Most home cleaning experts will agree that steam is the best way to clean just about any surface from hard floors to carpets to upholstery and curtains. A basic steam mop cleans your floors, whilst sanitizing them at the same time. The best part of it all is that you need no detergents.
Though many household steam cleaning machines will do much more than just clean your floors. All in one, multipurpose steam cleaners come with a bunch of attachments. Some are able to clean your windows, countertops, and even remove wrinkles from your clothing.
Our Top Steam Cleaner Picks
We’ve carefully selected 5 of the top rated steam cleaners for this review. Each has their virtues. Some are the best when it comes to versatile, whole house cleaning and all sorts of other applications. Others may be the best for budget-conscious buyers. We’ve looked at it from every angle, asking the important question: what are people looking for when buying the best steam cleaner for their home?
If you’re not all that sure of what you’re looking for, I’ll include a steam cleaner buying guide after the review. This should help you consider which specifications, features, and attachments are going to be important to you.
1. Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner
I have to say, I’ve fallen in love with this product. The Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner is most certainly neat; in every sense of the word. It’s as powerful as they come, yet lightweight and compact enough to be an absolute pleasure to use. A vast array of well-designed attachments make this one of the best multi-purpose steam cleaners for any home.
I have to start with the unconventional design, as this is one of the aspects that has really drawn me to the Dupray steam cleaner. The cube shape, with a retractable handle, is just so practical. For a steam cleaner that holds a pretty impressive 54-ounces of water, it takes up a minimum of closet space.
The Dupray measures 16” X 15” X 14” yet has the performance to rival large industrial machines. It also glides around effortlessly, thanks to fantastically designed wheels. I also have to commend the way in which they’ve incorporated a recess around the water filler, this acts like a funnel to avoid spilling.
In as little as 7-minutes, this little machine is producing super-heated steam at an incredible 275°F and a pressure of 50 Psi. The advantage of using high-pressure steam this hot is that it is much dryer than machines that only heat the steam to around 220°. The downside is that it can be a bit harsh on delicate fabrics and carpets. This machine doesn’t have variable settings that allow for more delicate cleaning. You have the advantage of trigger switch to activate the steam only when needed. If you need continuous steam, simply lock the switch into position with the press of your thumb.
All the attachments are of a quality standard that defies the price. For a machine costing around $150, the all-around quality is outstanding. It’s not only the durability of the attachments that impressed me. The practical design for multiple applications really won me over. You get 5 X nylon brushes and a brass brush for heavy-duty scrubbing. The rectangular floor tool comes with 3 X microfiber pads which are excellent for hard floors, though it’s not the best performer on carpets. It isn’t bad on carpets, just not the best.
The extra long 6’6” hose is a great advantage. When used with one of the two extension tubes, you can reach anywhere and there are a bunch of extra attachments to assist in this regard. The small triangular attachment is incredibly versatile and has a microfiber bonnet that fit’s onto it, allowing you to clean your sofas and bed. It also has a window cleaning attachment and a nifty lance that gets into difficult areas with ease.
It would be a tough job convincing me that you could get a better steam cleaner at a better price. I’m hugely impressed with the design and quality of this product. The 2-year warranty is a testament to the manufacturer’s faith in the machine. The Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner is compact, lightweight with heaps of power, and an unusually high water capacity for a machine this small. A remarkable feat of engineering.
2. LIGHT 'N' EASY Steam Mop
The Light n Easy steam mop is one of the more affordable options in this review. It’s also a real winner when it comes to portability and ease of use. With only a few attachments, this little machine is actually incredibly versatile with a multitude of useful functions.
The upright stick design is, in itself, a great advantage when it comes to easy floor mopping and carpet cleaning. Add to this, a quick release handheld adaption, and you have a winning combination for a multipurpose home steam cleaning machine.
General performance is good, heating the steam to a perfectly acceptable 230°F in as little as 30-seconds. With three steam settings, you’re able to use the Light n Easy on almost any type of material without fear of causing damage.
I like the larger than average floor cleaning mop head, 11.5” X 7.8”. It also has an easy glide attachment for carpet cleaning. A flexible hose attaches to the removable handheld canister and, with the additional small pad attachment, you can steam garments, clean windows and counter tops, or any above floor surface. It doesn’t have any brushes or grout tools.
