What is the best steam cleaner or mop?

Shark steam mopSteam mops and cleaners have grown in popularity in recent years and there continues to be new innovations and new models regularly launched. So what is so great about using a steam cleaner?

  • High temperature steam is used to clean floors and surfaces rather than water and cleaning products. This is generally more effective and also has the added benefit of killing bacteria
  • No need to use other cleaning products so cheaper in the long run
  • They are safe to use on a variety of surfaces including various floors, upholstery and even clothing
  • They can also be used to clean kitchen ovens and grills, BBQs and tiled surfaces.

Use our handy guide below to ensure you get one of the best floor steamers for you.

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Best selling floor steam cleaner and mop comparison guide

ImageMake & ModelRemovable handheld steamerRetail priceLatest price
Vax S7 steam cleaner_TBVax S7Yes£59.99Click here
Karcher SC3Karcher SC3Yes£159.99Click here
Vax S2S-1Vax S2S-1No£50.00Click here
Vax 15-in-1 Steam Fresh Combi_TBVax 15-in-1 Steam Fresh Combi (S86-SF-C)Yes£129.99Click here
Shark Multifunction LiteShark Multifunction Lite (S2901UK)Yes£99.99Click here

Choosing the best steam cleaner or mop

The term “steam cleaner” and “steam mop” are often used interchangeably but although they both have the same technology, there are some fundamental differences. Basically, steam cleaners and mops can be categorised into three main types:

  1. Handheld steam cleaners – these are typically lower priced and smaller units that are used primarily to clean smaller surfaces areas and items such as grills, tiles and BBQs. Typically, you would not buy one of these for floor cleaning alone.
  2. 2-in-1 steam cleaner and mopSteam mops – basic steam mops are designed for cleaning sealed hard floor surfaces, such as wood, laminate, lino or tile. Some of the best steam mops also come with a carpet “glider” attachment that allows you to “refresh” carpets when steam cleaning. This does not replace a carpet cleaner but does a decent job of making them look revitalised. Steam mops are often available cheaper than a steam cleaner/mop unit.
  3. Steam cleaners – these are generally 2-in-1 units that feature a steam mop with detachable handheld unit (both mop and cleaner share the same steam generator). This is great because you can clean different floor surfaces with the added benefit of having the detachable unit for more portable and detailed steam cleaning (such as tile grout, ovens or upholstery). Steam cleaners will often come with a wide variety of attachments such as different steam nozzle sizes and special fittings for upholstery, oven or even steam cleaner attachments for grout cleaning.


Each of the three types offer their own pros and cons. For floor cleaning, avoid the standalone handheld cleaner and look for a steam mop or 2-in-1 steam mop/cleaner combination as these will offer the best value in the longer term.

Features to consider when buying a steam cleaner or mop

There are many different features to compare when researching, below are the main ones to look out for:

  1. Morphy Richards 9 in 1 steam cleaner water tankWater tanks – all steam mops or cleaners need to be filled with water to generate the steam. This is normally done by removing and filling a small plastic container. Most models have tanks that are between 400-500ml so make sure the steam cleaners or mops you compare have a specification similar to this.
  2. Heating time – the cleaner or mop need to heat the water once filled. The heating time varies depending on the water tank size (how much water to heat) and heater power. For steam mops, the typical time to heat is between 30 seconds and 1 minute.
  3. Steaming time – once you are ready to go with steam then another important factor is the actual time you will have to steam clean before you have to stop and refill. Most steam mops will provide you with 10 to 15 minutes steaming time before you have to return to the sink. Some models offer up to 20 minutes cleaning time which provides decent cleaning time between fill ups.
  4. Vax S7 steam 2-in-1 accessoriesAttachments & tools – most steam mops and cleaners come with attachments that can be used for a variety of applications and surfaces. Makes sure the model you choose has at least some attachments so you have the flexibility at a later date (even though you will probably end up not using some attachments!). Common accessories include extension nozzles and attachments for upholstery, garment cleaning, worktops and window cleaning. Also included with some models are brushes and angled jet nozzles for cleaning kitchen appliances and difficult to access surfaces. Look out for “2-in-1” steam cleaner/mops – these are models that are steam mops but have a detachable steam unit so can be used as a handheld device.
  5. Weight – as with other home cleaning appliances such as vacuum cleaners, the weight of the steam mop or cleaner can be important. Steam mops are relatively light, between 2-3kg, but you have to add the filled water tank weight on top of this; so the bigger the tank , the heavier the unit will become. If you plan on using the steam mop frequently or you may have difficult handling a heavy unit then it may be a better option to choose a lighter weight model.
  6. Using a steam mop to clean tiled floorsType of steam mop head – two things are important regarding the steam mop head. The first is the size and manoeuvrability of the mop head. Smaller mop heads will be able to fit into tighter spaces. Some models also have a swivelling head and are great for getting under furniture (some models have handles that lay flat in use) and up against skirting boards or kitchen plinths. The second point to check is what type of cover is on the mop head. Two common covers are used – disposable ones are easier to use but mean you have to keep buying, whereas re-usable covers can save you money in the long run.


