Looking for an easier way to clean your home? We have the solution with our round-up of the steam mop and vacuum on the market. Just short of getting on your hands and knees with a sponge and some soap water, steam mop and vacuums can be one of the best ways to keep the surfaces in your home nice and clean. Steam cleaning has enjoyed a boost of popularity in recent years. Sir James Dyson, the man behind the eponymous Dyson company, once claimed that mopping is simply “moving dirty water around, leaving floors soiled”. But can a tried and tested method used by so many across the world really be that bad? Here we tell you everything you need to know about steam cleaning so you can decide for yourself – and we’ve even added some of our favourite Steam Mop And Vacuum models guaranteed to get the job done.
The best steam mop and vacuum
1. Kärcher SC1 premium steam cleaner
This Kärcher model is great if you’re looking for a relatively cheap yet sturdy, lightweight, and reliable steamer for all your cleaning tasks around the home.
This steamer comes with a selection of attachments for cleaning different areas around the home including a power nozzle, round brush, detail nozzle, hand nozzle with a terry cloth cover and storage bag to keep them all organised and safe. It comes with a ‘lamella’ floor tool, designed specifically for cleaning engineered wood floors.
You can also use this steamer as a more traditional mop by adding the extension tube to the handheld unit.
2. Vax S86-SF-C steam fresh combi multifunction steam cleaner
£79.99, John Lewis
Get perfectly cleaned, fresh smelling floors with this powerful steam mop from Vax. A little different from most steam cleaners on the market, this model combines the power of steam with Vax’s Steam Detergent to achieve results that are both spotless and extremely hygienic.
It takes under thirty seconds to reach optimum temperature and has a steam time of around 25 minutes. This model also comes with a variable steam function ideal for targeting tough stains and getting rid of dirt embedded in grooves or hard-to-reach spots.
You’ll also get a carpet glider attachment, a microfibre pad and 250ml of the Vax Steam Detergent.
3. Bissell 2635e Steam Shot
If you’re looking for a budget handheld steam cleaner for the smaller cleaning tasks you may have around the home, you should turn your sights to the Bissell Steam Shot.
The Steam Shot comes with a variety of tools to help with your cleaning including a window squeegee, two circular brushes, and a grout brush to help you tackle even the the most stubborn grime and dirt. As well as being able to store it away without fuss, the compact size makes it easy to get into some of harder-to-reach (and therefore often neglected) areas of the home.
This model is easy to use, simply wait for the heat-ready light to tell you to go, press the trigger button and start cleaning.
4. Bissell Vac and Steam 2-in-1
Halve the amount of time you spend cleaning with the Bissell Vac and Steam, combining a vacuum and steam mop in one easy to use product.
Though it is able to pick up smaller items like rice grains and general dust and dirt, this machine doesn’t have quite the same amount of suction as some of the more powerful vacuum cleaners on the market, but it will get the job done.
This model comes equipped with variable steam control, overheat protect, and dry tank technology, keeping all the dust and dirt the vacuum picks up dry making it easier for you to dispose of.
5. Black+Decker 9-in-1 steam mop
Lightweight and easily manoeuvrable thanks to the ‘swivel steering’ function this Black+Decker multi-purpose steam cleaner is suitable for use on all sealed hard floor surfaces and comes with a range of professional accessories including a tile and grout brush, a window squeegee, small soft brushes, a flexible hose, and a garment pad for tackling stains on your clothes.
You won’t have to worry about damaging your floor thanks to the digital ‘AutoSelect’ technology, allowing you to select your floor type to ensure the exact right amount steam is released to get the job done. As well as being removable, the water tank also comes with an in-built filtering system to prevent the build up of life scale.
This model takes just 15 seconds to heat up and has a running time of around 15 minutes.
6. Polti Moppy White Floor Cleaner with Steam
This nifty little steam cleaner is quite different to the others, but does a comparable job, removing and eliminates 99.9 per cent of viruses, germs and bacteria around the home. Rather than steaming directly from the handle, the mop’s base steams its cloth so you can move around the house easily without being weighed down. The unique tech also means surfaces are almost immediately dry after being steamed, without streaks, in as little as ten seconds. Two machine-washable microfiber cloths and two electrostatic dust-catching cloths included.
