Where it comes to keeping your home fresh and free from disease, steam cleaning is a worthwhile option. The heat of the steam kills 99.9% of bacteria and other infectious agents without using harsh chemicals. This is perfect if you have young children, pets or have sensitivities to these chemicals.
Like pretty much every cleaning product out there, not all steam cleaners are created equal. They vary a lot in price and also in their functionality.
I’ve been diving deep into all things mop related have managed to find the best steam cleaners for a tight budget.
Steam cleaner mops can be really expensive with prices getting into the hundreds. I’ve kept the costs down to under £150 for all these options with most choices here falling under the £100 mark.
I’ve reviewed all the top options and come up with this guide to help you with your cleaning needs. To check out the product and up to date prices and more reviews, simply click the “Price and Reviews” button in the product description for each model.
Top 5 Best Budget Steam Mops UK
Top Choice – Kärcher SC2 EasyFix Steam Cleaner
Runner Up – Shark Steam Mop
Best Upright Steam Cleaner – Vax S86-SF-CC Steam Fresh Combi Classic
Best Handheld Steam Cleaner – Morphy Richards 720020 9-in-1 Steam Mop
Best Multifunction Steam Mop – Moolan Steam Mop
1. Top Choice – Kärcher SC2 EasyFix Steam Cleaner
- Lightweight and easy to move
- High-pressure steam cleaning
- Various head attachments
- Easy fix system for cloth removal
- A bit pricy
To kick off our number 1 choice we have Karcher with the SC2 easyfix steam cleaner. Karcher is known for being a much more pricy brand with the Karcher SC5 easyfix retailing at over £300 but the SC2 option is much more budget friendly whilst still delivering similar cleaning power.
The 1 litre water tank will heat up in just 6.5 minutes so you don’t have to wait long to get stuck into cleaning. You should get a good 20 minutes of steam cleaning action before you need to refill the tank. The nozzle has stabilising spings so it really directs the cleaning power and optimises performance.
The steam cleaner comes with a hand nozzle with a microfiber cloth that fits over it, a detail nozzle for narrow corners, a round brush for scrubbing, two extension tubes for those hard to reach places and a microfiber floor cloth. The cloths help mop up the dirt and grime and are machine washable so reusable.
One thing I love about this steamer is the hygienic easyfix floor tool which drops off the dirty cleaning pad allowing you to switch to a clean one without having to touch the dirt.
This is a powerful steam cleaner that can easily remove stubborn dirt and bacteria off any surface. It is one of the more pricy options, so if this one is out of your budget range, have a look at our runner up!
2. Runner Up – Shark Steam Mop
- Lightweight upright steamer
- On-demand steam pump
- Removable water tank
- Comes with 2 dirt grip pads
- Not as powerful as the top choice
For our runner up we have the Shark upright steam mop which is a freestanding design. The low profile mophead makes reaching around corners and under furniture, not an issue.
The mop works by a pump handle so you press this to dispense steam as required. This means you can stop cleaning at any point and the machine won’t continuously pump out steam unnecessarily.
The removable water tank makes this steamer up really easy to refill but the tank capacity is only 375ml so doesn’t last very long when continuously in use. That being said, as you manually dispense the steam you can control the rate so you won’t run out as quickly as a model that continuously dispenses steam.
The vacuum cleaner style design means this mop stands up by itself so you can stop cleaning and let go at any point without worrying about it falling over or spilling water. With a cord length of 5.5m, you can cover a large area without having to re-plug it in.
The dirt grip pads are tailored to absorb the grimy water really efficiently and they can go in the washing machine so are re-usable.
The main issue with this mop is that it is not as powerful as some models. It still does a great job cleaning floors and makes light work of mopping.
3. Best Upright Steam Cleaner – Vax S86-SF-CC Steam Fresh Combi Classic
- Detachable handheld unit
- Ready to go in 40 second
- Loads of functional attachments
- Angled head reaches into tight corners
- Only 15 minutes of steam time
For really thorough cleaning, Vax has developed this upright model that does a lot more than it would first appear to. With a detachable handheld steamer, you can use it to clean countertops, hobs, taps and bathroom suites as well.
With variable steam control and overheat protection, this small machine can shift even the most stubborn stains.
The box comes with loads of attachments such as a microfibre pad, grout brush, carpet glider, a window tool and much more. It can freshen your upholstery and can clean all sealed hard floors.
The floor cleaner heats up in around 40 seconds and with a 7m cord you’ll get a wide radius to work from but the downside is, the small tank size means refilling is necessary after 15 minutes of steaming.
4. Best Handheld Steam Cleaner – Morphy Richards 720020 9-in-1 Steam Mop
Brand: Morphy Richards
- Handheld and upright modes
- 30 second heat up time
- Comes with loads of attachments
- The design delivers consistent steam levels
- Only 15 minutes of steam time
Ok, you got me! This isn’t a typical handheld steam cleaner but the Morphy Richards upright steam mop actually has a built in, detachable handheld unit that works really efficiently.
