Keeping your home’s cleanliness doesn’t need to be as much of a chore if you have the right tools.
If you’ve been wondering about the best steam cleaner out there, keep reading and soon your floors will be clean enough to eat off of, not that you should try it of course.
It happens to the best of us – you can keep a firm check on the dirt and grime constantly invading your home, but there’s that one stain that’s been there maybe even before you bought your house that’s always been a thorn in your side.
Sure, using abrasive chemicals is an option, but why risk endangering your health and the health of your family when there’s a perfectly safe, absolutely nature-friendly way of dealing with tough stains as well as keeping your home clean and fresh on a regular basis?
We’re talking about the magnificent power of steam of course.
You’d be hard-pressed to come up with another way of cleaning various parts of the home that is both as effective and as harmless to the world around us.
All that’s left is to harness that power into an easily managed and directed manner, and for that you need a good quality steam cleaner.
We’re well aware that the internet is chock-full of various ratings and specifications, so we’ve decided to help you save time and make an informed choice more easier by compiling this guide of what we believe are the most effective models you can get today. It is split into three sections.
First we’ve reviewed high-end models that have more power and features. After that we took a look at more affordable options that still offered great value for the money.
In the end, we found it prudent to include a general guide on a few things to take note of before you stick with one choice.
|Kärcher SC2.600C Multi-Purpose||0.5L||4Kg||27.99 x 35 x 27cm||1500W||££££|
|Kärcher SC3 All-in-One||1L||3.14Kg||23.6 x 36.3 x 25.3cm||1900W||£££|
|BISSELL Vac and Steam 2-in-1||0.4L||4.4Kg||118 x 23 x 28cm||1500W||£££|
|Vax S84-W7-P Steam Fresh Power Plus||0.3L||5Kg||110 x 30 x 22cm||1600W||££££|
|Vax S86-SF-C Steam Fresh Combi||0.46L||3.7Kg||116 x 30 x 31cm||1600W||££|
|CUH Professional 1500W||0.4L||3Kg||45.8 x 22.4 x 20.4cm||1600W||£|
|Vax S7 Total Home Master Multifunction||0.4L||2.7Kg||122 x 29 x 23cm||1600W||£|
|Morphy Richards 720020 9-in-1||0.4L||3Kg||14 x 30 x 111cm||1500W||£|
High-end Steam Cleaner Reviews
1. Kärcher SC2.600C Multi-Purpose(4.7 / 5)
Even though a steam cleaner is often times the most effective option when tackling the most crusty, hard to remove grime, there’s always a hassle involved when it comes to their capacity.
The tanks are small, and filling them up with water during the cleaning process can be bothersome, not to mention potentially dangerous since you are dealing with scalding hot water after all.
Lucky for us, the industrious German company Kärcher has come up with an elegant solution in form of their series of cylindric cleaners, principle among them being the SC2.600C Multi-Purpose.
Contrary to a lot of other cleaners, this model looks more like your traditional vacuum, but that doesn’t stop it from producing the kind of steam power you’ll want at your side when approaching that oven you haven’t touched in months.
Another plus with such a design is that it naturally comes with an extension hose that allows you to clean more diversely. With it you can tackle the dirt on your drapes, your shower doors or kitchen counters all without breaking a sweat.
Getting back to that water problem, the SC2.600C Multi-Purpose manages to bypass it altogether with its innovative yet simple design.
It’s quite straightforward actually – the SC2 has two separate tanks, one you pour cold or temperate water into and can continue to do so during its operation, and a separate one where the steam is generated. You can take the first tank out whenever you like and top it off, or you can use the provided refill cup.
A beep will go off whenever the machine is running low on water, so there’s no fear of running dry.
Its build quality is very sturdy, and the SC2.600C Multi-Purpose has weight to it even though it isn’t an upright cleaner.
