Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Welcome to our big hand steam cleaner test 2021. Here we present all the hand-held steam cleaners that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best hand steam cleaner for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a hand steam cleaner.

Contents




Summary

  • Hand-held steam cleaners are particularly suitable for cleaning a wide variety of surfaces. Even upholstered furniture, carpets and car seats can be cleaned with these devices.
  • Many hand steam cleaners on the market already have a large set of special attachments included in the price. This means you have the right attachment for every surface and the materials are not damaged.
  • Hand steam cleaners, as their name suggests, clean only with hot steam and pressure. They do not require any additional cleaning agents and are absolutely chemical-free.

The Best Hand Steam Cleaner: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a hand steam cleaner

What is a hand steam cleaner and who is it suitable for?

The hand-held steam cleaner is the small, handy version of the steam cleaner. Although it looks similar to a hoover, it works in a fundamentally different way.

Handdampfreiniger

A hand-held steam cleaner looks a lot like a hoover. (Image source: 123rf.com / 24287196)

While hoovers create a vacuum and thus pick up dirt and grime, a steam cleaner ejects very hot, moist air in a targeted manner, making it easier to loosen the dirt.

Afterwards, the dirt must be wiped up. Some steam cleaners are equipped with a special attachment for this purpose, while others require you to wipe up with a cloth.

The purchase of a hand-held steam cleaner is interesting for anyone who wants to do small household cleaning jobs occasionally and without the use of chemical aids.

They are particularly suitable for allergy sufferers and other people who attach great importance to hygiene, as the steam, which can reach up to 130 degrees, kills almost all bacteria.

Due to their handy size, they do not take up much space and can be kept within easy reach in the bathroom cabinet, under the sink or in the garage.

What are the possible uses for hand steam cleaners?

The speciality of hand-held steam cleaners is softening and dissolving dirt throughout the household. Especially for encrusted areas, the hot steam helps quickly and comfortably.

Steam ducks work particularly effectively on smooth surfaces, but with the right attachment also on textiles. The steam cleaner is very flexible when it comes to choosing the area of application, classic areas of use are:

  • Bathroom, especially for cleaning showers and fittings, tiles and washbasins
  • Kitchen, e.g. cooker, oven, worktops and fittings
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Textiles in the living area, e.g. blankets and curtains
  • Windows (with the appropriate accessories) and window frames
  • Car, especially rims
  • Clothes

What is a hand steam cleaner not suitable for?

Since steam cleaners emit hot, moist air, they should not be used to clean particularly sensitive surfaces. They are especially dangerous on natural, unpainted materials.

For example, the steam can damage or even ruin laminate, other wooden surfaces, cork or even fine fabrics. In such cases, you should therefore use other cleaning devices.

How does a hand steam cleaner work?

Steam cleaners consist of several elements. First, you have to fill the water tank, which is either removable or permanently built into the device.

Some manufacturers recommend the use of distilled water for a longer life of the steam cleaner.

It is then heated up to 130 degrees with the help of a heating coil under high pressure, depending on the model. This process takes a few seconds to a maximum of 3 minutes, depending on the device.

When the steam duck has reached its operating temperature, you can let the steam escape from a nozzle to soften dirt and grime.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of hand-held steam cleaners compared to conventional appliances?

Handheld steam cleaners are versatile and clean without chemicals. They are also available in different price categories.

Advantages
  • Available in different price categories
  • Many different places of use
  • Cleaning without chemicals and without residues of cleaning agents
Disadvantages
  • Sometimes only few accessories

How much does a hand-held steam cleaner weigh?

Most hand-held steam cleaners weigh between one and two kilograms. The lower the weight of the cleaner, the better it naturally feels in the hand and is more comfortable to use.

Do hand-held steam cleaners work without chemicals?

Yes, steam cleaners work completely without chemicals. All that is used with these devices is hot steam and pressure. This loosens the dirt, some handheld steam cleaners then pick it up directly with a fabric coating.

This means there is no need to wipe by hand. For upholstery, pillows or sensitive materials, the most suitable hand steam cleaners are those on which you can adjust the steam pressure. Otherwise, damage could occur.

Are hand steam cleaners suitable for upholstered furniture or carpets?

Carpets, sofas, armchairs or other upholstered furniture are among the most frequently used items in our households. Therefore, it is not surprising that this very furniture gets dirty quickly, especially when the hair of a pet is added to the mix.

Since we cannot simply put this furniture in the washing machine, cleaning it is a little more complicated. However, there are now many hand-held steam cleaners on the market that are not only suitable for smooth surfaces, but also for upholstery or pillows, which is particularly pleasing for pet owners.

However, before you clean your upholstery with such a device, you should definitely look at the care recommendations for the furniture and follow them. Leather furniture, for example, should not be treated with steam.

