Portable Steam Cleaners Reviews

Best portable steam cleaners for home with pictures and videos. Handheld steam cleaner features, pros and cons. Reviews of Shark, McCulloch, Wagner, Bissell...

Portable steamer or vapor steam cleaner is the small and compact cleaning tool for clothes, carpets, floors, car... Advanced steam cleaners for the home are versatile cleaning machines that can clean, sanitize and deodorize home very easily and efficiently while leaving surfaces virtually dry.

Most portable steam cleaners, Shark brand is a good example, are equipped with the interchangeable quick-release hand tools that are designed to clean flat surfaces, also hard-to-reach and tight spaces. Smaller models are designed as handheld steam cleaners, great for spots and surfaces, while other, larger ones with wheels are ideal for floor cleaning.


Based on the application and available features, you can find portable steamers as:

  • Handheld steam cleaner is the real representative of portability, designed for spots and household surfaces and usually not for floor cleaning due to smaller attachments and shorter cleaning time.

  • Home steam cleaner is the most versatile type, usually equipped with the floor brush and cloths, extension wands, have wheels for easy transport and can clean many surfaces.

  • Floor steam cleaners clean and sanitize flooring surfaces such as tiles, sealed wood and linoleum. You can find them as steam cleaner mops and home cleaners equipped with cleaning attachments.

  • Travel steamers are very small devices, made mainly for travelers.

Common uses for portable steam cleaners

As there are variety types of steamers, buy one wisely. Use floor steam cleaners just for floors, portable clothes steamer for clothes and when traveling use travel steamers... use it only for what it is designed for.

As different materials react differently on high temperature and moist, use the manual to see where the steam cleaner can be used. If not sure, always test on a small area first and for a short period of time.

Examples where to use vapor steam cleaners

  • Portable steam cleaners can be used on sealed hard surfaces to clean and sanitize without the use of chemicals.

  • Ceramic tiles, hardwood floors, marble, linoleum...

  • Clothes (not made of the delicate materials).

  • Carpet.

  • Walls.

  • Use the steamer to sanitize around the sink and taps.

  • Appliances - exterior surface only.

  • Furniture.

  • Bedding, mattress, drapes and blinds.

  • Garden tools.

  • Boats.

  • Doors and windows.

  • Inside of your car, including upholstery and carpet.

  • For bed bug infestation, bacteria and viruses.

  • Portable steam cleaners are great for allergy sufferers against dust mites and mold.

Examples where not to use

  • Freshly painted, waxed or polished surfaces.

  • Do not use it on wallpaper and self adhesive vinyl.

  • Materials that cannot withstand the moist and high temperature, soft plastic, for example.

  • Antiques.

  • Not recommended for leather.

  • Do not use portable steam cleaners on unsealed flooring and untreated wood.

The best portable steam cleaners

In searching for the best steamers, I have visited many websites, including consumersearch.com, Amazon.com, Walmart, Sears, Canadian Tire... and based on hundreds of online user reviews, the best portable steam cleaners are:

McCulloch MC-1275

McCulloch MC-1275 Heavy-Duty Portable Steam CleanerMcCulloch MC-1275

McCulloch MC-1275 - is the budget portable steam cleaner which can provide continuous steam of up to 45 minutes; thanks to the water tank of 48 oz. It offers a lock switch for steam control, so you can release your finger when cleaning, but you cannot adjust the steam.

The heating power of 1500 watts makes your steam cleaner ready in 2-8 minutes, but it depends on how much water is in the tank. McCulloch MC-1275 is designed mainly for cleaning stains and eliminating unpleasant odors, but not for disinfecting.

With the storage compartment for 10 attachments, including steam jet nozzle, two extension wands, a triangle, an upholstery/floor, and a utility brush... it perfectly steams away stains and odors from carpeting, floor mats, upholstery in the cars, truck buts, garage, patio furniture.

These portable steam cleaners have been rated 4 out of 5, based on over 430 reviews. You can buy McCulloch MC-1275 cleaner for $104, down from $150, and it comes with a one year warranty.

Wagner 905

Wagner 905 1,500-Watt On-Demand Power Steamer and CleanerWagner 905

Wagner 905 is on-demand power steamer and cleaner for the whole house. It also provides 45 minutes of continuous steam, but it takes longer for pre-heat (12 minutes).

Wagner's 1,500-watt steam power is not only great for cleaning floors, but it can remove wallpaper, kill bacteria, dust spores, mites, mold and sanitize. It actually provides a deep sanitizing steam that can be controlled with the touch of a button. Depending on the application, you can set the steamer output; continuous or intermittent steam.

With the available accessories, you can safely steam hard surfaces, upholstery, carpet, pillows, curtains, dirty barbeques and greasy stovetops... basically inside and around the house.

