Best Combination Vacuum/Steam Mop
Cord Length: 25′ | Water Tank: 350 ml
The Bissell Symphony steam cleans and vacuums simultaneously, allowing you to pick up debris and sanitize your kitchen floor in one fell swoop. For those who find themselves cleaning high-traffic areas several times a week, this can vastly cut down on overall cleaning time. Some do-it-all machines fall short, but the Symphony performs its double duties exceptionally well, keeping the contents of its dust tank dry, so it’s easy to discard while still blasting away stuck-on filth and stains with steam. It comes with a scrubbing pad for extra stubborn stains, which easily cut through all of the set-in grime we threw at it during our testing. It’s easy to turn off the steam and simply use this as a stick vacuum on your carpets, or you can purchase the carpet glide attachment to use the steam to deodorize your rugs.
If you need to clean up stubborn stains or deeply rooted grout grime, the relatively simplistic Symphony falls a little short. It lacks any additional accessories to really get into those harder areas or put extra elbow grease into serious stains. We’re not particularly impressed with its performance on tile, without any scrubber pad, but it still does the job for everyday dirt. If you’re more of a frequent-and-casual cleaner, this combo mop/vacuum may be exactly what you’ve been looking for to streamline your cleaning process.
Read more: Bissell Symphony review
Compare select up to 5 products to compare
Why You Should Trust Us
We researched more than 50 mops for this review before compiling a list of the models most likely to serve our readers well. We then bought those mops and, as always, paid the full list price (we never want to be swayed by gifts from manufacturers). Next, we brought them into our testing lab to run them through their paces. This involved creating controlled messes of mud, ketchup, and grime and making cleaning passes with each mop, one right next to the other. We also filled and refilled water tanks, changed and washed cleaning pads, timed heating cycles, and ran each mop into the tightest crevices and most acute corners we could find, all to assess relative user-friendliness and maneuverability. To top it all off, we used all of the extra bells and whistles each mop offers to discover whether these additional features might be helpful in the average home.
Our comprehensive testing is grouped into four weighted rating metrics:
- Cleaning Performance (40% of overall score weighting)
- Ease of Use (25% weighting)
- Maneuverability (20% weighting)
- Features (15% weighting)
This review is headed by veteran Research Analyst Michelle Powell. Michelle has over a decade of experience working in the commercial foodservice industry, giving her a ton of hands-on experience with deep cleaning. She’s backed up by Maggie Nichols, a longtime gear tester with a background in scientific research. Both of these analytic testers live in muddy mountain towns with pets and variable hard surface flooring, providing ample opportunity to test these mops.
In this most recent update, the review team was joined by Nick Miley, and Genaveve Bradshaw. Nick has over a decade of consumer product review work under his belt, backed by a master’s degree in environmental sciences. Genaveve’s diverse professional background makes her well suited to the practicalities of testing and rating products such as steam mops.
Analysis and Test Results
We did a deep dive to find the best steam mops, combing through spec sheets to find those most likely to deliver a good performance. We then spent over two weeks dirtying floors and cleaning them up to see which mops cleaned the best, were easiest to use, and were the most maneuverable. We also tested any extra features each mop offered. From there, we scored all of these attributes, weighting things like cleaning performance more highly than features, to arrive at scores on a scale of 0-100. The full results of all this testing are discussed below.
In so many instances, you’ll trade some amount of performance to get a great price on a product. But every now and then, a product manages to be the best of the bunch and save you money. That’s the case with the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe. This impressive steam mop outperformed the rest, snagging our top award while still being one of the less expensive models we tested. The PurSteam 10-in-1 is a solid budget pick if you can find it below its list price, which we commonly did. The PurSteam is not the best steam cleaner, but it offers a variety of attachments that make it useful throughout the house.
As you might guess, we consider cleaning performance the most important aspect of any steam mop. Therefore, we assigned 40% of each product’s overall score based on its results in our cleaning tests. We purposefully tracked mud onto a variety of sealed stone and tile floors before we began our testing. We carefully pretreated our floors with stains, deep cleaned grout, and tested each mop’s performance on standard wear in high-traffic areas.
