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Best Steam Cleaner

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Welcome to our handy guide to help you find the best steam cleaner and steam mops on the market today. 

Steam cleaners were once the domain of professional cleaners but now with the uptake in ‘do-it-yourself’ renovations, cheaper prices and more people doing home deep cleans themselves, we have seen more of the general public than ever invest in cleaning appliances including home steam cleaners or steam mops.

But do you need a steam cleaner? What options are there? And what are all the accessories for? Let Professional Cleaners UK explain all, as we look at the best steam cleaners of 2021. 

Best Steam Cleaners 2024 UK - The Results

Below are the overall steam cleaner winners - you can read more about them in our guide - or simply by following the links. 

Best Overall Steam Cleaners

Shark Smartronic Deluxe Steam Mop - more info here

Vax Steam Fresh Combi Classic - more info here

Bissell Vac and Steam 1977E Steam Mop - more info here

Best Cheap Steam Cleaners

Shark Pro Steam Mop - more info here

Vileda Steam Mop - more info here

Best Steam Cleaners For Families

Shark Klik‘n’Flip Steam Mop - more info here

Bissell PowerFresh SlimSteam Steam Mop - more info here

Best Professional Steam Cleaner

KARCHER FC5 Hard Floor Cleaner - more info here

Best Steam Cleaners for Small Households

H20 Steam Mop - more info here

Russell Hobbs RHSM1001 Steam Mop - more info here

At Professional Cleaners UK we test and review products awarding and selecting the very best based on a number of factors. We are independently owned and the views expressed are our own. We are a national professional cleaning company that may receive a small commission from the companies we review; this helps us keep our product review pages free of subscriptions for you. All costs are accurate at the time of writing.  

There truly is something for everyone when it comes to the availability of steam cleaners and steam mops to help with your deep cleaning, here are our current top picks:

1. Shark Smartronic Deluxe Steam Mop - £99.00

Shark’s Klip’n’Flip technology allows for hands-free switching of cleaning pads to apply, flip and remove the double-sided cleaning pads with minimum effort. That’s twice the cleaning area of a standard Steam Cleaner with just a flip – pretty impressive!

Including the swivel steering and lightweight feel of the S1000UK (explored further on) the S6003UK Smartronic also has a Steam Blast function to quickly tackle stuck-on and stubborn stains and mess with a concentrated blast of superheated steam direct from the nozzle.

Three steam settings cater for different flooring types (hardwood, marble, tile and stone), and it has a total steam time of 11 mins, with just 30 seconds to heat.

BEST STEAM CLEANERS SUMMARY: A great model from a top merchant in Shark, impressive results achieved on a quick heating period. It was a great model that could be used on a variety of surfaces, perfect for busy households with lots of steam cleaning needs. Highly recommended. 

For more information or to purchase this top model click here. 

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2. Bissell Vac and Steam 1977E Steam Mop - £99.00

Need a hoover and a Steam Cleaner but can’t justify the price tag or floor space for two appliances? This Bissell steam cleaner has you covered!

This dual-purpose vacuum cleaner and Steam Cleaner allows you to vacuum up spills and liquids and comes with both soft and scrubbing pads for different cleaning types.

The steam mop pads are all washable and reusable, and just like a traditional hoover, a separate tank collects the dry dust, dirt and debris for removal. It has a pivoting head for easy manoeuvrability and moves just like you’d expect a vacuum to. A good-sized water tank as well. Easy!

BEST STEAM CLEANERS SUMMARY: 2-4-1! A vacuum cleaner and a steam cleaner in one, and impressive at both of them. This was a great model that came out highly in all our tests, joint overall winner. 

For more information or to purchase this brilliant upright steam cleaner click here.  

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3. Shark Pro Steam Mop - £49.00 

The Shark S1000 is the ideal steam cleaner for those with small hard floor areas that need cleaning, such as kitchens and hallways. 

At less than £50, it packs a punch for value with its claim to eliminate 99.9% of common household bacteria! The manual steam pump-action puts the user firmly in control and with a 5.5m power cable, there’s plenty of room to manoeuvre its swivel steering as required. The Dirt Grip cleaning pads are machine washable to save on money and time in having to source new ones. A great handheld steam cleaner. 

