The best handheld steam cleaners can make it so much easier to clean those awkward spots where dirt and grime tend to build up. We review 5 of the top models on the market.
- 1 About steam cleaners
- 2 5 of the best handheld steam cleaners
- 2.1 Karcher SC1 Premium Steam Cleaner
- 2.2 Vax S7 Total Home Master Multifunction Steam Mop
- 2.3 Beldray BEL0448 Powerful 12-in-1 Multi-Functional Steam Cleaner
- 2.4 Hoover SSNH1000 Steam Express Handheld Steam Cleaner
- 2.5 BISSELL 2635s Steam Shot Handheld Steam Cleaner
- 3 Conclusion
- 4 See also:
However, there is a small and convenient device that will help you in this endeavour. It may not be the alpha and omega of cleaning tiles, but it sure does a lot to help you clean that grime that’s been plaguing you. Indeed it’s one of the most useful bathroom and kitchen gadgets on the market.
What are we talking about? The handheld steamer.
If you’re looking for one, check out reviews our below, where five excellent devices await. If you’re not sure about how handheld steamers work, or what to look in them, check out our little guide below and find out about the considerations you’ll want to make before buying one.
About steam cleaners
What are steam cleaners? In short, they’re special devices that expunge high-pressure steam to clean surfaces. The higher the pressure of the steam, the better will the steam cleaner clean. There exist several types of steam cleaners, of which we’ll only be presenting handheld cleaners.
Steam cleaners usually appear as steam mops, handheld cleaners and cylinder cleaners.
Mop cleaners, as the name suggests, are basically mops onto which a water tank is attached, and from which steam is drawn. Mop cleaners are light and portable and suitable for cleaning medium to large areas of your floor or carpet. However, whether they can clean carpets is a matter of power and proper attachments, and low-end mops tend to smear whatever they’re cleaning all over the floor.
As for handheld cleaners, they’re small, and light, and look like jugs of water. The jug is actually a tank, as well as the heating element. These types of steam cleaners are very convenient for cleaning smaller surfaces, like counters and stove-tops, as well as bathroom tiles.
They’re small, so they don’t have that much tank capacity, so you can only expect about 5 minutes of steam out of them before you need to refill the thing. They heat up quickly, though, and you can start using them seconds after you’ve filled them. Handheld steam cleaners also come as hybrids between them and mop cleaners, making them very versatile around the house.
Last, but not least, are the cylinder cleaners. They’re the biggest, resembling vacuum cleaners. They have big tanks, and can be used for large areas and are powerful enough to be used on carpets. However, they take from 5 to 12 minutes to heat up, making them slower than other devices.
Now, what should you consider when getting a steam cleaner? Firstly, you need to consider the capacity and the heat-up time against how large of a surface you need cleaned.
As we said, handheld cleaners don’t have much juice, so they ought to be used for small areas.
Secondly, you need to consider the attachments you receive with your cleaner, as they will allow you to clean different surfaces, giving your device a little bit more versatility.
Not only that, but, as will you see, with proper attachments, you can build a handheld-mop hybrid, which will give you a great 2-in-1 device.
An important consideration you’re sure to make is the price. Well, handheld steam cleaners aren’t that expensive. You can pick one up for some £40-50, with hybrids being more expensive.
Mop cleaners cost about the same, with cylinder cleaners being the most expensive. These will cost you around £250. The brand will also influence the price, but also the quality, as Black and Decker, Shark or Morphy Richards will cost you more, but will also be of superior quality.
As we said, quality is extremely important when it comes to mop steamers, since a bad one will be next to useless to you.
Well, with that out of the way, let’s get on with our reviews of the best handheld steam cleaners on the market. We searched near and far, and found five excellent handheld and hybrid steam cleaners for you.
5 of the best handheld steam cleaners
The Karcher SC1 premium steam cleaner is a handheld steam cleaner, primarily, but, through a range of attachments, it can become a mop steam cleaner too. Its attachments make it very useful in the kitchen to clean up after cooking, and make it very useful for cleaning bathroom tiles. With a small tank, it should only be used for smaller areas, but, if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll struggle to top the Karcher SC1.
So, let’s dissect this thing, shall we? First the tank; it has a maximum capacity of 200 ml. At such capacity, the product has about 2 minutes of steam in it (no pun intended). In this respect, the SC1 is inferior to its “brothers”, the SC2, 3, 4 and 5.
The SC1 is, as we said, used primarily for smaller areas, and it’s good for about 20 m2. Anything above that, and you’re going to have to keep refilling it constantly. The device has an attachment that turns it into a mop steam cleaner, but, considering the small tank, you’re probably going to use it to clean spills or mud, as comprehensive cleaning of your floor is highly improbable with this cleaner.
