Black & Decker FSMH1321 7IN1 steam-mop Review

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Pros

  • Prodigious steam production
  • Good size water tank
  • Easy to manoeuvre as mop
  • Handy detail tools
  • Great glass cleaner

Cons

  • Short cable (5.9m)
  • Filler cap vent leaks
  • Autoselect isn’t auto

Key Features

  • Review Price: £99.99
  • 1300Watt steam
  • 0.5l tank
  • 15 second heat up
  • Autoselect steam
  • Removable hand-held steamer
  • Two brush tools
  • Window squeegee
  • Microfibre bonnet
  • 2 year guarantee

What is the Black & Decker FSMH1321 7IN1 steam-mop?

The mid-range Black & Decker FSMH1321 7IN1 steam-mop promises 7-in-1 steam cleaning, with steam mop and hand-held versatility. With good steam power and plenty of tools, including a glass cleaner, it looks a good price for less than £100 too.

If you can live with the short cable and leaky filler cap, the SFSMH1321 is a bargain steam cleaner with plenty of steaming gumption and very handy tools. It’s a little quirky but delivers great general steam cleaning at a very appealing price.

Related: Best steam cleaners

Black & Decker FSMH1321 7IN1 steam-mop – Design and Features

Black & Decker’s range of steam cleaners is bewilderingly comprehensive, but the mid-priced FSMH1321 tested here looks to hit something of a sweet spot.  While this is essentially a steam mop, a raft of accessories makes it well-equipped hand-held steam cleaner too. With a price of less than £100, the FSMH1321 could be a steam-cleaning bargain.

The main upright steam mop clips together with easy straight out of the box. The handle can’t be unclipped once installed, so no chance of getting this unit back into its box for storage. There is a key-way on the rear of the handle allowing it to be wall mounted using a simple screw.

As a steam mop, t feels a little flimsy. There is a lot of flex from the handle downwards, although this is more due to the skeletal design and removable main steam section, rather than any issues with the build quality.

As a steam mop, the floorhead is a great size and the neck has a tilt and pivoting action. That makes it much more manoeuvrable than a lot of its fixed-neck competitors at the price. Two B&D Easy Glide mop pads are supplied, each with a simple hook and loop strip that attaches to five pads on the head for a secure fit. Locked and loaded the whole steam mop weighs in at over to 3kg with its large 0.5l tank full.

The detachable steaming unit weighs in at a reasonable nicely light 1.6kg with a full tank, and is made even easier to handle with its large top handle. It clips in and out of the mop frame with a little wiggling and can be taken to the sink to fill up.

Three levels of steam are available via a rotary dial. B&D refers this to as Autoselect but there is very little ‘auto’ about it.  The dial is simply labelled with different hard floor types to simplify choice rather than three steam levels, although it amounts to the same thing.

The sector makes less sense when you are using hand tools on something other than floors. We simply judged it depending on the cleaning job in hand. The highest setting produces a lot of steam and, naturally, a lot of moisture to wipe up afterwards.

A robust feeling 1m hose pushes securely into the nose of the steamer and released on a thumb clip. The business end of the hose features a solid handle and bayonet clip for accessories. There are no less than nine variations on the FSMH1321, each with a different tool roster. Our sample came with a window squeegee, grouting brush, detail brush and a bonnet for the window tool. Each turns and locks into place easily, so let’s get steaming…

Black & Decker FSMH1321 7IN1 steam-mop – What’s it like to use?

Filling the tank under the tap is easy but there is no gauge to say what is ‘full’. It’s very easy to over-fill, at which point the filler cap vent hole spits water when you move it around. The same vent hole also dribbles if you tilt the steamer unit over, such as when steaming at an angle to clean a shower.

The 1300W steam heater is quick though. Switch on, a little white light under the control illuminates and well within 15 seconds, we were ready to go. While heat-up speed is not a major concern when you first start mopping, if you have to unplug to switch between power sockets, the re-heat time need to be quick. It’s almost instantaneous on this speedy Black & Decker. Just as well as the cable is a miserly 5.9m long, so swapping plug sockets will be a regular theme.

As both the cable and the water tank are fixed to the steamer body, and there is no filler jug supplied. you must take the whole ensemble to the sink to fill up.

Floor mopping performance is very good, thanks to the huge amount of steam the FSMH1321 produces. On the maximum tile floor setting, the pad moistens quickly and makes the floor very wet with clouds of steam. Even if you mop at jogging speed (there’s a fitness video in there somewhere…)  you won’t be left high and dry. That makes for a very speedy floor mopping experience.

Moreover, the cleaning performance is very good. The pad picked up lots of grime from both tiles and laminate floor, leaving a very clean and smear free finish. Even during high-speed mopping, the B&D does not disappoint in its floor cleaning abilities.

A minor concern here is that only some parts of the pad are in constant contact with the floor. The dirt pick-up gets concentrated in these spots rather than all-over the pad. That slightly defeats the point of having such a big pad and means you will need to swap out dirty mop pads sooner than ideal.

The cable was plain annoying. At under 6m, it’s too short to give you a decent cleaning reach and it sticks straight out of the side of the steam unit. During mopping, you can hook the cable around the top cable hook on the handle but it’snot secure so fell off regularly in use.

That’s not an issue when using the hose and details tools of course. The steam unit’s superb output means you really only need the minimum setting for most jobs. Go higher than this and you will be mopping up floods of water run-off. Using the squeegee tool on windows is a prime case so have a cloth handy.

Roll with the prodigious amount of steam however and window cleaning is very good indeed. On tall patio doors, the water runoff was fairly serious even on the lowest steam setting.

Yet we would much rather have superb steam power and mop up as we go that a steam cleaner with an asthmatic puff and no cleaning gumption. You certainly can’t level that criticism and this Black & Decker cleaner. On the downside, the limited cable reach was a complete pain in the butt when doing windows, as we had to find a nearby plug socket near every window.

Putting the bonnet over the squeegee tool was handy for general upholstery and spot cleaning. We attacked a drink-spill stain on plastic tiles and got great results in just a single back/forth pass.

No surprise then that the steam power on offer, combined with either of the stiff bristle brush tools, delivers plenty of cleaning gumption. That worked very well for tile grouting – or at least it did when we found a mains extension lead as there are no plug sockets in the bathroom of course.

Overall we were very impressed with the Black & Decker’s versatility even if it has its niggles. factor in that sub £100 price and it is a bit of bargain too.

Why buy the Black & Decker FSMH1321 7IN1 steam-mop?

Lots and lots of steam, a highly manoeuvrable floorhead and well-designed tools give the Black & Decker FSMH1321 outstanding cleaning power for a variety of duties. The frustratingly short cable, leaky vent on the tank cap and limited floor touch-points on the mop pad (meaning you have to change pads regularly) means it far from perfect. Yet, given its superb cleaning performance on hard floors, windows and detail jobs, its all-around versatility and attractive asking price under £100, we can forgive it those foibles easily.

Verdict

If you can live with the short cable and dribbly filler cap, B&D’s FSMH1321 7IN1 steam-mop is a powerful, versatile and affordable steam cleaner for a variety of jobs.

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