The Bottom Line: not perfect but best solution for us right now
I have 5 kids, my entire downstairs (except the formal area they don't go in) is tile or wood so a mop and bucket doesn't cut it. If I don't mop every day or 2 the only hope is scrubbing on hands and knees. The problem is to mop every day or 2 I have a few options. Option 1, traditional mop and bucket does not work well because it leaves the floor very wet so I have to contain the kids off it or they go sliding everywhere and track dirt everywhere again anyway. The other issue is mopping while trying to keep 2 toddlers out of the bucket. So onto option #2, disposables like swiffer, problem with those is the pads don't clean well enough and get too dirty and stop either dry out (the wet clothes) or stop absorbing (the wet jet) before I am done. Option #3 is similiar, the reusable stick mop things that are similiar to the disposables like the Orange Glo. This option ties for 2nd place and is good for a quick spot clean. The cloth scrubs better than disposable and absorbs more and can just be rinsed and keep on using. Plus it is much bigger than the disposables. But the problem still remains that it starts to dry out so frequent trips to the sink to rinse and rewet are involved. The other option that ties for 2nd place is a floor scrubber like the floor mate. This sucks up the water so the floor isnt too wet and does scrub so no dirty water being used and no wet floor. But the scrubbing doesn't work too well so I have to go over 1 spot several times or presoak bad spots. The biggest issue though is the scrubbers are a lot more cumbersome and you are supposed to use cleaner with them (we use vinegar).
In comes the Shark steam mop. Since it uses steam it dries very quickly. Since it uses steam it cleans and disinfects without harmful chemicals. The pad is very absorbant but since it is using steam it doesn't have as much water to absorb so lasts quite a while. It also is quick and lightweight to use. You just pour in some water, plug it in, wait 30 seconds and then go. The steam activation button is built right into the handle so it steams whenever you push it to mop. It is a fairly simple device just consisting of a handle with grip and hang hole. At the bottom of the handle is the steam activation automatic button. Below that is the water reservoir and motor/heater part. Then on the bottom is the swivel head that nice fluffy, absorbant, reusable pads just velcro onto so no tabs or anything to mess with.
It does produce a good amount of hot steam easily just by pushing the handle. It does clean well. But it does not scrub. To get really dirty areas you have to go over the area many times and of course it doesn't take up gum or squished starbursts or anything like that. The first time we used it our floor scrubber had been broken about a month, so it had been at least a week since we mopped so we had to go behind it and scrape up gum or go over extremely dirty spots repeatedly. Then we had to do the entire floor one last time with a clean pad because it was left slightly sticky. But now that we mop at least once a week, usually more, it works easily. The best part though is it is so light and easy I can do it holding a baby or while chasing toddlers away (you will get burnt if you touch it while it is steaming so I have to remind the kids "hot" while I use it). Though it is hot it does not leave the floor hot, just warm right after you go over it. It is also easy enough for my older kids to use.
The handle seems very flimsy in my opinion but it hasn't broken yet. Also it doesn't hold much water, I can do my foyer and hall and then have to refill.
I guess it isn't the end all, giant srubbrush but it is the best solution for us so far.
Get floors sparkling clean with this electric 1500-watt steam mop. Its rapid water-heating system generates steam in 30 seconds, then the unit releases steam across a 10-1/2-inch cleaning path with the push-forward motion of mopping. The powerful steam cleaner eliminates rinsing, wringing, redistributing dirt onto floors, and carrying heavy buckets of water. It comes equipped with a 20-foot power cord and an absorbent, reusable, triple-action microfiber pad, which helps to loosen, lift, and absorb dirt from floors. The mop requires no refills or toxic, messy chemicals, and its powerful steam leaves floors exceptionally clean and virtually dry with no chemical residue left behind. Safe on all sealed hard-floor surfaces, its lightweight construction and sleek, ergonomic design makes cleaning quick and effective. Two machine-washable steam pads come included.