One interesting thing about the Karcher SC1 is that it can be used for removing stains out of carpets, but, again, this is only limited to localized stains, and you ought to pick a different device if you’re looking for something suited to this usage.
In terms of power, the SC1 runs on 1200W, which enables it to generate 3 bars of pressure. This kind of pressure is very much acceptable from a handheld device, and allows you to clean even more persistent grease or mould. With the use of special cleaning agents, you can use the SC1 to disinfect the area you’re cleaning, and remove up to 99.99% of bacteria. In terms of heat-up speed, the SC1 is respectable, and will take about 3 minutes to ready-up.
As for the negative sides, as we’ve mentioned, you’re looking at a device with a very small tank. The product is not intended for large areas at all, so don’t become disillusioned when it doesn’t clean your entire floor. It runs quickly out of steam, making it kind of annoying if you have a little bit more to clean, as you constantly need to refill the tank. Also, the terry cloths you receive with the product get dirty fairly quickly, so you’ll need to buy new ones. The product is also not cordless, so there’s that to consider too.
- Decent pressure.
- Good versatility.
- Fair mobility.
- Ready-ups quickly.
- Delivers fair results.
- Small tank, runs out of steam quickly.
- Not cordless.
- Terry cloths get dirty quickly.
Our next product comes from Vax. The S7 Total Home Master is another hybrid product, though, primarily, it’s a mop cleaner.
However, the fact that you can dismount the tank and use it separately grants the S7 the status of a hybrid steamer. This also give the device more versatility when you’re cleaning, and allows you to own once device instead of two, saving you money, time and room. On top of that, the steam cleaner isn’t all that expensive, costing around £50.
Starting with the tank, the S7 has a decent capacity of 0.4 litres. The key word here is “decent”, as this is neither impressive nor something extraordinary. However, for the price, it’s a fairly-sized tank, and you can expect about fifteen minutes of run-time, which allows you to clean larger surfaces (about 30-40 m2).
Being a mop cleaner, you can expect the product to be very effective when tackling the floor. The S7 has a triangular head that allows you to get to more difficult places. The machine’s decent tank size is very convenient, because you won’t have to refill it all the time when you’re cleaning.
When it comes to power, again the product is pretty decent. In fact, it’s much more powerful than the SC1, as it runs at 1600W which amounts to some 3.2 bars of pressure. This isn’t that much improvement from the SC1 on the surface, but the difference in performance is very much visible.
The S7 can clean old grease with little trouble, and clean mould from your tiles. Like we said, you can detach the tank and use it as a handheld device, and, with that extra power, you can get some more serious cleaning done. The product also heat up very quickly, taking only twenty seconds to do so.
However, the Vax S7 is far from perfect. Starting with a minor problem, the cloth becomes dirty quite quickly, so you have to change it. Luckily, you receive three cloths with the cleaner, mitigating the problem somewhat. The steamer doesn’t seem to be all that sturdy, and tends to break down after a few months of use, so keep that warranty handy.
However, the biggest trouble comes from the handheld part of the device. The tank itself is a little on the heavy side, so your arm is sure to get tired after using the handheld part after a while. Not only that, but the tank seems to have a problem with being turned upside down, as in, it tends to stop working. This also tends to happen randomly, as some devices appear to work fine while the others have problems with this.
- The device has a sizable tank.
- Heats up quickly.
- Has a decent runtime.
- A fairly powerful device.
- Can be used as mop and handheld.
- The mop is a little hard to disassemble.
- Not that durable.
- The handheld part has some problems being turned upside down.
The Beldray is the same type of device as the S7, as it is, inherently, a mop cleaner, but can be disassembled and used as a handheld cleaner.
The Beldray is a little bit more expensive than the S7, costing about £60. However, it used to cost around £100, so, at this point, it is a bargain. The cleaner is quite powerful and has a decent tank, although it’s a little weaker than the S7 and its tank is slightly smaller. However, it can produce steam and keep it up for longer, making it excellent value for the money.
As usual, we’ll start our review by describing the inner workings of the machine, and, more accurately, with the tank. As we said, it’s a little smaller than the S7’s but the size is nearly insignificant.
While the S7 features a 0.4-litre tank, the Beldray sports a 0.35-litre tank. With a tank like this, you’d think the product has a shorter run-time, but you’d be wrong.
The device is extremely efficient with its steam, allowing for a run-time of 20 minutes, as opposed to the S7’s 15 minutes. This gets even better when you find out that the Beldray heats up in mere 25 seconds, making the cleaner not only capable of covering a decent area, but it also saves you time as you can get on with cleaning virtually right away after firing up the machine.
In terms of power, the Beldray BEL0448 is similar to the S7. The wattage difference is only 100 watts, with the Beldray operating at 1500W. This kind of power can generate 3.2 bars of pressure, which makes the machine very good for removing more persistent dirt and filth.
