Is it hard to deep-clean your home? Does your carpet or upholstery need refreshing? Do you want to kill mold, dust mites, or bed bugs?
Try a steam cleaner! This appliance effectively kills bacteria and removes allergens – and it does this chemical-free. With only heat and water, a steam cleaner disinfects and removes dirt and germs.
Keeping your floors and upholstery sparkling can be a challenge. But with this list of the 8 best steam cleaners, you’ll find the perfect tool to clean and sanitize all your surfaces.
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Is a Steam Cleaner Worth It?
Yes, it is. A steam cleaner is an effective, affordable way to deep clean your house.
First, steam cleaning is environmentally-friendly. Since it only uses water, you aren’t putting chemicals into the environment and water supply.
This also makes your home safer, because you won’t expose your children, pets, or yourself to a chemical cleaning solution.
Second, the moisture and heat of this type of cleaning naturally sanitize surfaces. And it can even deodorize, so it will remove pet odors, too!
The best steam cleaner models can get so hot that they kill up to 99.9% of mold, mildew, bacteria, and viruses in your house. This includes hard-to-kill bacteria like E. Coli and Salmonella.
Third, these appliances are great if you have allergies. Because of the high heat, they can kill allergens like dust mites.
In 1995, a study found that steam cleaners are both efficient and highly effective at killing dust mites (1). Therefore, they’re an easy, safe solution for preventing allergy attacks.
Finally, a steam cleaner is a very versatile tool. You can use it to clean and disinfect items and surfaces including carpets, hard floors, windows, upholstery, mattresses, tabletops, bathrooms, grout, and even walls.
Because it can clean so many different things, you don’t need to spend money on lots of appliances or cleaning products.
What to Look for in a Steam Cleaner
When picking out the best steam cleaner, here are a few things to look for.
Handheld steam cleaner: These appliances are lightweight and portable. This makes them easy to use for cleaning upholstery or curtains.
Unfortunately, handheld units don’t work well for an entire floor. In fact, some are highly specialized and only work on specific surfaces.
For example, this Steamfast JULE Steam Jewelry Cleaner only works on jewelry.
Canister steam cleaner: This type of steam cleaner has a base on wheels with a hose attached, much like a canister vacuum. This model is generally compact and easy to move around your house.
For this reason, a canister model is a great carpet steam cleaner. Plus, you can use it for upholstery or as a spot cleaner.
This type of steam cleaner is also called a cylinder steam cleaner.
Steam mop: Steam mops are generally lightweight, and they work very well on tile. However, you shouldn’t use them on vinyl or wood flooring, because they can damage the surface.
Also, you can convert most steam mop models into a handheld steam cleaner for added versatility. For example, this Shark Portable Steam Pocket is a convertible steam mop.
Vacuum steam cleaner: If you want to suck up dirt while you sanitize, you can use a vacuum steam cleaner. This type of appliance is the best steam cleaner for big rooms with lots of carpeting.
As well, many vacuum models also convert into handheld steam cleaners. Therefore, you can easily use them as a spot cleaner or on stairs.
Corded or Cordless
If you choose a corded model, you must work close to an outlet at all times or use an extension cord. While you have to be careful not to trip over the cord, you never need to worry about running out of power.
On the other hand, cordless steam cleaners are easier to maneuver because there is no cord to get in the way.
However, you’ll need to make sure you charge your appliance before you use it. Also, remember that most run times are between 30 minutes and 2 hours.
For example, this Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner reaches a temperature of 275 degrees F.
In addition, if the steam isn’t hot enough, the appliance may leave too much water on your floors, which could damage the surface.
Another thing to check is how long it takes for the appliance to reach the correct temperature. Some models are very quick and will only take a few seconds, but others have a relatively long heating time.
In general, look for models that reach the temperature in under a minute. For instance, it takes 30 seconds for this Bissell PowerFresh Lift-Off Pet Steam Mop to heat up.
Finally, there is no measure for the power of a steam cleaner. However, you can look at both the temperature and heating time to figure that out.
If a steam cleaner has a high temperature and short heat-up time, it will be more powerful than other models.
A reservoir with a large tank capacity will be able to work for a longer period of time before you need to refill it. In other words, you won’t have to keep pausing and going to the sink to add more liquid to the water tank.
Plus, every time you refill the water tank, you need to wait for the appliance to heat up again. Therefore, these steam cleaners are useful for large spaces.
However, if you choose a model with a smaller water tank, the machine will be lighter and therefore probably easier to push around your home.
The smallest steam cleaners can weigh as little as 5 pounds. So if you need to carry one around your house, or you have mobility issues, these models are a great option for you.