The automatic steam on demand is loved some, loathed by others. Steamers that automatically start and stop the steam, depending on the handle position, can be quite convenient. However, the sensor on the Light n Easy is sometimes a little temperamental. You may find yourself moving the handle up and down a few times to get the steam going. When using it as a handheld steamer, you have to jiggle it about a few times to activate the automatic steam sensor. This is more of a quirk, not a real inconvenience and you soon get used to it.The Light n Easy Steam Mop is superb in its design and has great functionality. It’s not the ultimate home steam cleaner, but has a lot going for it. The price more than makes up for the minor short comings and it is certainly a good quality machine. A customer rating of 4.4 stars from well over 2,000 reviews on Amazon certainly says a lot about this product.
3. Steamfast SF-370WH Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner
I had a lot of great things to say about the Dupray Neat Steam cleaner at the top of the review. Well, the Steamfast SF-370WH provides some stiff competition for the Dupray. This is a more conventional design, resembling a regular canister vacuum cleaner. It’s not quite as powerful as the Dupray, but still packs quite a punch and has all the attachments to rival the very best home steam cleaning machines.
The compact ergonomic design can be a little deceptive. It can actually hold a substantial amount of water – 45-ounces, giving you around 45-minutes of cleaning on one tank. It heats the water to over 200°F in about 8-minutes. This is very impressive for a large water capacity.
The general design is practical and sensible. Large wheels at the back make it easy move about and it’s one of the better steam cleaners for moving across thick carpets. The Steamfast SF-370WH measures 8.5” in height, with a length of 15.3”, and is 12” wide, weighing 8.4 pounds. All this makes it an easy machine to use. The steam on demand trigger switch is conveniently placed and it can lock for constant steam.
The real virtue of this steam cleaner is all the attachments that you get, it is truly a multifunction home steamer. Apart from the obvious flexible hose and floor mop, you also get a versatile jet nozzle, 2 X nylon brushes, and a brass brush. You also get a scrubbing tool, squeegee, corner tool with a sponge pad and scrubbing tool. Two extension wands are included, along with 2 microfiber pads and a measuring cup.
Few home steam cleaners can do as much as the Steamfast SF-370WH and even fewer at this price. For a very affordable, multifunction home steam solution, it’s hard to beat. The 1,500W steamer is both powerful and durable, the same high-quality feel follows through all the attachments. All in all, a fantastic product at a great price.
4. McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam System
The McCulloch MC1375 would be my first choice when compared to any of the other steam cleaners in this review. It’s not just the sporty design in striking yellow and black that appeals to me. It has some amazing design features that sperate it from the crowd and every attachment for home, outdoor, and garage cleaning. It’s the most versatile of them all and produces steam at an exceptionally high pressure, making it one of the most effective steam cleaners for tough dirt and grime. Although the general design is beautiful, this is a rather chunky machine, measuring 10.5” X 12.2” X 15.6”. It’s also heavier than most in this class, at 10.8 LBS.
Though, when one looks at the capacity of this steam cleaner, the extra size and weight is placed into context. The huge 48 Oz water tank gives you up to 90-minutes of continuous steam. It heats this large volume of water in about 12-minutes, with an incredible 58 Psi of pressure to blast away anything in its path. You have absolute control over the steam, by means of an infinite control dial. I much prefer this to the usual high, medium, low type switches that you normally find on multiple setting machines. Flow rate can be adjusted from 15 Gallons per Minute (GPM) to a whopping 31 GPM.
The 10’ insulated steam hose is great, combined with the extra long 18’ power cord, the McCulloch has amazing reach. There’s a total of 20 useful attachments, so I won’t bore you by listing all of them. It goes without saying that you get a mop head, which is a fantastic size, 13” X 8.5”. For smaller areas and scrubbing, there’s an endless array of brushes and a triangular cleaning head with various pads included. You also get a versatile jet nozzle and a handy carrying bag for all these accessories. In some of the customer reviews people say the accessories are cheap plastic. Though I can’t see any difference between these accessories and those of most other steam cleaner in this review. Perhaps, the fact that the McCulloch is a little more expensive than the really cheap machines has caused people to have higher expectations.
