Steam cleaning has been proven to clean better that using chemicals such as bleach. As a result over the last few years there has been an influx of steam cleaners onto the market. Some are brilliant, most are totally useless. In this review, we’re looking at the best hand held steam cleaner from across the market. One point right from the start, we're looking at Handheld steam cleaners, not steam cleaning mops.
There is a big difference between a handheld steam cleaner and a steam cleaning mop. Whilst you can buy convertible steam cleaners that will both clean your floor and can be used to walk around your home cleaning mold off your taps, in this review we're only looking at portable steam cleaners.
The great thing about portable steam cleaners is the fact they are portable. This means that you can carry it around your home, cleaning things like your taps, the and the grout in between your tiles.
The Best Hand held Steam Cleaner
If you don't want to read the whole review and simply want to know what we thought was the best handheld steam cleaner on the market the check out the Bissell 2635s which offers both value for money and great steaming performance. If I am honest there are probably better pure steam cleaners on the market.
If I am honest there are probably better pure steam cleaners on the market. We loved the Black&Decker FSS1600, however at over £200, it's a really difficult question as to whether it's a value for money product. The Bissell at under £40 represents this value for money and as a result, it's our favourite handheld steam cleaner.
The Bissell has been designed as a small, truly handheld steamer. It weighs only 2.4kg, has a 1,000 watt power source and a 0.36litre water tank that whilst might seem small, actually means the whole steamer is easy to carry around in one-hand. With the 1,000 watt power source, the water quickly heats up and produces steam in under two minutes, whilst lasting for 20 minutes of constant use.
As we mentioned above, it's the value for money aspect that we most enjoy and thus give the Bissell the 2017 title for best handheld steamer on the market.
Handheld Steam Cleaners
Handheld steam cleaners work in a very similar way to your average steamer with the only difference being they have been designed to allow you move around freely. The key benefit of a handheld steam cleaner is you’re not restricted to only clean the floor like you are with so many steam cleaning mops.
The key problem with handheld steam cleaners is they are very cheap and easy to produce. Effectively, you have a water container which contains a heating element to heat the water. Once the heating element has heated the water, steam is given off steam which is controlled via a hand-pressed button. There is nothing difficult about making a steam cleaner and as a result there are many copycat versions cheaply available on the market which do not work.
What We're Looking For In The Best Handheld Steam Cleaner
We looked into this extensive and provided this information in our buyer's guide below, however generally the best handheld steam cleaners, are those that are easy to use. There are handheld steam cleaners on the market with a magnitude of different settings and options, however in my experience, users put it on flat out and leave it alone. This means all those extra settings and options that you have bought are wasted. Below we have the handheld steamer range. These are the recommend range of steamer.
Handheld Steam Cleaner - The Range
Power Cord Length
Water Tank Size
Corded Vs. Battery Operated
As battery technology has progressed over the last few years, we have seen it filter down to everyday equipment such as lawn mowers and steam cleaners. That all said, i would highly recommend that you stay away from battery operated handheld steam cleaners.
It’s not that they don't perform well, because actually they perform very well. The ley problem is that you have to carry around the battery, the steam cleaner and the water which make what should be a great idea, very heavy.
With corded steam cleaners, the power source comes directly from the wall meaning that you don't have to carry around a battery. Battery operated steam cleaner mean that you need to carry around the power source and until the price of lithium batteries that are light enough to make this possible come down in price, the whole process is just not worth the effort.
As with all corded equipment, make sure they come with a cord that is at least 4 meters in length otherwise you will forever be running out of power cord and spend more time moving the plug than actually cleaning.
Hand-Held Steam Cleaner Reviews
Bissell 2635s Handheld Steamer Review
Our Rating -
The Bissell 2635s is easily our favorite hand-held steam cleaner on the market today given it's great performance and most importantly, value for money price tag. It has a capacity of 0.36 litres, a 4.6 metre power cord, a steam-on-demand trigger which produces quick and reliable steam and an accessory nozzle for getting into small cracks and crevices.
