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Every hard floor needs to be steam cleaned at some point, especially if you have kids or pets. It’s amazing how much dirt is there, even when the floor looks really clean.
When I picked up my first steam cleaner I was shocked by the amount of dirt it collected – and I am the kind of person who uses antibacterial wipes to clean the kitchen floor several times a week on top of hoovering.
They don’t just pick up the dirt that you didn’t know was there, they also kill bacteria that might be lingering on your floor due to the heat produced while cleaning – which can help to keep playing kids and crawling babies safe.
Of course, it’s not very easy to figure out which one you need, or which steam cleaner is actually going to work best in your home. There’s no need to worry though, I have been there, and that’s why I put this together.
In this guide, we are not only taking you through the best steam cleaners and showing you some of the steam cleaner reviews (from both myself and customers), we are also going to show you all the different types and how they can benefit you.
Take some time to sit and read through this extensive and informative guide so that you can find the perfect steal cleaner for your home.
Top Rated UK Steam Mops List
Types of Steam Cleaner
There are three main types of steam cleaner available, and you can find each of them below. In this section, we take you through each of them alongside their uses and some of the key features they have that you will want to consider.
Hopefully, this will be the first step towards you finding the right type of steam cleaner for you.
These are the latest steam cleaners on the scene, and a steam mop stands upright and has a water tank that is attached to the handle.
They are the best ones for tiles and wooden floors, as well as the most popular choice of steam cleaner. These are the most versatile models, but not quite as flexible as the classic steam cleaner.
Single purpose: Usually, these are the cheaper steam mops, and they are made solely for cleaning the floor or something similar. They might come with a few floor attachments, but nothing like the multipurpose models (see below).
Multipurpose: These models tend to be suited to more than one task, so things like cleaning the floors, as well as the windows and furniture. Usually, they will come with a range of attachments that allow you to create a more versatile machine.
Cordless/Corded: With steam mops, you can choose between cordless and corded models. It all depends on your personal preference (I like corded ones a lot more, for example), but when you are looking at a cordless model, you should check that the battery life and charging period are going to work for you. With a corded model, make sure it comes with a good size cable.
This is the original format, and the product that started the steam cleaner movement. They are the most flexible optional available, and they can be used to clean any part of your home – from the hob and the oven, to the floors. You can also grab them for a bargain price.
Cylinder steam cleaner: This is one of the types of steam cleaner, and these usually come with a main body, a bendy hose, and a plastic tube with a nozzle. They are also known as barrel steam cleaners and come with a great range of attachments. They do tend to be heavier than a standard steam cleaner though.
2-in-1 steam cleaner: These look like a bulkier version of a steam mop, and they combine a steam cleaner with a handheld model that can be removed from the internal area. Combined, they can tackle anything, and separated they are able to reach those difficult corners. They are a little heavier, but they do an amazing job.
Handheld Steam Cleaners
These are the perfect steam cleaners for those who want something that is lightweight and compact, but also for people who just want to clean small areas – like the bathroom floor or tiles. They are great for car interiors, as well as reaching places that would otherwise be difficult to get to.
We have created a guide to the Best handheld Steamer here
Battery life: The majority of handheld steam cleaners are cordless, although you might come across a few corded ones. While things like the steaming time are important (see the next section), the battery life is vital for a handheld model. You want something that is going to last long enough to get those small jobs done.
Charging period: Again, this is an important one to look out for. Just like vacuum cleaners, steam cleaners can take a while to charge up, so when you are picking your handheld model, try to select something that only take a couple of hours to charge instead of 12 or more. That way, it’s always on hand when you need it.
Portability: A handheld steam cleaner should be lightweight and portable, so it’s easy to move around the home and to tackle the areas you need it to. When you go to buy, invest in something that really prides itself on how portable it is and has an overall light weight.
If there is one thing you should always remember, it is to check that your floors are able to cope with being steamed cleaned before you buy. Is there much worse than warped or peeling floors? Not really. Make sure you always keep this tip in the back of your head.
How Much to Spend on a Steam Cleaner?