The upright model has a carpet glider and is suitable for cleaning most waterproof floor types as well as sealed laminate and hardwood floors. It heats up in no time at all so you can get on with the job quickly.
A handheld cylinder steam cleaner is released at the touch of a button as is very lightweight and easy to hold. The various attachments with window cleaner, jet nozzle and small brushes make this super versatile and multifunctional.
The ball bearing feature in the water tank ensures an even and consistent steam blast throughout the steam cleaning time.
The only downside here is the tank only lasts for 15 minutes, but it is really easy to refill so not a major issue.
5. Best Multifunction Steam Mop – Moolan Steam Mop
- Adjustable steam control settings
- Swivel head to reach into tight corners
- Loads of accessories make this multifunctional
- Really cost effective
- Needs to be lying down to refill
For the price of this model, Moolan certainty deserves recognition where it comes to the best steam mop for multifunctional use. It’s compact and easy to set up and once you switch it on it’s good to go in 15-20 seconds.
It has a swivel floorhead with microfibre cover that easily picks up dirt and absorbs moisture. The cloth is machine washable so reusable and extra ones can be purchased on Amazon if needed.
For versatile cleaning, this mop comes with a round brush, a copper brush, an angled nozzle, a straight nozzle, a long brush, an extension hose, a window cleaning tool, and cloth.
The steamer has a dial so you can control the steam output depending on how tough the cleaning needs to be.
In order to refill the 450ml water tank, Moolan has provided a handy measuring jug and funnel. This makes it easier to do so but the mop does need to be laying down so can’t be quickly refilled as you go.
Overall this is an extremely user-friendly steam mop and does a huge amount for the price you pay.
Things To Consider When Buying A Steam Mop
When you’re looking for an effective steam cleaner it’s worth considering the power output of the device so you can get a better understanding of how well it will perform. These values are usually listed on the product description, either on Amazon or on the manufacturer’s website and are described in watts. Most of the models listed here come in around 1500w but the Shark falls behind at 1050w.
Water Tank Size
A small water tank will mean you’re wasting a lot of cleaning time refilling it. It’s worth checking what size tank the steamer comes with as they can vary a lot from around 200ml to several litres in size.
Heat Up Time
A long heat-up time means more waiting around before you get stuck into the task at hand. Some cleaners can take a good few minutes to start producing steam whereas others are good to go in a matter of seconds. If you’re not a fan of waiting around, then make sure you check out heat up time before you buy.
Depending on what areas of your house are needing steam cleaned, attachments can turn an impossible task into an easy one. Narrow nozzles for reaching into tight spaces, carpet gliders, window squeegees and the list goes on. Make sure the product you choose has the relevant head fittings so you don’t end up disappointed.
Some steamers just let out a continuous stream of hot steam whereas others have settings that can adjust the volume and pressure of this. This comes in very useful depending on whether you need a light or a deep clean as you can save water and power as necessary.
Where do you plan to store your steam mop? If you have a large broom cupboard with ample space then you probably don’t need to worry too much about this step. If you live in a small home or flat with not much cupboard space you may need to consider the size of the mop to ensure it doesn’t sit out on display all day, causing a trip hazard.
It’s important to empty the water container and remove the cloth head to ensure mould and mildew doesn’t develop on the mop.
The tap water quality at your home can influence how you use your steam mop. Hard water will result in limescale buildup which will clog the steamer and cause it to fail. Most manufacturers recommend using distilled or deionized water to extend the lifespan of your steam mop.
What is a steam mop used for?
Steam mops use the heat of the steam to shift stubborn stains and kill bacteria and viruses. They are really effective to sterilize many different areas in the home and help remove bad odours as well. They don’t require any bleach or harsh chemicals to be used alongside them so this makes them a safe option to use around pets, children and pregnant women.
What is safe to clean with a steam cleaner?
It’s always worth checking with the manufacturer of the product you’re planning to steam that it can handle the heat and moisture associated with steam cleaning.
Generally, steam cleaning is safe for most hard floor types, sealed laminate and sealed hardwood, bathrooms, wall tiles, windows, steam safe carpets and upholstery, mattresses and outdoor storage spaces like a garage or stable/barn area.
Can a steam cleaner be used as a steam iron?
A steam cleaner works similarly to a steam iron but is less targetted in regards to temperature and pressure. If you’re keen to try it, ensure your clothes are safe to be steamed and hold the steamer a short distance away from the items. Release a steady flow of steam over the clothes and let then hang in a well-ventilated area to dry.
Is a steam cleaner better than a mop?
A steam cleaner works very similarly to a steam mop but it just doesn’t have the upright function that makes it easy to clean floors. Usually, you find that the accessories included making steam cleaners work in a very similar manner to a steam mop so in reality, they’re practically the same product.
Are steam mops worth the money?
