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Hoover Steam Express Handheld Steam Cleaner Review

A tiny but powerful spot cleaner


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Due to its size, the Hoover Steam Express Handheld Steam Cleaner is best for spot cleaning. But it certainly packs a punch – if anything, it’s a little too powerful at times. As such, this cleaner is most useful for surfaces that are easy to dry with a cloth. Handily, it also comes with a short extension hose and an array of accessories, all at an affordable price.


  • Powerful
  • Affordable
  • Great variety of tools


  • Steam volume hard to regulate
  • Cable could be longer

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £34.99
  • 4m cable
  • 1000W motor
  • 260 x 220 x 120mm, 1.6kg
  • Crevice, detail and scraper tools
  • 400ml water tank with filling jug
  • 80cm hose, metal and round brushes
  • Window/upholstery tool with textile pad

The Hoover Steam Express Handheld Steam Cleaner is a handy spot cleaner that comes with an array of small tools and a short hose extension for overhead cleaning.

At times it can feel too powerful for its own good, releasing too much steam and leaving surfaces soaked in water. An option to fine-tune the steam volume here would have been useful. Nevertheless, it’s affordable and easy to use, proving great for anyone looking for a simple handheld steam cleaner.

Hoover Steam Express Handheld Steam Cleaner – What you need to know

  • Grouting – The cleaner emitted quite a lot of water, but restored grey grouting to its original gleaming white state
  • Upholstery – While the steam didn’t make much of a difference to an evenly soiled textured sofa fabric, it removed almost all staining from a smooth upholstered chair
  • Other surfaces – The metal brush helped to clean up a greasy metal rack, while the regular round brush created a transparent patch on the inside of a seriously greasy oven door

Related: Best steam cleaners

Hoover Steam Express Handheld Steam Cleaner design and build – Easy to grip and handle

At 1.6kg, this steam cleaner is the lightest I’ve tested, allowing for easy handheld use. It has a shape reminiscent of a kettle, alongside a ridged handle for safe gripping. It has a sturdy build, even if some of the plastic edges could be a little neater: the moulding on the water tank cap is a bit messy, for instance.

The water tank itself can be filled from the top of the machine. While there’s no water level indicator, the cleaner comes with a small plastic filling jug. The jug has 100ml and 200ml measurements, and a nice thin spout for precise pouring. Since the tank here is 400ml, it took me two jugfuls to fill it.

Related: Best steam cleaners filling with waterWater being poured in Hoover Steam Express handheld steam cleaner

You can put 200ml of water into this steam cleaner

The cleaner is automatically switched on when connected to power, indicated by a red light. A green light indicates the cleaner is heated and ready to use. A full tank took around 2min 45secs to heat up. The steam trigger is on top of the handle and easy to hold down with your thumb. While applying less pressure to the trigger will result in less steam, it’s hard to keep the pressure light when you’re moving the whole unit back and forth to scrub a surface.

As for the electric cord, while 4 metres isn’t particularly short, I did have issues trying to reach areas with no nearby electric sockets – in the bathroom, for instance.

Hoover Steam Express Handheld Steam Cleaner cleaning cupboardA woman using Hoover Steam Express handheld steam cleaner on white shelfs

There’s plenty of reach, but you may need an extension cord to get the steam cleaner into some areas in your home

Hoover Steam Express Handheld Steam Cleaner attachments – The hose is a bit short, but there are plenty of accessories

The dark grey plastic accessories all attach to the cone-shaped tool, which in turn can be attached straight to the cleaner, or to the hose. The hose is useful in the main for overhead cleaning, meaning you don’t have to hold the unit above your head, which would become tiring.

The hose isn’t long enough to allow the placement of the main unit on the floor or other such surface, as you would with a cylinder cleaner. It would topple over easily anyway because it’s small and light. As such, it’s best to hold the main unit in one hand with the hose in the other for the duration of cleaning.

The accessories include a small round brush for scrubbing grease and grime, and another with metal bristles for grills and racks. The squeegee tool is handy for cleaning mirrors and windows – but it can also be fitted with a textile pad to use on upholstery. The angled detail nozzle can be used for tighter areas, the crevice brush for grouting, and the scraper tool for removing stickier stains.

Hoover Steam Express Handheld Steam Cleaner performance – Removes stains and grease with ease

While this cleaner fulfilled most tasks successfully, I had to keep dry cloths handy at all times since it tended to leave surfaces drenched.

Starting with the crevice tool, I managed to restore grey grouting on my kitchen floor to its original gleaming whiteness. The floor was also soaked, but thanks to the power of this cleaner, I didn’t need to scrub hard at all and the bristles of the brush still looked straight rather than worn.

I then used the detail nozzle to remove some limescale from the edges of my kitchen sink. The heat and the pressure managed to get rid of most of the white stains.

Limescale test: Dirty sink (left) vs Clean sink (right) – move slider to compare

The scraper tool was useful for removing grease from my ceramic hob. It couldn’t get rid of the worst burnt-in bits, but these can only be removed with a metal scraper anyway. Using the metal brush, I cleaned an oven rack. While this required some hard scrubbing and the bristles looked a little worse for wear afterwards, they could be bent back into shape and the rack itself was gleaming.

Hob test: Dirty oven rack (left) vs Clean oven rack (right) – move slider to compare

With the other, plastic-bristled brush, I cleared a transparent patch on the inside of my oven door, which had long been obscured by grease.

Hoover Steam Express Handheld Steam Cleaner oven doorClose up image of a Hoover Steam Express handheld steam cleaner cleaning a dity surface

The steam cleaner helped to lift off grease on the inside of our oven door

Moving on to the squeegee tool, the cleaner helped me tackle soap scum and watermarks on my bathroom mirror and shower screen. It struggled with the most stubborn of limescale marks, but these can only ever be removed with cleaning agents anyway.

The high volume of steam and water was helpful here, especially since glass surfaces need to be wiped down after cleaning anyway. However, I had to be careful not to drip hot water on myself while using the cleaner with the hose above my head.

Glass test: Dirty glass (left) vs Clean glass (right) – move slider to compare

Finally, I fitted the squeegee tool with the textile pad to clean a darkened area on the backrest of my sofa and some stains off an upholstered chair. Since the furniture had become soaked through the process of cleaning, both surfaces had to be left to dry.

The red textured fabric of the sofa ended up looking a little messier, possibly due to the unevenness of the water reaching different parts of it. However, the stains from the smooth fabric of the chair were almost gone, and the overall colour lighter than before.

Chair test: Dirty chair (left) vs Clean chair (right) – move slider to compare

Should you buy the Hoover Steam Express Handheld Steam Cleaner?

If you’re looking for a budget handheld steam cleaner, the Hoover Steam Express gets the job done quickly and efficiently. Note that the steam volume is quite high by default, but you do get a range of accessories.

However, if you’re interested in a budget option that can also clean floors, the Russell Hobbs Neptune Multifunction Steam Mop is only slightly more expensive and comes with adjustable steam volume.

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