Want to clean with steam? The best steam cleaner – or best steam mop – will do this very well for you. They'll banish bacteria from sealed floors, tiles, oven and windows; and some will even take care of sanitizing rugs, carpets, and even dirty curtains. But perhaps the most endearing power of steam, is that it will make your surfaces clean using no chemicals whatsoever, just water. If you have kids or pets in the house or are committed to using the purest products available, a steam cleaner will be especially relevant to you.
We say all this but getting your hands on a good steam cleaner is not as easy as cleaning with one. The Real Homes team carefully vetted, all the models in this guide so we can give you a round-up of the very best steam mops on the market for 2021. All the important factors have been considered – build quality, ease of use, maintenance, storage, and price – so you can choose quickly, and wisely.
If you would prefer a vacuum cleaner instead, no worries: head over to our pick of the best vacuum cleaners to eradicate dust bunnies, crumbs and more.
What are the best steam mop and steam cleaners of 2021?
If you want to get your hands on the best steam cleaner on the market, we recommend buying the Karcher SC3 Easyfix Steam Cleaner. To name a few reasons why: it has a large water tank; it doesn't require detergent; it can clean upholstery and kitchen appliances and it comes with a range of attachments included.
Prefer a steam mop? We wouldn't hesitate to buy the Shark Genius Pocket Steam Mop. It comes with intelligent steam controls for a precise, targeted clean and can be used on all types of hardwood floors, as well as tiles.
Want to keep looking? No worries: keep scrolling to read more of our top steam mop and steam cleaner reviews.
Best steam mop and steam cleaner: ranked
An impressive-looking piece of kit, this floor steam cleaner from Kärcher means business and delivers amazing deep cleaning results using just tap water. It heats up quickly and is great for hard floors as well as limescale and stubborn stains around the home. We also love its large water tank and the range of attachments that come with it. The only drawback is a short lead and it is heavier than other models on the market.
You can use this steam mop on so many areas around the home – hard floors, ovens, hobs, taps, tiles, sofas, carpets – using the floor and hand nozzles as well as the handy round brushes.
A great idea and perfect for families with young children, this model has a locking system to prevent little ones from getting it started.
Steam flow control
For easy use, the Kärcher model has its steam volume control on the handle, which you can use to suit the type of surface and level of dirt you’re dealing with.
If you prefer the familiar motion of running a vacuum, you'll immediately feel comfortable sweeping the Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System Pocket Steam Mop. It's designed to make cleaning floors even easier thanks to its intelligent operation that delivers a precise, targeted steam clean on sealed hardwood, marble, tile, and stone. Simply flip the mop head and you’ll cover twice the area, too. It also cleans away 99.9 percent of common household bacteria, ideal for homes with children or pets.
Twice the clean
The double-sided, machine-washable Dirt Grip cleaning pads allow you to steam clean double the area by simply flipping the mop head. They are specially designed strips of gripping material which are woven throughout the pad to lift and lock in dirt. You can release the used pad by clicking a switch too, so there’s no need to get your hands on the grimy pad.
Check out the Steam Blaster mode, which delivers a targeted blast of super-heated steam, ideal for removing stubborn stains.
Easy to use
Suitable for all types of hard flooring, this steam mop model is lightweight and comes with swivel steering for easy movement around furniture.
In exchange for a longer heat-up time (10 minutes), you'll find yourself with an industrial-strength steam cleaner that can tackle larger cleaning jobs. In short, The McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam Cleaner is a beast, with 20 customizable attachments, an extra-long 10-foot hose, and 4 bars of pressure to rid your home of dirt, dust, and allergens in a chemical-free way. This steam cleaner is safe for use on sealed hardwood and laminate, linoleum, glazed ceramic, granite, marble, vinyl, stained concrete, and tile and can be used in a variety of instances including cleaning your floors, cars, garage, bathrooms, kitchens, and much more with just steam.
The McCulloch MC1375 offers 4 bar pressure to blast away dirt, grease, and grime as well as a variable steam control to get just the right amount of steam. The 48-ounce water tank means you'll be able to tackle large spaces. Convenient scrub pads mean extra opportunities to work built-up dirt. McCulloch notes that it's also safe to use this device on carpets, though as a spot cleaner, rather than a complete carpet cleaner.
This steam cleaner is loaded with accessories including two 16.5-inch Extension Wands, 13" x 8.5" Large Mop Head, Jet, and Angled Nozzle, 3-inch Scrapper, 4-inch Triangle Brush, a Large Brush, Bristle Brush Attachment, 1.5-inch Brass Utility Brush, 1.5-inch Nylon Utility Brush, and 2.5-inch Round Scrub Brush, Microfiber Mop Pad, Scrubbing Mop Pad, and two 2.5-inch Round Scrub Pad as well as a storage bag, accessory net and fill cup.
