The best steam cleaner comes designed to banish bacteria, and they can be instrumental tools when it comes to keeping your homes clean, safe, and germ-free. Heat treatment is very effective for killing viruses as well, and you can use it to lift out stains and sanitize your carpet, clothing, furniture, upholstery, mattresses, pillows, and any water-safe fabric.
If you take the time to compare products, the best steam cleaner is even versatile enough to work well on ovens, sealed wooden and tile flooring and walls, windows, rugs, and carpets.
A high-quality steam cleaner needs nothing besides water from your tap to work, and it doesn’t require you to add chemical products or detergents to work well. If you’re curious as to what the best steam cleaners are, take a look at our review roundup and our buying guide.
1. Karcher SC EasyFix Steam Cleaner – Top Pick
One of the most powerful steam cleaners from this brand is a very large cylinder model. It has a huge range of accessories included in the purchase that allow you to tackle a huge range of household cleaning tasks from things in the laundry room to upholstery and drapes. It’s quiet when you use it, so you can use it without fear of waking anyone up, and it’s easy to assemble when it comes. You’ll get a high-capacity water tank that can hold up to 1.5-liters on a single fill, and there is a 0.5-liter steam boiler reservoir attached. When you switch it on, the tank will heat up in three minutes to give you a quick work time.
It works well on ceramic tiles without leaving too much water or debris behind, and it’ll leave your vinyl flooring shiny without having to scrub it. For windows, they’ll dry quickly without those pesky water spots. However, it does produce a lot of steam very quickly, and this can lead to a small amount of mopping needed between cleaning. It’s easy to move around from spot to spot, and you can store it neatly between uses. You get several nozzles to tackle different surfaces, and it comes with a three-year warranty.
- Larger 1.5-liter tank
- Three-year warranty
- Produces a lot of steam
- Comes with several accessories
- 0.5-liter steam boiler reservoir
- Stable design
- Easy to move
- Have to mop between cleaning
2. POLTI Vaporetto Steam Cleaner – Step-Up Pick
If you prefer to have an upright steam cleaner design to a cylinder, this is the one for you. It has a flexible joint on it to help you clean quickly and easily under kitchen appliances and furniture. You also won’t need to keep switching plugins because it comes with a longer cord to give you a greater reach. The water tank will heat up in minutes of turning it on, and this ensures that you can tackle your next project without having to wait ages for it to work. You get storage space for all of your attachments to keep everything self-contained and in reach whenever you need it.
You’ll get a variable steam dial on the trigger switch with this steam cleaner that is easy to reach, and the anti-calc filter system allows you to add perfume or freshener to the steam when you want to refresh and clean surfaces. There is easy maintenance with this model because it makes it easy to unscrew the cap and reach the boiler to clean it. It does work better on sealed and hard flooring instead of carpet, especially if you have embedded stains. There are built-in bristles that help you scrub the grime right off your vinyl as you pass over it.
- Upright design
- Flexible joint to clean under items
- Heats up in minutes
- On-board storage included
- Get several useful attachments
- Variable steam dial
- Built-in scrubbing bristles
- Doesn’t work well on carpet
3. McCulloch MC1270 Portable Power Cleaner – Mid-End Budget Pick
If you’re in the market for a more powerful steam cleaner on a budget to help you keep your hardwood flooring shiny, this is it. It comes equipped with a larger 40-ounce tank that will put steam out at 43 PSI at 37-grams every minute. It can take up to eight minutes to heat up from the cold, but you get 45-minutes of steam once it reaches this point. This allows it to easily clean grout lines, sealed flooring, bath or kitchen fixtures, appliances, and upholstery. There is a button on the hose that allows you to get continuous steam to move freely from one cleaning project to the next.
This steam cleaner comes with a variety of cleaning attachments and a powerful steam output. In turn, this makes it an extremely versatile piece of equipment to have that will clean both light and heavy-duty projects. There is a high mobility factor as well as it has a four-foot long steam hose with wheels. When you pair this with one of the 18 different attachments you get, you can easily clean between appliances or up on your ceilings with ease. There is also a 15-foot power cord that gives you excellent freedom of movement.
- 40-ounce tank
- 45 minutes of cleaning time
- High stability factor
- 15-foot power cord
- 18 attachments included
- Four-foot hose
- Very versatile
- Heating time is slightly longer
4. BISSELL SteamShot – Bargain Budget Pick
If you’re looking for something to tackle both small and large tasks inside and outside of your home, Bissell has the answer for you. This product weighs in at just around three pounds, and you get a very generous power cord that allows you to move around your area to tackle messes in the kitchen and bedroom, or you can use it to remove stubborn wrinkles from your clothing. It comes with an easy-press trigger that allows you to have steam whenever you need it without having to worry about hand fatigue on bigger projects.
