The 6 Best Handheld Steam Cleaners – 2022 Buying Guide

By Maria Hernandez / February 5, 2022 / 4 Comments

Floor Critics is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Are you looking to say goodbye to 99.99% of bacteria, mold, odors, stains, dust mites and—gasp—pollutants that are trapped in your home? Then it’s time to say hello to the wonderful world of handheld steam cleaning! And, lucky for you, today we are going to introduce you to six of the best handheld steam cleaners for your needs.

Handheld steam cleaners pack a powerful punch—think a 200-degree, highly concentrated punch of steaming hot sanitizing steam. As the fitting name suggests, they’re designed to fit comfortably in your hand and eliminate worries of tangled cords, hard-to-reach places, and hard-to-remove stains from having their way.

These devices put penetrative power in your hands like no other machine is capable of, and they do so in a way that is quick, easy, convenient, and demands the bare minimum in the maintenance department.

Whether you want to clean up your pet’s crate, clean your tile flooring, or sanitize your children’s play area, everyone stands to benefit from having the ever-versatile handheld steam cleaner, well, handy. In this article, you’re going to be introduced to 6 lean, mean steaming machines that will floor you!

Our Top Picks

  1. Best Overall: Bissell PowerFresh Slim Steam Mop
  2. Best Budget: Bissell Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner
  3. Best Multipurpose: Vapamore MR-75 Amico Handheld Steamer
  4. Best for Accessories: PurSteam Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner
  5. Best Lightweight: Dirt Devil Steam Cleaner
  6. Best Germ Fighter: Hoover Enhanced Clean WH20100 Portable Steam Cleaner

Handheld Steam Cleaner Buying Advice

Best Overall: Bissell PowerFresh Slim Steam Mop

Floor Critics Rating (4.8):

  • Weight: 6.4 lbs.
  • Water Tank Capacity: 12 oz.
  • The High Points: Larger-than-normal water tank, long power cord
  • The Low Points: Price, cleaning in tight areas
Bissell PowerFresh Slim Steam Mop
Bissell PowerFresh Slim Steam Mop 2075A

The Bissell PowerFresh Slim Hardwood Floor Steam Cleaner System is a 3-in-1 beast of a machine. It has a monstrous 12 ounce water tank. That is almost double the capacity of other steamers in its class. This means extra-long steaming sessions spent with this sleek system.

The versatility of the PowerFresh Slim system is broad and extremely functional. Even with its slightly lofty price tag, this steamer made it to the number one slot on our list.

The removable tank converts to a powerful handheld steamer. It can go mobile for special assignments.

The swivel mop handle allows the Bissell PowerFresh Slim to navigate around obstacles and access low-lying areas. That is where the grossest of the gross debris and bacteria love to linger.

An extension wand allows the steam to be directed into the deepest, darkest corners of ceilings and stairwells. It also keeps users at a comfortable distance while sanitizing around toilets.

A fancy on-board control panel lets users switch between a low and high steam setting. It even has a “pause” button. This helps to manage steam usage and carry the water in the already sizable tank just a little bit further.

As with most handheld steamers on the market, the Bissell PowerFresh Slim Hardwood Floor Steam Cleaner System comes with a healthy spread of accessories and attachments.

These extra tools help to convert the handheld steamer into a versatile cleaning machine. It’s capable of tackling tasks ranging from window washing to grout cleaning to grill grate grease elimination.

What Reviewers Say About It

Reviewers report on the outstanding hard floor cleaning abilities of the Bissell PowerFresh Slim Steam Cleaner. It is equally effective as a floor steamer as it is a portable, handheld power shower cleaner.

Users seem to find the PowerFresh Slim to be surprisingly successful at being a 3-in-1 system. It doesn’t sacrifice performance on any of its three functions.

This seems like a given. However, when the system is fully assembled, the massive water tank can make for a top-heavy cleaner. A few owners noted the need to be aware of where the cleaner is positioned at all times or it may take a dive.

There isn’t a small, flexible hose attachment available in the accessory grouping included with the system. A couple reviewers have voiced disappointment with their inability to reach tight spaces with their tiny accessories. That is because they lack the flexibility to maneuver.

When water levels get low in the tank, the steamer can fail to produce consistent steam flows. Reviewers note that once they refill the tank a bit, the steam production stabilizes.

What’s Good?

This model boasts a helpful supply of handy attachments. In addition, the Bissell PowerFresh Slim system comes with on-board tool storage, so users can grab the right tool at the right time without having to scramble.

