The best handheld steam cleaner is an efficient way to clean your house in ways that a spray bottle and cloth cannot do. A Cordless Handheld Steam Cleaner should be handy, ready to go and capable of handling the stickiest, gooiest jobs easily. There are lots of different devices available to clean your home from a steam mop to a robot vacuum, but few are as efficient as the handheld steamer for cleaning. They key to its cleaning power lies in the steam. Today, we review the best cordless steam cleaner for cars, portable steam cleaner and cordless handheld steamer picks.
Hot steam has two really powerful benefits: a) it sanitizes the surfaces you clean, and b) harsh chemicals aren’t needed in the cleaning process. This makes a steam cleaner perfect for homes with children and pets alike.
You might compare a portable carpet cleaner with a steam cleaner for carpets, but there is so much more a handheld steam cleaner can do. To clean grout, steam cleaners are hard to beat, or use a handheld steam cleaner on upholstery – there are many jobs the one item can do.
The main point about a handheld is that it’s small enough to hold in one hand while you do something with the other (remember, the steam is hot). These are small units – think about the size of a handheld vacuum and not the size of a carpet cleaner.
Everything so far should be pointing to an easy-to-use, highly portable unit. They’re very versatile, and it is possible for one machine to be the best handheld steam cleaner for bathrooms, upholstery, hard surfaces and carpets too.
cordless handheld steamer
Before we get to the recommendations, let’s take a look at why you might want to choose a handheld steam cleaner over steam mops or full-size cleaners.
- Great for Small Jobs. Handheld steamers excel at small cleaning jobs. If you need to clean kitchen surfaces, bathroom tiles or small windows, for example, they are the best choice. They are also great for sanitising kitchen surfaces or cleaning in tight crevices.
- Convenient to Use. As handheld cleaners can be held in one hand, they are easy to use for cleaning awkward locations. They are also lightweight.
- Multi-Purpose Attachments. Many handheld steam cleaners come with a range of attachments. This allows you to clean a variety of surfaces quickly and efficiently. Examples of attachments include cloths, brushes and squeegees.
- Easy to Store. The compact design of a handheld steam cleaner means they don’t take up much cupboard space. If you’re struggling to find extra storage space in your home for another appliance, then a handheld could be a great choice.
- Cheap. As you would expect, smaller steam cleaners are less expensive than full-size alternatives.
It’s not all good news for handheld steam cleaners though – there are some drawbacks too.
The compact size of a handheld is a downside as well as an advantage. This is because the concentrated steam nozzle is impractical for cleaning large areas of floor. While a handheld model is convenient for spot cleaning, they aren’t designed for cleaning an entire carpet or stairs.
Along with a smaller burst of steam, handheld models also have a smaller capacity. This means they don’t provide steam for as long as larger models. The upside is the reduced capacity also minimises weight.
A minor drawback is that there are fewer portable steam cleaners on the market. This reduces choice and competition. Brands such as Vax, VonHaus, Hoover and Bissell all offer handheld options though, so there are still some great choices.
It’s also important to have realistic expectations of a handheld steam cleaner. While the best models provide a powerful burst of steam, for the toughest cleaning tasks you’re better off with a full-size model. For smaller jobs, however, nothing beats the convenience of a handheld steam cleaner.
How to Choose a cordless handheld steam cleaner
It’s important to know what to look for in a handheld steam cleaner. While the models listed below provide great value and cleaning performance, there might be an option that suits your house and requirements better than the others.
Here’s a quick run-down of what to look for when buying a handheld steamer:
- Water Tank Capacity. Even the best handheld steam cleaners have a small water tank compared to full-size models. The larger the tank, the longer you’ll be able to clean before needing to refill it.
- Heat Up Time. Most handheld steam cleaners heat up relatively quickly, but it’s still worth checking the heat up time. We find that the longer a steam cleaner takes to heat up, the less likely you are to use it in the long run.
- Power. The more powerful a steam cleaner is, the easier it’ll cut through tough grease or stubborn stains. If you’re going to be using the cleaner on grills, grout or other difficult locations, make sure you choose a handheld model with a focused and powerful steam output.
- Brand. We usually recommend buying steam cleaners made by brands with established reputations. This doesn’t guarantee quality, but makes it more likely that you’re buying a powerful and reliable steam cleaner. Some examples of (generally) trustworthy brands include Bissell, Black & Decker, Beldray, VonHaus, Hoover, Morphy Richards, Karcher and Vax – although not all these brands produce handheld models.
- Attachments. The best handheld steam cleaners usually come with a range of attachments for various jobs. Examples include squeegees (for glass), brushes (for getting rid of grime and stubborn dirt) and scrubbing pads (for oven grease). Make sure you know the areas you want to clean around the home, so you can buy a steam cleaner that meets your requirements.
- Price. Handheld steam cleaners are cheaper than mops or full-size cleaners. Even so, it’s important know how much you want to spend before you start looking. They generally range from £20-£50, although price doesn’t always equal quality.
As we always say at Spotless Vacuum, the most important thing is to choose a model that meets your requirements. If you’re going to be using the steam cleaner on thick grease and grime, it’s worth spending extra on one with a more powerful steam output. If you just need a steamer for the occasional spot clean, a cheaper option might do the job just as well.
