~5 kg) with an empty cleaning solution tank featuring 28 oz (~0.83 liters) capacity.
Obviously, there are lighter mops on the market, but this is a robust and powerful unit, one of the most popular and best buy units in its class.
With the cleaning path of 14 inches (~35.6 cm), Bissell 2307 SpinWave is able to clean large areas of bare floors rather quickly, and thanks to different types of mop pads, it can be even used for cleaning sensitive sealed wooden floors - just be sure to read the manual thoroughly.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check Bissell 2307 SpinWave Hard Floor Mop Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
O-Cedar ProMist Max Spray Mop
O-Cedar ProMist Max Spray Mop features double-sided mop pads, practically doubling the area that can be cleaned before the mop pads have to be replaced.
Microfiber mop pads feature deep cleaning scrub zones, ensuring thorough cleaning with just water. Also, mop pads are machine washable up to 100 times, keeping the operating costs low.
However, in order to increase the cleaning effect, the users are advised to add a little bit of cleaning solution/detergent into the water bottle, especially when cleaning stubborn and sticky dirt and spots.
Thanks to its simplicity, microfiber pads, and manual water/cleaning solution spray pump, O-Cedar ProMist Max Spray Mop is an affordable spray mop that is suitable for both everyday cleaning and for cleaning in emergencies.
On the other hand, it doesn't feature any scrubbing mechanism, leaving the user to clean the floors using gentle, but constant push/pull motion.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the O-Cedar ProMist Max Spray Mop Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Hard floor spray mops are very popular cleaning aids, with or without any scrubbing mechanism - with so many units on the market, it should be easy to pick the right one for anybody's needs.
Cordless Spray Mop/Vac Combos
Cordless spray mop and vacuum combos combine two units in one - a spray mop and a vacuum cleaner, saving both time and effort when cleaning bare floors.
Cordless spray mop and vacuum combos are especially suitable for bare floors that are soiled often and require vacuuming before mopping - microfiber mop pads may collect a large amount of dirt, but not as much as vacuum cleaner dirt bins.
Shark VM252 VACMOP Pro Cordless Hard Floor Vacuum Mop
One of the very interesting features of the Shark VM252 VACMOP Pro is the use of disposable mop pads that are used for mopping, but also for collecting the dirt when the unit is used as a vacuum cleaner - Shark VM252 VACMOP Pro does NOT feature a classic dirt cup for dirt storage.
Shark VM252 VACMOP Pro is designed so that the user never has to touch the dirty mop pad.
Physical dimensions of Shark VM252 VACMOP Pro are (L x W x H) 5.38 x 9.5 x 47.86 (13.7 x 24.1 x 121.6 cm) and it weighs only 3.34 pounds (~1.51 kg) with water tank empty.
With a cleaning path of 9.81 inches (~25 cm), Shark VM252 VACMOP Pro allows the user to clean large areas rather quickly.
Shark VM252 VACMOP Pro is rated at 85 Watts and is recharged using a magnetic battery charger.
Automatic LED headlights, swivel neck, lightweight design, thorough cleaning, acceptable price, etc., make Shark VM252 VACMOP Pro one of the most popular units in its class.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the Shark VM252 VACMOP Pro Cordless Hard Floor Vacuum Mop Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Steam and Spray Mop Combos
Steam and spray mop combos operate as corded steam mops and as corded/cordless spray mops. Energy stored in the onboard battery is used only for spray mop pump and for scrubbing mechanism if present.
When being used as steam mops, such units are powered via a detachable power cord and basically, they operate as classic corded steam mops.
A typical example of such steam and spray mop is Shark SK460 Professional Steam & Spray Mop.
Shark SK460 Professional Steam & Spray Mop
Shark SK460 is designed for cleaning practically all sealed and glazed surfaces commonly found at homes and apartments that tolerate steam and spray mop cleaning.
Shark SK460 features 1050 watts (slightly less than 9 Amps) water heater, which requires some 30 seconds to start to produce steam.
Unit is powered via 22 feet (~6.7 m) long detachable power cord, while its spray pump is being powered by 4 AA onboard batteries.
Shark SK460 has three cleaning modes:
- Steam Mode: Shark SK460 is used as a classic steam mop and is being powered via a power cord. The unit uses hot steam and steam mop pads to clean and even sanitize the floors by killing up to 99.9% of bacteria and other germs.
- Spray Mode: Shark SK460 is used as a cordless spray mop, cleaning the surfaces with its mop pads and cleaning solution sprayed via spray pump. This mode is rather gentle and commonly used for cleaning sensitive surfaces.
