12 Best Handheld Steam Cleaners in 2018
At some point or another, most of us have struggled to find ways to clean our homes without spending all day scrubbing with toxic cleaners or sneezing our way through dust clouds.
Let’s face it: while cleaning can be satisfying when it’s all said and done, it’s not that much fun while we’re doing it!
Enter the steam cleaner, a painless, allergy-free and eco-friendly way to clean fabrics and small nooks and crannies around your home.
Steam cleaners clear out allergens like dust mites and mold spores, as well as germs, bacteria, and even bed bugs: they can also get rid of tough-to-clean grime like soap scum and grease.
There are two types of the smaller, ultra-portable handheld steam cleaners: travel or clothes cleaners (typically 1-3 pounds), and small household steamers (3-7 pounds).
We’ve chosen the best options in each category to help you find best handheld steam cleaner for your needs.
Top 12 Handheld Steam Cleaners Table
What to Look for in a Steam Cleaner
You may think of small steam cleaners as something to use to get the wrinkles out of clothes, and the big ones as those things that professionals lug around to clean carpets, but steam cleaners are actually super useful for a broad range of household cleaning jobs.
A household steam cleaner need not be big and bulky; in fact, there are many on the market that are completely portable. When shopping for a steam cleaner, you’ll want to bear in mind what, realistically, you are going to be using it mostly for during the next few years.
Will your steam cleaner be mostly for business trips, or are you going to want to use it for heavy-duty household cleaning? How compact would you like it to be? What types of materials are you going to be cleaning? Do you want something for indoor or outdoor cleaning?
Use the tips below to help you choose the best handheld steam cleaner for your needs and preferences.
Power and Capacity
Handheld steam cleaners work wonders when it comes to cleaning smaller areas. They work by blasting high-pressure, very hot (at least 200 degrees F) steam. It is the combination of pressure and temperature that works to break the dirt off the surface.
They are generally safe and super user-friendly, too; all you need to do is fill them with water and wait for them to heat up, then press the nozzle to shoot the steam.
Here are a few things to look for as you shop for the best handheld steamer:
- Capacity – The bigger your steam cleaner is, the more water it holds and so the longer it will last before having to be refilled. On the flip side, the smaller it is, the quicker it will heat up. Small travel type models typically take about a minute to heat up, whereas the bigger ones will take a few minutes.
- Continuous Steam – This refers to how long you can use your steamer before you have to stop and refill it. Typically, continuous steam lasts 15-20 minutes for the regular household handheld type, and up to 8 minutes for the smaller fabric types.
- Power – Smaller travel steamers are around 600-800 W, and the larger ones are 1000-1200 W. A higher number means faster heat up and greater steam pressure, so the higher the wattage, the more fabrics you can possibly use it on.
It also means that water is used up faster. If you want an effective higher wattage machine, you will want to go for one with higher capacity.
All of these small steamers are very safe to use because they come with long nozzles to keep steam directed away from the user, plus an auto-lock that keeps tanks from overheating, but to keep your home and possessions in top condition, you should take note of some important safety tips.
- Extension Cords – Do not use extension cords with high power devices such as steam cleaners. Many come with extra-long cords for just this reason.
- Sealed Surfaces Only – Always test a small portion of your surface before using your steam cleaner. Do not use on delicate fabrics, freshly painted surfaces, or any wood finish that is not polyurethane. You’ll want to stay away from musical instruments and nylon screens.
Do not direct steam on thinner, unsealed materials like plywood or cardboard for long periods of time. Be sure not to use the steamer on materials that are extremely cold (e.g. a glass window in winter), or you risk breaking the object.
- Emptying and Filling – Always unplug your steamer and let it cool before refilling it or switching out attachments, and empty the steamer and wash the tools when you are finished cleaning. If you live in an area with hard tap water, use distilled water.
Top 5 Best Handheld Steam Cleaner Reviews
This little pressurized steam cleaner packs a big punch for its small size and will go a long way to keep your house clear of germs and smelling naturally clean without the use of harsh chemicals or deodorizers.
The extra-long extension cord (longer than other models of this type) makes it super useful for cleaning to multiple areas inside and outside of the house. Use it to clean shower doors, bathroom tiles, patio furniture, cars, windows, clothing, toys, small crevices and even kitchen appliances.
If you’re finding the need to minimize allergens like pet dander and hair, the brush attachment works much better than laundering to remove pet hair and dander out of furniture and clothes. If you have cats or dogs, this thing works wonders for pet litter boxes and hair, and you can even use them to clean wire cages.
This is a sweet little portable handheld clothes steamer with a larger capacity and a little more oomph than most of the other travel steamers: at 800 watts, it gets wrinkles out in one pass. Plus, the 3-year warranty makes it a worthwhile purchase.
We also loved the anti-slip handle and the fact that it comes with a cute little zipper pouch for traveling. It’s super easy to tuck into your suitcase, and it’s so light you’ll barely even notice it’s there. The NOSIVA could even make a great gift for the travelers on your list!
This is a great option if you travel often with heavier fabrics (like suits or jackets), and it works very quickly for smaller touch-ups on all kinds of fabrics. At only 1 pound it’s one of the lightest portable steamers on the market.
Wow, when they say “all-in-one,” they’re not kidding! This steamer is wonderful for cleaning and sanitizing all areas of your home, both inside and outdoors, cleaning both soft and hard surfaces evenly and quickly.
The 9-foot extension cord makes it ideal for those with a lot of space. It also comes with 9 extra nozzles including flexible options for getting into tight corners. If you are looking for a way to get into those hard-to-reach areas, this will take you there.
This is also a reat option for spring cleaning those outside areas that tend to get a little questionable through the winter. Maybe you need something to motivate you to clean your car more often, or you’re doing a little spring cleaning on your patio. You can even use it to clean barbeques!
The Aicok is a cute little lightweight steam cleaner that’s super simple to use and quite compact for travel. It could make the perfect gift for jet setters who require regular on-the-go maintenance.
This is a tiny piece of machinery that will pack easily in your luggage, freshening all types of fabrics in a matter of minutes. It comes with a brush attachment which is useful for pet hair and cleaning, or use it without to smooth out wrinkles on even heavy-duty type fabrics like leather, while still being very gentle on delicate fabrics like linen, wool, and silk.
The secret to its effectiveness? It features a 1000 W heating system, while most smaller steamers have around 600. We also love that it comes with a travel pouch and that you get to choose between two different colors.
The Gideon pressurized cleaner is one of best buys in its class. With a 3-Year Limited Warranty and range of attachments to choose from, including the bending attachment which is great for working your way into hard-to-reach corners in cars and bathrooms.
The squeegee is super for cleaning car windows and shower stalls, and the continuous steam bursts last for a good 20 minutes, which is long enough to get through quite a large area. Plus, the long power cord means that it’s versatile to use through multiple rooms without the hassle of plugging and unplugging.
This particular steamer can get to quite a high temperature; at 275 degrees, the Gideon will kill all germs and bacteria in its path; this is a trustworthy choice to keep your home sanitized and keep allergens to a minimum without using harsh chemicals or toxins.