I’m a sucker for power cord lengths, and Bissell nails it with the PowerFresh Slim Hardwood Floor Steam Cleaner System. It has a cord length of 25’.

Yeah, let that sink in. It is almost two and a half times as long as other steamers’ cords. This cord is basically a symbol of freedom in a steam dreamer’s world.

Along the lines of ease-of-use, the PowerFresh Slim comes with a wall mount, which allows for easy stowing of the steamer system during times of inactivity.

The system’s tank is also simple to fill. It doesn’t require much manipulation to complete the task.

Oh, and for the fancy steam system operators out there, Bissell offers scented water to use in the machine. That’s just in case the smell of sterility isn’t quite pretty enough.

What Could Be Better?

The addition of a couple key attachments, like the previously mentioned small flexible hose, would bulk up the accessory lineup a little.

Incorporating some type of counterbalance to prevent the mop from tipping could help to eliminate some spillage situations and thwart potential damage to the unit during the fall.

How Does It Compare In Value?

Though the price tag is one of the highest on the handheld steam cleaner spectrum, the Bissell PowerFresh Slim Hardwood does justify its cost with the broad range of functions it provides.

Added features like a digital control panel that allows the user to choose between low and high steam output and the variety of tools and accessories help to tip the value scale in the PowerFresh Slim steam system’s favor.

Considering all of the functionality that the Bissell PowerFresh provides, even with the hefty price tag, this steamer seems to be a pretty decent buy.

How Has It Improved?

Bissell has made a few changes with the PowerFresh Slim Hardwood Floor Steam Cleaner System over the past couple of model generations.

The water tank is actually a bit smaller than in previous models, seemingly to lighten the overall weight of the unit.

A slightly smaller power source is utilized in the PowerFresh model compared to some of its predecessors. Though a lower wattage supply, water still heats to the point of steam in about 60 seconds while possibly using a bit less electricity to do it.

Best Budget: Bissell Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner

Floor Critics Rating (4.6):

  • Weight: 3 lbs.
  • Water Tank Capacity: 6.6 oz.
  • The High Points: Price, Lightweight and Portable
  • The Low Points: Small, Tips easily
Bissell Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner
Bissell Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner 39N7V

The Bissell Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner is lightweight and efficient and able to eliminate even the stickiest of residue. It’s not the biggest cleaner on the market and is best suited for smaller household jobs.

This value-priced steamer can introduce even the most budget-savvy buyer to the wonderful world of grime annihilation. While there are higher-priced products with possibly better features or functions on the market, not much can beat the Bissell Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner’s ability to sanitize and scrub-assist the grossest dirt and sludge buildup while sticking to this affordable price point.

Attachments are plentiful with the Bissell Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner. Tools like a grout brush, a scraping tool, and a window squeegee help the operator and the steam accomplish even the toughest of dirt removal deeds.

The easy-to-operate push button steam trigger allows steam to be released on demand, so certain areas can be strategically targeted for vapor blasts while conserving the sanitizing, sludge-lifting steam for the next battle.

The water heater in the Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner is a powerhouse, heating water to steam-ready levels in less than 60 seconds. This means no waiting for crevice cleaning sessions or refrigerator residue (more like resid-eww) removal parties.

What Reviewers Say About It

Owners rave about the Steam Shot Cleaner’s ability to get grout back to looking new again. While most admit they needed to put a little of their own scrubbing power into the job, they also acknowledged that it may have been (cringe) decades since the grout had seen a proper cleaning.

Users tend to get extremely involved in their steam sessions and lose track of time. Suddenly, the steam clouds clear and the realization sets in that, in fact, the last vapor has passed through the nozzle and the steamer’s in need of a reload.

This is the dawn of a new, less rewarding era known as the “cool down, refill” stage, which is reported to take about 15 minutes.

Some reviewers report having issues with attaching accessories and keeping them in place. If the pieces aren’t twisted and locked appropriately, they can blast off the nozzle in mid-clean and spray hot steam on the unexpecting user.

Almost all consumers offering up their steamer opinions are excited about the lightweight, portable nature of the Bissell Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner.

What’s Good?

The price point of the Bissell Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner is one of its strongest points. It cannot be understated that this cleaner packs a similar vaporizing, sanitizing punch to some of its much pricier competitors.