You can easily take it along with you into every room in your house since it has wheels and doesn’t rely on brute strength to lug it around. One of its technical aspects that did disappoint us though was its rather short power cable. With only 4 meters in length, you’ll often find yourself having to stop cleaning and look for another outlet to plug it into.
Other than that though, its cleaning performance is superb. The steam comes out in a regular and powerful jet that can deal with any type of stain you throw at it.
You’ll get a number of attachments that allow you to extend its reach, clean drapes, carpets and upholstery and adjust the steam on two different levels.
The accessory selection could have been a bit more generous, but the cleaner does have ample storage space for additional pieces that are sold separately.
When all is said and done, we find that the SC2.600C Multi-Purpose is the best steam cleaner you can currently buy. Its impressive cleaning power isn’t rivalled by anything else we’ve tested, and its sturdy build makes sure you’ll be using it for a long time without any trouble.
If you don’t mind spending an extra pound or two on unquestionable quality, then this model is what you’ve been looking for.
2. Kärcher SC3 All-in-One(4.5 / 5)
A big selling point when considering which cleaner to use is the machine’s safety.
After all, water and electricity aren’t exactly the best of mates, and if you add hot steam into the equation it is natural that you’d want a device capable of performing all of its cleaning duties while also putting your safety as one of its highest priorities.
Kärcher have made sure that the SC3 All-in-One delivers excellent cleaning results while being both safe and easy to maintain.
The safety features on this model really show the manufacturer’s concern for your wellbeing. Similarly to the model we reviewed above, it has two tanks, one for cold water which you can refill and another one for steam.
The steam tank has a safety valve that prevents it from opening directly and causing injury. There’s also a child lock in place to make sure your children don’t tamper with anything and possibly get hurt in the process. Longevity has also been taken into consideration.
The SC3 All-in-One has a built-in descaling cartridge filter that protects it from corrosion, which is the bane of many a model. Not only does that mean the machine will be less prone to malfunction due to corrosion build-up, the steam it produces will also be as potent as the first time you used the cleaner longer.
As far as its actual cleaning capabilities go, the SC3 All-in-One has a powerful 1900 Watt motor capable of putting out a steady stream of steam at a pressure rate of 3.5 bars.
The cleaner alerts you via its LED lights when the water is hot enough to use, and also when the old water is running low so you can refill it. You can adjust the steam’s pressure with a number of different nozzles, and there’s also a trigger gun which releases bursts of steam whenever you need that little extra kick for dissolving tougher stains that won’t otherwise go away.
As with the C2, you’ll get an assortment of accessories and there’s also an option to buy additional ones separately. We highly recommend that you think about getting the optional round brass brush that cleans the most ingrown dirt and grout.
Included are a 2 meter hose which allows you to clean and reach more surfaces more easily, a detail nozzle and brush used to clean smaller, hard to reach crevices and corners, a power nozzle with round brush that puts out the most concentrated steam power and can agitate the dirt away, the automatic descaling cartridge and two cloths you can polish your floors and other surfaces with for an added shine.
In a nutshell, the SC3 All-in-One is the best steam cleaner when it comes to safety options and a long life.
It has an above average cleaning performance, comes with an adequate number of accessories and offers great quality at a fair price. We’re sold on it, and you’ll probably be as well.
3. BISSELL Vac and Steam 2-in-1(4.4 / 5)
We’ve always had a soft spot for household appliances that can perform multiple functions. You know, food processors, stoves, that sort of thing.
It isn’t that common in the world of steam cleaning that a product can do more than just use boiling water to clean your surfaces, so it came as quite a pleasant surprise when we got our hands on Bissell’s Vac and Steam 2-in-1.
As its name suggests, this is both a steam- and a vacuum cleaner, and neither function seems to have been shortchanged much.
Since this is a hybrid model after all, don’t expect a remarkable performance in both departments, think of it more as a product that aims to kill two birds with one stone, and does so for one specific task – cleaning your floors. There aren’t any accessories or extension hoses, so cleaning upholstery and curtains is out of the question.
