The best handheld steam cleaners in the UK 2023

For everyday cleaning, basic tools such as a vacuum cleaner or a broom are sufficient. But for precision or deep cleaning, a handheld steam cleaner will be useful. Indeed, it gets rid of stains, dirt and bad smells. Choosing the best handheld steam cleaner requires checking many criteria. Save time by discovering the 4 most popular models of the moment.

Polti Vaporetto First 1

Editor's Choice

Polti Vaporetto First

The best handheld steam cleaner in 2021

The Polti Vaporetto First is light, handy and powerful. Its steam jet ensures a quick cleaning, especially on targeted areas. Not surprising when you know the know-how of the Italian brand.

32 £ on Amazon

With the First, Polti offers to steam clean various surfaces in the home, including cooktops, burners, tiles and grout, sinks, bathroom fixtures, radiators, shutters, curtains and plants. The 1200 W of power offer a steam at 120 °C. The high pressure boiler, up to 3 bars, allows a deep cleaning, neutralizing germs, mites and bacteria.

Here, technology is at the service of safety. The Vaporetto cap does not unscrew in case of residual pressure inside the boiler. In addition, there is a child safety device that prevents unintentional steam distribution and activation.. It is worth noting that this handheld steam cleaner comes with 5 accessories (a steam wand, a steam concentrator, a round nylon brush, a round brass brush and a carafe).

Solac LV1301 2

Best entry-level

Solac LV1301

The best entry-level handheld steam cleaner

If you are looking for a cheap and efficient handheld steam cleaner, don't miss the Solac LV1301. Its technical specifications are far from being ridiculous despite its price positioning.

21,80 £ on Amazon

The steam emitted by the Solac LV1301 effectively and permanently removes the most stubborn dirt. With this handheld steam cleaner, you can thoroughly clean windows, upholstery, curtains, car seats, bathrooms, kitchens, tiles and anything else that can be cleaned and disinfected. It eliminates up to 99% of bacteria.

The Solac LV1301 handheld steam cleaner guarantees an almost professional result. It is able to achieve this thanks to a power of 1050 W, a pressure of 3 bars and a steam flow of 30 g/min. In addition, you get a triple safety system and 9 accessories to clean all types of objects and surfaces.

Kärcher SC1 3

Best high-end

Kärcher SC1

The best high-end handheld steam cleaner

The Karcher SC1 is a versatile handheld steam cleaner ready for any cleaning scenario, thanks to its smart modular design and quality accessories.

75,98 £ on Amazon

The SC1 is still the cheapest, lightest and smallest steam cleaner you'll see from Kärcher. Its weight of only 1.6 kg makes it surprisingly agile. You'll be able to use it in a variety of situations. An indicator light on the side lets you know if the unit is on, although it doesn't tell you if the right temperature has been reached. For that, you have to wait 3 min, the time to hear a slight click that announces the maximum temperature.

The water tank of only 200 mL ensures an autonomy of 7 min between refills. In addition, the performance of this handheld steam cleaner is exceptional. With the included accessories, you can reach hard-to-reach places for visible results in seconds. Finally, note that The lock button is very practical if you have children.

Bissell SteamShot 2635J 4


Bissell SteamShot 2635J

A great handheld steam cleaner

The Bissell Steam Shot 2635J is a relatively inexpensive and effective handheld steam cleaner. However, we have encountered some problems with its use due to the poor quality accessories.

51,74 £ on Amazon

With the Bissell Steam Shot 2635J, you can kill 99.9% of bacteria on a variety of surfaces at the touch of a button and without the use of chemicals. If you fill the 360 mL tank with tap water, you can steam clean for about 15 minutes. This handheld steam cleaner reaches its maximum temperature in just 60 seconds.

Note that the Bissell Steam Shot 2635J comes with a dozen accessories. You will find among the lot a precision accessory for hard-to-reach places, as well as various brushes that you can use for carpets. With a power of 1050 W and a steam pressure of 4.5 bar, this is indeed a powerful handheld steam cleaner.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best handheld steam cleaner

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The best handheld steam cleaner in 2021

The best entry-level handheld steam cleaner

The best high-end handheld steam cleaner

A great handheld steam cleaner

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Comparison table of the best handheld steam cleaners

