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Best steam cleaners and steam mops 2024: Drive grime from your home using tried and tested steam power

Get your kitchen, shower and hallway floors squeaky clean with the best steam cleaners we have reviewed

The best steam cleaners are great for wiping the grime from almost any hard surface and even some soft furnishings, and can revolutionise your cleaning routine if you’re not already using one. In our experience, steam cleaners make light work of your kitchen and bathroom, and can sort out worked-in dirt and stains that we have struggled to shift by other means. They can do so without chemicals – a huge plus if you’re worried about what you’re breathing in.

At Expert Reviews, we have years of experience testing cleaning products and gadgets. In this article, we’ve narrowed down eight of the best steam mops that we think are worth investing in.

If you’re new to the world of steam cleaning, be sure to check out our handy buying guide at the bottom of the page to help you get to grips with the basics when shopping for a steam cleaner. Ready to buy? Jump to our mini reviews of the best steam cleaners that impressed when we put them through their paces.

How we test steam cleaners

We put steam cleaners through their paces by assembling them, filling them with filtered or distilled water, then putting them to work in the kitchen, the bathroom and across a range of tiled or vinyl floors.

Testing the Bissell Steam Shot steam cleaner

Along the way, we look at all supplied accessories and their ability to remove limescale or surface dirt from surfaces and glass, and whether brushes can get into dirty nooks and crannies and obliterate lurking grime. We also time how long it takes for the mop or cleaner to heat up and get ready for action, and how long it takes for the tank to empty. Finally, we look at any additional features, and see how easy and neat the steam cleaner is to stow away, ready for the next use.

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The best steam cleaners and steam mops you can buy in 2024

1. Bissell Steam Shot: Best handheld steam cleaner

Price when reviewed: £60 | Check price at Bissell

Don’t dismiss the Steam Shot because of its size. While it’s not so great for large areas, as it doesn’t have the power of bigger cleaners, we thought it was brilliant for spot cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom or handling spills and stains. What’s more, it builds up more pressure (4.5 bar) than your average handheld effort. It’s well designed, too, with a 4.8m cable and a filler cap you can’t unscrew while the steam is under pressure.

The 0.36l tank won’t keep you steaming and cleaning away for hours – eight to ten minutes is all we managed in testing – but this cleaner is quick to heat up and easy to use, despite the five-minute wait recommended between refills.

The Steam Shot is also more versatile than you might think, with an extension hose and an accessory nozzle, three detail brushes – including a special brush for grout which really impressed us – plus tools for mopping, scraping and cleaning glass, mirrors and shower screens. Go bigger if you need to get floors and carpets clean, but we think this is a good affordable option for spot cleaning or the occasional deep clean.

Read our full Bissell Steam Shot review

Key specs – Type: Handheld steam cleaner; Water tank capacity: 0.36l; Power: 1,050W; Max steam pressure: 4.5 bar; Accessories provided: Jug, extension hose, 3 x detail brushes, concentrated steaming tool, window squeegee, flat scraper, microfibre cleaning cloths; Cord length: 4.8m; Dimensions (WDH): 24 x 13 x 22cm; Weight: 1.5kg; Warranty: 2 years

Check price at Bissell

2. Swan Dirtmaster Steam Mop: Best budget steam mop

Price when reviewed: £60 | Check price at Amazon

best steam cleaner Swan Dirtmaster Steam mop on a white background

Swan’s compact steam mop is lightweight, easy to use and in our opinion, great value for money too. Just fill the detachable 0.33l water tank, plug it into the socket on the body, click the power button and you’ll have a working head of steam in under 30 seconds. We found it great at shifting stubborn grime from kitchen or bathroom floors, and with most of the weight near the base, it wasn’t any work at all to move around. It also comes with a plastic glider for giving rugs and carpets a quick clean.

We had concerns about the size of the water tank, but our tests found you can get just under 15 minutes of steaming from a refill even at the maximum of its three power settings, which should cover all but the largest hard floors. We really rate the built-in, replaceable anti-calc filter, which means you can just use ordinary tap water. More expensive mops and cleaners have more welly or a more versatile set of attachments, but if you just want your floors clean and shiny, the Dirtmaster Steam Mop will get the job done.

