steam mop on a wood floor

Shark Steam Mop vs Bissell Powerfresh vs Bissell Symphony: Which Should You Buy?

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Are you ready to ditch the old-fashioned mop and bucket combo for cleaning your floors? If you’re looking for a much faster and more efficient way to take care of your floors, then look no further than steam mops! 

While you may be wondering which is the best, I’ve taken the time and compiled a list of these handy-dandy cleaning devices. 

In the world of steam mops, two products dominate the market – Shark and Bissell. 

And even though Bissell has been producing quality cleaning products since 1876, let’s be honest, Shark has done well to close the gap in their relatively short time in the business.

Enough of the history lesson (drum roll, please)… Shark Steam Mop vs Bissell Powerfresh vs Bissell Symphony: which one reigns supreme?

N.B: For this comparison, I will cover the most popular of these models, which are Shark Steam Pocket Mop S3501, Bissell Powerfresh 1940, and Bissell Symphony 1132A.

Without further ado, let’s get right down to business.

TL;DR: Quick Overview

SPECSShark Steam MopBissell PowerfreshBissell Symphony
Weight6 lbs6 lbs10 lbs
Cleaning FunctionMopMopVacuum and Mop
Tank15 oz16 oz12.8 oz
Steam ControlNoYesYes

Shark Steam Mop S3501

shark steam mop

It’s not difficult to understand why Shark Steam Mop S3501 got so popular. It looks and acts simple. Like your regular, lightweight swivel mop that somehow got rid of the bucket and started blowing steam!

Except that you need to wait 60 seconds for it to heat up. And you have to pump a trigger to release steam for cleaning. T – this can take a toll on your hands after cleaning for long periods. 

On the bright side, it doesn’t leave much water, which helps speed up the floor’s drying process.

Thanks to Shark’s innovative design, you can flip the head over to use both sides of the reversible pad. You’ll get 2 pads, so that kinda makes it four!

Consequently, you probably won’t have to change pads midway through your cleaning session. (Although I recommend changing pads, especially after using them for sticky jobs – my kitchen floor can attest to this). The cleaning pad on this steam mop is washable and can be attached to the device without much hassle. 

This hard floor cleaner has a 20ft cord which can be pretty inconvenient if you want to steam clean your whole house. 

A truly great thing about this and every other steam mop is that you won’t need any chemicals to remove dirt and grime from your floors. They all have a built-in cleaning solution that constantly produces steam to sanitize the floor. All you need is to pour fresh water into its 15 oz tank.

If you are not looking for an elaborate steam mop and want something that can sanitize your floor faster and more efficiently, then this is for you.

Bissell Powerfresh 1940

bissell powerfresh steam mop

Bissell PowerFresh 1940 is a more popular version of Shark S3501. (It also has a subtype called 1940W. Check out their similarities and differences!)

I can’t say that I’m surprised since Bissell is a household name renowned for producing quality products for decades. Both devices have the same basic features with few differences (I’ll get into that later). 

As you’d expect, the Bissell 1940 is lightweight and easy to use. But unlike the Shark, you don’t have to pump a trigger to release steam. This mop emits it automatically. All you do is select the cleaning mode and push a button on the handle to turn it on.

With the digital touch set steam control, you can also adjust the steam according to your cleaning needs. To get the right amount of cleaning power, choose from low, medium, or high steam control. (The high steam’s really hot, mind you!)

This steam mop also comes with two washable microfiber pads, which are excellent since you don’t have to buy any replacements. Moreover, the device comes with a washable water tank that is relatively easy to clean and remove without hassle.

Powerfresh 1940 has a generous 16 oz water tank, and its 23ft cord is good and long enough (certainly better than the 20ft on the Shark).

Bissell Symphony 1132A

bissell symphony steam mop

For best results with steam mops (steam anything, really), you must vacuum first, especially if you have deep and gritty floors. A sticky mess will result otherwise. 

Not if you have the Bissell Symphony, though!

The Bissell Symphony is a heavy-duty hard floor cleaner that vacuums and mops at the same time.

This revolutionary product guarantees a clean and sanitized floor by eliminating 99.9% germs with its 2-step system. The first step is a vacuum that removes dirt from the floor’s surface before the next step – a powerful steam clear. Sounds good, doesn’t it? 

There’s more: you can use high pressure for vinyl, linoleum, tile, and tough grime on floors. And you can use low pressure for hardwood and everyday cleaning. (Bear in mind, though, that wood and moisture don’t go well together.)

The micro bean protection helps to keep the pad clean, while an easy-release mop tray makes changing the pad a breeze. After cleaning, you can throw the pads in the washing machine, and they will be good to go.