On the other hand, the heaviest steam mops can weigh over 15 pounds. If you have stairs or you need to transport your appliance, you may want to look for a more lightweight option.
In addition, remember that you can’t leave a steam cleaner in one place for too long while you’re working. Doing so can damage your flooring.
Therefore, choose a model that is light enough for you to push continuously while you clean.
- Scrub pad: Using a scrub pad can help you remove grime that’s stuck to your floor.
- Jet nozzle: This type of nozzle can help you clean tough stains by increasing the pressure of the steam.
- Extension hose: An extension hose will connect to the body of the cleaner or another hose. You can use this to access hard to reach places such as tight corners or the tops of tall curtains.
- Brush: Many models come with brushes to help you clean a variety of surfaces.
- Empty reservoir indicator: Models with this feature will turn on a light when the water tank runs dry.
- Steam output: Some steam cleaners let you adjust how much steam comes out, including a high-steam setting. If you need to clean a variety of surfaces, this is a useful feature.
- Design features: If you have a small or crowded space, look for a model with a pivoting head so you can navigate your home more easily. As well, some steam cleaners have ergonomic handles to make cleaning more comfortable.
The Best Steam Cleaners of 2023
We’ve spent hours comparing different models, reading expert advice, and using our own know-how to find you the best steam cleaner models for your home. So we’ve selected the best appliances for quality, affordability, and efficiency.
With this list, you’ll find the perfect cleaning companion for your house.
1. McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
Best Overall Steam CleanerView on AmazonView on Walmart
This cleaner perfectly balances tank size and weight. That means you won’t have to keep refilling it, but you can still comfortably carry it around your house.
The 18 included accessories let you clean every area of your house, plus your car and garage. And features like a steam lock switch and castor wheels make your cleaning jobs less tiresome.
- Customers have found that the steam is hot enough to kill bedbugs in addition to shining floors and removing wallpaper.
- Great value for the price.
- Users say it feels sturdy and high-quality.
- The long hose is useful for getting under furniture and in other hard to reach places.
- If you pull too quickly, the hubcaps can come loose from the back wheels.
- A few customers say that the handle may get hot if you steam continuously for too long.
- No place to wrap the cord for storage.
|Tank Capacity||48 ounces|
|Heating Time||Less than 8 minutes|
|Cord Length||15.7 feet|
|Surface Type||Sealed floors, carpets, upholstery, car detailing, motorcycles, boats, grills, garage, patio furniture|
|Accessories Included||Jet nozzle, 2 extension wands, mop head, triangle brush, window squeegee, etc|
2. Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner
Best Multipurpose Steam CleanerView on AmazonView on Homedepot
With 17 included accessories, you can clean grout lines and sanitize virtually every part of your house. Plus, this unit has a retractable handle and only weighs 9 pounds, so you can easily carry it to different rooms.
You get 50 minutes of cleaning time with each refill, and it uses regular tap water, so you don’t have to buy anything extra. In addition, the integrated funnel means you won’t make a mess when you refill it.
Read Next: Best Steam Cleaners for Cars in 2023
- The steam cleaner is durable, intuitive, and easy to assemble.
- Customers love how quietly it runs.
- The retractable handle and compact design make it easy to store.
- More affordable than comparable models.
- No refill indicator light.
- Users have found that the steam cleaner may drip while in use, so carry a towel with you.
- The handle and hose may get hot when in use for a long time.
|Tank Capacity||54 ounces|
|Heating Time||7 minutes|
|Cord Length||16 feet|
|Surface Type||Sealed floors, carpet, grout, upholstery, car detailing, mattresses, kitchen appliances, bathroom|
|Accessories Included||Rectangular floor tool, 3 microfiber pads, window tool, 2 extension tubes, etc|
3. Bissell Steam Shot Deluxe Hard-Surface Cleaner
Best Budget Steam CleanerView on AmazonView on Bissell
This lightweight steam cleaner gives you great control over your cleaning with the on-demand trigger. In other words, you can adjust the amount of steam with the trigger button.
And the 20-foot power cord is longer than some larger, more expensive models, so you won’t have to change outlets frequently.
In addition, you can clean lots of different surfaces with the 7 accessories included in the low price.
- The brushes are sturdy enough to effectively clean grout.
- Great pressure for such an inexpensive model.
- Customers say it heats up in less than a minute.
- Users find that Bissell makes long-lasting, durable products.
- Can feel a little heavy when you use it for a long time.
