Still with me? Let’s get started.
The main things you want to look for are: function, price, cord length, and steam settings.
What I mean here is “what does it do”? Most floor steamers work on any hard surface, though some clean some types of surfaces better than others.
If it doesn’t at least do laminate, tile, and hardwood well (gauged by looking at specific user experience), it’s junk.
Doing carpet is a bonus, and many floor steamers have a carpet function that lets them glide over carpet and steam clean the fibers. If your floor steamer isn’t designed to work on carpet, don’t use it for that. Best case scenario the fiber cleaning head is just awkward and weird and doesn’t do anything. Worst case you soak through your carpet and start breeding mold under there.
If it breaks out into a handheld version (especially with special attachments), consider that a huge plus. That means it can be used for anything from cleaning walls, appliances (like your refrigerator or stove) to steaming curtains and garments. This rockets it into an instantly more versatile and desirable product since it means you can combine several cleaning tools into one and save a ton of space.
I gave this one its own slot to stress how important it is to have a long (around 20 feet or so) cord, just like you’d want on a vacuum cleaner. Shorter cords make for more awkward cleaning, especially if you have a room with only one plug. Extension cables can help, but you shouldn’t have to attach a separate item to get the most out of your current product as far as I’m concerned.
Floor steamers generally use superheated steam (over boiling by about 20 degrees), which tends to be “drier” and has a disinfecting effect for some bacteria. This is good for most things, but having settings for bursts of even hotter or even slightly softer steam can be great for some things as well.
Like all home appliances, these products have a wide pricing range. Your low end for price may vary as well as the high end ones (particularly for commercial use, though we won’t be talking about those here).
Keep that in mind when buying, and don’t go over your budget; there are still good, relatively cheap options even if the more expensive ones tend to be a bit better in number of settings or special features if nothing else.