Looking for an easier way to clean your home? We have the solution with our round-up of the best steam cleaners and steam mops on the market.
Just short of getting on your hands and knees with a sponge and some soap water, steam cleaners and mops can be one of the best ways to keep the surfaces in your home nice and clean.
Steam cleaning has enjoyed a boost of popularity in recent years. Sir James Dyson, the man behind the eponymous Dyson company, once claimed that mopping is simply “moving dirty water around, leaving floors soiled”. But can a tried and tested method used by so many across the world really be that bad?
Here we tell you everything you need to know about steam cleaning so you can decide for yourself – and we’ve even added some of our favourite models guaranteed to get the job done.
What is a steam cleaner and how do they work?
The first thing to know is there are two different types of steam cleaner you should be on the lookout for.
The first is a ‘cool’ steam cleaner which makes steam without boiling the water inside. These models typically contain more water. The second is a ‘dry’ steam cleaner, which boils the water inside to make the steam. These versions of the steam cleaner contain less water but can become extremely hot.
What can you use a steam cleaner on?
Steam cleaners can be used on practically any surface in the home, including windows, grouting, carpets and rugs, mattresses, clothes, mirrors, curtains, the bathroom floor and much more.
Because steam cleaners don’t make use of any other cleaning solutions (instead using steam to lift the dirt, dust and grease), it can also be kinder to your surfaces, stopping premature damage and erosion from chemicals.
The best steam cleaners and steam mops
1. Kärcher SC1 premium steam cleaner
This Kärcher model is great if you’re looking for a relatively cheap yet sturdy, lightweight, and reliable steamer for all your cleaning tasks around the home.
This steamer comes with a selection of attachments for cleaning different areas around the home including a power nozzle, round brush, detail nozzle, hand nozzle with a terry cloth cover and storage bag to keep them all organised and safe. It comes with a ‘lamella’ floor tool, designed specifically for cleaning engineered wood floors.
You can also use this steamer as a more traditional mop by adding the extension tube to the handheld unit.
2. Vax S86-SF-C steam fresh combi multifunction steam cleaner
Get perfectly cleaned, fresh smelling floors with this powerful steam mop from Vax. A little different from most steam cleaners on the market, this model combines the power of steam with Vax’s Steam Detergent to achieve results that are both spotless and extremely hygienic.
It takes under thirty seconds to reach optimum temperature and has a steam time of around 25 minutes. This model also comes with a variable steam function ideal for targeting tough stains and getting rid of dirt embedded in grooves or hard-to-reach spots.
You’ll also get a carpet glider attachment, a microfibre pad and 250ml of the Vax Steam Detergent.
3. Bissell 2635e Steam Shot
If you’re looking for a budget handheld steam cleaner for the smaller cleaning tasks you may have around the home, you should turn your sights to the Bissell Steam Shot.
The Steam Shot comes with a variety of tools to help with your cleaning including a window squeegee, two circular brushes, and a grout brush to help you tackle even the the most stubborn grime and dirt. As well as being able to store it away without fuss, the compact size makes it easy to get into some of harder-to-reach (and therefore often neglected) areas of the home.
This model is easy to use, simply wait for the heat-ready light to tell you to go, press the trigger button and start cleaning.
Halve the amount of time you spend cleaning with the Bissell Vac and Steam, combining a vacuum and steam mop in one easy to use product.
Though it is able to pick up smaller items like rice grains and general dust and dirt, this machine doesn’t have quite the same amount of suction as some of the more powerful vacuum cleaners on the market, but it will get the job done.
This model comes equipped with variable steam control, overheat protect, and dry tank technology, keeping all the dust and dirt the vacuum picks up dry making it easier for you to dispose of.
5. Black+Decker 9-in-1 steam mop
Lightweight and easily manoeuvrable thanks to the ‘swivel steering’ function this Black+Decker multi-purpose steam cleaner is suitable for use on all sealed hard floor surfaces and comes with a range of professional accessories including a tile and grout brush, a window squeegee, small soft brushes, a flexible hose, and a garment pad for tackling stains on your clothes.
You won’t have to worry about damaging your floor thanks to the digital ‘AutoSelect’ technology, allowing you to select your floor type to ensure the exact right amount steam is released to get the job done. As well as being removable, the water tank also comes with an in-built filtering system to prevent the build up of life scale.
This nifty little steam cleaner is quite different to the others, but does a comparable job, removing and eliminates 99.9 per cent of viruses, germs and bacteria around the home. Rather than steaming directly from the handle, the mop’s base steams its cloth so you can move around the house easily without being weighed down. The unique tech also means surfaces are almost immediately dry after being steamed, without streaks, in as little as ten seconds. Two machine-washable microfiber cloths and two electrostatic dust-catching cloths included.
Our favourite steam cleaners right now are the Kärcher SC1, which is a reliable, sturdy option at an affordable price; and the Bissell Vac and Steam, which is one of the best-performing combined vacuum and steamers.