Best Handheld Steam Cleaner – Complete Buying Guide Review

Handheld steam cleaners have been growing in popularity for a while now.  For the sake of clarity, we’re talking about the ones you use for cleaning your house, rather than the ones you use for refreshing your clothes.

If you’re already sold on the benefits of handheld steam cleaners and just want to know which is the best handheld steam cleaner for your home, then please jump on down to our best handheld steam cleaner review.  If you’d like to know a bit more about them before you decide whether or not you need a portable steam cleaner in your life, then please keep reading and we’ll answer some common questions and give you some guidance on buying one.

Best Handheld Steam Cleaner

Do home steam cleaners really work?

The short answer to this is yes, but let’s back it up with some science.  In practical terms “cleaning” means firstly getting rid of surface dirt and then getting rid of bacteria.  You get rid of surface dirt by abrasion (elbow grease) and you can speed this process along by using surfactants to break up the dirt and hence make it easier to remove.  You get rid of bacteria by using a disinfectant.

A great example of how this works in practice is dishwashing.  In hand-washing you use a scourer for abrasion (dishwasher agitate the water to act as a scourer).  To make your life easier, you can use washing-up liquid or dishwasher tablets.  These are both examples of surfactants, specifically, they’re detergents.  They help to break up any fatty deposits to make them easier to remove, but it’s the hot water which does the actual cleaning.

Water is often called “the ultimate cleaner” and hot water is water at its most powerful.  The hotter the water, the better it cleans, which is why the standard advice is to wear gloves when doing the dishes and have the water as hot as safely possible.  Steam is water at its hottest, so basically it’s as good as it gets without using chemicals and great for just about any general household purpose.

clean your home fasT!

Are handheld steam cleaners any good?

Again, the short answer is yes, but let’s be a bit more specific.  Just like most other household appliances, household steam cleaners come at various levels of power, which is usually reflected in their price.  This means that in practical terms the best handheld steam cleaner for you is the one which meets your needs (and wants) without going overboard.

In other words, if you try to use a low-powered portable steam cleaner for a really tough job, then no, it’s not going to be any good.  You can’t expect it to be.  Similarly, if you use too much power for a job, then you could actually damage the surface.  The best portable steam cleaners tend to have adjustable settings so you can literally tone down the heat (and strength).  It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these and remember to use them.

Basically, if you use a portable steam cleaner for its intended purpose in a sensible way, then you will probably be very impressed by the results.

clean your home fasT!

What can I clean with a handheld steam cleaner?

Handheld cleaners are really versatile and can be used on just about any surface which can resist heat and water, which is a lot of household surfaces, including robust textiles.  In fact, it’s probably easier to make a list of items which are not suitable for steam cleaning and assume that just about everything else is.  As always, if in doubt, check before you steam.

***Do not steam clean anything delicate****

There is a slight degree of nuance here as some clothes steamers do have settings for delicate fabrics.  Please note, however, we’re just mentioning this for the sake of completeness as this article is about the best handheld steam cleaners for general household use, not clothes steamers.

Do not steam clean any surface which has been recently waxed, polished or painted

For the most part it’s fine to use steam cleaners on walls and floors, but if you’ve waxed, polished or painted them, give the finish time to settle properly before you do or else it will blister.

Do not steam clean glass or mirrors when it’s cold

Most of the time it’s fine to use a steam cleaner on window frames and mirror frames, you may even be able to use them on the glass or mirror itself, if the glass or mirror is robust and you have the steam cleaner on a low setting.  Never do this when it is cold, however, as the temperature differential could lead to the glass or mirror cracking or even shattering.

Do not steam clean any textile you need to use straight away

Steam is water, water is wet, therefore steam cleaning will make a surface slightly wet.  On hard surfaces you can just wipe off the moisture, but textiles will need appropriate time to dry.  Pay particular attention to this if the textile is intended to touch something delicate, for example if you’re using it to wrap up a musical instrument.

For the sake of completeness, provided you remember this, steam cleaners are great for textiles.  Probably their most obvious benefit is that steam makes fabric “relax”.  In other words, it reduces wrinkles.  In other words, it cuts down (or even eliminates) ironing.  This by the way, this real benefit of clothes steamers.  They aren’t really powerful enough to clean properly, but they do a great job of dealing with wrinkles.

Steamers also deodorize fabrics and effectively disinfect them, killing off any unwanted life forms in the process, for example bed bugs.  Basically, if you’re the sort of person who likes buying pre-loved furniture or other textiles, then a portable steam cleaner is a particularly good investment.

