Best Steam Mop 2018 – Buyer’s Guide

Steam mops are taking the cleaning world by storm, offering a chemical-free alternative to the traditional mop and bucket. They are great for cleaning hard flooring like tiles, sealed hardwood or lino – the usual things a mop and bucket would clean.

So why are steam mops such a big deal? Because they can clean so much more. With an array of different attachments to choose from, the cleaning capabilities of a steam mop are endless. From floors and work-tops to bedding and garments, steam mops can cleanse pretty much anything.

They can kill up to 99.9% of bacteria and cut through dust mites, foul odours and general dirt build-up easily, leaving your home spotless and smelling fresh with minimal effort.

So how do Steam Mops work? They take your home from dirty to sparkling using just water. They usually come with a mop head, a water tank, an adjustable handle and additional accessories and are really easy to use. The water is heated in the tank and turns to steam. This steam is then released from the mop head when the trigger is pressed, sterilising floors and lifting up tough stains that would otherwise be difficult to remove. It really is that simple.

The Best Steam Mops – Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Shark Klik n' Flip
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Shark Klik n’ Flip Smartronic Deluxe Steam Mop
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  • Tank capacity: 0.38 litres
  • Heat up time: 30 seconds
  • Runtime: 11 minutes
Best for Hard Floors: KARCHER FC5
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KARCHER FC5 Hard Floor Cleaner
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  • Tank capacity: 0.4 litres
  • Heat up time: N/A
  • Runtime: N/A
Best For Carpets: BISSELL CrossWave
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BISSELL CrossWave 3-in-1 Multi-Surface Cleaner
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  • Tank capacity: 0.8 litres
  • Heat up time: 30 seconds
  • Runtime: N/A

Best Handheld and Portable Steam Cleaners

Keeping a household clean and tidy can become a draining task, especially if you have youngsters or cuddly pets to clear up after. Using detergents to keep your home spick and span is expensive to maintain, so considering other ways to clean is definitely worthwhile.

Steam mops are great alternatives to using harsh chemicals to cleanse your home. They are effective and safe to use on sensitive materials like lino, wood and marble and can even be used on a variety of different household items like garments, glass and grout.

Steam mops are fairly affordable and are able to remove bacteria and foul odours from carpets and upholstery with ease, which is especially handy if you have pets. Though steam mops are great for larger surface areas like floors, they are also effective on smaller appliances like cookers, showers and on work surfaces. Many steam mops can be converted into handheld devices to target those difficult-to-reach areas. But which ones are worth spending money on?

Here we have reviewed the top handheld steam mops based on weight, effectiveness and ease of use.

H2O HD Steam Cleaner

Versatile, with the ability to clean hard floors, carpets, windows, glass and your oven or cooker, this H2O steam cleaner is ideal for those hectic homes.

It converts from upright to handheld with the flip of a switch so that you can cover the house with no hassle. It heats up in just seconds, and the 360° head makes manoeuvering it all a bit easier. When combined with the easy digital steam control, so your needs are catered for.

When storing, the foldable handle makes it more compact. It is also lightweight, so easy to carry and move from room to room in ready for the big Spring clean. A long 6m power cable will help you cover the full room without any limitations or extension cable needs.

Bacteria and viruses are eliminated with the powerful 1500W steam jet power, creating a cleaner and more hygienic atmosphere. This is all without the need for detergents and chemicals, which not only helps your home but also your bank balance.

The hard floor types are marble, ceramic, carpet, stone, linoleum, sealed hardwood and parquet floors, which should cover you. Using filtered water is best to reduce limescale, although it is suitable to use tap water. You can see how much is remaining in the tank which is handy so you aren’t disturbed and have to stop halfway through.

