Imagine the scenario the day of that big party you planned is finally here. You set up decorations, got all the food and drinks you will need, and made sure to double-check the RSVP list. Everything is going great until your dog knocks over the big bowl of punch you made onto the carpet. No matter how many towels and sprays you use, you just can’t get that red stain out and the guest should be showing up any minute now.
5 Best Steam Cleaner Consumer Reports: Editor’s Recommended
This problem could have been avoided if you had a handheld steam cleaner! Handheld steam cleaners are a relatively new addition to the home cleaning market. Steam cleaners are very versatile and can be used on basically any kind of floor, hardwood, tile, carpet, and linoleum. Steam cleaners are a good choice for those who suffer from allergies as they thoroughly remove all dust and allergens from the surface, something even the best vacuum cleaners have trouble with. Even better, with a steam cleaner, you don’t have to get on your hands and knees to scrub out any stains in carpets. Most of the time you can just run the machine over stains to get rid of them.
Like with any consumer product, there are a lot of steam cleaners on the market which can make it hard to decide which one to get. Fear not dear reader, as we are here to help. We have scoured the web and put together this round-up of the top 15 best handheld steam cleaners. Read on to figure out the best handheld steam cleaner for all your home floors.
15 Best Steam Cleaner Consumer Reports:
1. Bissell 39N7A Steam Shot Deluxe
- Every BISSELL purchase helps save pets. BISSELL proudly supports...
- Powerful High-Pressure Steam Cleaner With Easy-To-Press Trigger
- Completely Chemical-Free With No Harmful Fumes Or Residue
Up first is the 39N7A Steam Shot Deluxe from Bissell. This handheld steam cleaner has a 1000 watt power rating, 6.6 oz. tank capacity, 30-second heat time, and 20-foot long power cord. The Steam Shot Deluxe comes with an accessory nozzle, extension hose, scraping tool, grout brush, and fabric steamer and window squeegee attachment; everything you need for a comprehensive handheld steam cleaner. The Steam Shot can be used to clean all kinds of floors and fabrics like curtains, blankets, and clothing.
The Steam Shot is designed for maximum portability and ease of use. Its very light at 4.6 lbs so the unit can be comfortably held and is small enough to be stored in a kitchen cabinet or closet shelf when not in use. It can easily cut through tough grime on hard surfaces but is also gentle enough for softer fabrics. A simple analog knob lets you set the steam pressure and the included attachments are great for spot-cleaning, tight spaces, and irregular surfaces.
Because the tank is so small compared to a full-size steam cleaner, a full tank only gets you about 10 minutes of constant steam. This is not much compared to bigger units but is a very solid time for a handheld unit. The only mechanical downside is that the included extension nozzle does not have a steam trigger.
Best of all, the Steam Shot Deluxe is very affordable at just under $30. The manufacturer also offers a 1-year limited warranty that covers defects, so there really is no reason not to try it.
- 20-foot power cord gives good flexibility
- Very light at only 4.6 lbs
- Easy to store or take on the go
- Comes with 8 attachments
- 1-year limited warranty
2. PurSteam Multi-Surface Pressurized Cleaner
- 100% ALL-NATURAL STEAM CLEANING: Hot pressurized steam eliminates...
- EASY HANDHELD USE: Lightweight and portable unit comes with a long...
- SAFE, MULTI-PURPOSE CLEANING: Safe to use on a wide range of surfaces...
Up next is the PurSteam multi-surface pressurized cleaner, a versatile handheld unit that can be used on wood, tile, carpet, fabrics, granite, and more. The PurSteam has a 9-foot power cord that allows for easy indoor and outdoor use and is safe for virtually any surface you can think of. A knob on the top lets you control steam pressure/volume and the red LEd in the switch clearly indicates when the device is plugged in and turned on.
The PurSteam comes with 9 accessory pieces, including an extension hose,m window squeegee, straight nozzle, ironing brush, nylon brush, and a bent nozzle for cleaning tough-to-reach corners. The PurSteam is one of the best lightweight handheld steam cleaners at only 2.2 lbs and can easily be used one-handed. Just face the unit to the desired surface and press the steam nozzle. The unit is able to generate a steady 289 °F temperature so it can cut through most normal substances. It is even powerful enough to clean more stubborn surfaces like bathroom tiles and granite floors.