The machine is also quite heavy at 4.4kg, which it needs to be since it is an upright model unlike the ones we’ve seen from Kärcher.
Having no wheels means you’ll have to do all the transporting yourself, which can become a bit of a bother if you’ve been cleaning all day or have a flight of stairs you need to traverse.
A very handy feature is the Vac and Steam 2-in-1’s ability to vacuum and steam at the same time. This saves valuable time, but should be used considerately since the motor doesn’t tolerate terribly damp conditions.
A smarter way to go about it if your carpet requires more intensive cleaning is to first use the vacuum by simply turning the machine on, and then mopping everything up afterwards. Just add water slowly, wait for about half a minute and the steam cleaning part of your work can begin.
Nevertheless, if you plan on using the device on a regular basis for light cleaning, it does a fast, clean and pleasantly smelling job.
The cleaner comes with two machine-washable cleaning pads. One is softer and more delicate, the other is scruffy and intended for use with more stubborn stains.
You’ll also get a measuring cup, a n anti-calc water filter that prevents the buildup of limescale, and two fragrance disks that can be put inside a detachable mesh on the machine itself, leaving behind a fresh smell every time you clean.
Maintaining everything is also straightforward. The cleaning pads are easy to detach and can be washed either by hand with soap or in the washing machine. As for the vacuum, it has a removable cylinder which can be emptied into the trash bin once it fills up.
Apart from the weight some might find too heavy, there’s also the matter of somewhat inconveniently placed controls.
The buttons themselves are self-explanatory, but are located on the face end of the machine, meaning you either have to know their layout by heart or go around and look at them every time you want to make an adjustment.
These minor annoyances aside though, the Vac and Steam 2-in-1 is one of our top picks of the title of best floor steam cleaner.
Its innovative approach and speedy operation make it a great tool for everyday cleaning, leaving you more time for more pleasant pursuits.
4. Vax S84-W7-P Steam Fresh Power Plus(3.8 / 5)
Even though steam is nature’s premiere answer to a fully environmentally-friendly yet very powerful cleaning experience, even it falls short of the mark sometimes.
There are simply some stains out there you can’t expect to get rid of with steam alone. Having to clean the same spot twice because of this would frustrate anyone, so Vax have decided to equip this cleaner with an added punch in the form of cleaning with the help of a detergent.
As far as cleaners go, the S84-W7-P Steam Fresh Power Plus looks like your garden variety model at first glance. It isn’t as hefty as the model we reviewed from Bissell, but there’s still some weight to it, causing situations where it Is hard to move or position right.
It can also not stand on its own, meaning that you have to hold on to it during the whole session. You can store the cleaner easily though since it has a wall bracket.
On the plus side, the mop extension can be detached, turning into a hand-held unit, which is still a bit heavy though.
The 0.3L water tank can be detached and filled while the cleaner is active. There’s also a separate compartment for the detergent you get with it. The outside casing and even the handle tend to get very hot during prolonged periods of use, so keep that in mind before attempting to remove the water tank mid cleaning.
This model comes with a large number of accessories that increase its versatility and overall performance. Included are two microfibre pads, a precision tool for smaller yet ingrained stains, a soft scrub brush, 250ml of steam detergent, a carpet glider, 360 degree connector and a wall mount.
Cleaning is adjusted via an intuitive four-way thumb control located on the handle.
Depending on its position, you can choose from an assortment of power levels and surface options that each suit a different situation and level of dirt. We were pleased that the supply of steam was constant and powerful, even on the lowest possible setting.
The S84-W7-P Steam Fresh Power Plus excels when it comes to cleaning floors. Even stains that would otherwise be close to impossible to get out can be dealt with a switch to the detergent cleaning option.
You can even rotate the brush in 90 degree angles, which is great if you want to clean walls as well.
In the end we believe that the S84-W7-P Steam Fresh Power Plus is a solid carpet cleaner that will find its place in many a household.