When it comes to steam cleaners, this is not always the easiest question to answer. There are some models that you can pick up for £50 that work great, and some for £250 that is an absolute dream. Unlike with vacuum cleaners, the price does not always guarantee that you are going to get something that is great quality. For steam cleaners, it is best to stick to our detailed guide to find out which ones we recommend. However, if you are feeling a little stuck, these are some of the top brands we suggest (and they come in a range of prices):
- Black and Decker
- Russell Hobbs
- Morphy Richards
What to Look for
Following on from the previous section, there are a few things that you will want to look for regardless of the type of steam cleaner you decide to purchase. Take a look below and read through the features that I feel are most important.
The first thing you need to look at is your budget – what you can afford and what you are willing to spend. Once you have sorted that aspect out, the rest will come easily and with no issues. It will help you to narrow down your search, and you can look at the models that slot into your budget.
This often refers to the steam pressure, but it can also refer to the bar pressure. Models that have a higher steam pressure (measured in grams of steam per minute, or gm) tend to be the ones that leave the floor wettest after it has been used.
In terms of power, you will find that the higher the number, the more powerful the steam output is when you are cleaning. So, for a really powerful stem cleaner, look for a high gm.
Water Tank Capacity
This is all down to personal preference, but a large capacity means that you can clean for longer – so you don’t have to stop halfway through your session in order to refill the tank.
I definitely prefer a large water tank capacity as it makes the job quicker, but if you want a small and portable model (such as a handheld steam cleaner), you will have to go with a smaller capacity.
This also links in the with the concept of the steaming time, which is how long a steam cleaner can go before it needs to be refilled. Some are only able to go for 10 minutes, and others can go for well over an hour.
Types of Tank
A steam cleaner with a single tank will stop being able to produce steam once the tank is empty. With a twin tank, they last twice as long, and you can fill one tank with water while the other is heating up – so you never have to stop cleaning.
This is great for larger homes or ones that need a really serious clean. What I will note, however, is that both tend to have around the same overall capacity.
This is how long it takes for the steam cleaner to heat up before you can use it. There are some that are ready in a matter of seconds, and others that take over 10 minutes before they are ready to go. Steam mops tend to be the fastest ones to heat up, whereas cylinder steam cleaners are often the slowest ones.
Not every steam cleaner has this, as most models just use water, but if you want an extra level of clean, you can pick up a steam cleaner that has a separate detergent tank. It’s quite self-explanatory, as all you need to do is pour the detergent in and you are ready to go.
Adjustable Steam Rate
Not all steam cleaners come with this feature, but some do. Often, it is in the form of a dial that you can turn according to the steam setting that you want – allowing you to change the power levels according to your needs.
If you check out your user manual, you will find some cleaning tasks benefit from different steam levels.
If you live in a hard water area, this is an absolute must. Your steam cleaner is just like your kettle in the sense that it is not immune from limescale, and I have always found these filters to be massively useful as someone who lives in a hard water area.
The filter works to slow the build-up of limescale down so that you don’t have to clean it out as often. Some filters are replaceable, others are permanent.
Weight and Handling
There isn’t much worse than trying to lug a really heavy steam cleaner around, so you want something that is light enough for you to use and lift.
Most steam cleaners are quite a comfortable weight, but it is something that you should always check before you buy. The handling is also important. You don’t want a steam cleaner that is difficult to move around, and my suggestion is to find one with a swivel head.
This allows you to turn tight corners, as well as glide across the floors easily. It makes the process more manageable and also helps you to save some time.
There are a large number of accessories that you can purchase separately, or that will come with your steam cleaner. This tends to vary between brands and models, but here is a list of the best accessories you can get for a steam cleaner – take note!