BEST STEAM CLEANERS SUMMARY: A great cleaner with an attractive price point. This is ideal for those who are looking for regular cleaning of smallish areas. Perfect for flat and smaller families. Recommended. 

For more information and to buy this Shark steam mop click here.

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4. Vax Steam Fresh Combi Classic - £59.99

Household favourite Vax offers up a multifunctional appliance with the Vax Combi Classic, a detachable handheld unit that can clean a whole range of surfaces.

A 2-in-1 handheld Steam Cleaner and mop, there are 10 accessories in the box upon purchase of the Vax Steam Fresh so every corner of your home can be steamed; including hobs, sinks, taps, windows and mirrors. The Combi Classic can be used with simple tap water or with an environmentally-friendly detergent for the most stubborn of dirty patches. It has a good water tank capacity. 

The Combi Classic heats up in just 15 secs and steam mops for 20 mins at a time without refill. A fab floor cleaner on all hard floors. 

BEST STEAM CLEANERS SUMMARY: This was a brilliant model and a two in one. More than your standard steam cleaner, the detachable handheld unit meant it could be used to steam clean anything you wanted, including sinks, showers, ovens etc. with variable steam options. The price tag was staggering for the results. Excellent value for money and best budget buy. 

For more information or to buy this model click here. 

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5. Vileda Steam Mop - £55.99

Nearly every floor can be mopped with the Vileda 146575 and with a whopping 28 mins steam time with just 15 secs to warm up, large surfaces are no match for this Steam Cleaner.

The cleaning pad included is a microfiber and this along with the superheated steam cleans away up to 99.9% of bacteria in a single wipe.

The Vileda weighs just over 2kg so is a super light steam mop, and it comes with a triangular-shaped head attachment for corners and a carpet glider attachment to take on carpeted floors, too. Also had a decent cord length. Plus we all remember the original Vileda super mops from the 80s yeah?

BEST STEAM CLEANERS AND STEAM MOP SUMMARY: Great results and a cheap price tag. Light-weight and easy to use, a really solid model and another best budget buy.

For more information and to buy this great model click here. 

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6. Shark Klik‘n’Flip Steam Mop - £79

 Another piece of Klik’n’Flip tech from Shark, the S6001UK boasts all of the features you’d expect from a Shark Steam Cleaner along with another eco- and purse-string-friendly one: washable, reusable cleaning pads!

The Dirt Grip pads used on the S6001UK are machine washable so you can chuck them in the next time you do a quick wash and have them ready for the next onslaught of muddy paw prints and damp socks across your kitchen floor.

BEST STEAM MOP UK SUMMARY: Another top model from Shark, this was great for busy households with a wide range of usage - it could be used from the kitchen to the bathroom and laminate floors. Good cord length and comes equipped with a microfibre mop pad. Highly recommended. 

For more information and to buy this model click here.  

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7. H20 Steam Mop - £79.99

The H20 X5 really takes the minimalist look to the next level – you can barely see it is there!

This slimline Steam Cleaner is both powerful and versatile with a swivel head and the ability to tackle even the most stubborn of dirt on tiles, linoleum, sealed hardwood and carpet.

The H20 X5 steam mop cleans at a sweltering 230F and can clean for up to 15 minutes solidly without a water refill. It comes with a lengthy 6m cable for plenty of flexibility and a whole host of attachments and cleaning cloths to fit all needs. Decent heat up time.

BEST STEAM MOP SUMMARY: A stylish and cheap model this steam mop was great for young professional and those with not a lot of storage. Brilliant results at a great price. 

For more information and to buy this model click here.

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8. KARCHER FC5 Hard Floor Cleaner – £199

KARCHER is who you bring in when you have a big job you need doing well – and the FC5 can certainly do just that.

The FC5 mops and vacuums in one simultaneous function for spotless cleaning, with surfaces dry to touch just 2 mins after. The in-built vacuum and liquid absorbent rollers make this one seriously efficient machine, and the internal twin tanks separate out clean and dirty water.

