Steam cleaners make it much easier to remove stubborn dirt and destroy almost all microbes without using chemicals, which is very favourable both for health and for the protection of the environment.
However, choosing a steam cleaner can be difficult, as new models are constantly appearing on the market. We offer below a comparison of the best models of the moment and a buying guide to choose the model that suits you.
The three most popular steam cleaners of the moment
Comparison of the best steam cleaners
BISSELL CrossWave Floor and Area Rug Cleaner,
Bissell 1785A: A steam cleaner that stands out for its power, its significant autonomy of use and its rapid heating
The BISSELL Clean & Steam offers three steam modes: minimum for laminate or synthetic parquet, medium for marble and natural stone, and maximum for vinyl or PVC. I like that the water tank lasts a long time (about 40 minutes).
On the other hand, it is advantageous that it has two anti-limescale filters to use tap water without problems.
It’s one of the more comfortable vertical models to use due to its design, although it’s also true that due to the size of the brush, there will be gaps and corners that you will not be able to reach. Also, note that it works with a cable. Although it is long (7.5 meters), it can get in your way, and you don’t have the same mobility as if it were cordless.
Finally, it includes four microfiber mops: 2 for difficult stains and 2 for floors. These mops are efficient because they can be washed in the washing machine and reused many times. On the other hand, it also has a Dual Clean & Steam nozzle with which we can access three working modes: suction with cleaning and steam, cleaning only or suction only.
The downsides are that it can only be used for floor cleaning (it can’t clean upholstery or tiles) and is heavy. As it’s a broom type, you have to lift the total weight of the steamer (5.4 kg) to clean.
- Cyclonic suction technology.
- Includes two limescale filters.
- Adjustable height.
- 30-second rapid heating with indicator light.
- Long 7.5-meter cable.
- Can vacuum and clean at the same time.
- A little heavy, but less than the other options.
- No HEPA filter.
Wagner Spraytech 0282014 915e On-Demand Steam Cleaner & Wallpaper Removal,
Wagner Spraytech: This steam cleaner is one of the most influential models and can vacuum, clean and dry at the same time
This powerful Wagner Spraytech steam cleaner (second only to the Polti model, 2200w vs 2400w) lets you vacuum, steam clean and dry in one step.
The steam volume can be adjusted to 5 different levels, allowing you to tailor it to the surface you are cleaning. If you want to remove the dirt in depth (like in tile joints), you must use the most powerful level. The lower levels are used to clean more delicate surfaces without the steam damaging them, such as parquet floors, for example.
On the other hand, you can also adjust the suction power in 4 levels, depending on the degree of dirtiness of the surface to be cleaned. If you are going to vacuum and clean simultaneously and don’t want the characters to be very wet, I recommend selecting the higher suction power.
In terms of filtering, it is a multi-stage filter system that includes, among other things, a water filter and an efficient HEPA filter. I think it’s a good choice for allergy sufferers and those who want to maintain cleaner air at home because it traps 99.9% of allergens.
On the other hand, it includes several valuable nozzles to optimize the cleaning tasks on each surface: floor (for hard floors and carpets), upholstery, glass, anti-foam, groove and concentrated jet.
Its main drawbacks are that it’s heavy (the heaviest of all the models reviewed) and not very ergonomic. However, its parking design keeps it in a standing position, which facilitates handling this type of cleaner with considerable weight. We must remember that its price is very high.
- High working power.
- Steam is adjustable in 5 modes.
- Multi-stage filtration, including a HEPA filter.
- Trigger lock system.
- Includes a variety of accessories.
- Heavy and not very ergonomic.
- Flimsy handle.
- The cable is not retractable.
PurSteam Steam Mop Cleaner 10-in-1 with Convenient Detachable Handheld Unit,
PurSteam World’s Best Steamers: A non-suction steam cleaner for carpet cleaning
The PurSteam World’s Best Steamers Clean Tenso model is another alternative, ideal for people who already have a vacuum cleaner at home and do not want to pay extra for this function. It’s excellent value, heats up in less than 30 seconds, and has a tank life of up to 40 minutes.