Even though it is so small, the PurSteam has a 250 mL (8.5) oz. water tank and can generate about 10-15 minutes of continuous steam. Heat up times are not incredible at 3-4 minutes, but the larger than average tanks means you can use it longer without refilling. Otherwise, the PurSteam is perfect if you need an on the spot cleaner for messes from kids or pets.
- 9-foot long power cord
- 250 mL (8.5 oz.) tank capacity
- Only 2.2 lbs
- Can be used one-handed
- Includes 9 accessory attachments
- Great customer service
3. McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
- SATISFACTION GUARANTEED - Backed by a 2-year hassle-free warranty and...
- CHEMICAL-FREE CLEANING - Naturally deep clean without the use of harsh...
- LARGE CAPACITY TANK - The 48-ounce water tank heats up in under 8...
Coming in third is the hefty McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty steam cleaner. This extremely powerful steam cleaner generates 1500 watts of steam power, has a massive 48 oz. water tank that provides up to 45 minutes of continuous steam and can be heated in under 8 minutes. The McCulloch has an extra-long 15.7-foot power cord and a 9-foot steam hose for convenient indoor and outdoor use. The unit comes with a whopping 18 accessory attachments, including a floor mop, nylon brush, window squeegee, and more.
The McCulloch is the perfect tool for cutting through serious grimes and stains. It can generate a steady 43 psi of pressure and has an operational heat of up to 280 °F so it will easily kill any bacteria or mold growing on your surfaces. The wide mop attachment is great for covering large sections of floor and the extra-long hose and attachments can equally clean tight hard-to-reach spaces.
The McCulloch is a bit large and heavy at over 12 pounds but is still light enough to carry around when in use. A nifty steam lock switch lets you keep the steam nozzle in the down position so you don’t have to continuously push it and it also comes with microfiber scrubbing pads for cleaning delicate hard surfaces like treated wood. It is a bit on the pricier side at just under $140, but the extra money is worth the superior product. The unit is also covered by a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty so you can rest easy when buying.
- Extra-large 48 oz. water tank capacity
- 1500 watts of steam power
- 8-minute heating times
- Includes 18 accessory attachments
- Steam switch lock keeps water stream continuous without holding it down
- 2-year warranty
4. PentaBeauty Handheld 9-Piece Pressurized Steam Cleaner
- ✔ multipurpose - handheld cleaner is multipurpose cleaning tool for...
- ✔ one-piece accessory set- This handheld steam cleaner Set include 9...
- ✔ lightweight and convenient- handheld steam cleaner design makes it...
Fourth on our list is this 9-piece handheld steam cleaner from PentaBeauty. This steam cleaner was designed for ease of use and maximum portability and can be used on all surfaces including tile, wood, granite, carpet, and fabrics.
The first thing to notice is the one-handed design. You hold the unit like a teapot, aim the nozzle, and press the switch. The kit includes 9 accessory pieces with a window tool, jet nozzle, angled nozzle, and 100cm extension hose. The 9-foot power cord makes it easy to use indoors and outdoors and the higher pressure valve can generate 1050 watts of steam power, strong enough to cut through most common stains and grime. Despite its size, the PentaBeauty has an impressive 12 oz. water tank that can produce up to 20 minutes of continuous steam. The tank can heat in a lightning-quick 30 seconds and it’s small enough to store in a closet shelf when not in use.
The Pentabeauty also features a unique locking lid and child lock for those who are worried about safety. It’s easy to use and has the power of a full-sized steam cleaner in a portable and compact package. It’s tough enough to use on outdoor wooden decks yet also gentle enough to use on your work shirts. The special upholstery attachment is meant for cleaning furniture and prevents the steam from soaking the fabric—a great feature when cleaning things prone to water damage.