The FC5 looks big and chunky, but only weighs 5kg, so it's easy to manoeuvre and can navigate even the trickiest of messy areas. The rollers can be cleaned in the washing machine between uses and its unique design means it eliminates even the toughest grime spots and stains with little effort. A great water tank capacity. The best of all the cylinder steam cleaners for professional and heavy-duty usage. They also have a fab Easyfix steam cleaner for households. 

SUMMARY: Karcher is the king of professional cleaners and this model is great for professional cleaning as well as big domestic homes. A superb model and winner of best professional steam cleaner in our guide. Its floor cleaning was unmatched. 

For more information and to buy this top model click here. 

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9. Russell Hobbs RHSM1001 Steam Mop - £38.99

Russell Hobbs have corned the budget Steam Mop market with the RHSM1001, and at under £40, you really can’t go wrong.

A lightweight model weighing less than 3kg, it boasts a 20-sec warm-up time with 15 mins clean and a 0.38-litre water tank. Don’t be fooled by its low price tag – in tests, it still removes up to 99.9% of bacteria with a single swipe; even with no chemicals at all added to its steam. Decent heat-up time and cord length. A great budget steam mop and best value steam cleaner. 

SUMMARY: A fab cheap model and small enough to be tucked under the stairs or a sofa, comes with a large cleaning pad. This steam mop was great for those who need one-off of steam cleaning. 

For more information or to purchase this model click here.

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10. Bissell PowerFresh SlimSteam Steam Mop - £129.00

Another multi-purpose cleaner, the PowerFresh SlimSteam by Bissell boasts a 3-in-1 design that makes light work of several cleaning projects in one session.

The steam mop attachment tackles floors (ceramic, wood and linoleum), the extension wand can take on high windows, kitchen and bathroom tiles or other tough-to-reach spots, and the handheld steamer is great for grouting, cookers, sinks and even upholstery.

A variety of accessories and attachments are included with this upright steam mop so even the most unusual of steam cleaning jobs can be handled. Has a fab window cleaning fitting. 

SUMMARY: A great model with a range of attachments, we thought this steam mop was great for busy households and around the home (including window cleaning and floor cleaning), for those who have lots of uses and areas which needed cleaning. One of the best models in the guide and excellent for deep cleaning.

For more information and to buy this model, click here

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Frequently Asked Questions About Finding the Best Steam Cleaner

Here are the most popular questions we get asked about steam mops and cleaners: 

How does a Steam Cleaner Work?

Steam cleaners and steam mops generally work as they have a built-in water tank (different models have different water tank capacity options) that creates hot jets of (dry) steam that penetrate through the mop head to clean the surface below. This steam penetrates through layers of dirt, grime and grease and the mop ahead swipes them away. It is a simple but highly effective way to include. 

Steam cleaners are upright cleaning appliance that don’t look entirely unlike a standard upright vacuum.

Steam cleaners are primarily used to clean hard floors but some can be used to clean windows, bathroom tiles and even sofas, using various accessories and attachments. Some can also be used with a carpet glider to deep clean carpets. Types of steam cleaners vary so it is always worth making a list of what you want to use them for so you find something suitable for your needs. 

Why would I choose a Steam Cleaner over more mainstream cleaning products?

You would use a steam cleaner over cleaning products due to the brilliant results they achieve. 

Steam is just air vapour so cleaning using it negates the need for harsh chemicals in cleaning products. It’s therefore safe for children and pets, with no ‘cool-off period between cleaning and people using the floor or room again. This means they are perfect for busy homes. 

Steam cleaners are favoured by those with people in the household suffering from allergies and/or asthma, as the temperature of the steam alone kills bacteria, mould and other allergens.

The dirt is trapped in the mop pads (in microfibre cloth generally), and so can be immediately disposed of properly rather than just having been wiped around or transferred from one surface to another. This in turn leads to better air quality in the home. This cleaning power and ease of use is why steam cleaners are growing in popularity every year. 

Steam cleaners offer a streak-free finish for clean hard floors without the manual effort that’s usually required from scrubbing away with a sponge, wet mop or cleaning wipes. It’s quicker, easier and more hygienic… a win-win-win!

Powerful steam cleans are hygienic and easy to achieve. 

What kind of Steam Cleaner is best for ‘around the house’ usage?

