large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Best steam cleaners 2022: The best for carpet, tiles, floors and more

Trusted Reviews ranks the best steam cleaners and steam mops that'll get your tiles sparkling and floors squeaky clean with minimal hassle.

Steam is an amazing thing for cleaning with. Without having to turn to harsh chemicals, steam can clean grout, kill germs, remove stubborn stains, get a hard floor to look amazing and even tackle dirty windows. With the best steam cleaner, you’ll never look back and you’ll have a sparkling house in a fraction of the time it would take using elbow grease.

But knowing which to get can be tricky as there’s a lot of choice on the market at the moment, and based on our experience testing them, not every steam cleaner is created equal and there are many that are quite frankly rip offs that won’t get the job done. Here to help make sure you don’t buy one we’ve created this list detailing the best steam cleaners we’ve tested that are still on sale.

At Trusted Reviews, we’ve reviewed every single major steam cleaner and we continuously get new products in for review to keep this list up-to-date. As we put every product through a variety of real-world tests, you can rely on our choices. We list the best cleaners that have been tested and don’t just list products based on best-seller lists or user reviews.

We’ve selected a range of different steam cleaners and steam mops below, catering for every use and budget. When we test steam cleaners, we look for the aspects that are important, depending on the type of product.

With steam mops, it’s the ease of use combined with the ability to remove tough stains from the floor, all without too much scrubbing. We test how well steam mops clean right into the corners, too.

Convertible steam cleaners are mops that have a handheld unit in them that can be removed for detail cleaning. These don’t have the power of full cylinder steam cleaners and tend to be for smaller jobs, such as cleaning an oven tray or grout. While we hold the floor cleaning ability of these types to the same standards as steam mops, we’re a little more forgiving of the cleaning power and range in handheld mode.

Finally, cylinder steam cleaners are the big boys. They’re far more powerful than anything else here. We expect these tools to clean floors perfectly and make short work of tough cleaning jobs including shower screens, ovens and tile grout.

How we test

Learn more about how we test steam cleaners

We test all steam cleaners in the same way. Each model is tested on hard floors, letting us see how well they clean tough everyday stains. We take before and after photos of cleaning to show the power on offer, and test how well cleaners get into the edges of the room.

For cleaners with detail attachments, such as squeegees and wire brushes, we test how well they clean tough stains including tiles and grouting, burnt-on stains on oven shelves and limescale-encrusted shower screens. We report on how easy each cleaner was to use and how far it could clean on a tank of water.

Karcher SC5 easyFix Premium Steam Cleaner

The best overall steam cleaner

Pros

  • Staggering steaming power
  • Very fast hard floor mopping
  • Good tool selection with storage
  • Great VapoHydro cleaning
  • Easy to carry

Cons

  • High price
  • No squeegee window tool
  • Cable too short (5.9m)

Yes, it’s expensive, but there’s a good reason for that: the Karcher SC5 easyFix Premium Steam Cleaner is the best cleaner that we’ve tested. With its near 2-litre capacity, 2kW+ heater and powerful VapoHydro mode, this is a steam cleaner that can handle everything, based on our experience using it.

Variable steam control power lets you control the SC5’s output, so you can tackle more delicate jobs. It’s the VapoHydro that really grabs attention: this mode mixes water with steam, giving a kind of pressure-washer action that we found was incredibly effective at cleaning off tough dirt on things like brick walls and garden tiles.

Karcher provides accessories that let us use it for almost every job during testing. There’s an Easyfix floor mopping head complete with washable microfibre cloths and a carpet glider. A large square brush gives you power for tough cleaning. And, a detail nozzle which takes a small round brush, small detail brush and power nozzle. In fact, the only thing missing is a window cleaning tool.

On all surfaces from hard floors and carpets, to tiles and window sills, the SC5 proved itself to be a powerful performer, shifting stubborn dirt. With its wide floor head, the SC5 tackled our hard floor in double-quick time, doing the job perfectly and removing all traces of dirt.

Carpet sliders on steam cleaners don’t normally do a good job, but the SC5’s did better than we’d expect during testing. For deep cleans, a proper carpet cleaner will be needed, but the SC5 managed to tackle surface stains our on our test rug surprisingly well. That makes this a versatile cleaner, as you can use it on all floor surfaces.

