10 Best Handheld Steam Cleaners: Reviews and Buying Guide (2018)

Clean quickly, environmentally friendly and easy – with a handheld steam cleaner no problem. These household appliances, which are often referred to as Dampfente, promise a power-saving cleaning without chemicals.

Our guide contains detailed information on how a steam cleaner works and builds, as well as numerous suggestions for using and maintaining the device. With the help of our buying guide, you can also buy a steam duck that fits perfectly with your household.

Top 10 Handheld Steam Cleaners

What is a handheld steam cleaner and what do you need it for?

A handheld steam cleaner, otherwise called a steam duck, is a small electrical appliance. As the name suggests, a steam cleaner cleans by the power of hot steam.

Steam can be used to clean different surfaces in and out of the house. We will go into more detail below about the areas of application of the handheld steam cleaner.

A hand-held steam cleaner is to be distinguished from a steam broom, a conventional steam cleaner on wheels as well as from the Dampfsauger. A hand-held steam cleaner is exclusively made by hand and is designed primarily for smaller plasterwork.

How does a handheld steam cleaner work?

In the plastic housing of the steam duck, a water tank is integrated. The reservoir is either permanently installed or removable. The heating element, for example, a heating coil, heats the water at least to the boiling point, resulting in a hot steam. Some steam cleaners generate up to 140 ° C hot steam.

This produces more than 1,600 liters of steam from only one liter of water, thus creating an extremely high pressure inside the water tank.

Through an attachment nozzle, the steam is discharged in a controlled manner and used to treat the corresponding surface. The cleaning is done either exclusively with steam or assisted by cleaning wipes/pads. Chemical agents are usually not used.

For which users are handheld steam cleaners most suitable?

The steam ducks are designed for a wide range of users because, in the end, every household has its own cleaning job. As steam is not only clean but also ecologically compliant, these appliances are an interesting solution, not least for environmentally conscious consumers. In addition, steam cleaners benefit allergy sufferers and those who place particularly high demands on hygiene.

Which alternatives to a handheld steam cleaner are there?

A steam duck is a compact and handy electrical appliance designed for cleaning work surfaces in the kitchen, in the shower and toilet area, for cleaning car rims, windows, tile joints, and other compact surfaces.

Which functions and features do a steam duck have?

Although all hand-held steam cleaners are fundamentally similar, the equipment and technical specifications differ considerably.

  • Power consumption. The Handdampfreiniger differ significantly in terms of performance. At the bottom, there are devices with a power consumption of less than 1,000 W, while the upper-class steam ducks have an output of more than 1,500 W. The power consumption has an effect on how fast the steam forms and at what pressure the water vapor is transported out of the nozzle.
  • Heating time. Every handheld steam cleaner needs some time to get ready. The vast majority of models generate enough steam after just 2 to 3 minutes to start cleaning.
  • Vapor pressure . Certain differences exist between the hand-held steam cleaners also in relation to the generated steam pressure, which varies depending on the model between 2.2 bar and 3.5 bar. The stronger the shot of steam, the more effective the cleaning – the dirt can be softened and removed more quickly.
  • Water tank volume. In the steam ducks, water tanks with a capacity between 0.2 l and 0.4 l are installed. The larger the tank, the longer it can be cleaned with just one “charge”. Mostly, the reservoir has to be refilled every 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Construction of the water tank. Depending on the model, a water tank is either permanently installed in the housing of the handheld steam cleaner or can be removed for refilling. Since these household appliances are generally not heavyweights, the said property does not play a decisive role in a steam duck.
  • Weight. A modern steam cleaner weighs between 1 kg and 1.5 kg. The weight is always indicated with an empty tank! Do not put more than 1.7 kg on the scale to keep it handy.
  • Cable length. A steam duck is designed for mobile cleaning, that is, in the room a window, sometimes the sofa, sometimes a few steps further in the bathroom, the faucet clean. To stay flexible, a relatively long cable is an advantage. On the other hand, a cable with excess length threatens to become a tripping hazard. A 3 to 4 m long cable is considered optimal.
  • Accessories. The scope of delivery of the Handdampfreiniger varies. Some manufacturers equip their models with a minimum of accessories and offer additional nozzles separately for sale. Others rely on the widest possible selection of steam nozzles.
    • Other useful accessories: Extension hose for thorough cleaning of tight spaces and cleaning cloths, or pads to absorb the dissolved dirt. At STERN.de, we always point out the scope of delivery.
    • Safety valve. Due to intensive steam development of a vapor duck is a not inconsiderable risk of scalding. To prevent the injuries, today almost all models are equipped with a valve. The valve closes the water tank and can not be easily opened during operation.
    • Child safety lock, safeguard against unintentional switching on. Not all models featured on STERN.de are equipped with this feature, even if it is a very handy feature in itself. A parental lock prevents the device from being accidentally activated because a slider must be moved before switching it on.
    • Sensor lights. Quite a few manufacturers are equipping their steam ducks with a visual alarm that shows, for example, whether the unit is currently in operation and hot steam is being generated inside the tank, or whether there is enough water in the reservoir.
  • Adjustable steam strength. This feature only honors a few selected models and is not standard. In the overall rather low pressures that develop a steam duck, the said feature is actually dispensable, although quite useful for some surfaces.
  • Steam temperature. In general, the achieved steam temperature cannot be adjusted. However, the differences between the models are considerable: while some steam duels only reach 100 – 105 ° C, the other models produce extra hot steam at temperatures of 135 ° C or more. The higher the temperature, the more effective and thus simpler the cleaning. However, some particularly sensitive surfaces are not necessarily suitable for high-temperature steam cleaning.

