Steam: It comes out of the kettle when the water for your tea is ready to pour. It fogs up the bathroom mirror after a long shower. It fills the air in a hot sauna room.
But something else steam does – when applied in a controlled manner, using a steam cleaner – is clean, removing stubborn dirt and grime, around your home without the toxic effects and lingering chemical odours of conventional cleaning products.
Today, we review the top 5 best steam cleaners that offer multiple functions for around the home.
1. Karcher SC5 EasyFix Premium Steam Cleaner
The Karcher SC5 is a premium multi-purpose steam cleaner that blasts dirt away with a host of accessories. It boasts a whopping 4.2 bar of pressurised steam, making it the most powerful steam cleaner of Karcher’s impressive “SC” range.
With the SC5’s powerful pressure and super-heated steam it kills 99.99% of germs and viruses in the home, making it a particularly good choice for cleaning kitchens and bathrooms. And for stubborn stuck-on dirt that noting seems to shift, there’s a VapoHydro function which shoots an extra blast of hot water in conjunction with steam to enhance cleaning power.
Results from this machine are quite amazing – from oil stained carpet, to deep stained tile grout – the Karcher SC5 makes light work of the most troublesome stains.
Its large 1.5L water tank makes this machine capable of covering 150m² before refilling is required. Which is more than plenty for the average home, meaning less refilling is required.
You’re able to vary the steam output which allows you to reduce the level of steam on milder cleaning jobs, which helps conserve water and go-easy on more delicate surfaces.
You can tell just by looking at this steam cleaner, and by the way all the attachments click firmly together, that’s it’s of exceptional built quality and design – like all German made Karcher cleaning machines.
Two extension poles, a floor tool, and microfibre cloth turns this machine into a powerful steam mop that’s suitable for all kinds of hard flooring – including tiles, stone, laminate flooring, and vinyl. And the microfibre cloths are machine washable.
The hand tool has several attachments that makes this machine one of the best handheld steam cleaners for cleaning cookers, kitchen surfaces, or any small area that you want to deep clean. For example, there’s a small microfiber pad that’s excellent for cleaning bathroom shower screens, sinks, oven doors, windows, and tiles.
There’s a detail nozzle for getting right into things like tile grout and limescale around taps. And all the accessories store neatly onboard the body of the cylinder steam cleaner itself. Because this machine can expel a lot of steam on high power, there can be a lot of water build-up. Not a real issue though, as it’s easily wiped away with a cloth and it’s a small drawback considering the overall outstanding performance.
Karcher SC5 EasyFix Key Stats:
- Heats in: 3 minutes
- Heating Power: 2200 Watts
- Max pressure: 4.2 bar
- Water tank volume: 2L
- Cleaning coverage: 150m²
- Trigger has child lock
- Hose: 2m, detachable
2. Dupray ONE Plus
A beauty of a machine from Dupray, the ONE Plus is a premium steam cleaner that has been around for a few years now. With Karcher dominating most of the market, this machine has been overlooked, but we hope to change that by giving the Dupray Plus some much-deserved exposure in this review.
What separates this from the competition is the amazing combination of pressure and heat. It generates 65psi of 160°C superhot steam to utterly destroy stains and completely disinfect surfaces in an instant, putting it right up there with the best multi purpose steam cleaners available for home use.
You get 17 high quality accessories – rectangular floor tool, window and mirror cleaning tool, lance, extension tubes, nylon brushes, microfibre bonnets, and filing funnel – and more.
Initial heat up in just 6 minutes and the dual-tank system allows you to fill the water tank while in use, meaning no downtime or interruption in order to top up water.
All the features above make this a good choice for commercial and home use, for the most thorough cleaning. From carpets to cookers, this is the ultimate home steam cleaning machine.
Proudly made in Europe, Dupray One Plus is their top spec steam cleaner. Exceptional performance and built to last, the boiler come’s with a lifetime warranty – how’s that for a statement of confidence?
Dupray One Plus Key Stats:
- Heats in: 6 minutes
- Heating Power: 2150 Watts
- Max pressure: 4.5 bar
- Water tank volume: 2.4L (Dual-Tank System)
- Electrical cord: 5m
- Hose: 1.88m, detachable
- Childproof safety lock
- Superb chemical-free cleaning
- Clear controls with – Pressure gauge, low water indication, steam ready
3. Karcher SC2 Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner
The Karcher SC2 has the same accessories as the SC5, but this multipurpose steam cleaner is slightly less powerful and is missing a few features – which is reflected in the price. Consider the SC2 as the baby brother of the SC5.