Best Handheld Steam Cleaner

A few general safety notes

Most of these are common sense, but we’ll include them for the sake of completeness.

Use handheld steam cleaners for their intended purpose and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Remember that handheld steam cleaners are powered by electricity.  Wear something on your feet at all times when you are using them and unplug them when you are filling the tank or changing attachments.

Make sure that you buy a handheld steam cleaner from a reputable source and that it has passed all the necessary electrical safety tests (this may sound boring but it is important).

If you’re using accessories, be sure to attach them properly (and detach them in the correct manner).  This is important because otherwise steam can leak out where it shouldn’t and you could end up being scalded.

If you’re in a hard-water area, it’s best to use filtered or distilled water in your handheld steam cleaner.

A few general safety notes

Benefits of steam cleaning

There are three big benefits of steam cleaning as compared to regular cleaning.  All of them revolve around the fact that steam cleaning only uses water.  There is no need for chemicals.

The environment

It’s not just the lack of chemicals which is a win.  It’s also the lack of packaging and the fact that you don’t have to transport loads of chemicals from one place to another, usually burning fossil fuels in order to do so.

Your health

Again, this isn’t just about the absence of chemicals, it’s also about improving air quality as you reduce the need for lorries to transport loads of chemicals from manufacturers to retailers and for buses/delivery vans/cars to take them to a person’s home.

Your wallet

A steam cleaner will quickly pay for itself by reducing the number of household cleaning products you need to buy and after that you’re in profit.

It’s also worth noting that steam cleaning is often easier and quicker than cleaning with chemicals, plus it often gets better results.  If you want to put this to the test, try cleaning something tough, like tile grout, the standard way and then with a steam cleaner.

Benefits of steam cleaning

How to choose the best handheld steam cleaner for you

Here is a quick guide to the features to look out for when you’re buying a portable steam cleaner.

The size of the handheld steam cleaner

The good news is that handheld steam cleaners come in quite a few sizes from small ones which are great for quick jobs, to ones which stretch the definition of handheld steam cleaner quite a bit as you often need a harness to use them comfortably, but they are still definitely portable steam cleaners and they may be just what you need for tougher jobs.

The size of the water tank

Obviously, smaller handheld steam cleaners can only hold small water tanks.  Bigger handheld steam cleaners can have bigger water tanks, but it isn’t guaranteed.  Manufacturers sometimes cut corners here.

Power

The power of a handheld steam cleaner determines how quickly it heats up.  It also determines how much muscle it has to pump steam at tough stains.

Continuous steam

Basically, for how long can you blast something with steam should you wish to do so?

Useability

This one is harder to measure.  In fact it’s largely a matter of personal preference but it’s worth considering.  In addition to the previous factors, think about how comfortable a handheld steam cleaner is to hold and what accessories it has.  You might also want to look at the cord length, at the current time all handheld steamers are mains-powered.

5 best Handheld Steam Cleaner

Best handheld steam cleaner review

Here’s our pick of the best handheld steam cleaners on the UK market.  We’ve chosen models of different sizes and capabilities so that there’s something for everyone.  Our selection is based on a combination of quality, features and price, so basically value for money.

Beldray COMBO-4394 10 in 1 Handheld Steam Cleaner

Beldray COMBO 4394

FEATURES

  • Dimensions:  29L x 12.5W x 23.5h cm
  • Tank size: 250 ML
  • Power: 1000W
  • Continuous steam: 10 minutes
  • Cord length: 2M

Accessories: measuring jug, funnel, flexible extension hose, three plastic round brushes, mini mop head, angled nozzle, telescopic handle, two wipers and microfiber pads

This handheld steam cleaner was actually designed for cleaning windows, hence the choice of accessories, but many people use it as a handy multi-purpose steam cleaner.

For the record, we’ve seen this listed online as having a 750ml water tank.  We can only assume this was a typo.  If you look on the box, it clearly says 250ml and frankly a 750ml water tank would be huge.  You’d never fit it in to a unit this size.

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Beldray® COMBO-4394 10 in 1 Handheld Steam Cleaner with 5 Piece Window...

Last update was on: March 4, 2021 9:46 pm
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Midas Upgrade Multi-Purpose Handheld Steam Cleaner

Midas Upgrade Multi-Purpose Big

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 6 x 10 x 44 cm
  • Tank size: 250ML
  • Power: 1050W
  • Continuous steam:10-12 minutes
  • Cord length:2.5M

Accessories: 12 including extended nozzle, spray cup with brush, bent spray, funnel, measuring cup, spray cup for doors and windows

We’re not quite sure why this is called an upgrade and the accessories kit is listed as a “special offer” although we’ve never seen the unit for sale without it, but this is still a compact and versatile handheld steam cleaner.