The Main Vacuum Types
There are five primary shapes of vacuum cleaners, each performing a slightly different function, although some combine those forms in order to provide more bang for your buck. Being aware of the expectations you have of your vacuum cleaner can help you more intelligently and decisively pick one of the following.
Handheld vacuums are perfect for getting those painfully hard-to-reach areas that desperately need a cleaning. The most common example for use is in vacuuming cars, since, as the name suggests, this model can be held in only one hand. Its versatility makes it a dream for suctioning up dirt and debris in a variety of tight places, but it would not serve well for general flooring cleaning, which would take a long time to clean with a handheld. This type of vacuum cleaner comes in all sorts of different forms with equally different price tags.
Canister vacuum cleaners are a happy medium between the upright model and the stick model. They are powerful like the upright cleaners, but feature a slender frame, like the stick cleaners. In this case, a separate canister is attached to a long wand which can be used to maintain not only carpeted areas but also bare flooring as well. This style of vacuum cleaner tends to be one of the most expensive options, given its technologically-forward and multi-functional design.
These cleaners are perhaps the most popular and sought-after forms of vacuum cleaners. When you imagine a vacuum cleaner or see one advertised in media, the image you picture is probably that of an upright machine. These models provide the most powerful clean-up for your house, and offer the comforting benefit of usually easy-to-understand functions and accessories, since most people have used an upright vacuum cleaner at least once in their lifetime. Most models provide settings that allow these vacuum cleaners to be used not only on carpeted surfaces but also bare floors.
While perhaps the least powerful of the vacuum models, stick vacuums have a knack for getting into narrow places and doing a tremendous job on hardwood floors, area rugs and light carpeting. This type of vacuum features a long stick-like handle and a slender construction. The slimness of this model makes it a perfect addition to any closet space, as it tucks neatly into most corners after its purpose has been served.
5. Autonomous / Robot
Robot vacuum cleaners have gained a lot of popularity in recent years, mainly due to the fact that they require little effort on your end. These vacuums are able to roam freely around your home, sucking up any small mess in its way. They not only save you time, but they are also able to reach places that larger vacuums wouldn’t be able to, such as under the couch. One main drawback of robot vacuums is that they typically come at a steep price.
Location, Location, Location
Do you have primarily hardwood floors throughout your house? Are these floors covered with area rugs, or are they bare? Is your home filled with wall-to-wall carpeting? These are considerations you must make before taking the leap and purchasing your very own vacuum cleaner.
If you have bare floors, you’re better off with models that provide a number of attachments and which don’t have quite as much heft as some of the others. Using a regular upright vacuum on flooring like hardwood poses a number of problems, which includes scratching your smooth and coveted floors and being counterproductive by scattering debris across their surfaces. Some upright vacuums do provide settings that function better on non-carpeted areas, but for the most part your best bet would be with a model like the canister vacuum, which can also take care of your area rugs if you have any. These vacuums usually come with a bare-floor brush, which makes keeping your floors squeaky clean and scratch-free a piece of cake.
On the other hand, if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s definitely worth considering a model with different advantages than a vacuum cleaner suited for hardwood flooring and tiling. You won’t need to worry about scratching the surface of your carpet, and in fact, you’ll want something powerful that pulls up all the lingering debris from the carpet strands. In this instance, an upright cleaner is a great way to go. There are all sorts of extra conveniences that upright vacuums have recently come out with, including a dirt sensor which makes sure you get that last speck of grime.
Know the layout of your flooring and what sorts of surfaces you’ll be dealing with to ensure your needs will be met with your new vacuum cleaner.
To Bag or Not To Bag
The general consensus is that, whether you have a bagged vacuum or a bagless vacuum, your house will be clean either way (as long as you keep using it). However, there are a few small differences that may make or break your decision to buy one or the other.
If you or any of your family members are sensitive to allergens or have asthma, the bagged vacuum is probably more for you. Dust exposure is minimized when the bag is emptied and most bags are guaranteed to trap all but .03% of the dust and pollen in your carpeting. You do have to replace the bags on a regular basis, although these are typically available at most supermarkets.
If you are environmentally-minded and prefer to not have to deal with replacing bags, the bagless vacuum is more for you. These vacuums usually have a see-through canister which gives you perfect access to seeing how full the vacuum is, which can help you determine when you need to empty it out.
