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Steam cleaning is a popular way to sanitize, deodorize, renew, and refresh all sorts of surfaces. Everything from flooring to auto upholstery to bathroom fixtures and grout lines can be steam cleaned.
If you're in the market for a new steam cleaner, there are many different types of cleaners to choose from. Some are suited to one specific purpose, such as steam cleaning mops for your floors. Others are more versatile and can clean a variety of surfaces, like grout, thanks to their design and attachments. And for those who are short on time, there are even steam cleaners that include vacuuming capabilities.
To help you find the best one for your needs, here are the best steam cleaners.
The McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner takes the top spot for a best overall steam cleaner, thanks to its versatility and deep cleaning ability.
This multi-purpose steam cleaner from McCulloch could truly be described as a steam cleaner for everything and anything. Freshen your grout lines, rid your bathroom fixtures of water stains, restore a sparkle to your oven, refresh your auto upholstery. Users report that receiving this steam cleaner induced a ‘cleaning frenzy’ where they steamed and sanitized everything in sight.
One thing to consider is the longer warm-up time — it takes 8 minutes for the McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner to produce steam. In many people’s opinions, though, this is negated by the fact that the machine will produce steam for 45 minutes. That provides a tremendous amount of cleaning power. Many smaller machines have more limited run times before needing to be refilled with water and reheated. If you want a steam cleaner that will tackle anything and delivers overall great performance, choose the McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner.
"When used in a small and relatively clean place like a bathroom, this product works well. It’s easy to maneuver in small, awkward spaces — like grimy shower corners — and not having to hold the base saves you energy while cleaning. When used in larger spaces that have messier floors, like the kitchen, this product is less effective."—Kaitlyn Wylde, Product Tester
If you want to put the power of steam cleaning in the palm of your hand for a small price, the Bissell Hard Surface Cleaner is the answer.
This small-but-mighty device will allow you to clean just about anything, thanks to the multiple attachments and ready supply of steam. It’s best used for cleaning up around the kitchen, including cabinet doors, appliance handles and knobs, or faucets. It’s also great for sanitizing sealed surfaces, including granite countertops commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms. Users like this unit is compact, and easy to use for small, quick jobs or routine maintenance. While a few people complained about a lack of power from the steam produced, many users have found the price and the value of this budget steam cleaner to be excellent.
Due to its small size, though, don’t expect to get extended runtime out of this machine. You may need to refill it frequently and let it reheat to finish bigger jobs. Still, this Bissell Hard Surface Cleaner and its attachments make a great versatile choice for handheld steam cleaning.
"Because the water tank is so small—just 6.6 ounces—we found ourselves being economical with the power button. While it’s not hard to refill the canister, it is a hassle, so we relied on the included accessories even more."—Kaitlyn Wylde, Product Tester
For a steam cleaner that is equally useful for floors or other surfaces, the Shark 2-in-1 Steam Pocket Mop is a great choice.
Shark combined the easy use and functionality of its popular Steam Pocket Mop with a convenient lift-away design to give you a handheld steam cleaner on demand. As a single unit, the 2-in-1 Steam Pocket Mop will clean your floors using a 2-sided microfiber pad and the power of steam. But you can also detach the mop head and use the body of the unit as a handheld steam cleaner.
While it doesn’t come with as many attachments and isn’t quite as nimble as a true handheld steam cleaner, the versatility available in the Shark 2-in-1 Steam Pocket Mop makes it a great choice for a multipurpose steam cleaner.
"The blackened mop pad is proof that the Shark steam mop really does clean floors. Our one complaint is that we wish that it took less effort to scrub; we really had to push hard to remove anything stuck to the floor."—Joline Buscemi, Product Tester
If your cleaning time is limited or it seems like a hassle to run the vacuum before steam cleaning your floors, then you need an all-in-one unit like the Bissell Symphony Vacuum and Steam Mop.
This multi-functional steam cleaner sanitizes with the power of steam, vacuums up light dirt and debris, or combines the two for a double-duty cleaning experience. The nice thing about this combination steam cleaner is the fact that the vacuum and steam function are independent of each other — so choose the cleaning capacity that is right for the job.
