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10 best steam cleaners to keep floors, tiles and more gleaming

Blast away stains and bacteria, with these top steam cleaners

Zoe Phillimore
Tuesday 23 January 2024 10:29 GMT
Steam cleaners can kill 99.99 per cent of germs, without using harsh chemicals
Steam cleaners can kill 99.99 per cent of germs, without using harsh chemicals (The Independent/ iStock)
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If you’re looking to take your cleaning to the next level, investing in a steam cleaner is a smart choice. Blasting steam at grime actually kills more nasties and requires a lot less effort than scrubbing away with cleaning fluid.

Whether you’ve got a muddy dog, messy children, a toddler crawling around or you just want the peace of mind a sparkling home brings, steam cleaners are able to kill 99.99 per cent of germs, when used properly.

Even better, there’s no need for nasty chemicals or detergents when using a steam cleaner, as the hot jets of steam alone will banish dirt and bacteria. This makes steam cleaners gentler on your house and the environment, and you don’t have to remember to buy cleaning products.

When choosing a steam cleaner, there are a few different types on the market. There are handheld ones, which are a bit like a watering can combined with a kettle. These devices often come with different attachments for steam cleaning windows, curtains, and kitchen and bathroom tiles – but they’re no good for large areas or floors.

Most floor steam cleaners work like an upright vacuum, and plug into the wall. Fill a reservoir with hot water, wait for it to come up to temperature, then push the mop across your floors. You can detach the floor pads and chuck them in the washing machine. Some of these floor cleaners can also be used as handhelds, while some are more like a canister cleaner that you pull along behind you. The latter variety often have bigger reservoirs, so you don’t have to stop to refill and reheat as often – handy if you have a big surface area to cover, but cumbersome to store away.

How we tested the best steam cleaners

Testing happened in a very busy household, during winter, when mud and mess are permanent fixtures. We tested steam cleaners on expanses of hardwood floors, on tiles in the bathroom and kitchen, and on soft furnishings. During testing, we wanted steam cleaners that were easy to use, quick to heat up, not constantly needing to be refilled, not too heavy, and versatile. We wanted steam cleaners that were going to add something extra to our cleaning routine, without too much faff. Attention was paid to quality and price, as value for money is never far from our minds.

Handheld options are great when it comes to carpet stains and smaller areas (Zoe Phillimore)

The best steam cleaners for 2024 are:

  • Best steam cleaner overall – Dupray neat steam cleaner: £159.99,
  • Best budget steam cleaner – Tower THS10 handheld steam cleaner: £24.49,
  • Best steam mop – Shark steam and scrub automatic steam mop S6002: £159,
  • Best handheld steam cleaner – Bissell steam shot handheld steam cleaner: £53,
  • Best detergent steam cleaner – Beldray detergent steam cleaner: £47.99,

Dupray neat steam cleaner

best steam cleaner for tile for carpet for hardwood floors 2023
  • Best: Steam cleaner overall
  • Capacity: 1,600ml
  • Cord length: 5m
  • Weight: 4kg
  • Power: 1,500W
  • Why we love it
    • Relatively compact
    • Good range of accessories
    • Multiple floor pads

This may be our new favourite home appliance. The steam cleaner is slick and a lot of fun to use. The small white cube is incredibly lightweight and compact – it’d fit in a kitchen cupboard or under the stairs no problem. It has a telescopic handle for carrying it around, and the cord wraps under the unit, so it’s all neat and tidy. It comes with two retractable handles, so you can reach high-up corners, or use it to mop the floor. There are also five nozzle brushes, including one for cleaning brass, such as barbecue and oven racks – genius. There’s also three floor pads, one microfibre bonnet and one microfibre cloth. Basically, it’s got everything you need.

We found the nozzle brushes lifted off every inch of mould and limescale build-up in our bathroom. The steam jet is super powerful, but, crucially, it never leaves excess water. The triangle tool was amazing at lifting stubborn stains out of our carpet without leaving a huge amount of water soaked into it. We also loved that it could do our hardwood floors and windows. Basically, we’re in love with a steam cleaner, and we’re not afraid to say it.

