Best steam cleaners for floors, appliances and upholstery

Leave your home fresh and clean with the best steam cleaners.

person steam cleaning the floor

by Bryony Firth-Bernard |
Updated on

A worthy upgrade to your bucket and mop, the best steam cleaners will provide a deep clean, removing stubborn stains as well as grease and grime. No doubt they'll leave your home looking spic, span and sparkling. Many steam cleaners kill up to 99.9 per cent of bacteria, and the best bit is that all they require is water — no cleaning solution or harsh chemicals. So, we've written a helpful buyer's guide on what makes the best, the best.

It's not just hard floors they clean, too, as many models come with different attachments so that you can steam clean just about every appliance and surface in your household, whether that be your cooker or your carpet. They're also ideal for disinfecting furnishings in your household that you can't clean as regularly, such as your curtains, sofa and mattress. You can get steam cleaners for clothes, upholstery and more.

Best steam cleaners at a glance:

Best all-around steam cleaner: Vax Steam Fresh Combi Multifunction Steam Cleaner - view on Argos
Best handheld steam cleaner: Beldray BEL0701TQN 10-in-1 - view on Amazon UK
Best window steam cleaner: Kärcher Window Vac WV5 Premium - view on Very

There's a whole host of steam cleaners to suit a range of budgets and different tasks, so we've found something for everyone. Do your windows look filthy? Well, consider a window steam cleaner to tackle any grime. Whether it be a steam cleaner for tiles or primed to tackle your grimy windows, we've found the best steam cleaners. You'll even spot some handheld portable steamers from brand favourites, including Shark, Vax and many more.

The best steam cleaners

Best steam cleaner for hard floors

Shark Klik n' Flip Automatic Steam Mop
Price: £118 (was £169.99)

If you need a steam cleaner specifically for the hard floors in your home, then this one from brand-favourite Shark delivers optimum results. For starters, the large cleaning pads are double-sided, meaning you can clean double the amount of flooring, and we love that you simply have to flip the floorhead back on itself to use the other side. As well as three different steam control modes, this steam mop also has a 'steam blaster mode' for any stubborn areas and heats up in around 30 seconds. The cord is six metres long, too, so you'll be able to cover a large area of flooring pretty easily.

Accessories included: two double-sided cleaning pads for floorhead

Customer Review: "Love this much better than my older Shark model. Different levels of steam are so handy for stubborn marks. Love how easy it is to put the pads on and take them off. No more struggling to pull them until the velcro catches."


  • Heats up quickly
  • Cleaning pads are machine washable


  • No indicator light to tell you when ready to use

Best all-around steam cleaner

Vax S86-SF-C Steam Fresh Combi Multifunction Steam Cleaner
Price: £80 (was £90)

Whether it's hard floors, carpets, windows or even your oven, the Vax S86-SF-C can really clean it all. It's why we think it's the best all-round steam cleaner. Other things we love about it is the fact it heats up in just 20 seconds (and gives you 15 minutes of steam time), has a detachable handheld cleaner, and a 10-piece tool kit for you to tackle every surface area in your home. The variable steam function allows you to tailor your steam power to the type of floor that you're cleaning and can leave surfaces clean and dry in just three minutes.

Accessories included: 250ml Vax steam detergent, microfibre pad x2, carpet glider, hose, metal brush, small plastic brush, large plastic brush, window tool, cloth, scraper tool, concentration tool, grout brush, detail nozzle, accessory bag

Customer review: "Very sturdy machine, heats up very quickly and does a great job of cleaning the floors. Found the handheld attachment very handy for cleaning the grout in the bathroom tiles. Also has a very long lead, so can clean a large area without unplugging it. My only negative is that it is a bit stiff when winding back onto the machine."


  • Extremely versatile — can be used on hard floors, carpets, windows and household appliances
  • Long lead allows you to clean decent surface area
  • Lightweight


  • Can be a little fiddly to fill up due to small fill hole

Best powerful steam cleaner

The Polti Vaporetto has the largest tank capacity in our roundup, this steam cleaner is ideal for deep cleaning. It has four different steam modes so that you can melt away even the toughest of dirt and bacteria, and there's an optional tank for detergent. Nine accessories accompany this steamer, which is stored neatly in the back compartment, so you can take care of every surface in your house, from hard floors to carpets, windows and cookers. When it comes to refilling it, you can remove the tank without waiting for the device to cool, so you may quickly continue your cleaning. 