There is a decent number of useful attachments on this product that allow you to take on different projects. You get an accessory nozzle, flat scraping tool, detail brush tool, grout brush tool, angle concentrator tool, window squeegee tool, and a fabric steamer tool when you order it. It does come with a smaller 6.6-ounce water tank that gives it a slightly more limited run time, but it works well for smaller or quick cleanups. It won’t put out any harmful chemicals, and it has a comfortable handle that is easy to grip.
- Very portable design
- Has a comfort-grip handle
- 6.6-ounce water tank
- Heats up relatively quickly
- Get decent attachments
- Longer power cord
- Easy to maintain
- Shorter run time
5. Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner – Best For Carpet
Anyone who has thicker carpeting like shag can benefit from this steam cleaner from Dupray. You get a floorhead attachment that helps you quickly and easily cover larger surface areas like big area rugs or your living room carpet. There are wet/dry pads attached to the floorhead when you get it, but you can easily swap them out for any microfiber cloth or towel. It has a unique cube-like shape that measures 10.5-inches by 9.5-inches, and the smaller design makes it easy to pick up and move around your carpet without a problem.
Along with functioning in every way that you’d expect a steam cleaner to work like removing wrinkles, bathroom cleanup, or kitchen duty, it also works to help steam clean your carpeting. It can get rid of bacteria, dirt, dust mites, and other unwelcome things in your carpet without using chemicals. You get 50-minutes of run time due to the larger 54-ounce tank capacity, and it has a longer power cord that gives you good reach without having to pick it up and move it. There is a limited lifetime warranty on some parts, and the whole thing has a two-year limited warranty attached.
- Works on thicker rugs
- Wet/dry pads included
- Small cube design
- 50-minutes of run time
- 54-ounce tank
- Longer power cord
- Two-year limited warranty
- Can expel too much water
6. Bissell PowerFresh Lift-Off – Best For Multipurpose Cleaning
You’ll get two operation modes with this steam cleaner, and it’s a very versatile product that works well for virtually any home, whether or not this home includes pets. There are 13 accessories included in each purchase that make it easy to take on a variety of tasks, including a window squeegee, bristle scrub brushes, fabric steamer, grout cleaning tool, and much more. It works just like an upright unit when you use the floor cleaning attachment with stretchy cleaning pads made out of a microfiber material. It has a sleek white and orange color scheme on it that makes it easy to see.
The body of your steam cleaner mop will detach to allow you to get a handheld steam cleaner, so you can easily transition between different surfaces and get into hard-to-reach areas. You can set a continuous stream of steam to help cover larger spaces, or there are lower steam settings that give you the perfect power level for different tasks. The tank will heat up in 30-seconds and hold up to 13.5-ounces. It can be tricky to fill due to the angle it sits at. It weighs in at just over 10-pounds, so it’s easy to maneuver.
- 13 accessories
- Works like an upright or handheld machine
- 30-second heating time
- 13.5-ounce water reservoir
- Varying steam levels with a continuous steam one
- Weighs in at just over 10 pounds
- Orange and white coloring
- Smaller water tank
7. Steamfast SF-370 Canister Cleaner – Best For Hard Flooring
This steam cleaner is ready to work straight out of the box because it features a steam mop attachment with dual microfiber pads. It has a canister cleaner that will glide effortlessly across your sealed hardwood, vinyl, or laminate tiles without leaving a pesky residue behind. Also, it’ll take care of any bacteria and dirt in your path when you use it. There is a 15-foot power cord and a 6.5-foot hose attached that gives you excellent range and reach to get into all of the small nooks and crannies around your home. You also get 15 versatile accessories like utility brushes, mop pads, squeegee, jet nozzle, fill cup, scrub tools, and more.
There is a larger 48-ounce tank that will heat up in 8 minutes before giving you an impressive 45-minute cleaning time. You can use this steam cleaner to naturally steam clean without using harsh chemicals. Instead, you use pressurized, hot steam to get rid of grime, grease, and stains from grout, ceramic tile, laminate, sealed wooden flooring, appliances, vehicles, and grills. It has a two-year warranty from the date of purchase, and the customer service team is US-based.