General Tile/Stone Cleaning Performance
When cleaning tile and stone flooring (the only types of flooring where we would use a steam mop), all of the mops did an adequate job. However, there was a clear distinction between models that did great and those that simply did well. Two outstanding models excel at cleaning both synthetic flooring and tile — the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe and Dupray Neat Steam. Three of the Bissell models — the PowerFresh Deluxe, Symphony Pet, and the Lift-Off Pet — as well as the Dupray Neat — all also do an exceptional job at synthetic floor cleaning. These mops could easily lift grime and dirt from hard floors, usually in a single pass.
With its integrated vacuum that works simultaneously with the steam mopping function, the Bissell Symphony sets itself apart from the competition. This one-two punch cuts your cleaning time in half since you don’t have to sweep beforehand. The Bissell PowerFresh Slim 3-in-1, Shark Genius Steam Pocket, and Shark Lift-Away Pro also do an above-average job cleaning both tile and synthetic flooring. However, they lack the extra convenience of the Symphony’s vacuum/mop combo.
A few models, including the PurSteam and the O-Cedar Microfiber, could clean hard surfaces decently well but require more passes and more effort overall to get the job done. We generally had to go over areas at least twice with these budget models before they were truly clean. Still, we found it faster to clean with all of these models than with your standard mop.
Stubborn Stain Performance
The majority of steam mops are most effective when used for regular cleaning rather than for removing stubborn stains that have spent a long time setting into the tile. That said, we went on a quest to find tile floors with old, set-in stains and were surprised at how well some of these models clean up old grime.
By far, the most impressive contender for tackling heavy-duty build-up is the Dupray Neat Steam. This powerful mop puts out tons of steam when you need it most, with good pressure and a giant water tank to go the distance. It comes with a plethora of easily swapped-out attachments, so you always have the right tool for the job. We loved using this steamy cleaner on far more than just our floors and found it the perfect companion for scrubbing tile showers, countertops, and built-up backsplashes. When it comes to deep cleaning just about any hard surface in your home, the Neat Steam is tough to beat.
The Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe and PowerFresh Lift-Off Pet are two other impressive performers in this metric. These models both come with excellent mop pads that do a shockingly good job on their own, as well as scrubbing components when you need a little bit of extra oomph in your effort. The PowerFresh Deluxe quickly and easily pops away from the mop head using a simple step release, leaving you with a large scrubbing brush to dig into tough stains. The Lift-Off Pet features a flip-down scrubber behind the mop head that you push down with your foot to spot clean difficult areas. Both have top-notch steam pressure that makes cleaning that much easier.
The Bissell Symphony Pet and PowerFresh Slim also have great pressure for consistent cleaning and mop pads that do an above-average job cleaning difficult stains without having to switch out for additional attachments. However, they don’t score quite as well as the previously mentioned models, as they lack any additional scrubbing or scraping attachments for those times when you need a little something extra.
Ease of Use
Though generally simple to operate, some steam mops are more user-friendly than others. We based each mop’s ease of use score on the functionality of three main components: the water tank, steamer, and cleaning pads. We judged the water tanks based on size, how easy they were to fill and empty, and how long they took to heat up. We rated cleaning pads by how easy they are to swap out during use and their ease of cleaning once soiled.
Overall, almost every mop we tested heats up rapidly, producing steam within one minute of being plugged in. The only exception to this quick heat-up time is the Dupray Neat Steam, which takes a full eight minutes to heat up. However, it also holds 3-4 times the amount of water as most models — and up to 8x as much water as some — in its 1600ml tank.
By a slim margin, the Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe proved itself overall the easiest to use. It feels quite solid and can reliably stand up on its own — an underrated feature that makes storing and stepping away from the mop for a moment vastly easier to do. It comes with two thick, elastic pads of different textures that are easy to get on and off and simple to toss in the washing machine to clean. It has one of the larger tank capacities we tested, fitting 562ml of water when full, with a flip-open lid on a clear tank that makes it easy to see how much water you have left.
The Shark Genius Steam Pocket is near the top of the pack too. This model separates itself from the rest of the field with its touch-free pad changing, nearly-instant steam, and a water tank that is easy to fill. Its water tank is clear, and everything heats up in under a minute. The included pad is double-sided, and the power button features hands-free operation. It only falls short in its slightly squirrelly handling. The mop head pivots in every direction very easily, making it a bit challenging to push it in a straight line, particularly over textured surfaces. The Bissell Symphony Pet also performs quite well in this metric. It can easily stand on its own when you need your hands elsewhere, and the elastic pads are easy and simple to change in and out during use.