Even though it does suffer from a few drawbacks, it still does a fine job of keeping your floors clean, and the detergent option makes it that much more valuable.
Affordable Steam Cleaner Reviews
1. Vax S86-SF-C Steam Fresh Combi(4.3 / 5)
An upright steam cleaner can be great for covering large areas, but can fall short when dealing with corners, hard to reach places or crowded environments. This is why Vax have developed a model that doubles as a handheld cleaner as well.
The S86-SF-C Steam Fresh Combi is built for convenience, especially in its handheld form. Similar to the previously reviewed Vax model, it has a compartment where you can put in the accompanying detergent for extra thorough cleaning.
Its upright state does an impressive job of cleaning large floors, and is especially good at tackling corners due to its triangular shape.
There’s a basic plastic head with stiff brushes for harder to reach places, a larger head and cloth for steam-mopping that clip onto it, and a carpet glider that goes onto it when cleaning carpets.
It comes with various attachments that you can easily connect to either the upright cleaner or the portable one.
The handheld version is especially useful for cleaning upholstery and drapes, and since the various brushes, squeegee and nozzles can be attached to it directly, it becomes a multi-purpose tool that takes care of windows and stubborn stains with equal efficiency.
We believe that the S86-SF-C Steam Fresh Combi is great as a less costly upright model, but it is really its removable smaller part that makes it the best handheld steam cleaner on our list.
Add to that the detergent cleaning feature and easy operation, and you’ve got an outstanding product well worth the money.
2. CUH Professional 1500W(4.2 / 5)
Up until now every steam cleaner we’ve reviewed has come from a well-known brand name manufacturer. Not that many of us can claim we’ve been a diehard CUH fan up until now, but this model is on the right track to convince us otherwise.
We were really quite pleased that one of the least expensive models in our reviews turned out to be of such good value. First of all, the make is solid.
Its 1500W motor can heat up the water you pour into it in a mere 20 seconds, which is pretty impressive. Add to that the fact that it takes from 20 to 25 minutes to actually run out of steam, and you have a product that can compete with much more expensive models in that regard.
This isn’t even the main reason we like it so much. That would have to be because of the numerous accessories you get along with it that really make its versatility stand out. You’ll get 3 different mop pads, 2 scrub brushes, tools for scraping and getting rid of grout, 2 different nozzles and a lot more.
Theoretically you could clean your bathroom, kitchen and living room without missing a beat.
Naturally this kind of price has its drawbacks. The on and off switch can sometimes be harder to operate, and some of the accessories are prone to breaking and not that well made, but given how much you’re getting, you’d be foolish to pass on this product if you are on a budget.
3. Vax S7 Total Home Master Multifunction(4.1 / 5)
Our last Vax model aims to provide quality cleaning at a price that is hard to beat.
Naturally, some corners had to be cut in order for it to be as accessible, but Vax have gone about it in a smart way, making the S7 Total Home Master Multifunction an interesting and viable choice.
It comes with the standard set of features you’d expect from a decent model – the cleaning pad is big and does a good job of picking up all the grime and filth that has been accumulating on your floors.
Whereas other manufacturers usually attach it to their cleaners by means of straps, this model has a handy velcro strip that holds the cloth firmly in place, yet still allows for easy detachment.
Another cool feature is this model’s ability to heat up the water very quickly. Give it half a minute once you’ve poured the water in and you’re ready to go.
Similarly to more expensive models, the S7 Total Home Master Multifunction has a detachable handheld unit that helps with tricky places and surfaces the standard cleaner can’t reach.
Sadly, there are a number of problems with it. First of all, it isn’t that good at doing its job since the steam pressure it produces isn’t that high. Other than that, actually detaching it from the main cleaner and reattaching it is unintuitive and complicated, making it not really worth your while.
Still, the main cleaner itself does a pretty good job of keeping your surfaces clean, and at the given price this is more than enough for it to secure a place in our guide.