Key specs – Type: Steam mop; Water tank capacity: 330ml; Power: 1,300W; Max steam pressure: Not supplied; Accessories provided: 2 x microfibre pads, carpet glider; Cord length: 7m; Dimensions (WDH): 32 x 21 x 116cm; Weight: 3.2kg; Warranty: 1 year

3. Shark S6003UK Klik n’ Flip Automatic Steam Mop: Best steam mop for hard floors

Price when reviewed: £170 | Check price at John Lewis

The Shark S6003UK is a basic steam mop with no attachments or abilities to clean anything much above floor level, just a large microfibre pad at the bottom of the stalk, but what a steam mop it is.

In its default position, the pad gets damp and hot – perfect for wiping grime from tiles or vinyl flooring. Flip it the other way and it unleashes a powerful jet of steam as you push, which we found obliterated any dirt or caked-on scum in its path.

Not so great for large properties, the 0.38l water tank is only good for around ten to 12 minutes of steaming. Despite this, we still managed a couple of good-sized rooms at the pace this steam mop works, and you can easily refill the tank via the pull-out filling flap. We liked that Shark throws in a handy jug.

With a choice of three steam settings, this one can cope with more sensitive floors, as well as hard-wearing tiles and vinyls, you should still check the manufacturer’s instructions, though. It’s quick to get going in less than a minute and it’s almost fun to use.

Key specs – Type: Steam mop; Water tank capacity: 380ml; Power: 1,200W; Max steam pressure: Not supplied; Accessories provided: 2 x microfibre pads; Cord length: 8m; Dimensions (WDH): 11 x 10 x 119cm; Weight: 2.7kg; Warranty: 2 years

Check price at John Lewis

4. Kärcher SC3 Upright: Best steam mop for carpets, rugs and laminates

Price when reviewed: £160 | Check price at Kärcher

Kärcher’s upright steam mop is heavier and more powerful than the average steam mop, so we were a tad underwhelmed by its head of steam. Where the Shark Klik n’ Flip pumps out clouds of the stuff at the least provocation, the SC3 Upright looks quite restrained.

However, its big selling point is its versatility. With settings for wooden and even laminate floors, as well as rugs and carpets, it’s not limited to tackling tiled or vinyl hard floors. In testing, we found it gentle but effective on parquet and tiled vinyl flooring as well. Just be careful to check the setting first, or you could end up with excess water on your surfaces.

The Kärcher scores bonus points by having a large 0.5l tank, which can be refilled while the steam mop is still in operation. The Shark is a little cheaper and similarly effective on most hard flooring, but if you have tricky or expensive wooden surfaces, in our opinion this is the one to buy.

Key specs – Type: Steam mop; Water tank capacity: 500ml; Power: 1,600W; Max steam pressure: Not supplied; Accessories provided: Microfibre pad, anti-limescale filter cartridge, carpet glider; Cord length: 5m; Dimensions (WDH): 31 x 21 x 118cm; Weight: 4.26kg; Warranty: 2 years

5. Kärcher SC3 EasyFix: Best-value steam cleaner

Price when reviewed: £200 | Check price at Kärcher

best steam cleaner Karcher SC3 easyfix on a white background

Karcher might have traded its signature yellow livery for an updated white design, but we are pleased to say nothing’s changed about the performance of this exceptional mid-range steam cleaner. Like the previous version, we found it incredibly easy to set up and use, with the extension tubes and heads clicking neatly into place, and the tank filled through a recessed hole at the top, which incorporates a replaceable anti-limescale filter. It takes a little over the billed 30 seconds to get a proper head of steam – around 47 seconds, according to our timings – but from there it will keep puffing away until the 1l water tank runs dry. But even that didn’t stop our cleaning spree, as you can simply refill from the tap with the steam cleaner running.

What makes this more impressive is that there’s so much cleaning power on offer. Every squeeze of the trigger dispenses a beefy cloud of red-hot steam, and the supplied floor mop, hand brush and hard brush nozzle do a fantastic job of scrubbing away persistent marks and built-up grime, even on tricky shower screens, sinks and kitchen drainers. Tiles shine in seconds, and you can blast lurking dirt and gruesome hair deposits from drains and plug holes. What’s more, its light weight makes it easy to lug around the house, while the 4m cable and 2m steam hose give you plenty of reach. With street prices usually dropping to around the £160 mark, we reckon this is the best-value steam cleaner for most people.