Although the PurSteam World’s Best Steamers is a bit more expensive than the Black & Decker FSMH13E5-QS, I find it offers better performance, and the vapour is distributed reasonably evenly as it comes out of 6 nozzles along the brush. It also can adjust the steam level so you can use it on different floor types. Remember that you should use the lowest steam level on delicate surfaces to avoid damaging them.
I like that it even comes with a unique rug accessory, which some more expensive models don’t include and is essential because rugs and carpets are where most build-up occurs of dirt and germs we do not see. For me, the main reason to buy a garment steamer is to be able to clean carpets.
If your house is a little small, you will appreciate that this model can be folded to take up less space. On the other hand, this cleaner is heavier than the other two budget models (Black + Decker and Ariete), but it has a longer cable (6.5 meters), and I found it to be more comfortable to move around rooms than with the Black + Decker model.
Another improvement over the Black + Decker model, the water tank is removable, making it easy to fill and drain any remaining water when you’re done cleaning. It also includes an interchangeable water filter and a 60º washable filter to prevent the accumulation of germs.
The downside is that it doesn’t include an anti-limescale system, so you have to be careful to use distilled water (especially if you live in challenging water areas) so that the limescale doesn’t cause any problems in the steamer. Also, the steam button can’t be locked, so you must press it constantly when you want a burst of steam, which can be tiring.
- Excellent value.
- Fast heating and uniform steam.
- The pads are washable at 60°C.
- Suitable for carpets.
- Foldable handle.
- 6.5-meter cord.
- No suction function.
- It tends to clog with excess water hardness.
- The steam button requires constant pressure.
Wagner Spraytech C900054.M, 905e AutoRight SteamMachine Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner,
Wagner Spraytech: A powerful steam cleaner, both in terms of steam emission and suction
This Wagner Spraytech model has the most incredible power of all the models analyzed, and it is the most effective for effortless deep cleaning, comparable only to the Kärcher model.
Using the maximum steam pressure (6 bar), we can remove stains and caked-on dirt that you can’t get rid of manually (at least not quickly). It is therefore ideal for cleaning tile joints and grease stains in the kitchen, among other things.
I recommend this steam cleaner to allergy sufferers because it traps more allergenic molecules (dust, pollen, mites) than other models, thanks to the suction of its HEPA 13 filter.
If you use the maximum power setting for vacuuming, you can remove solid debris and pet hair and pick up liquids, which most vacuums cannot do. To increase the efficiency of this task, Polti sells a “Bioecological” anti-foam deodorant, which is added to the collection tank and also leaves you with a fresh scent during cleaning (you receive a free sample with the device).
Another thing that makes this steam cleaner stand out from other models (even high-end models) is that it includes 15 attachments. The ones that I have found most useful are the steam + suction nozzle (for vacuuming small surfaces or steam-cleaning sofas, furniture and fabrics, with the cover that is also included) and an attachment for cleaning the glass that attaches to the mouthpiece.
Finally, the Polti Vaporetto FAV80 has ten programs to make cleaning more accessible, more than any other model reviewed. Thanks to them, you can adapt it much more effectively to any surface (with its corresponding accessory), and it includes an ECO mode for more efficient operation.
The biggest drawback of this steam cleaner is its high price and the fact that it is a cumbersome model (9 kg), second only to the Kärcher, which weighs slightly more (9.4 kg). This is something to consider, as most steam cleaners weigh around 5.5kg.
- High working power.
- Ten easily accessible programs.
- Water filter with HEPA 13 technology.
- Good energy efficiency.
- Unlimited water autonomy.
- High price.
- Non-retractable cord.
- Heavy equipment.
Bissell Steam Mop, Steamer, Tile, Hard Wood Floor Cleaner,
Bissell Steam Mop: A simple and inexpensive steam cleaner with an anti-scale filter
If you want the benefits of steam to disinfect spaces without spending a lot of money, you can buy a steamer that only cleans with steam water but does not vacuum, especially if you already have a vacuum at home that works well. That’s the case with the Bissell Steam Mop, a steam cleaner that heats up in less than 15 seconds and lets you start cleaning immediately.
I found it to be a comfortable model to use, as it is very light (1.75 kg) compared to heavy vacuums (over 5 kg), and it also has a 180° swivel head to reach areas difficult. One thing I liked that cheaper steam cleaners don’t have is that they come with multiple attachments (window brush, grout brush, small brush) to clean different surfaces.
