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 Handheld Steam Cleaner: Shark S3901 Professional
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Shark S3901 Professional Steam Pocket Mop
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  • Tank capacity: 0.3 litres
  • Heat up time: 30 seconds
  • Runtime: 10 minutes
Best Steam Cleaner for Carpets: Bissell Vac Steam
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Bissell Vac & Steam
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  • Tank capacity: 4 litres
  • Steam Heat up time: 30 seconds
  • Runtime: 15 minutes
Morphy Richards 720020 Steam Cleaner
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Morphy Richards 720020 Steam Cleaner
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  • Tank capacity: 0.4 litres
  • Heat up time: 30 seconds
  • Runtime: 14 minutes

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.

Shark S3901 Professional Steam Pocket Mop

The Shark S3901 is a lightweight steam cleaner that includes a detachable handheld steamer, perfect for keeping up with day-to-day household grime and dust. It heats up very quickly and can run for up to 10 minutes.

Although the Shark does have three steam settings, it lacks power at times, highlighting its inability to remove tough, dried-in stains. However, it is easy to use and very convenient, giving you more control and versatility. The Shark S3901 has been well thought-out in its design, from the long cord to its wide mop head.

The Shark S3901 Lift-Away Professional Steam Pocket Mop comes with a range of different attachments, like a direct steam nozzle, accessory hose, window squeegee and a flat scrubber.

We like

  • Three different steam settings
  • Comes with double-sided microfibre cloths
  • Easy to use as handheld device
  • Lightweight

We disike

  • Difficulty with greasy or dried-in stains
  • Only 10 minutes of runtime
  • Doesn’t stand upright by itself

Final Verdict

Buy. Great value for money combined with portability and effectiveness make the Shark our overall favourite pick of the handheld steam mops.

+ Specifications

  • Tank capacity: 0.3 litres
  • Heat up time: 30 seconds
  • Runtime: 10 minutes

+ Downloads

Shark S3901 Professional Steam Pocket Mop user manual

Download

Bissell Steam Shot

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 Shot is a compact handheld steamer that is perfect for using around the home. It comes with a load of attachments enabling you to cleanse anything, anywhere. 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

+ Downloads

Bissell Steam Shot user manual

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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

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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 Vac & Steam

The Bissell Vac and Steam does exactly what it says on the tin. It is a vacuum and a steam mop all rolled into one compact product. The Bissell Vac and Steam is about as advanced as steam cleaners can get, making it the best model for those stubborn stains and smelly odours trapped in your carpet.

It has some impressive features, like the dry tank feature keeping all of the dirt in the dustbin dry and making it a lot easier to clean. It also comes with a 4 litre water tank, so it can keep going for a very long time. You can vacuum and steam concurrently, cutting down the time you spend cleaning.

The only real downside to the Bissell Vac and Steam is its weight. Weighing in at a huge 4.6kg, it’s obviously a lot heavier than the usual steam cleaners. But with this kind of cleaning power, it gives your carpet a deep-clean with ease.

We like

  • Huge water tank
  • Can steam and vacuum at the same time
  • Doesn’t use detergent
  • Compact

We disike

  • Heavier than other steam cleaners
  • Cylinder needs to be emptied often
  • Doesn’t get into small areas

Final Verdict

Buy. The Vac and Steam is reliable, heats up quickly and does a thorough job on your carpets and hard floors without the need for detergent or vacuuming your floor beforehand.

+ Specifications

  • Tank capacity: 4 litres
  • Steam Heat up time: 30 seconds
  • Runtime: 15 minutes

+ Downloads

Bissell Vac & Steam 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

Morphy Richards 720025 Steam Cleaner

The Morphy Richards 720025 Total-Clean Pets Steam Mop is an effective cleaner for your carpets. This steam mop is actually designed with pet owners in mind, effectively eradicating lingering pet odours, dust and fur from carpets and soft furnishings.

The Morphy Richards comes with extra absorbent microfibre cloths to help cleanse pet messes quickly and easily, even on carpets. It has a triangular mop head and is good at reaching corners and refreshing carpets. One downside is the lack of tool attachment to the mop itself.

It can be transformed into a handheld device with a selection of different attachments, but you can’t put them onto the mop while cleaning. However, it is very lightweight and effective for use on carpets.

We like

  • Perfect for pet owners
  • Extra absorbent cloths
  • Lightweight
  • Can run for 14 minutes

We disike

  • No tool attachment to mop
  • Steam settings are not variable
  • Tricky to assemble
  • Can be noisy with some attachments

Final Verdict

An affordable pet owner’s mop which can be used for just about every surface, but things might get wet!

+ Specifications

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

+ Downloads

Morphy Richards 720025 user manual

Download

INLIFE Swivel

The INLIFE Swivel is a safe and efficient steam cleaner for targeting household carpets. With its 360 degree turning ability and swivel mop head, it is great for flexibility and getting into tight spots.

The INLIFE Swivel has adjustable steam settings, giving you more control. On its highest setting it reaches 165 degrees celsius, so it can cut through dirt and grime easily, beating tough odours and eradicating dust mites. This steam cleaner is great for carpets because it doesn’t leave much water behind.

It’s good for use on all kinds of flooring too, like tile, wood, vinyl and laminate floors, and can be used directly on bedding and rugs.

We like

  • Can be used on a variety of floor types
  • Efficient for removing grime and dirt
  • Swivel mop head and 360 degree turning ability
  • Lightweight
  • No water residue left on carpets

We disike

  • Mop head doesn’t have a big surface area
  • No cooling equipment
  • More expensive than others in same category

Final Verdict

A practical, effective and versatile solution which is easy to use.

+ Specifications

  • Tank capacity: 0.45 litres
  • Heat-up time: 15 seconds

Vax S7

The Vax S7 is a fantastic all-rounder, and one of the best when it comes to cleaning carpets. It is flexible, easy to manoeuvre and the angular head means you can clear those hard-to-reach places easily. It can be used for far more than just steaming carpets too.

The Vax S7 total home master multifunction steam mop is safe and effective for cleaning tiles, windows, mirrors and even delicate fabrics like toys and clothes. It’s fast to heat up (taking around 20 seconds) and can steam for up to 15 minutes.

Don’t let the price tag put you off – it may seem cheap at first, but in this case low cost certainly doesn’t mean low quality. We found the Vax to be better than some of the mops we tried at over  twice the cost (at the time of writing the S7 was under £50 but please check the button below for the latest price)

We like

  • Quick to heat up to steam
  • Flexible
  • Multi-use
  • Affordable, great value for money

We disike

  • Not much steam time per tank
  • A little tricky to assemble
  • No variable steam function

Final Verdict

A quality, reliable all-rounder with an affordable price tag.

+ Specifications

  • Tank capacity: 0.33 litres
  • Heat-up time: 20 seconds
  • Runtime: 15 minutes

+ Downloads

Vax S7 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.