Black and Decker make good and innovative steam cleaners. I was disappointed to see that the 10-in-1 Steam Mop didn’t come with a SteaMitt accessory as I’ve always found it effective. But after testing it up and down the house, I can say that it’s worth considering – particularly if you need a steam cleaner that’s much lighter than most.
Take a look at the best steam cleaners
Thanks to children and pets, there’s never a shortage of cleaning to be done. But I considered practicalities like size, storage, accessories, build quality and value for money as well as its cleaning performance.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
The Black and Decker is the lightest steam mop I’ve tested. It’s half the weight of some rivals. That makes it easy to manoeuvre on floors. It comes apart for easy storage and comes with a good selection of tools. However the steam isn’t variable, the controls and handles aren’t great and the power cord is too short.
Reasons to buy
- Very lightweight
- Easy to store
Reasons to not buy
- Fiddly to fill
- Handle isn’t great
- Controls aren’t at your fingertips
- Short power cord
Black & Decker 10-in-1 Steam Mop FSMH13E10
- Capacity: 350ml
- Power: mains
- Cord length: 4m
- Wattage: 1300W
- Dimensions: H: 115cm W: 30cm D: 15cm
- Weight: 1.9kg
- Accessories included (10): nozzle, large squeegee with foam plus cover, small brush with copper bristles, large brush, grout brush, 2 small brushes, carpet glider, microfiber pad.
Who will the Black and Decker 10-in-1 Steam Mop suit?
If you want a steam mop that’s as light as possible then this is the model for you. It’s half the weight of some rivals. Though its power cord is too short. The simple switches instead of a steam trigger might be a blessing too. If most cleaners are too heavy and your hands struggle to squeeze a trigger constantly then this is the steam cleaner for you.
The Black and Decker comes in a surprisingly small and slender cardboard box thanks to its clever design. Instead of a pop-out handheld cleaner in the middle, there’s simply a tube handle that you attach to the top for mopping. The tube attaches securely but is easy to pop off for handheld cleaning. Though as a result, there’s not exactly a handle on the handheld, you just hold the top section.
It’s slim, lightweight and looks good, hygienic in white. The microfiber pad for mopping is especially thick and luxurious. It doesn’t come with a spare microfiber pad but there is a carpet glider.
As mentioned above, the handle is a simple tube that attaches securely to the top of the cleaner body. There’s no steam trigger for the mop: all the controls are on the body.
The love-it-or-loathe-it simple design continues with the water reservoir. It’s built into the body of the cleaner and the filling hole is on the front. So you must lay the Black and Decker flat on its back to fill it and either use a jug or hold the whole thing awkwardly under a tap. But this is the price you pay for such a lightweight cleaner. They’ve disposed of unnecessary plastic by paring down the design.
What’s it like to use?
There is no steam trigger control under your finger. Instead, there are two switches on the body of the Black and Decker. The first starts the steam generator, the other pumps steam. There’s no light to tell you when it’s up to temperature but the switches are reassuring because you know at a glance whether they’re on or off: reducing the risk of a scald when changing accessories.
I have previously reviewed the Black and Decker 9IN1 Steam-mop with SteaMitt and so I missed its unusual glove attachment. It’s like a silicone oven glove with a steam hose and cloth, so you can use your hand to wipe over things to clean them.
Steam cleaning the floor
I test steam mops on flooring: bathroom tiles and also wooden floorboards. A steam mop can make quick work of them but it’s important that it cleans well without damaging the floor and that it leaves the floor as dry as possible.
It took 12 seconds to start steam cleaning once I flicked the second switch. There are no steam levels, just on or off. It didn’t seem like a lot of steam but it took several minutes for tiled floors to dry, so either there was a lot of steam or the microfiber pad didn’t soak it up enough. You can loop the power cord over the lug at the top of the handle so you don’t trip over it. When I turned the button off it took 6 seconds for the steam to stop.
Floor cleaning on tiles and wood alike was good. The lightweight design with a large, sturdy floorhead makes it very manoeuvrable, you can clean the floor well and fast. Both types of floor took too long to dry though. Also the 4m power cord is too short, compared with rivals.
Steam cleaning by hand
To convert to handheld you simply pop off the tube handle. Then either add accessories – I especially liked the long, thin brush for cleaning grout – or stick with the floorhead.
One nice thing about the design is that you can use the handheld with the big floorhead, which worked a treat on wooden stairs. I tried it on grubby fabric boxes too but they were left too wet.
My most challenging steam cleaners test is a large sun lounger cushion that the dog has taken as his own. It’s beyond filthy but it’s salvageable. Can I lift that dirt so much that the cushion is fit for human use? Here, the Black and Decker’s heavy steam and its ability to work as a handheld with the floorhead came up trumps. I lifted a significant stripe of dirt with minimal effort and no extra scrubbing, the microfiber cloth picked it all up.
Cleaning and maintenance
The Black & Decker comes apart easily and, after a quick wipe, it’s easy to see that its white finish is clean. The microfiber pad is machine washable. The water reservoir isn’t easy to empty for storage though as it doesn’t pop out and the fill hole is small, so at most you can tip it into the sink but you’ll never get it completely dry.
Storing your steam cleaner
There is just a single lug at the top of the handle for storing the power cord: you can loop the cord and sling it over the lug, though it might fall off again. There’s no way to hang it up but the Black and Decker breaks down easily. Squeeze one bit and the handle comes off, so you can store it in a small cupboard.
Once again we’re frustrated that there is nowhere to store the accessories. If there’s no on-board storage then it should at least come with a simple, mesh bag that lets the tools dry and be easily carried.
Ideal Home’s verdict: is the Black & Decker 10-in-1 Steam Mop steam cleaner worth it?
I miss the SteaMitt accessory found on some Black and Decker steam cleaners – it’s an unusual and fast way of cleaning. However, the Black & Decker 10-in-1 Steam Mop is a good buy if your priority is a cleaner that’s lightweight. It’s very easy to manoeuvre thanks to its lightness, plus it splits into two halves for storage.
The steam isn’t variable and the power cord is too short. The Black and Decker is basically a good buy if you really need your steam cleaner to be lightweight but otherwise I recommend the Vax Steam Fresh Combi as being better all round. Or get the powerful Polti Vaporetto Smart 100_B and then the weight is in the cylinder: you just lift a lightweight tube.
About this review and our reviewer
Caramel Quin has been writing for Ideal Home and other titles at Future for many years and tests a wide range of consumer technology for newspapers, magazines and online. She prides herself in real-world testing and translating geek speak into plain English. Her pet hates are jargon, pointless products and over-complicated instruction manuals.
She’s an engineering graduate, an award-winning journalist and writes regularly in the Evening Standard. She has appeared as a technology expert on TV and done countless radio interviews.
Caramel lives in east London with her two children, dog, two cats and eight hens. Together they assist her with destruction testing home electricals and ensure that the house is always dirty enough to need steam cleaning…