Polti Vaporetto First 5
Solac LV1301 6
Kärcher SC1 7
Bissell SteamShot 2635J 8
Polti Vaporetto First
Solac LV1301
Kärcher SC1
Bissell SteamShot 2635J
The Polti Vaporetto First is light, handy and powerful. Its steam jet ensures a quick cleaning, especially on targeted areas. Not surprising when you know the know-how of the Italian brand.
If you are looking for a cheap and efficient handheld steam cleaner, don't miss the Solac LV1301. Its technical specifications are far from being ridiculous despite its price positioning.
The Karcher SC1 is a versatile handheld steam cleaner ready for any cleaning scenario, thanks to its smart modular design and quality accessories.
The Bissell Steam Shot 2635J is a relatively inexpensive and effective handheld steam cleaner. However, we have encountered some problems with its use due to the poor quality accessories.
1200 W
1050 W
1200 W
1050 W
3 bars
3 bars
3 bars
4.5 bar
Steam rate
40 g/min
30 g/min
80 g/min
90 g/min
Water tank capacity
200 mL
350 mL
200 mL
360 mL
Number of accessories included

Help us improve this table:
Report an error, request the addition of a feature to the table, or suggest another product. Thank you for your kindness!

Buying guide - handheld steam cleaner

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How to choose your handheld steam cleaner

With so many handheld steam cleaners on the market, you'll need to identify the key features to consider before buying.

#1 - The size and weight

Don't think that all handheld steam cleaners are compact. In fact, handheld steam cleaners come in many different sizes. There are portable models for quick jobs and others that are a little larger, and are called "handheld steam cleaners" only. For the latter, you will often need a harness for more comfort. Before choosing the size of your handheld steam cleaner, think about where you're going to store your device, and therefore the weight.

#2 - The water tank capacity

Think of the handheld steam cleaner's water tank as when you use an iron. As long as there is water in the tank, your unit will continue to work properly. Obviously, small handheld steam cleaners can only hold small tanks of water. Larger handheld steam cleaners may have larger water tanks, but will automatically be bulkier and more expensive. Anyway, for water tank capacity, don't go below 200 mL.

#3 - The steam pressure

The higher the temperature and pressure of the steam, the more thorough a cleaning you'll get every time you use your handheld steam cleaner. Also, you need to find a device that maintains high pressure for a long time. Many models advertise high pressure, but won't consistently deliver that pressure until the water tank runs out. But the average pressure of a good handheld steam cleaner is 3 bar.

#4 - The ease of use

This will be mostly a matter of preference, but it should not be overlooked. In addition to the above factors, think about how comfortable a handheld steam cleaner is to hold and the convenience of the attachments that come with the unit. You may need to think about the length of the cord, as all handheld steam cleaners today are mains powered. But the best way to get a clear idea of how easy it is to use a device like this is to go through the comments and reviews of people who already use it on a daily basis.

#5 - The accessories that come with the unit

The majority of handheld steam cleaners have accessories. This mostly refers to extra nozzles, measuring cups, storage bags, etc. But, when choosing a handheld steam cleaner, focus on accessories that you plan to use frequently. If you're buying a handheld steam cleaner that comes with accessories that you're sure to use a lot, go for it! However, if you find that the included accessories won't help you, try looking for another option.

How do you use a handheld steam cleaner?


There are some things to do when using a better handheld steam cleaner. Start by assembling the nozzles. When connecting the nozzles to the machine itself, make sure there are no problems with leaks.

The next step is to fill the water tank. Place your handheld steam cleaner on a flat surface and unplug the machine if you have it plugged into the mains. Using a measuring cup, add water to the maximum level indicator. At this point, the choice of water is up to you. Tap water will do, although distilled water will help the handheld steam cleaner last longer.

Once you're past the filling stage, it's time to use your handheld steam cleaner. Plug your machine into the power supply. The handheld steam cleaner will be ready to use when the steam light comes on. Press the steam button when you are ready to clean. Do not point it at yourself or any other living thing. The fumes can cause severe burns. When you are finished, unplug the machine.


The final step is to clean and store your machine for future use. Remove the nozzles if you want to clean the machine itself. Drain the excess water and then rinse the cleaner. Store the unit in a closet out of reach of children and pets.

Common use case for a steam cleaner handheld

There are a considerable number of uses for a handheld steam cleaner, all of which will be mentioned in the manufacturer's instructions:

  • Cleaning ceramic or porcelain tile,
  • Cleaning and sterilizing glass shower doors and rails,
  • Cleaning patio door rails,
  • Cleaning metal pet cages,
  • Cleaning the exterior of appliances,
  • Washing patio furniture,
  • Cleaning and sterilizing countertops,
  • Disinfect sinks and plumbing fixtures,
  • Disinfect mattresses and bedding,
  • Clean curtains, combined with a steam duster,
  • Clean ceiling fans,
  • Clean boat hulls,
  • Remove algae and mold from synthetic decking materials,
  • Clean gardening tools.

