How Do You Pick the Right Steam Vacuum?

A good steam vacuum does more than just remove dirt from your carpet. It has accessories to help you remove dirt from upholstery, hard floors and other surfaces. It has a lot of uses.

Many models allow you to use approved soaps or detergents in them, but the power of the hot water or steam alone does quite a bit of the work for you. You may not need the detergent at all for many jobs.

It’s confusing sometimes figuring out which steam vacuum is right for you. There are a lot of great features available, and they can be a bit confusing. Do you really need an extra blast of cleaning solution for spot cleaning? Does hot air from the steam vacuum really help dry your carpet faster?

Fortunately, there are a lot of people willing to share their experiences with their own steam vacuums. Their tips can make it much easier for you to choose one for yourself.

Here are some of the best steam vacuum cleaners currently available:

Upright Models

Upright steam vacuums are great for cleaning carpet, and some do well on hard floors as well. Their accessories allow you to clean upholstery and other areas.

A disadvantage to many upright models is that you need to thoroughly clean out the brushes after every use. They tend to clog easily with fibers and dirt from your carpet. They should also be allowed to dry thoroughly after each use, especially if you’re going to store it on carpet. It’s better to store them on a hard floor that can tolerate dampness. You should clean out and dry all water tanks as well before storage.

Hoover MaxExtract77 Multi-Surface Pro Carpet & Hard Floor Cleaner FH50240

*Top Rated Pick*


  • MaxExtract DualV Nozzle Technology pulls out more water so your carpet dries quickly
  • Pressurized edge to edge cleaning
  • 77 spinning brushes
  • 3 SpinScrub settings
  • Separate clean and dirty water tanks
  • Cleans carpets and hard floors

This is a more recent release than many other models, and does a great job. It uses more SpinScrub brushes than other Hoover models I have seen.

One great feature is their Spill mode, which focuses on getting the spill up without scrubbing it deeper into the carpet.

Hoover SteamVac Carpet Cleaner with Clean Surge, F5914-900


  • 12 amp motor
  • 5 spinning/scrubbing brushes
  • Separate clean and dirty water tanks
  • Clean surge feature adds extra cleaning solution for extra dirty spots on the carpet
  • 8 foot hose

This steam vacuum does a great job on carpets, both in cleaning and in drying them after. You’ll still have some dampness to deal with, but if you’re patient with the drying part of the job, you can tell when most of the water has been pulled back out of the carpet.

Some reviews note problems with leakage. Leaks are often due to parts not being snapped in correctly. Many other commonly reported problems relate to parts not being in quite right.

Bissell ProHeat 2X CleanShot Upright Deep Cleaner, Red Berends, 9500


  • 2 in 1 water tank
  • Dual brushes
  • Different settings to control amount of detergent used
  • Include a 3-inch tough-stain tool, a 4-inch upholstery tool, a spraying crevice tool, a 6-inch stair tool, a TurboBrush, and a mesh bag
  • Uses heated air to help dry the carpet

The ProHeat does a great job of carpet cleaning, but there is some concern that it can be a little rough on carpets. It may throw clumps of carpet fibers as you work, which have to be picked up. On the other hand, it pulls quite a bit of dirt out of the carpet.

The rinse setting is great if you’re concerned about leaving a residue on your carpet. The rinse helps get those last bits of detergent out so it doesn’t attract more dirt to your carpet. You can do a fair job of cleaning with just water, in fact.

Hoover SteamVac Carpet Cleaner, All-Terrain, F7452900


  • 12 amp motor
  • Cleans carpets and hard floors
  • 5 SpinScrub brushes
  • Equal suction across the length of the nozzle
  • SpinScrub powered hand tool
  • Separate clean and dirty water tanks

This is a great model to get if you want to clean both carpets and hard floors. It includes a squeegee and brushes for hard floor cleaning. It won’t do well on floor tile grout, but it will do a good job on the tiles themselves.

Canister Models

The focus of canister steamers is not so much on carpets as it is on steaming hard surfaces. If your focus is on cleaning carpets, you’re better off with an upright model.

If you want to clean more areas of your home, a canister model is a great choice. They make very hot steam and usually do not need an additional detergent. You can even clean the cooked on grease from a barbecue.

Consider a canister steamer if you’ve been considering the purchase of a steam mop. You’ll get a lot more for your money.

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

*Top Rated Pick*


  • 1500 watt steam cleaner
  • Can be used to remove wallpaper
  • Weighs less than 18 pounds
  • Uses only water
  • Includes a wallpaper steam plate, floor cleaner attachment, window/tile squeegee, two extension tubes, and jet nozzle

This steamer provides steam at the push of a button. You decide if you need continuous steam or just a bit here and there. It is highly portable, so you can move easily from room to room as you clean.

Vapamore MR-100 Steamer


  • 1500 watt steamer
  • Variable steam control
  • Uses only water
  • 10 steam jets

The Vapamore Steamer provides very hot steam and has 10 steam jets to provide a lot of cleaning power. It’s lightweight enough to comfortably move around as you clean.

This unit comes with a good variety of accessories to help you clean many surfaces around your home.

Vapamore steam vacuum price

Haan MS-30 Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner


  • Multipurpose steamer for all around the house
  • Produces 212 degree F steam
  • Attachments for many types of household cleaning
  • 12 steam jets

The Haan heats quickly, but has a somewhat small tank. You should be able to clean for about 20 minutes or so with it.

Hand Held Steam Cleaners

Sometimes you don’t need a great big steam cleaner. You just need a little one. Something space efficient but still effective at cleaning in your home. These hand held steam cleaners give value for the space they take.

Haan Deluxe Total Home Steam Cleaning System, Includes FS-20+ Upright Vapor Steam Floor Sanitizer, & HS-20 Lightweight Handheld Personal Steamer

*Top Rated Pick*

This set includes a steam mop and the hand held steamer, but that means it does a lot! Hard floors, carpets, countertops, upholstery, stoves, grills, windows, mirrors and more, all with just water.

Overall it does a really good job, but you may find it helpful to switch from the floor cleaner to the hand held unit alone for especially tough areas on the floor. That’s how you get the hottest steam on your toughest stains.

Dirt Devil PD20005 Hand Held Steamer

This little Dirt Devil is small, but gets the job done. It cleans countertops, sinks, stoves, windows, showers and takes wrinkles out of clothing, all without taking up a lot of storage space. It’s great at getting into those little crevices that are such a pain to clean normally.

SteamFast SF-226 Handheld Steam Cleaner

This little unit heats up in about 3 minutes, with about 10 minutes of cleaning time. That may not seem like much, but it’s not meant for huge jobs. 10 minutes is still enough time to get some pretty good work done.


  • Steam Jet nozzle
  • short nylon utility brush
  • long nylon utility brush
  • brass utility brush
  • large steam nozzle
  • cloth cover
  • squeegee
  • measuring cup

It’s great for uses around the kitchen, bathroom, barbecue and more. Once you start cleaning with steam and no other chemicals, you’ll know why so many people love it.

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