Five best steam cleaners

If you need to clean hard floors, a steam mop is a great investment. Buy a combination type, and you can use the power of steam to tackle everything from ovens and windows to bathroom tiles and even the dustbin. Steam cleaners work by heating up water to produce steam, which cleans surfaces at high pressure - removing dirt and grease and killing germs fast. Here are five of the best around.

1. Karcher SC1 Steam Stick

As combined steam cleaners go, the Karcher Steam Stick is a compact and powerful option. A good all-rounder that can tackle any cleaning situation, it is lightweight (1.5kg without accessories) and can be used as a steam mop or a handheld cleaner. Its 250ml water tank heats up to steam in three minutes, and it comes with an impressive set of accessories including an extended hose, allowing you to reach even the most awkward spots.

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2. Vax Steam Fresh Power Plus

If you're after a reliable steam cleaner, Vax models are always worth a look – and their latest steam cleaner won't disappoint. The Vax Steam Fresh Power Plus gets top reviews and was named an 'Indy best buy' in a review by the Independent recently. It manoeuvres well, reaching even the most awkward corners, and the mop and handheld wand both mean business, lifting even the most hardened spillages.

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3. Vax S3S+ Hard Floor Steam Cleaner

Sometimes you don't need lots of accessories - you just want a simple steam mop that can clean floors to a shine. This Vax stick model came top in a review of steam cleaners at the Good Housekeeping Institute recently, scoring 81/100. Reviewers were impressed with how straightforward it is to use and its effortless performance on the most stubborn of stains. At just 3.4kg, it feels lightweight in use and boasts 1600W of power with variable steam options. Thanks to its good-sized 0.5L water tank, you'll get the job done in no time.

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4. Vileda Steam Mop

If you want change from £100, Vileda do a basic steam mop that performs well. You won't get as many accessories as some brands offer, but it does a good job at cleaning and is easy to use. Unlike some models, the water isn't directly heated, so you can open the water tank and top up at any point.

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5. Polti Vaporetto Eco Pro 3.0 Steam Cleaner

At the other end of the scale, the Polti Vaporetto Eco Pro 3.0 Steam Cleaner is a great machine if you can afford it. It's super powerful and good at killing dust mites and allergens, so good for those who suffer from asthma or allergies. It cleans a treat on a variety of surfaces, including carpets and sofas, as well as hard floors and windows, while the brush attachment is great at cleaning tiles. It takes a little while to get used to, but the results are worth it.

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