The power cord is long—about 20’ long to be exact. For a smaller-scale steamer, Bissell stuck with a lengthy cord on this one. Prepare to span entire rooms at once in a cloud of bacteria-biting steam before having to move to a new power supply source.

Bissell provides an informative user guide with the Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner. It outlines the initial setup and usage process in clear detail and also includes operational tips for the different tasks of which this little steamer is capable.

What Could Be Better?

The steam temperature exiting the nozzle can vary depending on the tool being used. Some users report needing to make very close contact with their targeted grime in order to have the desired effect. Being able to grasp more of that steam and shoot it for greater distances could be helpful.

A water level indicator sensor or window would be a helpful minor improvement. Operators want to know when the fun is almost done. This seems like a relatively simple addition to make, and it would go a long way with some owners.

The warranty is short, spanning just one year from date of purchase. The price does at least somewhat ease this lack of a long-term warranty, but even an extra year seems like it could improve consumer confidence a bit.

How Does It Compare In Value?

The Bissell Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner is a pretty decent value. At the bottom of the price range in its industry, this scrappy little steamer can accomplish many of the same tasks as its much pricier counterparts.

Functional attachments and a handy measuring cup for refills boosts the value, too. While the relatively minimal warranty drags the value down a bit, the price of the steamer makes up for it.

How Has It Improved?

The manufacturer has added accessories to the Bissell Steam Shot’s standard equipment. As we know by now, attachments are king in the handheld steamer world.

The manufacturer has not modified many other things from previous Bissell steamer model designs. The tank size, power supply size, and cord length are the same.

Best Multipurpose: Vapamore MR-75 Amico Handheld Steamer

Floor Critics Rating (4.3):

  • Weight: 3.5 lbs.
  • Water Tank Capacity: 6.7 oz.
  • The High Points: Lightweight, Tons of accessories
  • The Low Points: High price tag, Short power cord
Vapamore MR-75 Amico Handheld Steamer
Vapamore MR-75 Amico Handheld Steamer

The Vapamore MR-75 Amico Handheld Steamer is a serious steam delivery system capable of taking on an almost endless variety of tasks. Quality Italian design and engineering goes into both the form and the function of this friendly and fashionable steamer.

The MR-75 Amico is lightweight, and easy to manage and move about while spraying and steaming every last inch of the previously much dirtier house. Time should probably be reserved to really get to know this steamer and its wide range of cleaning capabilities because, as some users report, once you get steaming, you just can’t stop.

Attachments are plentiful with the MR-75 Amico, including an array of brass and nylon brushes, scrapers, squeegees, and cotton covers to assist with larger surface steaming jobs. The flexible hose attachment is a generous, yet manageable, three feet long and able to reach tight spaces.

Stylish steam connoisseurs will love the sleek lines and vibrant yellow color of the MR-75 Amico handheld steamer. While not everyone is particular about the aesthetics of their dirt deletion devices, no one can deny that this steamer is a real looker.

It can’t go unsaid that it’s all in this little Italian steamer’s name. Yes, yes, Vapamore Amico, we love steam—you are such a friend. And now, not only are we covering superior steamers here, but we’re packing in some linguistics. You just can’t get this anywhere else, folks.

What Reviewers Say About It

Owners of the Vapamore MR-75 Amico steamer overall seem to enjoy having this handy sidekick at their grime-busting disposal. There are reports of grout being returned to its original, very different color after a couple swipes with the steamer.

Others report turbo cleaning litter boxes and pet bedding to better-than-new condition, and even weathered and dirty patio furniture found new life outside the shed after an encounter with an MR-75 Amico.

Though the water tank capacity is on the small side, multiple users cited the ability to clean with a constant flow of steam for 20–30 minutes before needing to refill. The refilling process does seem to take about 15 minutes from start to finish, as the machine has to cool and restart the steaming process.

Some consumers report that they’ve crossed paths with the steam stream and learned an important lesson as to exactly how high the temperature of the vapor can be. While it’s encouraging to know the temperature is, no doubt, extremely hot, be careful out there, steam troopers.

Various reviewers lament the lack of an on/off switch on the Vapamore MR-75 Amico. If you’re plugged in, you better be ready to steam. And when the steamin’ and dreamin’ is done, unplug that sanitizing system and return it to its staging area, aka the closet.

What’s Good?

The Vapamore MR-75 Amico comes with an almost ridiculous amount of attachments. There really is almost no task that at least one of the tools in Amico’s arsenal can’t tackle. Window cleaning is a breeze with the squeegee attachment, and with the use of some specific tiny attachmentscar detailing has never been so simple.

