Best Steam Cleaners
Steam cleaning is an effective and non-toxic way to sanitize surfaces in your home. Should you switch to using a steam cleaner vs a traditional bucket and mop? Learn more about the pros and cons today.
For easy handling, versatility and powerful cleaning capabilities, Bissell’s SpotClean Pro is a classic choice to clean your carpets and upholstery.
Slim design & soft-grip handle
3 detachable tool heads
Suitable for carpets and upholstery
Making window cleaning effortless and quick, the Karcher WV 5 Premium is a battery-driven, versatile and quiet window vacuum cleaner.
3x faster than manual window cleaning
Suitable for lattice windows
Cordless with a rechargeable battery
May leave streaks
- Build Quality4.1 (8)
- Value for Money3.3 (8)
- Ease of Use3.5 (8)
- Cleaning & Maintenance 3.9 (8)
Suitable for use on car seats, upholstery and floor mats, this compact and handy tool can give you a new-car feeling in just one clean.
3 tools included
Can use on multiple surfaces
Kmart is offering you an affordable and handy cleaning tool that can sanitise many surfaces around your home and comes with a variety of versatile accessories.
Multiple accessories included
Handheld & lightweight
- Build Quality2.6 (11)
- Value for Money2.7 (11)
- Ease of Use2.8 (10)
- Cleaning & Maintenance 2.9 (10)
This nifty window vacuum cleaner features a compact, handheld design that makes cleaning windows and other glass surfaces quicker and easier than ever.
Battery-powered and cordless
25-minute run time
- Build Quality3.7 (7)
- Value for Money3.6 (8)
- Ease of Use4.1 (8)
- Cleaning & Maintenance 3.8 (8)
How does a steam cleaner work?
Dirt and grime have adhesive qualities that enable them to stick to all types of surfaces. The heat of the steam melts away these adhesive qualities and loosens the grime which can easily be wiped away with a microfibre pad or cloth.
The water in the water compartment can be boiled within 1-30 minutes and expelled as steam through a nozzle or brush which loosens dirt and kills bacteria at the same time.
Steam cleaners are a versatile tool to have around the house and can be used to sanitise a host of surfaces.
Pros and cons of steam cleaners vs. manual mops
There are many benefits to using a steam cleaner over a vacuum or manual mop including the fact that it doesn’t require anything but water to provide a sanitised and effective clean, free of harmful chemicals and smells.
Steam kills well-known bacteria such as e-coli, listeria, and salmonella. It’s eco-friendly and more versatile than a vacuum cleaner or bucket and mop.
- Kills 99% of germs, bacteria and pests
- Chemical-free - saving you money on buying liquid cleaning products & suitable for those with allergies
- Softens hard-to-clean stains
- Supports air purification process
- No bucket or wringing required
- Compact and lightweight - easy to use and store
- Less noisy than a vacuum cleaner
- Can be expensive
- May require vacuuming before use
- Will require prep time to heat up
- Can’t be used on certain materials
- Pads will need replacing - can incur additional costs
While typically, steam cleaners have a higher price point than a bucket and mop, they can save you money in the long run since you do not need to buy cleaning liquids. They can’t replace vacuum cleaners entirely though, which are still very useful for cleaning up heavy spills and chunks of debris.
Types of steam cleaners
Steam cleaners and steam mops
Steam cleaners and steam mops work in similar ways, by using a reservoir to boil water and release steam - killing nearby bacteria. Steam mops contain changeable pads that can be used to remove the lifted dirt. Steam cleaners without bottom pads are useful when cleaning carpets or upholstery.
When using steam mops, it’s useful to make sure that the floor doesn’t contain heavy mud or grit first. Vacuuming your floor beforehand will allow for the most effective clean with a steam cleaner.
Mop pads tend to get dirty over time and will need replacing. As an eco-friendly choice, you can opt for multi-use washable pads instead of disposable ones.
