Top 5 Best Handheld Steam Cleaners Comparison

Powerful steam eliminates 99% of germs and bacteria in your home.

Top 5 Best Handheld Steam Cleaners

Keeping your home clean from bacteria and germs requires a bit of elbow grease combined with regular cleaning routines. It’s a hassle to get out all the cleaning bits or equipment just to do a small cleaning job such as spills or to clean small appliances, which is why it’s best to use a handheld steam cleaner.

The intense heat produced by a steam cleaner is powerful enough to eliminate 99.9% of bacteria. Here are 5 of the best handheld steam cleaners to make easy work of cleaning jobs around the kitchen and home. Read our summarized reviews of each machine here.

Looking for a full sized steam mop? Then check out our top 10 best steam mops here.

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Our Rating
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Power1200 Watts1000 Watts1000 Watts1500 Watts1200 Watts
Pressure3 BarN/A4 BarN/AN/A
Heat Up Time3 minsN/AN/AN/A2 mins
Water Capacity200 ml360 ml400 ml1.2 litres260 ml
Steam TimeN/AN/A12 mins30 mins10 mins
Power CordN/A4.6 metres4 metres1.6 metres3 metres
Accessories• Floor Nozzle
• Hand Tool
• Detail Nozzle
• Round Nylon Brush
• Power Nozzle
• Cotton Floor Cloth
• Cotton Hand Cloth
• Accessory Bag
• Extension Hose
• Accessory Nozzle
• Detail Brush Tool
• Flat Scraping Tool
• Angle Concentrator Tool
• Grout Brush Tool
• Fabric Steamer Tool
• Window Squeegee Tool
• Angled Nozzle
• Concentration Nozzle
• Small Round Brush
• Cloth Mounting
• Metal Brush
• Shovel Plate
• Comb Brush
• Connecting Tube
• Measuring Jug
• Funnel
• Floor Head Connector
• Concentration Nozzle
• Detail Nozzle
• Large Plastic Brush
• Scraper Tool
• Grout Brush
• Floor Head w/ Cloth
• Window / Upholstery Tool
• Upholstery Cloth
• Concentration Nozzle
• Mattress / Upholstery Tool
• Small Brush
• Window / Tile Tool
• Pouring Jug
• Cotton Cloths
• Extension Tubes
Weight1.5 kg2.3 kg2.3 kg3.6 kg1.3 kg

Top Features | Best Handheld Steam Cleaners

Compared to a large steam cleaner, a handheld steam cleaner differs greatly in terms of water capacity tank and the heating up time. The purpose of the larger steam mops are generally to clean large surface areas such as floors.

A handheld steamer won’t pump out steam as long as a big one does because it’s intended to be used quickly. Handhelds will have features including:

Water Tank

To generate the steam, the handheld steam cleaner will need to be filled with water which is done with the water tank. In most models, there is usually a removable plastic container to fill with water. The average fill capacity for many brands is generally around 0.4 litres.

Heat Up Time

Water within the tank will need to be heated up which can take up to 20 seconds. That’s really fast due to the size of the water tank. It’s ideal when you need to clean quick before stains such as red wine can even set in.

Steaming Time

Many steamers can go on steaming for up to 20 minutes but this is all dependent on the size of the water tank. The larger the water tank is, the longer it will steam for.


This brings us onto the weight of a handheld steam cleaner. Generally, when it’s empty, it’s quite light and most models won’t weigh any heavier than 3kg. This makes it easy to carry around and doesn’t tire you out as you clean. However when you fill up the water tank, it will get a bit heavier so if you want a longer steaming time, be prepared for the extra weight from a bigger water tank.

Karcher Handheld Steam Cleaner
The Karcher SC1 lacks in water capacity but excels in steam power.

Concentrated Steam

The extremely hot burst of steam helps to loosen dirt to make scrubbing it off easier and it tackles grease and grime without much effort. Even tough stains can be easily wiped off.

