After several hours of research, I finally made my selection of the 4 best hand steam cleaners among more than twenty models available on the market.
My favorite is the Karcher SC 1 which in my opinion presents here the best value for money! I would almost say that it does as well as high end hardware.
You will also find at the end of this article a buying guide to help you find the perfect cleaner to give your sofas a fresh start and make your windows immaculate!
Why Trust Our Selection Chromebookeur writers spend hundreds of hours researching, analyzing and comparing products to recommend the best value for money. Our choices are unbiased, and we never accept to put one brand over another. Learn more.
The best cheap hand steam cleaners
These devices are especially suitable for small work on small surfaces and do the job they are designed for!
Bissell Steam Shot: the best cheap
Effective on small surfaces
Too small for big jobs
Get rid of dirt and grease with steam! This unit has a built-in safety feature to prevent burns.
The device is powerful and offers a 1000-watt steam generating a pressure of 4.5 bars, which is much more than the 3 bars of the Paneltech steam cleaner. This tool can be used for about 15 minutes non stop, which is not bad, but is not as much as the Paneltech, which is a shame.
This product is versatile and provides you with a variety of tools to perform different tasks. You have the right to 3 rigid round brush tips, a rigid brush tip "online" (no idea that it may be sorry), a wide mouthpiece for a windshield, a squeegee that can be clipped on the wide mouthpiece, a spatula tip and finally a bent tip. In other words, you will have something to do with all these accessories!
But that's not all, the unit also comes with a pour-in jug, an extension hose and two microfiber cleaning cloths.
This steam cleaner is very effective and practical on small surfaces by eliminating stubborn stains such as mold on shower joints. But it is only sufficient for small surfaces, the cleaning of a large surface can quickly be tedious.
Indeed, you must both hold the device, press the steam button and most likely brush with another hand. In addition, the tank is quite small, which does not allow to treat a large area.
The heating time is a bit long, but it's still ok.
The unit is perfect for cleaning tile, stone, glass or PVC surfaces. On the other hand, you will have trouble descaling with it, it will be better to rely on the classic anti-limestone product for that. Use on chrome surfaces is not recommended as there is a real risk of scratches when using this unit.
The various accessories mentioned above cover most of the possible cases. However, this device will not be suitable for heavy work. For example, it will fail to clean tile joints that are a little too dirty.
Paneltech: a practical portable cleaner
None identified yet
This 1050 W steam cleaner has a vapor pressure of 3 bar and can be used for both cleaning and disinfection up to 135 degrees.
It has an anti-dry system and protection against extinction. I appreciate the fact that when the water evaporates, the cleaner automatically turns off.
With a large capacity of up to 300 ml, this steam cleaner can be used for 20 minutes non-stop without needing to be filled several times.
Another nice feature of this device, it comes with a set of free accessories 9 pieces to change the steam nozzle. Steam can be used to disinfect any object, including baby toys for example. It will eliminate 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. So, do not worry if your little one chews on something a little dirty!
This cleaner has a pure copper interface and a pure aluminum liner to ensure a longer, safer and more durable life. The nozzle has also been well thought out, you can move it anywhere with a 360-degree orientation. Several types of nozzles are present for different uses. This will provide a spray nozzle, a round brush nozzle and a long spray nozzle.
Several cleaning tools are also provided to clean doors and windows as well as fabric.
The warm-up time of the device is relatively short, you only have to wait about 3-4 minutes to have your device ready for use.
Equipped with a handle designed to be as ergonomic as possible, it's a real portable steam cleaner! Indeed, it weighs only 1.68 kgs and its cable of 2 m long offer you a rather comfortable working surface. In addition, its pipe is 41.5 cm, which gives you an even greater working latitude.
A safety valve is included, which locks the water vapor to prevent any risk of burns and the appliance is also equipped with a safety cover for children. Everything has been thought security level.
Finally the device is guaranteed without chemicals, smoke or any type of harmful residue to ensure a clean and healthy environment.
The best mid-range hand steam cleaners
This device is an excellent compromise between a correct price and a top level performance
Karcher SC1: the best mid-range
Cleaning surface by correct tank
Fewer accessories than cheaper competitors.
This SC 1 can be used anywhere in the home. This steam cleaner can of course disinfect a maximum of bacteria on the hard surfaces of the house (about 99.9%). Thanks to its compact size, this steam cleaner is perfect for quick cleaning or deeper cleaning.
Tiles, stoves, ventilation hoods and even the smallest crevices and niches can be thoroughly cleaned with this versatile tool. Thanks to its compact shape, this unit is easy to store.
In addition, no worries with children, a locking system for children is included to prevent misuse and possible burns.
The steam is propelled with a pressure of 3 bar. You can clean a wide variety of surfaces with this unit thanks to the various accessories supplied with the unit.
You can use different types of spouts, as well as a round brush. It is regrettable, however, that the variety of accessories leaves something to be desired compared to the supply of smaller appliances. So good, it's enough for the majority of cases, but it's still a shame.
You can expect to be able to clean approximately 20 m² of surface per tank filled, which is not bad at all. The heater system of the device is 1200 W, which is higher than the lower range devices we have seen so far.
The heating time is also lower with 3 minutes heating time only. The tank holds up to 0.2 liters. Finally the device weighs 1.6 kg without accessories, which is heavier than the previous devices, but remains quite correct to be transported without problems.