Accessories are readily available on the manufacturer’s website and sometimes on Amazon. This helps contribute to a long lifespan of the steamer, with access to replacement pads and the replenishment of those little tools that help conquer the cleansing process.

Vapamore offers a lifetime warranty on most of their steamer products. They cover the serious components for the full “lifetime” span. In addition, they cover the attachments and smaller parts for the first year.

Obviously, they don’t cover some items, due to expectation of normal wear and tear. But regardless of some of the limitations, this warranty is one of the best in the industry.

What Could Be Better?

The power cord is short. It’s one of the shortest on the handheld steamer market, actually, measuring about 10’ long.

Cord length is a highly-sought luxury when it comes to powered home cleaning appliances, and if Vapamore wanted to up its game a bit, it could add a few feet to the power cord.

While the MR-75 Amico is portable and lightweight thanks to its minimalist design, a larger water tank wouldn’t hurt. Many users would probably trade a few ounces of weight for a few more ounces of steamy water power.

A few reviewers commented on the unbalanced, tip-prone style of the steamer. When plugged in and in full steam mode, if this steamer is set down to stand alone, it can be pulled by the power cord, spewing scorching steam in its flailing path.

How Does It Compare In Value?

The price tag on the Vapamore MR-75 is on the mid-high range. It’s a consistently hot and steamy machine and seems to be more than capable of overachieving at its core job of producing strong streams of germ-killing, dirt-chewing steam.

While it does bring a lot of attachments and some serious style to the table, these variables don’t set the MR-75 Amico far enough apart from its competitors to really drive it up the value scale on these add-ons alone.

The warranty packs a powerful value-based punch and, for the price point, sets this steamer apart from the rest.

Factoring in the steaming and cleaning performance, the added accessories, and the upgraded warranty of the Vapamore MR-75 Amico handheld steam cleaner, it’s safe to put this one at the higher end of the value spectrum.

How Has It Improved?

It may come as no surprise that Vapamore upped its accessory count from the previous model. Instead of a mere 5 or 6 attachments, they’re coming in at around a dozen with the MR-75.

The body style also got a facelift, and the overall weight of the unit was reduced by almost a full 16 ounces.

The power cord is still at 10 feet, though.

Best for Accessories: PurSteam Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner

Floor Critics Rating (4.3):

  • Weight: 5.25 lbs.
  • Water Tank Capacity: 8 oz.
  • The High Points: Price, Lightweight
  • The Low Points: Poor instruction manual, Short cord
PurSteam Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner
PurSteam Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner

The PurSteam Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner comes in at a reasonable price and performs quite a few of the same duties that larger, pricier steamers do. With a moderately sized water tank capacity of about eight ounces, this lightweight steamer will produce enough steam to effectively clean for about 10–15 minutes.

While it might not be set up for the toughest, deepest cleaning conditions, the PurSteam can hold its own when it comes to general household cleanups.

What Reviewers Say About It

Users report satisfaction with the PurSteam Handheld Steam Cleaner’s ability to get grout back to good again and steam the grime out of the tracks of sliding patio doors. The pressurized steam is easily directed toward the intended target.

Owners have gotten creative with their PurSteam steam cleaners, attacking bad window tint and stubborn, dated wallpaper. According to reviews, this handheld steamer is a powerful weapon to have when waging the tedious war removing a variety of glues and adhesives.

The instruction manual gets some pretty bad feedback. Multiple PurSteam owners have commented on how difficult the guide was to understand. Basically, based on what some users report, PurSteam Handheld owners are kind of on their own to learn the ins and outs of their little steamer buddy.

What’s Good?

There are approximately nine accessories and attachments that come with the PurSteam Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner. The variety provides plenty of tool choices to tap into when firing up the steamer for greasy, ground-in dirt removals.

The PurSteam Handheld steamer has a safety lock that can be used if the steamer needs to be set down briefly.

The price is right on the PurSteam. It’s an affordable little household steamer that can fit into almost any budget.

What Could Be Better?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: power cords need to be longer. Always.

When in doubt, draw it out (the cord length, that is). The PurSteam Handheld Steam Cleaner’s power cord is less than 10’ long; this cleaner’s cord could be doubled and, at that point, would start to be close to the minimum desired length of a household cleaning appliance.