- Squeegee - for cleaning glass
- Scrubbing brushes – to remove embedded grime from grout and tiles
- Carpet glider – for refreshing the carpets (more on this later)
- Cleaning pads - for wiping surfaces down
- Upholstery tool - for treating stains and refreshing fabric
- Scrubbing pad – for removing grease from ovens
- Crevice tool – to remove grime from hard to reach locations
- Direct steam nozzle – to spray a burst of steam in a difficult to access area
- Extension hose – for a little extra reach
- Flat scrubber – for cleaning surfaces, mirrors, and walls
The Benefits of Steam
Steam cleaners used something that is called dry steam, and this is different to the kind of steam that you experience in places like saunas and steam rooms.
In this section, I talk about the benefits of using dry steam in your home, as well as how a steam cleaner could be beneficial to you.
One thing that steam cleaners do really well is save time. They are usually very quick to heat up, and once they are ready to go, you don’t need to stop until your floor is nice and clean.
Models with large tanks can get your whole house done in no time at all, and even the handheld ones tend to have enough capacity to get the room you need to the standard you want.
More Powerful Than a Standard Mop
It provides more power than a standard mop, and you can usually adjust the power setting so that more steam is released for those really grimy areas. This means that your floors end up cleaner and better looked after by the end of it.
They can create massive amounts of pressure (think 5 bar) so that even things like your oven can get a good scrubbing. The section below looks at whether or not a steam cleaner is better than a standard mop.
Don’t Rely on Chemicals
You can buy some steam cleaners that have a detergent tank, but more often than not you will find the standard models have no need for chemicals, and you only need to put water inside.
This is kinder on your floors, but also means that you can clean in a more natural way without worrying about germs and bacteria. Not to mention, it is kinder to your pets and kids.
The dry steam produced by the steam cleaner when it is being run over your floors actually kills bacteria and leaves you with a cleaner home in every sense of the word.
Barely anything survives once this has run over it, and as someone whose pets are always bringing in debris from the outside world, it is essential that I keep my floors free from germs.
This is really important if you have children that are crawling on your hard floors or carpets, as it means they won’t come into too much contact with potentially dangerous bacteria.
Variety of Types to Choose from
Something that we looked at earlier on is the variety you will find with steam cleaners. Unlike a standard mop, there are different types and models to choose from, so you can find one that will slide in with your lifestyle and keep your floors clean. From handheld to standard models, there is something that is beneficial to everyone.
Is it Better Than a Standard Mop?
In my opinion, and from experience, yes, I believe that steam cleaners/steam mops are better and more hygienic than a standard mop.
The regular old mop that you buy at the supermarket tends to spread germs across the floor, especially when you often have to keep dipping it into water that is getting dirtier by the minute.
Steam cleaners also tend to be faster, heating up to a temperature that kills bacteria but also zooming across your floors with ease. After all, you don’t have to stop and dunk your steam mop back into a bucket to keep going.
The floors are also much dryer after cleaning, allowing you to resume your normal routine in a shorter space of time. Of course, a standard mop and bucket are a lot cheaper, and it doesn’t usually cost more than £10 for both of them together.
A steam cleaner, on the other hand, can set you back a good £100. However, I feel that it is worth the extra money for something that is cleaner, faster, and much more efficient.
Never leave your steam cleaner unattended when it is switched on. If a pet, child, or even you accidentally touch it, it could end up burning you. The steam may be dry, but they still get very hot.
Uses for a Steam Cleaner or Steam Mop
While we did look briefly at the functions of steam cleaners earlier on, in this section I take a closer look at the areas of your home a steam cleaner, or steam mop, that might benefit most from a good steam clean.
Kitchen, Bathroom, and Hard Floors
This is the classic use for a steam cleaner – keeping your floors looking fantastic. The hard floors in your kitchen, bathroom, and the rest of your house can benefit massively from a nice steam clean, especially if you have kids or pets.
The process is simple, just set is up according to the instructions and start sliding it across your floors. You will have perfect results in no time.
Cleaning the Oven
Sadly, we can’t always buy a new oven when it gets dirty. I did it once (true story), and it just isn’t cost effective. No, it’s not nice to be met with baked on grease and grime that makes you gag when you get up close, but your steam cleaner can help all your troubles go away.