It has been rated 4.2 out of 5, based on over 370 reviews. You can buy Wagner 905 cleaner for $87, reduced from $150, and it comes with a one year warranty.

Shark SC630

Shark Steam Pocket Multi-Purpose Portable Steamer, SC630Shark SC630

Shark SC630 or model Premium SC630D is the handheld steam cleaner that is with the weight of only 7 pounds very easy to carry and use. It is designed for deep cleaning throughout the house, hard and soft surfaces, to remove grease and grime, soap scum and streaks, sanitize and even to eliminate wrinkles on garments.

Shark SC630 portable steam cleaners have been rated 3 out of 5, based on over 110 reviews. You can buy this handheld cleaner which includes a wide assortment of accessories, from $62, reduced from $100, and it comes with one year warranty.

Jiffy Steamer J-2000

Jiffy Steamer J-2000 Residential Series 1300-Watt Garment SteamerJiffy Steamer J-2000

Jiffy Steamer J-2000 is the garment steamer that uses 1300 watt power and high velocity steam to remove wrinkles from garments, upholstery and drapes. It takes less than a minute-two to heat up.

The water tank is removable and has a capacity to provide enough water for steaming up to 60 minutes. This lightweight steamer, has only 18 pounds, but for a convenience it has sturdy casters.

This garment steamer has been rated 4.4 out of 5, based on over 180 reviews. You can buy Jiffy Steamer J-2000 for $150, reduced from $170, and it comes with one a year warranty.

Ladybug XLT 2300

LadyBug XLT 2300 Dry Vapor Steam Cleaner with TANCS Disinfection SystemLadybug XLT 2300

Ladybug XLT 2300 with TANCS antimicrobial system is the best deluxe dry vapor steam cleaner, according to consumersearch.com.

This is a high performing model that heats quickly to the temperature of 298 F, making it ideal not only for home use but for lightweight commercial applications. The temperature of close to 300 F kills germs, bacteria and viruses so it is recommended for people who suffer from allergies, asthma and MCS.

Lady bug steam cleaner, XLT 2300 features 58-ounce water tank that provides a 60 minute continuous steam flow, while refill is available on the fly which increases the efficiency. It lacks the steam lock switch, but it provides a higher quality boiler, which is made of stainless steel. This is one of the most expensive portable steam cleaners, but it provides a superior performance, durability and reliability. It has a steam volume control, low water light and audible signal, built-on tool caddy and all the necessary brushes. Its price is $1700, and it comes with the warranty of 3 years.

Other two models/types that are worth mentioning are the floor steamer, Eureka 313A Enviro, which sells for $70, and is rated 4 out of 5, based on over 950 reviews; and the handheld travel steamer, Jiffy Steamer ESTEAM, which is rated 4 stars out of 5, based on over 150 reviews. It sells for $63.

How portable vapor cleaners work

Vapor steam cleaning originated in Italy.

Small and portable steam cleaners are equipped with an internal boiler that heats water and then releases the pressurized steam or vapor through a nozzle. This way the steam looses the bonds of grime and dirt naturally. You can use, and is recommended by manufacturers, a clean cloth to remove dirt, by wiping the steamed surface off before it gets dry.

Most portable steam cleaners, such as handheld travel and garment steamers do not use suction, as larger carpet cleaners or floor steam cleaners. They simply expose the material with the light mist. As the steam coming out is on a high temperature, it is recommended to expose the surface for a few seconds in order to sanitize it properly. Vapor steamers actually offer a chemical free cleaning solution.

Buying a portable steam cleaner - What to look for

Handheld steam cleaner has the much smaller capacity that the larger wheel-mounted unit, and the steaming time is much less, usually up to 10 minutes. Bigger units, equipped with the wider nozzles, wand extension, can clean larger areas for up to an hour.

This is why steamers with a larger boiler are user preference. Smaller units or handheld are easy to move and transport, you can carry them from one room to another and clean every part of your home. Large and bulkier once are harder to move around and reach areas, such as sofas or cars.

More expensive portable steam steamers are faster and more effective as they generate hotter and more steam. High temperature steam... i.e. over 200 F helps in destroying dust mites, mold, viruses, bacteria... or sanitize dirty areas. They are also equipped with better material, such as stainless steel boiler vs. plastic one on the cheaper models, pressure gauge, steam control and a lot of multipurpose attachments...

Buy a steamer which has a stainless steel or aluminum boiler as they are more durable. If the water tank can separate from the unit, better. Fast start up time means you can clean it sooner.


Remember, portable steam cleaners for home are designed to clean and sanitize without the use of harsh chemicals. Either you buy a handheld steam cleaner, floor or home steamer, you will have portability and green cleaning. This way steam cleaning is protecting household members and the environment. Which one should you buy? Checking the online reviews... recommended are popular brands such as Shark, Bissell, Oreck, McCulloch...

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