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Which steam cleaner brand to buy in 2022

Our unique steam cleaner brand survey will help you choose a long-lasting appliance. Find out which brands develop the fewest faults over time and which frustrate their owners
Manca Virant

Inconsistent performance and leaks are just two of the most common faults reported by steam cleaner owners in our unique survey. Read on to find out which steam cleaner brands customers would recommend and which develop the fewest faults over time.

Knowing which brands are more prone to faults is vital when you're buying a new steam cleaner. That’s why this year, in our customer satisfaction survey, we've asked more than 6,997 Which? members, as well as 3,003 members of the public, to tell us whether they're happy with their steam cleaner and if it's given them any trouble. 

Our survey data takes into account which steam cleaner brands had faults reported and whether they needed to be repaired or replaced as a result. 

We've crunched the numbers for the biggest steam cleaner manufacturers – including Karcher, Vax, Shark and Bissell – and have calculated a customer score for each, so you know which brands come recommended by owners.

Read all about the best steam cleaners we've tested.

Steam cleaner brands rated

The table below summarises this year’s results, based on steam cleaners bought in the past seven years. Brands are ranked by their customer score, which reflects customers' level of satisfaction with the brand and whether they would recommend it.

The proportion faulty is the percentage that experienced a fault, and the proportion repaired or replaced is the percentage of steam cleaners that were fixed or thrown away due to the fault.

Only logged-in Which? members can see which brands achieved the scores in the table below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

BrandCustomer scoreProportion faulty in the first seven yearsProportion repaired or replaced due to a fault

  • Table notes: The customer score, proportion faulty and proportion repaired or replaced are based on a survey of 2,094 people who own steam cleaners, conducted in May 2022. 
  • The proportion faulty and proportion repaired or replaced is based on appliances bought in the past seven years.

Best vs worst steam cleaner brands

As you can see in our table, there's a big difference between the best and worst steam cleaners in both the satisfaction score reported by customers and the proportion of appliances that developed faults.

Customer score77%60%
Proportion faulty in the first seven years5%20%
Proportion repaired or replaced due to a fault1%12%

To see how individual models perform, head over to our steam cleaner reviews.

Which steam cleaner brand is the most reliable?

The lifespan of a steam cleaner can differ quite significantly from model to model, but you should expect the best to last as long as six years or more without any issues.

As you can see in the table below, there’s a big difference between how reliable the best and the worst brands are. The least reliable brands are over three times more fault-prone than the most reliable.

Proportion repaired or replaced due to a fault
Best brand1%
Average for all steam cleaners4%
Worst brand12%

Verdict: steam cleaner brands in depth

We've pulled together our fault data, customer insight and average performance in our independent steam cleaner tests to give you an in-depth look at each brand. 

Only Which? members can log in to view our verdict on the brands listed below and see whether they are worth buying.

If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access to our verdict for following steam cleaner brands: Bissell, Black & Decker, Bush, Hoover, Karcher, Morphy Richards, Polti, Russell Hobbs, Shark, Thane, Vax and Vileda.

Already know which steam cleaner brand you want? Use these links to go straight to our reviews and find your ideal model for each brand:

The three most common steam cleaner faults

1. Inconsistent performance (13% of all faults reported)

Gradual deterioration in performance of your steam cleaner could be down to a multitude of factors. 

Some can be quite basic, like lack of water in the tank, a blockage or the water tank cap not being securely fastened. All of these are relatively easy to fix yourself with the help of the manufacturer's guide. 

Always check the safety latch is not locked, as this will prevent the steam cleaner from functioning. Make sure you regularly clean (or if needed, replace) the water filter, as it can become clogged over time.

If your unit is performing inconsistently or not up to standard and none of these apply, check your warranty to see if you can get the product fixed or replaced by the manufacturer. Alternatively, take it to a specialist at an approved repair centre.

2. Leaking/spitting water (12%)

Leaking is a common steam cleaner problem, but the good news is there are a few checks you can make in order to identify the cause of leaking and fix the issue.

If your steam cleaner is spitting water, chances are the water tank has been overfilled. If the tank is filled to a good level and the appliance continues to leak, check the tank, cap and the filter for damage. 

You will also want to make sure the water tank is fitted correctly and pushed into the unit securely, as a loosely fitted tank may leak.

If the filter or another part of your steam cleaner is damaged, contact the manufacturer to find out if a replacement part might be covered under your warranty.

3. Body cracked or damaged (11%)

Just over 24% of owners of steam cleaners reported the this fault, and stated that they had their product repaired or replaced by the manufacturer. 

If your appliance is still under warranty, try to get it repaired or replaced before purchasing a new product, as this can save you having to spend unnecessary money.

Need more information? See Faulty product? How to get a refund, repair or replacement.

How we calculate the best and worst steam cleaner brands 

Which? has a wealth of information on Britain's favourite brands. Every year we ask Which? members to tell us about the home appliances they own – from how likely they would be to recommend a brand, to how reliable the products are once they get them home.

This year 6,997 Which? Connect panel members and 3,003 members of the public told us about more than 20,454 individual products. We calculate a brand's customer score, fault rate and proportion replaced or repaired based on the results of our annual survey.

Our surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best steam cleaners to buy.

To find out more about our Best Buy criteria and our in-depth lab testing, see how we test steam cleaners.