Karcher steam cleaner reviews


Karcher SC3 All-In-One Review

Karcher SC3Top Features
Automatic Descaling System: The descaling system makes this steamer ideal when it comes to limescale and hard water stains.

Compact: The SC3 is very small and compact and easy to take around the house with you. It is not a big clunky product that you have to drag in tow.

Quick Heat Up: This steamer heats up remarkably fast. In just 30 seconds it is steaming and ready to use, making cleaning all the more faster.


The biggest advantage of this steamer is that you are able to kill 99.9% of bacteria in your home without having to use harsh chemicals. All you need is water and you’re ready to go.


The disadvantage, if you could call it that, is that this steamer only holds 1 litre of water. But in the big picture, this is still a lot for a steamer. Plus, it is super easy to refill.

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Karcher SC1 Review

Top Features
Karcher SC1High Pressure: This hand-held steamer produces 3 bars of pressure. Water heats up within 3 minutes allowing you to clean your home much faster.
Compact Design: The Karcher SC1 is constructed with sturdy and lightweight materials which result into a compact model. On the handle you’ll find a simple on and off button which allows you to control the steam volume much easier.
Multiple Accessories: The SC1 comes with multiple accessories which provide a seamless cleaning experience. These are hand cloth, floor nozzle round brush, detail nozzle, power nozzle, power brush and a storage bag.
Multiple Cleaning Applications: It eliminates the need to scrub floors or apply expensive chemicals. Steam power is enough to remove greasy stains from your floors and appliances. Karcher SC1 is a great companion when cleaning carpets and removing limescale and mould from tiles. This appliance allows you to perform quick cleaning in your home.

The main advantage of SC1 is that it cleans only with tap water. It also allows you to clean all places in your home from kitchens to bathrooms to living room floors. The SC1 comes with an array accessories which makes the whole cleaning process much easier. It delivers an exceptional amount of pressure and heats up faster. Steam release buttons, safety boiler caps and a child lock make it easier and safe to use.

One of the downsides is a stiff handle which makes it hard to clean small spaces. Refills are an inconvenience when cleaning large areas at once. The cable is also a bit shorter which has a negative impact on cleaning efficiency.

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Karcher SC2 Review

Top Features
Karcher SC2All-In-One Cleaner: The SC2 is another model from the Karcher series which allows you to clean your home without using chemicals. Its great for cleaning carpeted and tiled floors, mirrors, table surfaces and other appliances.
Ergonomic Design: It is designed with a lemellae floor tool which improves cleaning effectiveness. An adjustable steam control, on-board accessory technology and a child proof lock provide a safe and a seamless cleaning experience.
Cleaning Potential: The SC2 produces 3.2 bars of steam which allows you to remove dirt and stains much easier. This model claims to be capable of killing 99.99% of germs using heat, without chemicals. Its great in cleaning greasy surfaces especially ones found in your kitchen. The SC2 makes use of a nozzle and a round brush to clean your surfaces instantly. A large water tank allows you to clean areas up to 75 meters square.

This compact cleaner produces great pressure to leave surfaces spotless. It cleans multiple surfaces with safety and efficiency given the large water tank. Advanced accessories like specialist nozzles allow you to clean your home much faster.

