Rated 4.5 out of 5Â by 24
Rated 1 out of 5Â by Johnson Buy a real steam mop instead.
If you want to clean your floors with a steam mop, then don't buy this product. Buy a real steam mop instead.
I have a steam mop of a different design and brand that I have used for five years. It does an excellent job. I'll describe how it works and how I use it, and then compare the Shark S3251 to it to show the Shark's flaws.
The old mop has a metal tank into which I pour (distilled) water and screw on the cap. I plug it in and turn it on, and a heater heats up the tank. The water boils, and the resulting steam is piped from the top of the tank to the bottom of the unit, where it comes through a network of holes, right into the top of the cloth pad. The steam has no place to go except through the cloth pad, and that is what it does. The pad becomes saturated with water, it gets very hot, and steam comes out THROUGH the bottom of the pad, right onto the floor.
I use it to clean tile floors which have 15 inch square tiles. I clean two tiles at once, one just in front of me and the one on the far side of that one. My method for each "pass" is to begin by pushing the steamer away from me, then pulling it toward me, then pushing it away from me. This wipes the hot pad over one half of each of the two tiles and starts the water soaking into what's on them. Then I slowly pull the steamer toward me, steaming the two tiles for perhaps eight to ten seconds. Then I push and pull the steamer away and back, away and back, and away and back. The steam has loosened the dirt on the tile and the push-and-pull motion wipes it off. Then I move over to the other half of the two tiles (about the width of the steamer) and start the next "pass".
There are two things to note carefully here. The first is that the steamer heats the water at a steady rate, and so it delivers steam through the pad at a steady rate. That means I can deliver more steam to a given spot on the floor, and so apply more heat to that spot, simply by moving the steamer more slowly over it. If I come across a dirtier spot, I just pull the steamer toward me more slowly on the slow pass. The second is that the steam is delivered THROUGH the pad, directly onto the floor.
Now, let's look at the Shark. It has two MAJOR design flaws, and I'll describe them both.
The first flaw is that the Shark S3251 has a plastic water tank above the base unit, on the handle. As I push and pull the unit, the "push" stroke pushes the handle into the base unit about an inch or so, and this pumps a squirt of water into the steam generator, after which the "pull" stroke pulls the handle back out of the unit and primes the pump for the next pass. So, the S3251 does not deliver steam at a steady rate, rather it delivers steam at a rate determined by how rapidly I push and pull the handle. This means I don't get steam UNLESS I push and pull the handle, and I have to keep pushing and pulling the handle continuously to get steam.
Now, let's see how that works. I have to push and pull the unit at a relatively rapid rate, perhaps one second per complete stroke or slightly slower, to keep the steam flowing. Stopping the pushing and pulling for three seconds stops the steam flowing completely. This means I can't simply slow down the unit and pass it more slowly over a dirty spot to put more steam and more heat onto it, rather I have to shorten my stroke and push-and-pull at a more rapid rate. Overall, I work to make the steam and clean the floor, rather than the steam working for me. It takes a lot of work to use this mop.
The second flaw is AWFUL. It has a single nozzle to deliver steam out the bottom of the unit, above the cloth pad. There are deep ridges of plastic that channel this steam away from that nozzle in a "fan" pattern and so distribute it over the whole surface of the pad. BUT, there is no "dam" around the perimeter to force the steam into the pad. The steam escapes around the perimeter of the base of the unit, ABOVE the pad, and so looks and sounds impressive, but NOTHING forces the steam into the pad. The floor is cold (compared to the steam) and so it keep the pad from heating up, and so the pad simply becomes wet with water that has condensed from the steam and soaked down through the pad.
This second flaw is fatal to the design, in my unhumble opinion. I have pushed and pulled the unit across a small section of floor for as long as 30 seconds, then pulled it away and IMMEDIATELY put my hand on that section of the floor, only to find the floor cold to the touch. Further, I have unplugged the unit after using it for some time, still steaming, and put my hand on the bottom of the pad, only to find it warm to the touch. In comparison, my old unit turns the floor HOT via the same test, and touching the bottom of the pad in the same manner will result in severe scalding of the hand, requiring medical attention. The Shark S3251 is not a floor steamer, rather it is simply a wet mop with a cloth base having a water dispensing mechanism built into it.
Finally, about results. My old unit leaves my floors squeaky clean. This one doesn't. It did remove a lot of dirt, but it left a number of spots dirty that a simple paper towel with hot water cleaned right up. I can do better, with less work, with my old unit, and probably even with a sponge mop using hot water.
November 17, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5Â by Glorygal4 Shark is simply the best!
I fell in love with a Shark Steam Mop 7 years ago. It finally broke and I purchased this one. It hasn't disappointed. Shark products continue to display quality and performance. I only recommend Shark for a reason #1.
May 13, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5Â by SeattlyGuy Works as advertised!!
I switched to this product from a Swiffer WetJet and and I m very happy that I did.
This mop is easy to use, sanitizes without chemicals and doesn't require pads that go into the garbage.
My only gripe is that the cord is rather short.
December 17, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5Â by Robbin Love this steam mop
Very easy to assemble and even kids can use it. I love this product
July 8, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5Â by CathyJean Great purchase!
It was easy to use, and I love to use it! I can see the results, my office floor seem much cleaner!
December 11, 2014