Best Handheld Steam Cleaner

A handheld steam cleaner removes dirt and sanitises all kinds of surfaces by delivering a concentrated jet of steam through a small nozzle. These little machines are great for carrying out small cleaning jobs. Because they are so compact, handheld steam cleaners tend to be easy to store and light to carry. They are also really handy for getting into tight, nooks and crannies.

Best Handheld Steam Cleaner

Handheld Steam Cleaners are best for use in small areas. They are not designed to be used for long periods of time and the water tanks will need to be refilled after a few minutes of use. If you need to handle really heavy-duty grime over large areas, you are better off investing in a full-size steam cleaner.

I’ve tested some of the best handheld steam cleaners in a number of areas in my home to see which gadgets deliver the best cleaning performance.

Bissell 2635e Steam Shot

Bissell 2635e Steam ShotBissell’s mid-price range Steam Shot is a mains-powered, portable steam cleaner which is great for all kinds of small cleaning tasks around the home. The Steam Shot has an extra long power cable giving you more flexibility than many other models. It also comes with an extensive range of attachment brushes and nozzles which enable you to steam clean virtually anywhere!

With a capacity of 360 ml, the Bissell water chamber is a generous size. This will give you about five minutes of continuous steam. It is worth noting that you have to let the machine cool down before refilling it. With 1050 watts, this mini-steamer gives you a good amount of power and a nicely pressurised jet of high-temperature steam.

I liked the range of accessories which came with this model. I used the grout brush tool which did a great job between my kitchen tiles. I also found the extension hose very useful for giving extra reach and more flexibility in where you can work. The Bissell also comes with a fabric steaming attachment which is ideal for curtains or even clothing, a squeegee for window cleaning, a scraper and a brush for general use.

Weighing in at just over 3lbs, this little machine is light to carry and the ergonomic design makes it easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces. The unit feels sturdy and it’s easy to empty and refill the water tank.

The Bissell Mini Steamer did a great job of blasting off a small patch of mould from a bathroom window sill and it easily cleared grime around the taps and plug-holes. Bissell guarantees that the Steam Shot will eliminate 99.9% of bacteria and germs from surfaces without the need for any chemicals or detergents. This makes it ideal for homes where there are children, people who suffer from allergies or have compromised immune systems.

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Vax S4 Grime Master Handheld Steamer

The wonderfully named ‘Grime Master’ is a compact and lightweight portable steam cleaner suitable for general household use. This economically priced unit is mains powered and will give you up to 10 minutes of continuous steaming. At 1200 watts, the Grime Master is a powerful little tool and can handle quite heavy-duty dirt.

I used the Grime Master to clean around my cooker hob and it did a pretty decent job of blasting through grease and dried on food although I did have to go over certain grimy patches multiple times. It also worked well on my oven grill pan. One thing to be aware of is that because the steam jet comes out at quite a high speed, small particles of dirt can bounce back towards you, particularly if you are steaming into a corner.

The Grime Master easily succeeded in clearing a patch of mould on the window of my garden shed that had been festering there for quite some time. I was also pleased with how well it removed creases from recently washed curtains. I just re-hung them and then blasted them with the Grime Master for a few seconds. So easy!

Unlike some competitor products, the Vax mini steamer has variable settings which allow you to clean some more delicate surfaces such as fabrics and plastics which ordinarily might not be suitable for steam cleaning.

All in all, the Grime Master is an impressive gadget. My only complaint is the short power cable. At less than 10 feet, it is quite restrictive and you’ll either have to use an extension lead or change power sockets repeatedly.

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MLMLANT Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner

MLMLANT Handheld Pressurized Steam CleanerMLMLANT is a brand I haven’t encountered before, so to be honest, my expectations weren’t very high when this unit arrived.

With 1050 watts of power and a 250 ml water tank, the MLMLANT is fairly average in capacity but it feels quite powerful when it is in use. At 3.5 lbs it’s reasonably light and easy to move around.

A word of warning, you will need to exercise some common sense in safety when it comes to this gadget. The instruction manual appears to have been automatically translated from Chinese and doesn’t make a huge amount of sense. Thankfully, the machine is fairly user-friendly so it’s not too complicated to figure out how it works.

The steamer comes with a set of 11 accessories and attachments to tackle all kinds of tasks around the home. These include a fabric steamer, a window attachment, a bent spray cup for cleaning under the rim of your loo as well as a long spray nozzle.

You can use the steamer on fabrics and upholstery as well as for cleaning hard surfaces.

This little machine easily handled bathroom tile grouting, around the base of the toilet pedestal and did a nice job on the silicon sealing on the bathtub which was looking a bit grubby. The until will work for up to 20 minutes on one water tank. To refill the chamber, you need to let the unit cool down completely first.

MLMLANT Handheld Pressurized Steam CleanerThe water cylinder can be a little tricky to open and I wonder if it might become damaged over time. Another complaint I have is that the power cable was quite short. I also have concerns about the durability of the unit in general. While it worked fine for me, I did notice that the plastic around the steaming nozzle seemed pretty flimsy. I had the feeling that the MMLANT might not work as well in a year’s time as it does now.