Where can a handheld steam cleaner be used in the household?

A steam duck is an easy-to-use household appliance that can handle quite a variety of household cleaning tasks.

Clean kitchens with a steam duck

In a kitchen, there are many possible uses for a steam cleaner. Last but not least, the hobs, including glass ceramic and induction cookers, can be steam-cleaned. Even ovens can be rid of encrustations using a steam jet. Furthermore, fittings, sinks and work surfaces of the fitted kitchens are easy to clean with steam.

Clean the bathroom and shower with handheld steam cleaners

Shower cubicles, bathtubs, and sinks are water resistant and therefore ideal for cleaning with steam. In addition, by a shot of steam harmful germs and bacteria are killed.

For all tiled floors and walls, the steam duck is also a good choice1: Last but not least, the joints can be perfectly cleaned with a round brush.

Steam clean the WC

Especially with the extension hoses and angle attachments, a toilet bowl with steam can be cleaned very successfully and also free of chemicals.

Clean the living room with a steam duck

In the living room waiting for a handheld steam cleaner several tasks. A padded top, possibly equipped with a cleaning cloth, helps to rid the upholstered furniture of dust and even stains.

Tapestries and also throw pillows may also be cleaned with steam. Curtains are also one of the main uses for the steam. To refresh the fabrics, the curtains do not even have to be removed.

Bedroom and clothes steam clean

The highly heated steam is considered a proven and effective remedy against the mites, which can cause severe allergic reactions. Therefore, all mattresses, pillows, and comforters may like to be steam cleaned.

Do not forget to dry the mattresses and other sleeping accessories after steam cleaning. Alternative: Treat textiles only with hot air if the steam cleaner has such a function.

To refresh the clothes and to smooth the wrinkles, the steam is also suitable as an agent. Among other things, the high-quality leather clothing with steam can be freed from dirt, but the round brush is best suited.

Clean window with steam

Steam cleaning is a very easy way to get the windows, but also mirrors, clean. With steam, all windows can be cleaned without streaks, provided that a nozzle developed for this purpose – the window puller – is used.

Keep clean with a handheld steam cleaner

Although these home appliances are not specifically designed for outdoor use, a handheld steam cleaner may be used outdoors in certain cases. For example, dust and oil residues can be removed from the car rims with a spot jet nozzle. Flower pots are effectively cleaned with steam from mold and debris. In addition, tiled house entrances may also be steam-cleaned. However, it should be noted that a steam duck can only efficiently treat relatively small areas. Usually offers for the garden a high-pressure cleaner as a better solution.

Notes on the operation and care of a handheld steam cleaner

The steam ducks can be operated intuitively because most models are equipped only with an on/off button.

The conversion of the attachment nozzles also takes place without a considerable expenditure of energy and time and requires no expertise.


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