The unit is fairly lightweight at 2.3kg, and is better at tackling hard surfaces rather than upholstery or other soft materials, though it can indeed do a decent job on those things too. Other accessories which come with this model include an extension hose, a detail brush, a flat scraping tool, an angle concentrator tool, a grout brush tool, a fabric steamer tool and a window squeegee tool. All of these attachments offer great adaptability, usability and versatility.
Users have found that this model is great at blasting away mould, even the sturdy black stuff. Others have commented that it even shifts the grime and dirt that you can’t really see, which is evident in the spray which comes off. This is a nice touch, and means that it doesn’t just make things look good, but it also provides a much-needed blast of hygiene and proper cleanliness. The hot steamer is really good for making taps and other metal fixtures shine and look new, and the model is easy to use, with good durability and a decent weight.
It does take a little while to heat up, and you’re going to need something more industrial for the most resilient dirt and grime, but if you’re looking for something simple, affordable and usable for simple at-home jobs, this should be all you need.
As I mentioned above, there are probably better handheld steamers on the market, but it's the value for money that this steamer offers and the key reason we think it's the best handheld steamer on the market.
Hoover SSNH1000 Handheld Steamer Review
Our Rating -
This model from Hoover, first released in June 2013, is a great express handheld steam cleaner, and features some great features. It comes in a nice red and white design, has a 0.4 litre capacity and is compact, lightweight and portable. This unit is great for small-scale jobs, particularly given how economical it is in its use of water.
This model is very versatile, and will do pretty much everything you need. It’s fairly affordable given the fact that it comes from one of the top names in the business, and is built particularly for smaller jobs. That means that if you’re seeking something at a more industrial level, you might want to look elsewhere; where this excels is portability and ease of use. It is also very lightweight, which means you can use it for a while without getting tired or your hands aching.
This model comes with some handy extra tools – shovel plate, angled nozzle, metal round brush and comb brush. Over time, these brushes can disintegrate under the steam, which is something you might want to consider if you’ll be using this very regularly.
Users have reported that this cleaner is particularly good for windows, kitchen surfaces, bathroom surfaces and upholstery, but that it can struggle a little with particularly sturdy stuck-on grout and grime. Because it is quite movable and small, it’s also good for getting into nooks and crannies, which isn’t always the case for handheld steam cleaners.
Overall, this model does come with its flaws, but if you’re looking for something affordable and portable from a great brand, it’s a decent option. It’s affordable and versatile, and is good for simple jobs… so if that’s all you need, this may be right for you!
Pifco P29002PU Handheld Steamer Review
Our Rating -
The Pifco P29002PU is a versatile and nifty handheld steam cleaner first released in 2014. It’s from a lesser-known name than some others you might find on the market, but it’s affordable and most users are very happy with the functionality it offers. It has a good lightweight design which comes in at only 1.9kg and has a pretty average capacity of 0.35l.
It also comes with a handy three-year guarantee, so if it doesn’t last you a while, you’ll get a replacement. The purple and white design looks pretty simple, and though it doesn’t have the suave design of some others on the market, it looks attractive enough. It has a safety lid which locks when in use, so you’re not going to get accidentally burned while using it. It has a steam output of 30g per minute.
It’s a pretty versatile model, and is suitable for bathroom surfaces, kitchen surfaces, upholstery, windows and plenty more. The steam jet is pretty powerful given the size and price point of this one, and it does a decent job of blasting away grime and dirt.The accessory pack includes many tools: scrubbing brush, window attachment, flexible hose attachment and angled nozzle attachment. There’s also a concentrator nozzle for particularly sturdy stains.
You have to hold the button to dispense the steam, which some users don’t like, but this is only a small consideration. It’s also not the most powerful you’ll find, but as far as handheld affordable cleaners go, it’s hard to find something much better at a similar price point. It cleans well, it’s versatile and it does everything you should need it to. If you want something simple and easy to use for household purposes, this should do the trick.
Kärcher SC1 Handheld Steamer Review
Our Rating -
The Kärcher SC1 Premium Steam Cleaner is a great handheld steamer cleaner that is durable, sturdy and comes with powerful options on the market. Key performance figures include 3 bar's of pressure for intense deep cleaning, a 1.6kg weight and an 80 gallon per minute steam output. In terms of pure performance, it's probably the best hand held steam cleaner on the market.