On the other hand, it uses microfiber mops that can withstand 100 washes, which is good for the environment and your wallet. Another advantage I see in this cleaner is that it has a tank with a limescale filter. Therefore, you can use tap water to produce steam without worrying that the limestone will damage the mechanism.
As for the steam, it allows you to adjust its intensity according to the surface to be cleaned. However, I have found that the steam emission can be excessive, even in a low setting, as it sometimes drips when cleaning windows and other vertical surfaces.
I wouldn’t say I liked that the cable is only 4.5 meters long, which doesn’t allow free cleaning of large rooms. However, this problem can be easily solved by using an extension cable. Finally, I found that the water tank is not removable to be a negative point.
- Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre.
- Swivel head for difficult places.
- Limescale filter.
- Heats up quickly.
- Includes window tool, small brush and grout brush.
- No suction function.
- Short cord.
- Small fixed water tank.
DOKER Steam Mop Cleaner – Handheld Detachable Floor Steamer
DOKER: A cheap and efficient steam cleaner that offers immediate heating
Despite its low price, it is included in terms of performance since it emits vapour quickly and allows you to adjust the intensity according to your needs.
This DOKER steam cleaner makes it easy to clean hard-to-reach places because the head is swivelling and moves up to 180°. What I liked the most about this model is that it is suitable for cleaning almost any room in the house because it includes unique accessories for windows, sofas, carpets, tile joints, bathroom surfaces and even kitchen hobs.
This type of accessory is usually only included in high-end models, making this budget model stand out from the crowd and versatile.
Regarding freedom of movement, it has a 5-meter cable, which is fine for some users, but you may need more if you have huge rooms. Its handle is removable, which allows you to store it in a smaller space. It also transforms it into a portable steam cleaner, enabling you to use it with all its accessories easily.
Among the aspects that I liked the least is the autonomy, which is about 18 minutes. It is pretty weak. Indeed, the water tank is only 350 ml, but on the other hand, this helps to make the steam cleaner lighter and, therefore, easier to handle.
- Heats up quickly.
- Swivel head for difficult places.
- Includes accessories for many different surfaces.
- No suction function.
- Small water tank.
How to choose your steam cleaner? The buying guide
If you’ve come this far in your search for a steam cleaner, you probably already have several models in mind. But if you’re still unsure which model is suitable, here are the considerations that will help you make the right choice.
Power is one of the most critical aspects, as it directly impacts how much energy your steam cleaner will have to eliminate dirt effectively. At a minimum, you should choose a model with more than 1000 W, a requirement that all models in our selection meet.
Autonomy of steam
The size of the water tank largely determines the autonomy of steam production. Small tanks make the steam cleaner lighter and more manageable, but the steam may run out quickly. If you want to avoid these interruptions, opt for a large tank or model that allows continuous water supply without turning off or warming up the equipment.
Look for a steam cleaner with a minimum pressure of 3 bar, especially if you want to use the steam function to loosen ground-in dirt. If your budget allows, you’ll almost certainly choose higher-pressure equipment, as the powerful steam is excellent for tough messes and greasy stains.
For this type of cleaning equipment, accessories are an essential aspect. When steamers include extensions, nozzles, and heads for different kinds of surfaces, you’re more likely to clean other parts of your home more comfortable.
Well-known brands tend to have tighter quality controls and design models with better features and good build quality. In addition, it is also easier to obtain spare parts and customer service, if necessary.
As you can see, there is a wide range of prices for steam cleaners. Some high-end models cost around $600, and you can find the cheapest for just over $60. Although they are products with a very similar objective, the higher-end models offer more power and generally more battery life. In addition, the more expensive models vacuum and steam clean, allowing you to do a complete cleaning with a single product.
However, there are also a variety of inexpensive models that make your cleaning tasks easier and help you sanitize your spaces without resorting to chemicals. If, for example, you already have a good vacuum cleaner, it may make sense to choose a vacuum cleaner that does not suck, and you can save a lot of money. However, the best steam cleaner models include a suction function.
