Handheld steam cleaners are an indispensable cleaning tool – they blast through grease and grime, help neutralize odors, and keep flooring, carpets, windows and surfaces looking (and smelling!) fresh.
They’re easy to move from room to room, and are a great alternative to bulky, full-size steam cleaners.
Best 3 Handheld Steam Cleaners of 2020
Without further delay, we present a carefully curated selection of the best handheld steam cleaners to buy online, today – followed by an informative buying guide.
1. Best Overall: Kärcher SC1 EasyFix Steam Cleaner
Karcher SC1 Key Features
- Lets you avoid direct contact with dirt
- EasyFix connection for hands-free cloth removal
- Spring-stabilized nozzle for optimal performance
- Hot, pressurized steam destroys 99.9% of bacteria
- Achieves excellent cleaning results with only tap water
- Compact design – easy to use and store
- 1200 watts of power
- 3-bar steam pressure
- Wide variety of attachments for greater versatility
- Great-looking yellow and black design
- From a trusted name in premium cleaning tools
Kärcher SC1 EasyFix Steam Cleaner Overview
Super-Compact Design for Ease of Use
The SC1 is the smallest handheld steam cleaner in the Kärcher SC series. This diminutive device weighs only 1.6 kg, making it easy for most people to hold and operate one-handed – perfect for going from one room to the next, and cleaning high-up and hard-to-reach areas.
Extra Attachments Mean More Versatility
Included with the Kärcher SC1 is a variety of attachments: an extension tube, hand nozzle, detail nozzle, power nozzle, round brush, microfiber floor cloth and microfiber nozzle cover.
These extra bits and pieces make the SC1 a versatile multipurpose steam cleaner – you can clean crevices around kitchen sinks, tile grout in the bathroom, countertops, floors, and even those tricky, oft-neglected areas under furniture.
The extension tube lets you steam-clean flooring; the hand nozzle is best for medium-sized messes; the detail nozzle constricts steam flow to clean tight spots; and the power nozzle emits a concentrated burst of steam for challenging cleaning tasks.
The brush and floor cloth help lift and remove steam-loosened debris, as does the microfiber nozzle cover, which is held in place by an integrated elastic cord.
Keeps Your Hands Clean
Karcher’s EasyFix floor tool lets you remove and swap out the high-quality microfiber floor cleaning clothing without using your hands – simply step on the corner of the EasyFix tool and lift the cloth away.
This is one of those features that’s hard to appreciate until you’ve tried it, but it makes a real difference. Your hands stay clean, and there’s less strain on your back and knees.
High-Power Steam Kills Germs Without Chemicals
Most cleaning products contain harsh chemicals and strong fragrances that can irritate your lungs and skin. The Kärcher SC1 harness heat and pressure, generating 3 bars of powerful steam to cut through grime, lift away dirt, and kill 99.9% of germs using just water.
Sensitive or not to chemical cleaners, it’s reassuring to know you’re avoiding any undue exposure – and it’s better for the environment, too!
Kärcher SC1 EasyFix Pros and Cons
- Lightweight -at 1.6 kg, it weighs less than most handheld steam cleaners
- Includes a variety of useful attachments
- Great for spot-cleaning
- Made by a leader in steam cleaning products
- 1200-watt, 3-bar pressure kills germs using only water
- Brilliant performance, build quality, and durability
- Water tank is on the small side
- Requires extension cord to clean large rooms
- No on/off switch or trigger lock
2. Runner-Up: Bissell SteamShot 2635E
Bissell SteamShot Key Features
- Extra-lightweight: only 1.36 kg
- Long power cable
- Rapid heat-up means less waiting
- 4.5-bar steam pressure
- 28 grams/minute steam output
- Integrated safety cap
- Includes 9 useful attachments
- Ergonomic design
- Chemical-free cleaning
Bissell SteamShot 2635E Overview
Compact, Ergonomic Design
The Bissell SteamShot 2635E is a small steam cleaner – though it includes a flexible hose, it’s not well-suited to cleaning large spaces. That said, Bissell’s offering does well what it’s designed to.