As the tank is larger, it does take longer to heat up, but we think those two minutes is forgivable.

Accessories included: Floor brush, extension tubes, window cleaner, carpet head, microfibre cloths, small round brush x2, steam concentrator, spatula.

Customer Review: "This is a great all-round product. We have used it to clean upholstery, sanitise workstations, toilets, and even unblocking sinks in the bathroom. The product works well, just a really handy product to have in everyday home life."


  • Ideal for cleaning a multitude of surfaces
  • Powerful with a large tank, ideal for deep cleaning


  • Heaviest steam cleaner in our round-up

Best handheld steam cleaner

Beldray is a trusted brand in the world of household appliances. After all, they have been creating products for over 150 years.

This handheld steam cleaner is small but mighty. With 1000W of steaming power and a 250ml tank, one fill can give you 10 minutes of continuous cleaning. Not only can it clean an array of surfaces and items — from barbecues to ovens, cars, windows, toilets and much more — it can also be used on lots of different flooring too, including carpets. A whole host of accessories accompany this steamer to make all your steam cleaning dreams come true, including three round plastic brushes, a flexible hose, a mini mop head and more. Taking three minutes to heat up, this powerful little steam cleaner will leave your household appliances and floors looking spic and span in no time.

Accessories included: Water tank cap, general nozzle, flexible hose, mini mop head, window/mirror cleaner, mini mop head cloth, measuring jug, funnel and 3x plastic round brushes.

Customer Review: "I bought this a few weeks ago and am so happy that I did. Comes with lots of attachments, so can be used to clean a wide variety of items. Was particularly pleased that it removed a hot chocolate stain from the back seat of my car, which had been proving difficult to clean."


  • Great value for money
  • Lightweight


  • Takes a while to heat up

Best garment steam cleaner

A garment steam cleaner is a nifty piece of equipment to give clothes a little refresh and eliminate creases quickly. This one from Philips can get going in as little as 30 seconds, so there's no hanging about waiting for the iron to heat up, ideal if you're in a rush. The smooth steaming plate is even safe enough to be pressed up against even the most delicate of fabrics, such as silk, without the risk of burning. Its water tank is pretty small (after all, it is a handheld item), but this can be detached so you can easily refill it as and when you need to.

Accessories included: Water tank cap, general nozzle, flexible hose, mini mop head, window/mirror cleaner, mini mop head cloth, measuring jug, funnel and 3x plastic round brushes.

Customer Review: "I don't have much space for an iron board, so I usually used an iron on a couch or table. Got this as after using iron on curtains, it still had creases. Love it! Only thing I wish is that it was a bit lighter in weight. Heats up super quick, did not have any drips, please mind though the top gets hot, please be careful."


  • Quicker than using an iron, as it heats up in 30 seconds
  • Safe to use on all fabrics
  • Great for travelling


  • Takes longer to remove creases from larger garments

Best window steam cleaner

Karcher Winsow Vac WV5
Price: £69.99 (was £99.99)

This steam window cleaner from Karcher may be pricey, but it's definitely cheaper than paying a professional to do the job and a hell of a lot quicker than slogging at them yourself with a bucket and sponge.

Its rechargeable battery gives you a decent 35 minutes' worth of cleaning time, and you can even buy a replacement one, so you're always set to go. It comes with plenty of accessories, too, one of them being a smaller 170mm suction head so that you can really get into those hard-to-reach areas and a spray bottle and microfibre applicator, to apply detergent to your windows. Powerful, lightweight and suitable to use on tiles, mirrors and shower cabinets, this window steam cleaner will leave smooth surfaces streak-free and shiny in no time.

Accessories included: Suction nozzle, 280 mm, suction nozzle, 170mm, spray bottle and microfibre applicator, lithium-ion battery, battery charger

Customer Review: "I'm very very impressed with this piece of equipment, and I'm not easily impressed. My house isn't large, but it has a lot of windows in it and a big conservatory, so cleaning the windows is a real drag. I thought, sod this for a game of soldiers and put my hand in my pocket and bought one of these. It's lightweight and very simple to use. The bummer is that a task that has always taken me the better part of two and a half hours to complete inside and out took no more than 50 minutes. Gutted or what? But at the same time, so very chuffed to bits."