The best thing to do is to set a maximum budget and choose a steam cleaner with good user reviews so that the results are predictable and satisfactory. It would be best if you also were clear about what you want to use it for, as not all steam cleaners are suitable for cleaning all surfaces.
How does a steam cleaner work?
Steam cleaners are very effective at dissolving and removing stubborn stains, killing germs with excellent efficiency and eliminating unpleasant odours. In short, they are a healthy and ecological option to disinfect our spaces without using chemical detergents.
For a steamer to work, there must first be water in the corresponding tank. Once you put the water in the tank and turn on your gear, the tank will start to heat up, so the water boils and turns to steam. But this vapour will not escape through the conductive tube until it has reached a certain pressure inside the tank, which is hermetically sealed.
When the steam reaches sufficient pressure, it lifts the cap and exits with some force through the tube or pipe. Many models allow the steam outlet pressure to be regulated so that the pressure the steam must reach inside the tank to come out of it is not constant. Once the smoke comes out, the user directs it to the area to be cleaned.
Are steam cleaners helpful?
By using steam to clean, these products manage to eliminate 99% of bacteria and viruses that accumulate on surfaces. Thanks to this, they have become trendy lately because, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the population is concerned about eliminating all germs and viruses from our homes. In addition, if you use a steamer, you do not need disinfectant cleaning products that can be aggressive with specific materials, many of which give off strong odours that bother us and our pets.
If you’re still not convinced, we’ll quote you the number of areas you can clean and sanitize with a steam cleaner, which might make you decide to buy one for your home:
- Toilet cleaning
- Cleaning the shower screen
- Cleaning tiles and grout (where dirt gets stuck)
- Cleaning pet cages
- Cleaning ceramic hobs.
- Cleaning household appliances (washing machines, refrigerators, ovens, etc.)
- Disinfection of garbage cans
- Cleaning windows and blinds
- Cleaning artificial plants
If they are suitable for cleaning upholstery, you can:
- Clean the mattresses
- Clean the carpets
- Disinfect pet beds
- Clean car upholstery
It is clear that not all models are suitable for everything and, depending on the model you buy, it will be more effective with certain functions than with others. Some have specific accessories for the tasks we have mentioned, and others do not but are more suitable for cleaning floors, for example.
The best steam cleaner models don’t just clean; they also vacuum. Thus, with a single product, we can complete a home cleaning. Most of them can vacuum and steam clean together and separately, depending on what you want to use them for at any time, so I find them very handy.
If you already have a good vacuum cleaner and do not need to include this function, you can buy a steam cleaner model that only cleans with steam. This way, you will save a lot because you can get it at a much more affordable price, although, as I said before, the best and most effective are those that include both functions.
How to maintain a steam cleaner?
Like any other household appliance, steam cleaners require some maintenance to provide a longer lifespan. There may be some variation depending on make and model, but a standard procedure for cleaning your steamer should include the following steps:
- Remove and empty the water tank.
- Rinse the inside of the tank with fresh water.
- Use an anti-limestone product to remove limescale deposits left by the hardness of the water.
- Rinse the product with the limestone that has come off.
- Let it dry before putting it back in the steam cleaner.
For the maintenance of the vacuum cleaner, you must consider the type of filters it uses. If they are washable, you should wash them with plenty of soap and water, and if they are disposable filters, replace the old filter as often as the manufacturer suggests.
Steam cleaner VS vacuum cleaner VS pressure washer
Vacuum cleaners are valuable tools for cleaning the house because they quickly absorb and remove dust and particles of a specific size. Most functional models can also remove pet hair and absorb liquids, but these characteristics are unfamiliar to all brands. However, unlike steam cleaners, they have no effective system for eliminating microorganisms and disinfecting spaces. They are also not suitable for cleaning glass and similar surfaces.
Steam cleaners using hot steam, on the other hand, are a great solution for sanitizing surfaces without using chemicals, including glass and upholstery. Steam is the only cleaning agent and is very effective on most bacteria and mould.
Steam cleaners with vacuum functions are often a great purchase for the home, as they offer the best of both worlds. However, not all steam cleaners have as good suction performance as vacuum cleaners and may be less effective for tasks such as removing pet hair from upholstery or picking up dust. Larger debris.
