If you're after a cheap steam cleaner, you'll struggle to top this budget steam mop. At 2.1kg, it's one of the lightest upright models we've tested, so it's no hassle to carry up and down the stairs. There are snags that you can avoid if you're willing to pay more – filling the water tank is fiddly, and it doesn't have a spare cleaning pad – but for fuss-free cleaning, few do better.
If money is no object, look no further than this model. It's the most expensive cylinder steam cleaner we've tested – and the best. It blasts steam at twice the rate of most other models, helping it to lift sticky stains with ease. At 8.5kg, it's not the easiest to carry up stairs and it lacks a glass cleaning attachment. But if performance is more important than cost and convenience, this is the model for you.
This steam mop is straightforward and built to last. It takes just 15 seconds to heat up, which is far quicker than most steam cleaners, and does a good job of removing sticky deposits. However, it's less effective at tackling dried-on stains and you can't put it to use across your home; like most steam mops, this model is only for use on hard floors.
This is the best handheld steam cleaner we've tested, but it still ranks a long way behind the top wheeled models. It's simple to operate and does a decent job on most surfaces, especially tiles and grout. However, it can't be used on floors and only steams for five minutes at a time, so it's not the best option for a deep clean.
This two-in-one steam cleaner has a couple of quirks: you can add detergent to the water tank to give your home a scented clean (this is rare – manufacturers usually advise against mixing detergent and steam) and it has a scrubbing brush beneath the cleaning pad for tackling deep stains. It does a decent job on most surfaces and, thanks to its multi-purpose design, is easy to manoeuvre around the home. The only snag is steaming time: a full tank gives you just six minutes of steam.
No steam cleaner can better a carpet cleaner at removing stains from soft floors, but this cylinder model comes close. It has a carpet brush to remove ingrained dirt, and you get 46 minutes of steam: plenty of time to go over areas in need of extra attention. It has 13 other attachments, including a window cleaning head, so you can put it to work across the rest of your home too.
We've tested all the top models including the latest range of Karcher steam cleaners, plus cheaper options from brands such as Bush.
Below we've listed the key specs and features for some of the most popular steam cleaners.
Black & Decker FSM13E1, around £58
Type: steam mop
Steaming time: 16 minutes
Weight (full): 2.1kg
This Black & Decker model is a simple, upright steam cleaner. Modestly priced, it's designed for use on hard floors. This steam cleaner lacks the accessories you need to clean other surfaces – such as bathroom tiles or taps.
This is a large, wheeled steam cleaner that you pull along behind you as you clean. It's generously equipped with a wide range of accessories, including a brass brush for heavy-duty cleaning and a fragrance disc to keep everything smelling nice.
It has a tank large enough to produce 40 minutes of steam.