Getting into detail work, the SC5 restored mouldy grout to its pristine state, made short work of our dirty window frame. With VapoHydro mode, cleaning is impressive but expect puddles of water from this mode. We recommend keeping a cloth handy for mopping up at the end.

For all-round cleaning ability, the Karcher SC5 easyFix Premium Steam Cleaner is the ultimate choice.

Full review: Karcher SC5 easyFix Premium Steam Cleaner review

Reviewer: Richard Stevenson

Shark Klik n’ Flip S6003UK Steam Mop

The best overall steam mop

Pros

  • Powerful and fast cleaning
  • Steam blast loosens tough stains
  • Simple controls

Cons

  • Doesn’t stand up on its own
  • For floors only

If you’re looking for a steam floor mop to quickly clean up hard floors, the Shark Klik n’ Flip S6003UK Steam Mop could well be the model for you. This well-priced steam mop is focused on floor cleaning, shipping with a double-sided mopping pad that clips to the bottom of the mop. It’s a huge mop, making short work of floors, as you can clean large areas with a single swipe based on our tests.

Cleverly, the Klik n’ Flip head can flip over partway through a clean, giving you the clean side of the pad to keep cleaning with, without introducing a lengthy changeover. This is a feature we found super handy, that let us clean larger areas without having to stop and start.

Cleaning performance was excellent, with the Shark Klik n’ Flip S6003UK Steam Mop tidying up mud on our tiled floor with ease, and picking up everyday kitchen stains: the steam blast function is particularly useful for cleaning up tougher stains, and we found that this helped remove dried-on pet food without having to get down on our needs.

Thanks to the design of the cloth, we found that we could push the S6003UK right into the edges of our room, giving us edge-to-edge cleaning. We needed to get down on our knees and manually clean areas far less with this model than rivals.

Easy to use, easy to move and brilliantly priced, the Shark Klik n’ Flip S6003UK Steam Mop is the best steam mop that we have ever tested. If you’ve got lots of hard floors, this is a great model to buy

Full review: Shark Klick n’ Flip S6003UK Steam Mop review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Hoover Steam Capsule 2in1

The best handheld steam cleaner and mop

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Versatile
  • Lots of accessories
  • Powerful cleaning

Cons

  • Fiddly to use the hose
  • Best for shorter cleaning jobs in handheld mode

If you want a steam cleaner that can do everything, the Hoover Steam Capsule 2in1 is a great choice. It looks and acts like a steam mop, and it is: you get two microfibre cloths, a lift-out brush, and there’s a carpet slider, so you can tackle everything from hard floors to carpets with ease.

Cleaning performance was very good on hard floors: we found that using the cleaner on minimum steam was enough for most cases, leaving our floors relatively dry as well as clean. For tough stains, the floor mop can be removed to reveal a brush. We found this great for scrubbing tough stains to agitate the dirt and remove them, and it doesn’t need too much effort.

The trick with this cleaner is that you can lift-out the handheld section and use the selection of tools for detail cleaning, such as for grout, windows and ovens. We found a lot of steam pressure on maximum (although there was a lot of water run off). We used this to clean up our dirty oven shelf and door, getting it back to a pristine state. The same was true for the grouting that we tackled.

The minor issue is that the steam cleaner goes through cycles, so we got a burst of steam for a few minutes and then the system had to refresh. This makes bigger jobs a little tricky to tackle.

It’s also a little fiddly to hold the handheld unit’s trigger in, so we found longer jobs fatiguing. However, as a maintenance cleaner, preventing the build of stains and mould, this steam cleaner excels. Overall, you can get cleaners for bigger jobs on this list, but if you’re after a well-priced mop that can turn its hand to smaller jobs, the Hoover Steam Capsule 2in1 is a great choice. If you need more in-depth cleaning then go for the Karcher SC5.

