Cleaning your hardwood floors the old-fashioned way with a standard mop may not get you the results you want.
Harnessing the grime-fighting powers of steam can work wonders. But, at the same time, you’re likely wary about risking harm to your flooring.
Your concern is warranted. Picking an incompatible steam mop could have disastrous consequences for your floors. Here’s everything you need to know to find the best steam mop for your hardwood floors.
- User-friendly design
- Suitable for soft & hard flooring
- Ideal for speedy cleaning
- Prompt heat-up & preparation
- Two settings for different surfaces
- Smooth gliding
- Three settings for almost all surfaces
- Drop pads straight into your hamper
- Steam blaster for interruption-free mopping
- Speed-controlled steam
- Long cord for extra reach
- Easy to maneuver
- Space-saving design
- Straightforward to use
- Lightweight & low-effort
We immersed ourselves in the steam mop market on your behalf. We’ve meticulously investigated, reviewed, and assessed each model for you. So we’re happy to say that our in-depth sleuthing paid off. We’ve found five potential candidates for the best steam mop for hardwood floors.
1. Light ‘N Easy S3101 Steam Mop
Best for All Floors
With different floorings in one home, cleaning can be daunting. But not with this product.
We love that the S3101 is rated for hard surfaces (wood, laminate, tile, and stone) and carpet.
You can use this versatile mop in nearly any residence. You probably don’t have hardwood bathrooms, and many homes have at least one carpeted room.
True to the name, the Light N’ Easy won’t break your back. It weighs four pounds; toting it up and down stairs shouldn’t be too taxing.
What We Like
There’s nothing complex about setting up or using this mop. For one, you don’t have to remove the tank to refill it, which saves you time.
The controls are straightforward. You pump the handle and move the mop around to produce steam: the faster you go, the more steam you’ll generate.
Suitable for Soft and Hard Flooring
Users with carpets will appreciate the duality of this mop. You may be able to retire your old carpet cleaner, or save yourself the cost of a new one.
As the device works on flooring other than wood, you can use it throughout the house. Renew the stone on your patio or garage, or give yourself a break from scrubbing tiles.
Easily Carried and Stored
There are handheld steam cleaners that weigh more than this compact steam mop. It shouldn’t be cumbersome to move around from room to room.
The last thing we need is another big appliance to cram into a closet. The slim build and light weight are practical for those with limited space.
Ideal for Speedy Cleaning
You can clean quickly with this mop. Moving the mop vigorously forces more steam out.
The 7.4-ounce tank heats up in less than a minute. Those who don’t like to waste time will appreciate how rapidly this model gets ready for action.
What We Don't Like
Carpet Attachment Sold Separately
Although the Light N’ Easy comes with one mop pad, the carpet glider is sold separately. To profit from the complete flooring package, you’ll have to purchase it by itself.
This doesn’t impact the machine’s functionality, but it is somewhat irksome. The way it’s advertised, you’d expect it to be inclusive.
No On/Off Switch
When you want to turn this off, you have to physically unplug it from the wall. As soon as you plug it in, it starts heating up. This is inconvenient if you need to quickly stop steaming to answer the door or tend to your child. You could damage your floors if you leave it standing in one spot and forget to unplug it.
It says it stops producing steam when your hands leave the handle, but customers found this wasn’t always the case.
7.4 Ounce Reservoir
The reservoir holds around a cup of water, which the mop goes through quickly. You might have frequent trips to refill this mop, especially if you emit more steam as you clean.
|Tank Capacity and Warm-Up Time||7.4 ounces, ready in 30 seconds|
|Mop Pad||Washable microfiber pad, 10.5 by 6 inches|
|Settings||Automatic shutoff when you release the handle|
|Cord Length||20 feet|
2. Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe Steam Mop
Best for Stubborn Messes on Hardwood Floors
Are your hardwood floors subject to a host of affronts regularly? Little ones, pets, and careless spouses can dirty up your glossy floors in the blink of an eye.
In this case, the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe might be an appealing choice. It comes with a built-in brush for tackling dried mud, forgotten sticky spills, and caked-on grime.
Once the bulk of the mess is dealt with, you can reattach the mop head. At 12 inches wide, it can cover vast swathes at once to shorten your cleaning time.
What We Like
Prompt Heat-Up and Preparation
This machine can be ready to jump into action as quickly as you are. The Bissell heats up in 30 seconds.
So by the time you perform a preliminary wipe-down, it’ll be ready to finish the job with a sanitizing burst of steam.
