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Don't Buy steam cleaners

by Sarah Ingrams

These poor quality steam cleaners and steam mops failed to shift everyday grime in our lab tests – and are easily outdone by a bit of elbow grease.

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Our tests go further than anyone else’s to find the best steam cleaners to keep your home sparkling. But we don’t just reveal the best – we also highlight the poor steam cleaners that clean so badly in our tests that we recommend you avoid buying them.

  • Our extensive tests have uncovered steam cleaners that push spills aroud, rather than cleaning them up.
  • The worst steam cleaners start to product less steam after repeated use or spit water.
  • Some models are inconvenient to use or have attachments which are a struggle to fit.
  • It’s not always the cheapest models that bomb in our tests – we’ve found disappointing steam cleaners priced over £100 too.

We’ve found Best Buy and Don’t Buy steam cleaners from the same brands – but you’ll not know which are which in the shops, unless you’ve checked our Don’t Buy steam cleaners.

Unlock our exclusive list of Don't Buy steam cleaners by taking a £1 trial to Which?. If you're already a Which? member, log-in now.

How we uncover the best and worst steam cleaners

Each steam cleaner we review goes through a series of tough tests in the Which? test lab, which are designed to replicate how you use your steam cleaner at home. This way you can be sure that Best Buy recommended models are more than up to the job -and that our tests can weed out the models that just can't shift daily grime.

  • Cleaning power: we measure the time and effort it takes to shift common household spills and dirt from a range of surfaces including tiles, floors, ovens and glass.
  • Shirfting grime: steam mops have to power through a hard floor covered with curry paste, pasta sauce and raspberry jam to win our approval.
  • Heat-up time: we time how long it takes until each steam cleaner is fully heated-up and ready to use.
  • Ease of use: we assemble and take apart every steam cleaner to check how easy this is to do. We steer steam mops around objects to see how tflexible they are and weigh it to see what you’ll be lugging around.
  • Durability: we use each steam cleaner 30 times and measure the steam output throughout to see if it drops after repeated use.

Steam cleaner reviews you can trust

Models from all the key brands including Vax, Shark and Thane are tested in the Which? test lab – and it’s not always the priciest models that get the top results.

Which? is independent – we work for you, the consumer, so you can be sure that our product recommendations are influenced only by our test results. We don’t take advertising and we buy all the products that we test ourselves, so our advice helps you to make the right choice first time and avoid costly mistakes.

Try a Which? trial for £1 and you’ll receive access to all our online content and get Which? magazine delivered monthly to your door. You can also phone our Which? Legal Service and personal finance experts for on-to-one help, plus you’ll get access to Which? Local, where members share recommendations for the best services in your area.

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