Full review: Hoover Steam Capsule 2in1 review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Shark Steam & Scrub Automatic Steam Mop S6002UK

The best steam mop for effortless cleaning
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Pros

  • Exceptionally easy to use
  • Automatic steam control
  • Deals with tough stains

Cons

  • Can’t get into corners

The Shark S6003UK may be the most powerful steam mop, particularly with its steam burst, but the Shark Steam&Scrub Automatic Steam Mop S6002UK is the easiest to use. Rather than having a flat pad that you push around, the S6002UK has dual microfibre pads that spin using the integrated motor.

Rather than having to scrub at stains manually, we found that it was enough to hold the S6002UK over dirty areas, letting the automatic steam injection and powerful scrubbing take care of the rest. That makes it far less fatiguing to use this steam cleaner than many others, which we find need some manual work to remove tough stains.

Putting the S6002UK to work on our test floor, we found that general mess, such as footprints from the cats, was wiped out with a single quick pass. Dirt ground in, such as food stains, took more work; holding the cleaner over these stains was enough to remove them, all without too much work.

The minor downside with the round cloths is that they can’t get right into the corners of rooms, so there will always be a few patches that have to be tackled the old-fashioned way with a cloth and cleaning spray; the Shark S6003UK needs a bit more elbow grease but cleans into the edges of room better. Still, for the quality of clean you get with the little effort it takes, this is a compromise that we’d be willing to pay.

Full review: Shark Steam&Scrub Automatic Steam Mop S6002UK review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Polti Vaporetto Smart 100_B

The best cylinder steam cleaner

Pros

  • Large water tank
  • Easy to fill
  • Heats up quickly
  • Powerful steaming
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Unclear steam dial
  • Bulky for small jobs
  • Noisy

If there’s one problem with cylinder steam cleaners, it’s that you have to wait for most of them to cool down before you refill and continue cleaning. Not so with the Polti Vaporetto Smart 100_B, which has a removable water tank, so you can fill it as many times as you need to complete your cleaning job, all without any cool-down time.

We found this makes this cylinder steam cleaner a great choice for large and difficult jobs, but its bulk means that it’s not an ideal tool if you only want to tackle smaller jobs or just mop floors.

Although the controls are a little confusing on this model (the steam dial goes from min to max, but it’s not clear where about you are in the range), performance is mostly excellent. The Polti Vaporetto Smart 100_B coped well with our tough floor challenge, brought grout back to life and easily managed to clean up a hard floor.

There are tools to tackle most jobs, but only one mop pad in the box is a little disappointing, as this gets dirty quickly. That said, for the price, this is an excellent choice and the continuous cleaning makes it brilliant for large jobs, particularly those outside of hard floors.

Full review: Polti Vaporetto Smart 100_B review

Reviewer: Helen Harjak

Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E

The best steam cleaner and vacuum cleaner

Pros

  • Vac cleans in front of steam mop
  • Fast heat-up time
  • Good run-time per tank
  • Decent-length cable (7.5m)

Cons

  • Limited suction power
  • Average steam power
  • No pivot on head

The Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E is a fantastic time-saver, vacuuming and cleaning at the same time. We loved the original, and now the 1977E model has had a small update and now comes in a fetching blue colour. As a standalone steam cleaner or a standalone vacuum cleaner, this model won’t win awards; yet, the combination of the two features produces some powerful cleaning results.

With a 400W bagless vacuum cleaner and 1100W steam heater, we found that small particles were sucked up before the microfibre pad steams the floor and picks up stains. For well-trodden areas in your home with hard floors, the Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E effectively halved our cleaning time. Bissell recommends three passes for a dirty area and that worked well for us, picking up dust and removing stains well.

The downside of the system is that it’s not very flexible, and it’s neither a good vacuum nor a flexible and powerful steam cleaner. Still, it’s the combination of parts that is important, and the Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E delivers on hard floor cleaning. We recommend this model for homes that need regular cleaning; our tester has dogs, so needs to clean daily, where the Bissell Vac&Steam 1977E came in handy. For deeper floor cleaning, the Shark S6003UK is a better choice.

Full review: Bissell Vac&Steam 1977E review

iewer: Richard Stevenson

We also considered…

We’ve reviewed

42

Steam Cleaner

See all reviews

FAQs

Do you need a steam mop or a steam cleaner?