We like

  • Quick heat up
  • Large mop head

We disike

  • Water container is a bit fiddly to fill
  • Leaves a bit of water behind on floor

Final Verdict

Multi use and easy to adapt, this makes this a great product by a rising name in the steam mop world

+ Specifications

  • Dimensions: 125 x 32 x 28 cm
  • Capacity: 450ml

Russell Hobbs RHSM1001

Effective and affordable, this Russell Hobbs offering is incredibly efficient at coping with those quick scoots over the flooring to remove any spills or disinfect the area. There is an 8-metre power cord, which is a lot more generous than a lot of the others on the market and great if you have large areas to cover. It is lightweight, and the 360-degree swivel head will help you tackle all of those corners and edges.

Great for pet owners and households with any young children, the steam will kill up to 99.9% of bacteria. It will soon become one of your most-used appliances in the bathroom, kitchen and entrance hallway.

It is a simple set-up, and even though there is no boost button, for a constant supply of steam which won’t soak your floor it is a steal.

We like

  • Price
  • Slimline

We disike

  • Leaves some streaks

Final Verdict

Cheap and cheerful, but without sacrificing quality and good work

+ Specifications

  • Tank capacity: 0.3 litres
  • Heat up time: 15 seconds
  • Runtime: 15 minutes

+ Downloads

Russell Hobbs RHSM1001 Steam and Clean Steam Mop User Manual

Download

KARCHER FC5 Hard Floor Cleaner

Sometimes, getting a hard floor clean means sweeping or vacuuming it all before getting out the mop and bucket, or steam cleaner if you are lucky. This Kärcher model vacuums and steams in one, using SmartRoller technology. No need for exerting yourself any more than the minimum required. It will also remove any excess water, ensuring your floors are dry after just a few minutes so everything can get back to normal. It seems to push itself along without much need for pushing it, so if you have a large area to cover it shouldn’t be problematic.

The only problem with there being a ‘vacuum’ aspect too is that it can get a bit clogged up, just like an ordinary vacuum. An ordinary steam mop would just push this to be collected at another date. As long as you clean the space thoroughly before you use it, this should not cause any huge problems.

We like

  • Rollers are machine washable
  • Fresh water tank can be filled under tap

We disike

  • Could clog up if not maintained

Final Verdict

Brilliant for using across all hard floors, there will be no marks or crumbs left behind at all. Great if you vacuum and it is as bad as ever two minutes later.

+ Specifications

  • Tank capacity: 0.4 litres
  • Heat up time: N/A
  • Runtime: N/A

Shark Klik n’ Flip Smartronic Deluxe Steam Mop

Able to tackle the most stubborn mess and stains, this steam cleaner from Shark is incredibly efficient at its job.

The Klik n’ Flip name comes from the ease of turning over the Dirt Grip cleaning pad. Designed to be touch-free, all you need to do is flip it over to get even more out of it in one go. Once you are done, the pad can be removed and washed in the washing machine which helps you cut down on waste and the cost of buying a new one with each clean.

For any hard to remove stains, just give it a quick blast with the concentrated, superheated steam nozzle. The head can be flipped back into place to wipe afterwards. There are three steam settings for use across all types of hard floor, whether it be wood or tile.
Up to 99.9% of all bacteria is removed, which is fabulous for any allergy sufferers or homes with little ones around.

We like

  • Pads absorb water well for quick drying time
  • Jet steam is powerful

We disike

  • No on/off switch, has to be done from the mains

Final Verdict

A very efficient steam mop which can be used across all hard floors, making it great value for money

+ Specifications

  • Tank capacity: 0.38 litres
  • Heat up time: 30 seconds
  • Runtime: 11 minutes

Shark S3255UK Lite

The benefits of thorough cleaning with no chemicals required, 99.9% of bacteria can be removed from hard flooring.

A height adjustable handle and swivel head makes it easier to manoeuvre and adjust to make it all a comfortable experience and reach right into the corners and edge of your home. If you have any particularly ground-in stains, the steam blaster mode can remove them with no extra effort from you.

The heat pads which are included are really effective in picking up all the dirt and locking it in, so you won’t just be spreading it about your floor. They are machine washable, so there are no extra costs involved when concerning replacement pads and detergents.

To release the steam, you must pump the handle which can prove difficult until you get used to it, and this could be made easier if there was a button to press instead.