- 5 lbs
- One-handed operation
- Larger than average 12 oz. water tank capacity
- 30-second heat times
- Nifty upholstery tool for water-sensitive surfaces
- 9 accessory attachments
5. Sienna Steam Birdie Handheld Steam Cleaner
- DELUXE, PORTABLE AND POWERFUL | Enjoy cleaning and sanitizing in one...
- HIGH TECH ENGINEERING PROVIDES ADVANCED FEATURES | Equipped with...
- VERSATILE AND POWERFUL | Sienna’s steamer cleaner provides a simple...
At fifth is the Birdie handheld Steam Cleaner from Sienna Steam, a company known for its stylish and eco-friendly cleaning tool. First off, the Birdie has a unique cool-looking design with white and soft pinks, that give it the appearance of a retro-inspired futuristic ray gun. This portable steam cleaner can generate up to 13.5 psi of pressure and only takes 30 seconds to heat a full tank. Versatile and powerful, the Birdie comes with 5 accessory attachments including an extension hose, wide brush, angled attachment, and bristle brush. It can be used on hard floors, carpets, curtains, BBQ grills, and everything in between.
Despite its compact 5 lbs design, the Birdie can produce up to 1500 watts of steam power; almost 43% more powerful than comparable handheld steam cleaners. It’s very compact and could easily fit in your suitcase, making it an excellent travel steam cleaner. The Birdie is excellent at killing germs on contact and can be used to sanitize surfaces from mold and bacteria, perfect for use in your children’s rooms. It does not require any chemicals or cleaning solutions, though you can add a dash of vinegar to help with those extra-tough messes.
Best of all, the Birdie is affordable at just under $30. Unfortunately, it does have a rather small water tank that only holds about 5 oz. As such, you can only really get 5 minutes of continuous use out of a full tank. However, for small spot jobs and quick cleanings, the Birdie exceeds expectations.
- Stylized, fun design
- Very light (~3.5 lbs)
- Made for travel
- 30-second heat times
- Powerful (15000 watts)
6. MLMLANT Handheld 9-Piece Steam Cleaner
- ★Fast Heating: 3 to 4 minute heats quickly.Safe Multipurpose...
- ★POWERFUL HOT STEAM: 1050W of Power; Water Tank capacity up to...
- ★MULTIPLE SURFACE USE: Our handheld steam unit is best suited for...
Another steam cleaner with a funky design, the MLMLANT 9-piece steam cleaner is an affordable versatile steam cleaner that is great for small home jobs and for travel. Despite its small size, the MLMLANT has a nearly 12 oz. water tank that can produce continuous steam for up to 20 minutes. The steam is powerful too; at 1500 watts it’s strong enough for most messes you will encounter. Hardwood, tile, laminate, stone, cloth; it doesn’t matter as the MLMLANYT can do it all.
This steam cleaner kit comes with 9 accessory attachments, including an extended hose, nozzle, brush attachment, spray funnel, and a nifty towel sleeve. The fast-heating coil only takes 3-4 minutes to heat a full tank of water and the unit has an operating temperature of 270 °F, hot enough to kill most types of mold and bacteria. A single red LED indicates when heating is complete and the jet is activated by a simple one-touch switch.
The MLMLANt is very affordable at just under $35, and the manufacturer offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can ship it back if you are not immediately impressed. Overall, it’s one of the best portable handheld steam cleaners and comes with some nifty attachments. We especially like the towel-sleeve attachment that fits around and steam cleans from all directions.
- Above-average 350 mL (~12oz )water tank capacity
- 20 minute steam time
- 9 accessory attachments
- Very light (3 lbs)
- Cool design
- Safety lock cap and nozzle
7. Steamfast SF-370WH Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner
- MAXIMUM PORTABILITY — Designed for ease of use with a 15-foot power...
- 15 VERSATILE ACCESSORIES — Equipped for steam cleaning jobs in and...
- LARGE CAPACITY TANK — The 48-ounce water tank heats up in 8 minutes...
Sitting at the halfway point of our roundup is the Steamfast SF-370WH Multi-Purpose steam cleaner. This heavy-duty steam cleaner is the ideal solution for tough grime and has enough power to emit a 200+ °F stream of pressurized vapor for over 45 minutes. This beast of a steam cleaner works great for tough outdoor jobs, like a stained wood deck or grimy garage floor.