A more clear and concise instruction manual would also be an improvement, and some type of wall mount bracket would be handy for easy steamer storing when the cleaning fun is done. Also, with all the accessories that come along with the steamer, it’d be nice to have some type of on-board tool storage incorporated.

Best Lightweight: Dirt Devil Steam Cleaner

Floor Critics Rating (4.0):

  • Weight: 2.6 lbs.
  • Water Tank Capacity: 8 oz.
  • The High Points: Price, Extremely lightweight
  • The Low Points: Power cord length, Quality/durability issues
Dirt Devil Steam Cleaner
Dirt Devil Steam Cleaner

The Dirt Devil Easy Steam Handheld Steam Cleaner is a value-priced cleaning system that is lightweight and easy to maneuver using the handy carrying handle.

Water turns into steam quickly with the Dirt Devil Easy Steam, and the tank’s eight ounce capacity allows for about 10–15 minutes worth of steam for cleaning. A jet tip extension assists in directing steam at intended targets and helps to more effectively eliminate stubborn stains and sticky residues like gum.

While the accessory spread is not as vast with the Easy Steam as with some other competitive models, the tools are functional and seem to hold up pretty well under pressure. The kit includes a steam pad and the well-reviewed squeegee attachment, among a few other useful tools.

What Reviewers Say About It

Users seem to enjoy having this little steamer on hand for quick stain removals and small but important bathroom maintenance work. Toilets, shower doors, faucets, and sinks become instantly sanitized and are the squeakiest of clean after an encounter with the Dirt Devil Easy Steam Handheld Steam Cleaner.

A couple reviewers warn against overfilling the water tank. This action can apparently make the steamer spittin’ angry, as these users report hot, steamy water being spewed out in protest. Moral of this story is, don’t try to cheat the tank capacity.

What’s Good?

The lightweight, portable design of this friendly, scum-fighting companion makes it easy to tote around the Dirt Devil Easy Steam Handheld Steam Cleaner to all corners of the house. Many users agree that, though it’s a small one, it’s a fierce one.

Ahh, first it was the Italian language translations, now Shakespeare. Who knew that steamers were part of so much culture?

The 2-½’ extension hose is a small diameter and able to flex and bend to fit into tough-to-reach spaces like microwaves and behind refrigerators.

What Could Be Better?

The power cord could be better. There, I said it right away. A 10’ power cord just doesn’t cut it when users are looking for convenience and portability.

There seem to be issues with the steamer nozzle ceasing to function due to mineral buildup. Users with this problem report the machine producing steam as normal, but when they push the button to let the steam out, nothing happens.

It’s always recommended that steamer users only use distilled water in their cleaners to help avoid this situation, but, in this case, it seems to happen regardless of the type of water being used.

Best Robot: Hoover Enhanced Clean WH20100 Portable Steam Cleaner

Floor Critics Rating (4.0):

  • Weight: 3.4 lbs.
  • Water Tank Capacity: 11.5 oz.
  • The High Points: Option to use steam only or with cleaner, Lightweight
  • The Low Points: Price, Cheaply-made accessories

The Hoover Twin Tank Handheld Steam Cleaner made it to the list because of its versatility in cleaning methods. You can use this steamer with just water. You can also add cleaning solution to the separate detergent tank.

The water tank capacity is sizable at 11.5 ounces and produces enough steam to work through about 20–30 minutes of steady cleaning.

The steam cleaner is lightweight and has a reasonably long power cord, so it can easily move throughout the room while pursuing its polishing and sanitizing duties.

What Reviewers Say About It

Users enjoy the mobility of the steamer and appreciate the variety of accessories that come with it.

A few reviewers noted that it can be tedious to operate the steamer with attachments while trying to simultaneously hold the steam button down to keep the vapors flowing. It does sound a little awkward.

There were multiple complaints about accessory durability and quality. Reviewers have reported that the brushes can become damaged easily. They also reported that a few tools have actually melted under the heat of the steam.

What’s Good?

The large water tank combined with the Hoover Twin Tank steamer’s lightweight construction make this steamer a handy tool to have waiting in the wings. Capable of eliminating stubborn stains or freshly soiled spots, you can easily bring in the Twin Tank to handle the job.

The secondary detergent tank gives users options when it comes to their cleaning tactics. Some dirty situations may just call for some suds, and the Hoover Twin Tank steamer allows for that flexibility.