Our time-saving tips

To shorten your cleaning time when using a handheld steam cleaner, follow these efficiency tips:

  • Clean from top to bottom on a door frame and threshold, so you don't have to go back and re-clean an area,
  • Plan your cleaning route and time so you can start and finish without too many interruptions,
  • Have any attachments you may need handy,
  • Take the time to vacuum or sweep up loose particles, dust or debris to avoid dragging that dirt around while you steam clean,
  • Drain the steamer of water and wash/dry tool pouches or rags so they are ready for the next cleaning task.

Handheld steam cleaner or steam broom?

Handheld steam cleaner

As the name implies, a handheld steam cleaner uses steam to clean floors and carpets, but also clothes, curtains and other objects or surfaces. The steam and heat produced kills about 99% of the germs, bacteria and pests that can lurk in the home. No matter what surface you steam clean, it will be completely disinfected and sanitized, at least more than a vacuum cleaner could do.

Handheld steam cleaners use only steam to clean and sanitize. Although some models allow the addition of chemicals, they are not necessary to kill germs and bacteria. Not only does steam soften hard-to-clean stains, but it also cleans problem areas faster.

Steam broom

The steam mop helps clean carpets and floors without the use of chemicals. Unlike a conventional broom that will require soap and detergent, the steam broom uses the heat of steam to sanitize, clean and disinfect floors. This device eliminates the need for a container filled with water. The old-fashioned method would require a bucket of soapy water and a dirty mop that you would need to wring out frequently.

On the other hand, the steam mop is a compact, small and lightweight device. Although sizes and shapes vary from model to model, the steam mop will most often be less bulky than a vacuum cleaner, although it is still more bulky than a handheld steam cleaner.


Both the handheld steam cleaner and the steam mop have their advantages, disadvantages and uses. You need to consider your budget, what you need to clean, how often you use it, and how much time you could spend cleaning. All of these factors will affect your choice.

Think about your intended use. Do you have a lot of carpet to clean? A steam mop will suit you better. Only have one room with carpet and the rest is laminate? Try the steam cleaner in May. This way, your cleaning chores will be mainly on curtains and furniture.

5 reasons to use a handheld steam cleaner

Low water consumption

Even with 200 mL of water, you can do wonders with a handheld steam cleaner. Most handheld steam cleaners can heat up to 120°C. This means that cleaning will be done in no time at all.

Fast drying

Another advantage of handheld steam cleaners is that they clean quickly and dry even faster. When the water is heated and the steam starts to flow, only 5% of the actual water remains. This is phenomenal when cleaning carpets, clothes, mattresses and more.

No chemicals required

Handheld steam cleaners are known for their cleaning performance without the use of chemicals. This means they won't harm pets, children or sensitive adults. And because the best brands care about the environment, many advances have been made to change the tarnished reputation of steam by dry cleaning companies.


Finally, steam cleaning is one of the most effective cleaning techniques available. Most handheld steam cleaners produce steam at 100°C or higher; some even produce steam at 140°C.


There's no denying the versatility of handheld steam cleaners. You can clean almost any surface with this type of cleaner. From vinyl to adhesives and graffiti removal to automotive cleaning, carpets, faucets and tiles, there are so many things you can clean with a handheld steam cleaner.

The best brands of handheld steam cleaners

In our opinion, the best brands of handheld steam cleaners in 2022 are :


Bissell has a solid reputation for making excellent products like vacuums, scrubbers, and steam cleaners. It offers affordable appliances and almost every type of steam cleaner exists in its catalog, including handheld steam cleaners.

While McCulloch is a novice brand when it comes to steam cleaners, it receives thousands of positive reviews and ratings from consumers. In particular, the brand offers a powerful handheld steam cleaner that can easily tackle both residential and commercial projects.

Known for creating some of the most expensive steam cleaners on the market, this brand has an excellent reputation for customer service. In particular, Shark makes vacuum cleaners and handheld steam cleaners that are acclaimed for their versatility.

PurSteam is known in the world of small appliances dedicated to home cleaning. It almost exclusively manufactures steam cleaning units. The brand is also known for using quality parts and for having a responsive team within its customer service.

This Italian brand mainly manufactures small appliances. Since 1978, it offers vacuum cleaners, steam cleaners, steam brooms whose power and quality are no longer presented. In its catalog, you will find excellent handheld steam cleaners.

