Shark's Lift-Away 2 in 1 Steam Pocket Mop S3901 is a versatile upright and handheld steam cleaner with a name that's longer than its ample 7m power cable. It uses tap water alone to steam off dirt from floors, counter-tops, bathroom tiles, upholstery and curtains, with three steaming levels from which to choose.
It’s compact and lightweight, and excels as a handheld cleaner with its winning combination of plentiful steam and well-designed tools. A streaky finish to laminates didn’t impress when used as a steam mop, but there's no denying its effective all-round steam-cleaning abilities.
This lightweight Shark device brings steam mopping and handheld steam cleaning together in a 2-in-1 device.
The handheld unit, with its 300ml water reservoir, simply clips into and out of the main body, which itself is attached to a strong aluminium handle and a super-large floorhead frame. The large pocket mop head simply slips onto the frame and secures with Velcro. The mop pockets are double-sided, with a slightly different texture on each side.
The "professional" variation tested here benefits from three levels of steam power – dust, mop and scrub – with LED lights and an illuminated button that scrolls through the levels. There's a 300ml reservoir that's good for 15-20 minutes of steaming on the lowest setting, or half that on the maximum scrub setting. There's no option for adding detergent; this is a pure steam cleaner.
As a steam mop the options are straightforward. Two double-sided, multi-purpose cleaning mop pockets are supplied – one side has a soft, fleece-like texture, while the flip side is rougher for more heavy-duty cleaning. A little guide in the manual denotes which of the three steam levels is best for which floor type. The steam begins to flow as soon as you start working the floor.
Shark supplies a carpet glider tool into which the whole floorhead and mop pocket fit. Clearly, this isn’t going to properly steam-clean your carpet, but the manual notes this is good for grooming and freshening your pile.
Remove the handheld unit from the body and you have a plethora of options. The main concentrator nozzle attaches directly to the steam outlet and creates an intense jet of steam for spot-cleaning.
Attach the short flexi-hose instead and you can clip on the window-cleaning attachment with its rubber squeegee blade or the triangular-shape scrubber attachment. This comes with a fleece bonnet surfaces such as worktops, mirrors and shelves. Anything flat (and heat/moisture-resistant) basically.
The final tool is a little grout-scrubbing brush with a steam jet in the middle.
The inventory list is complete with a small wire tool for unblocking the steam jets, plastic filling jug, cloth bag to store all your accessories, and a very informative instruction manual.
A cable hook on the handle is great for keeping things tidy when the Shark is put away. Conversely, a small cable clip on the metal tube fails in its remit to keep the cable out of the way while you're using the mop. It’s too big and the cable simply falls out when you move.
While the Shark will run on tap water, if you live in very hard water area then it might well be best to use distilled water to stop calcium buildup over time. Filling the 300ml reservoir through its very small opening using the jug provided will be the first challenge, requiring a mop up of its own afterwards.
Filled up and plugged in, in handheld mode the Shark produces steam almost the instant you pull the trigger. All three levels produce a fair bit of steam. For most jobs you can get away with the minimum setting, and hence the longest run-time.
The window tool on the hose proved an immediate hit in the conservatory. Like dedicated steam window cleaners, the Shark made a good job of an almost streak-free clean by steaming the window and dragging the squeegee from top to bottom. A light wipe of the odd streak and we had very clean windows, very quickly. The hose does make it a two-handed operation, however, as you need to hold the handheld unit in one hand and the tool in the other.
Operation "steam clean the entire conservatory" created a bit of water on the uPVC frames of the windows and doors, which on close inspection were very grubby. The grout tool looked ideal for this, so we gave it a go. The steam loosened the dirt and the brush perfectly cleaned out the grooves and lines in the plastic. A quick wipe with a dry cloth afterwards and the uPVC looked like new. Brilliant.
With such success, we headed to the bathroom and attacked the grouting in the shower with the same tool. Set onto the highest steam setting, within seconds the dark stains on the white grout were turned into mucky water running down the tiles. The Shark is a supremely effective tool for grout cleaning.
Unless you have some specific spot to shift, perhaps chewing gum on lino or dried-on food stain on the kitchen splashback, the concentrator nozzle will prove unhelpful for day-to-day cleaning.
More useful is the flat scrubber attachment. With its fleece bonnet in place, this did a grand job on the kitchen worktops and ceramic hobs. The finish was a little streaky on the black glass hobs – but a quick final buff with a dry cloth and the surface came up well.
We used the same tool on an old sofa with mixed results. While the steam certainly began to dislodge and shift the worn-in dirt, the bonnet didn’t do the best job of picking up the resulting grubby moisture. A follow-up wipe with a cloth was required and a second pass of the mop was needed to achieve an even clean. As with other steam cleaners we've used, we couldn’t really get much of an effective cleaning result on fabric materials. Your mileage may vary depending on the textile in question.
Ironically, with such success as a handheld, the Shark felt a little underwhelming as a steam mop. The large floorhead certainly covers a lot of ground quickly, and cleans muck and stains well. However, on smooth surfaces it left streaks that were clearly visible after the floor had fully dried.
This was more of an issue on smooth laminate floor with a glossier finish, but it was noticeable on our matte-black riven tiles too.
This Shark 2-in-1 steam cleaner is a versatile unit, offering a great selection of tools for the widest cleaning possibilities.
As a handheld, its superb cleaning abilities across windows, counter tops, uPVC and grouting is excellent, and the reservoir will give you 10-15 minutes of steam on the mid-setting.
As a mop it cleans effectively but the lack of detergent option meant that the resulting streaky finish on laminate floor won it no favours at chez Stevenson.
A versatile 2-in-1 cleaner that excels as a handheld and offers effective floor mopping.