Types Of Vacuum Cleaners Explained
The types of vacuum cleaners to choose from can be overwhelming. Each one comes with its pros and cons.
1. Handheld Vacuum
The handheld vacuum cleaner is good for cleaning hard-to-reach places. Think of your car, between the couch cushions, and underneath the bed. You can even use this handy machine for cleaning corners in rooms for a thorough clean.PROS:
- Not good for general cleaning, as it would take too long.
- Less power than a canister or full-sized vacuum.
|Cleaning Surface||Any fabric, hard floor, carpets, cars|
|Best for Cleaning||Dust, crumbs, hair|
2. Canister Vacuum
This powerful vacuum comes with a separate canister attached to the wand of the vacuum. Because of the separate canister, the engines of these vacuums can be bigger. If you’re looking for amazing suction and airflow, consider a canister vacuum.PROS:
- Powerful vacuum.
- They can clean floors, stairs, under furniture, upholstery, and curtains.
- They come with a variety of tools for different surfaces and flooring types.
- They are bulkier, making them harder to store.
- You need to assemble it before use, so it’s not as quick as other vacuums.
- You have to take the canister with you as you vacuum.
- Not good for people prone to back pain, as you’ll have to bend down to lift the canister and switch the vacuum on and off.
|Cleaning Surface||Carpets, fabrics, hard floors, stairs|
|Best for Cleaning||Dirt, pet hair, dust, food|
3. Upright Vacuum
When you visualize vacuum cleaners, an upright vacuum is probably the image that comes to mind. These vacuums are popular in households because they are effective for cleaning carpets and hard floors. They’re also affordable, powerful, and easy to maneuver.PROS:
- Easy to store.
- Stand up on their own.
- Great for cleaning carpets, but can also be used on hard floors.
- They come with attachments for different uses.
- Wide cleaning path which is good for large areas.
- Typically heavier.
- They can be quite noisy.
- Difficult to vacuum stairsbecause the cord or the body of the vacuum gets in the way.
- Not efficient in hard-to-reach places or corners without attachments.
|Cleaning Surface||Carpets and hard floors|
|Best for Cleaning||Dust, allergens, hair|
4. Stick Vacuum
Because of their stick-like design, they’re slender and simple to store.PROS:
- Easy to store.
- Good for quick, small messes.
- They work great on hardwood floors.
- Corded or cordless.
- Not as powerful as other vacuums.
- Small dirt bin capacity.
|Cleaning Surface||Hard floors, light carpet, and rugs|
|Best for Cleaning||Surface litter, like crumbs and hair|
5. Robot Vacuum
A robot vacuum is like having a well-behaved dog. They clean up your mess, and you don’t even need to train them.
Robot vacuums are becoming more and more popular. That’s because of their wonderful convenience. This vacuum does the work for you while you’re out or while you’re home, cleaning floors and underneath furniture.
- You can relax while the vacuum cleans.
- The vacuum can find its way around the room and navigate between tight spots.
- You can control it with your smartphone.
- Takes only a small storage area.
- They clean small messes, so you might need to vacuum manually every so often.
- Small dirt bin capacity.
- Not great on shaggy carpets or rugs.
|Cleaning Surface||Hard floors and carpets|
|Best for Cleaning||Dirt, dust, hair, crumbs|
6. Backpack Vacuum
A backpack vacuum is a vacuum you can wear like a backpack. This can be a good choice for people who experience back pain.
While these have decent suction, they aren’t as powerful as some of the previously mentioned vacuum cleaners.PROS:
- Good for people with back pain.
- They pick up soil and dust.
- The wand is lightweight.
- Straps can be hard to adjust.
- The storage bags inside are usually quite small.
|Cleaning Surface||Floors, carpets, furniture|
|Best for Cleaning||Soil and dust|
7. Wet And Dry Vacuums
A wet and dry vacuum has the ability to vacuum up dry dirt and wet spots, a very useful function. So whether you’ve got spilled milk or sprinkled sawdust, this vacuum can solve your problem.PROS:
- Vacuums wet and dry debris.
- Good for inside the home but also on industrial sites.
- Easy to wash out the separate filters.
- Nozzle for getting into small spaces.
- Inflates mattresses and paddling pools.
- Corded, so if using outside, you’ll need to use multiple power supplies.
