The best steam mops for carpet help keep our homes safe and clean by blitzing bacteria off all manner of floors and surfaces. Heat treatment requires nothing but tap water, meaning you can steer clear of harsh chemical cleaning products, and it has been shown to be effective at killing viruses like coronavirus.
In fact, the Government advises using the best steam mops for carpet to disinfect items that you can’t launder or clean using regular detergents, such as soft furnishings, upholstery and mattresses.
Top 10 best steam mops for carpet in the UK 2021
Need to sweep up the crumbs first? No worries: take a look at our round up of the best steam mops for carpet which will lift any loose debris before you sweep through with steam.
1. Kärcher SC5 Easyfix
This premium, cylinder-style steam cleaner is a completely different animal from a steam mop. It does an outstanding job of cleaning so much more than floors and it can keep cleaning for hours. It has a 6m cord and a large 1.5 litre water tank and the water is then pumped into a pressurised steam tank. This means you can refill the machine at any time, even when it’s in use, without pausing your cleaning.
The only downside of its constant, powerful steam is that you must wait 3 minutes for it to come up to temperature initially. Tools and onboard storage are superb. The 2m hose can be extended with one or both sections of lance, for cleaning floors and high-up or hard-to-reach places.
Then you can attach various tools. There’s a large, rectangular floor head which comes with two Velcro cloths and a clip-on carpet glider. This steam cleaner also has a large square brush with cloth and large round brush – with space on the Kärcher to stow.
2. Shark Steam Mop Klik n’ Flip
What separates the Shark from its other upright competitors (as well as about £40 quid) is some fancy features. This steam mop comes with double-sided pads that have ‘Dirt Grip Technology’. The ‘klik and flip’ feature is being able to flip the mop head to the fresh, clean side, which is efficient as well as just downright satisfying.
It also has three different steam settings and a ‘steam blaster mode’ which uses a concentrated blast of steam to get rid of those particularly stubborn stains (baby vom, we’re looking at you).
All this contributes to the fact that Shark boasts that it “eliminates 99.9% of common household bacteria”. It also has one of the longest cords of all the products we’re recommending (8m), if that’s important to you.
3. Vileda Steam Mop
If you’re just looking for a simple steam mop to clean your floors, the Vileda Steam Mop is the best of the budget options. It’s incredibly easy to use, with very few buttons, and the 400ml water tank will keep you cleaning for more than 15 minutes at a time, with just a 15-second wait while it heats when you need to refill it.
It’s very light, but it’s brilliant at cleaning away tough stains on hard floors, and even comes with a plastic glider for giving rugs and carpets a clean. If you’ve got a larger space to clean or a lot of messy devils in your household, you might want something with more beef. The Vileda isn’t as versatile as more expensive steam mops and it struggles with more substantial build-ups of dirt.
You need to turn the power up to max to get the best from it. For those with lighter cleaning needs, though, this mop is just the ticket.
4. Beldray BEL01097 rectangular detergent steam cleaner
Our tester had just had some building work completed in their kitchen area, so this Beldray steam cleaner was certainly put through its paces. Although one of the cheapest models in our final selection, it easily got floors and kitchen cabinets back to their hygienic best after an initial sweep and vacuum to pick up builders’ dust and grit.
Although the power of steam cleaning can tackle stains and rid surfaces of almost all germs, some prefer a spritz of detergent to make things smell fresher. This model has a small tank for just that, with a trigger action releasing a short spray in front of the cleaning head when needed. We thought the swivel head made this light floor cleaner really easy to handle, with the glider making it easy to push over rugs and carpeting too.
5. Polti Vaporetto SV440 Double Steam Mop
If you find cylinders too cumbersome, try this 2-in-1 mop instead. It has a long cord to minimise plug socket faff, and a flexible joint that helps you tackle awkward spaces with ease.
It effectively scrubbed dirt off our vinyl flooring but struggled to budge embedded stains from our carpet. It’s a great kitchen buddy, doubling up as a handheld for hobs and worktops.
6. Kärcher SC1 premium steam cleaner
This Kärcher model is great if you’re looking for a relatively cheap yet sturdy, lightweight, and reliable steamer for all your cleaning tasks around the home.
This steamer comes with a selection of attachments for cleaning different areas around the home including a power nozzle, round brush, detail nozzle, hand nozzle with a terry cloth cover and storage bag to keep them all organised and safe. It comes with a ‘lamella’ floor tool, designed specifically for cleaning engineered wood floors.
You can also use this steamer as a more traditional mop by adding the extension tube to the handheld unit.
7. Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E
The Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E is a fantastic time-saver, vacuuming and cleaning at the same time. We loved the original, and now the 1977E model has had a small update and now comes in a fetching blue colour. As a standalone steam cleaner or a standalone vacuum cleaner, this model won’t win awards; yet, the combination of the two features produces some powerful cleaning results.
With a 400W bagless vacuum cleaner and 1100W steam heater, small particles are sucked up before the microfibre pad steams the floor and picks up stains. For well-trodden areas in your home with hard floors, the Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E can effectively halve your cleaning time. Bissell recommends three passes for a dirty area and that worked well, picking up dust and removing stains.