Compared to pressure washers, the main difference with steam cleaners is that they use high-pressure jets of liquid water instead of steam. While the action of a steam cleaner is determined mainly by temperature, pressure cleaners rely on the mechanical power of the jet to clean. They are excellent for cleaning hard floors and exteriors, although they are incompatible with all surfaces. Indeed, they use and discharge more water than steam cleaners and are therefore incompatible with textiles, furniture and floors sensitive to high humidity. In general, it can be problematic to use a pressure washer indoors, for which a steam cleaner is more suitable.
Which steam cleaner to buy, Polti or Kärcher?
Polti and Karcher are well-known brands in the current catalogue of steam cleaners. Compared to the analyzed models, the Polti Vaporetto Lecoaspira FAV80 and the Kärcher SV 7 are among the best options to buy.
The Polti model is distinguished by a higher power of 2400 W for a slightly lower weight because the Kärcher has a power of 2200 W and weighs about 400 grams more. On the other hand, the Polti has ten cleaning programs (including an ecological one), while the Kärcher SV 7 has only five modes. However, the truth is that both offer a pretty decent finish, with great vapour and suction power compared to other less popular brands.
Another advantage of the Polti model over the Kärcher is that it allows uninterrupted filling of the water tank, which allows you to continue cleaning without interruption. On the other hand, when the water in the Kärcher SV 7 steam cleaner tank runs out, it is necessary to refill it with water and wait a bit for it to heat up and reactivate. But it should be mentioned that the wait is not too long.
The Kärcher model, on the other hand, has a more complex filtration system that offers maximum allergen capture by integrating three additional filters in addition to the HEPA filter. On the other hand, the Kärcher also has a drying function, which saves you time by drying condensed water on the spot.
In summary, the Polti model is superior in terms of power, number of preset programs and steam range, but the Kärcher has a more powerful filtering system and can also dry surfaces. It’s also worth noting that the Polti clothes steamer is more expensive, so it’s a good choice if you’re on a budget and want the most power possible.
Frequently asked questions about steam cleaners.
1- What can I clean with a steam cleaner?
The versatility of using your steam cleaner depends on the model and the accessories it has. However, the most common surfaces are hard floors, soft floors, natural stones, metals and glass. If the steam cleaner is compatible, you can also clean textiles, upholstery, mattresses and furniture.
They are beneficial for cleaning bathrooms, where humidity can generate foul odours and even allow the fungus to grow. You can clean tiles, bathtubs, shower floors, walls and toilets. Another practical use for steam cleaners is cleaning surfaces that come into contact with food and grease, such as the stove, extractor fan, sink and refrigerator. Once the steam has dislodged and sterilized the dirt, you can easily remove the residue with a dry cloth.
2- How to clean a mattress with a steam cleaner?
To clean and disinfect your mattress, it is recommended to shake it out or vacuum it first. Then, slowly wipe down the entire bed with your steam cleaner, but be careful not to repeat the motion too much so that the mattress doesn’t get too wet. Remember to focus on the folds, where dust mites and dust collect the most. Then, leave the bed without its clothes for a few hours to air out and dry well.
3- What water to use with a steam cleaner?
First, check the manufacturer’s recommendations in the user manual. However, many models with filters or anti-limescale mechanisms allow tap water to be used without problems. If you have excessively hard water, you can mix equal parts tap water with distilled water or substitute deionized water.
4- Why is it not necessary to use chemicals with a steam cleaner?
The steam temperature is over 100°C and acts as a powerful antimicrobial. Therefore, when we use steam cleaners, we achieve similar antimicrobial effectiveness as strong chemicals with water alone. This is a benefit for users who want to avoid exposing their family and pets to harmful substances and those who have sensitivities to common cleaning agents.
Steam also removes stubborn stains, especially if they are covered in grease. Fat that has solidified is softened by heat, making it easier to remove after exposure to steam.
5- Can I use soapy water or other cleaners with my steam cleaner?
Adding any substance to your steam cleaner water is not recommended. These devices are not designed to interact with chemicals and can be damaged. We also need to be sure that our cleaning products will react well to heat: be aware that some chemicals are dangerous if inhaled as a gas. Using the steam cleaner will always be safer, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.