4. Morphy Richards 720020 9-in-1(4.0 / 5)
We’ll be wrapping our best steam cleaner reviews section up with the 720020 9-in-1 by Morphy Richards, named like that because it can quickly and easily clean 9 different surfaces ranging from hard floors and tiles through windows to grout and BBQ.
Out of all of these, this model does a great job on hard floors, while other surfaces get cleaned with mixed results. It has a detachable handheld steamer which performs its duties adequately.
The spacious 0,4l tank can be easily removed and refilled. The water inside turns into steam after about half a minute and you can then clean for up to 14, which isn’t all that bad since you can fill it up on the go. A clear plastic in the front indicates when the water level gets low so you can take action before it runs dry.
It has a decent number of attachments that are quickly interchangeable and some lock on to one another, turning it from a mop for hard floors into a steam cleaner usable on carpets.
Switch that out with one of the accompanying squeegees or brushes, and it can clean upholstered surfaces as well as shower doors or the inside of your oven.
All in all, the 720020 9-in-1 is a solid option if you’d like to save money but still see results. It is a steam cleaner for carpets, hard floors and glass surfaces you can occasionally use to perform other tasks as well, but if you stick to the things it is good at, there really are no major faults we could find with it.
Things to Take into Account Before Buying
With the best steam cleaner reviews bit out of the way, it is time you got a look at what we believe are some of the key general factors you need to mull over before deciding on a specific product.
The capacity for greatness – Your chosen model might be a powerhouse, but that won’t mean much if you have to turn it off and on again all the time just to refill its tiny water tank.
Make sure that the tank is either big enough to allow for uninterrupted cleaning of at least 15-20 minutes in one go, or that it you can detach it as you clean and fill it with water before the steam runs out.
Upright vs. vacuum-like models – as we’ve seen, most of the best steam cleaners on our list are upright. This allows for better cleaning results since the machine itself is coming into contact with the area that is being cleaned, releasing steam through a larger opening directly onto it.
The disadvantage of this kind of model is that sometimes they are unbalanced and top-heavy, plus you can’t let them stand on their own. They also don’t usually come with extension hoses so the floor is the only surface you can clean.
More vacuum-like models on the other hand tend to be even heavier, but that isn’t much of a problem since you can move them on wheels. They also tend to have a larger capacity and more accessories, but the assembly and space they take up might not make them as suitable for smaller living spaces.
Assess how much living space you have and what your most pressing steam cleaning needs are so you can make a better choice.
Single function vs. versatility – our cleaner reviews feature a variety of different models both in terms of specialisation and overall characteristics.
Some of them excel at doing one thing right. Others come with more accessories that let them clean different surfaces and even fabrics. The most extreme example was a steam cleaner that doubled as a vacuum, executing both with fine results.
If you happen to be moving into a new living space and want to save on the number of appliances that need buying, it might be a good idea to spend a little extra on the right model and save yourself the trouble later on.
Steam isn’t the answer to everything – Of course this kind of appliance does a great job cleaning most things, but you’ve got to be careful and not expect miracles when cleaning with steam.
Avoid using steam on surfaces that aren’t sealed and that are susceptible to damage caused by heat. Also, do not use steam to clean antiques because it can irreparably damage already delicate surfaces.
If you aren’t sure that a surface or piece of furniture can handle it, it’s better to consult a guide or try different cleaning options.
Now that you’ve read through the best steam cleaner reviews and accompanying guidelines, you should have a firmer grasp on what model you actually need.
As we’ve seen, what kind of home you live in and what your cleaning routine is like isn’t irrelevant, since different models cater to different needs and lifestyles.
The important thing to note is that all the cleaners in our guide do an excellent job of cleaning parts of your house in a way that is perfectly hygienic and safe for both you and the world around you.
The rest is more or less a matter of combining personal preferences with actual requirements.
Since there are high-quality options out there for almost any budget, we’re sure you’ll manage to find a model that will help keep your home spotless and healthy for years to come.