The SF-370WH features an extra-large 45 oz. water tank and comes in at a solid 8.5 lbs. That is a bit heavier than most handheld steam cleaners, but the extra size comes with a whole lot of extra power. The unit can produce up to a whopping 1500 watts of steam power, which would be enough to power 15 standard 100W light bulbs. Add in the extra-long 15-foot power cord and you have a maneuverable machine perfect for both indoor and outdoor tough jobs.
The Steamfast also comes with 15 extra accessory attachments including a mop head, furniture brush, upholstery attachment measuring cup, and 2 nylon utility brushes. Given the high-quality construction, the SF-370WH is a bit on the pricier side but it’s worth the extra chunk of change if you need something heavy-duty. The only real downside is how large the unit is. Although it is marketed as a “handheld” steam cleaner, it’s a bit too heavy and bulky to comfortably carry for more than 10 minutes. Luckily, a set of back wheels let you place the unit on the floor and guide it behind you as you clean.
- Extra-large water tank capacity (45 oz.)
- Includes 15 accessory attachments
- 40-minute continuous stream
- Extra-long 15-foot power cord
- Heats a full tank in just 8 minutes
8. Light ‘N’ Easy All-in-One Steam Mop
- Smart Switch: Place it upright to cease steam, sparing your time to...
- Detaches into a separate handheld steam cleaner for multi-purpose...
- On-demand HI, MED and LOW steam settings fit for various floors...
Coming in eighth is the Light ‘N’ Easy All-in-One steam mop, a steam cleaner built for floors of any material. Like a mop, the Light ‘N’ Easy stands upright and is pushed around and like a steam cleaner, it cleans using pressurized bursts of hot water vapor. The Light ‘N’ Easy features 2 main parts: the removable steamer unit and the larger mop attachment. You can take off the steamer unit and use it in handheld mode, or attach it to the mop attachment to clean floors.
The main unit has 3 settings: high, medium, and low to handle tough grime on concrete and gentle enough to use on clothing. The unit has an operational temperature of 230 °F, a bit lower than some steam cleaners but still tough enough for most uses. Each piece is designed with high-quality materials with an emphasis placed on ease of use. In both handheld and mop mode, you activate the steam jet with a simple hand trigger.
The Light ‘N’ Easy is a bit on the pricier side at just over $110. However, this includes the mop attachment, steaming unit, and 5 accessory attachments including a foot long extension hose and machine washable mop pad. Keep in mind that this steam cleaner does not have any suction power, so you will need to vacuum the surfaces first before steaming them to get a full-clean.
- Removable handheld steam unit and mop attachment
- 3 auto-pressure levels
- Simple hand trigger release steam release
- Works with some cleaning solutions
- 1-year free replacement policy
9. McCulloch MC1230 Handheld Steam Cleaner
- CHEMICAL-FREE CLEANING — Naturally deep clean without the use of...
- SANITIZE WITH STEAM— With proper application, steam sanitizes by...
- QUICK HEAT-UP TIME — The 6-ounce, direct-fill water tank heats up in...
Next is the McCulloch MC1230 handheld steam cleaner. The MC1230 can be considered the little brother to the MC175 we covered earlier. Unlike most little brothers though, the MC1230 is not lacking in power or competency. The MC1230 features a powerful heating unit capable of generating 900 watts of steam power and can run for 10-20 minutes on its 6 oz. capacity water tank. The MC1230 comes with 11 accessory attachments including an extension hose, angled nozzles, brush attachment, and unique scraping tool.
The MC1230 is small but mighty. It can heat a full tank in just 3 minutes and has an operational temperature over 200 °F, hot enough to kill most allergens and bacteria. It has an extra-long 15-foot power cord, making it easy to use indoors and outdoors. The scraping tool is a very nice addition and is helpful for removing tough grime that builds-up on the grill or inside of the microwave. The bristle attachment is even tough enough to buff out automobile scratches.