Two Settings for Different Surfaces
If you’re obliged to steam your hardwood often, it’s best to do it on a low setting. Depending on what you’re steaming, you can switch this model between low and high.
Crank it up to high for your tiles, marble, and ceramic. Hardwood, aging linoleum, and other delicate surfaces can be gently treated on low.
The microfiber of this widely-built mop pad is cushiony and thick. Aside from protecting your floors from scratches, it should glide over them without a hitch.
Option to Include Scent Disk
Steam has many advantages, but it doesn’t leave a fragrance behind. So after transitioning to steam, you may miss your favorite scented cleaning products.
Thankfully, the mop attachment has a tray built to hold Bissell scent disks. The spring-fresh aroma should satisfy your desire to enjoy aromatic evidence of your hard work.
What We Don't Like
Might Have a Shorter Lifespan
A handful of users report that their Bissells didn’t last as long as they’d hoped. Several customers experienced their steam mops giving up within one year of purchase.
Your product is under a two-year limited warranty umbrella, but it’s still disappointing. Although this happened to a minority of buyers, it’s understandable if you don’t want to risk it.
Not Effective on Grout
Although this steam mop comes with a bristled attachment that looks like it should be fantastic on grout, customers say otherwise. After scrubbing and scrubbing their grout until their arms tired, many customers said there was no physical difference to how their grout looked. Still as dirty as ever!
Mop Pads Get Dirty Quickly
The mop pads don’t absorb a lot of the dirt. Instead, it sits on the surface of the mop pad and spreads dirty water around.
|Tank Capacity and Warm-Up Time||19 ounces, ready in 30 seconds|
|Mop Pad||Microfiber pad, 12 inches wide|
|Settings||Low and high|
|Cord Length||25 feet|
3. Shark Genius Hard Floor Steam Mop
Most Innovative Features
The Shark Genius might tempt users who are fond of appliances with ingenious features.
If you’re the germaphobic type, you’ll likely adore this mop. With the touch of a button, detach and reattach the pad from the device — no hands needed.
It also has a targeted steam blaster for stubborn stains. So if you suddenly come across a resilient stain, you can blast it into submission and return to steam mopping.
What We Like
Three Settings for Almost All Surfaces
The Shark Genius gives you total control over steam generation. You’ll be able to steam mop surfaces ranging from delicate to hardy with settings from low to medium and high.
All three settings are rated for use on hardwood flooring. Of course, it’s up to you to determine which setting is most appropriate for your wood.
Drop Pads Straight Into Your Hamper
This gadget’s touch-free mop pad will appeal to users who are queasy about touching grimy mop pads.
Hold the Genius over to drop the pad straight in your laundry hamper. Dump it in your washing machine without touching it once.
Steam Blaster for Interruption-Free Mopping
You usually have to stop when you come across a tacky or grimy spot with a traditional mop. Typically, you’re obligated to get down on your knees and scrub to loosen it up.
The chances of such aggravating delays are minimized with this machine. It has a built-in steam blaster to send a concentrated jet of steam at whatever is in your way.
Longer-Lasting Mop Pads
The mop pads are dual-sided. Once you’ve worn out one side, you can switch to the second one.
Shark states that the pads can last up to four months with regular use. Since replacement pads are an ongoing cost, this should save you a little money.
What We Don't Like
Swiveling Mop Head Might Hinder You
Several customers report that the mop head is extremely pliable. The swiveling mop head may prove too flexible for some of you.
If you have a lot of wide-open spaces to steam, struggling to keep the mop straight could get irritating. Users who have become accustomed to stiff mop heads for years may also have trouble adjusting.
Hard to Fill Up With Water
If you want a removable tank, this isn’t the steam mop for you. You have to fill the measuring cup first, then pour it into the reservoir, which takes extra time. Plus, the opening is small, so it’s tricky. Lastly, you can’t see the reservoir easily, making it hard to tell how much water is in there.
Can’t Stand Up On Its Own
Leaving the steam mop and storing it has never been more frustrating. This steam mop doesn’t stand up on its own. You have to lean it against a wall.
|Tank Capacity and Warm-Up Time||11.8 ounces, ready in 30 seconds|
|Mop Pad||Two double-sided dirt-grip washable pads,
4.71 by 13.8 by 7 inches
|Settings||Low, medium, high. Steam blaster available|
|Cord Length||22.4 feet|
4. Light ‘N Easy S7338 Automatic Control Steam Mop
Best for Heavily Furnished Homes
Our furnishings and decorations are what make our homes unique. Unfortunately, they can also be troublesome to navigate with bulky appliances.