The MLMLANT pressurised handheld steam cleaner is available on Amazon with free UK delivery. It is also available in 2 larger models with extended water tank capacity.

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VonHaus Handheld Steam Cleaner

VonHaus Handheld Steam Cleaner

VonHaus has come to be recognised as one of the leading manufacturers of small household appliances, providing high-quality products at low cost. The economically priced VonHaus portable steamer is a very popular gadget with great customer reviews.

The specifications for this machine are fairly standard: 1050 watts of power, a 250 ml water chamber and a 10-foot long power cable. VonHaus also supplies a variety of accessories including a flexible extension hose, a window cleaning attachment, precision nozzle and mini-mop attachment.

VonHaus Handheld Steam CleanerThe steamer will deliver up to 8 minutes of continued high pressured steam, long enough to handle the majority of small clean up jobs around the home. I tested this portable steamer in my kitchen and utility room. The machine worked well on my kitchen skirting boards, removing grime and debris from the corner where the kitchen bin normally resides. I also used it around the washing machine where it easily removed a build-up of washing detergent from the dispenser drawer.

Although I was pleased with its performance, I didn’t feel that the steam coming from the VonHause steamer was as hot as either the Bissell or the Vax unit.

VonHaus Handheld Steam CleanerMy main criticism about this unit is that you need to exert quite a bit of pressure on the trigger to keep the steam flowing and it soon becomes quite uncomfortable. Even after just a few minutes use, I did find my hand cramping up. Certainly, the manufacturers could improve the comfort level of the product.

I also noticed that quite a few online reviews complain about difficulty in opening the top on the water canister after a few uses so this might be something to be wary of.

The VonHaus Handheld Steam Cleaner is available on Amazon with free shipping

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The Verdict

Of the four steam cleaners that I tested, the Bissell was my favourite. This was also the most expensive and in this case, it seems like the extra investment is worth it. It was the lightest of the steamers which added to the comfort of use, and the extra long power cable did also make a big difference.

The Vax Grime Master came a very close second for me. Again, this is a very efficient product with the security of a big name brand and the performance was almost faultless. It was also a little bit cheaper than the Bissell steamer at the time of reviewing but not quite as easy to use or manoeuvre as the Bissell.

A big selling point for me is the fact that Bissell guarantees that the steamer will eliminate 99.9% of germs and bacteria which is comforting for anyone with kids, allergies or medical conditions.

While I liked the MLMANT steamer, I really didn’t feel that it would stand the test of time and in the case of the VonHaus cleaner, the low cost didn’t compensate for the discomfort in using the product.

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Handheld Steam Cleaner Buyers’ Guide

With so many makes and models, it can be difficult to choose between different steamers. Here are a few things to look out for when picking the best handheld steam cleaner for your home:


Big brand names aren’t everything but certain recognised household brands are known for quality and durability and add a layer of confidence to your purchase. Established brands usually have good warranties and are easier to get in contact with if things go wrong.


A good steamer will deliver steam at a high enough temperature to kill germs, bacteria and viruses. The manufacturer of your steamer should be able to guarantee the performance of the unit. Look for information about this in the machine’s specifications.

Power Cables

Most handheld steam cleaners are mains powered so look at the length of the cable on the unit. If you have lots of power sockets in your home, then it will be relatively easy to change sockets as you move around the house. Otherwise, you’ll need to use an extension lead to give you sufficient flexibility.

Water Tank Capacity  

Water usage will vary from model to model but in general, the larger the water tank the less frequently you will need to top up the chamber. Bear in mind that most handheld steam cleaners need to fully cool down before you can remove or refill the water chamber so if you have a tiny tank, you’ll have to factor in plenty of breaks in your cleaning schedule.


Even the lightest household gadgets can start to feel heavy when you’ve been holding them for a while. Look at the weight of your unit as well as how it is operated. Do you need to hold down a trigger continuously to control the steam flow? If so, this could cause cramping after a short while. Also, examine the design of the unit. Will it be easy to manoeuvre into tight corners or spaces without the skill of a master contortionist?


Most handheld steamers come with a range of accessories for carrying out different household tasks. Think about where and how you will be using your steamer. If you want to clean hard to reach places like the back of a sink pedestal or behind your loo, you are going to need a flexible hose attachment. Hardwearing brush attachments are also very useful for scrubbing off heavy duty grime or cleaning tile grouting.

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Final Thoughts

Of course, everybody has different cleaning requirements and the best portable steam cleaner for me may not be the same one that is best for you. Weigh up the different aspects of each one and compare prices to see which is the best choice for your home.

I hope these reviews and the buyers’ guide help you to pick the best portable steam cleaner for your home.


Claire has been in the cleaning industry for over 15 years. She's worked numerous jobs including both domestic and industrial cleaning. Her most recent role has been head of product testing for a major cleaning supplier. Following the birth of her second child, Layla, Claire has set up Cleaning Mentor to help people become better at cleaning, saving time and money.

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