We like

  • Doesn’t leak water
  • Lightweight and easy to control
  • Easy to set up

We disike

  • Difficult method for releasing steam
  • Doesn’t sit up unless leaned against something

Final Verdict

Not the most simple to use, but a powerful steam mop from a well-loved brand

+ Specifications

  • Cord length: 6m
  • Steam flow rate: 18mg/s Overheat safety protection
  • Water capacity: 0.25L

+ Downloads

Shark S3255UK Lite User Manual

Download

Bissell Steam Shot 2635e

So while it’s not a steam mop, we couldn’t resist adding this one in here as it’s a great alternative product.

The Bissell Steam Shots are compact handheld steamers, perfect for using around the home. This newest model comes with 9 attachments enabling you to clean anything, anywhere, including a window squeegee. It’s easy to use and lightweight, but it can be tricky to use for any extended amount of time thanks to the position of the trigger, which can hurt your thumb after a while.

With a steam time of around eight minutes, the Bissell Steam Shot is powerful and definitely worthwhile. It’s lightweight and easy to use, making it one of the best handheld steam devices around.

We like

  • Effective for household cleaning
  • Convenient
  • Attachments are easy to use
  • Lightweight

We disike

  • Awkwardly placed trigger button
  • Only suitable for light-medium duty tasks

Final Verdict

It’s not quite a steam mop but you can tackle most of the house with the Steam Shot, meaning you don’t need to resort to bleach or chemicals.

+ Specifications

  • Tank capacity: 0.36 litres
  • Runtime: 8 minutes
  • Power: 1050W

+ Downloads

Bissell Steam Shot user manual

Download

H20 X5 Steam Cleaner

This is an impressive 5-in-1 multi-purpose steam mop. It can be used on floors, carpets, glass and windows, garments and fabric. It can become a handheld steamer to clear harder-to-reach areas, like grout and ovens.

The X5 steam cleaner doesn’t use any harsh detergents or chemicals, so it cleans just using steam. It can eliminate dust mites and bed bugs, keeping your house smelling fresh and spotless and free of irritating allergens. It has a cleverly designed mop head (360 degrees swivel) so it can reach tucked away corners and narrow gaps.

Overall this is a very good all-round steam cleaner for keeping your house spotless and beating lingering odours.

We like

  • Versatile
  • Flexible mop head
  • 30 minutes of run time

We disike

  • It has a small tank so need to refill often
  • It can have moments of being unreliable
  • No automatic shut-off valve

Final Verdict

We think the H2O Steam cleaner is practical, great value for money and would happily have one of these around the house. The reliability issues may be a turn-off for some.

+ Specifications

  • Tank capacity: 0.4 litres
  • Runtime: 30 minutes

+ Downloads

H2O X5 user manual

Download

Morphy Richards 720020 Steam Cleaner

The Morphy Richards 720020 is an impressive 9-in-1 cleaner. This multi-purpose steam cleaner is powerful and effective for basic household dust and bacteria. The 720020 is versatile as it can be used as an upright cleaner or a handheld steamer for those hard-to-reach places and smaller appliances like ovens and showers.

It can be used for a lot of different surfaces like floors, carpets and windows, making it a great steam cleaner for any home. One thing missing from the 720020 is variable steam settings, which doesn’t give much control for the user.

We like

  • Versatile (9-in-1)
  • Can stand by itself as an upright cleaner
  • Easy to manoeuvre
  • Not much water residue

We disike

  • A little heavy to use at times
  • Microfibre cloths can be tricky to attach

Final Verdict

The feature-packed Morphy Richards Steam Cleaner makes this the heaviest portable steam mop we tested, but this is more than compensated for by the ease of manoeuvrability once on the floor.

+ Specifications

  • Tank capacity: 0.4 litres
  • Heat up time: 30 seconds
  • Runtime: 14 minutes

+ Downloads

Morphy Richards 720020 user manual

Download

Kärcher SC1

The Kärcher SC1 is a 2-in-1 steam cleaner that is versatile and can kill up to 99.9% of all common household bacteria. The Kärcher SC1 is lightweight and good value for money, whether being used as a simple steam mop or a smaller handheld steam mop.