When cleaning, you should make sure that your steam cleaner has a fabric cover that holds the dirt and does not scratch the upholstery. In addition, you should not go over one spot several times or apply too much pressure, otherwise the furniture will get too wet and cannot dry properly.

Cleaning and care of hand-held steam cleaners

Since steam cleaners only need to be filled with water and work without any chemicals, cleaning and care of these little household helpers is extremely uncomplicated.

Only limescale should be removed at regular intervals to prevent it from building up inside the appliance. The best way to do this is with a vinegar solution, which you leave to soak overnight and remove again the next day.

The frequency of your manual descaling depends on the lime content of the water you use. If you fill your steam duck exclusively with distilled water, you don't need to worry about descaling at all. This also applies to machines with a built-in descaling function.

If the steam cleaner gets dirty on the outside, a cloth is usually enough to remove it.

Are hand steam cleaners the ultimate for allergy sufferers?

Steam ducks are excellent for removing mites from all textiles in the bedroom.

Whether blankets, pillows, mattresses or sheets, with a hand-held steam cleaner you can clean your bed hygienically, easily, cheaply and without the use of chemicals. Steam cleaners therefore offer all allergy sufferers valuable support in the fight against mites.

However, you should make sure that the textiles are treated with the hot steam for at least one minute and then have the opportunity to dry thoroughly.

When buying your new steam duck, it is best to make sure that it has a drying steam function.

How much do steam cleaners cost?

Hand-held steam cleaners can vary widely in price. On the one hand, higher prices depend on the manufacturer, as brand-name appliances often cost a lot more than a no-name product. On the other hand, the more expensive devices often include additional attachments or other extras.

You can buy a hand-held steam cleaner without these extras for as little as 25 euros. The most expensive products, on the other hand, cost up to 85 euros.

What accessories are available for steam cleaners?

Depending on what you want to use your steam duck for, it is best to check which accessories are included when you buy it. However, you can often add accessories later if your plans change.

Common accessories are:

  • Other nozzles and brushes
  • Additional wiping attachments
  • Attachments for window cleaning
  • Extension hoses
  • Cleaning cloths
  • (Steam) clothes brushes
  • Storage bags
  • Additional water tanks

With brand-name products, it is usually easier to find suitable accessories later. This is especially difficult with no-name products, as the models of different manufacturers are usually not compatible with each other.

Nozzles in particular can make the use of hand steam cleaners much easier. A selection of attachments and their descriptions can be found in the following table:

Attachment Description
Window nozzle This attachment is designed for glass surfaces. The steam is evenly distributed to clean the mirror or window in the best possible way.
Textile care nozzle In addition to cleaning, a textile care nozzle can smooth the material and make the textile look like new. Unpleasant odours are best removed in this way.
Hand nozzle Thanks to the bristles on the hand nozzle, even stubborn dirt can be removed without much effort. The handy size makes the attachment perfect for smaller surfaces such as the extractor bonnet or wall tiles.
Floor nozzle With the floor nozzle, care must be taken to change the surrounding microfibre cloth regularly. This is the only way to ensure perfect cleaning. As the name suggests, the nozzle is suitable for large surfaces such as floors.

Which manufacturers of hand-held steam cleaners are known and recommended?

Hand steam cleaners are produced by a number of manufacturers. We would like to introduce the most well-known ones in the following table:

The manufacturer The products
Kärcher This well-known manufacturer of cleaning equipment for private and commercial use offers a wide range of different products. These are of very high quality, have a long service life and are often compatible with each other. However, they are also relatively expensive compared to other devices.
Bissell This manufacturer specialises in floor cleaning, but also has hand-held steam cleaners in its range. You can buy these both online and in electrical stores.
Dirt Devil This manufacturer is best known for its wide range of modern and high-quality hoovers. However, the company also offers several steam cleaners in different sizes. The products are a little cheaper than the alternatives from Kärcher.
DeFort DeFort steam cleaners are easiest to find in online shops. They cost between 25 and 35 euros (depending on the power), which makes them relatively cheap. They are therefore a good alternative to expensive brand-name products.
iSiLER, OVMe The products of these manufacturers are in the midfield in terms of price, but both score with extensive accessories. The package includes not only interchangeable brushes made of different materials, but also attachments for upholstery cleaning and mopping.
Discounter own brands For particularly price-conscious buyers, the own brands of ALDI, Lidl and Co. are a good alternative. The models from e.g. Easy Home, Quigg and Silvercrest are inexpensive, but only available from discounters during special offers.

What alternatives are there to hand steam cleaners?

Large steam cleaners

The big brother of the hand-held hoover offers a larger water tank and thus a longer operating time per heating process as well as usually more power.

However, it is also more cumbersome and less suitable for hard-to-reach places, but mainly for larger areas.

Hand-held hoover

Although they look similar to steam ducks, they work quite differently. If you primarily want to pick up crumbs and loose dirt from upholstery and other areas in the home, the handheld hoover is the better choice.

However, if you want to soften and hygienically remove encrusted dirt, you should choose a handheld steam cleaner.

Decision: What types of hand steam cleaners are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between three different types of hand-held steam cleaners:

  • For beginners: The simple hand steam cleaner
  • For cleaning professionals: The hand-held steam cleaner combi unit

All types offer different advantages as well as disadvantages, depending on the place of use and the respective purpose. In order to find the right steam cleaner for your own four walls or your own business, you should consider in advance which places and locations in the house or building are to be cleaned.

You should also think about how much and often the steam cleaner will be used. In the following section, we will look at the different types and compare their advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we offer you informative and comprehensive advice to help you make your purchase decision.

How does a hand steam cleaner work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The simple hand-held steam cleaner or "steam duck" is the handiest type of steam cleaner. Due to its size, it is ideally suited for cleaning hard-to-reach surfaces and furniture and is therefore ideal for use in the bathroom and kitchen. The hand-held steam cleaner usually draws its power from built-in rechargeable batteries or batteries. This means that the device can be taken anywhere.

In addition to the advantages, however, the size also brings some disadvantages. The hand steam cleaner only has a small water capacity and is also less suitable for cleaning large areas such as carpets, floors or corridors.

Advantages
  • Handy
  • Mobile
  • Inexpensive
  • Good basic equipment
Disadvantages
  • Low capacity
  • Unsuitable for large areas
  • Few accessories
  • Difficult to buy accessories later

You can get simple steam ducks for as little as €10. For high-quality devices, however, you should invest at least 20€. You can find a good selection of no-name products in this price range online or occasionally as offers at discounters.

However, these models are usually basic models without any additional accessories. Later upgrading with additional brushes, other attachments or extension hoses is usually not possible either. Therefore, you should know exactly what the steam duck will be used for when you buy it.

How does a hand-held steam cleaner work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A little more expensive, but much more flexible in use, are hand-held steam cleaners with a wide range of accessories. You can buy them from about 30 euros, with well-known brands from about 40 euros. The big advantage of these models: They often come with a large selection of additional brushes, nozzles, etc. and can therefore be used in many different ways in the household.

Some devices can be used for cleaning large areas of the floor with the help of accessories. Of course, this expands the range of applications enormously, as you can also use the steam cleaner instead of a conventional mop to clean the floor easily and conveniently.

Advantages
  • Wide range of applications
  • extensive accessories available
Disadvantages
  • Somewhat more expensive

However, you should be aware that the hot steam is not suitable for floors such as laminate and parquet. For tiles and other painted surfaces, on the other hand, it is excellent and saves time and money, as no additional cleaning agents are needed.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate hand-held steam cleaners

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate hand-held steam cleaners. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular device is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Steam pressure
  • Power
  • Steam temperature
  • Cable length
  • Heating time
  • Water tank: capacity and removability
  • Weight
  • Child lock
  • Equipment / Functions, accessories and features
  • Design

In the following paragraphs you can read about the respective purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Vapour pressure

The higher the pressure with which the steam escapes from the appliance, the more powerful the cleaning. This means: Especially for heavily encrusted areas, it is important that the steam pressure is not too low.

A pressure of at least 3 bar is recommended. The hand-held steam cleaner is particularly flexible when the steam strength can be adjusted manually.

For example, you can clean your clothes made of delicate materials at gentler, lower temperatures and then increase the steam strength again for powerful cleaning of the oven.

Power

A hand-held steam cleaner should be equipped with at least 900 watts to be powerful enough.

Most steam ducks have a power between 1000 and 2000 watts, only a few devices are equipped with a higher power.

Incidentally, the steam pressure generated is not always related to a high wattage. For example, some hand steam cleaners with relatively low power, sometimes less than 1300 watts, also produce a completely adequate steam pressure.

The power is therefore less significant as a decision criterion than the stated steam pressure.

Steam temperature

Under pressure, steam ducks usually reach temperatures of about 100 degrees. Models with less than 1000 watts of power sometimes only manage 75 degrees and are therefore only suitable for light cleaning work.

Other steam ducks, on the other hand, score with an exceptionally high temperature of the steam produced. At temperatures of up to 130 degrees, you can achieve particularly hygienic cleaning, as almost all germs are killed by the heat.

Higher steam temperatures are rarely found in hand-held steam cleaners because of the associated risk of injury.

Cable length

The cable length of steam cleaners is usually 2 to 4 metres. Before buying a steam cleaner, you should consider where exactly it will be used.

Depending on where it will be used, it may make sense to choose a model with the longest possible cable, for example, if you have larger rooms or higher places that need to be cleaned. If you only want to use the hand steam cleaner in the bathroom or kitchen, 2 metres is sufficient.

Heating time

The shorter the heating time, the faster the steam cleaner is ready for use. This saves electricity and increases user-friendliness, as you can use it briefly in between without having to wait for a long time.

Almost all available devices come with a heating time of no more than 3 minutes, especially fixed models even need only 90 seconds.

Water tank: capacity and removability

The size of the water tank has a big influence on how long you can use the steam cleaner without refilling and reheating.

A tank with a capacity of 0.25 litres will last for about 15 minutes, 0.35 litres for about 25 minutes. Conversely, you should also consider that the full water tank increases the weight of your steam cleaner and also the duration of heating.

Filling the water tank is particularly convenient if you can remove it for filling. If it is permanently installed in the appliance, refilling is more complicated.

Weight

Not only the full water tank, but also the weight of the steam cleaner itself should not be underestimated. Therefore, you should make sure that you can lift it not only for a short time, but also for up to 15 minutes.

Most steam ducks weigh about 1.5 kg, so a hand-held steam cleaner should not be heavier. However, there are also particularly light models weighing less than 1 kg. By the way, the specification on the packaging always refers to the appliance with an empty water tank.

Child safety lock

To protect you from injury when using the steam cleaner, almost all commercially available models have a safety function that prevents the water tank from being opened accidentally during use.

This is important to protect you from being scalded by the hot water. If this is too unsafe for you, you should make sure that your steam duck also has a child safety lock. It prevents the steam cleaner from being switched on accidentally.

Equipment / Functions, accessories and features

All hand-held steam cleaners come with a so-called spot-jet nozzle as standard. You need this mainly to clean small areas powerfully. Other attachments, which may be included depending on the model, are:

Attachments for different sized surfaces

  • Round brushes
  • Joint/angle attachment
  • Window cleaning attachment
  • Clothes nozzle/ brush
  • Extension hose
  • Cleaning cloths

With some well-known manufacturers, such as Kärcher, these additional elements can be purchased as accessories depending on your needs. Especially with unknown brands, you should make sure that all the attachments that are important for you are already included in the purchase in order to enjoy your steam cleaner for a long time.

Some models are also equipped with special features that can be useful in individual cases. For example, the dry steam function makes it easier for you to clean textiles particularly gently.

Design

Although the technical features of steam cleaners are in the foreground, the design is also an important criterion.

Brand-name products, such as those from Kärcher, offer recognition value due to their typical yellow colour and also meet high quality standards.

Dampfreiniger auf Teppich

Easy handling is an important purchase criterion for a steam cleaner. (Image source: 123rf.com / 91620228)

You should not underestimate how valuable a well-thought-out design can be when it comes to cleaning devices. Many handheld steam cleaners have ergonomically shaped handles that can make holding the device easier.

Especially if you plan to use your hand steam cleaner frequently, you should make sure that it is comfortable to use.

Facts worth knowing about hand-held steam cleaners

Where does the name "steam duck" come from?

The origin of this cute name lies in the special shape of the attachment nozzle with which most hand steam cleaners are equipped.

It is reminiscent of a duck's beak and is designed in such a way that it can be used to comfortably clean hard-to-reach places in the household.

Can I remove pet hair with the hand steam cleaner?

Not all steam cleaners are suitable for removing pet hair. First of all, you should be aware that steam cleaners are not handheld hoovers.

This means that you can loosen pet hair from the surface with a steam duck, but to remove it you need a suitable attachment to pick up the hair afterwards.

Special microfibre cloths are best suited for this purpose and can simply be washed out after cleaning. However, there are also disposable cloths that can simply be thrown away after use.

Is distilled water needed for the hand steam cleaner?

You do not necessarily need distilled water for your steam duck, you can also fill it with normal tap water without any problems.

However, depending on the hardness of the water, your appliance may quickly calcify. With distilled water, on the other hand, you save yourself the work of descaling.

Do hand steam cleaners help against odours?

Hand-held steam cleaners remove fresh stains and odours from upholstery without any problems. However, if the odour is deeper in the upholstery, the steam cleaner unfortunately doesn't help much, because the upholstery should not be completely soaked. In this case, it dries poorly or not at all, which also leads to a musty smell.

Do hand-held steam cleaners remove ticks, fleas, lice and mites?

Most insects and small pests die at too high temperatures. Therefore, the steam cleaner helps to remove ticks, fleas or lice. Mites, however, live deeper in the upholstery and therefore survive the treatment with the hot steam.

Picture credits: 123rf.com / 26719822

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