The round handle allows for a neutral grip, while the trigger is ergonomically positioned to sit under your thumb, making it easier to press.
Multi-Surface Attachments for Use Around the Whole Home
For such a small machine, the SteamShot comes with a lot of attachments. The mounting cone can be used by itself, or with other accessories. There’s an angled concentrator nozzle, which concentrates steam and lets you reach tricky areas.
A grout tool features stiff bristles, which let you scrub tile grout while you steam, and the scraper tool can used to scrape away at tough dirt – much like a putty knife, but with much less risk of marring surfaces.
You’ll also find three stiff-bristled, circular brushes – identical, except in colour – and a rubber window squeegee, perfect for getting the grunge off glass panes.
There’s even a broad, flat fabric tool, with five steam vents in a recessed cutout to freshen and smooth fabrics. Rounding out the accessory kit is a measuring cup, and two microfiber cloths, to sop up excess water.
From Zero to Steamy in Two Minutes Flat
The Bissell SteamShot 2635E heats up quickly – it’s ready in two minutes. Just be sure to use the included measuring cup (it’s there for a reason), and don’t overfill. This steamer holds 360 ml.
Fill it beyond that point, and the valve and nozzle leak water. Despite its diminutive size, the SteamShot produces large, consistent clouds of steam. It slows down a little after extended use, but restores pressure after a few seconds of inactivity.
Cleans Tricky Areas Without Powders and Sprays
Use the Bissell SteamShot on countertops, floors, fabric, grout, glass and more. It’s an ideal household companion, well-suited for cleaning small and hard-to-reach areas without abrasive powders, solvents or aerosol sprays.
It works especially well around faucets, on dirty windows, and in between tiles. You may still have to apply a bit of elbow grease, especially on grimy grout – but the high-volume steam goes a long way to loosening that tenacious dirt.
Bissell SteamShot 2635E Pros and Cons
- Great performance from a mid-priced handheld steam cleaner
- Longer-than-average power cord
- Small in size, but produces lots of steam
- Comes with plenty of useful attachments
- Ideal for steam cleaning a wide variety of surfaces
- Works well on tile grout and glass windows—with a bit of effort
- Small base makes steamer unsteady when used with hose
- O-rings and plastic fittings could hold accessories more firmly in place
- Power cord is stiff
- No trigger lock
3. Best on a Budget: Vytronix HSG1000 Portable Steam Cleaner
Vytronix hand Held Steam Cleaner Key Features
- Lightweight design
- 1000-watt water boiler
- Easy-grip handle with finger grooves
- Large safety cap
- 550ml water tank means less refilling
- Up to ten minutes steaming time
- Includes nine accessories
Vytronix HSG1000 Portable Steam Cleaner Overview
Little Machine, Big Tank
The Vytronix HSG1000 is a small steam cleaner with a large, 350ml water tank – that’s only ten millimeters shy of the Bissell SteamShot 2635E, which costs almost double.
At 1.98 kg, it’s a little heavier, but not by much, and the round handle’s finger grooves provide a good grip. The cap on top of the HSG1000 is easy to twist, thanks to the large, flared shape and scalloped design.
Tons of Accessories to Get the Job Done
In spite of its low price, the HSG1000 doesn’t skimp on the number of accessories – you get a concentration nozzle that doubles as a tool connector (suitable for directing concentrated steam into tight spaces), a garment and upholstery tool – great for straightening and deodorizing clothes and drapes – and a slew of other pieces.
Window attachments help remove accumulated dirt from glass (and work well on upholstery, too), the small nylon brush is great for scrubbing small stains while you steam, and the angled concentration nozzle blasts dirt out of corners and crevices.
There’s also a flexible steam hose to extend the cleaner’s reach, a handy measuring cup, and a funnel, for mess-free refilling.