The best steam cleaner for around the house use is Shark, Bissell and Vax - read more about them in the full guide. 

The market for steam cleaners is growing all the time, so there’s plenty of choices available for anyone looking to buy a steam cleaner.

However, exactly what you need from a steam cleaner will vary dependent on your individual cleaning requirements and the make-up of your home: so there’s no one-size-fits-all on what constitutes the "top steam cleaners:

Factors to consider when buying a steam mop or cleaner include: 

  • Power Cord Length - typical cord length sizes are; cord length 5m, cord length 6m, cord length 7m, power cord length 8m. Obviously, much of the cord length required depends on your home or the size of the area you want to clean. For most people a cord length of 5m is fine and people can swap between power supplies if necessary. The most common is a cord length 5m.

  • Water tank capacity - how big do you need the water tank capacity to be? Is it for use around the home or somewhere larger? The water tank capacity on our selected models (which are all cylinder steam cleaners) is good but a water tank is obviously much smaller on handheld steam cleaners. 

  • Heat up time - some models have a quick heat-up time, obviously, a good heat up time is great and saves on electricity. This is basically how long it takes the water to heat up, the bigger the water tank the longer this generally takes. We have looked at handheld steam cleaners and regular versions. 

  • Variable steam - this basically means variable steam control, so you can adjust the steam to various jobs. This can generate greater cleaning power as you can turn it up or down to generate more cleaning power and heat on the mop head. Some also have steam blast options for 20 seconds or 30 seconds (sometimes called steam concentrator), where you can generate greater power for shorter amounts of time to steam fresh a particular area. variable steam means you can have deeper cleans at certain points.  

  • Carpet glider - obviously a carpet glider makes it easier to use on carpets. You would normally find a carpet glider included with your accessories but can also purchase one afterwards if not. The benefits of a carpet glider are that your carpets will be nicely steamed without getting too wet which can cause dampness issues. 

  • Window squeegee - basically means you can clean windows, mirrors and walls easily. A window squeegee is normally in our standard included accessories (if not a similar squeegee tool will be available, this achieve amazing results in window cleaning as well as other delicate cleaning tasks). 

  • Model - do you want a standard model or a handheld steam cleaner? Handheld units are often easier to use but less powerful. In our guide, we have looked at standard versions but if you visit Currys, John Lewis or other leading electrical stores you will find the best handheld steam cleaner options around, at great prices and sometimes with great deals as well. Whether you prefer handheld units, a removable handheld cleaner, a multifunction steam mop or a standard cylinder model will again boil down to the daily use that you anticipate. 

  • Do you need variable steam options or something simple? As mentioned above there are options to inject more power, however, most prefer a steady release of steam especially on soft furnishings with a soft cleaning pad with round brushes and a curved nozzle or triangular brush for a deep clean.

  • If you need a handheld steam cleaner option? Some have a detachable handheld steam cleaner option which is useful, this is especially good if you are looking for light use or have storage issues. 

  • Do you prefer a cylinder steam cleaner - most of the models are a cylinder steam cleaner, basically tall and thin and can be used simply and stored in standard cleaning cupboards and under stairs. 

  • Easy to use - obviously this is handy, an easy-to-use model means you don't have to faff around figuring out how to use it or reading long-winded manuals and instructions. 

  • Do you want to use it for around the home use or professional use? Think about how you will use the cleaner, a simple cheap model under £100 is more than enough for most peoples cleaning needs.  

  • Does your home have hard water (tap water) and do you need an anti-limescale option? This is definitely worth thinking about so that the internal of the model is not damaged over time. The Shark klik n flip is a great option. 

  • Steaming time - how much steaming time do you have? Do you need something to heat up quickly?

  • Other tools - think about what accessories you may need; do you need a detail brush, scraper tool, steam concentrator, curved nozzle, a squeegee tool, extension hose, do you prefer double-sided cleaning pads, hand nozzle, triangular brush, grout brush, window squeegee, a small brush, round brush, nozzle round brush, a detail nozzle, small round brushes or something larger? There are so many options to consider, but having these small tools can really elevate the results. 