- Some users say the water doesn’t get hot enough to disinfect items.
|Type||Handheld steam cleaner|
|Tank Capacity||6.56 ounces|
|Cord Length||20 feet|
|Surface Type||Hard surfaces, including counters, shower doors, kitchen appliances, and grout|
|Accessories Included||Jet nozzle, 3 brushes, grout tool, flat scraper tool, and angle concentrator tool|
4. McCulloch Handheld Steam Cleaner
Best Handheld Steam CleanerView on AmazonView on Walmart
This McCulloch is the best handheld steam cleaner because of its compact design and versatility despite its size.
With 17 accessories but weighing only 3 pounds, this steam cleaner can go anywhere. Plus, the cord length rivals larger models, so you don’t have to change outlets as frequently.
You can keep the powerful steam going with the lockable steam trigger, and the extension hose lets you reach lots of different areas.
- Great versatility, so you can clean areas like behind the sink, your car interior, or your bathroom.
- Users say it has strong cleaning power for a small machine.
- Customers love that the steam cleaner and attachments feel well-built.
- Intuitive and easy to use.
- You need to fill the water tank frequently because it doesn’t hold much.
- Some users have found that the plastic brushes wear out quickly.
|Type||Handheld steam cleaner|
|Tank Capacity||5.92 ounces|
|Heating Time||Under 3 minutes|
|Cord Length||15 feet|
|Surface Type||Sealed wood flooring, tile, grout, laminate, grill, kitchen appliances, car detailing, boat, RV|
|Accessories Included||4” extension hose, 3” scraper, 2.5” round scrub pad, etc|
5. Poulan Pro Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner
Best Steam Cleaner for Tile and GroutView on AmazonView on Walmart
High wattage makes this a powerful steam cleaner, so you can blast stains off your grout. It also works well on messes like gum or wax that have stuck to your tile.
You get 45 minutes of steaming time with one full water tank, so you can cover a lot of tiles before you need to refill.
If you have additional surfaces to clean, you can also use this steamer to spot-clean carpet, upholstery, or your car.
Read Next: How To Steam Clean Grout and Tile
- Customers found this to be a good value for the price.
- Users like the easy maneuverability and say the handle is comfortable.
- Customers love the large water tank capacity.
- Customers would have liked a water-level indicator light.
- Some users have found that this model drips when you use it.
|Tank Capacity||48 ounces|
|Heating Time||8 minutes|
|Cord Length||15 feet|
|Surface Type||Tile, grout, upholstery, fixtures, carpet spot-cleaning|
6. Wagner Spraytech On-Demand Steam Cleaner
Best Steam Cleaner for CarpetView on AmazonView on Walmart
This Wagner carpet steam cleaner comes with 18 attachments, including 5 brushes and a fabric steamer, to get the stains out of your carpets. And the water heats up to 212 degrees F, so you can really deep-clean those carpet stains.
The steam cleaner runs for 40 minutes on a full tank, so you have plenty of time to work on those carpet stains before you need to refill. Plus, there’s a compartment built into the canister, so you can easily store some accessories.
Read Next: How To Steam Clean Carpet
- Customers find it works well on household and auto carpets, and even removes sticky candy.
Great steam pressure.
- Users find it effective for getting dirt out of hard to reach places, such as the cupholders in your car.
- Doesn’t weigh much, and it’s easy to maneuver.
- Customers find the power cord to be extremely short, so you will probably need an extension cord.
- Some users found the brushes melted from the heat.
- The storage compartment is too small to hold all of the cleaning tools.
|Tank Capacity||40 ounces|
|Heating Time||9 minutes|
|Surface Type||Carpet, sealed hard floors, counters, grout, appliances, wallpaper|
|Accessories Included||Large detail brush tool, microfiber mop pad, wallpaper steam plate, etc|
7. Shark Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System Pocket Steam Mop
Best Steam Cleaner for Hard FloorsView on AmazonView on Shark
For shining floors, the Direct Steam Channeling system distributes moisture over the entire mop pad. But if you need to target a particularly stubborn spot, the Steam Blaster system sends bursts of steam right there.
And if your hard floors are really dirty, the touch-free technology means you don’t have to touch the soiled pads with your hands.
Finally, the double sided cleaning pads mean you’ll spend more time cleaning your hard floors. And less time washing the pads!
- Easy to assemble and quick to start cleaning.
- Customers love the 3 settings that let you control the amount of steam.
- Users find this steam cleaner removes more stains than other mop models, and it makes the floors shiny.
- Customers like how lightweight this model is, and that it doesn’t take up much storage space.
- Does not stand up by itself.