- 6.5-foot hose
- 15-foot power cord
- 15 accessories include
- 48-ounce tank
- Get 45-minutes of cleaning time
- Works on different types of flooring
- Two-year warranty
- Takes almost 10 minutes to heat up
8. Poulan Pro Multi Purpose Cleaner – Best For Tile
You can clean your grout and shine your tile with Poulan PRO’s steam cleaner. It works well for cleaning tile floors because it comes with a handy steam mop attachment. Unlike some other products on the list, this one comes with a trigger lock function that allows you to clean large areas without having to continuously hold a button down. There are two microfiber cloths included in each order, and they allow you to get a deep clean on laminate, tile, marble, and more types of flooring. You can use the nozzle or any included accessory to clean tile grout lines in your bathroom or kitchen.
There is a 15-foot power cord included on this steam cleaner, and this lets you reach right to the walls or in corners without having to unplug it and plug it back in. It heats up in just five minutes, and you have a larger water reservoir to give you a longer cleaning time between fills. The sleek black and yellow color scheme is very eye-catching, and it has larger wheels for greater stability as you move around.
- Works well on hard flooring
- Trigger lock function
- 15-foot power cord
- Multiple attachments included
- Sleek design
- Larger wheels for greater stability
- Bigger reservoir
- Cord management can be tricky
9. Shark Genius Cleaning System – Best For Light Cleaning
Shark is a household name for steam cleaners and other cleaning products with a reputation for having high-quality products. This is a more affordable option that works for tackling small stains on your hard flooring. It offers a lower price with reusable cleaning pads to save you money in the short and long-term. The swiveling head on this steam cleaner gives you triple steam levels that you can use to sanitize or freshen the flooring. There is also a steam blaster option that lets you point and shoot a column of heated steam to soiled spots or sticky messes.
The pads you get are double-sided to improve your cleaning power, and they grip dirt to lift it away from the floor. There is touch-free technology built into this product as well to make it more user-friendly. You do have to push harder to remove stuck-on gunk and grime from the floor, but it cleans larger areas at one time to make the process go relatively quick. You won’t have to use anything but steam to clean, and you never have to use fabric softeners, powdered detergents, or bleach when you clean.
- Affordable pricing
- Double-sided cleaning pads included
- Swiveling head
- Three steam levels
- Steam blaster option
- Touch-free technology
- Easy to use
- Have to really scrub for stuck-on messes
10. Steamfast SF-1000 JULE Steam – Best For Jewelry
Using a steam cleaner on your jewelry is a chemical-free, easy way to brighten up any of your precious stones and make the whole piece sparkle. It can restore shine to your precious metals, including platinum, silver, and gold. You won’t need to add any chemical solutions to his product, and it can effectively eliminate up to 99.9% of all bacteria from the pieces. Never add pearls to this product, and always double-check that your jewelry is safe to put in it before you try it. All you have to do is fill the 12-ounce reservoir with water and steam clean your jewelry for 15 minutes.
You can set this steam cleaner to produce short bursts of steam of one continuous stream, and it’s small enough to sit nicely on your counter or table. You get a US-based customer support team and a two-year warranty if you run into trouble. It produces 58 PSI of pressure to safely and effectively get rid of body oil, grime, dirt, makeup, and more. You should use tweezers to hold your jewelry right under the steam nozzle for the best results.
- 15 minutes of steam
- Continuous steam or short burst setting
- Easy to use
- 12-ounce water reservoir
- Kills 99.9% of bacteria
- Sturdy design
- Easy to clean
- Only works on metal jewelry
How to Choose the Best Steam Cleaner
When you start shopping for a steam cleaner, it’s important to be able to narrow down your choices right from the start. One of the first things you want to do is decide which type of steam cleaner you want to buy. There are four broad categories, and picking one or two will take away several of your choices so it’s not so overwhelming. The categories are:
- Handheld Steam Cleaner – A handheld model is smaller than other steam cleaners, more portable, and they’re usually cost-effective. However, you sacrifice a larger water compartment, power, and run time. It works well to get small stains out of your carpeting or around the house, and they’re very easy to store when you don’t need it.
- Mop – Steam mops work well for cleaning hard floors or hardwood floors like wood or tile. They look like stick vacuums and are very lightweight. These mops are usually very affordable, and you can get them with a large variety of accessories. They come in different sizes, and some even have the capability of converting to a handheld unit.
- Cylinder Steam Cleaner – Also called a canister steam cleaner, this unit is slightly larger and more stable than the first two. It has a canister on wheels that attaches to the steam head using a long hose. You can take on larger cleaning jobs due to the bigger water tank, but it is slightly bulkier and more difficult to maneuver in tight spaces.
- Vapor Steam Cleaner – Vapor cleaners work very similar to cylinder cleaners. It uses dry heat instead of wet heat, and this is what sets it apart. You won’t have to wait for your floor to dry with this, but it tends to be on the more expensive side than the other three options. It’s also slightly larger, and this can make cleaning tight areas challenging.