  • Your needs - what are your cleaning tasks? Do you need deep cleaning or something lighter? Are you cleaning soft furnishings? Do you have problems just like dust mites? Do you want a handheld version? Something to do window cleaning? There are so many options and most steam cleaners are affordable. 

  • Do you need extension tubes, a round brush, a nozzle round brush, a nylon brush, a small brush, window squeegee, a steam crevice tool or a detail nozzle for very delicate cleaning and thin glass? There are lots of steam cleaner accessories around. Automatic steam mop options are always worth looking at. 

  • Do you want a standard model or a handheld steam cleaner? A purpose steam cleaner that needs refilling? An affordable steam mop or something more pricey? Please remember that a budget steam cleaner can still be a good steam cleaner. 

As you can see there are many different types of effective and powerful steam cleaner options to consider for either around the home or professional cleaning. We test steam cleaners to give you an insight into the best around. 

We always recommend making a list of what you are looking for and cross-checking it with what your chosen model can do, this way you will be delighted with the one that you choose. 

What accessories do I need for a Steam Cleaner?

Many steam cleaners come with different accessories and attachments such as a scraper tool, so consider first what areas you need to steam clean before you buy. In essence most will come with the accessories that you need. 

From about the £100 mark upward you’ll find multi-functional devices with good water tank capacity, so investing a little more at this price point may save you money in other appliance purchases.

It is not completely unheard of for steam cleaners to include accessories and attachments that allow for carpet cleaning (visit our carpet cleaners page), upholstery cleaning, grout cleaning and even glass cleaning, or for them to have vacuum functionality built-in. If you only have a small hard floor area that you require steam cleaning for then accessories may not be appropriate, but should you require a range of cleaning jobs completed, or have more space to be cleaned, they may be a good value purchase.

There are lots of detergent additives available for steam cleaners (which we have tried and tested), both in supermarkets and through specialist cleaning retailers. However, before using any of these be sure to first consult with the manufacturer of your steam cleaner, as it may invalidate your warranty and/or guarantee to use a chemical product that is not recommended or preferred by the manufacturer.

Many manufacturers do produce their own additional detergents for their steam cleaners and of course, will recommend this over any other brand. Whichever you choose to use, it’s important to note that a well-operating steam cleaner should never require a detergent to be added – as it should have the functionality to properly heat the steam to a level that it will clean well enough without. That said, very stubborn or built-up areas of dust, dirt or grime may require a little extra help and so chemical intervention may be required. Regular usage of a steam cleaner with just water included should negate the need for other chemicals or detergent to be used later on and is obviously preferable for those with allergies and/asthma.

What are the benefits of a steam cleaner?

The benefits of a steam cleaner is that they are the new preferred floor cleaner (for cleaning floors of all types from hard floors to carpets) and there are many benefits whether you are using for heavy-duty or light floor cleans.

Namely, they can make light work of tricky wooden floors, rather than scrubbing and cleaning. They can get into hard to reach areas. A powerful steam cleaner can make your home feel clean and fresh at all times. 

Are cylinder steam cleaners the best?

Sometimes cylinder steam cleaners are the best but it really depends on what you are looking for.

Cylinder steam cleaners (type cylinder model always differ slightly) are very popular for a whole load of reasons including excellent results on a variety of floor types. However, the best steam cleaner for you will depend on what you are looking for and your individual needs and requirements, for example, are you using it on hard floors or laminate floors, how deep a clean is required etc. As well as this guide read our best steam.mop 2021 guide. 

How much is a decent Steam Cleaner?

A decent steam cleaner is normally around £100. 

Steam cleaners now come in so many different shapes, water tank capacity options, sizes and functions that it is impossible to rate them on price alone – because you get what you pay for, and you should only pay for what you need.

In general, budget steam cleaners cost between £40-£70, mid-range steam cleaners between £70-£120, and for anything more expensive you can expect a premium industrial cleaning service. We love the Klik n flip automatic steam model, the Kärcher sc3 Easyfix, sc5 Easyfix Premium and Polti Vaporetto

In order to get the most value from your steam cleaner, be sure to buy one with the features and functionality you need for your cleaning and keep an eye out for discount events or vouchers with the retailer you intend to purchase from.

What’s the best brand of Steam Cleaner?