- No on/off switch, so you need to keep it moving as soon as you plug it in.
|Tank Capacity||220 milliliters|
|Cord Length||22.4 feet|
|Surface Type||Hard floors|
|Accessories Included||2 dirt-grip pads, fill flask|
8. Steamfast SF-370 Canister Steam Cleaner
Best Steam Cleaner for Cleaning WindowsView on AmazonView on Bestbuy
The 6.5-foot extension hose lets you reach high-up windows. And the 15 cleaning tools, including a squeegee and microfiber pads, let you clean your windows and other surfaces like glass shower doors.
The large water tank capacity lets you steam for 45 minutes, so you don’t have to stop frequently.
Plus, you can use the integrated cord wrap to store the power cord, hassle-free.
- Customers love the trigger lock, so you don’t have to hold the steam button down while you work.
- Users found this model very easy to push and maneuver.
- Good value for the price.
- Users say the customer service is very helpful.
- The parts can feel cheap and may break.
- Some customers found that this is not a very durable steam cleaner.
|Tank Capacity||48 ounces|
|Heating Time||8 minutes|
|Cord Length||15 feet|
|Surface Type||Sealed hard floors, grout, cars, kitchen appliances, grills|
|Accessories Included||Jet nozzle, 2 nylon utility brushes, brass utility brush, scrub tool, squeegee , etc|
Steam Cleaners Comparison Chart
|Product||Type||Weight||Tank Capacity||Cord Length||Wattage||Heating Time|
|McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner||Canister||12 pounds||48 ounces||15.7 feet||1500 watts||Less than 8 min|
|Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner||Canister||9 pounds||54 ounces||16 feet||1500 watts||7 min|
|Bissell Steam Shot Deluxe Cleaner||Handheld||3.83 pounds||6.56 ounces||20 feet||1000 watts||N/A|
|McCulloch Handheld Steam Cleaner||Handheld||3 pounds||5.92 ounces||15 feet||900 watts||Under 3 minutes|
|Poulan Pro Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner||Handheld||7.96 pounds||48 ounces||15 feet||1500 watts||8 minutes|
|Wagner Spraytech On-Demand Cleaner||Canister||13.12 pounds||40 ounces||N/A||1500 watts||9 minutes|
|Shark Genius Hard Floor Steam Mop||Steam mop||5.77 pounds||220 milliliters||22.4 feet||1050 watts||N/A|
|Steamfast SF-370 Canister Steam Cleaner||Canister||8.42 pounds||48 ounces||15 feet||1500 watts||8 minutes|
Steam Cleaner FAQ
If you still have some questions about the best steam cleaner models, keep reading!
How Do You Use a Steam Cleaner?
- First, fill your appliance with room temperature tap water or distilled water. But make sure you check with the manufacturer to see which you should use.
- Next, pick the accessories you want to use, and attach one to your steam cleaner.
- Then, plug in the steam cleaner if it has a cord, or turn it on if it’s battery-powered.
- Some models have an indicator that lights up when the water is hot enough. Whenever the steam is ready, press the trigger button so you can start to steam clean.
- Now you can work the cleaner over the stains you want to remove. Remember to keep moving the steamer so that it doesn’t stay too long in one spot.
- When you finish removing all the dirt, grime, and stains, turn the machine off. Then unplug it and put it away in a clean, dry place.
Can You Use a Floor-Cleaning Solution for Steam Cleaning?
If you put other cleaner products in a steamer, they can burn onto the heating element. This will make the machine work less efficiently and decrease cleaning power.
In fact, the buildup can eventually destroy the steam cleaner.
For this reason, steam cleaner manufacturers tell you not to put anything except water in the tank. If you do use chemicals (or perhaps vinegar), you will void your warranty.
As well, using distilled water instead of tap water will increase the life of your appliance. Tap water can contain minerals that build up and clog the steam cleaner over time.
If you do want to use a chemical or multipurpose cleaner to steam clean, you can spray the surface with the solution first. Then use the steam cleaner on top of that.
What Can’t You Clean With a Steam Cleaner?
- First, don’t use the machine on things that can warp due to heat. For example, you shouldn’t use a steam cleaner on cardboard or water-based paint, as you can damage them easily.
- Next, don’t use your cleaner to get the dirt off surfaces that are porous. This includes brick, marble, or stucco.
- Additionally, you can damage wood with steam cleaning. So avoid using your machine on hardwood, engineered wood, or laminate floors.
- Your machine also won’t work well for cleaning food processing plants or other big industrial spaces.
- As well, other methods may work better than steam cleaning for cleaning large areas of carpet.
- Finally, avoid steam cleaning upholstery fabrics such as velour, silk, or thin plastics. Also, check the label on your upholstery and avoid steaming any fabrics that say “S,” “X,” or “SW.”