This depends on you and families cleaning needs. If you have young children, pets or suffer from sensitivity to harsh chemicals then a steam cleaner is absolutely worth the investment. Steamers are frequently used in medical settings to sterilise treatment areas as they’re so effective. They also cut down on cleaning product use so save money here and are more environmentally friendly.
Other Steam Mops Reviewed
Shark S6003UK Klik n’ Flip Smartronic Deluxe Mop
- Steam blast mode
- Dirt grip pads
- 3 Direct steam controls
- Easy dirt pad release button
- Doesn’t stand up unassisted
At 1200w, the Shark Klik n flip has a bit more power behind it than the Shark upright steam mop. This is reflected in a slightly higher price as well.
Shark has developed a unique design with this model as the floor head can flip over allowing twice the cleaning with complete ease. It also has a quick release button which dispels the dirt grip pad without you having to touch it.
You can easily adjust the steamer as it has 3 direct steam controls to give a really efficient and targetted clean and the steam blast mode will easily shift the toughest of dirt.
Vileda Steam Mop
- 15 Second Heat Up Time
- Swivel Head
- Great Price
- Not as many attachments as other models
For the price, Vileda has come out with a really powerful and effective steam mop. The upright model has a swivel head that can manoeuvre around corners and under furniture with ease. The head is triangular in shape which allows it to navigate tight corners.
When you switch it on it only takes 15 seconds for the steam to appear and the control dial allows you to adjust the flow of steam depending on floor type and level of clean needed.
The mop will last for up to 28 minutes so plenty of time to clean all hard floors. It even has a carpet glider so you can disinfect those carpets as well.
The mop comes with 2 durable microfibre pads, a carpet glider and a handy filling jug for ease of use. This mop doesn’t have as many attachments as some models but what it lacks in versatility it makes up for in price.
Overall, a great option for deep cleaning sealed hard floors and carpets.
BISSELL PowerFresh Slim Steam
- Onboard toolset
- Wall mount for easy storage
- Ergonomic hand controls
- Swivel steering
- Better for lighter/daily cleeaning
When it comes to ease of use, this steam mop by Bissell is a winner. The mop comes with a handheld unit that has a trigger to allow steam to be dispensed on demand. The control panel allows you to adjust high or low steam levels and has an LED display to make it even easier to use.
It comes with loads of handy attachments to allow this machine to steam all manner of surfaces, not just floors. The really useful thing is that these tools are all attached to the handheld unit so you can switch them out very quickly where needed.
Swivel steering allows easy movement around the home and the wall mounting bracket allows for compact storage.
It’s lightweight and has a long extension cord so you can get on with cleaning easily. The only issue is, it’s not as hard wearing as some other models so very tough scrubbing can be tricky with this model.
Kärcher SC3 EasyFix Steam Cleaner
- Integrated descaling cartridge
- 1900W Power
- 30 Second heat up time
- Lots of attachments
- A bit pricey
With 1900 watts of power this Karcher steam cleaner is a powerful steam cleaner. It has an integrated descaling cartridge so it descales as it cleans.
The 1 litre water tank will give you plenty of steam time and the 30 second heat up time seems too quick for such a large and powerful machine.
It comes with nozzles, brushes, microfibre cloths and extension hoses which all make this machine a really versatile all-round disinfector.
It can be used on most floor types, sealed hard floor, carpets and even upholstery (where the manufacturer advises it’s safe to do so).
It’s really functional and very easy to use steamer but is a bit more pricey than our other options.
Hoover Steam Capsule
- Variable steam control
- Compact storage
- Lots of accessories
- Up to 50 minutes of steaming time
- Not so good on uneven floors
Finally, last but not least, we have Hoover with their steam capsule. It’s lightweight and has a long power cord so you can get on with cleaning uninterrupted. The variable steam control allows you to adjust for the surfaces needing cleaning and it comes with various nozzles, brushes and microfibre pads for a versatile and thorough, all round cleaning.
With a 700ml water tank, you can get up to 50 minutes of steam cleaning on low power and the handle of the steamer can be removed so it’s nice and compact for easy storage.
Now onto the downside. No mop is perfect and, like most cleaning products, this mop has it’s weaknesses. The velcro that attaches the pads onto the cleaning head means that if you use them for scrubbing or on uneven floors the pads can catch and come loose. Not ideal. To remedy this, it does come with a scrubbing brush attachment that can be used on tougher stains instead.
This mop is best used for flat, even floors and does come with a carpet glider as well.
Overall, it’s a fairly inexpensive and effective steam mop and can be used for a lot more than just cleaning floors.
So there we have it. There’s a lot to consider when choosing a steam mop to keep your home safe and clean. I hope this buying guide helped straighten some things out and provided you with assistance towards purchasing your own budget-friendly steam mop. Remember, there’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to selecting the best one for you. It really depends on your specific needs and what you can afford. Happy shopping!