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Tower THS10 handheld steam cleaner

best steam cleaner for tile for carpet for hardwood floors 2023
  • Best: Budget steam cleaner
  • Capacity: 250ml
  • Cord length: 3m
  • Weight: 1.6kg
  • Power: 1,050W
  • Why we love it
    • Lightweight
    • Plenty of accessories
  • Take note
    • Drips slightly

This budget-friendly steam cleaner purports to lift grease, kill germs and be lightweight and portable. Certainly, with its nine accessories, it can do some heavy lifting in the cleaning department. It has attachments for windows, fabric, scrubbing, a flexible hose and an angled nozzle to help it reach into every nook and cranny.

We found the finish on this steam cleaner not quite as high-end as similar ones in this round-up. However, it got to work on our slightly grimy windows and lifted off every stubborn finger print that had been bugging us for months. We found it performed less well when it came to cleaning fabrics, as it dripped slightly. However, it was very lightweight, heated up quickly and was easy to use.

  1. £24 from
Prices may vary
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Shark steam and scrub automatic steam mop S6002

best steam cleaner for tile for carpet for hardwood floors 2023
  • Best: Steam mop
  • Capacity: 350ml
  • Cord length: 8m
  • Weight: 3.1kg
  • Power: 1,120W
  • Why we love it
    • Adjustable settings
    • Easy to use
    • Didn’t flood the floor
  • Take note
    • Flex could be longer
    • Can only really use on floors

Probably best known for its vacuums, Shark also does a line of steam mops. We tested the S6002, which scrubs and sanitises floors at the same time. It’s very easy to use. Attach the pads – you get two sets in the box – then fill the tank and switch on. You can choose between light and normal settings, depending on how thorough a clean you want. We went for normal, and it lifted so many stains that our regular, non-steam mop couldn’t remove from our wooden floors.

The pads rotate and scrub, and sort of propel the mop along, so it’s not hard work at all and, in fact, led to a very speedy clean. We cleaned the whole of one floor in about 15 minutes – a job that usually takes a good hour – and that included the slightly annoying faff of having to unplug the steam cleaner, as we ran out of flex. However, our floors dried incredibly quickly, meaning our kids were soon free to walk on them and mess them up again.

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Beldray 14-in-1 steam cleaner

  • Best: Value for money
  • Capacity: 350ml
  • Cord length: Unspecified
  • Weight: 2.82kg
  • Power: 1,300W
  • Why we love it
    • Flexi-hinge to clean under furniture
    • Lightweight
    • Good range of attachments
  • Take note
    • Nowhere to store accessories

Versatile and flexible (literally), this is a great multi-use steam cleaner. During testing, we found the flexi-hinge feature really useful – with a click of a button in upright mode, you can reach under sofas and kitchen tables with ease.

We also liked that this model was fairly lightweight to use, even in handheld mode. Clever handle positioning meant we could hold it perfectly well to do tiles and windows – but your arms do get tired after a while, so schedule in a tea break. The Beldray comes with an array of attachments (although nowhere on board to store them, which is a bit annoying), and we appreciated the fact there are two mop heads, so we could use one and wash the other. There are also grouting tools, scraping tools and a garment steamer cloth.

  1. £52 from
Prices may vary
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Vax steam fresh total home steam cleaner

  • Best: Steam cleaner for a fresh-smelling home
  • Capacity: 260ml
  • Cord length: N/A
  • Weight: 4.23kg
  • Power: 1,400-1,600W
  • Why we love it
    • Can use detergent with it
    • Gets into corners well
    • Plenty of attachments

From floorcare giant Vax, this total home steam cleaner is actually useful for so much more than just your floor. It comes with a pouch of attachments, including an ergonomic hose, which is great for reaching annoying places such as behind the taps; microfibre cleaning pads (including a heavy-duty one); a grout brush; detail nozzle and loads more. Plus, there’s slots to store them away within the device.

