If your home has a steam mop, then you’ll probably realise by now that it’s not able to clean every nook and cranny. So you might have realised it’s best to also have a handheld steam cleaner which is effective for household cleaning because:
- It’s environmentally friendly as it uses tap water so leaves no toxic residues from detergents
- Surfaces are sanitised by killing bacteria, mites and germs with the extremely hot steam
- The steamer can be used on multiple surfaces with the wide range of attachments it comes with
- It can get into narrow gaps and hard to reach areas with ease
We’ve put together a list of the 5 best handheld steam cleaners with reviews that offers the most powerful steam pressure, versatile use and great value for money. You can also compare these models in our comparison table.
Our Top 5 Best Handheld Steam Cleaners Reviewed
5. Vax S4
- Compact – Easy to store away when it’s not in use.
- Lightweight – Weighs only 1.3kg so there’ll be no aching arms or shoulders when using it for a long time.
- 7 Piece Accessory Kit – It has different shaped tools for various jobs from cleaning in between tiles to curtains.
- One Hand Operation – It can be operated and held with one hand leaving the other free to clean.
The Vax S4 Grime Master is one of the more compact handheld steam cleaners on the market at a reasonable price. With its strong steam power that can be adjusted with the steam dial, it can be used for a number of cleaning jobs around the home with the included attachments. Some of these include an upholstery tool and a small brush that works well for grout cleaning. You will need to put some elbow grease in for stubborn dirt though.
Filling up this handheld steamer is quick and easy with the 260ml plastic beaker that’s included as part of the accessory kit. There’s no detergent or special water required, only tap water which makes it environmentally as well as cost friendly to use this. 260ml of water isn’t much but it gives you a good 10 minutes of steam which is more than enough time to tackle grease or grime.
Despite its bulky body, it’s surprisingly light and it’s comfortable to hold with the wide handle. It takes less than 3 minutes to heat up and a green light will come on to tell you when it’s good to go too. It’s ideal for regular usage on a daily basis whether it’s for a quick clean or to help make those cleaning tasks a little bit easier.
4. Vax S5
- Long Steam Time – The 1L tank gives up to 30 minutes of steam time.
- Safety Catch – The steam cleaner can be safely locked during the heat up time.
- Easy to Manoeuvre – It can be wheeled around the room thanks to the little wheels attached underneath the unit.
- 15 Piece Accessory Kit – A large range of attachments are included so you can go from cleaning your floor to the oven buttons.
If you’re after a handheld steam cleaner on wheels then you might want to consider the Vax S5. This compact steamer can easily be pulled along with you as you clean because of the little wheels at the bottom. It’s not as light as some of the other best handheld steam cleaners as it weighs 3.6kg but it can also be carried by the comfortable carry handle on top for portability up or down the stairs.
Although it’s aimed for bathroom and kitchen cleaning, you can use it for any part of your home with the 15 useful attachments.
There’s a upholstery tool that can be used to steam clean fabric furniture such as your sofa and the floor head tool can be used on floor surfaces. To ensure the right amount of steam is used for different surfaces, there’s a variable steam control dial that’s conveniently placed next to the attachment hole.
Due to having a bigger water tank, the steamer does take around 8 minutes to heat up but you get a full 30 minutes steaming time out of it. Combined with the 6 metre electric cord, that makes it ideal for a quick clean around the whole house. It’s a pretty easy to use steamer which has basic instructions that are simple to follow so it’s great for beginners.
3. Hoover SSNH1000 Steam Express
- High Steam Pressure – Powerful enough to loosen grease and grime with one hot burst of steam making it easy to wipe away without much effort.
- Versatile Cleaning – Useful tools are included such as an angled nozzle, concentrator nozzle and shovel plate to aid your cleaning jobs.
- Compact Size – Easy to use and store away.
Hoover doesn’t just do vacuum cleaners, they also make handheld steam cleaners! The Hoover SSNH1000 Steam Express is great for cleaning small tricky areas in your home due to its quick bursts of hot and powerful steam. It removes grime build up in typical areas such as the oven or hob a lot quicker than other steamers and there’s barely any elbow grease required for cleaning.
Taking just a couple minutes to heat up, you can get up to 12 minutes of steaming time from a 400ml water tank. Included attachments such as the angled nozzle can help you to get into those awkward gaps with less effort and the shovel plate is great for scraping off dirt as the steam loosens it.
With the light weight of 1.6kg and the compact size, it’s comfortable to use throughout the entire run time or longer if you’re refilling and you don’t end up with an aching arm afterwards. It’s a budget friendly handheld steam cleaner with an impressively high steam pressure that does cleaning tasks quite easily.
2. BISSELL 2635s Steam Shot
- Steam On Demand Trigger – Conveniently placed by the handle, the steam button is wide and easy to access during use.
- 11 Multi-Surface Attachments – Easy to swap attachments around to clean a number of surfaces and difficult areas from kitchen cookers to wall tiles.
- 360ml Water Tank – Can be filled up with the beaker which will give 8 minutes of steaming.
The Bissell 2635s Steam Shot claims to be one of the more modern handheld steam cleaners as it has a good range of attachments that can be used on a variety of surfaces. There’s a lot of great handheld steam cleaner reviews for this steamer because of its flexibility with the modern attachments that enables you to clean in narrow and awkward gaps. There’s even a fabric tool that allows you to freshen up your clothes or bedding!
The 360ml water tank gives you a steaming time of up to 8 minutes after a quick heat up. There’s no window on the body to see the water level but it will stop once the water runs out so there’s no risk of the appliance burning dry. Despite being heavier than some of the other handheld steam cleaners in this list, most people still find it light and easily portable. However, the steam trigger is a bit stiff during the first few uses.
Being cheaper than most other handheld steam cleaners, it’s ideal if you don’t want to spend a lot of money for one especially if you already have a big steam cleaner. Although it’s not the best handheld steam cleaner to be used for big cleaning jobs due to the short run time, it’s versatile with a fairly long 4.8m cable and works great for those quick little clean ups.
1. Kärcher SC1 Premium
- 3 Bar Steam Pressure – Enough steam power to rival a steam mop.
- Simple Steam Operation – Easy to use on/off switch that’s within reach by the handle.
- Safety Locks – There’s a boiler cap and child lock that can only be opened once the pressure from the steam cleaner has been released.
- Accessory Bag – Keeps all the included attachments in one place so you don’t lose any.
In our no.1 spot is the Kärcher SC1 Premium due to its well-constructed sturdy body, intense steam pressure and the variety of accessories it comes with. One particularly useful attachment that many compact steamers don’t have is the floor tool which has a wide head design that allows you to clean large floor surfaces quickly and easily.
The other attachments are great for cleaning many of the usual surfaces within a home including shower screens and taps. Handheld steam cleaner reviews found this steamer was very effective in removing mould which took just a few blasts of steam with the round brush attachment.
With the heat up time of 3 minutes from the 200 ml water tank which only gives 5 minutes of steam time, it’s ideal for small homes that will probably just need 1 refill.
It may not have a large water tank or a long steam time but the steam produced is more powerful than any other one and even better than some steam mops. It’s one of the best handheld steam cleaners that can practically handle anything it’s set against. Nothing is too dirty for it.
Here are some recommended pages on handheld steam cleaners:
- Karcher’s range of steam cleaners and details of their benefits
- How to buy a steam cleaner by Which?
Watch the Karcher SC1 in action: