The Best Handheld Steam Cleaners of 2023

The best handheld steam cleaner can remove stains, ground-in dirt, and grime.

By Shannon Lee | Updated Sep 21, 2022 12:59 PM

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The Best Handheld Steam Cleaner


For day-to-day cleaning, the basic tools of a vacuum, a mop, or a broom will work just fine. But when it’s time to deep clean, a handheld steam cleaner can get rid of those unsightly stains and stubborn dirt and grime. While a handheld steamer isn’t great for large jobs—you’d need a full-size steamer for that—it can work wonders on everything from upholstery to carpet, bathroom tiles to laminate floors, and even clothing and curtains.

Choosing the best handheld steam cleaner requires a look at the wide variety of options and narrowing those down to the one that suits your household needs, budget, and desire for convenience. The following list describes some of the best handheld steam cleaners available and will help in the search to find one that will fit right in with your deep cleaning routine.

  1. BEST OVERALL: BISSELL Powerfresh Slim Steam Mop, 2075A
  2. BEST VALUE: Comforday Multi-Purpose Handheld Pressurized Steam
  4. BEST FOR CARPET: PurSteam Steam Mop Cleaner 10-in-1 with Handheld Unit
  5. BEST FOR FURNITURE: LIGHT ‘N’ EASY Multi-Functional steam mop Steamer
The Best Handheld Steam Cleaners


What to Consider When Choosing the Best Handheld Steam Cleaner

The best handheld steam cleaner will be one that suits your budget, household needs, arm strength, and even your patience. Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind while you’re shopping.

Intended Use

Handheld steam cleaners are small enough to be portable, even when the tank is loaded with water. Even the largest units run for only 20 minutes or so, which means they work well for short periods of time, making them best suited for taking on emergency spills, small stains, pet accidents, and other smaller, light-duty jobs.

Their potential use might be clearly stated, such as a steamer specifically for garments, which is not the same kind of steamer that would be used on a carpet. Look at the uses for a steamer around the house and where you really need that power to determine which handheld steam cleaner is right for you.

Wired vs. Wireless

Wired steamers provide the opportunity to use them for as long as the water tank will hold out. That consistent power might allow for better performance as well as a better output of steam. However, the cord does limit the machine’s reach, which can negate the advantages of a handheld steamer.

Wireless or non-corded steamers work with a rechargeable battery. The battery must be recharged on a regular basis, but it will often last long enough to handle simple cleaning jobs. Keep in mind that a battery makes the unit heavier, which might not work well for those with limited arm strength.

Size and Weight

When it comes to handheld steam cleaners, keep in mind that key word: handheld. That means the user will be lifting and holding the steamer while it does the work of cleaning whatever is in its path. If the reservoir is large, the added water can make a handheld cleaner more difficult to use. Holding up the steam cleaner can become difficult after a few minutes, so look for one that has an ergonomic handle and easy to reach buttons or switches.

The accessories that come with a steamer are also important to consider. Look for those that are big enough to reach into the areas you need yet small enough to store compactly with the handheld steamer when it’s not in use.


Just as some vacuums have greater suction, so do some handheld steamers have greater pressure. The higher pressure can lead to better cleaning, but it could also lead to damage if a user is not careful. To be sure of how much power you should use when deep cleaning through the house, do a small test of the material in a place it won’t be seen; for instance, when testing a sofa, test a patch on the back of the furniture. Use different power settings until you find the one that cleans but doesn’t leave damage.

Steam Settings

Some steamers have one setting, and that’s it. The only way to change the temperature is by holding the steamer closer or farther away from the object in need of cleaning. Some models have different modes. In most cases, this means three: low, medium, and high. The steam doesn’t necessarily get any hotter, but the pressure at which it exits the holes on the steamer is greater.

A lower pressure setting will be about 15 grams per minute, while a higher one is 30 grams per minute. The higher pressure is usually what is available on a handheld steam cleaner with a single pressure option. Use with caution until you know how a particular surface can handle the steam.

Tank Capacity

It’s important for the user’s hand to be comfortable throughout the time they’re using the steamer, so look for ergonomic handles with padding and easy to reach controls that allow the user to make changes without strain on the fingers. Keep in mind the weight of the handheld steamer as well; the higher capacity of the tank, the more water or solution it takes, and thus the heavier it’s going to be during use. If it will be used to clean floors often, consider a handheld model with longer attachments or a detachable wand to help alleviate back strain.


It’s important for the user’s hand to be comfortable throughout the time they’re using the steamer, so look for ergonomic handles with padding and easy to reach controls that allow the user to make changes without strain on the fingers. Keep in mind the weight of the handheld steamer as well; the higher capacity of the tank, the more water or solution it takes, and thus the heavier it’s going to be during use. If it will be used to clean floors often, consider a handheld model with longer attachments or a detachable wand to help alleviate back strain.

Additional Features

Steam cleaners often come with a wide variety of attachments as a standard part of the purchase. Look for a cleaner with a few brushes, a window squeegee, angled and bendable nozzles for cleaning in deeper or hard-to-reach areas, carpet or mop steaming heads, and a longer attachment for reaching places like the top of ceiling fan blades. If those aren’t enough, look for optional attachments that clean particular things, such as detailing nozzles for cleaning the upholstery in a vehicle or stiff brushes for cleaning grout or kitchen grills.

Our Top Picks

When looking for the best handheld steam cleaner, look for one that feels good in the hand, provides adequate steam, and offers a variety of attachments, among other attributes. Here are some of the best options on the market.

Best Overall

The Best Handheld Steam Cleaner Option: BISSELL PowerFresh Slim Steam Mop, 2075A

This cleaner from Bissell offers the versatility of a handheld steamer that attaches to a long steam mop. The mop allows for easy cleaning of hardwood, laminate, tile, or other hard floor surfaces, while simply detaching the top unit turns it into a handheld steamer that works well on furniture, curtains, and more.

A 25-foot cord helps ensure easy use around the house. The on-board cleaning kit includes a flat scraper, a bristle scrub brush, a grout tool, and an angle tool, and turns the extension tube into a variety of cleaning mechanisms, helping reach up to ceiling fans, molding, and windows. Bonus tools, including a garment steamer, help make this unit a complete in-home cleaning system.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Surfaces: Hard floors, upholstery, clothing, tile grout, curtains
  • Attachments: 9 pieces


  • Converts from handheld to stick
  • Multiple cleaning head attachments
  • Can clean most materials and surfaces


  • Pricey
  • Heavier than other models

Best Value

The Best Handheld Steam Cleaner Option: Comforday Multi-Purpose Handheld Pressurized Steam

With a nine-piece accessory kit and an affordable price, this handheld steam cleaner from Comforday works for everything from cleaning windows to removing stains. A funnel and a measuring cup help ensure easy delivery of the proper amount of water into the unit. This heavy-duty cleaner creates pressurized steam of up to 270 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 20 minutes. That’s pretty hot, but a safety lock and cap help to prevent scalds, burns, and other accidents.

High-powered cleaning with a variety of accessories, including a jet nozzle, a clothing steamer, a 9.8-inch extension hose, and more makes this a good all-around cleaner for tough jobs. For longer jobs, use the locking function on the trigger to reduce hand fatigue.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 3.28 pounds
  • Surfaces: Hard floors, upholstery, carpet, windows
  • Attachments: 9 pieces


  • Affordable
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Easy to use


  • Must hold button down to operate
  • Steam is not continuous—must wait every minute or so

Best for Clothes

The Best Handheld Steam Cleaner Option: PERFECTDAY Garment Steamer, Portable Handheld Steamer

At just 1 pound, this small travel steamer is ideal for packing in a suitcase while on the move. The 18 grams per minute steam flow is just right for pulling wrinkles out of fabric, while the eight steam vent holes provide ample heat for the 10 minutes of continuous runtime. Use up to 100 milliliters of water in the large tank, and don’t worry about overheating, as this unit will shut off when it gets too hot or the water runs out.

A two-layer leak-proof design helps ensure only steam touches the clothes, not unsightly water spots. The included fur brush helps remove debris, pet hair, and other contaminants from clothes for a better steaming experience.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Surfaces: Clothing and household fabric
  • Attachments: None


  • Great for travel
  • Compact unit
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Budget-friendly


  • Only suited for clothing
  • No additional attachments

Best for Carpet

The Best Handheld Steam Cleaner Option: PurSteam Steam Mop Cleaner 10-in-1 with Handheld Unit

Gone are the days of lugging out or renting a cumbersome, heavy carpet cleaner. This lightweight 2.2-pound steam mop from PurSteam is capable of sanitizing deep into the fibers on carpets or area rugs.

The reservoir is 11.5 ounces, which provides up to 25 minutes of steaming on the lowest setting. It uses only tap water, with no need for harsh chemicals. Multiple accessories, including nylon brushes, can clean spots on carpets without leaving residue behind. The steamer heats up in 30 seconds so it’s ready when you are.

Versatility is key here, as this steam mop goes beyond just cleaning carpets. In addition to easily converting into a handheld steam cleaner with three adjustable modes, it can also take on cleaning hard surface floors like laminate and hardwood, and it can clean windows and even steam clean clothing.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Surfaces: Clothing, floors, windows, carpets
  • Attachments: 10 pieces


  • Heats up quickly
  • Highly versatile
  • Super lightweight and maneuverable
  • Cleans multiple surfaces


  • Water tank is relatively small

Best for Furniture

The Best Handheld Steam Cleaner Option: LIGHT ‘N’ EASY Multi-Functional steam mop Steamer

Whether spot cleaning a sofa that’s seen better days, sanitizing a mattress, or freshening up dusty drapes, this multifunctional steam mop can do the trick. Converting easily to a handheld steamer with the touch of a button, this unit features a wide variety of attachments that create direct or diffused steam, which allows for a multitude of uses around the house.

On-demand modes of low, medium, and high create suitable steam for everything from couches to curtains. Because the steam produced reaches up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s hot enough to remove most stains and spots from furniture. Distilled or tap water both work just fine in this machine, and there’s no need to add any chemicals or solvents.

A handy Smart Switch feature means simply setting the handheld upright in the base will stop the flow of steam. To start the steam, simply place a finger over the sensor and wait 30 seconds for the water to heat.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 6.3 pounds
  • Surfaces: Tile grout, floors, upholstery, curtains
  • Attachments: 3 pieces


  • No need for harsh chemicals
  • Adjustable steam settings
  • Easy to maneuver


  • Fabric mop attachment wears out quickly
  • Power cord is quite short

Jump to Our Top Picks

Our Verdict

The BISSELL Powerfresh steam mop is a versatile and reliable tool that converts from handheld to upright stick unit to tackle various household cleaning jobs. For a portable model to deal with wrinkled clothing, consider the PERFECTDAY garment steamer, which fits easily into a suitcase for travel.

How We Chose the Best Handheld Steam Cleaners

When curating our top picks for handheld steam cleaners, we focused our attention on a number of important aspects. To ensure our recommendations are all lightweight and easy to maneuver, size and weight are key features since a handheld steam cleaner should avoid adding strain on a user’s back and arms. Our favorite steam cleaners in this list are all under 7 pounds—some even as light as a single pound—and the relatively compact water reservoirs, once filled, should not add too much burden during use.

Many of the models we chose can also be converted into upright units—great for cleaning floors—which we considered to be an added bonus to help these models become great cleaning solutions for the entire household, from floors and upholstery to windows and clothing.


Now that you’ve got the information to narrow down the options to the best handheld steam cleaner, you might have other questions. Here are a few questions that come up frequently.

Q: Can a handheld steam cleaner be used on carpet?

Yes. Keep in mind that a handheld steamer is good for spot cleaning; for whole-house carpet cleaning, go with a larger model designed specifically for that purpose.

Q: Will handheld steamers kill bedbugs?

Bedbugs and their eggs are killed with temperatures reaching between 160 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. When using a handheld steamer on a mattress with the purpose of killing bedbugs, take your time and be sure to hit every inch of the fabric.

Q: What can not be cleaned with a steam cleaner?

Stay away from porous surfaces, large areas of carpet, delicate materials such as silk or satin, and any object or fabric that doesn’t do well with exposure to heat. Don’t use it on areas that have just been painted, waxed, or polished, and avoid use on unsealed materials, such as bare wood.

Q: Should I add disinfectant to my steam cleaner solution?

Most steam cleaners use the power of heat and steam to clean and sanitize. Never add anything other than water to the reservoir unless the manufacturer’s instructions specifically say it’s fine to do so.