To employ the steam function, you will need to hold down a trigger – but it’s located in the handle in a spot that is natural to hold during operation. Many users don’t find it to be an inconvenience. The suction ability of this vacuum is not necessarily as strong as standalone vacuum cleaners, but most people find it to be sufficient for quick clean-up before steam cleaning floors. It’s a great choice for pet owners, since dog and cat hair seem to be always present and pose a challenge when steam cleaning. With the Bissell Symphony Vacuum and Steam Mop, you can clear debris and steam clean floors with one swipe — saving you time and energy!
If you have hard surface flooring and are looking for a steam cleaner that will clean and revitalize your tile, marble, laminate, or wood flooring, then the Sienna Luna Plus Steam Cleaning System is our top recommendation.
This steam cleaner has a reusable microfiber pad that fits over the mop head to clean flooring. What really sets the Sienna Luna Plus apart for cleaning hard surface floors is its vibrating motion that assists in removing grime and debris. Users report that the Sonic Micro Plus Vibration technology really does assist in getting floors cleaner with less effort and elbow grease. Other steam cleaning mops lack this scrubbing assist, with many being equipped with only a manual scrubber or no scrubber at all.
Like many steam cleaners, the Sienna Luna Plus comes with multiple attachments so you can use the unit for a variety of purposes. But the unit really shines when it comes to floor cleaning and users most often were satisfied with it for this purpose. A few people noted issues with parts breaking or melting, but these were speedily remedied by the manufacturer. All in all, the Sienna Luna Plus is a great choice for steam cleaning hard surface floors in your home.
If you want to be able to zoom between hard surface floors and carpeting, then the O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop is an excellent choice.
This lightweight steam mop weighs in at only 5 pounds, making it easy to maneuver. It features a triangular cleaning surface (great for corners) with replaceable microfiber pads. Its claim to fame is as a budget hard surface steam cleaner, but we love the fact that it includes a snap-on plastic glider to allow the mop to refresh carpets and rugs.
This steam mop kills up to 99.9% of bacteria, and the ability to use this on both hard and soft surface flooring means that you can banish germs wherever they may be lurking — including your carpets. While users love the quick heating element, the one drawback is that it can be tough to tell when the water reservoir is full or approaching empty. Despite that, the O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop is a versatile choice for cleaning carpets and hard surfaces without having to switch tools or appliances in the middle of your cleaning session.
Though not specifically billed as a steam cleaner, the Bissell Little Green ProHeat Portable Cleaner combines the power of hot water and suction to deliver a spot cleaning performance that replaces the need for full-size steam cleaners.
The Bissell Little Green ProHeat Cleaner is a great tool to treat and remove stains on your upholstery, rugs, curtains, automotive upholstery and more. Instead of pulling out a large steam cleaner, tackle small stains and messes with the Little Green ProHeat Portable Cleaner. It has an onboard heating element that is specifically for heating the water used in cleaning. It also features two easy-to-clean tanks and a simple functional design.
A few people noted an odor coming from the machine after repeated uses, but this is easily remedied by keeping the tanks clean after each use and not allowing residue to build-up. Overall, users love this machine’s ability to make stains and messes vanish – even if after an extended period of time. If you’re looking to replace a full-size steam cleaner with a portable version for smaller tasks, the Bissell Little Green Portable Cleaner is the answer.
Surface Steam cleaners can be used on a wide range of surfaces, from upholstery and curtains to floors and grout lines. Depending on how you plan to use yours, you may want to invest in a product that’s specially designed for certain surfaces. On the other hand, there are some models that can do it all, though they may not be as effective in certain areas as specialized steamers.
Size Steam cleaners come in many different sizes, including light, handheld units and more cumbersome vacuum-style models. Consider the size of the steamer when shopping. Smaller products are more portable and easy to store, but large models can run for longer and tackle bigger jobs.
Attachments Some steam cleaners come equipped with attachments that will help you clean certain areas of your home. For instance, you may come across grout brushes, fabric steamers, detail brushes, and more. These accessories can be a helpful addition if you want to use your steamer for multiple purposes.