A handy feature of this steam cleaner is that the water tank is pretty small, so it is easy to fill it up under the sink. The other side to this is that the tank needs to be filled up often, which can be a drawback. It can also take a little while to heat up, taking around 3 minutes.

We like

  • Three different steam modes
  • Comes with safety valve
  • Versatile
  • Simple and practical
  • Ultra lightweight

We disike

  • Small water tank so needs frequent refilling
  • Takes a while to heat up

Final Verdict

A great product from a reliable household name. A solid purchase and a great addition to your household cleaning arsenal if you don't mind the few extra seconds taken to heat up.

+ Specifications

  • Tank capacity: 0.2 litres
  • Heating up time: 3 minutes
  • Runtime: 7 minutes

+ Downloads

Kärcher SC1 user manual

Download

Handheld steamers are a great way to target those hard-to-reach places that usually get neglected. They are compact and easy to use, offering powerful cleansing without using harsh chemicals and detergents.

A great steam mop or handheld steamer offers quality results with minimal effort, helping you to maintain a beautiful home every day.

Steam Cleaner for Carpets

Staying on top of everyday housework isn’t always the most exciting of tasks, unless like us you find cleaning therapeutic. With all kinds of different surfaces to clean, it can be hard to find an appliance that will work for everything.

One of the biggest offenders in the ‘hard to clean’ department is carpets, especially if you have pets and young ones. Carpets can harbour lots of bacteria, breed dust mites and hold on to tough odours that can be difficult to eradicate without using a professional carpet cleaner. We’re sure everyone has heard of the cleaning power of a steam mop for hard floors, but did you know the benefits of using a steam mop on your carpets?

Using a steam mop on carpets can rid your floors of offensive odours, bacteria and dust mites without having to bust out the professionals once a year. Most are lightweight and easy to use, making your life so much easier when it comes to steam housework. But how do you know which one offers the best power for your money? Here we have reviewed the top steam cleaners for carpets based on effectiveness and ease of use to help you make the right decision.

BISSELL CrossWave 3-in-1 Multi-Surface Cleaner

You love using your steam mop, but it just pushes around a lot of the crumbs which your vacuum neglected, and then leaves the floor so wet that you can’t walk on it for ages.

This 3-in-1 solves all of your cleaning conundrums. It will wash, vacuum and dry all of your hard floors, from sealed wood to tiles and laminate. As a bonus, you can also scoot it over your low-pile carpets or rugs, too – just press the appropriate button.
There is a little storage tray which you can keep the machine in, which also acts as a cleaning device. Simply fill with water and turn the machine on and the water will be absorbed with the spinning brush. You can also store and spare heads in the dedicated holder.

A separate dirty water tank will ensure that you only clean with fresh water and detergent. Whether you have a pack of hounds or a particular messy family, this device can clean throughout your home and remove dirt you didn’t even know was there.

We like

  • All in one cleaning power
  • Can go across different floor types
  • Large capacity

We disike

  • Is on the noisier side

Final Verdict

It is a little bit pricey, but for the control, capacity and power, you won't be wasting your money

+ Specifications

  • Tank capacity: 0.8 litres
  • Heat up time: 30 seconds
  • Runtime: N/A

+ Downloads

Bissell Crosswave User Manual

Download

VYTRONIX STM01

For the price, this steam mop offers a lot for the money. With a huge 10 piece accessory kit, you have everything you need to clean your floors, kitchen, bathroom, upholstery and windows.

It takes just 25 seconds to heat up and can last for 25 minutes-worth of steam time. The strength of the steam is adjustable to suit the job, and a removable handheld section makes cleaning those small and hard to reach places a lot easier.

Lightweight and mobile, it is easy to take around the house with you wherever you need it. The angular mop head makes reaching corners and edges simple, and due to its versatility, it would be the perfect model for households with kids and pets.

The water tank capacity is also slightly larger than a lot of other models which means more cleaning can be done without stopping to refill – handy if you’re on a roll.