I specifically want to call out the brass utility brush for its ability to clean up oven wire racks and the Triangle brush for getting into tight corners.
New to the world of steam cleaning, or just have small messes you want to target? We suggest the Bissell SteamShot Hard Surface Steam Cleaner for tackling smaller jobs. It's small but mighty and excels at blasting away grime from tile and grout, though requires extra effort for degreasing baked on grime from ovens and cookware.
Triggered Steam Control
To release steam, press the trigger above the handle to activate and control the steam. This enables you to conserve steam only when you need it, but may also have you relying more on the scrubbing tools to get you through your clean.
The kettle-shaped container is easy to hold to get into a variety of tight smaller spaces like an oven or a shower. The extra-long 20-foot cord enables you to move around freely, and though the water tank is small, the swift 30-second heat-up will have you back in action in no time.
Plenty of Attachments
Right out of the box, you'll be greeted with tons of tools to help you accomplish your cleaning journey including a flat scraping tool, grout brush, angle concentrator, and three scrubbing brushes.
A powerful steam mop doesn't have to be expensive, and Bissell's PowerFresh Deluxe Steam Mop is up for the task. It's safe to use on use on sealed hard floors including hardwood, linoleum, ceramic, tile, marble, and granite. In addition to removing up to 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria, you can add specially designed scent packets to leave behind a fresh fragrance, if desired.
Tough spots happen. The Easy Scrubber flips down and reaches down to the grout and crevices for an exacting clean.
Insert the included Spring Breeze Fragrance Disc into tray for a burst of freshness while you steam clean.
Easy to use
The swivel steering is ideal for tight spaces such as under tables and sofas as well as along edges and corners. The Digital Steam Control offers three steam settings with the option of high, medium or low steam. Low steam is great for everyday cleaning, while you'll want to switch on the high steam mode for grimier messes. The steam mop also comes with two washable microfiber pads: the white microfiber pad is best for everyday use on delicate flooring like sealed hardwoods and laminate while the gray and white striped pad is used for scrubbing heavily soiled floors and cleaning tougher messes.
When you want a really multifunctional steam mop, this 10-in-1 steam cleaner from PurSteam World's Best Steamers has got it all, and it's still lightweight and easy to use! With a whopping 10 functions, in addition to cleaning sealed floors, you can take this lightweight machine to also clean carpets, mirrors, glass, windows, clothing, ovens, and much more. It’s said to kill 99.9% of bacteria so will make your home hygienically clean and give peace of mind to those with young children, babies or allergy sufferers without the use of any harsh chemicals. Most importantly, as well as an upright steam mop, it can also be used as a handheld steamer, too. A handheld is perfect for hard-to-reach spaces, areas above the floor, or even your car.
Lifts off into a handheld
This steam cleaner is not just for floors! Easily snap out the handheld part to steam clean hard-to-reach areas, up high, your car, your oven, windows, and so much more.
Attachments and Accessories
The steam cleaner comes with a variety of attachments to make your cleaning experience even more customizable. Included is a window squeegee, a steamer jet nozzle for targeted steam cleaning of hard to reach spaces, various nylon brushes for cleaning ovens, hobs, and bathrooms, an angled nozzle for hard to reach spaces, a scraper for cleaning your oven and getting out gross burnt on food, a grout brush for cleaning in between tiles, a garment steamer attachment for clothing, curtains, and upholstery, a carpet glider for carpets, microfiber cleaning pads, and a measuring cup to fill the water tank. Phew. That sounds like a complete kit to us!
Adequate Running Time
For most jobs on the lowest setting, a full tank will last you 20-25 minutes of steaming on the lowest setting, or half of that on the maximum setting. The water only takes about 30 seconds to heat up should you need to add more, as you very quickly will get another burst of steam.
Most steam mops are not equipped to handle carpeted surfaces, but this steam cleaner is certainly up for the trick if you are constantly alternating between hard floor and carpeted surfaces in your household. The Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner promises to steam clean, degrease, deodorize and rid your home of viruses, pathogens, bedbugs, mold, and other undesirables from floors, furniture, toys, kitchen appliances, car interiors, grout and tiles, bathrooms, and more. It's almost hard to think of things this steam cleaner can't clean. We'll use it in our showers, degreasing the oven, cleaning the interior of our car, sanitizing toys and high-touch items, and so much more.
Power and ease of use
In addition to the 16-foot-long power cord, it was has a 6.6-foot steam hose and rolling wheels for easy maneuvering. However, the power cord is tucked underneath the unit, which was a pain point for some. Though, as far as steam power, it offers steam pressure up to 50 psi or 3.5 bar and its high capacity water tank allows for extended periods of cleaning sessions.