Lastly, the MC1230 is very light at just 3 lbs and small enough to travel with. There is one drawback though: the interior channels are really small so it’s easy for mineral build-up from water to clog things. You may have to clean it more regularly than normal to keep the hoses clear.
- Very light (3 lbs) and portable
- Can emit a continuous stream for up to 15 minutes
- Heats in 3 minutes
- 11 accessory attachments and 15-foot power cord
- Fantastic quality and durability
- Includes unique scraping tool
10. Comforday Handheld Multi-Purpose Pressurized Steam Cleaner
- ★Nine free accessories to adapt cleaner to every situation: Stairs,...
- ★Multi-surface use: Works on every surface including laminate,...
- ★Chemical free and safe: The Comforday steamer is safe. It is...
Another perfect portable steam cleaner, this multi-purpose steam cleaner from Comforday features a powerful heating unit that can produce up to 1050 watts of steam power for up to 20 minutes. The 250 mL (8.5 oz.) capacity tank takes just one minute to heat and the unit has an operational temperature up to 270 °F, very hot for a steam cleaner of this size.
Speaking of size, the Comforday is extremely light at just three pounds and only measures 9.6 x 4.7 x 8.6 inches, about the size of a small watering canister. You can easily carry it around the home or pack it in your suitcase for trips, giving you instant clean on the go. Included with the 9 accessory attachments are an extended nozzle, 9-inch extension hose, angled nozzle towel sleeve, brush plate, and measuring cup. The entire heating unit is one piece and can be cleaned by cycling water with a small amount of cleaning solution.
As for safety measures, the Comforday has a unique locking lid and safety lock on the handle so you don’t accidentally spray or leak anything. The Comforday is one of the best small handheld steam cleaners, but it needs regular cleaning to keep its innards free from mineral build-up. Lastly, it is very reasonably priced at just under $35; a great price for a powerful portable steam cleaner.
- 5 oz. water tank capacity
- Very high 270 °F operational temperature
- Safety lock on lid and spray trigger
- 20 minutes of continuous steam
- Very light and portable (~3 lbs)
11. Light ‘N’ Easy Steam Mop Floor Steamer
- Smart Switch: Place it upright to cease steam, sparing your time to...
- Detaches into a separate handheld steam cleaner for multi-purpose...
- On-demand HI, MED and LOW steam settings fit for various floors...
Another from Light ‘N’ Easy, this entry ditches the two-in-one one detachable design of the All-in-one model and is a dedicated steam mop tool for cleaning hard floors. It weighs less than 4 lbs, has free 360-degree rotation, and has a powerful heating unit capable of generating 1250 watts of steam power. It is super quick to heat and only takes 30 seconds to heat a full tank. Just pump the handle a few times to activate the heating and then 20-30 seconds later—Presto! A consistent stream of pressurized hot water.
Although this unit is designed for hard floors, you can take off the microfiber mop head and use it on carpets too. It is not as effective on carpet but should still do a decent job on most stains. The removable microfiber mop pad is 100% machine washable and is rated for at least 300 uses before needing to be replaced.
To fill the unit, you simply pour water directly into the steamer on the mop frame. The steam unit is not detachable on this model which is both good and bad. On the one hand, less moving parts means less chance of damage, but the non-detachable design makes it a bit more difficult to clean and somewhat undercuts its overall versatility. It certainly excels at what it is made for though and can be used on virtually any floor surface. Lastly, the manufacturer offers a generous 1-year warranty that covers any damage, no questions asked.
- Specialized steam mop design
- 360-degree swivel mop head
- Machine washable microfiber mop removable mop head
- Excellent for hard floors
- Generous 1-year no questions asked return policy
12. Comforday Multi-Purpose High-Pressure Steamer
- ★Nine free accessories: Tools adapt cleaner to every situation,...
- ★Multi-surface use: Works on every surface including laminate,...
- ★Powerful hot steam: Heat and pressure gets the job done faster....