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MidasTM Multi-Purpose with 12-Piece Accessories for Stian Removal, SANITIZER, Carpets, Curtains, Car...

Last update was on: March 4, 2021 9:46 pm
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MLMLANT New Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner

MLMLANT

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 25.214.223.5 cm
  • Tank size: 350ML
  • Power: 1100W
  • Continuous steam: Up to 20 minutes
  • Cord length: 3M

Accessories: Extended Nozzle, Spray Cup with Brush, Bent Spray, Funnel, Measuring Cup, Spray Cup for Door & Window, Towel Sleeve, Brush Plate, Long Spray Cup.

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MLMLANT Multi-Purpose Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner with 9-Piece Accessory Kit for Multi-Surface...

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Last update was on: March 4, 2021 9:46 pm
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MLMLANT Steam Cleaner System

MLMLANT Multipurpose Steam Cleaner

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 53 x 31.5 x 28 cm
  • Tank size: 2L
  • Power: 2000W
  • Continuous steam: 35 minutes
  • Cord length: 5M

Accessories: 20 including glass brush, floor brush, carpet glider, hanger, ironing brush, nylon brush

Basically this is a beast of a portable steam cleaner, which can tackle the very toughest jobs.  It’s priced accordingly, but if you have the work for it, then it’s a great investment.

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MLMLANT Multipurpose Steam Cleaner, Steam Mops 4.5 Bar 2000W Steamer with 20-Piece...

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Last update was on: March 4, 2021 9:46 pm
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Polti Vaporetto Handy 25 Plus Steam Cleaner

Polti Vaporetto Handy 25 Plus Steam Cleaner, 3.5 Bar

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 285x350x180 cm
  • Tank size: 750ML
  • Power: 1500W
  • Continuous steam:15-20 minutes
  • Cord length: 4M

Accessories: Various including 4 different brushes, a scraping tool, a window squeegee and a carry strap.

Honestly, we have mixed feelings about this handheld steam cleaner, but overall we liked it enough to include it.  Bluntly, performance isn’t the best, especially not on floors, but it is excellent on cookers (just be prepared to have a lot of water to wipe up) and decent on textiles.

We have two main gripes about this steam cleaner.  Firstly, the extension tubes are not the best, which, we suspect, is the reason why this portable steam cleaner is not great on floors.  Basically it doesn’t glide properly.  Secondly, the water tank cannot be removed for filling (unless we’ve missed something fairly major), which means you either have to faff about with it at a sink or decant water into it (we prefer the second approach).

A third, minor gripe, is that you need to let the until cool down completely before refilling.  The reason this is a minor gripe is that the smart way to do it is to empty all the steam and then wait a few minutes.

We don’t see this as a big deal, but then we don’t see this suggestion in the manual either (again unless we missed it) and if you don’t do it this way, you could be waiting ages for it to cool down and then you’d have to tip it over the sink to empty it (or just take it into the garden and turn it upside down).  This also gets around the problem of the lack of water indicator.

If you’re wondering how come this handheld steam cleaner still made it onto our list, there are a couple of reasons.  Firstly, it fits in a very specific niche.  It’s much bigger than the majority of handheld steam cleaners, but much smaller, and more affordable, than the MLMLANT.  Secondly, overall it does a decent job.  No, it’s not perfect but if you can live with its limitations it gives a very decent performance at a very decent price.

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Polti Vaporetto Handy 25 Plus Steam Cleaner, 3.5 Bar, kills and eliminates...

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Last update was on: March 4, 2021 9:46 pm

Best handheld steam cleaner review – conclusions

In our opinion, there’s no single best handheld steam cleaner in the UK.  There are, however, a wide range of excellent options for various purposes and it’s down to you to think about your needs, wants and budget and choose the right option for you.  We hope this article has been helpful in guiding you towards the right choice.

Katie Mills

Katie is the Editor here at Poshh Living and is a well-respected voice in the world of design and home improvement. Katie has a first-class Hons degree in Journalism and is proud to say that she has written many leading entries in the biggest media outlets including Ideal Home, and Good House Keeping. Lover of the great outdoors and mother of two, Katie is 'down to earth', knowledgable and a great asset to the team

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