Because the dry tank technology prevents moisture from accumulating in the dust cap, this tank is easy to empty. The Symphony’s handle is adjustable, easy to use, and store. And you should be able to reach most corners in your home due to its 25ft power cord.

The Symphony is perfect for you if you want a mop and vacuum cleaner in one.

Now, to our three-way hard floor cleaner war!

Shark Steam Mop vs Bissell Powerfresh vs Bissell Symphony: In-Depth Guide

shark steam mop vs bissell powerfresh vs bissell symphony


The two Bissell steam mop cleaners on this list outshine the Shark in this field.

For starters, the Shark Steam Mop dispenses steam by a pump-action pressure on its handle, which is automatically activated as you sweep back and forth. Still, I found that pumping action affected the mopping motion over long periods, made it a little more complex, and made my hand more tired. 

However, the Bissell PowerFresh and the Bissell Symphony function with a button on their body and handle that releases steam as you mop, making it easier to clean.

Also, the Bissells can be turned on and off with a button. B, but to turn off the Shark, you have to unplug it, which is a bit tricky. 

And lastly, the Bissells can stand upright on their own while the Shark has to be propped up against a wall. A surprisingly small but important detail!

Winner: The Bissell Symphony and Powerfesh are the apparent winners in this category. They have an ergonomic handle and a button to release steam against the Shark with its pump. These little details add up over time to improve the user’s experience.

Cleaning Function

The Bissell Symphony has a HUGE advantage here because it can vacuum and mop. You can steam and dust separately or together, in one use. How can you beat that?

And because the Symphony has a vacuum function, it comes with a dust cup and a vacuum filter that the Shark and Powerfresh do not have.

Winner: The Bissell Symphony takes the day in this category because of its added vacuum function. Compared to it, Shark and Powerfresh are basically just glorified mops! And really, who doesn’t like to not have to use two devices where just one will do?

Power Cord Length

When it comes to household chores, you quickly get tired if you have to drag the cleaning tools from one room to another. And with the longer cord, this hassle is a thing of the past.

The shark steam mop has a 20 ft of power cord which, as I said earlier, is not too bad, but still not as long as the Powerfresh with 23 ft or the Bissell Symphony’s 25 ft power cord. 

This is really important to me because I live in a two-story house, and it takes me a while to clean the entire first level since I have to keep moving the steam mop from one room to the next. So, for me, the longer cord is a big deal. 

Winner: Because of this very reason, the winner in this round is the Bissell Symphony by a long shot.

Water Tank

All three steam mops have a generous 0.4L water tank. So you should be able to complete most cleaning tasks with a single tank. 

Powerfresh and Symphony have removable water tanks, but the Shark doesn’t. So you’ll have to take the cleaner to the sink each time you want to refill. And that isn’t fun at all!

Winner: A removable tank is a good feature for most people (including me). So, Symphony and Powerfresh come up tops here.

Ease of Use

The head of the Shark steam mop can swivel, which allows it to be easily turned in any direction. Useful when cleaning corners and cramped spaces!

But the Bissell cleaners don’t require you to move furniture either. Their long cords allow you to reach tight spaces and corners. This can save you from having to break your back or bend down to clean those hard-to-reach edges.

Winner: Each product has its advantages and drawbacks here, so I call this round a draw.

Final Verdict: Which Should You Buy?

If money is not an issue for you, I would recommend you get the best of the best and go for the Bissell Symphony. It vacuums and mops, which is a dual function that saves time and effort. Convenience is the whole point of steam mops after all!

However, all steam mops are not created equal.

If you want something cheaper yet effective than a regular mop, then the Bissell Powerfresh or Shark Steam Mop (if you can overlook some of its ergonomic deficiencies) are great. Both are lightweight, easy to use, and store away easily.

In the end, the steam mop you should invest in is the one that gives you the best value for your money.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which steamer is better, Bissell or Shark?

In general, Shark steam mops are lighter and more compact, whereas Bissell has more cleaning power. This is one of the most significant differences between Bissell and Shark steam mops. And truthfully, there are not many better than these two.

How hot does the Bissell steam mop get?

A steam mop works by heating water to about 250 degrees Fahrenheit in a reservoir or tank. Microfiber pads are dampened with hot steam that travels through a series of jets to reach them. When moisture and damp pads are combined, dirt and dust are moistened and broken up.

Is it okay to add essential oils to my Shark steam mop?

A fragrance oil, such as an essential oil, has a blend of alcohol and scents. But although the oils are safe for use around humans, you should not use them in your Shark steamer. The reason is simple: oil won’t evaporate like water will. Instead, it will linger on and eventually hurt the device!

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