- Steam and Spray Mode: in this mode, Shark SK460 cleans the floors using the combination of hot steam, hard floor cleaner, and the scrubbing effect of steam mop pads. This cleaning mode is highly effective in cleaning even the most stubborn stains, dirt and messes, just be sure that the floors tolerate such cleaning.
Shark SK460 features all controls positioned conveniently on the handle, including the 'Spray button' and 'Intelligent Steam Controls', which provides the unit with 3 levels of continuous steam, including SaniFiber of Low Setting, Mop or Medium Setting and Scrub or High Setting.
Shark SK460 is a rather versatile unit, able to clean and sanitize large areas of sealed and glazed surfaces rather quickly, saving time and effort.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Shark SK460 Steam and Spray Mop Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Corded Steam Mops
Corded steam mops are cheap and reliable devices that operate using mains power. Steam mops combine hot steam and steam mop pads to clean and sanitize floors, killing often up to 99.9% of bacteria and germs without the use of chemicals.
Steam mops are able to clean large areas of bare floors, as long as those floors are certified for such cleaning - wooden floors must have a finish that is without cracks and that tolerates hot steam, and tiles should have glazed surface, to prevent the steam from entering into the tiles.
A typical example of a corded steam mop is a very popular and affordable Bissell 1940 PowerFresh Steam Mop, but there are many more very popular units on the market, too.
Bissell 1940 PowerFresh Steam Mop
It is a very simple and reliable steam mop, that is available at a very affordable price. For all these reasons, it is one of the most popular steam mops on the market for a long period of time.
Bissell 1940 features 23 feet (~7 m) long power cord and 1500 watts water heater. It weighs 6 pounds (~2.7 kg) and is a highly maneuverable unit with a cleaning path of 12 inches (~30.5 cm).
Water tank capacity is 0.47 liters, which is more than enough for most cleaning tasks.
Bissell 1940 comes with two microfiber cleaning pads (fine microfiber pad for everyday cleaning and scrubbing microfiber pad for tough, stubborn messes) and two Spring Breeze scent discs.
To help users with various floors, Bissell 1940 comes with three steam settings: Low setting, Medium setting, and High setting.
Bissell 1940 is a lightweight and affordable unit that does its job well and is one of the most popular steam mops on the market for many years.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check BISSELL 1940 PowerFresh Steam Mop Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
PurSteam 10-in-1 Steam Mop Cleaner
PurSteam 10-in-1 Steam Mop Cleaner is designed not only as a floor steam mop but also for steam cleaning of glass and mirrors, carpets, furniture, clothes, and fabrics in general, for tile grout, etc.
The steam cleaner features an 11.5 oz (340 ml) water tank, which is good for 20-25 minutes of steaming on the lowest steam setting, or 10-12 minutes on the maximum steam setting.
PurSteam Steam Mop Cleaner 10-in-1 comes with a 2-year limited warranty, which is an acceptable warranty for the steam cleaners in this price class.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the PurSteam 10-in-1 Steam Mop Cleaner Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Corded Steam Mop/Vac Combos
Corded steam mop/vac combos are units that combine corded steam mop and small vacuum cleaner in a single unit.
Such units are highly recommended for areas that are often very soiled and require vacuuming with a regular vacuum before steaming with a classic corded steam mop.
Although corded steam mop/vac combos cost slightly more than classic steam mops, additional features often more than justify their higher price.
One of such units is Bissell 1543A Symphony Pet Steam Mop and Steam Vacuum Cleaner.
Bissell 1543A Symphony Pet Steam Mop and Steam Vacuum Cleaner
While vacuum cleaner removes the pet hair, dust, and other debris off the floors, steam mop cleans the floors by removing stuck-on messes and sanitizing the surface by killing 99.9% of germs and bacteria.
Bissell 1543A Symphony comes with 25 feet (~7.6 m) long power cord and features a 400 W (3.3 Amps) suction motor and 1100 W (9.2 Amps) water heater.
Bissell 1543A Symphony comes with two microfiber pads optimized for various cleaning tasks. Also, it features an additional detachable SteamBoost tray and disposable Swiffer SteamBoost cleaning pads.
Controls are on the handle and they include:
- Hi Steam Setting for cleaning stubborn messes and dirt,
- Lo Steam Setting for everyday cleaning, especially the cleaning of sensitive, sealed floors.
- Vac On/Off turns the vacuum (suction) On and Off.
Bissell 1543A Symphony weighs 9.74 pounds (~4.4 kg) which is rather lightweight for a 2-in-1 unit. Also, it comes with a 12.8 oz (380 ml) water tank, which is on average enough for 15 minutes of steam cleaning.