To my mind, the McCulloch is a magnificent steam cleaner. It’s not as expensive as the high-end heavy-duty machines but has the performance to match. While the price is higher than the average home steam cleaner, it’s not by much. I believe that the extra 10 bucks or so is buying you a lot more than the price suggests. As far as quality goes, I give it a big thumbs up. With a 2-year warranty, you have some reassurance in this regard.
5. Pure Enrichment PureClean
For this size canister steam cleaner, the Pure Enrichment PureClean is delightfully cheap. Despite this, it has one of the best warranties, 5-years. If you’re looking at price vs quality, this one is hard to beat. It also has a good capacity and a fantastic assortment of attachments.
This is one of the bigger home steam cleaners with 1.5 liter (50.7 OZ) water tank. It’s great for cleaning large areas without having to refill the tank and then wait for the water heat. It has great wheels, two large easy glide wheels at the back and a small swivel cater in front.
It also has an extra long 16’ power cord that wraps neatly around a caddy at the back of the machine.
The attachments are plentiful and appear to be made from heavy-duty plastic that exceeds the standards of most other home machines. These include a triangular mop attachment several brushes, a squeegee, a mini triangular head, steam nozzle, and two extension wands, along with microfiber pads, a measuring cup, and funnel.
The trigger switch is conveniently placed, but there’s no lock for continuous steam. The handle at the top of the canister is molded to create a nifty storage position for the hose. In general, the overall design both practical and aesthetically pleasing.
The Pure Enrichment PureClean offers outstanding value for money. It’s not the cheapest steam cleaner, instead you can look at it as a high-end appliance at a mid-range price. Despite this, it has one of the best warranties and quality is of a noticeably high standard.
We haven’t simply selected the very best, high-end machines. We have taken cost into consideration. We’ve also looked at the practicalities of using a steam cleaner around the home. This would be things like ease of use, how long can you clean for before refilling the water tank? How long does it take to heat the steam and how versatile the machine is? It all comes down to value for money. Buying a quality steam cleaner for your needs, at a price that works for you.
Steam Cleaner Buying Guide
If you’ve never owned a steam cleaner, you may be wondering why you might need one. Once you’ve decided that a steam cleaner is the way to go, what do you look for? Reading steam cleaner reviews give you a good idea of what’s available and what types of features and functions to expect. Though, at first, these might not make too much sense. This buying guide is going to assist you in this regard. Knowing what to look for, will help you spend your money wisely.
Why Buy a Steam Cleaner
Since home steam cleaners have become readily available, many see them as the best way to clean and perform a variety of other useful functions. For cleaning bathrooms and kitchens, steam cleaning has several advantages. It takes little effort to remove tough dirt and stains using the immense power of steam. It’s also one of the best ways to control mold and remove soap scum, especially from tile grout.
The fact that no detergents are required is a big plus point for many. You’re obviously saving money, all those different cleaning products you buy every month can be quite costly. You also end up freeing up closet space, without the clutter of countless bottles and cans of detergent. For those who are looking at environmental impact, using steam instead of chemicals is another advantage.
For general hygiene and controlling allergens, steam cleaners are amazing. Super-heated steam kills about 99% of all bacteria. In addition to this, steam is one of the best ways to get rid of dust mites, bedbugs, and all sorts of other critters that are both irritating and the source of many allergens.
It’s clear that the advantages to buying a steam cleaner are plentiful. Though with prices ranging from under $100 to north of $1,000, where do you begin finding the best steam cleaner for your needs at a price that you can afford? Here are some tips on what to look for in steam cleaner.
Types of Steam Cleaner
Start out by assessing your needs and narrow your choice down to the best type of steam cleaner for your home.
Stick Steam Mop
These machines have the advantage of being lightweight, and fairly compact. They are easy to carry and are, therefore, great for homes with stairs. Stick steam cleaners are generally quite simple and easy to use. Most of the cheaper options are basic steam mops, only suitable for cleaning hard floors like tiles, wood, and laminates, many steam mops are also capable of cleaning carpets. Some may have attachments for many other applications.
Because of their slim ergonomic design, compact stick steam mops don’t have large water tanks. You can’t expect these machines to provide continuous steam for more than about 15 – 20 minutes. The advantage of the smaller water tank is that they don’t take very long to reach operating temperature, usually less than a minute.
