Steam Mop Buying Guide Eureka 313A Enviro Hard-Surface Floor Steamer

Steam Mop Buying Guide Eureka 313A Enviro Hard-Surface Floor Steamer

Steam Mop Advantages and Disadvantages

Steam mops are designed to clean vinyl, tile, sealed wooden and laminate flooring, but not cork flooring, unsealed wood or unglazed tile. If you use a steam mop on a waxed floor, it can melt the wax and spread it around, leaving a haze. Its a little disturbing, too, to find reports from a few owners about damage to laminate floors, especially since the problem took some time to develop. Experts advise caution when using a steam mop on a wood or laminate floor, though many owners report great results.

For a small vinyl floor, just about any steam mop will do the trick, though a pivoting mop head adds convenience. For a larger area, reviewers recommend looking for a steam mop with a long cord and large water reservoir (for long working time between refills). If you think youll need to refill the reservoir, look for a continuous-refill steam mop that doesnt need to cool down between refills, plus a short warm-up time. (Warm-up time ranges from 30 seconds to five minutes, and some steam mops have to cool down for several minutes between refills.)

Owners say it can take some time to get the hang of using a steam mop. Its a matter of timing to use enough steam to loosen dirt but not get the floor too wet. Some steam mops are more apt to leave a floor sopping wet than other models, though, so this is a factor to consider especially if you need to mop wooden floors. Steam mops with just one hole in the head seem to be more apt to leave a floor very wet, compared with steam mops with many steam outlets.

If you care about sanitizing a floor killing germs with high heat be aware that most steam mops dont get hot enough to do this without keeping the mop in one place for eight to 15 seconds, which can make mopping a whole floor take a long time. This is partly a matter of wattage, which varies from 800 to 1,500 watts. Its also a matter of design how many steam holes the mop head has and how close to the floor the water is heated. Only a few steam mop models get hot enough at floor level to sanitize effectively.

Another big design difference among steam mops is the way the amount of steam is controlled.

  • Some steam mops, such as those by Eureka  and Haan are simply either on or off (with a foot switch on the base), so the main control you have is the pace at which you move the mop across the floor.
  • At the opposite extreme are steam mops by Bissell, Kalorik and Steamboy, on which steam comes out only when you hold a trigger down. This gives you more control but can be very tiring if you have to hold down the trigger for a long time.
  • Shark steam mops require you to pump the handle up and down to get the steam going, with the idea that youll naturally push down when moving the mop forward but then you dont have steam when pulling the mop back, and many reviewers say this design is tiring to use.
  • The higher-end SteamFast models use a dial so you can adjust the steam output for different floorings. No trigger pulling or pumping is needed.

Steam mops that provide continuous steam (with a basic on-off switch rather than a trigger or pump) come with floor pads or stands for the warm-up period. You can also place the steam mop on the stand while you take a break. Some stands also serve as carpet gliders or carpet stands, which let you use the steam mop to freshen up a carpet or even a mattress. Carpet gliders are standard on some steam mops, optional on others.

Experts recommend the following when shopping for a steam mop:

  • Decide whether sanitizing is important. If killing germs is one of your goals, pick a mop that provides steam thats hot enough to do so with reasonable speed. Unless youre mopping a very small area, youre not going to want to hold the steam mop in one place for 12 to 15 seconds without moving it.
  • Be sure the handle design and length are comfortable. The handles of some steam mops are adjustable, but others are a fixed length, which may be too short or long for you. Handles also vary in design, and some are more ergonomic than others.
  • Weight and working time are tradeoffs. A lightweight steam mop is less tiring to push around, but light weight usually means a small reservoir and short working time between refills.
  • A larger water reservoir is best for large floor areas. Too short a working time between refills is another major complaint from owners. It doesnt matter for steam mopping one very small room, but for large areas, reviews recommend a big reservoir.
  • Quick warm-up saves time on large areas. The difference between waiting 30 seconds and three minutes may not matter much if you only wait once each time you mop but if you have to refill the reservoir during each mopping session, the extra time will be inconvenient.  
  • Is there a cool-down required between refills? This is another factor that can increase cleaning time if you need to refill the reservoir; some steam mops require several minutes to cool down.
  • The reservoir should be easy to fill. Some reviewers like a removable reservoir that you can take to the sink, while others find this a nuisance.
  • A long cord makes a big difference in convenience. Owners report that having to switch outlets within the same room is a big pain, especially if they have to step on the freshly mopped floor to reach the outlet.
  • Cord management helps keep the cord out of your way. Some steam mops have a built-in holder to keep the cord off the floor and make it easier to manage.
  • Decide which type of switch you prefer. Steam mops with triggers give you more control but can be tiring to use. An on-off button is simple but can leave floors too wet. Pumping the handle can be tiring if youre cleaning a big floor. Floor pedal on-off switches are relatively easy to use.
  • Look for a swiveling head. Pivoting heads are easier to maneuver around toilets and under appliances.
  • Be sure the mop head isnt too deep to fit under furnishings. If the floors you want to clean extend under cabinet fronts, appliances or furniture, be sure the mop head will fit underneath them.
  • Look for covers that are easy to attach. A cover that attaches with Velcro can save a lot of time and frustration.
  • Indicator lights add convenience. It helps to have one light that tells you when the steam mop is ready to use, and another light to let you know when you need to refill the reservoir.
  • Buy from a retailer with a good return policy. We found reports of faulty mops across brands and models, so youll want to be able to exchange a steam mop easily if youre unlucky enough to get a mop that doesnt work well.
  • Budget for extra microfiber covers. Unless you mop a very small area at a time, youll probably want more than the two covers that come with most steam mops.
  • Steam mops with filters add to the cost. A filter usually needs replacing about every six months, and prices vary among brands (*Est. $10 to $15).

Information Source. Consumer Search (www.consumersearch.com)

Out of all the Steam Mops and Floor Steamers that I have reviewed, Eureka 313a Enviro Steam Mop  is one that can satisfy most of the criteria listed by Consumer Search.

Click to View Eureka 313a Enviro Hard-Surface Floor Steamer on Amazon.  


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