The Hoover Twin Tank Handheld Steam Cleaner comes with a large surface tool. This tool is perfect for spanning hard floor surfaces, shower walls, and kitchen and bathroom countertops.

What Could Be Better?

You have to get into acrobat-like positions in order to operate some of the attachments. That should not be the case for simple day-to-day cleaning jobs.

The addition of a variable switch setting to allow for the steamer trigger to hold its own would go a long way among stretching steam machine operators.

The tool quality could definitely use some improvement. There’s no value to an assortment of tools that last for one or two uses, sometimes barely even completing the initial job.

Side by Side Comparison

ProductOur RatingWeightTank Capacity
Bissell PowerFresh Slim Steam Mop
Bissell PowerFresh Slim Steam Mop
View on Bissell –>
View on Amazon –>
Best Overall

Overall: 4.8
6.4 lbs.12 oz.
Bissell Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner
Bissell Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner
View on Amazon –>
View on Walmart –>
Best Budget

Overall: 4.6
3 lbs.6.6 oz.
Vapamore MR-75 Amico Handheld Steamer
Vapamore MR-75 Amico Handheld Steamer
View on Amazon –>
View on Walmart –>
Best Multipurpose

Overall: 4.3
3.5 lbs.6.7 oz.
PurSteam Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner
PurSteam Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner
View on Amazon –>
View on Wish –>
Best for Accessories

Overall: 4.3
5.25 lbs.8 oz.
Dirt Devil Steam Cleaner
Dirt Devil Steam Cleaner
View on Amazon –>
View on Dirt Devil –>
Best Lightweight

Overall: 4.0
2.6 lbs.8 oz.
Hoover Steam Cleaner
Hoover Steam Cleaner
View on Walmart –>
View on eVacuumStore –>
Best Germ Fighter

Overall: 4.0
3.4 lbs.11.5 oz.

Back to Top

The Complete Handheld Steam Cleaner Buyer’s Guide

When attempting to get your hands on the best handheld steam cleaner, there are a number of factors you need to keep in mind to assist you with your search. To save you the trouble of reading through countless handheld steam cleaner reviews, I’ve put together this short guide to help you along in your journey. I’m here to help you with understanding:

What Handheld Steam Cleaners Are

Steam cleaners are green cleaners that have been around for some time now—with their roots being traced back to 1960s Italy. It’s thought that Italian boiler manufacturers were experimenting with steam vapor in a quest for alternative cleaning methods. It took surprisingly long for the rest of the world to embrace steam cleaning, but now it’s clear that the method, and its accompanying products, is here to stay.

Steam cleaning has an assortment of benefits. From acting as chemical-free, environmentally friendly cleaners to improving the allergy-prone overall level of health, it’s no surprise that steam cleaning is now an internationally accepted cleaning method. It’s also no surprise that, as the world caught on, the steam cleaner has been streamlined and the results —all six featured in this article—speak for themselves.

Handheld steam cleaners are cleaning and sanitizing devices that—you guessed it—are operated by hand and used in hand. These versatile home cleaning devices heat water to astounding temperatures and expel the resulting steam through a small nozzle.

The uses of handheld steamers range. Just like regular-sized steam cleaners, they’re capable of getting rid of nasty things like bed bugs, lice, germs, viruses, mold, and bacteria, and they sure can bust dust mites. But they can also easily remove substances that are normally difficult to remove, like soap scum, headstrong strains, and chewed up bubblegum. In addition, they can be used for an assortment of household chores including grime and grease removal in the kitchen, sanitization in the bathroom, and spot cleaning upholstery, furniture, patio furniture, grills, and outdoor accessories like umbrellas and even more.

Where To Purchase Handheld Steam Cleaners

After reading about all of the exciting products in this article, I bet you can’t wait to get your hands on one for yourself. The good news is that you can do so without even leaving the comfort of your home. That’s right: ALL of the models I shared with you today can be purchased online through Amazon as well as a handful of other ecommerce sites.

This means that delivery is taken care of, too, which is one less thing for you to worry about. Simply pick the product you like best, click on that “add to cart” button, and let the Internet do the rest. See what I mean when I say everything about handheld steam cleaners is convenient?

What About The Warranty?

No matter which brand is being discussed or how attractive the price tag may be, the warranty information of the product in question should always be at the front of your mind. The industry standard warranty is two years, which is the great in-between of “that’s barely a warranty!” and “this thing is gonna last forever!”