With 1,500w heating output and 3.2bar steam pressure, this cylinder style steam cleaner penetrates and breaks down ingrained dirt with ease. When used with the supplied hand tools and microfiber cloths, it works well to remove marks from ceramic hobs and glass oven doors.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like breathing in the vapor that comes from those oven cleaners. Using a steam cleaner like the Karcher SC2 means you replace those cleaning chemicals with clean water, which is better for you, and the environment.
You can use this machine to clean a leather sofa, effectively removing marks, stains, and nasty odours, without damaging the leather. It’s the perfect machine for all-round home cleaning and can even be used on car interiors.
For tougher jobs like gas cooker rings and cooker hoods where grease can build up, the detail nozzle with stiff bristles and a burst of steam will make these things look like brand new again.
Like the SC5, the SC2 comes with an Easy Fix floor cleaning kit that lets you thoroughly clean and sterilise floors, like laminates, vinyl, and tiles.
The Karcker SC2 steam cleaner does a great job of removing limescale, and kills coronavirus, influenza, and bacteria on hard surfaces, so not only are your keeping your home clean, but your family safe, too.
4. Dupray Neat Steam Machine
This sci-fi looking machine is unlike anything else out there, and in this review, you’ll see why this is such a fantastic steam cleaner with many cleaning functions.
Most home steam cleaners are shaped like a vacuum cleaner, but the Dupray NEAT Multipurpose Heavy-Duty Steamer has broken the mould, with its modern cubed appearance.
Hiding underneath the “Neat” plastic casing of the Dupray Neat is powerful steam cleaning tech that belches out superheated, pressurised steam at 135 degrees which will deep clean, degrease, deodorise, and disinfect surfaces in style.
Its touted as an all-on-one steam cleaner, and we agree. With its long list of accessories and powerful 50 psi steam output, it does it all – from fabric curtains to ceramic floor tiles, from toilet seats to car seats – this gets the job done in and around the home.
You get six detail brushes, three microfiber pads, triangular brush, floor tool, extension poles, and even a window cleaner. It’s one of the most accessory rich steam cleaners we’ve seen.
5. Morphy Richards 9-in-1 Compact Steam Cleaner
A compact steam cleaner that converts to a steam mop and is the ideal pick for kitchen and bathroom cleaning.
This compact steam cleaner is great for general daily cleaning around the home. It doesn’t pressurise steam as powerfully as others on this list, but it’s very versatile and puts out very hot cleaning and sterilising steam.
In upright mode, it works as a floor cleaner that is suitable for use on all floor types, even carpet. A handheld steam cleaner detaches from the shaft at the touch of a button, allowing you to clean those intricate areas. The window cleaner attachment and a special grout scrubbing tool is particularly useful.
You get around 15 minutes of uninterrupted use before the water tank needs refilled. The tank is quite small at only 400ml but is so easy to fill. You simply press two release buttons and it will detach from the handle where you can take it directly to a water tap to be filled.
This Morphy Richards steam cleaner made the list because of its many functions, light weight and compact design, fast heat up time, and is great value at under £100.
Our Steam Cleaner Buyer Guide and Selection Process
Steam cleaners are easy to use. Water is poured into a holding canister (which may feature an integrated cleaning wand or a hose for extending the reach of the cleaner, depending on its intended use and capacity).
Steam Pressure Power
The canister contains a heating element which quickly brings the water to a boil (around 150C), creating vapor steam. Because the steam is trapped, it becomes pressurized – allowing it to be released from the steam cleaner’s wand or nozzle with enough force to remove dirt.
Tenacious dirt and grime are hard to remove because it literally adheres to surfaces. Steam is hot and moist enough to melt and dilute the adhesive, making the remaining dirt easy to wipe away with a cloth.
The high temperature of the steam also kills potentially harmful microbes such as listeria, E. coli and salmonella.
Even bed bugs don’t stand a chance against the power of steam. And yes, you can use your steam cleaner on mattresses to kill bed bugs.
