As seen in:
McCulloch
Heavy-Duty
BISSELL
PowerFresh
Epica
800-Watt
Shark
Pro Steam Pocket Mop
Dirt Devil
Easy Steam
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Good

Great for heavy-duty cleaning, and sanitizing. Works well on larger items. Many attachments.

Portable. Good for grout and crevices. Low, medium, and high steam settings.

Use with one hand. Great for fabric steaming. Effective fabric brush and lint remover.

Light and easy to use throughout the house. Multiple steam settings. Chemical-free sanitation.

Light and portable. Effective attachments. Jet Tip extension cleans tighter spaces.

Bad

On the more expensive side, but owners say it is well worth the investment.

Some hardwood floors do not tolerate steam very well. Some people don't like the optional Spring Breeze scent.

Only works on lightweight garments and smaller items. Not great for heavier garments.

A few reports of faulty units that fail to produce steam.

The handle at end of hose is on the small side.

Bottom Line

A powerhouse steam cleaner that you can use on just about anything. The best on the market.

An exceptionally effective model with a mid-range price. Specializes in cleaning floors.

An economical choice, but purpose is limited to the cleaning of lightweight garments.

Portable, versatile, and expensive.

An economical choice for cleaning your entire home, but not as effective as some of the other models on our shortlist.

How we decide
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Products received from manufacturers
77
Models Considered
36
Hours Spent
1
Experts Interviewed
168
Consumers Consulted

Best Steam Cleaners

The best steam cleaners on the market offer a mix of performance and portability with numerous features that cater to household cleaning demands. The top steam cleaners include the following contenders:

Products we Considered

McCulloch
Heavy-Duty
BISSELL
PowerFresh
Epica
800-Watt
Shark
Pro Steam Pocket Mop
Dirt Devil
Easy Steam

Considerations

Type and Portability

There are many different types of steam cleaners. Popular options include handheld cleaners, carpet steam cleaners, steam mops, and larger-wheeled, all-purpose steamers. Most homeowners opt for smaller and more portable cleaners.

Power and Performance

Most general-purpose steam cleaners fall within the 900 - 1,500 watt range. Steam cleaners with higher wattages tend to do a more thorough job. For example, a 1,000-watt steamer can get rid of dirt on household items, but a 1,500-watt steamer can get rid of caked-on dirt. Higher-wattage steam cleaners are also useful for removing grease from gardening tools and machines.

Features

Tools and attachments are important accessories, especially for cleaning multiple surfaces. For example, a steam cleaner that comes with a small detail brush can access hard-to-reach crevices and grout. Some steam cleaners also include tools with cloth pockets/covers to clean a variety of surfaces. Other features to consider include added fragrances, removable water tanks, and settings.

Price

A steam cleaner's power and performance are often reflected in its price tag. Expensive machines generally offer more power and better performance. Machines with more accessories and tools typically cost more than basic units, and price often increases with water tank size.

Considerations

Type and Portability

BISSELL Powerfresh Steam Mop

The BISSELL Powerfresh Steam Mop is an easily portable steam mop. A built-in, flip-down Easy Scrubber and microfiber mop pad cleans, sanitizes, and freshens various household surfaces, including tile, grout, and floors. We especially like the microfiber cloths which pick up lots of dirt and dust. When using the BISSELL on hardwood floors, owners caution that it's best to try out a small, inconspicuous area first, as some hardwood floors are less tolerant of the heat and steam.

Epica 800 Watt Handheld Fabric Steamer

The Epica 800 is a handheld fabric steamer. Its compact size and lightweight construction makes it optimal for travel and quick touch-ups. We appreciate the portability of this unit and the fact that it easily packs into a suitcase or larger bag. Customers tell us that they really like this product's light weight and the fact that it fits comfortably into most hands.

McCulloch MC-1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner

The McCulloch MC-1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner is a larger-wheeled, all-purpose steamer. Although its hefty size makes it difficult to lift, this machine has wheels for moving around. The steamer works well on a variety of surfaces: cars, boats, upholstery, carpeting, floor mats, and much more. The McCulloch's 10-foot steam hose gives you plenty of leeway to reach more difficult spots around the house. A few customers tell us the machine is a bit bulky and hard to work around.

Shark Professional Steam Pocket Mop

The Shark Professional Steam Pocket Mop comes with two-sided steam pocket pads. (Most steam mops just have one-sided pads.) We appreciate this mop's portability, which makes it quite useful for cleaning the entire house. Customers tell us they can easily carry this steam mop up and down stairs. The Shark Pocket Mop also works well in tight corners.

Dirt Devil Easy Steam Handheld Steamer

The Dirt Devil is a handheld steamer that cleans numerous household surfaces. The machine's lightweight construction makes it a good choice for buyers who want a steamer that is not bulky or hard to work around. With a weight of just three pounds, satisfied customers tell us they love the fact that they can simply pick it up and start cleaning at any time.

The McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner works on a variety of surfaces, including cars, boats, upholstery, carpeting, and floor mats.
Considerations

Power and Performance

The BISSELL steam mop has an Easy Scrubber that flips down to reach grout and difficult crevices. The mop's low-profile head works especially well in corners and edges. Recommended power for optimal performance is 12.5 amps. We appreciate how easily this mop takes care of stubborn, sticky, dried-on debris. Satisfied customers tell us that the mop does a great job cleaning anything from dust to greasy residue, especially on wood and tile floors.

This Epica steam mop has a 120-volt input. Water boils quickly inside, producing hot steam. We suggest using this appliance in an upright position, as the heating elements are towards the bottom of the reservoir. Customers we surveyed tell us that although the box states the machine takes two minutes to fully warm up, it appears to be ready in about half that time. Most satisfied customers praise this steamer's power and efficiency on garments.

The McCulloch MC-1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner boasts 1500 watts of steaming power, making it the most powerful steam cleaner on our list. This model is designed for 120 volts only. We can easily clean most household surfaces with this appliance, which heats water up to 200+ degrees Fahrenheit for deep cleaning. This high temperature also sanitizes household surfaces. Some owners tell us that this machine doesn't effectively clean grease or brake dust. Most owners use this machine for general household cleaning, noting positive results.

This Shark steam mop uses Shark Intelligent Steam Control to adequately clean a variety of surfaces. Three distinct steam settings -- "Dust," "Mop," and "Scrub"-- allow us to effectively clean and sanitize partial-wood and hardwood floors. A chemical-free solution offers nearly 100 percent sanitation. Satisfied customers appreciate having the flexibility to select more steam for difficult jobs or less steam for everyday jobs. A very light steam setting promotes delicate dusting and surface cleaning.

The Dirt Devil handheld steamer has an eight-amp motor that yields plenty of power for typical household cleaning demands. The steamer cleans everything from counter tops to shower doors to window treatments and can even be used on the inside of the refrigerator. The Jet Tip Extension yields a focused concentration of heat that effectively cleans tighter spaces. Several owners note how hot the steam gets (over 186 degree Fahrenheit), which is especially impressive for such a small steamer.

The McCulloch deep cleans and sanitizes with water that is heated to 200+ degrees Fahrenheit,
Bill
Expert Consultant
Bill
Engineer, Do-It-Yourself Guru

Bill has been a hardware store owner, locksmith, and general home repair guru for over 40 years. His ability to solve problems and repair every item in every situation is a true gift. In his spare time, you may find Bill working in his garden, tending to his perfectly manicured lawn, or riding his bike.

Considerations

Features

BISSELL Powerfresh Steam Mop

SmartSet Steam Control gives the BISSELL Powerfresh Steam Mop flexibility for light cleaning as well as heavy messes. This feature provides digital, variable steam control with low, medium, and high settings. Another feature we like is the Easy Scrubber mop head; this head does a great job cleaning up dirt and debris around the house. A removable water tank easily fills in the sink. Although we like the fresh smell of the (optional) Spring Breeze fragrance discs, which users can insert into the mop pad, some owners find the scent too overwhelming. Satisfied owners tell us the low-profile mop head efficiently cleans tight spaces, including corners and edges.

Epica 800 Watt Handheld Fabric Steamer

The Epica fabric steamer has an on/off switch for convenient control. We appreciate this steamer's direct-fill tank, which uses tap water and has a seven-ounce capacity. Although some owners wish the steamer held more water, we find this capacity sufficient for a typical steaming session. We really like the fabric brush and lint remover attachments; these features can be used to effectively clean most garments. Satisfied customers tell us that these accessories easily snap onto the steam nozzle.

McCulloch MC-1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner

The McCulloch MC-1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner has a 50-ounce water tank capacity and runs without chemicals. A steam-control switch gives us better control over the amount of steam used in each cleaning session. The McCulloch's storage compartment includes 10 accessories: jet nozzle, extension wands, mop head, microfiber pads, water funnel and measuring cup, squeegee, triangle brush, nylon utility brushes, brass utility brush, and scrub pad. We agree with satisfied owners that this wealth of accessories promotes efficient cleaning around the house. Some customers wish that the storage space were larger, noting that they have to leave larger accessories (like the wands and nozzle) outside to make room for other parts.

Shark Professional Steam Pocket Mop

Features of this Shark steam mop include an XL water capacity and two quick-release mop heads. The mop includes a rectangular head for general cleaning and a triangular head for harder-to-reach areas. A quick flip of the steam head provides a fresh cleaning area. We particularly like the washable microfiber pockets, which feature twice the cleaning area of other mops and quick-drying results. At least one owner mentioned that dampening the mop head with warm water before cleaning provides better results.

Dirt Devil Easy Steam Handheld Steamer

The Dirt Devil's Jet Tip extension allows the it to clean tougher spots. A steam pad removes dirt and buildup; squeegee attachments help facilitate the process. The steamer comes with a wire grill brush, fabric tool, window squeegee, and flexible hose with fill cup. We really like the Dirt Devil's dusting and upholstery brush; this attachment provides powerful-yet-gentle cleaning on furniture and other household items. At least one owner cautions buyers that the handle at the end of the hose area is a bit small, which could potentially lead to steam burns.

