Best steam cleaner: 8 top steam mops and cleaners for sanitizing floors without chemicals

Make your home shine with one of the best steam cleaners or mops from Kärcher , Shark, Bissell, and more

best steam cleaner shark genius steam cleaner
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(Image credit: Shark)

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 and carpets. But perhaps the most endearing power of steam, is that it will make your surfaces real 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 have 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 so you can spring clean your home with ease.

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

Best steam mop you can buy: Kärcher SC 3 Easyfix Steam Cleaner

(Image credit: Karcher)

1. Kärcher SC3 Easyfix Steam Cleaner

Best steam cleaner you can buy: this one comes with a hook and loop connection for quick, easy removal of the floor cloth

Specifications
Cord length: 13 feet
Water tank: 1 liter
Heat-up time: 40 seconds
Power: 1450W
Weight: 7.1 lb.
Reasons to buy
+No need for detergent+The super absorbent microfiber cloths are machine washable+Comes with a range of handy attachments+Cleans greasy ovens and hobs+Removes stains on carpets and upholstery+Even gets rid of mold on tiles and taps
Reasons to avoid
-Quite bulky to move around-Pricier than other models-A bit industrial looking

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. The only drawback is a short lead and it is heavier than other models on the market.

Multi-functional accessories
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.

Child lock
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.

Shark Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System Pocket

(Image credit: Shark)

2. Shark Genius Pocket Steam Mop

Best steam mop you can buy: with intelligent controls for a targeted clean

Specifications
Cord length: 22.4 ft.
Water tank: 11.8 oz.
Power: 1200W
Heat-up time: 30 seconds
Weight: 5.78 lb.
Warranty: 1 year
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight operation+Touch-free release for washable, dual-sided dirt grip pads+Suitable for sanitizing all types of hard and sealed flooring+3 settings to control steam+Indicator light to let you know when the steam is ready+Gets rid of stuck on stains with Steam Blaster
Reasons to avoid
-Tank is pretty small-Needs to lean against wall to stabilize after use-No On/Off control button

If you prefer the familiar motion of 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 per cent 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. 

Steam blaster
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.

McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam Cleaner

(Image credit: McCulloch )

3. McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam Cleaner

Best steam cleaner for large jobs: an easy to use steam cleaner with a large capacity water tank

Specifications
Cord length: 18 ft.
Water tank: 48 oz.
Heat up time: 10 minutes
Power: 1500w
Weight: 13 lb.
Warranty: 1 year
Reasons to buy
+Ideal for deep cleaning+90 minutes of cleaning power and continuous steam+Kills and removes 99.99% of germs and bacteria+Comes with 20 accessories, including an on-unit accessory net
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Heavy-Some accessories could be sturdier

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. 

Superior Strength
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 its also safe to use this device on carpets, though as a spot cleaner, rather than a complete carpet cleaner.  

What's included?
This steam cleaner is loaded with accessories including two 16.5 inch Extension Wands,  13"x8.5" 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. 

Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop (1940)

(Image credit: Bissell)

4. Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop (1940)

Best budget steam mop: score a great steam mop for less than $100

Specifications
Cable length: 23 feet
Water tank: 19 ounces
Heat-up time: 30 seconds
Power: 1500W
Weight: 6.2 lb.
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Continuous steam release, and three steam options+Swivel steering for easy maneuvering +Removable water tank for easy filling
Reasons to avoid
-Requires a Phillips head screwdriver to assemble -Many buyers reported water tank cap breaks from use- Distilled water highly recommended

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.

Easy Scrubber
Tough spots happen. The Easy Scrubber flips down and reaches down to the grout and crevices for an exacting clean. 

Scent boost
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.

PurSteam World's Best Steamers Steam Mop Cleaner 10-in-1 w

(Image credit: PurSteam World's Best Steamers)

5. PurSteam Therma Pro 211 10-in-1 Steam Mop Cleaner

Best multi-function steam cleaner: Clean floors, carpets, windows, and even garments with this all-purpose design that converts into a handheld too

Specifications
Cord length: 15.6 ft.
Water tank: 11.5 oz.
Power: 1550W
Heat-up time: 30 seconds
Weight: 2.2 lb.
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Converts to a detachable hand-held unit+Handle folds down for easy, compact storing+Very lightweight+Adjustable steam modes+Many attachments to customize your clean
Reasons to avoid
-Nylon brush bristles break down-Steam Cycling means uneven cleaning pressure -Mop pads don't make complete contact with the floor, requiring multiple passes

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 are 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 upholster, 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.

Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner

(Image credit: Dupray)

6. Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner

Best steam cleaner for carpets: a multi-purpose cleaner that works on all floor types, including carpets

Specifications
Cord length: 16 ft.
Water tank: 54 oz.
Heat up time: 7 minutes
Power: 1500w
Weight: 9 lb.
Warranty: 2 years / Lifetime on steam cleaner boiler
Reasons to buy
+Interesting boxy design+Huge water tank with up to 50 minutes of cleaning time+Heats up to 275 degrees Fahrenheit +Great for getting rid of viruses, pathogens, bedbugs, mold and other undesirables from any type of floors, furniture, toys, kitchen appliances, car interiors, grout and tiles, bathrooms and more.+Discreet hidden cord storage and pop-up handle for easy handling
Reasons to avoid
-No accessory carrier-Have to turn unit over or lift to wrap cord-Mop head doesn't swivel

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 any type of 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, for 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. The power cord, however, 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 it's high capacity water tank allows for extended periods of cleaning sessions. 

What's included?
Similarly 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 your steam cleaner to steam clean furniture, chairs, delicate upholstery, leather, remove stains and odors without worry of damaging. It's even able to be used on mattresses, and can help kill bed bugs, should you unfortunately have to deal with an outbreak. 

BISSELL 39N7A 39N7A/39N71 Steam Shot Deluxe Hard-Surface Cleaner

(Image credit: Bissell)

7. Bissell Steam Shot Deluxe Hard-Surface Cleaner

Best handheld steam cleaner: for smaller cleaning jobs and precision control

Specifications
Cord length: 20 ft.
Water tank: 6.6 oz.
Heat up time: 30 seconds
Power: 1000W
Weight: 4.59 lb.
Warranty: 1 year
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight and very portable+Lots of attachments+Trigger to control steam
Reasons to avoid
-Small Water Tank-Can become tiresome to hold

New to the world of steam cleaning, or just have small messes you want to target? We suggest the Bissell Steam Shot Deluxe Hard-Surface 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 for only when you need it, but may also have you relying more on the scrubbing tools to get you through your clean.

Thoughtful Design
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 an accessory nozzle, extension hose, flat scraping tool, grout brush, fabric steamer, window squeegee, angle concentrator, and a detail brush. 

Bissell Symphony Pet Steam Mop and Steam Vacuum Cleaner

(Image credit: Bissell)

8. Bissell Symphony Pet Steam Mop and Steam Vacuum Cleaner

Best steam cleaner vacuum combo: a two-in-one cleaning experience

Specifications
Cord length: 25 ft.
Water tank: 12.8 oz.
Heat up time: 30 seconds
Power: 1100W for Steam / 400Wfor Vacuum
Weight: 9.74 lb.
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Enables you to vacuum and steam mop at the same time, or each setting individually +Option to use disposable mop pads +Built for families with pets
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Limited for other steam cleaning jobs-Distilled water recommended

The thing to know about steam cleaners, is that your floor should already be free of dust before going through the with 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';; catch dirt and sanitize surfaces at the same time.  It'll also capture pet hair with Bissell's cyclonic vacuum technology.

Time Saving
Reclaim your cleaning schedule and use this vacuum to clear 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, a 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, of which four are included 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 it looking nice and comfortable. 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 per cent of bacteria, fungi and mold. Yep. They can even remove carpet stains, give a new lease of life to your upholstery, refresh your tiles, or other hard flooring, and make your kitchen appliances shine. All with out the use of harsh chemicals or cleaning agents. 

Simply put, an upright or a handheld steam cleaner, will rid the need of you ever getting on your hands and knees with a scrubbing brush again. Not to mention the help they can offer when it comes to the dreaded task of cleaning your oven.

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:

Cable length
All steam mops are corded, so depending on the size of your house or the amount of plug sockets you have dotted around, be wary of the cable length.

Water tank
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.

Floor Surface
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 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 cylinder 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 surface on a regular basis. 

Steam mops are best for hard flooring, cylinders 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.

Power
A higher wattage won’t necessarily equal better performance so consider all the specifications before making your mind up. 

Weight
You’ll find that handheld steamers are lighter and easier to use but don’t steam for as long as mops. Mops heat up more quickly 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.

Attachments
You can also get a range of attachments for your steam cleaner that open up many more cleaning options, such as upholstery tools, scrubbing pads and squeegees for cleaning windows and appliances, for example. 

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Jaclyn Turner
Jaclyn Turner

Jaclyn is an eCommerce editor at Future Home Interest, and scouts out the best of the best for buying guides to help you fill your home with housewares you will love. She joined the team in January 2021. She has previously worked with sites like Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn, The Spruce, The Spruce Eats, and MyDomaine, but got her start at the trade mag Home Furnishings News, which fueled her excitement for innovation in the home category and seeing the newest launches.  When Jaclyn's not working, she loves long strolls through HomeGoods, unwinding with a chilled glass of Rosé, and entertaining her Cavapoo puppy, Reese.