The Bissell PowerFresh Lift-Off Pet is another fairly easy-to-use model. It has easily changed washable pads and can stand up on its own. It feels solid to use and has a clear tank. It only loses points because of its slightly oddly placed tank opening that forces you to turn the mop on its side to fill. The Bissell PowerFresh Slim and Shark Lift-Away Pro are also worth mentioning in this metric. The Slim is only slightly less impressive than other Bissell models because of its top-heavy design, making it slightly more awkward to use and preventing it from standing up on its own. The Shark Lift-Away Pro has hands-free mop pad changing but also the same overly-mobile head that pivots a bit too much and prevents it from standing upright. Its water tank is also closed by a screw-top, and the sides are semi-opaque, making it difficult to see the water level.
One of the most tedious aspects of cleaning floors can be scrubbing hard-to-reach spots, including corners and narrow sections between appliances. We tested maneuverability by mopping various spaces and assessing mop head glide, corner and edge cleaning, and cord length. The top scorers in this metric glided smoothly across any surface and left no nooks or crannies unclean.
The most maneuverable model we tested is the Bissell PowerFresh Slim. Though many others glide just as well or have cords just as long, this nifty little steam mop outstrips the rest when it comes to getting into tight spots. Its elastic pads cover all edges of the mop head, allowing you to use any side, and it easily turns sideways to fit into narrow areas. Unlike other Bissell models, the Slim’s mop head is straight on all four sides to better follow the edges in your home from any angle. It’s also a touch smaller than the Shark models we tested, helping it to squeeze into all but the tightest spots.
Second place in this metric is a four-way tie between two Bissell models — the PowerFresh Deluxe and PowerFresh Lift-Off Pet — and two Shark models — the Lift-Away Pro and Genius Steam Pocket. The Bissells glide very smoothly on all but the roughest of floors, with just a few points lost for the curved backs of their mop heads, making them more difficult to use all four sides. The Shark models are the opposite — they have huge pads with straight sides that easily turn sideways and pivot in any direction. However, their large pads catch a bit on more textured floors, like ceramic tile and stone.
The Dupray Neat Steam glides like a pro but loses out here with its unidirectional head that only tilts from side to side, making it difficult to get under furniture. The Bissell Symphony Pet glides smoothly, even with its added wheels to support vacuum functionality. However, the vacuum section sets the mop pad slightly behind when going straight forward, leaving a small portion of the floor unmopped.
While some of the mops we tested are spartan in their features, others come with an array of attachments and accessories that make them much more functional cleaning machines. We put every attachment and feature to the test, scrubbing anything in our homes that we could reach, and we also tested included functionalities like cleaning brushes and steam adjustability.
The Black+Decker 7-in-1, PurSteam 10-in-1, and Shark Lift-Away Pro lead the pack in this metric. All of these mops come with a ton of additional (and useful) components and accessories, as well as extra mop pads. The steam settings on these devices remain adjustable in their various configurations. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that swapping between tools isn’t always the easiest on the PurSteam and Shark Lift-Away Pro.
The Dupray Neat also comes with many extra tools and features. It has extra mop pads, a cleaning brush, and a hose attachment to further your reach. Swapping accessories in and out with just a simple push of a button is effortless. However, there’s no adjustability to its steam setting, so it loses a few points in that arena.
The Bissell PowerFresh Slim 3-in-1 and Bissell Lift-Off Pet also include numerous accessories, but it’s not quite as easy to swap between them. They both also only include a single mop head and two steam settings — low and high. The PowerFresh Deluxe and Symphony Pet also have just low and high settings for their steam expulsion. The Symphony Pet is the only model we tested with both vacuum and steam mop functions, allowing you to clean faster and with fewer tools. However, it lacks any other accessories, coming with just an extra mop pad. The Shark Genius Steam Pocket lacks any extra pads, features, or cleaning accessories but has the most adjustable steam levels of any model we tested.
Anyone with a sealed hard surface floor in their home (i.e., not hardwood) can benefit from having a steam mop around for at least occasional cleanings. Whether you’re after something simple to take the hassle out of the old mop and bucket set up or something that tackles showers and countertops just as easily as floors, there’s a steam mop for your home, lifestyle, and budget.