If you use your steamer (preferably a handheld model for ease of use) with a brush attachment, all of the grease and grime from inside your oven and on your hob, will simply melt away – so all you have to do is wipe it clean. The really tough stuff might take more effort, but on the whole, it is so much easier.
Cleaning the Furniture and Bedding
We talked before about how the steam produced by a steam cleaner can work to kill dust mites and bacteria, which is why it can work so well on your furniture, but also your mattress.
In the case of your mattress, it not only kills bacteria, and dust mites, but also any germs that your vacuum cleaner simply cannot reach. It gives it a purifying clean that ensures you are germ-free.
Of course, you should always use it on a low steam setting so that these items don’t end up soaked, but even then, the mites and bacteria will be killed effectively. Usually, there is an upholstery attachment so that you can get the job done thoroughly.
All I recommend is leaving the mattress and the chairs to dry thoroughly for a few hours after cleaning them, so you don’t get a wet backside.
Cleaning the Interior of Your Car
This works the same way as cleaning your furniture. Grab the upholstery tool (and I recommend a handheld steam cleaner for ease of use), and you can start using it to clean your upholstery in the car.
Much like the rest of the furniture, it is strongly recommended that you do not use it on a really damp setting so that the seats and other areas are not damaged, and so that they are given time to dry.
Cleaning Windows and Curtains
Interestingly, you can usually pick up a squeegee attachment for your steam cleaner if it does not come with one already. Using a steam cleaner to get the windows looking great means that you aren’t left with any streaks afterwards, and the water doesn’t run down the window.
Even so, I suggest placing a towel at the bottom of the window as while it does not run, you might end up with a few drips. Cleaning the curtains is quite similar to the car and furniture.
All you need is the upholstery tool, and you are ready to go. Just remember to check the care label for the curtains before you get started.
Defrosting the Freezer
This is my most hated job, especially when I have to take a knife to the ice just to get things started. A steam cleaner, however, makes everything so much easier to manage.
All you need to do in order to prepare is remove the drawers and place a bucket at the base to collect all the ice. Then, turn the steam cleaner onto the freezer and watch as it melts everything away once it is heated up.
It’s fast and effective, and will allow you to fill the freezer back up in no time at all. There is even a scraper tool that comes with the steam cleaner (or that you can buy) for really stubborn ice.
Could it Damage Your Floors?
The short answer is yes, but before you close this tab and banish the concept of a steam cleaner from your mind, let me explain.
There are some types of flooring that could be left warped or with peeling varnish after they have been steamed, and this is why you should always check that your floor type is safe for steam use before you buy a machine.
That doesn’t mean you should follow the instructions the manufacturer gives – many of them say it can be used on all floor types when that is simply not true.
For example, if there are gaps between your wooden planks or floorboards, moisture could end up getting in there and causing the floorboards to warp. Damage like this could even invalidate the warranty for your flooring.
Laminate floors are a really popular form of flooring, and an increasing number of homes are installing them. Of course, this raises the question of whether or not you are safe to use a steam cleaner on them.
In short, excessive moisture can cause severe damage to your laminate floor, attacking the very core and causing it to peel or warp. The best way to steam clean laminate floors it to use less water than usual and the heat setting suggested by the manufacturer.
This means that you can still benefit from everything that steam cleaners have to offer, but it should also leave the floors nice and dry afterwards, ensuring that excess moisture does not find its way in through the tiniest of cracks. So, you can still steam clean even with laminate floors.
Generally speaking, you don’t need to be so careful with things like tile, and linoleum does pretty well with steam. All you have to do is check what kind of floor you have and see what kind of steam treatment will be suitable for it.
In fact, the models in this guide cover a range of floor types, so you can even find something that will work nicely on your sealed wood floors. All you need to do in order to reduce the risk of damage on wooden floors are these two things:
- Don’t overdo it when you are steaming
- Always choose a steam cleaner that leaves the floor practically dry after use
With these two reminders in your arsenal, you will be just fine when selecting the perfect steam cleaner for your floors.
Did You Know?
