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The 8 Best Steam Cleaners to Deep Clean All Surfaces

The most effective, chemical-free way to sanitize your whole home.

best steam cleaners
Staff, Courtesy of Shark

The most effective way to disinfect items, especially those that you can’t launder or wipe down, is through steam cleaning. According to this 2019 study, steam technology was found to be just as effective as a two-step cleaning process using water/detergent and a microfiber cloth to disinfect—and it does so without the use of chemicals and with less water consumption, time, and cost. By using temperatures up to 220 degrees Fahrenheit, steam cleaners and steam mops are able to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria, viruses, mold and mildew, allergens, and bugs across a wider variety of fabrics and sealed surfaces. So if you want your home to not only look clean but also be free of bacteria on all kinds of floors and surfaces without resorting to harsh chemicals, consider one of these steam cleaners.

Types of Steam Cleaners

The two main types of steam cleaners are cylinder steam cleaners and steam mops. Comparable to cylinder versus upright vacuums, each of these models has a variety of advantages and disadvantages. Before you purchase a steam cleaner, consider which type works best in your home.

Cylinder Steam Cleaners

These steam cleaners have cylinder bodies with wheels, which may be heavier to lug around the house, though they typically offer many more attachments to connect to the hose. As a result, cylinder steam cleaners tend to offer a higher steam output, larger water tank capacity, and more functionality than mops for a greater variety of surfaces, like upholstery, curtains, and more.

Steam Mops

Designed to be used in place of a regular mop for your floors, steam mops are much more compact and lightweight. Though they have smaller water tanks, they’re better designed for quick clean ups. Many are suitable only for hard floors, though some come with attachments to use on carpets.


Some options on this list combine the portability of a steam mop with the flexibility of a cylinder steam cleaner. These models typically have lift-off cylinders that separate from an upright mop, which you can use with a variety of attachments to clean more than just your floors.

How We Evaluated

To select these steam cleaners, we researched five expert sources such as Good Housekeeping and The Spruce, and relied on our own previous reporting on the best steam mops. We selected a variety of steam mops, cylinder steam cleaners, two-in-ones, and handheld models to meet anyone’s needs. We also confirmed that our selections had high ratings and reviews on retail sites like Amazon and Wayfair.

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Best Overall Steam Cleaner
Karcher EasyFix Steam Cleaner

Key Specs

  • Surface Types: All
  • Tank Capacity: Continuous refill
  • Weight: 12 lb.
  • Model No.: SC 3

Karcher’s powerful SC 3 EasyFix steam cleaner can heat up to over 200 degrees in just 40 seconds—and if the large tank runs out, you can continuously refill it while you’re cleaning. Unlike many other steam cleaners and mops, the EasyFix’s tank even comes with a descaling cartridge to remove any lime scale from your tap water. This model also ranks at the top for its plentiful multifunctional accessories, including a floor nozzle, hand nozzle, round brush, and microfiber covers.

  • Continuous refill tank with descaling cartridge
  • Steam output over 200° F
  • 44 PSI

  • Carpet glider and other tools sold separately
Best Value Steam Mop
Bissell Powerfresh Steam Mop

Key Specs

  • Surface Types: Hard floors
  • Tank Capacity: 16 oz.
  • Weight: 6 lb.
  • Model No.: 1806

A popular and compact steam mop, Bissell’s PowerFresh features easy swivel steering and convenient refilling with an included water cup that attaches to the handle. You can switch between three power settings, and also remove the main base to use a spot brush to scrub more difficult or hard-to-reach messes. It comes with two washable mop pads (one soft and one scrubby), plus Spring Breeze Scent Discs that will spurt some fragrance as you clean.