Naturally, we won’t finish without exposing a few negative points about the device. The pad used for cleaning gets dirty easily. Now, this is a double-edged sword – on one hand, it means that the machine does a good job cleaning, but leaves the rag very dirty after a single use. With that, the pad can be washed, but, because it soaks up the dirt on such a level, it will look dirty even if you’ve cleaned the thing.
Another bad point is that the product can’t handle cleaning liquids. Many cleaners, as we stated in the guide, give you an opportunity to add cleaning liquids for disinfecting purposes, but, because the Beldray can’t handle cleaning products, its “99.99% bacteria removed” claim might not be so accurate.
- Powerful cleaner, able to tackle stubborn dirt and grime.
- A fair-sized tank.
- Heats up quickly.
- Impressive run-time.
- Pad gets dirty after a single use; tough to clean thoroughly.
- Can’t be used in conjunction with cleaning agents.
This is one of the most affordable products, and definitely the most affordable on our list, making it an excellent addition to any home. It’s small and light, it doesn’t take up much space and cleans fairly well. It costs about £30 – a good price for a very good product.
We said the Hoover is small, but it’s not that small. Indeed, this cleaner has a very respectable tank. It can store up to 400 ml of water inside it, putting it on par with the S7 as far as tank size goes. This also gives it fairly good run-time of 12 minutes, allowing you to go about cleaning for longer and clean larger surfaces.
In fact, you could probably transform this handheld cleaner into a decent hybrid with only a few attachments. However, the product does take some time to heat up, and you’ll have to wait some 5 to 10 minutes in order for the product to get ready.
Another impressive thing about the product is that it generates 4 bars of pressure on just 1000W. This is amazing efficiency and transfer of energy. With that kind of pressure, the Hoover is more than capable of cleaning carpets with relative ease. It’s also more than capable of uplifting grime and blasting it to bits, but you should be careful around sealants, as the product is more than capable of melting them.
However, this excessive heat can cause problems. Namely, the device is capable of melting even the attachments you get with the device. It seems Hoover didn’t think this all the way through, as they shipped a powerful product with plastic attachments that can’t handle it.
The heat creates yet another problem, as the device takes considerable time to cool down. Sure, the Hoover can run for a good 12 minutes, but, eventually, you’ll have to refill it, and that’s when the waiting begins. The machine takes almost 20 minutes to cool down after being used.
- The machine can squeeze out 4 bars of pressure on top of 1000W.
- Powerful enough to clean hardened grime and carpets.
- Has decent run-time.
- Has a decent tank for a handheld unit.
- Intense heat can make the attachments melt.
- Takes a long time to cool down.
Last, but not least, is the Bissell 2635s Handheld Steam Cleaner. Like the Hoover Steam Express, this too is a dedicated handheld cleaner device. It’s very similar to the Hoover both in performance and price too.
It’s slightly more expensive, featuring a price of about £40. The price offers good value for money, though, as the Bissell is a very worthwhile product to have in your kitchen.
It’s just as powerful as the Hoover, but not as versatile. However, if you’re looking for a device to use in the kitchen, this is the best one, considering its power, but, more importantly, the attachments.
The Bissell 2635s features a fairly large tank that holds up to 360ml of water. This allows the product to run some 10 to 12 minutes before running out of steam. With run-time like this, you’ll probably have enough steam to go through with cleaning the entire kitchen on one filling. The product takes a lot of time to heat up, though, as its motor is small and not that powerful. It takes up to 10 minutes for the device to ready-up.
In terms of power, the Bissell 2635s is the same as the Hoover. The product is capable of generating 4 bars of pressure from a 1000W motor. With that, the product is good at lifting grime and dirt from kitchen tiles and counters, making it indispensable if you haven’t been the most diligent with your cleaning.
What makes the product even better are the attachments you get with it. With the Bissell, you’ll receive several brush attachments which are great when tackling the grime that collects on the sink tap and around the edges.
On the other hand, the Bissell is a little on the heavy side. Using it for a prolonged time will surely hurt your hands and wrists, so you’ll probably need to set it down a few times during your cleaning. Also, the brushes, though a good addition, wear quite quickly, so you’ll have to find replacements if you like them enough to use them all the time.
- Decently sized tank.
- Fairly powerful.
- Comes with brush attachments.
- Solid run-time.
- Quite heavy.
- Brushes wear considerably.
- Takes some time to ready-up.
Well, there it is, a review of five of the best handheld steam cleaners. As you’ve seen, all of them are really decent products with good prices and good performances. It’s now up to you to select the one you like the most. Again, if you’re not entirely sure which one to pick, refer to our guide for, well, guidance. Happy cleaning!
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