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The best steam cleaners

While cleaning products can do a lot to kill bacteria and other critters, they also contain potentially harmful chemicals. Steam cleaning is an effective alternative because it only requires water and the right equipment, making it a healthier way to sanitize places and items in your home. The process of steam cleaning is versatile, which means you can clean your floors to your clothes with one device.

To take advantage of this cleaning process, you need the right steam cleaner. With so many options available, it can be hard to tell which is best. That’s why we’ve built this guide to the best steam cleaners around.

Note: Steam Cleaner Pro reports, “Steam cleaners disinfect and kill 99.9% of germs at a temperature between 175 degrees and 212 degrees Fahrenheit. To kill the most germs, keep them in contact with steam for at least 3 minutes. That’s long enough to get rid of germs, dust mites, mold, and viruses without using chemical sanitizers.” However, if you’re sanitizing to prevent the spread of viruses like COVID-19, follow guidance from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your physician, as it overrides any information in this guide.

Best overall steamer cleaner: McColloch MC 1275 Heavy Duty Steam Cleaner

This is a powerful steam cleaner with a boiler temperature that goes up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you want to get your house spotless, this unit by McColloch is an ideal choice. It has an extra-long power cord (about 15 and a half feet), and a 9-foot, long-reach steam hose, so you can reach touch spots. The 48-ounce water tank lets you steam for about 45 minutes with 43 psi steam pressure, and you get 18 different accessories to clean everything from floors to windows to upholstery.

While the McColloch MC 1275 is primarily for home use, some people use this steam cleaner to detail their car, boat, or motorcycle. What’s not to like? Well, it is a bit on the expensive side. Also, due to the larger water tank, the unit takes about eight minutes to heat up, which is a long time for a unit in this price range.

Best budget steam cleaner: Dr. Purifier Handheld Pressurized Steamer with 9-Piece Accessory Set

If you don’t want to spend a lot of cash, you can pick up this multipurpose steam cleaner for around $40. You can clean just about anything with this inexpensive unit because it comes with multiple attachments and accessories, including an ironing cloth, an extension hose, a straight nozzle, a bent nozzle, a window-cleaning tool, a power nozzle jet, and a bristle brush. You also get a measuring cup and funnel for filling up the steamer.

The Dr. Purifier Handheld Pressurized Steamer reaches high heat settings, and emits steam as hot as 250 to 270 degrees Fahrenheit. It has 1050 watts of power, and it lasts for about 15 to 20 minutes per fill.

Best steam cleaner for hard floors: Bissell Powerfresh Deluxe Steam Mop

The Bissell Powerfresh Deluxe Steam Mop kills 99.9% of common bacteria on floors, so you can have some peace of mind if you have a little one crawling around.

This model achieved cleaner floors than any mop we’ve ever tried. It’s also convenient, with a swiveling design that makes it easier to maneuver around your home. The Bissell Powerfresh is handy for (and gentle on) multiple surfaces, including sealed hardwood, ceramic, linoleum, tile, granite, and marble. But, what we really love about this mop is the scent boost feature. If you add a scent boost fragrance disc while mopping, your floors smell just as clean as they look. Plenty of other steam mops skip the appeal of scented cleaning products — so if you miss the pleasant odor, Bissell has the answer.

Best steam cleaner for sanitizing: Dupray Neat Steam

Dupray’s steam cleaner delivers a powerful clean for an extended amount of time. A single fill will give you 50 minutes of cleaning power. You do need to be careful— this steam cleaner gets scalding hot. Its upper-temperature range usually hits 275 degrees Fahrenheit to wipe out germs and bacteria thoroughly. Make sure you’re cautious when cleaning with this appliance, and check that children and pets stay out of the way. 

You don’t need to doubt whether your cleaner will be capable of sanitizing everything in your home; the Dupray Neat Steam’s 18-piece attachment set can clean floors, windows, mattresses, couches, and more. Appliances and vehicle interiors will be good as new with this cleaner. However, the cord itself has some limits. If you want to use it outside to clean your car upholstery, you might need to plug it into an extension cord to get the best reach.

This steam cleaner comes with a 16-foot hose and tubing system, which ensures the device will even be able to stretch to those difficult-to-reach places. The Dupray Neat Steam only needs seven minutes to heat up fully. Due to its quick prep time and efficient cleaning, we highly recommend this cleaner as an investment that will help you kill germs and live happily without having to devote too much time to deep cleaning.

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