The Hoover Twin Tank Handheld Steam Cleaner and Bissell PowerFresh Slim Steam Mop are covered by a respectable two-year limited warranty. The Dirt Devil Steam Cleaner Easy Steam Corded Handheld Steam Cleaner and the Bissell Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner are only backed by a measly one- year limited warranty.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, those who purchase the Vapamore MR-75 Amico Handheld Steamer will enjoy the confidence that comes with a lifetime warranty. After a fair amount of digging, no information on PurSteam’s Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner could be found, which speaks volumes.

The Pros and Cons Of Handheld Steam Cleaners

There are a great many benefits that come hand-in-hand with handheld steam cleaners. But as is the case with all products—dare I even say all things in life?—handheld steam cleaners aren’t without their cons. This section will be looking at both.


  • A chemical-free cleaner and sanitizer
  • Extremely versatile and can be used for an assortment of tasks
  • Can be used on an assortment of surfaces
  • Ergonomic handheld design makes for comfortable cleaning
  • Easy to use, clean, store, transport, and maintain
  • Reach hard-to-reach places
  • Remove hard-to-remove stains
  • Leave behind no residue or odor
  • An environmentally friendly choice


  • Water tanks are pretty small
  • Don’t tackle floors as well as steam mops do
  • Not ideal for use on all surface types
  • Generally aren’t as powerful as regular-sized steam cleaners

Caring For Handheld Steam Cleaners

If you’re almost convinced that a handheld steam cleaner is the way to go, allow this next section to gently nudge you over the edge. You’re about to discover just how easy it is to care for and maintain such a device. While the specifics will differ from brand to brand and model to model, whether you buy the fanciest and best portable steam cleaner available or opt for a cheap and cheerful entry-level model, you’ll enjoy the short list of maintenance requirements.

Naturally, ensure that the steamer’s cloth cover is clean before you begin steaming, and be sure to clean the cover at the end of every steaming session too. Always be sure to unplug the steamer before changing any attachments or refilling the tank. If you have hard water, I highly recommend using distilled water in your handheld steamer’s tank. Empty the water tank and wash any tools, attachments, or cloths (these you can just chuck in the washing machine, sans fabric softener of course!) after every use.

Every now and again you can give the exterior of the cleaner a wipe down to get rid of any dust or dislodge any dirt that has settled. You also need to remember that scale buildup is completely normal when dealing with water and that you’ll need to descale the unit (either with a store-bought descaler or a homemade baking soda and water mix) every couple of months or when you notice the machine’s performance slipping. That’s just about it!

What To Expect When Spending More

You can find little upgrades in the residential handheld steamer market. These include digital control panels and variable steam setting options.

You will get those when you reach the higher end of the price spectrum. In addition, you will get better warranties and more durable construction.

It comes as no surprise that attachment and accessory durability and quality seem to improve as a steamer’s price goes up. Any manufacturer can throw a lot of little accessories into a package. However, if they don’t last more than a couple cleaning sessions, the value of said package drops drastically.

Paying more does not seem to go hand-in-hand with having a better overall product, necessarily. Some higher-priced steamers may offer some added features or a specific functionality.

Many of the more budget-friendly models seem to be able to deliver satisfactory results. Power cord lengths, accessory packs, and water tank sizes vary among price points.

Back to Top

How We Ranked The Best Handheld Steam Cleaners

When it comes to honing in on the best handheld steam cleaners, some key variables come into play. Most users are looking for an easy-to-use, portable machine. They want something that can pack a powerful punch when it comes to wiping out tough messes.

The water tank capacity size, our source of sanitizing steam, is a slippery slope in the handheld steam machine world. Water holds some weight.

While larger tanks mean longer steam sessions, they also mean heavier cleaners. We’ve tried to find products that strike a good balance within this important variable.

Attachments and accessories are a big deal in the handheld steamer market. Consumers love accessories, and manufacturers strive to cover all of the bases when it comes to their steamer’s versatile cleaning capabilities.

There are extension wands, squeegee attachments, mop heads, a vast array of brushes, and oh-so-many more attachments that are additions to these handheld steamers’ toolboxes.

Appliance lifespans can vary wildly, as we all know, with early demises ranging anywhere from faulty parts and poor design to user mishandling and lack of maintenance. Warranty timelines and inclusions can certainly become important when grappling with product performance issues.

So, to help in determining overall value and ranking of these steamers, I have incorporated manufacturer warranties into the equation.