Entering the final homestretch of our round-up and sitting at the twelfth spot is another portable handheld steamer from Comforday. This blue-beauty has the standard Comforday design that looks like a small spritzer spray bottle. This steam cleaner unit can put out up to 1050 watts of high-pressure steam power and can reach pressures up to 23 psi. It has a very high operating temperature of 270 °F, hot enough to cut through the worst grime and mold. The 250 mL water tank can generate steam for 20 continuous minutes at medium-volume setting.
Like all Comforday products, the materials of this steam cleaner are environmentally safe and contain no harmful plastics or chemicals in their manufacture. The extremely hot jet makes it very useful for things like sanitizing walls and getting rid of insect infestations. It can be used indoors and outdoors and is very power efficient. The 9-inch extension hose helps reach tight cramped spaces and the nifty upholstery tool makes the Comforday one of the best handheld upholstery steam cleaners.
Again, it is pretty small so you need to clean it more than normal to keep the pipes and hoses free from residue and buildup. Cleaning is easy, just cycle some water with a bit of cleaning solution through the nozzle and let it dry overnight.
- Very high 270 °F temperature
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Light and portable
- Eco-friendly materials
- 9 included accessory attachments
- 30-day money-back guarantee
13. Bissell 39N7V Shot Hard Surface Steam Cleaner
- High-pressure Steam cleaner with easy-to-press trigger delivers...
- 100% chemical free with no harmful fumes or residue
- Includes accessory nozzle, flat scraping tool, grout brush, angle...
Lucky number 13 is the 39N7V Shot Hard Surface Cleaner, another handheld steam cleaner from Bissell. The 39N7V Hard Shot is a versatile little cleaner that handles hard tile and soft garments equally well. The fast-heating water tank only takes 30 seconds to heat and can produce a steady stream of steam for 20 minutes at medium setting. Included with the kit are 8 accessory attachments such as a scraping tool, grout brush, angle concentrator and 3 color-coded round brushes of differing size.
If ease of use is what you are looking for, then the 39N7V is what you are looking for. You can work it one-handed and it has a nifty switch lock on the top so you can steam clean without holding the trigger down. A large blue knob lets you change the volume of the stream and clearly indicates what level it is set to.
Lastly, the N9N7V is very affordable at just under $30. This powerful handheld steam cleaner is good for use in the home or while traveling.
- 9 accessories including 3 color-coded brushes
- Runs quiet and heats quickly
- 6 oz tank can produce a continuous stream for 20 minutes on medium volume
- Trigger lock lets you spray without holding the switch
- Very light and portable (3.8 lbs)
14. Comforday Handheld Steam Cleaner Red
- ★Free 9 Accessories: Our Powerful Handheld Steam Cleaner Set...
- ★Multi-Purpose Use: Our handheld steam cleaner unit is best suited...
- ★Safe: 100% free with no harmful fumes or residue. Includes a safety...
Our penultimate entry is another steam cleaner from Comforday’s signature line of cleaning tools; this one in bright red! Like the other Comforday models, this steam cleaner is designed for simplicity and ease of use. No hoses or connector pieces to attach, just plug it in, fill with water, and spray away. Included with this set are 9 attachment pieces including a scraper tool, extended nozzle, and 9-inch extension hose.
Like the other Comforday models, this steam cleaner has a very high 270 °F operating temperature that cuts grim, kills bacteria, and removes mold from surfaces. The 10-foot power cord makes it easy to use indoors and outdoors and it runs very quiet considering how much power it generates
And of course, the Comforday is very affordable and has a nice 30-money back return policy. So give it a try; if you are not impressed you can just send it back for full value.
- 1050 watt steam power
- 250 mL (9.5 oz) water tank capacity
- 270 °F water temperature great for killing mold, bacteria, and insects
- Light and portable (~3 lbs)
- Very affordable
15. Linsion Pressure+ 1500W Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner
- 70 psi, 1500w, 10ft cord cleaner uses pressurized steam for household...
- Naturally deep cleans and sanitizes without the use of harsh chemicals
- Provides up to 30 minutes of continuous steam with 212℉ degree.