Combo Steam Cleaners
A stick steam cleaner with a detachable handheld steamer offers the convenience of using the machine for above floor cleaning. A lightweight, handheld steamer allows you to get into places where a conventional steam mop can’t.
Canister Steam Cleaners
Also referred to as cylinder steam cleaners, these are larger machine, with similar capabilities to commercial steam cleaners. The larger canister provides a capacity for more water, typically 40 – 50 ounces for home steam cleaners. This allows one to work continuously for anything from 45-minutes ap to an hour and half, depending on the steam output and size of the machine. Though this is offset by longer heating times. Canister steam cleaners have to heat a relatively large volume of water to high temperatures, they can take anything from around 5 up to 15 minutes to reach operating temperature.
Because of their larger size and weight, canister steam cleaners move on wheels and are not that convenient for stairs. However, with an empty water tank, even the heaviest of these machines seldom weigh much more than 10-pounds and have handles for carrying. So, they are fairly portable.
Steam Cleaner Features
It’s important to take a look at the basic specifications and understand what they mean.
Heat and Pressure
For the most effective cleaning, high temperature, high pressure steam is the best. High temperature steam has the least amount of condensation and, therefore, the lowest amount of water. This means faster drying of carpets and no damage to wood or laminates that may be adversely affected by water. Increased pressure simply makes the cleaning ability more powerful.
Typically, high temperature is combined with high pressure. Hot steam expands more than cooler steam. Steam needs to be at least 220°F to be considered suitable for a steam cleaner. High temperature (and pressure) can be as much as 280°F. It’s important to note that high temperature steam, in large volumes, can damage some materials, especially delicate carpets and fabrics.
Steam cleaner controls are fairly basic, many only have an on/off switch. Being able to control the steam intensity is good if you want to clean more delicate materials. The most basic steam control is simply high or low, others may have an intermediate, medium, steam level. The best steam control is a dial that offers infinite, more precise, adjustment of the steam flow. You must be aware that these control functions only regulate the amount of steam that is generated and not the temperature or pressure.
Another useful function can be steam on demand. Some models start producing steam from the moment they reach operating temperature and will only stop when the steam cleaner is switched off. This means that, even when you stop working, the steam continues to flow from the jets. This can be risky, causing burns if not observed. It also uses water unnecessarily, reducing the amount of working time from the water tank.
Steam on demand switches or triggers, allow you to stop the steam flow without switching the machine off. A trigger switch can be the most convenient, as apposed to touch switch that requires you to reach down and activate, or deactivate, the steam every time. The only disadvantage to a trigger switch is fatigue. Holding a trigger switch in constantly as you work, can be a hassle. A locking trigger switch gives you the best of both. By locking the trigger into the on position, you have continuous steam until you disengage the trigger lock.
There are so many useful attachments that can be part of your steam cleaner kit. These can be attached directly to a handheld steam cleaner or to a steam hose. A hose with an extendable wand enables you to work at greater heights more conveniently.
A mop head is standard equipment for any steam cleaner. These can be rectangular or triangular, the latter being more adaptable in tight spaces and corners. While most steam mops are good for hard floors and carpets, some aren’t the best for carpets, especially those with a thicker pile. An easy glide attachment for a steam mop makes them better suited for cleaning carpets.
Brushes, usually nylon, come in all shapes and sizes and are suitable for cleaning most surfaces without scratching or damaging them. Brass brushes will attack more stubborn dirt with greater effect; but will damage sensitive surfaces. Brushes allow you to clean tough grime more effectively, especially in hard to reach areas like an oven or closet. Brass brushes are very popular for cleaning barbecue grates and similar tough surfaces that aren’t too easy to clean.
These are solid, hard attachments, usually made from tough plastic. They are great for scraping off particularly ingrained dirt, even old paint.
While commonly used to clean windows and mirrors, squeegees can clean countertops and any above floor surface.
Garment and Upholstery Attachments
These resemble mini-steam mops that can remove wrinkles from clothing, as well as stains form any type of fabric, like upholstery or curtains. They are also great for sanitizing your bed and bed linen.
Steam Nozzle or Jets
These are incredibly versatile steam attachments and can be used just about anywhere, from fabrics to cleaning tough areas, like the engine on your car.