We loved using this model for cleaning our hardwood floors – not only did they gleam afterwards, the room smelt good, too, thanks to the steam detergent you add to the dedicated solution tank. This claims to break down grease and grime faster than steam alone. This model comes with one small bottle of detergent included in the box.

For extra caked-on stains – mud ground into the floor, in our case – the steam boost function was great, giving an extra blast of steam that lifted off the more stubborn messes. You can even kick off the microfloor pad to reveal a hardcore scrubbing brush.

We rated the Vax for getting into corners, too, thanks to the triangular head. You can remove the upright attachment and then steam worktops, kitchens and hard-to-reach places more easily.

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Karcher SC3 steam cleaner

  • Best: Steam cleaner for larger spaces
  • Capacity: 1l
  • Cord length: 4m
  • Weight: 3.1kg
  • Power: 1,900W
  • Why we love it
    • Big reservoir
    • Lots of attachments
    • Well made
  • Take note
    • Quite bulky

With a 800ml capacity reservoir, this Karcher can go and go for ages without needing to be refilled, making a great bet for those who have a lot of floors to clean. Being a canister-style steam cleaner, it is a bit of extra faff to drag it around, and, yes, it’s not the easiest to store. But it is versatile, meaning we think it’s worth the cupboard space.

The SC3 heated up quickly, and was ready for cleaning in less than a minute. We then paced our whole downstairs area in one clean, generating constant steam, using the trigger. As well as floor pads, there are scrubbers and a nozzle included, and a garment steamer, which we really liked – it got the wrinkles out of our curtains really easily.

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Beldray 10-in-1 handheld steam cleaner

best steam cleaner for tile for carpet for hardwood floors 2023
  • Best: Steam cleaner for windows
  • Capacity: 250ml
  • Cord length: 4m
  • Weight: ‎1.99kg
  • Power: 1,000W
  • Why we love it
    • Great for quick jobs
    • Lots of attachments
    • Fast to heat up
  • Take note
    • Needs refilling often

If you really want to blast your house clean, this is your go-to gadget for getting into all the crevices. It’s easy to use – although we found the trigger a bit fiddly to hold at certain angles – and has plenty of attachments to suit pretty much any job. The 250ml tank warmed up and got to work pretty quickly. Although, we did find the tank ran dry – you can fill it midway through a clean but it’s important to be careful of the steam.

We liked the window squeegee attachment – it got our windows sparklingly clean – while the round brush is handy for scrubbing hobs and cookers, as it lifted grease easily. We found that the fabric attachment was pretty good at getting stubborn stains out of carpets but, as the reservoir is 250ml, it’s best for spot-clean stains rather than attempting to clean a wider surface area.

  1. £39 from
Prices may vary
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Bissell steam shot handheld steam cleaner

best steam cleaner for tile for carpet for hardwood floors 2023
  • Best: Handheld steam cleaner
  • Capacity: 360ml
  • Cord length: 4.8m
  • Weight: 1.5kg
  • Power: 1,050W
  • Why we love it
    • Affordable price point
    • Great for quick blitzes
    • Can get into hard-to-reach places
    • Colour coded nozzles
  • Take note
    • Created excess water that needed mopping up

Bissell is one of the big players in the steam-cleaner world (yes, that is a thing). This is the brand’s entry-level steam cleaner, and it comes in handheld form. The steam shot feels the most premium of all the handheld steam cleaners we tested – it just feels well made. It comes with seven attachments, three of which are brushes that are colour coded, so you won’t be scrubbing the grout with the same cleaner you use on your stove.

It did a fantastic job of lifting grease off our extractor hood in the kitchen. We were impressed, too, with the specific hob-cleaning attachment – although, we did find it left a lot of surface water on our hob. It also cleaned windows well but, again, there’s quite a lot of excess water that we found ourselves having to mop up.

However, we did like the extra-long flex, and the strap that keeps it neat and tidy. The trigger button is by far the easiest we tested of the handhelds, and was comfortable to keep pressed down, even at awkward angles.