Users with crowded hardwood floors could find the S7338 by Light N’ Easy steam mop alluring. The 8.6 by 8.6-inch square head can swivel to slide under couches and tables. The flexibility of the machine enables you to navigate obstacles with ease.
The smaller head is petite enough not to get jammed under smaller-sized furniture. It also has the advantage of fitting neatly into most standard-sized corners. And you won’t have to repeatedly pass over the same area as with a narrower, rectangular mop.
What We Like
You’re able to regulate steam generation through your movements. If you push the mop head back and forth swiftly, you’ll get more steam.
So if you run into a tough stain in the midst of mopping, you can break it down with a few brisk movements. Then just slow it down to cut off steam production.
When you position the mop handle upright, steam will stop instantly. This is practical if you have curious pets or children who wander out while you’re cleaning.
Long Cord for Extra Reach
Having a lot of items in a room can shorten the cord length of appliances like this. For instance, a 10-foot cord can turn into a 5-foot one if your outlet is behind an enormous couch.
We’re glad that this device has a cord that’s 20 feet long. It’ll likely be enough to work with, even if you have to wind it around various pieces of furniture.
Simple to Maneuver
A head that swivels 360 degrees won’t limit you in a crowded space. You may not have to bend or move furnishings around as you would with a stiff-head model.
Adding to that, the whole mop weighs less than five pounds. Most steam moppers shouldn’t feel worn down after manipulating it for a while.
The handle on this steam mop is unlike no other. It’s a circular handle making it comfortable to hold. It also provides a space to wrap the cord around, which is fantastic for storage purposes.
What We Don't Like
A few customers have found that the pads are thin, meaning they wear out faster. This means you need to keep an eye on your mop pads; check them regularly.
Otherwise, you hazard scuffing or scratching your hardwood floors. If you’re the forgetful sort and this sounds too dangerous for you to chance, pick a model with thicker pads.
Requires More Effort Than Desired
The reason for this being a little lower on our list is because it does require more effort than other options. Although it heats up in 30 seconds, it can take another few minutes to get going. Once the mop pad is wet, it starts to work better, which can take up to five minutes. You might have to go over the same spot multiple times to see a difference.
Not Heavy Duty
With many steam mops, you can physically see the steam emitting from the device. This lets you know it’s working. With this steam mop, you can’t see the steam come out. Therefore, it’s not as heavy-duty as other options. Plus, it’s not the best for large homes since it does require more effort.
|Tank Capacity and Warm-Up Time||Tank capacity N/A, ready in 30 seconds|
|Mop Pad||8.6 by 8.6 inches|
|Settings||Smart sensor, automatic shutoff when positioned upright|
|Cord Length||20 feet|
5. Shark S1000A Steam Mop With Removable Tank
Best for Smaller Homes
Do you live in a smaller residence with fewer square feet to steam? This product may work for you. The power cord is 18 feet long, which won’t be too restrictive in humbler domiciles.
The pads are reusable and will keep as long as you aren’t steaming vast expanses of flooring. This lightweight model won’t eat up space you don’t have. It’s slim and unbulky, so it shouldn’t give you much trouble to store.
You can control how much steam you’ll expose your hardwood floors to. Steam is generated by pumping the mop handle as little or as often as you need.
What We Like
When your living space is modest, economizing on space is a priority. A bigger appliance might not fit in your designated storage areas.
The Shark should fit conveniently into the smallest of closets. One buyer managed to rig up a hook for it, which could work as the handle is rounded.
Straightforward to Use
This simply-built machine is controlled manually through a pump. You squeeze the handle to push out steam as you manipulate the mop.
There are no electronic settings to switch between, and it’s easy to set up. Attaching pads to the mop is as easy as pressing the head down on the pad while it’s on the floor.
Refilling the removable tank is a breeze. You pour water into it (straight from the tap), screw the cap back on, and reattach it to the mop.
Lightweight and Low-Effort
Manipulating the S1000A shouldn’t overpower uses of all levels of physical ability. The total weight of this mop is 4.6 pounds.
Hoisting it over your carpets or out of storage likely won’t be too exhausting. It also has a long handle, meaning most of you won’t have to hunch over while steaming.
Great for Speedy Cleaning
Customers love how quickly this allows them to clean their floors. It heats up in 30 seconds, emitting strong power from the get-go. You can clean your bathroom floors, carpets, and other hard floors in just a few minutes.