The McCulloch comes with a bounty of awesome accessories: jet nozzle, extension wands, mop head, microfiber pads, water funnel, measuring cup, squeegee, triangle brush, nylon utility brushes, brass utility brush, and scrub pad.
Considerations

Price

BISSELL Powerfresh Steam Mop

The BISSELL Powerfresh Steam Mop costs $89, placing it in the middle of our price range. For the price, we really like the flip-down Easy Scrubber along with the BISSELL's various steam settings. We also appreciate the removable water tank, which can easily be filled up in the sink. Satisfied customers agree that this product does a great job cleaning around the house, although opinions vary on the usefulness of the optional scented discs. Several owners heard a knocking sound when first using the machine, which BISSELL representatives say is normal.

Epica 800 Watt Handheld Fabric Steamer

A price of $18 makes the Epica 800 Watt Handheld Fabric Steamer a good choice for budget-conscious consumers. However, it is imperative to note that this steamer only cleans garments and smaller items. The included fabric brush and lint remover attachments do an excellent job of cleaning clothes. Although customers generally agree that this steamer is highly effective on lightweight clothing, some find it ineffective for heavier items.

McCulloch MC-1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner

With a price tag of $139, the McCulloch MC-1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner is our most expensive option. However, we feel that the machine's power, performance, and generous accessories justify the price. The steam cleaner produces 1500 watts of steam power and provides nearly two hours of continuous use thanks to its 50-ounce water tank. Although the machine is a bit heavy, we rely on the durable caster wheels to move it from one location to the next. Most satisfied customers highlight the excellent build quality, durability, and longevity of this product. Some owners tell us that they had to spend longer amounts of time steaming and cleaning areas with lots of buildup.

Shark Professional Steam Pocket Mop

The Shark Professional Steam Pocket Mop is $104, making it the second priciest option on our list. This steam mop shines and sanitizes floor surfaces via its generous (and hot) steam output. We especially like the Shark's chemical-free sanitation, which is great for areas around the house. An XL water capacity ensures enough water for continuous cleaning, while two quick-release mop heads meet both general and specific cleaning demands. Satisfied customers tell us the Shark cleans as advertised. A few customers caution that their machine only lasted a few uses before it stopped producing steam.

Dirt Devil Easy Steam Handheld Steamer

A price tag of $44 makes the Dirt Devil Easy Steam Handheld Steamer one of the most affordable options on our list. Despite its small size, this steamer packs a powerful punch using a safe, high-pressure output. For the price, users get a generous selection of attachments and features, including a wire grill brush, window squeegee, fabric tool, and flexible hose with fill cup. We find the jet tip extension particularly useful for reaching tight spaces around the house. Several customers tell us that the steamer works well, but requires frequent stops to cool off.

Despite its low price and smaller size, the Dirt Devil packs a a powerful punch using a safe, high-pressure output.

Best of the Best

The McCulloch MC-1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner earns our "Best of the Best" award. At a price of $139, this steam cleaner is our most expensive product, and while some potential buyers may understandably hesitate over the price, the combination of power, performance, and multiple attachments and accessories makes this product well worth the investment. For the price, customers get 1500 watts of steaming power and a 50-ounce water tank -- great for demolishing dirt and tough stains.

This steam cleaner has a feature for just about every cleaning demand. Some of our favorites include the jet nozzle, which focuses steam flow to get rid of dirt and grime; the microfiber pads, which pick up dust and dirt; and the utility brushes, which clean difficult surfaces such as ovens and grills.

This steam cleaner has a solid reputation for durability and longevity. Some of the owners we surveyed purchased more more than one unit. A combination of features and standout performance makes the McCulloch our top choice for the best steam cleaner on the market today.
Best of the Best
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The McCulloch's 50-ounce water tank and 1500 watts of steaming power are great for demolishing dirt and tough stains.

Best Bang for your Buck

The BISSELL Powerfresh wins our "Best Bang for Your Buck" title. A small, lightweight design makes this steamer easy to carry around, even when traveling. Despite its small size, the steamer's powerful, effective high pressure performance cuts through just about any mess. We especially like the Easy Scrubber mop head, which does a great job of cleaning those harder-to-reach areas.

For the price, satisfied owners appreciate the number of features and attachments the BISSELL offers. Highlights include a set of microfiber cloths which pick up all dust/dirt in its path and a low-profile mop design making it possible to reach hard-to-reach corners and edges. When it comes to power, we love the versatility the Powerfresh's 12.5-amp motor provides. For the size, the motor yields plenty of power for most cleaning demands.

At such a low price, the Powerfresh is a steal. It is hard to find a better steam cleaner for such a small amount of money. If you want a well-rounded steam cleaner for basic household needs, the BISSELL Powerfresh is your top choice.

Best Bang for your Buck
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The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor
  • Jasmin
    Jasmin
    Operations
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Adrian
    Adrian
    Senior Engineer

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