Hand Held Steam Cleaner Buyers Guide

If you are looking for a single cleaning device that will prise dirt and grime off all of the following surfaces and more, then a steam cleaner is the machine for you:

  • Carpets and rugs
  • Wooden flooring
  • Tile and ceramic floors
  • Ovens and hobs
  • Windows
  • Clothing and textiles
  • Upholstery

Steam cleaners are versatile and can be used for a variety of cleaning purposes as stated above, from the bathroom to the kitchen floors and everything in between. They work on the most stubborn of stains and due to the high steam temperature offer a sanitising benefits too. For this reason steam cleaners will work without need for a detergent and are therefore environmentally friendly too. This guide will introduce you to the various types of steam cleaners, which fall roughly into 3 categories but will go on to focus on choosing the best hand held steam cleaner for your home. The 3 groups are:

  1. Steam mops
  2. Cylinder steam cleaners
  3. Hand held steam cleaners

Buying a steam cleaner will depend on a number of things. Ultimately you know what your main intended use will be and therefore after reading this guide you will know exactly which steam cleaner is right for you, whether you are after a steam mop or a hand held steamer.

Steam Mop Versus Cleaner?

Hand Held Steam Cleaner Buyers Guide

Steam mops look very much like upright vacuum cleaners but instead of sucking out dirt steam comes out. They are most suited for cleaning hard surfaces such as floors although they will often come with attachments that allow them to be used for other tasks.

More portable and with more versatility are the steam cylinder cleaners. They hold more water and therefore will produce steam for longer but the downside is that they take longer to set up and get ready for use.

A hand held steam cleaner on the other hand is more suited for use on small areas, are very portable and cost much less. If you want to keep your bathroom particularly scale and streak free then the hand held steamer is easy to carry around and get to all areas.

Water Capacity

Measured in litres and the large the capacity of the appliance the less often you have to refill it. This has a direct relation to the steam time. It goes without saying that the larger the steam cleaner the bigger its water capacity.

Hand held steam cleaners have the smallest capacity and therefore will only really work if you are cleaning small areas. The cylinder steam cleaner has the biggest capacity and is ideal for cleaning large surfaces such as floors etc. Steam mops are bang in the middle and the speed of reaching steam or how long you have the steam available is a consideration to make before buying a steam cleaner.

Steam & Heating Time

These two variable are interlinked with the water capacity of the appliance. Steam time is the time duration during which you have steam available from your cleaner before you need to refill. Heating time, on the other hand, is how long it takes the appliance to heat water to raise steam, this is usually measured in seconds for hand held steam cleaners but minutes for the cylinder steam cleaners.

Hand held steam cleaners will require regular filling as they have a steam time of usually less than 10 minutes.

Washable Pads, Mops & Accessories

mops and pads for hand held steam cleaner

 Steam mops are usually supplied with machine washable heads or pads, normally 2 so you always have one clean while the other is in the wash. Micro fibre technology works well with steam cleaners and even hand held steam cleaners will usually have a micro fibre cloth supplied.

Other accessories include:

  • Hoses and extensions
  • Different nozzles and brushes
  • Rubber squeegees for windows and glass



Now that you know a bit more about steam cleaners in general, check out the guide on choosing a hand held steam cleaner here. Remember, your intended application is usually the most important factor to consider about when you go out to buy your steam cleaner.