Plenty of Steam in a Small Package
As expected, the 350ml water tank provides a generous amount of steam on a single fill – and when it’s time to add more water, the clear measuring cup takes the guesswork out of how much.
Like other handheld steam cleaners, the Vytronix HSG1000 is sensitive to being overfilled. Stick with the designated amount of water, and you’ll be fine. A funnel helps prevent spillage while filling – We’d recommend using it.
A Multitude Of Uses
For the price, it would be hard to justify not owning an HSG1000—it can be used in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room, laundry area and more.
Clean your cabinets, mirrors, windows, cushions, furniture, sinks – even appliances, range hoods, and washers and dryers. And, like other steam cleaners, the Vytronix HSG1000 is completely chemical-free, powering away dirt with only water.
That means a healthier home – and over time, spending less on other cleaning products is a money saver.
Vytronix HSG1000 Pros and Cons
- Good value
- Meets nearly any budget
- Large water tank provides lots of steam
- Ergonomic grip
- Many included accessories
- Reasonably lightweight
- Non-toxic, whole-home cleaning
- Build quality could be better
- Struggles to remove thick, built-up oven grease
- Must cool down before refilling
Complete Handheld Steam Cleaner Buying Guide
Haven’t decided if a handheld steam cleaner is right for you – or which one to get? No problem! Dig into our handy buying guide to learn more.
Why Should I Buy a Handheld Steam Cleaner?
They’re perfectly suited to small, everyday cleaning tasks.
For large-scale cleaning, a big, high-capacity steamer is a better choice, both where capacity and power are concerned – but for day-to-day duties, such as removing the grease from a range hood, getting the gunk off your tiles, or making your countertops shine, handheld steamers are ideal.
They’re convenient, too. Handheld steam cleaners are light weight, and most can be comfortably operated with one hand. This makes them suitable for getting into tight spaces, and makes using them easier for those with strength or mobility issues to use.
And chemical-free. Did you know that common household cleaners can exacerbate asthma, allergies and headaches?
While such products do make cleaning easier, strong detergents, preservatives and fragrances worsen indoor air quality – and cost extra money. A handheld steam cleaner may not replace every type of spray, soap and powder, but will reduce how often you have to use them.
Extra attachments transform them into multipurpose cleaning tools. Most portable steam cleaners include numerous attachments, and most aren’t extraneous.
Each serves a specific purpose – for example, removing wrinkles from a garment, or getting the gunk out from around a kitchen sink and taps.
They’re compact and affordable.
A handheld steam cleaner takes up very little space – most can be stowed away in a closet when not in use. This makes them a great choice for small houses or flats. They’re inexpensive, as well, a fraction of the cost of a full-size steamer.
Choosing the Best Handheld Steam Cleaner For Your Needs
How large and heavy is it?
All handheld steam cleaners are compact and light, but naturally, the smaller and lighter, the more comfortable it will be during prolonged use. This may be a non-issue for some; for others, it bears consideration.
How much water can it hold?
For small, quick cleaning jobs, almost any steamer will do. For extended use, look for a model with a larger tank. Refilling a steam cleaner is hardly the end of the world, but it’s an extra step that can be minimized by choosing one with a tank that holds enough water.
Will it do (almost) everything you need it to?
Choose the best handheld steam cleaner with all the necessary attachments. Though some manufacturers – Karcher being a good example – offer many accessories separately, it’s nice to have them all at once.
Fortunately, all of our most-recommended steamers come with just about every attachment you’ll need.
Will it stand up to regular use?
As with most products, build quality rises and falls with cost. Handheld steam cleaners are not built to industrial standards – if they were, they’d be larger, heavier, and many times the price – but rather, for domestic use.
If you anticipate using a steamer frequently, opt for one that’s sufficiently robust.
See what others have to say. Visit trusted online retailers and check out what other real-world users think, too. There’s no one perfect product for every use, but there is something for just about every person!