  • Compatible with scented water and discs
  • Attached water cup

  • Some reviewers report durability issues
Compact Steam Mop
Shark Genius Hard Floor Steam Mop

Key Specs

  • Surface Types: Hard floors
  • Tank Capacity: 350 ml
  • Weight: 6 lb.
  • Model No.: S5003D

The Shark Genius is a compact steam mop perfect for hard floors. Its tank capacity is fairly small, but that helps keep this option slim and lightweight for easy maneuverability. The Shark Genius System stands out for its double-sided dirt grip pads, which can be easily removed for washing with a touch of a button.

  • Dual-sided mop pads are easy to remove

  • Small tank
Most Versatile
Dupray Neat Multi-Use Steam Cleaner

Key Specs

  • Surface Types: All
  • Tank Capacity: 54 oz
  • Weight: 9 lb.
  • Model No.: DUP020WNA

Get a professional-quality clean with the Dupray Neat system, which offers a high 275-degree steam and large tank capacity that can run for up to 50 minutes of cleaning time. The compact canister with wheels has a 16-foot cord and connects to a 6.5-foot hose with an impressive 17-piece set of accessories for cleaning any nooks and crannies, from floors to tile grout to kitchen appliances and more.

  • 17 total cleaning attachments
  • Lightweight and portable with large tank capacity and wheels

  • 7-minute heating time
Bissell PowerFresh Lift-Off Steam Mop
$114.11 (21% off)

Key Specs

  • Surface Types: Hard floors
  • Tank Capacity: 13.5 oz.
  • Weight: 20 lb.
  • Model No.: 1544A

Bissell’s PowerFresh steam mop also comes in a Lift-Off model that combines the ease of use of a mop with the versatility of a handheld steam cleaner, thanks to the removable cylinder and 13 included accessories. As a result, you can use this machine not only for your floors, but also tile and grout, kitchen appliances, windows, upholstery, all of the nooks and crannies in your vehicle, and more.

  • Steam mop with handheld cleaner
  • Includes 13 tools

  • Water tank not removable
Most Accessories (18)
McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner

Key Specs

  • Surface Types: Most floors, counters, windows, autos, etc.
  • Tank Capacity: 48 oz.
  • Weight: 12 lb.
  • Model No.: MC1275

Though it has a relatively long heating time at 8 minutes, this McCulloch steam cleaner has a large tank that’ll last up to 45 minutes. Its many accessories can go from the kitchen to bathroom to living room and reach anywhere between the ceilings and floors. It’s also quite mobile with its wheels, carrying handle, 10-foot long steam hose, and 15-foot power cord.

  • 45 minutes of steam
  • 18 accessories

  • 8-minute heating time
  • No variable steam options
Vacuum/Steam Mop Combo
Bissell Symphony Vacuum and Steam Mop

Key Specs

  • Surface Types: Hard floors
  • Tank Capacity: 12.8 oz.
  • Weight: 10 lb.
  • Model No.: N/A

Part steam mop, part vacuum, the Bissell Symphony is an excellent two-in-one option to cut back on the amount of cleaning devices your home needs. If you want to use a steam mop just as much as a vacuum cleaner, this model is ideal for both sucking up dirt and pet hair and sanitizing your hard floors. It features high and low steam functions or vacuum only and comes with a variety of mop pads and scented waters.

  • Not the best for carpeted homes

  • Fairly low tank capacity
Best Handheld
Bissell SteamShot Handheld Steam Cleaner
$31.04 (11% off)

Key Specs

  • Surface Types: Hard surfaces
  • Tank Capacity: 6.6 oz
  • Weight: 4 lb.
  • Model No.: 39N7V

Oftentimes, handheld models are the most appropriate for ease of use and storage—and you can save big by opting for this tiny Bissell SteamShot that can work on a variety of surfaces. Though it’s not as efficient for cleaning floors as a steam mop, it’s ideal for getting in those hard-to-reach spaces like between appliances in the kitchen or grout in the bathroom. According to reviewers, the small six-ounce tank can last for about ten minutes of use, but it’s fortunately easy to refill and reheats in under a minute.

  • Affordable
  • Easy to store

  • Not the best for floors
  • Small tank
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