We like

  • Easy to handle
  • Simple to fill
  • Price

We disike

  • Attachments are a bit fiddly to switch

Final Verdict

A substantial, effective steam mop for the price - not the most effective but great for those spontaneous steams

+ Specifications

  • Weight: 2.6kg
  • Cord length: 6m
  • Water tank capacity: 450ml

Vileda Steam Mop

With a dedicated carpet glider for refreshing your living areas, this Vileda model is perfect for all of the floor steaming requirements around your home.

It can heat up in only 15 seconds, ready to kill 99.9% of bacteria with no need for chemicals and detergents. Easy to lift and manoeuvre, it can be taken all around the home, with no need to worry about stairs or obstacles.

It is suitable for use on hard sealed floors, as well as on both laminate and wood flooring, so you don’t have to worry about the surface of your room. The variable steam strength options will tackle a range of stains, no matter how tough.

If you are looking to make the switch to a steam mop from an ordinary mop and bucket, this is an affordable option with great cleaning power for the price. You won’t regret the change.

We like

  • Carpet glider fitting
  • Long handle and slimline design for easy control
  • Stands up vertically by itself

We disike

  • Carpet fitting can come off easily

Final Verdict

A great product for those entering the steam mop world, or those who need a new one with loads of benefits

+ Specifications

  • Weight: 2.5kg
  • Water tank: 400ml
  • Cable: 6m

+ Downloads

Vileda Steam Mop User Manual

Download

Vax Steam Fresh Combi S86-SF-C

The Vax Steam Fresh Combi is a great 2-in-1 steam mop that is lightweight and manoeuvrable. The Vax works with detergent so can cut through tough grime and grease easily, especially on carpets.

The Vax Steam Fresh Combi comes with lots of handy attachments to help clear stubborn stains and is very effective when used as a handheld. It has two separate tanks, one for detergent and the other for water. These are very easy to remove and refill, giving you more time to focus on cleaning.

This steam mop is multifunctional and can be used on so much more than just carpets. It’s suitable for sealed hardwood flooring, tiles, grout, showers, windows and lots more.

We like

  • Can be used as a handheld
  • Comes with lots of attachments
  • Very effective on stains and stubborn dirt

We disike

  • Can’t change the steam settings
  • Handheld can be a little heavy
  • Small water tank, so has to be refilled often

Final Verdict

A powerful cleaning tool, but you’ll have to refill frequently

+ Specifications

  • Tank capacity: 0.5 litres
  • Heat-up time: 20 seconds
  • Runtime: 12 minutes

+ Downloads

Vax Steam Fresh Combi S86-SF-C user manual

Download

So there you have it, our top five best steam cleaners for carpets. Although steam cleaners are effective at cutting through tough dirt, odours and stains, other cleaning appliances are also necessary to keep your home fresh and clean.

Always hoover carpets before using a steam cleaner, unless you are using a model that both steams and cleans like the Bissell Vac & Steam. Opting for a steam mop to freshen and clear your carpets will inevitably cut down time spent cleaning and will minimise the need for a professional carpet cleaner.

Steam Mop Buying Guide

The Benefits of Switching to a Steam Mop

  • Versatility – steam cleaners are great for cleaning so many different surfaces. They are suitable for cleaning carpets, ceramic, grout, sealed hardwood flooring, lino, marble, bedding and upholstery
  • Cut out drying time – gone are the days of waiting on soggy floors to dry after mopping. With a steam mop there is minimal residue left on the floor, meaning you can get on with more important things
  • Maintenance – the running costs of using a steam mop are low, depending on the type of mop you have. Many come with two reusable mop heads that can be popped in the washing machine. It is advised to wash mop pads immediately after using them and ensure they dry properly. Otherwise mildew can set in and they will have to be replaced
  • Save money – making the switch to steam cleaners is a great way to save money because it cuts the cost of detergents, bleach and sprays for cleaning, which are usually the most expensive items
  • Eco-friendly – by using just water to cleanse your home, steam cleaners are eco-friendly and efficient, making it easier and more enjoyable

Before Making your Choice

Do Your Research

If you are considering buying a steam-cleaner for your home and have never owned one before, then it is really important to do your research. Find out what steam cleaners are out there and what kind of features they have. Do you want a regular cylinder steam cleaners, a handheld or even a multi-purpose mop that is a 2-in-1?

