If you are looking for a way to keep your home clean and sanitary in an environmentally friendly way, then a handheld steam cleaner is the tool for you. The best steam cleaners oust stubborn dirt and bacteria with just the power of hot steam. With one of these in your hand, you can wave goodbye to harsh cleaning chemicals and hard scrubbing. And say hello to enjoying cleaning without strong smells and allergy-inducing irritants escaping into the air.
The best news is steam cleaners kill up to 99.9 per cent of bacteria, and a handheld one makes it much easier to oust dirt throughout your home. Lightweight, portable, and easy to manoeuvre, you can target hard-to-reach spaces and tight nooks and crannies with ease. You can use it on countertops, upholstery, tiles, and you can even steam-clean clothing. If dexterity is an issue, this style of appliance should be much easier to use than a floor steam cleaner or an iron.
Best handheld steam cleaner at a glance:
• Best overall steam cleaner: LIUNOVIP - Steam Cleaner - View on Amazon UK
• Best multi-purpose steam cleaner: Beldray 10-in-1 BEL0701TQN Handheld Steam Cleaner - View on Argos**
•** Best budget steam cleaner: Quest Handheld Steam Cleaner - View on Amazon UK**
•** Best for upholstery: Tower THS10 Handheld Steam Cleaner - View on Amazon UK
Want to know more? We've shared everything you need to know about this powerful handheld device further below, including what you should be looking for in the best steam cleaning machine. But for now, here are the best handheld steam cleaners to buy.
Best overall steam cleaner
Amazon customers cannot get enough of this powerful steam cleaner. We love that it can be used for
- Comes with a long 2.8m cord
- Continuous steam for 7-10 minutes
- 250ML water tank
- You need to wait up to 60 minutes to add more water after use
Best multi-purpose steam cleaner
With 1000W steaming power, you can get 10 minutes of continuous steaming from one fill with the
- Lots of useful attachments
- No unnecessary fiddling
- Removes stains
- Small water tank
Best budget steam cleaner
Available in green and yellow, this multifunctional handheld steam cleaner is compact yet
- Easy to assemble
- Good steam pressure
- Good for small jobs
- The mains socket wire is short
Best for upholstery
The Tower THS10 produces a powerful steam clean for 10 minutes at a time with temperatures up to
- Good steam output
- 10 minutes of continuous steam
- Heats up in 3 minutes
- Some people found the button stiff
Best handheld steamer for water capacity
Weighing only 1.36kg, the Bissell SteamShot is a compact steam-cleaning machine that is simple and
- Easy to set up
- Great for small jobs
- Large water capacity
- Steam release button can be difficult to keep held down for long periods
Best for sealed surfaces
With a nine-piece accessory kit, the MLMLANT Handheld Steam Cleaner has the longest runtime of up
- Easy to use
- Good price
Best for large surface cleaning
Whilst this is technically a steam mop, the powerful floor steamer comes with a handheld steam
- Great for large surfaces
- Can also be used for the floor
- Clean steam for up to 20 minutes
- Some found the handheld feature slightly awkward
What to look for in your handheld steam cleaner
Corded or cordless
A cordless steam cleaner gives you maximum reach and portability, but you may find the machine a little heavier due to the rechargeable battery. Corded steam cleaners, on the other hand, provide consistent power (you won't need to worry about the battery running out of charge), but you will be limited on reach. The choice is completely up to you, but as you can see from our list, corded handheld steam cleaners are much easier to come by.
Before you buy a handheld steam cleaner, make sure it can clean what you require it to, and check the accessories which may come in handy for its intended use. However, it's worth keeping in mind that handheld steam cleaners have a pretty short runtime, so if you're after something more heavy-duty that'll last longer, choose a full-size steam cleaner instead.
The larger the tank capacity, the longer the machine is likely to run, dependent on the steam rate. However, keep in mind that the higher the capacity, the more water it can accommodate and the heavier the steamer may be. In this case, make sure the steam cleaner has been designed with an ergonomic handle for more comfortable use and look out for attachments, such as a wand, that'll help alleviate the strain on your back.
How does a handheld steam cleaner work?
A handheld steam cleaner works much the same as a standard steam cleaner but quicker thanks to its smaller size and capacity. It boils the water within the tank to emit a hot steam that you can direct via the steam gun in measured amounts to shift dirt, lift stubborn substances, oust bacteria, and sanitise surfaces. The faster the steam is forced out, the better the cleaner will dissolve dirt, and you can check this by looking at the steam rate in grams per minute for each steam cleaner.
What can you clean with a handheld steamer?
As well as being easy to carry around, one of the best things about a handheld steam cleaner is its versatility. The handy cleaning tool can be used to effectively clean kitchens, bathrooms, windows, and textiles with no cleaning agent necessary – the steam does all the work to deliver a deep clean in even hard-to-reach places.
Common uses include:
• Sanitising mattresses
• Steam cleaning windows, glass, and bathrooms
• Spot clean furniture and upholstery
• Cleaning appliances such as ovens, hobs, and BBQs
• Sterilising countertops
• Defrosting your freezer
Although some steam cleaners can be used on your favourite shirts and dresses, we would recommend getting a clothes steamer cleaner which has been specifically for fabrics.
What should I not steam clean?
You should not use a handheld steam cleaner on painted surfaces, unsealed materials, delicate fabrics such as silk or satin, musical instruments, antiques, nylon mesh window screens, or porous surfaces. If in doubt, check the product information, as this will list what the handheld steam cleaner can clean.
Eleanor Weaver is the Deputy Homes & Garden Product Editor for Yours, specialising in home décor, furnishings and appliances. Having worked commercially on Yours magazine and Yours.co.uk for the past six years, she's previously hosted Yours Live events and loves looking for home inspiration online.