Top five best steam cleaners for 2020
By Jon Barrow
Whether it's a lightweight handheld cleaner, a powerful cylinder or a versatile two-in-one option, our round up of the top-scoring steam mops and steam cleaners will help you find the best one for you.
The best steam cleaners really can make your life easier. With powerful jets of steam, they easily shift stains without using harsh chemicals.
But many models can be disappointing, offering little more cleaning power than a traditional mop. And price is no indicator of quality - the most expensive steam cleaners aren't always the best, and the cheapest don't necessarily give a poor clean. In fact, we've found Don't Buy steam mops that cost more than £100, and Best Buy steam cleaners for less than £50.
To help you select the right model, we've rounded up some of the best cleaners we've tested in our table below. Whether you want a portable device for occasionally refreshing your bathroom or need a heavyweight model for powering across all your floors, we've got a recommendation for you, based on our tough tests.
We've also picked out some of the worst steam cleaners we've seen in the lab, so you know which to avoid.
Only logged-in Which? members can view our results in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, join Which? for instant access.
Best all round steam cleaner
Best handheld steam cleaner
Best value steam cleaner
Best cylinder steam cleaner
Best steam cleaner for carpets
Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of March 2019.
Not found the product for you? Browse all our steam cleaner reviews.
Three steam cleaners to avoid
While the steam cleaners in the table above are among the very best you can buy, there are loads of poor models that you should avoid. Our testing has uncovered some badly built devices that struggle to produce a decent steam output after they've been used a few times, or stop working completely. Others struggle to lift even simple stains or have such limited capacities that you'll be forced to refill them every few minutes.
Three of the worst steam cleaners
This steam cleaner is speedy to heat up and excellent at mopping muddy footprints from your textured floors. However, it’s ineffective at cleaning dried-on sauce or sticky spills and unimpressive as a handheld cleaner. Plus there’s no squeegee for cleaning glass.
What type of steam cleaner should I choose?
There are four main types of steam cleaner. While they all work in much the same way – producing a jet of steam that you use to shift stains – they all have different strengths. Choose the one that best suits your needs:
- Handheld steam cleaners These lightweight models are easy to carry around and store. They're great for cleaning small areas, such as around your bathroom taps, but their limited water tank capacity and handheld design means they're not ideal for floors.
- Steam mops These upright models resemble vacuum cleaners. They're usually lightweight with a pivoting mop head that's easy to manoeuvre around obstacles and into corners. Great for floors, they often lack the accessories necessary to clean other surfaces (such as wall tiles or glass).
- Two-in-one cleaners These multipurpose models combine an upright model with a removable hand-held unit, usually built into the handle. They're very versatile but are usually heavier and more expensive than standard steam mops.
- Cylinder steam cleaners These are heavy, wheeled devices with a hose and mop head plus a main body that you pull along behind you. They usually come with plenty of accessories, enabling you to handle most cleaning jobs, and their large water tanks mean they can steam for far longer than an upright model. However they're bulky and expensive so won't appeal to most users.
Read our how to buy the best steam cleaner guide for more advice.