Bissell 1543A Symphony uses washable steam mop pads (fine microfiber pad and scrubby microfiber pad), but it also features a detachable SteamBoost tray and disposable Swiffer SteamBoost pads. From time to time, it is better to clean the floors with disposable steam mop pads, especially when cleaning pets' and kids' messes and stains.
Since Bissell 1543A Symphony does two cleaning tasks at the same time, it is recommended cleaning tool for soiled bare floors that require both vacuuming and steam cleaning.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check Bissell 1543A Symphony Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Steam Mops FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Here are several Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about steam mops and similar units that we get from time to time.
How big is the cord for a steam mop?
Corded steam mops usually feature 20-25 feet (6.1 - 7.6 m) long power cords, although there are models with even longer power cords.
If longer cleaning reach is required, one can use a thick enough extension cord - just note that most corded steam mops require at least 13-14 Amps (~1500 Watts) constantly.
Is there such a thing as a cordless mop? Can a steam mop be cordless?
With the current level of development of lithium batteries, no, there are no "true" cordless steam mops on the market.
Best Lithium-Ion batteries weigh ~250 Wh/kg, while Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries weigh ~160 Wh/kg. For a 1500W cordless steam mop that has to operate for at least 20 minutes, one would need a lithium battery that is able to store 500Wh, and that battery would weigh at least 2 kg and be very pricy - probably 4 digit price...
Do steam mops actually work?
Yes, steam mops actually do their work very well - they sanitize floors and remove stubborn and sticky messes very well. But, since not all floors tolerate hot steam cleaning, one may not and should not use steam mops in the same way on the glazed tiles and on sealed but sensitive hardwood and similar floors.
Tap water or distilled/demineralized water?
While tap water is cheap, it may leave streaks and marks on the floors, especially in the areas with hard tap water.
Demineralized/distilled water costs more, but leaves floors shiny and clean. If the steam cleaner is used for window cleaning, demineralized/distilled water is a must-have.
Since tap water may leave residue on the internal parts of the steam mops, such water may also shorten the lifetime of the steam mop.
Scented demineralized water leaves no residue on the floors, and leaves a pleasant fragrance in the air, increasing the feeling of freshness and cleanness.
Do steam mops also vacuum?
No, steam mops generally don't vacuum - steam mops use microfiber and similar mop pads to capture dirt and lift it off the floors.
Steam mop/vac combos combine the power of hot steam and vacuum suction to clean more thoroughly heavily soiled bare floors.
What should I look for in a steam mop?
When looking for a steam mop, check the length of the power cord, is steam level adjustable, water tank capacity, is there a scrubbing mechanism, types of mop pads, the weight of the unit, heating time, heater wattage, and similar.
Which is the best cordless steam mop for hard floors?
Again, there are no "true" cordless steam mops on the market, yet.
When choosing the "the best" steam mop or any other cleaning tool, choose according to your own needs and preferences.
Where does the dirt go when you steam clean?
When steam cleaning, the dirt is collected in steam mop pads which are then, in most cases, machine washed.
Some mop/vac combos collect the dirt in the mop pads, while some units feature dirt cups.
Can you put disinfectant in a steam mop?
When steam cleaning, it is possible to put various cleaning solutions/detergents in the water tank, but ONLY ones that are recommended by the steam mop manufacturer.
Since steam mops clean using hot steam which kills at least 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, germs, and similar, without ANY chemicals (just water), why add disinfectants?
Do steam mops damage vinyl floors?
If the vinyl floors are cleaned as recommended by their manufacturer, then no, steam mops cannot damage vinyl floors.
However, if the super hot steam is applied for a longer period of time, then yes, vinyl and similar sensitive floors may be damaged by steam mops.
Is it worth it to get a steam mop?
Yes, it is.
Is a steam mop good for tile floors?
Yes, glazed tiles can be steam cleaned.
What are the disadvantages of steam cleaning?
Few Final Words
If you ever see an ad about cordless steam mops, first check the cable and the battery. If the battery is small or at least smallish, then that battery is used for powering spray mop pump, lights, controls, scrubbing mechanism, and other electric parts on the mops.
For example, Shark SK460 features a 4xAA battery pack, used for operating the unit's steam mop pump, regardless if the unit is used as a corded (steam mop) or as a cordless (spray mop) unit.
If you need a steam mop, go for a good corded steam mop - it will help you keep your floors and home in general cleaner, safer, and more pleasant to live in.
Steam vacuum may be very helpful and can potentially save plenty of time by vacuuming and steam cleaning at the same time.
Cordless and/or corded hard floor spray mops are used for cleaning bare floors with the cleaning solution and mop pads and may be used even for cleaning of sensitive hardwood floors.
Note: when the new unit arrives, be sure to use them according to their manual/instructions. Better safe than sorry ...