Best Steam Vacuum

Steam vacuum cleaners are a useful for any household with hard floors, carpeting or both. They replace a multitude of cleaning tools including brooms, mops and buckets.

Every homeowner knows that regular vacuuming is important. But, steam cleaning your floors and carpets periodically is vital to keeping them fresh-smelling and clean. More importantly, it keeps them free of bacteria and dust mites.

Whether you love the look and feel of carpeting or have hard surfaces, investing in a steam vacuum cleaner is a good idea.


Our Picks: Top Options for Steam Vacuum Cleaners

For more options: View the available steam vacuum cleaners available on


What is a Steam Vacuum?

A steam vacuum is a vacuum cleaner that’s equipped with steam cleaning function.

As such, these 2-in-1 cleaners come with suction that lets them pick up dirt and dust from your floors. But, unlike regular vacuums, they let you steam clean surfaces as well.

Steam vacuum cleaners use water that is heated to produce steam.

  • This lets you dry vacuum your floors. Then disinfect and sanitize them. Thus, leaving your home with cleaner, shinier floors. It works great on hard floors including tiles. This makes them perfect for sanitizing kitchens, bathrooms and even living rooms.
  • You can also use it to give your  floors and carpets a thorough cleaning. Use the vacuum feature to pick up dirt and debris. Then, steam clean floors and carpeting using high pressure. The higher the pressure, the cleaner your carpets will be when you are finished. This is because rugs and carpet can hold dirt, grime, and bacteria, all of which are unsafe for you and your children. This is especially true if you spend any time sitting or lying on them.

A steam vacuum cleaner is a useful appliance in your home. They replace two cleaning devices, the steam mop and vacuum. Plus, they work on both hard surfaces as well as rugs and carpets.

How Does It Work?

To get a better idea of how a steam vacuum works, here’s a video that explains its different parts and how it functions.

As mentioned earlier, these devices come with both vacuum and steam cleaning features. You use each of them separately.

To do so, steam vacuums cleaners come with a switch. This lets you select between the vacuum function and steam cleaning function.

Often, it is a good idea to vacuum first, then steam clean. This gets rid of all the dust and debris from the surface to prepare it for steam cleaning.

  • A good steam vacuum gives you sufficient suction to pick up dirt particles. It is easy to maneuver and can handle different surfaces.
  • For steam cleaning, it uses hot water to create steam. This eliminates the issue of using chemicals on your floors. These appliances often come with microfiber pads that are placed under the steam jet. The pads help the device collect dirt from the floors and carpets. Meanwhile, the high temperature steam disinfects the surfaces.

The best part about these cleaning appliances is you can even use your steam vacuum cleaner on your upholstered chairs, throw pillows and car seats.


Steam Vacuums vs. Regular Vacuums vs. Steam Mops

Vacuum Cleaners

Standard vacuums are designed for cleaning dirt, dust and debris. They use suction to pick up these dry objects from the ground or above floor surfaces. They’re an automated version of the broom. Thus, make sweeping your floors more convenient, hygienic and efficient.

Vacuum cleaners are great for cleaning hard surfaces and carpets. For the latter, they can remove dirt and allergens stuck deep in the fabric.

  • What they do well: pick up dirt, dust, hair and debris from floors and furniture.
  • What they don’t do: sanitize your floors or kill the bacteria and germs.

Steam Mops

Steam mops are a step up above the traditional mop. They essentially do the same thing but better.

The benefit of using steam mops over the old-fashioned wet mop and bucket is you do less work. In addition, you are able to disinfect and sanitize floors as well.

We also like that they don’t use any chemicals in the process. Steam mops only use hot water. This makes them safe for the kids to play on the floor.

Traditional mops use water and the cloth to soak up the dirt. This does remove the dirt from the floor. But, it doesn’t totally get rid of the germs and bacteria there.