Closing out our list is this veritable beast of a steam cleaner from Linsion. The Linsion 1500W floor steam cleaner has a ridiculously powerful 70 psi steam jet that generates up to 1500 watts of steam power. The extra-large 45 oz. water tank can produce a continuous stream for over 30 minutes. This unit comes included with 10 accessory attachments, ranging from an extension tube to a copper-bristle brush for metal surfaces.
The Linsion is definitely big and on the heavier side as far as handheld steam cleaners go. However, its sheer power makes it one of the best commercial handheld steam cleaners, even if we are stretching the definition of “handheld” just a bit. With 70 psi you can cut through virtually any mess, though that much pressure can be dangerous if the unit is used improperly.
Despite its enormous power, the Linsion is very moderately priced at just under $60. Comparable steam cleaners normally run in then $100-$150 range, so the reduced price is just an extra bonus. Lastly, the manufacturer offers a great 2-year warranty that covers all damage.
- Great 2-year warranty
- Extremely powerful 70 psi stream
- Extra-large 45 oz water tank with 45 minutes of continuous steam production
- Great price/quality ratio
Buying Guide: What to Look For When Select Steam Cleaner
What Is a Handheld Steam Cleaner?
Simple; a handheld steam cleaner is exactly the same as a regular steam cleaner, only handheld!
In all seriousness though, steam cleaners are devices that use pressurized bursts of hot water vapor to clean surfaces. By applying hot steam, steam cleaners can break up tough stains and residue built-up on the surface of hard floors, carpet fibers, tiles, and other fabrics. Steam cleaners are more powerful that vacuum cleaners and can remove the dirt and grime that vacuum cleaners have trouble with.
One problem with full-sized steam cleaners is that they take up a lot of space and tend to be heavy. Handheld steam cleaners are great when you need the power of a full-sized steam cleaner but don’t have the space to operate a full-sized one. Handheld steam cleaners are also great for travel. Aside from cleaning your floors. you can also use a handheld steam cleaners to get particularly stubborn stains out of clothing and other fabrics like curtains and blankets.
What Features Do the Best Handheld Steam Cleaners Have?
Not all steam cleaners are made equal. Here are some features that the best handheld steam cleaners have. These key features separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to handheld steam cleaners.
Continuous refill means that you can add water to the tank while the machine is in operation. Normally, steam cleaners with continuous refill have two tanks, one for cold water and another with a boiling unit that stores hot water. As water is expelled, water from the cold tank is siphoned into the boiling tank so it stays full. Without the second tank, you would have to wait for the boiling unit to reheat every time after you fill it. Most modern steam cleaners have some kind of indicator such as an LED light that lets you know when the reservoir tank is almost empty.
Contrary to what you may assume, high steam pressure does not necessarily mean a deeper clean. In some cases, higher pressures can be bad as they can damage delicate carpet fibers or mess up the finish on your hard floors.
When it comes to steam pressure, consistency is what matters. You want your steam cleaner to emit a stream of consistent pressure. A consistent stream means consistent in pressure and volume. If pressure varies widely while in operation, the quality of the steam will also vary. Higher-end modern handheld steam cleaners often have some kind of display that tells you the current steam pressure so you can make sure the water jet is consistent. Many models give you the option of setting pressure levels yourself.
In short, steam cleaners are not power washers. More pressure is not always better. You want to look for pressure consistency above all else.
Along with pressure control, you want to be able to control the volume of the water stream. Volume controls change the width of the water jet and are useful when you are cleaning multiple surfaces or need to concentrate on a specific area. Volume controls make your handheld steam cleaner more versatile and easier to use.
The last important features to consider are the weight and size. Handheld steam cleaners should be light enough to carry around during use and small enough to handle minute spot-cleaning jobs. You should also check if the model comes with any extra hoses/extensions.
How to Use Handheld Steam Cleaners
Here is a quick guide on how to properly use your handheld steam cleaner.
- Make sure all hoses/nozzles are properly connected. Most importantly, make sure the steam nozzle is properly attached to the hose and the hose to the water unit. Do NOT plug the steam cleaner in or turn it on yet.
- Next, put the cleaner on a flat stable surface and fill the main unit with water. Most tanks have a line on the inside that marks full capacity. Try to only use distilled water in your steam cleaner. Mineral deposits from things like hose water can build up in the machine’s components causing damage.