The downside of the system is that it’s not very flexible, and it’s neither a good vacuum or a flexible and powerful steam cleaner. Still, it’s the combination of parts that is important, and the Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E delivers on hard floor cleaning.
8. Mlmlant 2000W
If you are looking for the best multipurpose steam cleaner for use all-around your home, then try out this steam cleaner by Mlmlant. It comes complete with a 20-piece accessory kit, so whatever you are looking to clean, this steam mop is likely to have an attachment for it.
The Mlmlmant steam cleaner features a useful five-foot hose, making it quick to get into hard to reach areas. Additionally, the superheated steam that it produces is low in moisture. This means less hassle for you as it cleans faster and has a shorter drying period. However, as the tank is very large, it heats up considerably longer than other smaller models.
If you are looking to compare steam mops with this model, we think this may not be the right choice for your needs if you are going for a quick start or will be taking on small cleaning tasks. It can also be a little bulky to pull around behind you compared to some of the upright models. Additionally, the four-metre cord can be a little restrictive, so you may instead want to try a cordless steam mop if you have a larger home.
9. Shark S1000UK Steam Mop
We really enjoyed how easy this machine is to use, and the effortless gliding across the floor made it feel more like a relaxing task than a chore. It’s lightweight and slim in design, which is what made the handling feel so easy when we were cleaning. The tank is easy to refill when it is empty, with no cooling time required before you just top it up. This takes out a lot of hassle.
The cleaning pads provided are quick to fit and completely washable, giving you a reusable solution to the grime on your hard floor. The steam pump means that you can blast stains and tough areas without a second thought, and it is pretty good at breaking through them.
The mop head also has a low profile, and this is so that it can reach under furniture and other tight spaces.
10. VAX STEAM FRESH POWER PLUS STEAM CLEANER
When you want your steam mop to do more than just clean floors, this Vax steam mop is the model for you. Not only cleans floors but it also comes with a handheld reach wand, so you can tackle the tops of cupboards, around the shower and those hard to reach areas with ease.
Whichever cleaning mode you opt for, this steam mop will break down dirt quickly and easily thanks to the use of detergent rather than just steam, which also leaves your home smelling fresh. You can even use it in the oven!
This one really is multifunctional, as it comes with a handheld reach wand and a number of add-ons that allow you to clean a number of surfaces including ovens, hobs and showers. Ideal for getting down and dirty with stubborn stains, this function gives you extra cleaning power when you need it.
How to choose the best steam mops for carpet
What are steam mops?
These integrate the boiler and the head into one upright cleaning machine. As the name suggests, these are really designed to work as a super-powered mop, but a growing number can also double as a regular steam cleaner, either by having a smaller, removable boiler unit or by allowing you to attach additional heads instead of the mop head. They’re now almost as versatile as the classic steam cleaner, but they’re easy to use and very compact.
What should I look out for?
Steam cleaners differ when it comes to capacity, convenience and cleaning power. Obviously, the size of the tank makes a big difference. On some models, you can only refill the tank once the steam has been turned off and the cleaner cooled, which means you can only clean for as long as there’s water in the tank, which could restrict each stint to ten or fifteen minutes. However, some models now include a separate feeder tank that you can refill while the cleaner is in use, or even an inlet you can keep tipping water into while the machine is up and running. With those cleaners, you’re more likely to run out of steam than it is, and you can keep on going until, say, the downstairs floors are clean or the bathroom is free of any hint of dirt or grime.
The power of the boiler also has an impact, simply because it can take time to boil and pressurise the steam. Newer cleaners have got much better at reducing that wait time, but it can still be several minutes before you get a usable head of steam. What’s more, many steamers need a breather now and then while they get steam together before they can continue. Certain cleaners are better at minimising this than others.
The other thing to watch out for is pressure. The higher the steam pressure, the faster the steam jets out and the better it is at dissolving dirt and grime. For this reason, a steam cleaner that can put out 3.5 to 4 bar of pressure will have a lot more cleaning power than a handheld cleaner with less than 3 bar.
Are there any practicalities worth thinking about?
Take a good look at the accessories you get with the cleaner. The more brushes, nozzles and scrapers, the better, while a gliding mop-head cover for doing carpets is another big plus. Also, watch out for the mains lead and the length of any steam hose, as nothing’s more frustrating than not being able to steam clean in the corner of your shower because it won’t quite reach without an extension cable.
In the past, some steam cleaners required distilled/deionised water or they will soon get clogged with limescale. Many recent models aren’t so fussy and contain some kind of filter or limescale prevention system, although it’s still worth using filtered water if you live in a hard water area.
Finally, make sure the surfaces you want to mop can cope with steam cleaning before you buy a steam cleaner. While hardwood floors, tiles, most worktops and sheet vinyl flooring are fine to clean with a steam cleaner, some softwood, laminate or modular floorings are a no-go, and will still need to be cleaned with a broom, mop or vacuum cleaner, unless you like the sight of an expensive kitchen floor peeling up before your eyes.
The best steam mops for carpet are great for wiping the grime from almost any hard surface – or even cleaning some soft furnishings like carpets. It may be true that there’s nothing you can’t clean with the right tools and a bit of elbow grease, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it easier for yourself.