- It gets smelly, especially if you’re vacuuming up urine or vomit.
|Type||Wet and Dry|
|Cleaning Surface||Floors, cars, furniture|
|Best for Cleaning||Liquids, solids, foods, glass, dust|
8. Central Vacuum System
If you’re tired of plugging and unplugging vacuums, you can get a central vacuum system installed in your home.
You get a tubing system hidden inside the walls of your house. That’s connected to a motorized suction unit usually stored in basements or garages. The tubing system can also connect to wall ports throughout the house.
When you need to vacuum, you connect a long hose to the wall ports and turn it on. Then you vacuum as normal around the house. The debris goes down the hose, through the tubes, and into the debris collection container.PROS:
- More powerful than normal vacuum cleaners.
- You don’t need to bring anything around with you.
- Healthier indoor air quality since the debris container is located outside of living areas in the house.
- The suction isn’t affected as the container fills.
- You add value to your house.
- These systems are expensive, costing roughly $1,000 to $3,000.
- You have to carry around a pretty long hose.
- Less energy efficient.
- Difficult to vacuum stairs.
- Not that effective on carpets.
|Type||Central vacuum system|
|Cleaning Surface||Carpets, hard floor, furniture|
|Best for Cleaning||Dirt, debris, dander|
Is A Vacuum Cleaner Really Necessary?
Maybe you’re quite happy with your broom and dustpan, but here are some reasons that a vacuum cleaner is necessary.
What Are The Advantages Of A Vacuum Cleaner?
- It’s good if you have allergies: If you don’t vacuum, your allergies could worsen (1). Dust, pollen, and pet dander never go away. Dust mites breed quickly, too (2).
- Your carpets and rugs will last longer: The more often you vacuum, the cleaner your house will be, therefore, lengthening the lifespan of your carpets, rugs, and other furniture.
- Vacuuming purifies the air: To an extent, vacuuming can purify the air, especially if you’re a smoker. Smoke gets caught in carpets, curtains, rugs, and couches. Vacuuming is a good way to lessen the amount of old cigarette smoke in your home (3).
- Vacuuming gets rid of mold: Mold has the creepy ability to move around your home. Vacuuming sucks some of that mold up, cleaning your home (4).
- Your home looks cleaner: Finally, it’s important to vacuum your home for aesthetics. There’s nothing worse than visiting a friend and being totally uncomfortable in their dusty, dirty home. Vacuum your floors to create a pleasant and clean environment.
Location, Location, Location
Each type of flooring requires a different vacuum cleaner. Consider these tips when choosing the right vacuum cleaner for you.
If you have hard floors in your house, such as hardwood, tiles, and laminate, your best option is a vacuum cleaner that comes with a number of attachments. You also want to opt for a lightweight vacuum cleaner so you prevent scratches on your floor.
An upright vacuum cleaner can scratch your floors and leave debris on your floors. Some upright vacuums do come with a setting for hard floors, but you’re better choosing something like a canister vacuum.
Canister vacuums usually come with an attachment brush for bare floors, which prevents scratching. Plus, they are good for rugs if you have any on your hard floors.
If you’ve opted for a cozy carpet in your home, it’s important to care for that. For carpet, you need something quite powerful. It needs to be able to pull out dirt and debris from carpet strands.
You don’t need to worry about floor scratching, so an upright vacuum cleaner is a fantastic option. So, when you have wall-to-wall carpet, shaggy or smooth, or even area rugs, an upright vacuum is best for you.
Bagged Vs. Bagless
When it comes to deciding between vacuum cleaners, you might also want to consider if you want a bagged or bagless device. There are pros and cons to both.
- It’s good if anyone in your family has allergies. Bags trap most of the dirt, dust, and pollen. Exposure is minimal even when you’re emptying them.
- There is less mess. The dust doesn’t go everywhere when you empty the vacuum, because all the dirt is in a bag.
- Vacuum bags are available at most supermarkets.
- You have to change the bag regularly.
- There is more waste and an extra ongoing cost to your vacuum cleaner.
- Environmentally friendly option.
- You don’t need to stock spend money on vacuum bags.
- Usually, you can see how full the dirt container is so you know when to empty the vacuum.
- It’s messier. When you dump the vacuum contents into the trash, dust tends to fly up everywhere. We often find we need to vacuum around our garbage can after emptying our vacuums.