It’s versatile and should offer all of the usability you need, with a number of nifty attachments included as standard. These include a hand tool, floor nozzle, detail nozzle, round nylon brush, power nozzle, cotton floor cloth and cotton hand cloth.
The Karcher SC1 works best on hard surfaces, so you might want to look elsewhere if you’re seeking something that specialised in upholstery or fabrics. It heats up in three minutes, which is pretty impressive, giving you a quick turnaround on your cleaning, and it has a safety boiler cap and a child lock. It also works in such a way that it only releases steam when you press the ergonomic button. This makes it both user-friendly and environmentally friendly.
Most users really like the mobility and usability of this one, and have commented on how quickly it cleans. The terry cloths with this one can get dirty pretty quickly, which, although it means more cleaning of the cloths, indicates how effectively and quickly it cleans. That said, it is not without its flaws… some users have reported frequent malfunctions and others claim that is doesn’t work on the sturdiest of stains. It also can leave floors a little too wet on occasion.
Most users, however, are very happy with this, and if you’re looking for something which does a more high-pressured and tough job than most on the market, this is a good option. It’s not the cheapest around, but given is relative effectivity, it’s certainly worth the price and it would make a good investment for those seeking a cleaner home!
Overall the Karcher is a fantastic steam cleaner. Quite frankly all Karcher products are very good and obviously have been designed, manufactures and built to very high standards. What we don't like about the Karcher is the price. If you take out price our of the equation, the SC1 is the perfect model, but when you put price in to the equation, it's a great model, it's just quite expensive.
Vax S4 Grime Master Handheld Steamer Review
Our Rating -
The Vax S4 Grime Master is a handheld steam cleaner from household name Vax. This model has been around for a while, but still compares well with other options that you might find elsewhere. It has a 0.26 litre capacity, a good lightweight design of 1.47kg and offers ten minutes of continuous steam. It’s also pretty compact, so it’s easy to use and store.
This model is fairly versatile, and works on windows, upholstery, tiles, mirrors and more. It also comes with seven accessories including a scraper, a brush and a concentration tool, the latter of which can be used to give a more intense burst of high power. The steam release is variable, which also gives a good range of usability, with the option of more power for sturdier stains and a more gentle approach for fabrics and upholsteries. The machine is particularly good for getting into hard-to-reach areas, so this is a good option of you’re keen to get a deep clean in nooks and crannies.
The pressure of this model isn’t as high as bigger, more powerful industrial machines, but you won’t’ find much better in terms of affordable household models. If you want to get rid of really stubborn stains and dirt, you may indeed want to look elsewhere, but this one is good for battling basic household dust, dirt and grime. It’s a little noisy for some, but isn’t too obnoxiously loud. It’s unfortunately a little prone to leakages, though this only seems to be in the minority of cases.
Overall, the Vax S4 is fairly trusty and provides decent value. It isn’t the very best on the market, but for simple cleaning at an affordable price, it’s a decent option from a trusted name, and should be enough for most households.
Black and Decker FSS1600 Steam-buster Handheld Steamer Review
Our Rating -
The Black and Decker Handheld Steamer is a decent model from a household name that everybody knows. This one has been on the market since 2013. It has a capacity of 0.36 litres and a relatively heavy weight of 2.4kg. It’s a versatile option which is suitable for use on surfaces, appliances, furniture, upholstery and more. If you want versatility, this one is pretty good.
This model has a great design to prevent limescale build up, and is ready to use within fifteen seconds, which sets it apart from many other options on the market. If you value speediness and want something you can use quickly and easily, this one is a good choice.
There are nine accessories included with this one: a flexible hose with a handle, three colour coded brushes, a variable nozzle for changeable sizes of spray, 2 big brushes for tackling cooking appliances, a detail brush and a squeegee… so it pretty much does it all. The tank lasts between 13 and 19 minutes, which is pretty good for something of this size. It’s also very easy to remove, replace and fill the water tank, which isn’t always the case for handheld cleaners.