What We Don't Like
Less Durable Pads
One of the reasons why we suggest this product for smaller-scale residents is the pads. Several buyers have reported that the pads collect dirt fast, requiring frequent replacement.
This machine might not be optimal for regularly steaming big areas. The pads will last for longer if you use them less.
Pump Could Tire Your Hands Out
A few users have complained that handling the pump is tiring after a while. If you have limitations (e.g., arthritis), the repetitive motion might grow painful.
Those of you in this category might prefer a model with hands-free controls. A few examples are the Light N’ Easy S7338 or the Shark Genius.
|Tank Capacity and Warm-Up Time||12.6 ounces, ready in 30 seconds|
|Settings||Pump to generate steam|
|Cord Length||18 feet|
|Product||Best||Tank Capacity, Warm-Up Time||Mop Pad||Settings||Weight||Cord Length|
|Light ‘N Easy S3101||All Floors||7.4 oz, 30 sec||Microfiber pad, 10.5″ x 6″||Automatic shutoff||4 lbs||20 ft|
|Bissell PowerFresh||Stubborn Messes||19 oz, 30 sec||Microfiber pad, 12″||Low and high||5.7 lbs||25 ft|
|Shark Genius Hard Floor||Innovative Features||11.8 oz, 30 sec||Double-sided dirt-grip pads||Low, medium, high. Steam blaster||6 lbs||22.4 ft|
|Light ‘N Easy S7338 Auto||Heavily Furnished Homes||N/A, 30 sec||8.6″ x 8.6″||Smart sensor, automatic shutoff||4.9 lbs||20 ft|
|Shark S1000A Steam Mop||Smaller Homes||12.6 oz, 30 sec||N/A||Pump – generate steam||4.6 lbs||18 ft|
You’re right to arm yourself with information before buying a steam mop. There are so many types of mops on the market that shopping might momentarily overwhelm you. Let’s now answer some common questions about steam cleaning this flooring type.
Can I Use a Steam Mop on Wooden Floors?
You can theoretically use a steam mop on both solid (all-wood) or engineered wood (wood and composite materials) — as long as they’re sealed (1).
Varnish protects and preserves the underlying wood from daily wear and tear. This liquid dries to form a transparent film that’s durable and usually gloss-enhancing.
Wood is sturdy with aesthetic appeal, but you should know its weaknesses. A major flaw is its tendency to absorb moisture, which can alter its appearance.
As steam is vaporized water, you can’t expose unsealed wood to it. Residual moisture from the steam may distort the boards over time.
Don’t Overdo It
Are Steam Mops Worth It?
If you despise mopping and scrubbing floors, a steam mop is worth your while. Harsh detergents may speed up cleaning but can also eat away your floors. On the other hand, steam may be hot, but it’s biodegradable and non-toxic.
Users concerned about germs may also find these devices helpful. Wood requires the same diligent sanitization as carpeting. Nasty organisms like salmonella can survive on any surface for weeks (3).
Check Your Warranty
Things to Consider (Buying Guide)
You don’t want to hazard exorbitant repairs by choosing the wrong steam mop. So these are all the product specifications you should look out for:
Tips for Steam Mopping Hardwood Floors
We provide a few steam mopping tips for users who are curious, hesitant, or both:
- Don’t idle: Allowing the steam to blast into one area of your flooring for a long moment can damage it.
- Work speedily: On that note, keep up a quick pace as you steam. Don’t slowly drag it over your flooring: a brief pass should be sufficiently cleansing.
- Let it warm up: Don’t try to forcefully use your steam mop before it’s ready. You could cause harm to the internal mechanisms or spew hot water instead of steam.
- Keep pads clean: A buildup of filth will render your steam mop ineffective. You risk scuffing your floors by pushing a mop covered in solid grime across them. Clean them as needed, or replace them if they’re past washing.
- Let the mop cool off safely: The mop pad will be scalding hot after you use it. Don’t prop it up on your hardwood floors to dry. Instead, position the mop, so the pad isn’t touching anything.
Before You Start Steaming
If you aren’t sure whether or not your hardwood floors are sealed, check with a professional. Don’t venture a guess and hope for the best.
Double-check that steaming won’t void your warranty if your hardwood floors are new. If another accident happens that requires repair, you want to be covered.
Finally, use caution when you’re steaming hardwood. Remember not to overdo it, and monitor how your hardwood responds to steaming. If you notice the floors have begun to deteriorate, stop using your steam mop on them.