Steam mops on the other hand, use hot water to create steam. The high temperature from the steam kills the germs and bacteria. As such, not only cleaning your floors but also disinfecting and sanitizing them at the same time.

  • What they do well: disinfect and sanitize your floors and other surfaces. The hot steam kills around 99% of the germs, dust mites and bacteria. This results in cleaner floors and surfaces. Just as importantly better indoor air quality for your home.
  • What they don’t do well: pick up dirt and clean object from your floors. They can do this to a degree. But, they aren’t adept at it. Additionally, the pads get really dirty if there’s a lot of dust and particles on the surfaces. This means you have the wash the pads as well.

Steam Vacuums

Steam vacuums are a combination of your vacuum and steam mop.

They look like a stick vacuum or steam mop, but offer both features. This lets you vacuum your floors and carpets first. Then steam clean them after.

As a result you get the benefits of both a vacuum and a steam cleaner at the same time.

Our Take

While they’re often compared to one another as cleaning devices, vacuums and steam mops are more complementary.

  • Vacuums are adept for picking up dirt. While they clean your floors, they don’t kill germs.
  • Steam mops can clean your floors. But, they aren’t as good at it as vacuums. Plus, there’s the hassle of washing a lot of dirt from the microfiber pads. What they’re good at is killing germs and bacteria.

As such, vacuuming first to get rid of all the dirt and debris on your floors. Then, steam cleaning afterwards is ideal. It cleans your floors from any dirt particles. Plus, makes them more hygienic because they’re disinfected.

If you want to save money and storage space, getting a steam vacuum covers both cleaning appliances. It’s a 2-in-1 device that lets you do both vacuuming and steam cleaning.


Pros & Cons of Steam Vacuum Cleaners


  • Offer you 2 cleaning features in 1 tool: vacuum and steam cleaning.
  • They clean multiple surfaces. You can use them on bare floors like tiles and wood, as well as rugs and carpets. Additionally, some models work well for curtains, furniture and fabric.
  • More hygienic. They sanitize and disinfect floors. Thus, killing germs and bacteria.
  • No chemicals used. They heat water to create steam. Thus, no chemicals are needed.
  • They’re available in home and commercial models. Home models are lightweight and inexpensive.
  • Commercial units are large and expensive.
  • Steam cleaned hard surfaces dry quickly.


  • Home steam vacs don’t vacuum carpets as well as upright models. Commercial units do a better job.
  • But their cost and size make them impractical for home use.
  • Residential units are not designed to clean large areas.
  • Home steam vacuum cleaners don’t pack as much suction as upright and canister vacuums. Again, commercial units can do so. But don’t make much sense for home use.
  • It takes more time for carpets to dry.
  • They don’t get as hot as standalone steam cleaners.


Choosing a Steam Vacuum: Buying Guide

Steam vacuum cleaners are meant to do two things. These are vacuum and steam clean. Since these two tasks are different, it helps to break down each of them to see what each feature offers.

1. Suction Power

When it comes to the vacuum function, we’re looking for a powerful motor that provides good suction. This lets you vacuum your floors as well as carpets.

Choosing one that’s easy to push around and maneuver helps a lot. In addition, consider the size of the dirt container and the filtration that it comes with.

These components help you clean better.

2. Steam Cleaning Ability

When it comes to steam cleaning, a large water tank is good thing. We also recommend looking for a product that lets you easily refill the water. Many models come with removable tanks which make this process simpler.

Another thing to consider is how hot the steam gets. The higher the temperature, the more effective it is in killing germs.

Finally, there’s the issue of the pads. Pads are attached to the bottom of the device when cleaning. These microfiber pads soak up all the dirt. Additionally, they’re also where the steam jets go through.

Depending on the product you get, you may have different types of pads that are designed to handle different kinds of floors.

3. Styles and Design

In addition to look and feel, there’s the issue of size and weight. Style and design tells you how easy it is to carry and navigate. It also determines how the different sections of the vacuum and steamer are organized.

