Steam cleaners are great for getting rid of germs instantly, making one of the most boring household chores as quick and pain-free as possible. They also eliminate the need for chemicals, making them a great choice for pet owners: steam kills most germs and nasties, too.
Before you rush out and buy a steam cleaner for your home, there’s one main decision you’ll need to make: do you want a steam mop or a handheld steam cleaner? If you already know the answer to this, great – you can jump straight to our list of the best steam cleaners below. If you’re still unsure, then read on to find out more about both types of steam cleaners before you decide on which is best for you.
First option is a steam mop, which is largely used for cleaning hard floors and is a great way to keep them in tip-top condition. A steam mop will let you clean your floors much quicker than a standard mop and won't leave them wet for ages afterwards, so you don't have to worry about dirty shoes undoing your hard work. Second option is a handheld model, which can be used to clean everything from tiles and ovens to windows. A handheld steam cleaner will usually come with more accessories and a stronger jet of steam, so you can also use it in places where a larger model wouldn't work – including bins and cupboards.
The top five steam cleaners an steam mops listed below.
Best steam cleaners and steam mops 2019
1. Karcher SC1 Steam Stick
The perfect all-rounder that can tackle any cleaning situation
The Karcher SC1 Steam Stick is an excellent combined steam cleaner, with plenty of accessories out of the box, which is able to handle any cleaning conundrum you put it to. The steam cleaner function is the best we've seen, with the extended hose and attachments helping it to reach some pretty difficult and awkward locations.
The SC1 even bested more expensive devoted steam mops when getting rid of tough stains on hard surfaces. While the heat-up time is pretty lengthy at three minutes, plus the water tank is quite small and surprisingly heavy when using it for long periods, the convenience of the SC1 Steam Stick far outweighs these few faults. The small but powerful Karcher SC1 Steam Stick is our top pick for anyone wanting a flexible, well-constructed device to help around the home.
Dimensions (HxWxD): 321x127x186, Weight: 1.6Kg, Maximum reach: 6.2m, Water tank capacity: 0.2 litres, Warranty: Two years RTB.
2. Bissell Steam Shot
A nifty little steam cleaner that packs quite a punch
The Bissell Steam Shot is a flexible little handheld steam cleaner at a great price. Able to clean difficult to access areas, it's a great accompaniment for more dedicated steam mops. There are plenty of accessories included in the box, including a window squeegee and three colour-coded brushes, and the 0.36-litre tank gives you around eight minutes of steaming time. It's incredibly simple to use, with the many attachments that can be swapped around on the fly.
It isn't the best for extended use, mostly as a result of the awkwardly placed and stiff trigger, which hurts your thumb after a while. However, the Bissell Steam Shot is a competitively priced steam cleaner that's perfect for the odd bits of cleaning that needs to be done around the home.
Dimensions (HxWxD): 220x240x130MM, Weight: 1.08Kg, Maximum reach: 5.8m, Water tank capacity: 0.36 litres, Warranty: One year RTB, Part Code: 2635
3. Vileda Steam Mop
A basic steam mop that does the job well
A stripped-down and back-to-basics floor cleaner, the Vileda Steam Mop is a great choice for anyone overwhelmed by all the unnecessary features that are sometimes included with steam cleaners.
Since the water isn't directly heated, you can open the water tank and top up at any point. Beating more expensive steam cleaners at their own game, the Vileda cleans incredibly well and is exceptionally easy to use. For those wanting an easy-to-operate steam cleaner that can do exactly what it says on the tin, the Vileda Steam Mop is a great choice – just don't expect it to do everything.
Dimensions: 1300x300x200, Weight: 2.5Kg, Maximum reach: 6.3m, Water tank capacity: 0.4 litres, Warranty: Two years RTB.
4. Bissell Vac & Steam
A great steam cleaner that sucks up dirt too
The Bissell Vac & Steam is an interesting steam cleaner with an integrated bagless cylinder vacuum to help suck up dirt as you clean. It's a pretty good multi-functional cleaner that cleans considerably better than it sucks, with dirt sometimes becoming stuck in the vacuum brush at the front. The variable steam cleaner function is great, however, handling tough stains on hard flooring incredibly well. Just don't expect it to clean carpets quite as easily.
While suction isn't exactly stellar – and isn't necessarily a replacement for more dedicated vacuum cleaners – it was quite handy to use, getting rid of dust bunnies as you steam the floors. If your home mostly consists of hard flooring, the Bissell Vac & Steam is a great choice.
Dimensions (HxWxD): 280x230x1181MM, Weight: 4.75Kg, Maximum reach: 7.9m, Water tank capacity: 0.38 litres, Warranty: Two year RTB, Part Code: 1132
5. Vax Steam Fresh Power Plus
The big daddy of steam cleaners
The Vax Steam Fresh Power Plus has every feature under the sun to help you get rid of tough stains, but a few flaws stop if from being a top-tier cleaner. Hard floor and carpet cleaning is incredibly good, helped with the detergent setting, but it did struggle to get rid of tarnished wall surfaces with the handheld.
Throwing everything it can at dirt, the Vax is the Swiss army knife of steam cleaners, offering up a huge number of features. It's an excellent choice for those who want a cleaner to do as much as possible – but there are some cheaper and better alternatives. If you’re willing to fork out for a premium steam cleaner then you won’t be entirely disappointed.
Dimensions (HxWxD): 1100x300x220, Weight: 3.4Kg, Maximum reach: 9.1m, Water tank capacity: 0.3 litres, Warranty: Two year RTB.
This article contain Amazon UK affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. The prices may vary after publication, please follow links for current prices and offers.