What is the price for a handheld steam cleaner

The diagram below will help you to get an idea of the typical prices for each price range (entry-level, mid-range and high-end).

However, more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

We therefore advise you to always consult our ranking before deciding, rather than blindly relying on price ranges.

20 £ to 45 £
45 £ to 70 £
more than 70 £
Price range diagram


Clean kitchen appliances with a handheld steam cleaner

Oven, microwave and dishwasher cleaning can require a large amount of chemicals. With a handheld steam cleaner, you can cut cleaning time in half and remove grease and stuck-on food from dishwashers, microwaves, ovens, stoves, refrigerators, etc. After hand steam cleaning, simply wipe with a damp cloth for a clean, fresh finish.

Clean bathroom equipment with a handheld steam cleaner

The bathroom accumulates mold and mildew due to the abundance of moisture. Daily cleaning and maintenance will help curb mold growth, but a handheld steam cleaner can effectively remove mold, hard water stains and soap scum from faucets, toilets, mirrors, drains and the sink. With a squeegee, mirrors, tile and glass can also be cleaned without leaving streaks.

Beware of temperature variation!

Be aware of temperature variations that can cause glass or porcelain to break. For example, do not steam clean a window on a very cold day.

Direct residual steam properly

Remember that steam continues to escape from a handheld steam cleaner for several seconds after the trigger is released. Be careful not to direct the steam at plants or other objects that cannot absorb moisture or heat.

Don't linger too long on certain surfaces

Don't linger long when using a steam cleaner on sealed wood, painted surfaces, or any other area with composite construction of paper, wood, plywood, or cardboard. If you use your cleaner on walls or other areas where you are unsure of steam resistance, always test a small area first.


Where does the water go when using a handheld steam cleaner?

When the handheld steam cleaner is turned on, the water turns into a dry mist. Any excess water cleans fabric, tiles, etc. Within minutes, the things you cleaned dry, are disinfected and free of all residue.

What about dirt?

When steam cleaning, dirt doesn't go anywhere. It is broken down by the heat of the steam, but stays in the area that was just cleaned. To remove residual dirt, you must manually wipe it away with a cloth or vacuum.

Does a handheld steam cleaner leave bad odors on carpets?

When it comes to homes with cats, dogs and/or small children, the house can become messy in no time. Instead of spending money on professional cleaners, you can do the job yourself by using a steam cleaner. Since there are no chemicals or detergents involved, you won't have to worry about bad odors. Once the cleaning is done, you won't smell any stench. All you'll smell is a sweet, clean odor everywhere.

Can a handheld steam cleaner really eradicate dust mites?

Mites are no match for a handheld steam cleaner. Dust mites can't stand heat above 70°C. It's the heat that really kills dust mites, not the steam itself. So even if you get the least powerful handheld steam cleaner, you'll still be able to remove dust mites from your carpets, mattresses and upholstery.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
  1. Steam Cleaner Buying Guide,
  2. How to Choose Your Steam Cleaner,
  3. Steam Cleaner Buying Guide,
  4. Steam Cleaners Home & Garden,
  5. Steam Cleaner Buying Guide | Buy Steam Cleaners Online,
  6. Standard steam iron vs handheld steam cleaner - which tackles creases best?,
  7. Best Uses for Your Handheld Steam Cleaner,
  8. The Best Handheld Steam Cleaners for Deep Cleaning Throughout the House,
  9. 4 Reasons to Use Steam Cleaning in the Workplace or Home - Ben's Cleaner Sales Inc,
  10. Best Handheld Portable Steam Cleaners 2020: Top Steamers,
  11. How to Choose the Best Steam Cleaner :: Buyer's Guide,
  12. The 7 best handheld steam cleaners of 2021 ...,
  13. Handheld Steam Cleaner - Cdiscount,
  14. Steam Cleaner - Free Shipping - Darty,
  15. Handheld Steam Cleaner | Leroy Merlin,
  16. The Best Handheld Steam Cleaner 2021 [Comparative],
  17. Steam Cleaner - Buyer's Guide - UFC-Que Choisir,
  18. Steam Cleaner - 1 Hour In-Store Withdrawal* | Boulanger,
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See more


March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Polti Vaporetto First 9
Polti Vaporetto First
Solac LV1301 10
Solac LV1301
Kärcher SC1 11
Kärcher SC1
Bissell SteamShot 2635J 12
Bissell SteamShot 2635J


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