Its not that durable especially when used daily. Another disadvantage is the storage since there are many cables and hoses attached to the cleaner.

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Vax steam cleaner and mop reviews


Vax S7 Total Home Master Review

Vax S7 steam cleanerTop Features
Angular Floor Head: The unique angular floor head makes it easier to get in those awkward crevices around your home without moving furniture.

Handheld on Demand: The S7 easily converts to a handheld unit so you can clean mirrors, countertops, windows, or whatever else without having to wave around a huge steamer.

Easy to Use: The S7 is also very easy to use, with minimal buttons and minimal maintenance. Just fill the tank and you’re ready to go.

This is a complete 16 piece kit with everything you could possibly need to give your house a good cleaning. An affordable and well rated model.


Sometimes when I use it, it takes a while for the steam to generate. But this is an easy fix, and if it really bothers you there is always a 2-year guarantee included with the steamer.

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Vax S2S-1 Hard Floor Pro Review

Top Features

Lightweight: The Vax S2S-1 is super lightweight, weighing only 2 kg. Which makes it super easy to operate and carry with you. It isn’t one that is going to wear you out as you use it.

Effective: Right on par with what you expect from Vax, this steamer kills 99.9% of bacteria for up to 7 days. That means you can rest easy knowing that you and your family are protected from illness causing bacteria.

Special Formulated Cleaning Solution: Vax has made its own, gentle but tough, special formulated cleaning solution. It works better than just regular steam, keeping your home cleaner longer.


This steamer has a quick warm up time of only 1 minute so that you can clean almost instantly. It also comes with everything you need. When you buy this steamer, you get the mop, detergent, a microfiber cleaning pad, a carpet glider, the specially formulated Vax steam detergent, and a guarantee card.


A possible drawback of this steamer is that it does not come with the cooling base. In my experience, however, this is not crucial and the mop works fine without it. But, if you want to purchase it, it can easily be purchased separately.

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Vax S86-SF-C Steam Fresh Combo Multifunction Steam Mop Review

Vax 15-in-1 Steam Fresh CombiTop Features
Angular Floor Head: The angular floor head of this mop makes it easier than ever to get in corners and glide around furniture. You don’t have to break your back trying to get every inch of your floor clean.

Scrub Brush: The built-in compact scrub brush helps lift away stubborn stains and dirt by agitating it and combining it with the power of steam.

Built In Handheld Steamer: The handheld steamer, which performs just as great as the upright mop, is perfect for any steaming you need to do above the ground. It works great on sinks, showers, tile, windows, mirrors, countertops, and more.


The best thing about this one is that you don’t have to do any scrubbing or real work yourself. It is a quick and effective solution to the backbreaking housework you’ve been doing for years.


The only disadvantage is that it can only hold .56 liters of water at a time. This isn’t too bad though since it is easy to refill and it will last you a lot longer than you would expect it to. One of our best buy recommendations.

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Shark steam cleaner and mop reviews

Shark Multifunction Lite Steam Pocket Mop (S2901) Review

Top Features

Swivel Steering: The ergonomic swivel steering of the S2901 makes cleaning a breeze. You don’t have to struggle to get around corners or break your back trying to get to those hard to reach places.

Removable Handheld Steam Cleaner: The removable handheld steamer makes spot cleaning possible as well. You can tackle smaller messes with the handheld units and messes all over the house. You can use it on toys, sheets, countertops, windows, anywhere that get dirty.

Works on All Surfaces: The S2901 works great on hard wood floors, obviously. But, it can also freshen and deodorise carpets with its carpet glider.

In my opinion, the biggest advantage of this one is that it is super lightweight and easy to carry around the house.


The only disadvantage of this steamer is that the bristles of the brush attachment are quite soft, whereas some people prefer them to be a little tougher and more wiry, but this is a matter of personal preference and does not affect the steamers performance.

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Choosing the best handheld steam cleaner

Hoover SSNH1000 attachmentsAs the name indicates, handheld steam cleaners should be light enough to hold. Generally handheld models come with nozzles and sprayers so that they can be used on a variety of areas in your house.