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use, saving time and money in the long run
  • Can be used on multiple smooth surfaces


  • The battery takes quite a while to recharge

Best lightweight steam cleaner

Weighing in at just under 2kg, the Black +Decker steam mop is ideal if you suffer from mobility issues, back pain or just fancy something that's easy to manoeuvre around the house. Ready to clean in 30 seconds and accompanied with eight accessories, this steam cleaner can assist with all your cleaning needs. It can convert to a handheld cleaner for smaller surface areas, like your cooker, bathroom and upholstery, while the carpet glider allows it to be used on your soft flooring too. 

Unlike some of the other steam cleaners we've listed, this one doesn't have any steam options, so you simply turn it on and off. However, for everything it does and its price, we think it's a pretty good buy.

Accessories included: x2 easy glide microfiber pads, x2 small brushes, 1 large brush, 1 gout brush, window squeegee; microfibre cover; carpet glider

Customer Review: "I bought this to replace my previous Black & Decker, which had sadly worn out. Can't praise these enough. With so many attachments, it cleans everything and everywhere. I've had Polti in the past, but these beat them hands down in price and ease of use."


  • Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre around the home
  • Can be used on a range of different surfaces
  • Affordable option for those on a budget


  • No steam controls

Best vacuum and steam cleaner

When it comes to steam cleaning your floor, it's important you give it a good hoover, and this one from BISSELL kills two birds with one stone. Its powerful cyclonic vacuum will suck up any debris, and then you simply touch the button on the front to switch over to steamer mode, it's really that simple.

Accessories included: Water filter, mop pads, scented discs

Customer Review: "Floors left clean and practically dry. Strong suction from vacuum picks up more than my Dyson Absolute handheld, and if you leave the steam pad off the machine, it works on carpets and rugs-lifts the pile and leaves them fresh and clean."


  • Multifunctional, saves you doing two jobs
  • Very powerful


  • Only suitable for hard floors


Which is the best steam cleaner?

While this is personal and comes down to your budget and what you're using your steamer for, for us, it's got to be the Vax S86-SF-C Steam Fresh Combi Multifunction Steam Cleaner. Not only does it have a decent price tag, but it's great value for money, too, as it can clean so many areas in your home. The fact it can turn into a handheld steam cleaner too, really allows it to do it all; upholstery, curtains, kitchen and bathroom appliances — you name it!

We really like the option of having a detergent tank, too, just in case you want to eliminate odours and unleash a little more freshness. Plus, you can start using it in 20 seconds, and it has a two-year guarantee — we don't see what's not to love.

Things to consider when shopping for a steam cleaner

Weight: You may not be too fussed about this initially, but the last thing you'll want to do is be lugging around something heavy. If you suffer from back pain or mobility issues, again, this is something you will want to think about to make it as easy as possible to use.

Water tank capacity: A larger tank will take longer to heat up but will last longer. Whereas a small tank will be quicker to heat up, but you will have to refill it more often. Some steam cleaners have detachable tanks so that you can easily refill them, and with some models, you can do this throughout steaming without having to wait for the device to cool down.

Variable steam options: Some models have a few (the steamer we've included from Polti has four!), while more basic models may only have one. It's therefore important to think about what this steam cleaner is for; do you want it for a really deep clean, or is it to simply keep on top of dirt and grime? If you are looking for something more thorough then having more steam options is probably ideal. Although some steam cleaners can detect the surface, they're on and automatically adjust the amount of steam released accordingly.

Attachments: If you want to save yourself some money in the long run, purchasing a steam cleaner that comes with attachments so that it can be used for lots of different appliances and surfaces could be wise.

What accessories do I need for my steam cleaner?

This is really up to you, but a lot of steam cleaners will come with their own accessory attachments. Steam cleaner mops are the only models that may not come with a lot of accessories, as they don't have a detachable handheld unit, therefore, they usually only come with cleaning pads. It's always a good idea to buy a few of these as backup for any steam cleaner. Some models may have a detergent compartment, so you may want to get some of this. However, it will only provide a nice scent and won't have any extra cleaning benefits.

Bryony Firth-Bernard is a product writer for Yours. On the weekend she loves whipping up new recipes in the kitchen and spending time with her friends and family.

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