Key specs – Type: Steam cleaner; Water tank capacity: 1l; Power: 1,900W; Max steam pressure: 3.5 bar; Accessories provided: Floor nozzle, hand nozzle, round brush, floor-cleaning cloth, hand nozzle cover; Cord length: 4m; Dimensions (WDH): 36 x 23.6 x 25.3cm; Weight: 3.1kg; Warranty: 1 year

6. Dupray Neat: Best steam cleaner for accessories

Price when reviewed: £160 | Check price at Amazon

It’s hard to make a steam cleaner that stands out from the crowd, but Dupray has managed it with its cute, cubic Neat. We loved the surprisingly practical design, packing neatly into a cupboard when the cleaning’s done, while the lengthy 5m cable coils into a space at the bottom for storage. The Neat also couldn’t be much easier to use: fill the tank, screw on the cap, and press the massive power button on the front to set it boiling away.

We waited around eight minutes for the button to change from glowing orange to green, but once hot, the Neat keeps dishing out 1.6l of steam allowing for a good 30 to 40 minutes of cleaning in our tests. The Dupray is great for accessories, with a fantastically effective shower/window squeegee, a triangular brush for tight corners and six nozzle brushes – five nylon, one brass. With that lot and the Neat’s steaming power, we were well equipped for some seriously in-depth cleaning.

We would like the Neat even more if you could refill it during cleaning – you have to wait for it to cool before you can open the tank – but, in our opinion it’s a great all-rounder, on surfaces, sinks or shower trays, and just as fabulous on floors.

Key specs – Type: Steam cleaner; Water tank capacity: 1.6l; Power: 1,500W; Max steam pressure: 3.5 bar; Accessories provided: Window tool, triangle brush, detail nozzle, 5 x nylon brushes, 1 x brass brush; Cord length: 5m; Dimensions (WDH): 26 x 26 x 24cm; Weight: 4kg; Warranty: 1 year

7. Polti Vaporetto Smart 100_B: Best steam cleaner for stamina

Price when reviewed: £249 | Check price at Amazon

You would expect the nation that came up with the espresso to know a bit about steam, and the Polti Vaporetto Smart 100_B doesn’t disappoint. Within two minutes vast quantities of steam are ready and waiting for duty from a massive 2l tank that should service several large rooms. We like that there’s no waiting for more steam to come through at any point afterwards, and you can remove the tank and refill it from the tap while the cleaner is on, without cooling. Where other steam cleaners run out of puff, the Vaporetto just keeps going.

It’s fantastically versatile as well. The Vaporforce brush dispenses steam downwards for mopping, or you can add the included rug accessory for rugs and carpets. We also appreciated the inclusion of a smaller head with a brush and a rubber blade for glass, along with two smaller, tougher brushes and a scraper. Armed with this lot you can tackle everything from tiled floors to sinks and splashbacks, and it all comes out looking sparkly clean.

It’s bigger and heavier than many steam cleaners, and more expensive than most, but in our opinion, if you have a house full of kids and pets, which frequently needs some major cleaning, it’s a price worth paying.

Key specs – Type: Steam cleaner; Water tank capacity: 2l; Power: 1,500W; Max steam pressure: 4 bar; Accessories provided: Vaporforce brush, rugs accessory, small brush with window cleaning fitting, small round nylon brush, heavy-duty red brush, steam concentrator, scraper; Cord length: 4m; Dimensions (WDH): 40 x 27 x 29cm; Weight: 5kg; Warranty: 2 years

8. Kärcher SC4 EasyFix: The most powerful steam cleaner

Price when reviewed: £239 | Check price at Amazon

best steam cleaner Karcher SC4 EasyFix on a white background

If your home’s a little larger (or grimier) than the SC3 EasyFix can handle, we think its bigger brother, the SC4, will be up to the job. It has a more powerful 2,000W heater, and although the steam pressure is the same, the real game-changer is a removable tank, which you can pull out and fill at any moment, then keep on steaming instantly. In our tests, this meant we could deep-clean a bathroom and clear a shower screen of hard water limescale without stopping for a break. When we needed to stop, it was because we needed a cuppa and a break from the SC4’s huge steam output; the cleaner could have kept on going longer.