Steam will continue to be produced by the machine until the supply of water in the reservoir tank is depleted. Simply top up with fresh water as and when needed, but most steam cleaner should provide a good enough water capacity to see you through your cleaning job.
Think about it this – your bathroom is where you brush your teeth and washing your body, and your kitchen is where you prepare and eat food. A steam cleaner will deep-clean these rooms without chemicals – just tap water – for a hygienically clean finish, where you need it most.
Steam cleaners are actually very safe – in the sense that they use only water to clean, eliminating exposure to toxic cleaning products. However, steam is hot – that’s why it’s important to choose a model with a child safety lock if kids (or animals) will be present when the cleaner is in use. Pressurized steam can cause potentially serious burns.
A Model That’s Easy to Store and Move
Steam cleaners come in many shapes and sizes, from fully integrated units designed to be held with one hand (handheld) to larger models which resemble small vacuum cleaners, with wheels and flexible hoses.
Of course, the first criteria a steam cleaner has to meet is if it will be appropriate for the task at hand – for example, a small cleaner with an integrated cleaning wand will be suitable for removing a small stain from a floor, while a larger unit with a flexible hose will be better suited to cleaning off years-old gunk from the uppermost corners of a shower stall, improving reach and reducing strain – but also consider this:
Do you have sufficient storage space in which to keep your steam cleaner when it’s not in use? And take into account whether you’ll be cleaning large areas or just “spot cleaning”. In the case of the former, a wheeled model may be more appropriate.
Finally, consider your own strength – though hand-held units are convenient, and well-suited to treating small areas, fatigue can set in after holding one for too long.
Machines such as the popular Karcher SC5 steam cleaner offers a wide variety of cleaning options; laminate and tile floors, sinks, cookers, ovens, inside of microwaves, bathtubs, showers, grout, barbeque, widow’s, mirrors and fabrics are just a hand-full of things this versatile appliance was designed to tackle with ease.
This is also a great choice for pet owners as this will help remove nasty stains and odours that can work deep into carpets and upholstery.
The Appropriate Type for The Job
There are three types of steam cleaner to choose from: Cylinder; hand-held; and steam mop. Let’s expand on how to choose the type that will best meet your needs.
Multi-Purpose Cylinder steam cleaners
Resemble “shop vacs”, consisting of a body, flexible hose and cleaning wand. Though somewhat more cumbersome than other types to store, they offer the advantage of comfort over prolonged periods of use, reducing shoulder, arm and hand strain – since all that’s necessary to lift is the wand, rather than the whole unit.
Use a cylinder steam cleaner for jobs which take more than five minutes, or which encompass a larger area (in which case, a wheeled model that rolls across the floor will be best suited to the job).
Hand-held steam cleaners
Are small, easy to hold and designed to use with one hand. The cleaning nozzle is integrated with the canister, and the trigger used to release the steam is usually located within easy reach of the handle. The small size of this type of steam cleaner makes it possible to clean hard-to-reach areas, such as baseboards or the corners of a room. Just remember, they’re not well-suited to prolonged use due to the weight of a full canister of water.
Multi Function Steam mops
Look like upright vacuum cleaners. They use steam to clean and disinfect carpets and floors. Because they are pushed along the floor, they often include a cleaning pad which wipes up dirt that was loosened by the pressurized steam, eliminating or reducing the need for manual cleaning.
The “dry” steam they provide is well-suited for larger areas of flooring, preventing the ingress of unwanted moisture. They are best suited for general-purpose floor cleaning, and as such, may not feature additional cleaning attachments.
Start-up Time, Power and Capacity
A more powerful heating element means the water contained in the canister will come to a boil faster, and you’ll have to wait less time before you can start to clean. A well-designed nozzle will force the steam out at a pressure sufficiently high to loosen stubborn dirt and grime – though high pressure may not always be appropriate, such as when cleaning large areas of flooring.
And a larger canister means longer cleaning times before refilling is necessary. Small tanks may provide 10 minutes cleaning time; larger tanks, up to half an hour. One measurement to consider is grams of steam per minute. The higher the number, the more steam is produced in a given length of time.
Steam cleaning is an effective, cost-efficient, health-conscious and environmentally friendly way to attack tenacious dirt. Spend some time considering your needs, then compare the features of different models. You’ll be sure to find one that’s well-suited to your application.