Cordless Handheld Steam Cleaner
Listed below are five of the best cordless handheld steam cleaners on the market at the moment. We’ve researched dozens of cleaners to find the top model, while considering factors such as steam power, heat up time, capacity, versatility, attachments and price.
1. Hoover Steam Express SSNH1000
Our top pick for a handheld steam cleaner is the Hoover Steam Express SSNH1000. It’s a mid-range model with a 1000W motor, lightweight design and 2-minute heat up time. It also has one of the largest water tanks we’ve seen from a steam cleaner, so it can be used for longer before needing to be refilled.
The Hoover Steam Express has been designed to be lightweight and easy to use. It still packs a punch though, so if you want to remove grease or grime without expensive cleaning products it’s a great tool to have around the house.
Like most handheld steamers, the Hoover comes with a number of accessories. These include a copper brush, angled nozzle and shovel plate. There’s also a clothing mouth, which is useful for steaming fabric.
While its 4 metre cable isn’t quite as long as other options, it’s long enough for most tasks. An advantage is the 0.4 litre water tank is bigger than most handheld models and the steaming time is up to 12 minutes per tank. It also heats up and is ready to go in around 120 seconds, so you don’t need to wait long to use it.
In terms of cleaning performance, the Hoover does a good job – although don’t expect it to match full-size steamers. It’s great for simple tasks, but struggles on tougher grime and dirt. The water cap is also difficult to unscrew, which is frustrating.
Despite these issues, if you’re looking for a small steam cleaner without spending too much money, the Hoover is a solid choice. It’s lightweight, easy to use and has a relatively long run-time before needing to be refilled.VIEW PRICEKey Features:
- Lightweight design
- Relatively large 0.4 litre capacity
- Range of accessories
- Power: 1000W
- Weight: 1.6kg
2. Quest 41940 Handheld Steam Cleaner
Another excellent handheld steam cleaner is the Quest 41940 (replacing the Bissell 2635s, as the Bissell Steam Shot series is no longer widely available). It’s an easy-to-use model with several accessories for tackling a variety of cleaning jobs. The Quest is also available for a great price, so it was an easy pick for our #2 spot.
What makes the Quest 41940 stand out from the rest though?
Firstly, it comes with a wide range of attachments. These include an extension tool, bent spray nozzle, window squeegee, round brush nozzle and a long spray nozzle. There’s also a garment steamer, which is useful for getting rid of wrinkles in drapes or thin curtains. Whether you want to use the steamer for furniture, showers or windows, there’s a tool to make the job easier.
The 41940 also provides reasonable power considering its compact design. It can’t rival full-size models for steam power, but does a decent job at cleaning hard-to-reach areas. It’s also effective at removing bathroom mould and black marks on grout, which is a common reason people buy a handheld steam cleaner.
As you would expect from a small handheld steam cleaner, it has a small 250ml tank. Be prepared to refill it often – especially during longer cleaning tasks – and you’ll need to let it cool between refills.
On the upside, the lightweight design makes it easy to use, especially for people who struggle to hold heavier full-size steam cleaners. It’s also relatively cheap for a handheld steamer, making it a good choice for those on a budget.
There are a few downsides to the Quest though. While it’s useful for getting into crevices and spot cleaning, it’s not suitable for cleaning larger areas. The small capacity can be frustrating if you want to clean for more than a few minutes – although, to be fair, it’s not built for long cleaning sessions.
It’s also not powerful enough to remove all limescale and grout marks, although it does a good job of getting rid of the worst.
Even so, the Quest 41940 handheld steam cleaner is a decent choice that provides great value for money – as long as you have realistic expectations. It’s not an industrial steam cleaner, so it struggles with larger jobs and you’ll need to refill the tank regularly. Despite these issues, it’s surprisingly effective at cleaning grime, grease and dirt.VIEW PRICEKey Features:
- Good value for money
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Range of accessories
- Power: 1000W
- Weight: 1.64kg
3. Beldray BEL0701TQN 10-in-1
The Beldray 10-in-1 is a true all-rounder when it comes to cleaning your home. With a range of accessories, it’s great for everything from cleaning grout to removing grease on a gas cooker. It has a slightly smaller 250ml water tank than the Hoover, but is available for a cheaper price.
Let’s start with the attachments, as the versatility of the Beldray is one of its main selling points. It comes with a glass cleaning tool, several round brushes, bent nozzle (for getting into tight spots) and a fabric nozzle. The Beldray handheld steam cleaner also includes a flexible extension hose for tackling crevices and other tricky locations.
With a 250ml water tank, the Beldray only lasts ten minutes before needing to be refilled. This is long enough for most spot cleaning tasks, but for removing black marks from grout or limescale from bathroom taps you’ll need to refill it multiple times. A small steam cleaner is always going to have this issue, but it’s worth keeping in mind.
When it comes to cleaning performance, the Beldray is versatile but not quite as powerful as the Hoover. It can remove patches of limescale and grease, but don’t expect it to completely clean a bathroom or kitchen. For spot cleaning, however, it does a decent job.