Overall, although the usability of this is great, there are some flaws. The pressure can sometimes drop, and it feels a little heavy and cumbersome in the hand. It also doesn’t do the job as thoroughly and quickly as some others on the market. So although this one has lots of nifty features and a variety of tools, it’s perhaps only a decent option for those looking for the simplest of clean-up jobs. It’s a decent model, but you might want to look elsewhere if you want to blast away stubborn stains quickly and efficiently.
Quest Handheld Steamer Review
Our Rating -
The Quest Handheld Steam Cleaner is a classic model for squirting away grime and dirt in the home. It has been on the market for more than ten years, and there are plenty of reasons that have seen it remain as a popular option. It has a capacity of 0.25ml, a weight of 1.8kg and its pressurised steam is overall a fairly reliable method of keeping your home spick and span.
This model comes with nine accessories: an extension nozzle, funnel, measuring cup, general spray nozzle, bent spray nozzle, a nozzle for doors and windows, a spray cup with round brush and a towel sleeve. All of these attachments combine to give decent versatility and a number of options for cleaning surfaces, fixtures, upholsteries and materials.
It’s not the most powerful on the market and its capabilities perhaps don’t compare to more hi-tech and modern options, but its ability and function is still quite impressive. It is also a decent low-cost option, which might be important for budget-conscious shoppers.
Users have found that this one is particularly good at battling kitchen grease, which other cleaners can sometimes struggle with. Users also like how simple and easy it is to use, which has contributed to its longevity. It’s also very lightweight and easy to handle, so it doesn’t come with the cumbersome design that some might.
That said, this does have some flaws: it comes with a two-pin continental plug (so you’ll need an adaptor to use it), the durability is not the best, and it doesn’t come with the power of more modern models. But if you want something simple and functional that you can use in the home to make simple fixtures and fittings clean and gleam, then this should be enough for your needs.
Buyer's Guide - Factors to Consider When Buying a Steam Cleaner
Before you rush out and buy a steam cleaner, there are a few things that you need to think about in order to get the best handheld steam cleaner for your needs.
Brand Names - They are more expensive, but when you buy a brand name, it’s likely that it will have been designed and tested to perform and last for many years in to the future. In the past, we have tested Tesco’s imported steam cleaner which worked well in the short-term, but after a few sessions, it stopped heating up as well as it did before and started to struggle to produce steam. This may have been a limescale problem, but the end result was that it really did not last long and we end up buying another steam cleaner pretty quickly.
Wattage - Watts equals power. Power equals the speed that your steam can heat the water and turn it into steam and consistently keep that level of steam available to you. Across all the models we tested, the one thing that really stood out was that you need 800-1200 Watts to have a good experience. Yes there are small units on the market, but they tended to struggle keeping hot, and whilst there are more powerful models on the market, the general feeling is that they are not needed.
Weight - Bigger is always better unless you have to carry it around. Remember, one-litre of water weights one-kilo. Add to this the three kilo weight of the unit and suddenly you’re trying to lift four-kilos above your head cleaning those windows. A body strap and steam tube will help control the weight and direction of the steam, however it's something to think about before you rush out and buy the latest, biggest handheld steam cleaner on the market.
Price - Very similar to brand names above, price is important. It’s highly recommended that you don’t just buy a cheap steamer, just because it’s cheap otherwise it could cost you more in the long run.
Accessories - Very similar to the price above, the accessories that a steam cleaner comes with is very important. Remember, manufactures will make a profit on the handheld steam cleaners, but where they make lots of money is on the accessories that you buy on the side to help you clean your home. Look out for package deals containing accessories such a extension hoses, grout brushes, fabric steamers and window squeegees as these are particularly useful.
Water Tank Size - The amount of water your cleaner holds will affect both the weight and the amount of time that you can use it before it needs to be re-filled. Typically and this is pretty general as it does depend on the heating filament size, for every 250ML of water your steam cleaner holds, you can use it for 15 minutes.
Multi-Function Steam Cleaner
There are handheld steam cleaners that also function as as steam cleaning mop, however i would highly recommend that you check out the reviews before buying a multi-steam cleaner. There are a few good ones on the market, however often the mop is not very good and the handheld cleaner is not very good as the brand as tried to combine both and failed at both. That said, if you can find a good model, they are a great space saver.
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