Which steam cleaner brands are built to last?Steam cleaners from Shark, Vax and Thane compared

21 February 2016

Cleaning the floor with a red and black steam mop

Our reliability scores help you pick the steam cleaners that will last

Steam mops are popular cleaning products, but they have a reputation for breaking down early, leaving owners frustrated. Now, thanks to our exclusive survey of steam mop owners, we can reveal which brands last the longest.

We surveyed over 1,000 steam mop and steam cleaner owners and found big differences between brands, with our top-scoring steam mop brand scoring 17 percentage points better than the worst for reliability.

Find out which steam cleaner brands are built to last in our reliable steam mop brands guide, and then pick from our selection of the best steam mops for a model that will keep your home sparkling time after time.

Are steam cleaners reliable?

Steam mops are not one of the most reliable household products, according to our survey, with an overall reliability score of 72%.* But some brands are better than others: our best steam mop brand scores an impressive 80% for reliability, while the worst scores just 63%.

We also asked owners how satisfied they were with their steam mop and whether they would recommend it to others - we use this information to calculate a customer score for each brand. One mop brand scored a miserable 38% on this measure. 

You can compare the reliability score and customer scores for different brands by heading to our guide on the best steam mop brands.

Steam mop problems

If your steam mop ‘just stopped working’, you’re not alone: this is the main problem owners have, according to our survey, and it accounts for 22% of all steam mop problems. And if it doesn't stop altogether, there's a chance the steam will just peter out - the second most common problem in our survey.

As well as rating the overall reliability of each brand, we put each individual steam cleaner through a tough endurance test to find out how well they stand up to repeat use. The worst we’ve tested lost 65% of its steam output after repeated use, while another model broke down during testing.

Check our steam cleaner reviews to find out which models will last the distance.

Choosing the best steam mop

If you’re thinking about buying a steam mop to help tackle your spring cleaning, think about the following before you buy:

  • What do you want to clean? Steam mops are upright and suitable for floor-cleaning only. Two-in-one mops include detachable handheld steamers and can tackle most cleaning tasks, from windows to bathrooms, depending on the supplied attachments.
  • How much do you want to spend? Steam mops range from £20 to £150 but we’ve found Best Buys for around £50. Two-in-one steam cleaners tend to be pricier.
  • What features do I need? Spare cleaning pads, detergents and built-in limescale filters are some of the features found on steam mops. The more extra features, the more you're likely to pay.

*We surveyed over 800 steam mop and 200 steam cleaner owners in September 2015 about the products they own. Reliability scores are based on the proportion of products with problems per brand in our survey, compared with those that remain fault-free.

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