Steam cleaners work well on both indoor and outdoor projects, and they’re powerful enough to give you excellent results without any streaks or water spots.
Four Reputable Steam Cleaner Brands
Once you decide on a type for your steam cleaner, you can narrow it down even more by only picking ones from reputable brands. While there are many available, some are more well-known than others. Getting a reputable brand will help you get into touch with their customer service agents easier if you should have a problem. The brands include:
- Bissell – Bissell has a solid reputation for putting out excellent products like vacuums, scrubbers, and steam cleaners. They offer affordable options, and they have almost every type of steam cleaner available.
- McCulloch – While McCulloch is newer to creating steam cleaners, they have thousands of positive reviews and ratings. They created a heavy-duty steam cleaner that can tackle residential and commercial-grade projects with ease.
- Shark – Known for creating some of the best on the more expensive end of the spectrum, Shark has a great reputation for customer service. They make mops and handheld steamers, and they can take on larger projects.
- PurSteam – Finally, another well-known brand is PurSteam. They produce almost exclusively steam cleaning units, and it’s not hard to find any style you’re after with this brand. They’re known for using quality parts and having a responsive customer care team.
Best Steam Cleaner Buying Considerations
When you’re ready to compare the top models, you should use a specific set of criteria to compare them all. This way, you can discard ones that don’t fit into the box, and this can make shopping a tiny bit faster and easier.
1. Weight and Size
You’ll find the best steam cleaners in a broad range of sizes, weights, and shapes, and the bulkiness depends on which type you choose. Make sure you take a look at your potential steam cleaner’s dimensions and decide if you’re willing to have a bulkier model. If it’s a pain to use your steam cleaner due to the weight or size, this can be a deterrent to ever taking it out.
You have to keep your storage capabilities in mind too. If you have a tiny apartment or home, storage space is at a premium. Chances are, you won’t have the space to store a larger unit. Many people like to tuck it out of sight into a closet between uses.
In a perfect world, the price wouldn’t be an issue. However, it does, and the type you pick out will play a major role. You can find mops or handheld units at very reasonable prices, but the canisters and vapor types tend to be on the higher end. However, these models may work out for more applications, so it’s easy to justify the price.
A lot of the best budget models we reviewed came solidly in the mid-price range, and they’re more than powerful enough to take on household projects. If you plan to use your steam cleaner commercially, be prepared to pay a higher price for it because it’s usually more powerful.
3. Water Tank Size
Even the best steam cleaners will only produce the steam cleaning you need to clean and sanitize when you have a water tank. A smaller steam cleaner has a smaller tank, and this means that you’ll have to refill it more often when you clean grout or other projects. However, they usually heat up faster than the larger units.
Decide if you want a large or small tank and compare them to the various steam cleaner styles. Handheld units and mops usually come with smaller tanks while vapor and cylinder units have bigger tanks and longer run times between refilling and heating.
No matter which style you decide to use, they almost all come with accessories and attachments included in the purchase. If you plan to use your steam cleaner for more than just carpets or routine stains, take a close look at the accessories and attachments. You can get everything from squeegees and upholstery tools to wire brushes and extension handles. The more areas you want to clean, the more attachments or accessories you’ll need.
If your steam cleaner comes with accessories or attachments like an extendable hose or brushes, it broadens your cleaning capabilities.
Double-check and see how much pressure your steam cleaner has and the maximum temperature range for the steam cleaning. This will give you a good idea on the projects it can and can’t take on. The higher temperatures produce a drier steam cleaning and usually put out more pressure to provide a slightly deeper clean that will get rid of germs and bacteria. They may cost more, but you’re usually getting a better clean with them.
6. Ease of Use
Most steam cleaners are relatively straightforward and easy to use. The lighter models are usually more streamlined and easier to work with than the larger models. However, the larger models have more power associated with them. If you’re worried about not being able to handle a heavier or larger unit, it’s a good idea to stick to the lighter ones.
No matter which steam cleaner you choose, it’ll most likely run quieter than a vacuum. Look and see how many decibels the product lists because this will give you a good idea on the noise levels. You can also take a look at the reviews and see what people say about the noise when they use it.
Steam cleaners are a fast and efficient way to kill germs and bacteria around your home and make it safer for your family.
The best steam cleaners can help you tackle a large range of projects around your home while giving you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re killing germs and bacteria in a safe and effective way. Our short best steam cleaner guide and review round-up ensure you’ll have everything you need to make a solid selection based on your wants and needs.