Steam Cleaner Buying Guide

Steam cleaners are the ultimate home-cleaning machines. They provide a thorough clean as well as some great health benefits for the whole family.

Using high-heat steam, steam cleaners can cut through grease and grime while killing viruses and allergens. These multipurpose cleaning machines can be used to clean and sanitise your floors and upholstery, and even defrost your freezer!

So which steam cleaner is right for your home? Could it be the lightweight and convenient handheld steam cleaner? Or perhaps you prefer the power and versatility of an upright steam cleaner?
We take a look at the different types of steam cleaners to help you find the right fit.


Benefits of Steam Cleaning

So why should you add a steam cleaner to your household cleaning arsenal? Here are a few reasons why steam cleaning is the simple, healthy and cost-effective option:

They're Versatile

Steam cleaners are a highly versatile cleaning machine. They can be used to thoroughly clean and disinfect hard floors and carpets, blast stubborn soap scum in the bathroom, remove built-up grease and grime in the oven, and even clean your barbecue. These multipurpose cleaners can tackle a range of cleaning tasks in every room of the house.

They Save You Money on Cleaning Products

Because steam cleaners can pretty much do it all, they eliminate the need for all those extra cleaning supplies. If you’re using a steam-only cleaner, all you need is your machine and some water.

They Kill 99.9% of Germs

Bacteria, be gone! Steam mops and steam cleaners produce steam hot enough to kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria, ridding your home of hazardous pathogens and allergens that can aggravate asthma and allergy symptoms.

They’re Non-Toxic

Most steam mops and steam cleaners are chemical-free, using just water and heat to clean and sanitise. If you don’t like the idea of using potentially harmful chemicals and detergents in your home, cleaners are an effective non-toxic alternative. This makes them perfect for use around children and pets, or anyone sensitive to toxins in household cleaners.

They’re Environmentally Friendly

When used without detergent, steam cleaners are reducing the amount of chemicals being washed down the drain and back into the water supply, making them an environmentally friendly option.

Picking the Best Brand of Steam Cleaner

When it comes to steam cleaners and steam mops, can you just buy a trusted well-known brand and hope it’ll do the trick? In a way, yes. But there’s more to it than that.

There are premium brands and everyday brands of steam cleaners, each catering to different needs. For example, Polivac focuses on commercial cleaning, while brands like Hoover, Bissell, Wertheim and Vax offer a wide range of products suitable for every household.

When you’re choosing a steam cleaner, you should consider your individual needs, home and lifestyle.


Handheld Steam Cleaners vs Upright Steam Cleaners

Steam cleaners generally come in two designs: handheld and upright. Let’s take a look at the differences between handheld steam cleaners and upright steam cleaners to decide which is best for you.

Why would you want a handheld steam cleaner?

Lightweight, compact and easy to carry, handheld steam cleaners are generally used for cleaning showers, windows, and ovens.

These highly portable steam cleaners make it easy to clean and sanitise countertops and hard surfaces, and generally come with handy attachments such as a window squeegee, garment steaming tool, and scrubbing brush. Some handheld steam cleaners can even be used to clean upholstery and mattresses.

Handheld steam cleaners are great for cleaning:
• Windows
• Mirrors
• Showers
• Bathroom tiles
• Tabletops
• Stovetops
• Other hard surfaces.

Why wouldn’t you want a handheld steam cleaner?

Generally, handheld steam cleaners have pretty short cords. This can make it hard to reach and clean entire surfaces. No one wants to clean half of their glass shower door. This can, however, be easily fixed with an extension cord – just make sure there’s no water around to cause a short circuit or (worse!) an electric shock.

Why would you want an upright steam cleaner?

Offering the ultimate in versatility, these powerful deep-cleaning machines can be used to clean and disinfect hard floors, carpets, upholstery, car interiors, and more.

They come with a selection of attachments for a variety of applications around the home, including garment steaming and even cleaning the walls.

Upright steam cleaners are normally used for cleaning and sanitising:
• Hard floors
• Carpets
• Upholstery
• Walls.

Why wouldn’t you want an upright steam cleaner?

If you’re planning to use your steam cleaner for cleaning a lot of upholstery or your car interior, you might want to give an upright steam cleaner a miss. These aren’t as easy to manoeuvre as handheld steam cleaners, making it a bit trickier to clean these fiddly areas.

2-in-1 Steam Cleaners: The Best of Both Worlds!

Can’t choose between a handheld and upright steam cleaner? You don’t have to! 2-in-1 steam cleaners or multi-steamers can be used on a wide range of surfaces including:

• Windows
• Floors and carpets
• Upholstery
• Clothing
• Curtains
• Tiles.

Because they can be used as a powerful upright cleaning machine and a handheld steam cleaner, 2-in-1 steam cleaners are your go-to for an effortlessly spotless home.


Detergent-Capable vs Steam-Only Steam Cleaners

Many steam cleaners produce steam hot enough to kill 99.9% of nasties using only water. Some steam cleaners are detergent-capable, giving you the option to add detergent to boost your cleaning power. You might prefer a detergent-capable steam cleaner if you like the just-cleaned smell of cleaning products, or if you feel you need to take your steam clean to the next level.

Steam-only steam cleaners are great for homes with children and pets that may be sensitive to potentially harmful cleaning products. They only require water to provide a thorough clean, limiting the need to use toxic chemicals. This also saves you money in the long-run as you’re not forking out to replace detergent as you use it.


How is a steam mop different to a steam cleaner?

The short answer: steam mops can’t clean carpet, and steam cleaners can.

If you’re looking for a machine that can get your carpets looking clean and feeling fresh, go for a steam cleaner.

If you have wooden, tiled, laminate or marble floors and you’re looking for a great alternative to carting around that mop and bucket, go for a steam mop.

Cordless steam mops leave your hard floors thoroughly clean and sanitised in less time. They generally come with reusable mop pads and scrubbing pads for tougher spots. But they can’t clean carpets like steam cleaners can.


How does a steam cleaner work?

You put water in the tank (and detergent, if the cleaner is detergent-capable) and it’s heated in the boiler. When it’s hot enough, the water is turned into a ‘dry’ vapour/steam. This steam exits the nozzle or head, and the combination of the heat and agitation loosens dirt, grease and grime, along with killing germs.

Where does the dirt go?

No, it doesn’t just evaporate along with the steam. Depending on the application and the type of steam cleaner used, the loosened dirt is absorbed into the brush head, or can be wiped away with a clean cloth.

Can steam cleaners remove pet odours?

Yes. Steam cleaners are effective at removing pet stains and odours, particularly if you use a cleaning detergent or a DIY vinegar and bicarb soda solution.


Our Favourite Handheld Steam Cleaners


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Our Favourite 2-In-1 Steam Cleaners


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Our Favourite Steam Mops


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Discover our entire range of steam cleaners and steam mops to keep your home clean and healthy from top to bottom.