Like the SC3 it’s a versatile cleaner, with two extension tubes and a range of nozzles that will wage war on grime in your sinks, shower trays, tiles, baths and worktops. It also has a child lock on the steam gun to stop the kids steaming themselves or anyone else into A&E. We found it extremely easy to use and powerful enough for the most demanding household, the Kärcher SC4 is a steam-cleaning superhero.

Key specs – Type: Steam cleaner; Water tank capacity: 800ml; Power: 2,000W; Max steam pressure: 3.5 bar; Accessories provided: Floor cleaner, hand nozzle, small brush, round brush, 2 x microfibre covers, 2 x extension tubes; Cord length: 4m; Dimensions (WDH): 38 x 25 x 27cm; Weight: 4.1kg; Warranty: 2 years

How to choose the best steam cleaner for you

What sort of steam cleaner should I buy?

Steam cleaners come in three basic formats. First, you have the classic steam cleaner, comprising the steamer unit – where the water is housed and boiled – which connects through a pipe to the head where the steam is dispensed. The main head is usually a mop head, with some kind of pad or microfibre cloth attached so that the steam separates the grime from the surface and the pad or cloth wipes it away. Steam cleaners usually come with a selection of attachments, including brushes for intensive cleaning of smaller areas and scrapers or wipers for, say, cleaning worktops or glass.

Second, you have steam mops. These integrate the boiler and the head into one upright cleaning machine. As the name suggests, these are really designed to work as a super-powered mop, but a growing number can also double as a regular steam cleaner, either by having a smaller, removable boiler unit or by allowing you to attach additional heads instead of the mop head. They’re now almost as versatile as the classic steam cleaner, but they’re easy to use and very compact.

Finally, you can buy smaller handheld steam cleaners. These are great for cleaning up the kitchen and bathroom, but with small tanks and less powerful boilers, they’re not really designed for tackling larger areas.

What should I look out for?

Steam cleaners differ when it comes to capacity, convenience and cleaning power. Obviously, the size of the tank makes a big difference. On some models, you can only refill the tank once the steam has been turned off and the cleaner has cooled down, which means you can only clean for as long as there’s water in the tank, restricting each stint to ten or 15 minutes.

However, some models now include a separate feeder tank that you can refill while the cleaner is in use, or even an inlet you can keep tipping water into while the machine is up and running. With those cleaners, you’re more likely to run out of steam than the cleaner is, and you can keep on going until, say, the downstairs floors are clean or the bathroom is free of any hint of dirt or grime.

The power of the boiler also has an impact, simply because it can take time to boil and pressurise the steam. Newer cleaners are much better at reducing that wait time, but it can still be several minutes before you get a usable head of steam. What’s more, many steamers need a breather now and then while they get steam together before they can continue. Certain cleaners are better at minimising this than others.

The other thing to watch out for is pressure. The higher the steam pressure, the faster the steam jets out and the better it is at dissolving dirt and grime. For this reason, a steam cleaner that can put out 3.5 to 4 bar of pressure will have a lot more cleaning power than a handheld cleaner with less than 3 bar.

Are there any practicalities worth thinking about?

Take a good look at the accessories you get with the cleaner. The more brushes, nozzles and scrapers, the better, while a gliding mop-head cover for doing carpets is another big plus. Also watch out for the mains lead and the length of any steam hose, as nothing’s more frustrating than not being able to steam-clean in the corner of your shower because it won’t quite reach without an extension cable.

In the past, some steam cleaners required distilled or deionised water or they would get clogged with limescale. Many recent models aren’t so fussy and contain some kind of filter or limescale prevention system, although it’s still worth using filtered water if you live in a hard water area.

Finally, make sure the surfaces you want to mop can cope with steam cleaning before you buy a steam cleaner. While hardwood floors, tiles, most worktops and sheet vinyl flooring are fine to clean with a steam cleaner, some softwood, laminate or modular floorings are a no-go and will need to be cleaned with a broom, mop or vacuum cleaner, unless you like the sight of an expensive kitchen floor peeling up before your eyes.

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