If you’ve ever wanted to clean grease off your kitchen stove or the mildew from your kitchen tile grout without using harmful chemicals and solutions, then a multi-purpose steam cleaner is a must-have appliance. These machines produce very hot steam by heating up water and then expel the steam at high pressures to melt and blast away built-up and hardened dirt and grime. They can allow you to clean and sanitize your home, car, truck or boat much more quickly and with significantly less effort than you could with a mop, rag and bucket.
In order to help you, the consumer, make a more informed buying decision, we researched and compared over 40 different models of steam cleaners. We then created this list of what is in our opinion the six best steam cleaners. We based our decisions on a number of factors, including versatility, water tank capacity, pressure strength, user-friendliness and price.
Best Overall: McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe Canister Steam Cleaner
McCulloch is inarguably the number one brand in the world of portable steam cleaners and its best steam cleaner model has to be the McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe. This is quite simply a beast of a cleaning machine (no exaggeration intended).
Equipped with 23 different attachments and accessories, including a mop head, 17″ extension wand and a variety of brush heads, there’s no cleaning job that the highly versatile McCulloch MC1385 can’t handle. Additionally, its high-capacity 64 oz. water tank can reach temperatures of over 200 degrees F in just 12 minutes, and on a full tank it can generate steam continuously for up to 2 hours.
In addition, the machine uses very high pressure (58 psi; 4 bar) to blast away grease and dirt. The user can also adjust the pressure level of the steam to their desired level. Overall, this is a terrific steam cleaner that you will find many different uses for when cleaning your home. Whether its cleaning large areas of floor space quickly using the mop head attachment or scraping the grime off your stovetop with the bristle brush accessory, the McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe Canister can pretty much do it all.
STX International STX-4000-SX2 Mega-Steam Cleaner
The STX International STX-4000-SX2 Mega-Steam is another great choice if you want a durable, professional-quality steam cleaner that will effectively clean and sanitize every surface of your home, from furniture and cabinets to garments and drapes.
And while it may not be the lightest steam cleaner around (it can weigh upwards of 20 lbs. on a full tank), the water tank is supported by a solid set of wheels that make it easy to pull around while you go about your cleaning tasks. In addition, its large 67 oz. water tank will allow you to steam clean for about 1.5 hours continuously without having to refill. And with a maximum PSI of 116, the STX Mega-Steam produces very high pressure steam, significantly higher than other, non-commercial steam cleaner models.
The STX also comes with a variety of useful attachements, including a 6 ft. flex steam tube, floor brushes and 3 extension tubes. It also has a built-in storage compartment where you can store many of the smaller accessories, making it easier to find them the next time you need them.
Best Value: McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
If you’re looking for a great multi-purpose steam cleaner that’s slightly more affordable than the 2 steam cleaners above and almost just as good, then you should definitely consider the McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty. This steam cleaner is light and compact, making it very portable and easy to handle in general, but despite its smaller size it can still take on the toughest of household cleaning jobs with ease. Its various attachments (18 in all) enables this steam cleaner to excel at many different cleaning tasks, such as eliminating grease and grime from your barbeque grill or removing stains from your carpet, rugs and hardwood floors.
And even though its 48 oz. water tank is a bit smaller than some of the other larger steam cleaner models, it still gives you the ability to clean continuously for up to 45 minutes. And one advantage of a smaller tank is that they heat up quicker; the McCulloch MC1275 can reach peak temperature in only 8 minutes, so a smaller unit like this one may be better suited for more frequent, lighter cleaning sessions when you want to finish up quickly. When you factor in price, we think the McCulloch MC1275 gives you the most “bang for you buck” of any steam cleaner currently on the market.
4 Best Budget Model: Ivation IVASC301B Deluxe Steam Cleaner
Ivation may be a lesser known brand in the world of steam cleaners, but their newest model, the Ivation IVASC301B Deluxe, can give some of the top household steam cleaners a run for their money. One thing that the Ivation has going for it is that it gives you plenty of accessories with which to tackle all of your various cleaning tasks, as it comes with 18 different attachments, the same as the McCulloch MC1275. It also has a similar water tank size to the McCulloch (both 48 oz.), about the same continuous operating time at 40-45 minutes, and has an internal storage compartment as well located at the bottom of the unit where you can store your brushes and nozzles.
So why is it cheaper than the McCulloch MC1275? Well firstly, the quality of construction probably isn’t quite as good. And secondly, the Ivation IVASC301B doesn’t have near the brand recognition of McCulloch, nor the reputation for quality that McCulloch has built up over the years. So if saving money is a high priority, then you can get a similar unit to the massively popular MC1275 model but at a lower price by purchasing the Ivation.
5 Homegear X100 Professional Portable Steam Cleaner
The Homegear X100 Professional is a good but relatively inexpensive steam cleaner that many shoppers may want to consider. While you can use the Homegear’s included fabric cap or floor brush to steam clean your hardwood and ceramic tile floors, there are a myriad of other ways that the Homegear X100 can be used throughout your home. For example, it can be used to expunge dirty blemishes from your carpets, to remove soap scum from your kitchen and bathroom countertops, or to clean the inside of your oven. The Homegear can even be used on garments and clothing to remove wrinkles.
And while the Homegear X100’s 38 ounce water tank may not be as large as some of the other competing steam cleaner models, and it may not come with as money attachments with only 14, but it still gives you the basic tools you need to get the job done. And even though this is a smaller unit, the machine’s 1500-watt electric heating element produces steam that can reach temperatures of up to 284 degrees F, and it also generates decent pressure at 3 bars. In addition, it comes with a 2 year limited warranty, which should provide a level of reassurance for consumers out there who may be worried about the quality of this unit due to its cheaper price.
6 Best Hand-held Steam Cleaner: Bissell 39N7A/39N71 Steam Shot
Unlike the other “canister” type steam cleaners on this list in which the unit’s water tank is positioned on the floor and the steam is expelled through a nozzle or brush attachment, the Bissell 39N7A/39N71 Steam Shot is a handheld steamer, meaning the entire unit – water tank and all – is held in your hand. One of the main advantages of handheld steamers is that they heat up very quickly – The Bissell Steam Shot can generate steam in about 3 minutes after you put water into it. Another advantage is that because you don’t have to pull a water tank around with you while you’re cleaning, many people may find them more convenient to use.
Hand-held steamers aren’t without their disadvantages though, and the most significant one is that since they have much smaller water tanks, they need to be refilled quite frequently. Another disadvantage is that they can’t be used with very many attachments like other multi-purpose steam cleaners, many of which can be turned into steam mops.
The Bissell Steam Shot has a fairly large capacity tank for a handheld model and will produce about 20 minutes worth of continuous steam. And its 1000-watt heating element generates very hot steam that will eradicate any and all germs it comes into contact with. If you just need a steam cleaner to occasionally sanitize your kitchen or bathroom, then the Steam Shot can be quite useful for that purpose. But if you need to do any kind of serious steam cleaning, then we definitely recommend going with one of the more powerful and versatile models above.