Similar to previously mentioned steam cleaners, these multi-function tools come with a lot of attachments. This one includes a rectangular floor tool, three microfiber pads (though you can use any pad or towel you like as back up) a window tool, two extension tubes, a lance, a microfiber tool, a triangular tool, a triangular tool microfiber bonnet, five nylon brushes, a brass brush, and an Addfresh Fragrance Disc.
Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning
As this is our pick for cleaning carpets, we want to note that this is more for refreshing carpets and spot treating them, rather than relying on it as a carpet cleaner that professionals might do. When you do clean carpets though, you can run the floor tool over the carpets, just as you would with tile or laminate. One user who tried it on carpet advised that it doesn't get the carpets soaked (due to its higher, dry steam) and that he had success getting out furniture dents, red stains, and gum. Additionally, you can use the Dupray steam cleaner to steam clean furniture, chairs, delicate upholstery, leather, remove stains and odors without the worry of damage. It's even able to be used on mattresses, and can help kill bed bugs, should you, unfortunately, have to deal with an outbreak.
The thing to know about steam cleaners is that your floor should already be free of dust before going through with a steam mop. But, if you're short on time, or simply don't want to have to go over the floors twice, a steam cleaner that is also a vacuum sounds like an absolutely winning combination. The big thing here is that it'll catch dirt and sanitize surfaces at the same time. It'll also capture pet hair with Bissell's cyclonic vacuum technology.
Reclaim your cleaning schedule and use this vacuum to clear the floor of dust and small debris as you steam mop. The water tank offers about 15 minutes of cleaning, which is great for quick steam cleaning passes across your sealed, hard floors. You use a steam trigger for when you want to apply steam to your cleaning, with two steam settings, low for everyday cleaning, and high for harder to clean messes.
Drop it Tank Emptying System
The Symphony Pet features an exclusive Drop-It Tank Emptying System which enables you to clear out the debris canister without getting your hands dirty.
Swiffer Steam Boost Tray
In addition to the two included microfiber cleaning pads, this Bissell includes a Swiffer (yes, that Swiffer) Steam Boom Tray that works with Swiffer BISSELL Steam boost disposable pads, which include four to start. They're great for messes you'd rather not have to deal with again, though you will eventually need to buy replacement pads.
Why buy a steam mop, or steam cleaner?
The floors in our homes need to be kept crumb and dirt-free to keep them looking nice, comfortable, and of course, clean. While the best vacuum cleaner will tackle crumbs and pet hair on the carpets, the best steam cleaner will help to make the hard flooring sparkle.
These handy cleaning devices can kill up to 99.99 percent of bacteria, fungi, and mold. Yep. Some can even remove carpet stains, give a new lease on life to your upholstery, refresh your tiles or other hard floors, and make your kitchen appliances shine. All without the use of harsh chemicals or cleaning agents.
Simply put, an upright or a handheld steam cleaner means the likelihood of you getting on your hands and knees with a scrubbing brush again is very slim. Not to mention the help they can offer when it comes to the dreaded task of cleaning your oven. Seriously, we've thought of everything when it comes down to how to use a steam cleaner.
How to choose the best steam mop or steam cleaner
When looking for a new, or replacement, steam cleaner there are a few elements to consider to ensure it is the best steam cleaner for you:
All steam mops are corded, so depending on the size of your house or the number of outlets you have dotted around, be wary of the cable length.
Since these appliances convert water into steam, the size of the water tank is an important feature. The larger the water tank, the more time you'll have to clean. Live in a larger home? Opt for a mop with a large water capacity to save having to top it up regularly.
Most steam cleaners can work with a variety of flooring types including sealed hardwood, tile, ceramic, marble, granite, cement, linoleum, and vinyl. Do not use it on unsealed hardwood or other porous surfaces. Before using a steam cleaner on carpet, we suggest spot-testing or noting if a particular machine is even built to allow carpet cleaning as well.
Which is best: steam cleaner or a steam mop?
Steam cleaners are available in handheld, mops, and canister models. Each offers a different type of cleaning, and you can also get a combination of them all if you want to clean different types of surfaces on a regular basis.
Steam mops are best for hard flooring, canisters are good for carpets and upholstery and handheld machines are best for reaching small or inaccessible areas.
Heat up time
Waste no time waiting for your mop to heat up, the majority of our picks heat up in just 30 seconds.
A higher wattage won’t necessarily equal better performance so consider all the specifications before making your mind up.
You’ll find that handheld steamers are lighter and easier to use but don’t steam for as long as mops. Mops heat up quicker and last a lot longer but the exact time will depend on the size of the water tank. Opting for a lightweight steam mop is a smart thing to do, especially if you have stairs in your home. Also, look at the overall design and see if the handle is ergonomic enough for you and if the style of the steam mop suits the way you work.
You can also find a range of attachments for your steam cleaner such as upholstery tools, scrubbing pads, and squeegees for cleaning windows and appliances, for example.
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