They are very cost-effective, as with one appliance you can clean almost anything right from your clothes to wardrobes to kitchens to bathrooms to windows. The uses of these cleaners are endless!

When looking at a handheld steamers, first and foremost, you should note that handheld steam cleaners should be purchased only if you are looking to clean small areas like grills, BBQs, tiles etc. Due to their compact size, they cannot be used to clean bigger areas. If you are looking to clean larger areas, you should consider buying steam mops or cleaners, but these are bigger and heavier (and more expensive).

Hoover SSNH1000 Steam Express Handheld Steam Cleaner Review

Hoover SSNH1000 handheld steam cleanerThe Hoover SSNH1000 is one of the best selling handheld steamers in the UK. This is a high pressure hand-held steam cleaner which uses the pressure of its steam to clean off stubborn grime.

This model from Hoover is one of the lightest models available in the market, which makes it easy to carry around. With this handheld unit, you can wipe off all traces of grime from oven tops, grills and other small areas. When you buy this, you also get a several accessories including nozzles, shovel plates, brushes and combs for better and effective cleaning.

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Vax S4 Grime Master Review

Vax S4Top Features
Lightweight and Compact Design: The Vax S4 is very light allowing you to clean windows, mirrors and other vertical surfaces. It also makes its storage much easier. This handheld design allows you to clean places that were hard to reach before.
Variable and Adequate Steam: This steam cleaner allows you to adjust the amount of steam with regard to the surface being cleaned. The Grime Master allows you to enjoy up to 10 minutes of steam power given the 260 ml water tank. It allows you to clean curtains as well with ease. The powerful steam helps in removing steam easily on different types of surfaces.
Accessories: A 7-piece accessory kit provides everything you need to clean your home. Vax include a brush, mattress/upholstery tool, concentration nozzle, cotton cloth, tile tool, pouring jug and an extension tool.

This is a compact and easy to use steam cleaner, offering a one hand operation. It comes with multiple attachments and a large capacity water tank which makes the cleaning process much easier. One great aspect is the inclusion of a very comprehensive manual.

Despite being hand held, this steam cleaner performs poorly when held at an angle because its heating element is found at the base. Placing it at an angle can result in gurgling and spitting.

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Bissell 2635S Steam Shot Review

Top Features
BISSELL 2635s Steam ShotErgonomic Design: The Bissell 2635S weighs only 2.3 kg plus it comes with a 4.8 m cable. As a result, its very portable and easy to use. This compactness allows you to clean up multiple surfaces without strain.
Tools: This model comes with up to six accessories which are provided to make the cleaning process much easier. They include an extension hose, a detail brush tool, a nozzle, a flat scrapping tool for removing sticky mess, a grout brush tool, fabric steamer tool, an angle concentrator and a window squeegee tool.
High Pressure and Reliable steam: It makes use of sturdy nozzles to deliver high pressure steam which removes greasy stains. A 360 ml water tank allows you to clean large surface areas. An indicator light is used to monitor the amount of steam.

A sizeable extension hose allows you to clean hard to reach places. Blasts of steam eliminate the need for chemicals and scrubbing.

Not recommended for large scale cleaning applications. The switch for the activation of the steam has been reported as occasionally faulty.

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Quest Handheld Cleaner Review

Top Features
Quest Handheld Steam CleanerPower: The Quest makes use of 100 watts to deliver steam at high pressure. Its very effective in removing stubborn dirt and killing bacteria. A powerful and hot steam makes way into greasy stains and food spills allowing you to clean kitchen surfaces and appliances much easier. A light is used to signal to the user when the steam is ready.
Accessories: It comes with multiple accessories which allows you to clean all places in your home. You can also clean clothes, curtains and upholstery around your home.
Large Tank Capacity: The Quest comes with a 250ml tank which helps in cleaning multiple surfaces and appliances in one go

The Quest is easy to use with a simple set up. It gets rid of greasy stains on appliances with a quick application and can easily remove limescale from your sink and draining board.

The lead is a bit short which makes its hard to clean places like your bathroom. The heating element takes up space which would have been used to hold more water.

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