Steam cleaners can work on carpets, but instead of cleaning them they tend to refresh the floors instead. If you want your carpets cleaned, it is better to get an actual carpet cleaner instead, and these are available at affordable prices.
Need Something for Carpets?
As we mentioned earlier, you can get carpet gliders for a steam cleaner so that you can run them over your carpets. However, these tend to refresh the carpet instead of clean it, which means that it isn’t getting the treatment that it really needs.
However, a steam cleaner will kill bacteria, dust mites, and other nasty particles that are living in your carpets, which helps to keep your children safer, especially in cases where people do not remove their outdoor shoes when they come in.
If you want carpets that are washed and freed from grime, you are going to want to look at a carpet cleaner instead. This machine will wash and shampoo your carpets, leaving them looking brand new in no time at all.
Some even dry the carpets afterwards so that you can get back to using them quickly. If, like me, you live with pets, a carpet cleaner should definitely be alongside a steam cleaner on your list- the results will amaze you. You can check out our carpet cleaning guide here (insert link).
Shark S6003UK Deluxe Steam Mop
Shark is one of the best brands you can get, and certainly one of my top choices when it comes to steam cleaners.
If you are looking for something trustworthy and reliable, this could be just what you needed. Have a look at my review below and see what you think of this model.
This is a steam mop that stands upright and has a really slim design that provides a look that is both
modern and stylish – so it will fit in perfectly with your home.
The thing I love about this model is the
intelligent steam control, which has three user-friendly settings that have been designed for optimal
cleaning and sanitisation of your home. Plus, it works seamlessly across all floor types.
The Kick n’ Flip technology means that you can take the cleaning cloth and flip it over with a simple foot movement once one side gets dirty, saving you time and allowing for twice the cleaning time.
The steam blast tech is great for really stubborn areas, thanks to the direct blast of heat that can be activated with ease for optimum cleaning. It’s also lightweight, with swivel head functions that allow for really easy handling across your floors.
The Not So Good
There have been no negative comments about this product so far, which is great news.
- Power: 1200 watts
- Run Time: N/A
- Charge Time: N/A
- Weight: 2.7kg
- Tank Capacity: 4.3L
- Battery Voltage: 240v
- Noise: N/A
This fantastic model from Shark is a personal favourite, and it might cost a little more than you were expecting, but it is certainly worth every penny spent.
With no customer complaints so far, I can really see why this model has soared in popularity – both thanks to my own experience with it, and the experiences of others. Powerful, easy to handle, and with fantastic functions, there aren’t many steam cleaners around that can top this one.
Q: Can the Shark S6003UK be used on vinyl floors?
A: The S6003UK can be used on most hardfloors, and, in fact, because of the technology which results in such quick drying, are the perfect mop for such material. That said, we always suggest customers check with the manufacturer, or supplier of the flooring, in case the particular vinyl/laminate is of a special manufacture.
Q: Can the Shark S6003UK mop head be washed in a machine?
A: Yes it can, just make sure you dont put it on a high tempeture wash as this could cause the mop head to shrink and do not put it in the tumble dryer simply for the same reason.
Past Recommended Models - Some Discontinued
Hopefully, this guide has helped you to not only better understand the range of steam mops that are available on the market, but also to pick the one that is going to work best for you.
Armed with the knowledge you need to make the best choices, we are sure that at least one of these models is going to be everything you were searching for (and more).
We have collected a number of models from a great range of brands, allowing you to find a steam cleaner (or mop) from a company that you know and trust.
Keeping your budget in mind, we have also ensured that there is a variety of prices, so that everyone can find the perfect steam cleaner for their home. With this guide, you are guaranteed success.
What did you think of our steam cleaner guide? Were you pleased with the models and information on offer, or are there things that you would have added? We love hearing from you, so make sure to leave us a message in the comments below.
Gemma Tyler is a freelance journalist with 15 years of experience writing for consumer publications. She has tested and reviewed a wide range of household items from vacuum cleaners to washing machines and dehumidifiers to steam irons. Her attention to detail and exhaustive testing certainly makes her an expert in her field.