A steam mop is designed specifically for hard floors, with a microfibre cloth used to pick up dirt and steam pushed through the cloth to clean and remove dirty. A steam cleaner is different, as it has different attachments for different jobs: nozzles and brushes for detail cleaning, window cleaning accessories and more.

The latter is better for tackling jobs around the house, but a steam mop is more convenient for everyday use. If you want a balance, you can get models that convert from a mop to a handheld unit for occasional detail jobs.

Should you use detergent with a steam cleaner?

Steam cleaners don’t have to use detergent, and use clean water and steam alone to remove stains. This makes them more gently cleaners in some regards, as you don’t have to use harsh chemicals to remove stubborn stains. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t use chemicals in the normal way.

For example, for cleaning floors and surfaces, using traditional detergent and disinfectant makes sense, although you can then use a steam cleaner afterwards for dealing with some stains. Likewise, you should still clean with cleaning products for the deepest clean, letting the steam cleaner handle deeper jobs.

What size water tank do I need?

The larger the tank of water you have, the longer the steam cleaner can keep cleaning. This is more important on some models than others. Many models have a refillable water tank that you can remove and top up when you like. These ones heat water when its pumped from a tank, effectively giving you continuous cleaning. For these models, the size of the tank isn’t so important, as you can get water when you need it.

If you have a cleaner with a built-in tank where all of the water is heated at the same time, you have to have a cool-down time (up to 20 minutes or so) before you can refill and use them again. For these models, it’s important to have a running time that will last for the length of job you have, so that you don’t have to pause in the middle of cleaning.

What accessories do I need?

Steam cleaners, bar standalone steam mops, will come with a variety of attachments for different jobs. Largely, these are there to make specific tasks easier. Each accessory works by changing how steam is directed, such as a thin nozzle to help push steam towards tile grouting, or by providing a tool to help clean, such as a wire brush for cleaning an oven. Tools can do both, such as an upholstery brush that directs steam over a wider area and gives you a brush to agitate the upholstery and loosen dirt. When you buy a steam cleaner you should think about the jobs you want to do and make sure that your chosen model has the right accessories.

Can you use a steam cleaner on all surfaces?

Steam is generally safe to use on most surfaces but there are some exceptions to this. As you’re using water, using a steam cleaner on an unsealed surface isn’t recommended. And, surfaces that may react badly to a lot of water, such as solid wood flooring, may not be suitable, as you could get swelling.

The situation is worse if you apply steam directly to the surface but also applies with steam mops. Although mop heads will absorb most of the heat of the steam, they can still get very wet, which is no good for many surfaces. For dealing with hard floors, we recommend that you buy one of our best hard floor cleaners, instead.

Can a steam cleaner kill bed bugs?

Steam is an effective way to kill bed bugs and their eggs, thanks to the high temperatures proving lethal. If you’re worried about an infestation, then steam cleaning soft furnishings can help. Make sure that you use the upholstery attachment and/or mattress accessory to clean. You should move slowly over the area, taking at least 30 seconds before moving the steam head in order to deliver a killing dose of steam. Make sure that you cover all areas, and press the steam head into crevices and around the bed; for mattresses, cover the sides and underneath, too.

Can a steam cleaner kill coronavirus?

Karcher commissioned research that showed that enveloped viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, can be killed by high temperatures. Spot cleaning for 30 seconds at maximum steam level was enough to kill the virus. This shows that cleaning close-up is required to be effective, so cleaning with a burst of steam can be a good secondary way of disinfecting surfaces, although cleaning with detergent should always be done. Steam can be good on surfaces that are otherwise hard to clean, such as curtains and upholstery.

Using a steam mop is slightly different, as the microfibre cloth absorbs some heat. Steam mops will remove dirt, bacteria and viruses, but the pad should be cleaned at a high temperature in a washing machine to disinfect it after use. In short, then, a steam cleaner can help disinfect surfaces but should be used as an additional tool after traditional cleaning.

Comparison specs

Below you can see a detailed breakdown of all the items included in this list’s full specifications.

UK RRP
Manufacturer
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Accessories
Water tank size
Steam cleaner type
Steam pressure

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.