An advantage of the Beldray is its lightweight design. At approximately 1.7kg, you won’t get tired while using it. A downside is that the four metre power cord is shorter than alternatives like the Bissell Steam Shot, so you may need to change socket more frequently.
So who should buy this over the Hoover? If you’re happy with the smaller water tank, the Beldary is an excellent choice that’s available for less. If a bigger water tank is important to you, spend a bit more and get the Hoover. We also think the Hoover provides stronger cleaning performance, so it’s better suited to tough tasks.VIEW PRICE
- Versatile steam cleaner
- Range of tools and accessories
- 4 metre power cable
- Power: 1000W
- Weight: 1.7kg
4. MLMLANT Handheld Pressurised Steam Cleaner
If you’re looking for a versatile steam cleaner that doesn’t cost a lot of money, the MLMLANT could be an option to consider. It comes with an accessory kit, up to 20-minutes run-time and enough steam power to cut through grease and mold.
The MLMLANT might not have the brand recognition of some of the other steamers on this list, but it provides surprisingly strong performance. It’s a 1050W model that provides steam for up to 20 minutes, along with features like a safety lock and 3 metre cord.
As the name suggests, the MLMLANT provides pressurised steam to increase cleaning performance. It’s not the most powerful on the market, but can handle grease and other common cleaning tasks. It’s likely to struggle on tougher tasks though, such as removing dirt on curtains.
One of the best features is the 9-piece accessory kit. This includes a cup for doors and windows, towel sleeve, bent spray, funnel, and long spray cup, making it useful for a variety of tasks around the home. There’s also an extension nozzle for increasing reach.
There are some downsides though. The 250ml recommended water capacity isn’t tiny, but it’s less than the Hoover Steam Express. Also, like many handheld steam cleaners, it’ll leak if you tilt it too much.
While the manufacturer claims it can provide steam for up to 20 minutes, the reality is that it’s unlikely to last this long. The manual also claims that the water tank is 350ml, but it’s recommended that you only actually fill it to 250ml.
Even so, the MLMLANT provides great value for money and is a good option if you need a handheld steam cleaner for basic tasks. Just don’t expect it to match full-size steam cleaners (or even more expensive handheld models) when it comes to performance.VIEW PRICE
- 9-piece accessory kit
- Relatively good cleaning performance
- Affordable price
- Power: 1050W
- Weight: 1.9kg
5. Comforday Handheld Steam Cleaner
We usually recommend buying a mini steam cleaner from established and well-known brands, as these models tend to be more reliable. An exception is the Comforday Handheld Steam Cleaner, which provides reasonable cleaning power and a long 20-minute run-time. It’s also a versatile option that’s available for a great price – although it’s not powerful enough for harder jobs.
Like most handheld steam cleaners, the Comforday is lightweight and easy to use. With a power of 1050W, it emits highly pressurised steam, which should kill bacteria while removing dirt and grime from the home.
As you would expect, the Comforday comes with several accessories. These include a long spray cup, brush plate, funnel, round brush and window cup. This allows it to be used for a range of household tasks, such as cleaning curtains, bathrooms, windows and even outdoor furniture.
There are some fairly major drawbacks to the Comforday though, which is why it’s not further up our list. While it produces a lot of steam, the pressure is low so it’s not the most effective at cleaning. The range of accessories mean it’s a versatile choice, but probably not powerful enough for the toughest jobs.
Like the Hoover, the Comforday’s tank cap is also difficult to remove. Considering you’ll need to refill it regularly, this is a frustrating. The steam button is also difficult to use, which is an annoying oversight.
In summary, if you need a relatively cheap handheld steam cleaner and the Comforday has all the attachments you need, it might be worth considering. It’s not powerful enough for tough jobs though – and the design means it’s more frustrating to use than it should be.VIEW PRICE
- Basic steam cleaner with a range of attachments
- Reasonable price
- Not enough power for hard jobs
- Power: 1050W
- Weight: 1.8kg
Advantages of Steam Cleaning
Now you know which handheld steam cleaners provide the best value for money, let’s take a quick look at why you would want a steam cleaner in the first place.
- Environmentally Friendly. Steam cleaners are a great way to clean your home without using harsh chemicals. As they only use steam to kill germs and remove dirt, they are also environmentally friendly.
- Child-Friendly. As steam cleaning doesn’t use chemicals, it’s healthier for children. Steam cleaning is also safer for pets, as it doesn’t use detergents that could potentially cause skin or lung irritation.
- Versatile Cleaning. There aren’t many home cleaning appliances that can match the versatility of a steam cleaner. Most come with a number of accessories, so they can be used to clean everything from mould in the garage to grease in the oven. Steam mops and full-size cleaners are also great for cleaning both carpets and hard floors.
- Cost Efficient. A steam cleaner might be initially more expensive than other cleaning products, but once you’ve bought it the running costs are low. Aside from electricity, you don’t need to buy additional products or replacement chemicals.
- Allergy Relief. Highly pressurised steam is thought to kill both dust mites and bacteria. This is great for allergy sufferers.