  • Ease of Use
    • Weight and maneuverability
    • Power cord length
    • Water tank capacity
  • Value
    • Features and benefits
      • Accessories and attachments included
      • Warranty (length and inclusions/exclusions)
      • Cleaning performance and versatility
    • Price
    • Quality of construction and materials
  • Cleaning Method
    • Steam vs. traditional cleaner and water


Do Handheld Steam Cleaners Really Work?

Yes, handheld steam cleaners really do work and they work WELL. They can remove up to 99.99% of bacteria without breaking a sweat—well, you know what I mean! The handheld aspect of these nifty little devices ensures that typically hard-to-reach places such as the grout between tiles, shower door tracks, metal wire pet cages, and the like is child’s play.

Battling to properly clean cracks and crevices becomes a thing of the past when handheld steam cleaners like the Pursteam Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner and the other models I introduced you to today get involved. They’re adept and effective cleaners that are lightweight, portable, and oh-so-powerful.

What Can You Not Clean With A Steam Cleaner?

Handheld or not, there are certain surfaces that should not be cleaned with steam cleaners, including any surface or object that can’t withstand heat exposure, large carpeted areas, “delicates” such as silk, and porous surfaces.

It’s also recommended to avoid using your steam cleaner on waxed, polished, or unsealed surfaces as well as on those that have recently been given a fresh coat of paint.

While pretty much anything will benefit from a good steam-sanitizing session, and your health and home alike will thank you for ditching the chemicals, anything that can’t handle the heat should stay away from the handheld steam cleaner.

Does Steam Cleaning Kill Black Mold?

Yes, steam cleaning kills black mold. As difficult as it may be to believe, steam cleaners are actually MORE effective at getting rid of black mold than bleach and other harsh cleaners. While bleach, funnily enough, bleaches black mold and makes it more difficult to spot on the grout and caulk that mold likes to hang out in, steam cleaning actually gets rid of it. More importantly, it deters it from coming back again.

The tremendously high temperatures produced by steam cleaners, coupled with the bristles of brush attachments, are a black mold-busting combination.
As the temps kill the mold, the bristles remove its spores from cracks, crevices, and other places that are tough to reach in other ways.

Do Steam Cleaners Cause Mold?

Yes, steam cleaners can cause mold. However, this is only when they’re used on surfaces they’re not meant for. This applies to porous surfaces such as stucco, brick, marble, and gypsum board that will absorb and essentially trap the moisture of the steam.

The same logic as explained above can be applied to rule out any paper-based products that will break down when wet as well as objects coated with water-based paints.

Final Thoughts

Handheld steam cleaners are a dream to work with. Hard-to-remove substances including wax, glue, and already-chewed chewing gum become easy to remove with the right tool in hand, while their ultra-convenient compact size means that those hard-to-reach places aren’t so hard to reach anymore.

Portable and easy to use, it’s no wonder these small devices are experiencing big popularity. They’re adept at cleaning and boast a handheld design that is ergonomic and makes for easy storage. Not only do handheld steam cleaners put penetrative power in your hands, but they’re also suitable for usage on pretty much all floor types, from tile to carpet and all floors in between.

What’s next? Simply take your pick from any of the models I introduced you to today and keep the buying tips I sent your way at the front of mind, and soon the best handheld steamer for cleaning will be in your hands. Cleaning and sanitizing is about to get a whole lot more convenient!

If you have any comments or your own firsthand experiences with handheld steam cleaners, please post them below or share your pictures via our social media. Who knows, one of our other readers may just need to read what it is you have to say!

About Maria Hernandez

Senior Floor Critic, 25 years of experience in residential and commercial cleaning

Maria Hernandez has 25 years of experience in residential and commercial janitorial and cleaning services. From hardwood to carpet to marble floors, Maria has developed a deep expertise in cleaning and maintaining many different flooring types. Visit Website.

Back to Top

4 thoughts on “The 6 Best Handheld Steam Cleaners – 2022 Buying Guide”

  1. The handheld steam cleaners listed can all do a great job, depending on the area they are being used to. Each of them has different features that could be an advantage depending on your needs. Read manuals and reviews, ask questions to the agents, and compare which one meets your needs.

  2. NIce article but you failed to mention anything about what temperature of steam these devices produce or the amount of steam pressure they put out. These facts would be good to know when making a decision.

    1. The temperature water converts to steam is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. So any steam machine ect. Is at least a minimum of 212 f.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *