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Top five best steam cleaners for 2019

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.

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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 £40.

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

75%
£130.00
Reviewed

This model is the top scoring cleaner that we've tested. It's easy to use and stands up to repeated use too. It may be expensive but it does come with a comprehensive set of useful accessories including a window tool, deep-scrub brush, grout brush, flexible extension hose and flexi-tool.

Best handheld steam cleaner

68%
£35.94
Reviewed

This is one of the finest handheld steam cleaners that we've tested. It's great value and is ideal for cleaning surfaces However, it's not suitable for cleaning floors or large areas.

Best value steam cleaner

69%
£40.00
Reviewed

This excellent multipurpose steam cleaner is one of the best value steam cleaners that we've seen. The upright cleaner does a good job on floors while the detachable unit works well on other surfaces. And handily it can be used with regular tap water.

Best cylinder steam cleaner

70%
£300.00
Reviewed

This large, wheeled cleaner is simple to use and can steam for 20 minutes - plenty of time to get your floors sparkling. It comes with a good selection of accessories that are easy to attach and unlike many models it's ready to use in next to no time. It's also well built, doesn't suffer from a reduced steam output after you've used it repeatedly and can be refilled with everyday tap water rather than special distilled or deionised water.

Best steam cleaner for carpets

63%
£340.00
Reviewed

This cylinder cleaner is a good option if you want a steam cleaner that can be used to get stains out of carpets. It also works well on hard floors and comes with an anti-limescale compound so can be used with everyday tap water.

Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of October 2018.

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 just as many 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

49%
£19.00
Reviewed

This handheld steam cleaner does a good job cleaning some surfaces (though it does leave them soaking wet). But it's cheaply built, poorly designed and could end up scalding you.

45%
£45.00
Reviewed

This compact 2-in-1 is reasonably priced and does a great job of cleaning most surfaces - at least at first. Unfortunately though its steam output drops so significantly with repeated use that it becomes near-useless.

26%
£120.00
Reviewed

This combination steam cleaner can handle light stains, such as footprints, but the unit we tested stopped producing steam after just three uses as water had got into it and caused it to short circuit.

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.

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