The device is very efficient and cleans just about anything and everything without any problem.
The best high-end hand steam cleaners
This device cleans almost anything and everything … almost.
Haan HS-20R: the best high-end
Heats relatively quickly
Good duration of use
None identified yet
At this price, it will be understood, we are dealing with a high-end steam cleaner. It can of course be filled with tap water and it only takes 3 minutes to heat, like the SC 1 we just saw.
The heating temperature goes above 100 degrees, killing germs, bacteria and mites. In fact, it kills about 99.9% of all these disturbers, which is normal for a device of this kind.
This Haan steam cleaner can be controlled with a trigger for precision cleaning or locked to give continuous steam. From the kitchen counter to the hard-to-clean corners of the bathroom, this appliance can replace a wide variety of cleaning materials and disinfectants.
The unit comes with a range of useful accessories to clean every nook and cranny of your home. Not only do you find different types of nozzles (concentrator nozzle, extended flexible nozzle, corner nozzle …), but also different types of brushes to take care of any type of surface.
You will also be entitled to a flexible extension hose!
The manufacturer evaluates the time of use of the device with a full charge at about 15 minutes, which is about the same as the items we have seen before.
So far you will tell me that this device does not seem very different from the others in this comparison. The difference lies in a very simple point: its effectiveness. This device is able to pretty much clean everything up without any problem.
Pretty much because some things are always somewhat refractory, like the soap residue in the bathroom for example.
Finally, the device is guaranteed a year!
The products of my selection on offer for the moment
How to choose your hand steamer?
This kind of cleaners can be used on virtually any surface at home, be it windows, carpets, mattresses, clothes, mirrors, curtains, bathroom floor and much more. Because steam cleaners only use steam to clean surfaces, the result is smoother and avoids premature chemical damage. When it comes to choosing a steam cleaner all are not equal. If you already have a standard steam cleaner model you will already understand what to check and what to look for.
But for those who do not have one yet, here's a list of features and features to look for when looking for the best hand-held steam cleaner.
Hand steam cleaner vs standard steam cleaner
Apart from the clear difference in size between a hand steamer and a standard steam cleaner, there are other things to consider.
First of all, the price can be considerably higher for a standard steam cleaner and for many it will be better to rent one occasionally for a thorough cleaning of the house.
Smaller water tanks on hand models mean more frequent refills and less cleaning time, but they would not be portable if they were provided with very large water tanks.
For larger cleaning, a standard steam cleaner will be the best choice especially when it comes to cleaning carpets.
Battery technology has, of course, progressed in recent years. Despite this, I strongly recommend staying away from hand-held steam cleaners using batteries.
It's not about their performance that can be excellent. The main problem is that you will have to carry the battery, the steam cleaner and the water, which can make the device very heavy.
With a device equipped with a power cable, the energy source comes directly from the wall which means that you will not have to worry about a battery. Battery-powered hand-held steam cleaners mean that you will need to carry the battery and until the day when the lithium batteries are light enough will come down in price, the clutter is not worth it.
When it comes to cable equipment, make sure it is long enough to reach the places you want to clean unless you want to find yourself moving outlets more often than you are cleaning something.
The capacity of the water tank
Even the best hand-held steam cleaners have a small water tank compared to a standard steam cleaner. The bigger the tank, the longer you'll be able to clean before having to refill it.
Attention, it also means that the device will be heavier! In general, a water tank between 0.17 and 0.20 liters is more than adequate for a hand steamer and with such a tank you will have about 15 to 20 minutes of use in front of you. This will differ slightly from one manufacturer to another, of course.
Like the size of the tank, the temperature that each unit can reach will vary slightly depending on which brand you choose and how long it will take for the steam cleaner to heat up.
Some of the best hand-held steam cleaners can reach temperatures of 115 to 140 degrees and sometimes even more. The higher the temperature is, the deeper the cleaning will be and, moreover, these high temperatures will kill bedbugs, mites, germs bacteria and other unwanted in your home.
The heating time
Most handheld steam cleaners heat relatively quickly, but it's always interesting to look at the heating time given by the manufacturer. Generally, a steam cleaner that takes longer to heat is more conducive to letting go faster.
The stronger the steam cleaner, the easier it is to cut through grease and other stubborn stains. If you plan to use it for grills or other types of hard-to-clean places, make sure you choose a model with a powerful steam outlet.
The best steam cleaners usually come with a set of accessories to do different jobs. For example, you will find squeegees, brushes and scrapers.
Check in advance the type of surfaces you plan to clean with your steam cleaner so that you can buy one that matches your cleaning intentions.
It should also be taken into account that there are two types of steam cleaners: the first is a "cold" steam cleaner that makes steam without boiling the water inside. These models contain more water.
The second is a "dry" steam cleaner, which boils the water inside to make steam. These versions of steam cleaners contain less water but can become extremely hot.
You can find some small improvements in the market for handheld steam cleaners. In addition to these, you will get better warranties and products designed to last (like the Haan HS-20R for example).
You will also find no surprise that accessories and other attachments are of better quality on more expensive devices. Any manufacturer can send a lot of accessories, however, if they last only two or three cleaning sessions, their value is almost zero.
However, paying more does not necessarily mean a better product. Many rather cheap products seem to offer satisfactory results. What can vary more is the length of the cable, the accessory packs and the size of the water tank.