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At Curry's PC World I recently bought this Black & Decker steam mop for £79.99. That was a steal! A steal from me, that is. It is quite balanced in terms of pros and cons but for that price I expected the scales to be tipped majorly in the pros' favour.
It kills 99.9% bacteria; it is incredibly simple to operate; it takes only 15 seconds to boil (which is amazing - my other steam mops took 15 MINUTES); it is very flexible for getting in awkward corners; and it is very appealing in design.
It promises to clean without any additional products - just steam. Wow! If only that were true. It may kill bacteria (I don't know as I don't own a magnifying glass) but it makes no visible dent in long-term stains (such as a spill on the carpet). It doesn't erase any unpleasant scents (which should happen just by killing bacteria) - it doesn't even temporarily mask them, it just leaves a burnt plastic smell from using the device and lastly and most annoyingly, the mat doesn't even stay fixed to the bottom! It rolls up, curls up, shifts around and comes off while steaming. It needs to be strapped on somehow as opposed to its design of... placed on the bottom, hoping it stays.
Overall it is an acceptable machine but I didn't pay £79.99 for acceptable, I paid for exceptional. The fact that it doesn't live up to its promise of effective cleaning without products is a major con. Vax steam mops are charged at about £50... since they seem to be the same, why would I spend £30 more?
I'm a steam mop convert and have also used Vax S2 Hard Floor Master Upright Steam Stick extensively - when I was lucky enough to be sent this to try (and keep) I soon found that this Black and Decker steam mop gives comparable results to the Vax and has some nice features and some advantages over other makes and models that I have used. If you are looking for a steam mop it's one to consider if you can find it at the right price, personally I would want to pay around the £50 mark for an appliance of this sort.
Out of the box the mop is very quick to assemble, and indeed disassemble into three parts should you wish to for storage. The pole could be a little more solid in all honesty - it's not that thick and just doesn't feel very strong. In general though everything else is quite well designed with a generous 6 metre cord which clips nicely onto the handle both for storage and there's a clip to keep it out of harm's way when in use as well. It's easy to get started using this mop too - just a question of filling up the 500ml water reserve through the nice wide opening, adding the supplied pad to the bottom (it velcro attaches in a way that is much easier to manage than the Vax) and switching on via a very visible on/off button.
The appliance lights up red to show you it is on and changes to blue once you are ready to steam - being 1600w it does take 30 seconds to heat up as it is supposed to and it maintains a steady stream of steam whilst in use too. There's no trigger for the steam so it can't be regulated, however you can change a dial at the front for more or less steam depending on the surface you are using from marble, tiles or sealed laminate. This works well - I don't possess a marble floor but have used it on the other suggested surfaces to great effect - it picks up an alarming amount of dirt!
The mop is light and easy to push around - again, a plus point where compared to the heavier Vax. It's very quiet and works equally well on laminate, tiles and even deals well with polished finish tiles, leaving them gleaming and streak free. There is a carpet attachment included for "refreshing" your carpets - it may well kill dust mites but I don't think that it particularly has much of an effect on carpet in all honestly. The floors it is of more use with - ie tiles and laminate are very quick to dry after use and thought the swivel head is a little unintuitive to use - it's weirdly jointed somehow - it gets into corners well. Once you have got going there's no need for regular refills, I find that the water goes a surprisingly long way as you are actually using very little in steam form.
It's a little bit of a shame, and probably would be a deal breaker to me, that only one pad is supplied with the appliance as, although the microfibre pads are reusable (they are machine washable), in my experience you will find they get dirty pretty quickly so you really need to have a supply of fresh ones on hand if you are cleaning more than one room at a time. They can be bought separately but are an added expense and it's just strange you don't get more when the manufacturer has included a pretty unnecessary mat for standing the mop on when not in use and a measuring jug that I could live without, when more pads would be much better. Another issue perhaps is that the plastic parts of the mop don't seem to be the quality they could be for the rrp. That said I have had no problems with it through quite a lot of use, we have a very large kitchen that needs mopping on a daily basis and this makes that job quicker, easier and better. If you haven't used a steam mop before you are pretty sure to be impressed by this one which, as billed, does clean well and without the need for detergents and is a big improvement on the traditional mop and bucket. At the right price and if you can't find a comparable mop (I still prefer my Vax which has mixed reviews but works well for me and which cost less than this) I would happily recommend this.
Steam clean your home's floors for a 99.99% effective assault on germs and bacteria when you use the Black & Decker FSM1600 Mop ! Ready to use in just 15 seconds, simply adjust a dial to select your floor type and the FSM1600 Mop will ensure just the right amount of is released / Aside from its sheer effectiveness, there are plenty of nice features to commend the Black & Decker FSM1600 Mop / A swivel head helps you to manoeuvre around awkward areas, whilst convenient upright locking and auto shut-off allow you to easily take a break! The tank also illuminates / changing from red to blue when the cleaner is ready for use / Using a washable and reusable easy glide microfibre pad for deep cleaning, the wall-mountable Black & Decker FSM1600 Mop is an effective solution for cleaning and cleansing your household! The Black&Decker FSM1600 Mop is suitable for use on all sealed floors / Characteristics Type mop Power (Watts) 1600W Bag volume or reservoir (litre) 500ml Ergonomy Cable length 6m Others Colours Blue and white Dimensions (cm) 118 × 30 × 15 cm Weight (Kg) 2.5 kg / Short name: Black Decker FSM1600