- Turn the device on and wait for the water to heat. Make sure you know where the steam release button in the nozzle is located.
- Make sure the steam nozzle is pointed away from you and towards the section you want to clean before pressing the steam button.
- Slowly pass the steam cleaner over the surface you want to clean. You do not have to push hard, just make sure it cleans the surface evenly. Once you finish the initial pass, wait a few minutes then give it a second pass to break up any grime the first pass missed.
- Once finished, turn off the cleaner and unplug the device.
How to Clean Your Handheld Steam Cleaner
To keep your steam cleaner in top condition, you need to clean it regularly. Here is a short guide on how to properly clean your handheld steam cleaner. The two main pieces that need to be cleaned are the nozzle/hose and the water unit.
- Start by rinsing your unit’s nozzle in warm water to dislodge any dirt or debris. Consider running it through a faucet or sucking up a load of warm water from a flat surface.
- Next, fill a sink with warm soapy water and submerge the hose. If your unit came with a hose cleaning tool, us that to brush the insides. Let the hose air dry for an hour or two.
- Remove all attachments and clean them. Any fabric covers or filters can be placed in the wash and you can clean brush head using a soft-bristle brush. Soak plastic pieces in warm soapy water for about 30 minutes then rinse and dry with a soft towel.
- Pour the dirty water out of the tank and rinse out any debris. Fill the tank with warm soapy water and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Rinse it out then air dry the tank on a towel. You can add a tablespoon of vinegar or other descaling solution to the water tank to fight any hard water build-up. Your water tank may not be suited for descaling solutions, so make sure to consult the user manual before adding any.
- Lastly, wipe the exterior of your steam cleaner and reattach everything.
To keep your steam cleaner in good condition, we recommend cleaning it at least once a year, 6 months if you use it frequently.
FAQ’S: Frequently Ask Question About Handheld Steam Cleaner:
Which handheld steamer is best?
It depends on your specific needs. Our choice for the top value steam cleaner is the Bissell Steam Shot Deluxe in virtue of its power, attachments, versatility, and fantastic price/quality ratio. The best handheld steam cleaner in terms of sheer quality is the McCulloch MC175 heavy-duty steam cleaner for its brute force and large water tank capacity.
Are handheld steam cleaners good?
It depends on what you mean by “good.” Handheld steam cleaners are very good at what they are designed for, which is cleaning small to medium-sized stains in common household surfaces. Handheld cleaners are not good for big chemically tough industrial-grade stains but they are great for home and personal use. If your floors are beyond a certain point of dirty, or you have particularly nasty stains from a reactive substance, your best bet may be to call an expert cleaning service.
Do steam cleaners really work?
Yes, steam cleaners work, very well in fact. Steam cleaners are more effective than just sweeping and mopping for hard floors and can remove tough stains and grime on carpets. Keep in mind though, steam cleaners are not vacuum cleaners so they should not be the only thing you use to clean your floors. Vacuum first, then use a steam cleaner to get up the extra-tough residue. Regular steam cleaning maintains your floors and gives them a longer life.
Can I put vinegar in my steam cleaner?
It depends on the steam cleaner. Some steam cleaners can handle vinegar and other descaling agents in the water tank and others cannot. If you are unsure of whether your steam cleaner can handle vinegar, consult the user manual.
Do steam cleaners kill mold?
Yes, some steam cleaners can be used to kill mold and other allergens. High-power steam cleaners can heat water to such high temperatures it can kill mold and bacteria nested beep into the fibers of a surface. You need to be careful though; if your steam cleaner does not heat water hot enough, it will just add more moisture for the mold instead of killing it.
So there you have it; the top 15 best handheld steam cleaners of 2019. Hopefully, you stayed with us through that long product roundup. These top 15 steam cleaners are all a great option if you are looking for something with a bit more “oomph” than a vacuum or mop.
Like any consumer good, the right choice ultimately comes down to your preferences. Figure out exactly what things you need a steam cleaner for, and buy accordingly.