The best brand of team cleaner include Bissel Vac, Karcher, Shark and Viddel.  

One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure and all that! There are several big-name brands with steam cleaners and steam mops available, but what matters is the function over the form – so make an educated purchase decision and pick a steam cleaner on its relevance to you and your home. 

If you have a preferred brand of cleaning products and/or appliances, of course, be sure to check out their range if they do one but don’t invest everything into one model over another just for its name.

We personally love the Bissell vac, it's a great multifunction steam mop. We also love the Vax Steam, Dupray Neat and Black Decker models. 

Will you be doing a steam cleaner 2024 guide?

Yes we will. This will include new models such as the Dupray Neat steam cleaner, Hoover steam capsule and more. 

The History and Benefits of a Steam Cleaner

Steam cleaning, also known as vapor steam cleaning, is a method of cleaning that utilizes the power of high-temperature steam to sanitize and remove dirt, stains, and grime from various surfaces. Steam cleaners have a rich history that dates back several centuries.

The concept of steam cleaning can be traced back to the ancient Greeks who recognized the cleansing power of steam. However, it was not until the 19th century that steam cleaning devices were developed and widely used. The first steam cleaning machine was patented in 1860 by a man named Edward A. Nash. This early steam cleaner utilized a combination of steam and brushes to clean carpets and upholstery.

Over time, steam cleaners evolved and became more sophisticated. In the early 20th century, advancements in technology led to the development of portable steam cleaners that were more efficient and easier to use. These machines were initially used in industrial and commercial settings for cleaning large areas such as factories and train stations.

In recent years, steam cleaners have become popular for residential use as well. They are now available in various sizes and configurations to suit different cleaning needs. Steam cleaners work by heating water to produce steam, which is then applied to surfaces through a nozzle or brush attachment. The high temperature of the steam helps to break down dirt and kill bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.

There are several benefits to using a steam cleaner:

  1. Chemical-free cleaning: One of the major advantages of steam cleaning is that it eliminates the need for harsh chemical cleaners. Steam alone can effectively sanitize and deodorize surfaces, making it a more environmentally friendly option.

  2. Versatility: Steam cleaners can be used on a wide range of surfaces, including floors, carpets, upholstery, curtains, tiles, and kitchen appliances. They can effectively remove dirt, grease, stains, and even stubborn grime from various materials.

  3. Allergen reduction: Steam cleaning is highly effective at killing dust mites, mold spores, and other allergens that can trigger respiratory issues. The high temperature of the steam helps to eliminate these allergens, providing a healthier living environment, particularly for individuals with allergies or asthma.

  4. Time and cost savings: Steam cleaning can be a time-efficient method of cleaning as it can tackle multiple tasks at once. It eliminates the need for separate cleaning products and can often complete a cleaning task more quickly than traditional methods.

  5. Deep cleaning and sanitization: The high temperature of the steam not only cleans surfaces but also sanitizes them by killing a wide range of germs and bacteria. This is especially beneficial in areas that require thorough hygiene, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

In summary, steam cleaners have a long history and have evolved to become a valuable cleaning tool in both commercial and residential settings. Their ability to provide chemical-free, versatile, and efficient cleaning, along with their deep cleaning and sanitizing capabilities, make them a popular choice for many households and businesses.

Summary of the Best Steam Cleaner Guide 2023

As you can see there is a whole range of options to consider when looking for a steam cleaner (sometimes known as a steam mop), our guide has looked at a whole range of options to suits different needs and budgets. 

We have looked at important factors such as cord length, size of the water tank, do you want a cylinder model or a handheld model, do you need a certain about of minutes to heat up, what included accessories would you like, do you need a variety of steam settings, microfibre cloth or microfibre pad options, looked at extension tubes, steam settings, a standard or detail nozzle and lots of other factors. There are lots of things to consider.

The power of steam cleaning and its ease has been noticed over the past few years and it has become part of many home cleaning kits. 

Whatever you are looking for, you will hopefully find something for all your needs. 

Enjoyed this guide? Please also check out our best washing machine guide, best tumble dryer, best washers dryers, best dishwashers, best fridge freezers, best air purifiers and best vacuum cleaners guide. 

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