Often, you should have a switch or setting feature. This lets you switch between the vacuum and steam mop features.


Best Steam Vacuum Reviews

Bissell Symphony Pet All-in-One Vacuum and Steam Mop, 1543A

This Bissell Symphony Pet is a cleaning device that lets you steam and vacuum at the same time. This eliminates the need for having to buy a vacuum and a steam mop.

The unit is designed to pick up after pets as well as dirt. It comes with good suction. This lets you clean dog and cat hair while giving your floors are thorough cleaning.

The steam adds an extra advantage to cleaning as it gets rid of wet messes and sanitizes the floors. We like that it lets you select between high and low steam. This lets you choose which one is appropriate for your floors.

The device also comes with a few extra pad attachments. You can add these at the bottom to make cleaning easier. The disposable pad let you clean things easier. With it you can just remove the pad from the vacuum’s head when you’re done. Then throw it into the trash bin.

Overall, this is a nice appliance to have at home. It vacuums to clean dirt particles and pet hair. In addition, it lets you clean your floors after with steam.

Bissell 1132A Symphony All-in-One Vacuum and Steam Mop

This is another option that gives you an efficient way of cleaning both dirt and sticky messes at home. The device is similar to the Symphony Pet model above. Though this one is geared towards homes that don’t have pets.

It offers the same vacuum and steam mop ability. This saves you from having to do two tasks separately. The addition of the steam mop ability also gets rid of 99.9% of bacteria and germs on your floors. The best part is there’s no chemicals used in the process.

This makes your home’s surfaces cleaner for your kids to play in. They also make it safer to walk barefoot on.

In addition to vacuuming, you can select between high and low steam. This lets you use the right intensity to keep your floors clean and damage free.

Low steam is great for delicate floors. It is ideal for laminate and sealed hardwood floors. It also lets you clean small, everyday messes.

High steam is for more stubborn messes. This works well for the sticky ones and those that have dried up. They also let you get a more thorough clean on harder surfaces like tile and vinyl.

Overall, the unit is lightweight. It is also easy to maneuver. It makes cleaning more convenient. Plus, it saves you from spending on two cleaning appliances.

Hoover Carpet Cleaner SteamVac with Clean Surge Carpet Cleaner Machine F5914900

This is a device that’s designed for cleaning carpets. It works by combining the functions of a vacuum and a steam cleaner.

This lets it lift away dirt and other particles stuck in your carpet. At the steam time, it uses steam to

  • 2 tanks
  • 12 amp motor

A few things we didn’t like about it was that it was heavy and loud. The weight made it harder to maneuver around. The noise meanwhile, was also louder than what you’d expect.

Overall, this device cleans floors well. Its vacuum and steam cleaning ability give you 2 tools in 1 device. It is easy to use and assemble. We also like that it is durable.


Do You Need a Steam Vacuum Cleaner?

You should vacuum your floors and carpets with a regular vacuum cleaner several times a week to keep them looking pretty and clean.

Your everyday household vacuum cleaner uses a suction mechanism to remove icky substances in your carpet. These include everything from dirt, debris, hair and pet dander. It also harbors many other tiny little things that cause bacteria to form. All of which form deep inside your beautiful carpet and lurk there.

Most people wait until there are stains on their carpet or dingy spots in high-traffic areas to break out the steam cleaner. But, cleaning your floors and carpets thoroughly should happen a little more often than that.

While it is not safe for your carpets to use a steam vacuum on them too often, you should steam-clean your carpets at least once a year. Hiring a professional can get you the best results. But, they can be expensive.

With millions of Americans suffering from a variety of allergies, including ones that stem from indoor allergens, air quality in your home is extremely important.

Steam vacuum cleaners have been referred to as carpet cleaners or carpet shampooers for years. But, what it boils down to is the fact that a good, quality steam vacuum cleaner is needed to keep the bacteria and allergens out of your home and away from your family.

Similar Articles

Also: More Home Appliances