Adjustable Steam

Handheld steamers will have a dial button so you can adjust the power of the steam jet. This is useful when you are cleaning different items and surfaces.

No Chemical Residues

There’s no chemical solutions required to use handheld steam cleaners since all that’s needed to clean surfaces hygienically is just steam produced from the water.

Anti-Calc System

Some of the best handheld steam cleaners will have a built in anti-calc system which filters out limescale within the machine to keep steaming performance at its highest.

Although you will still need to clean the steamer, it will prevent too much limescale from building up each time you use it. You should probably opt for one with this function if you live in a hard water area.

Compact Size

The small size allows you to get into smaller or hard to reach places that a big sized steam cleaner cannot reach. It’s also easy to store away and doesn’t take up much space whether it’s on a shelf for convenience or inside a cupboard.

A Variety of Attachments

Many handheld steam cleaners will come with a number of attachments to make it useable for the majority of house cleaning jobs. There may be some you won’t ever use but it’s a good idea to have a wide selection of accessories. Some important ones you should look out for include:

  • Window squeegee for cleaning mirrors, windows and other glass surfaces
  • Angled brushes or nozzles for those awkward corners or small kitchen appliances such as a microwave
  • Upholstery brush so it can be used to steam clean fabrics like the sofa, curtains or even clothing
  • Scrubbing pads to remove grease and grime from ovens or kitchen surfaces
  • A grout brush to clean in between tiles to get rid of dirt build up. It can be used to clean sink taps as well
  • A long hose so you can get the steamer into narrow gaps without the steamer body getting in the way

Not all handheld steam cleaners will have the same features, some will have better functions or attachments so if you’re looking for something specific, read our handheld steam cleaner reviews to help you choose a suitable one for your cleaning needs. Avoid getting 2-in-1 steam cleaners where there’s a detachable handheld steamer as they are usually weaker.

BISSELL Handheld Steam Cleaner
A handheld steam cleaner can be used to clean a wide range of surfaces with its variety of attachments and tools.

5 Reasons Why Every Home Needs a Handheld Steam Cleaner

You probably already have a big steam cleaner and you may think there’s no need for a portable steam cleaner as well. However, there are some jobs that a big steam cleaner cannot do so it’s best to use a handheld steam cleaner.

They’re pretty cost-effective and every household can benefit from having one of these to hand because:

  • Clean Inside Small Areas – You can quickly and effortlessly kill bacteria in bins, remove grease and grime from ovens or get rid of dirt or stains in cupboards.
  • Targeting Specific Areas – With the number of accessories included, it allows you to get the steamer into areas that can be too small for other cleaning equipment or that can be hard to reach.
  • Remove Wrinkles From Clothing – It’s quicker to use a handheld steamer than getting the iron out to smooth out clothing especially when you’re in a rush. It’s easier to put away after use too. Looks like the iron and ironing board will no longer be needed!
  • Leaves Your Home Hygienically Clean – The hot steam kills bacteria on contact and most germs which is ideal when you’re cleaning areas such as the kitchen. It even gets rid of nasties such as fleas and dust mites making it ideal for a home with pets.
  • Cleaning the Car – A handheld vacuum cleaner can suck up the dust and dirt in the car but a handheld steam cleaner will easily remove things such as dried up mud and other stains.

When choosing the best handheld steam cleaners to fit your cleaning purposes, you should consider the water tank capacity, the heating up time and how long it will last for.

Don’t be so sure a higher end model will be the best. Take a look at our 5 best handheld steam cleaner reviewed article, and you’ll find that some budget friendly models can be just as effective.

Best Handheld Steam Cleaners Video

If you’d like to watch a countdown of our top 5 best handheld steam cleaners instead, then just check out the video above.

These powerful portable cleaning machines utilize the extreme temperatures of steam to eradicate bacteria, dirt and grime on a variety of different surfaces.

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