Some steam mops feature a two-sided mop head that can be flipped, allowing you to clean twice as much floor before changing the mop pad. Pads can also come in different textures to allow for use on delicate floorings such as hardwood and laminates. Some pads have scrubbing strips for cleaning tough stains.
Steam cleaners generally have quick heating times, an extensive steam range, are fairly quiet and efficient at sanitising surfaces.
Handheld steam cleaners
Handheld steam cleaners work the same way as regular-sized steam cleaners but are small and portable, designed specifically for easy handling. They can be used for sanitizing items on and off the floor including decorative pieces, upholstery, stovetops and even clothes.
Cordless versions that run on battery power are especially useful for use outdoors in the garden, in a car or on the move.
Since they are compact, all they require is a cup of tap water and a few minutes to generate enough steam to remove many types of stains from carpets, rugs, cushions and furniture.
You can buy additional accessories to allow you to mop small sections of the floor with them when needed. They are not suitable for use on big surfaces (such as entire floors) and the cordless kind will incur additional costs as their batteries will need replacing.
Steam vacuums cleaners
A steam vacuum is a vacuum cleaner with the extra feature of using steam to help clean and sanitize floors more effectively than vacuuming alone.
Some steam vacuum cleaners can be used to get deep-rooted dirt out from carpets. They tend to be more expensive and heavier than typical vacuum cleaners & steam cleaners.
What can you use a steam cleaner on?
Steam cleaners can be used on many surfaces in the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, garden and around the house.
Some examples include jewellery, shoes, toys, high chairs, eating surfaces, clothes, carpets, fabric, car dashboards, showerheads, grills, ovens, toilet bowls, tiled floors and walls, taps, fridges, mirrors and sinks.
What you can use it on depends on the type of steam cleaner you have, along with the additional tools and attachments provided.
What shouldn’t you use a steam cleaner on?
Steam cleaners are not suitable for use on water-based painted walls and unsealed floors, including hardwood, cork, and unglazed tile as they may be damaged by the moisture.
Porous surfaces such as brick and marble should be cleaned carefully by hand.
Steam cleaning may also not be suitable for delicate items such as silks, thin plastics and velour. The heat from steam can also cause cold window glass to crack.
What to look for when buying a steam cleaner
Water reservoir capacity: The higher the reservoir capacity, the longer you can go without stopping to replace the water whilst cleaning. Steam cleaners with a "continuous fill" feature come with a backup tank to keep you cleaning longer. However, the more water your cleaner can hold, the heavier it will be.
Boiling time: Steam cleaners can take between 1-30 minutes to heat up depending on the model you buy. If it is especially important to you to be able to pick up and use the cleaner without a long delay, then it’s worth investing in a steam cleaner with a quick heat up time.
Temperature: Steam has to reach at least 100 degrees celsius to be effective, but some cleaners can reach up to 160 degrees. The hotter the steam gets, the drier it will be. Your surfaces will dry quicker and have less probability of damage from water.
Additional attachments: Different attachments will either be provided or can be bought to tackle specific tasks - for example, a squeegee blade can help wipe away the grime from windows and tiles. Other important attachments include garment steamers, sink unblocking systems, floor cleaners, jet nozzles, brush nozzles and scraper nozzles.
Storage: When you’re not using your steam cleaner, you’ll want to store it away somewhere neat and tidy - that’s why it’s important to take into consideration the cord set and whether it comes with its own stowaway case.
Mobility: When using a steam cleaner on floors, you’ll need to be able to pull the unit around you easily. Some handheld cleaners with heavy handles may be tiresome to use after a short time so it’s worth investing in something that is easily manouvered.
Ease of use: Bulky designs may prevent you from being able to clean corners and intricate areas. In models with steam control, look for a simple press and hold operation rather than a pump system. Some systems may be more tricky to fill up and require a jug or funnel to get water into the boiler. You’ll want your steam cleaner to be as easy to use as possible so you can get on with your task of cleaning sooner.
You can reviews on our website today to find out what others are saying about the best steam cleaners on the market.