Corded or Cordless?

Even though this seems like a minor point, it is so important to think about cord length when buying a steam mop. Are you planning to clean hard-to-reach places far from any plug sockets? If you are, then it is best to look for a cordless steam mop or one with a longer cord. You want to make your mop as portable as possible.

Flexibility

If you want to use a steam cleaner for your floors and carpets then you may not need to worry about this part. But if you are planning for multi-purpose use then it is important to look for a flexible mop head and nozzle attachment to help you reach into corners and awkward-to-clean areas of your home.

Self Standing

To make life a little easier, it may be worthwhile getting a steam mop that can stand upright by itself. A surprising amount of steam cleaners are lacking this fundamental feature, so make sure you double check.

Water Tank Capacity

The bigger the water tank, the longer you can steam for. But that comes at a price. Bigger water tanks also mean more weight and less portability, so it’s definitely something to take into consideration.

Detergent

Although steam cleaning is known for being chemical-free, using steam alone sometimes just isn’t enough. To clean more stubborn and ground-in stains, it may be worthwhile opting for a mop that uses detergent. Just keep in mind that detergent will be an added and ongoing cost.

Accessories

Deciding what accessories you will need for your steam mop all depends on the kind of cleansing you want to accomplish around your home. To clean carpets you will need a carpet glider, but to clean grout you will need a grout brush and an extension nozzle. If you are looking for versatility then it is probably worth getting a steam mop with a selection of accessories to try out. Remember, you can always buy extra accessories in the future.

So what accessories do steam cleaners usually come with?

  • Squeegee – to clean glass
  • Scrubbing brushes – to remove dirt and grime from grout and in between tiles
  • Carpet glider – to refresh carpets
  • Cleaning pads – to clean surfaces
  • Upholstery tool – to treat stains and refresh fabric easily
  • Scrubbing pad – to remove grease and buildup from ovens

Steam Heat Up Time

Heat-up-time can differ depending on the model and make of your steam cleaner. It can take anywhere between 20 seconds to 3 minutes before you are ready to start steam cleaning. Though this may not make a huge difference to some people, it’s still something to think about.

Run Time

This is the length of time your steam cleaner can run for before needing to be filled up with water. Again this depends on the type of mop you have and it is important to consider this before you buy.

FAQs

Why use a steam mop?

They are simple and easy to use and can get into hidden spots around your home. They also kill up to 99.9% of bacteria and can be good for those with allergies. The cleansing power of the steam is very good and is totally natural so you don’t need to worry about buying detergents and harmful chemicals.

What are the benefits of using a steam mop?

Because most steam cleaners only use water to clean, they are eco-friendly and safe to use on an abundance of different surfaces and materials. They also kill around 99.9% of germs, bacteria and dust, keeping your home spotless and reducing allergens.

Can they be used on all kinds of surfaces?

No, some steam cleaners are better suited for certain surfaces or materials. For example, the Bissell Vac & Steam will only really be useful on carpets, whereas another model will be better for hardwood floors. If you are unsure, always test a small section of the surface you wish to cleanse before using. Steam cleaners are not all the same temperature, so it is a good idea to know how hot yours will be and whether it has a variable steam level. Always follow the instructions and user manuals for your steam mop to avoid damage on certain surfaces.

Do I have to keep buying new cleaning pads every time I use my steam mop?

This really depends on the model and make of your mop. Some, like the X5, come with reusable mop pads so these can easily be removed and washed after use. Others use disposable mop pads so you will have to buy new ones every time.

Can you use detergent with steam cleaners?

Some steam cleaners work along with detergent for heavy duty cleaning. But the majority of them work with just steam. Check the mop’s features before you buy as detergents can be pretty expensive, depending on the model.