  1. £53 from
Prices may vary
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Beldray detergent steam cleaner

best steam cleaner for tile for carpet for hardwood floors 2023
  • Best: Detergent steam cleaner
  • Capacity: 350ml
  • Cord length: 5m
  • Weight: 380g
  • Power: 1,300W
  • Why we love it
    • Dedicated detergent tank
    • Speedy to use
    • Can get under low furniture
    • Good value

This is a great option if you want spotless floors with that just-cleaned smell. As well as a 350ml water tank for steam, there’s a 200ml tank for your floor-cleaner of choice. It’s also good for all types of floor coverings. There’s a mop head for hard floors, such as tile and wood, and a different one for carpets. This is particularly useful if you have a wide expanse of carpet you want to steam clean, as it’s fast and it does a decent job, lifting all but the most stubborn of stains.

We found this floor cleaner a really good, versatile choice for flooring. As we have hardwood on one floor and carpet on another, it was good to know it could cover all bases. We also liked the fact you can angle the handle to get under sofas and other furniture. There’s a certain level of smug satisfaction knowing the carpet under your bed is absolutely spanking clean – or is that just us?

  1. £47 from
Prices may vary
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Bissell powerfresh slimsteam steam mop

best steam cleaner for tile for carpet for hardwood floors 2023
  • Best: Multipurpose steam cleaner
  • Capacity: 350ml
  • Cord length: 7.6m
  • Weight: 1.86kg
  • Power: 1,500W
  • Why we love it
    • Good reach
    • Switches between floor and handheld modes
    • Accessory holder included

We were very impressed by this steam mop. It is modelled on a cordless vacuum, and it offers many of the same benefits.

Although it’s tethered to the mains, you can use it as a handheld model or attach an arm that allows you to either use it as a floor mop or to extend your reach to get into hard-to-reach corners. We particularly liked that, with the extended-reach mode, you can attach not just the mop head but also the other fixtures, such as the grout cleaner. This meant we were able to reach right to the tops of our tiles without putting out our back.

The accessory holder is super useful for taking all the bits and bobs around the house with you as you clean, too. In fact, it slots onto the bottom of the body of the cleaner, so you won’t lose it.

Overall, we found this steam cleaner lifted limescale and grease with ease, and got our floors sparkling without leaving loads of excess water behind.

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Steam cleaner FAQs

Do you need to use any cleaning products with a steam cleaner?

It is advised not to use anything other than water in the steam cleaner, including any cleaning solutions or bleaches, as putting chemicals in your steam cleaner can cause corrosion. The heat of the steam will sterilise surfaces and floors, so you don’t really need any harsh chemicals or detergent. Most manufacturers also recommend only using demineralised water.

What to look for in a steam cleaner:

  • Water tank capacity – When picking a steam cleaner, you should consider your cleaning needs, and the size of your space. Smaller steam cleaners will heat up faster but you may have to refill the water tank more often, perhaps in the middle of your chores. On the other hand, larger tanks will last longer, so are great for bigger spaces or mammoth cleaning sessions, but will often take longer to heat up, so you may be stuck waiting around to get started.
  • Heat-up time – Most steam cleaners will take around 5-15 minutes to heat up. Depending on your time constraints, you may want to invest in a pricier model that has a quicker heat-up time.
  • Weight/size – While it may seem like a good decision to get a bigger cleaner, as you can cover more ground without having to fill up as often, you may find the compact designs can really get in those nooks and crannies and are easier on the arms.
  • Variable steam settings – Some steam cleaners have variable settings that enable you to clean on all surfaces, including more-delicate floors.

The verdict: Steam cleaners

We absolutely love the Dupray neat steam cleaner. It’s great for large areas but doesn’t feel too massive to store away, has loads of attachments and does an overall great job, hence why it’s our best overall buy. If you’re after something that is more of a steam mop, the Shark S6002 or Vax are both excellent choices.

If you’re after a new vacuum, we’ve found the best cordless models and the best robot vacuums

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