Steam cleaners are incredibly versatile tools that can be used for various cleaning jobs. Instead of using detergents, these appliances clean with steam, which makes them safer to use on delicate surfaces, like upholstery and hardwoods. The high temperature of the steam is excellent for disinfecting and for cleaning tough messes, like grease and grime. As an added bonus, because steam cleaners utilize water, they are much more environmentally friendly and easier on the budget.
There are so many types of steam cleaners on the market, which can make buying one that meets your needs a daunting task. To make your shopping experience an easier one – and more successful – we have done all the research for you and created this handy shopping guide for you.
Types of Steam Cleaners
There are five types of steam cleaners on the market, which include:
- Handheld steam cleaners
- Mop steam cleaners
- Cylindrical steam cleaners
- Non-pressurized steam cleaners
- Pressurized steam cleaners
Handheld Steam Cleaners
Handheld steam cleaners are the smallest variety, making them extremely portable and easier to store. They also tend to be the least expensive of the five types. Handheld steam cleaners boast a variety of attachments, which allows them to tackle various cleaning tasks around the home, such as cleaning floors, walls, windows and upholstery.
Mop Steam Cleaners
As the name suggests, mop steam cleaners are designed specifically to clean floors. They feature soft pads, which glide easily over hard surfaced floors, such as tile and wood. They also heat up quickly, which allows you to clean your floors with ease. They are much easier to use than traditional mops because you don’t have to fill up buckets of water and constantly rinse, reload and wring them out; and, since they aren’t continuously being dipped in dirty water, they are much more sanitary than traditional mops.
These steam cleaners feature large water tanks, which makes them ideal for larger cleaning jobs because they don’t have to be reloaded as often. Cylindrical cleaners also come with a lot of attachments, which makes them a great tool for cleaning various surfaces, such as floors, ovens, walls, windows and even couches. You can clean an entire kitchen, from floor to ceiling, without having to reload water when you use a cylindrical steam cleaner.
Un-Pressurized Steam Cleaners
These steam cleaners don’t have any extra pressure behind them, and clean solely with steam. The heat of the steam that they create is powerful enough to remove dirt and grime from virtually any surface in the home.
Pressurized Steam Cleaners
Pressurized steam cleaners combine pressure and steam, giving them even more powerful cleaning capabilities. The steam is pushed out of the cleaner with added pressure, making them an ideal tool for cleaning tough, caked on dirt and grime. Pressurized steam cleaners are excellent for commercial cleaning, such as hospitals and schools.
Steam Cleaner Considerations
When shopping for a steam cleaner, there are definite factors that you are going to want to take into consideration to ensure you purchase the best one for your specific needs.
You want your steam cleaner to last you a long time. The more durable it is, the longer it will last. Steam cleaners that feature stainless steel boilers and heating elements that can be replaced are the most durable. The stainless steel will be able to withstand the heat, and if the heating element should erode, being able to replace them will allow you to simply remove the corroded element and replace it with a new one.
Steam cleaners can come with a variety of attachments, which make them a lot more versatile, allowing them to be used for a variety of cleaning jobs. If you plan on using your steam cleaner to clean various spaces, you are going to want to choose one that comes with several attachments.
The size of the cleaner is also important. Smaller steam cleaners with smaller tanks heat up quicker and are more portable, which makes them ideal for those quick cleanups around the house. Larger cleaners have larger tanks, and though they aren’t as portable and they take longer to heat up, you won’t have to refill as often.
The power of the steam cleaner will determine what type of cleaning you can do. Generally speaking, if you plan on using your steam cleaner to clean your home, 1000 watts of power should be sufficient enough. If you are going to be using the steam cleaner to clean bigger, more caked on messes, such as tools or vehicles, look for one that boasts more than 1000 watts of power.
Steam cleaners vary widely in price. Typically, larger, pressurized steamers that come outfitted with a lot of attachments will cost more. Determine your budget before you start shopping so that you can purchase one that fits in your price range.
Steam cleaners can offer a variety of features. Because you want the appliance to effectively clean the surfaces you will be using it on, you want to know what features to look for.
One of the most important features of a steam cleaner is the attachments that it comes with. Common attachments include brushes and nozzles. Brushes allow you to apply extra pressure to the surface you are cleaning, along with the steam. They are ideal for cleaning ovens, grills and other surfaces that commonly acquire caked on dirt. Nozzles allow you to alter the spray of the steam. They are an excellent feature if you are planning on cleaning hard to reach areas, like grout between tiles or the crevices on stairs.
Typically made of microfiber, cleaning pads allow you to put some scrubbing power behind your steam cleaner while helping you contain loose debris and absorb excess water that the steam leaves behind, giving you a streak-free shine. Machine washable pads are ideal because they will save you money and they are much more environmentally friendly.
A feature for mop steam cleaners, carpet trays allow you to use your steam mop to clean your carpets. With this feature, you will be able to deodorize, sanitize and refresh your carpets.
The more handles you have for your steam cleaner, the easier it will be for you to control it. They also make your steam cleaner more comfortable to use.
Poles give extra length to your steam cleaner, allowing you to use them for those really hard to reach spaces, such as windows, ceilings, on top of cabinets, ceiling vents and ceiling fans. Poles come in various lengths.
With garment attachments, you can use your steam cleaner to clean and press your clothing. Garment attachments help to protect your clothing and allow you to give your clothing a deep, sanitizing clean. Garment attachments also allow you to use your steam cleaner to remove wrinkles from clothing.
With added scents, not only will you get a deep clean with your steam cleaner, but you will also give the air in the room a pleasant scent. Simply add the scent to a pad before you start cleaning and the heat of the steam will activate the scent, deodorizing the room you are cleaning.
Some steam cleaners are designed with built-in anti-calc filters. These filters are highly recommended if you are using hard water with your steamer, as they remove the sediment from the water, thus prolonging the life of the steamer. Plus, when extra sediment is removed from the water, you won’t have to deal with a buildup of sediment on the surfaces you are cleaning.
Steam Volume Control
A steam volume control will allow you to control the amount of steam that comes out of your steamer. Adjusting the amount of steam that the steamer will extract will allow you to control the amount of moisture that the appliance leaves behind.
Continuous Water Refill
These steam cleaners boast two tanks; one that is used to hold cold water, which can be refilled during cleanings, and one that serves as the boiler and turns the water into steam.
If you are purchasing a steam mop, a swivel head is a very hand feature. A swivel head allows you to easily glide the mop around the floor and under surfaces, making cleaning a whole lot easier.
If you want to use your steam cleaner to clean a variety of surfaces with ease, consider buying one that features a carrying strap. These straps allow you to easily tote the cleaner around on your shoulder, which means you don’t have to worry about constantly picking it up and putting it down.
Top Steam Cleaner Brands
There are several companies that manufacture steam cleaners. After assessing all of the available brands, we determined that the following are the best because they offer models that suit all of the considerations mentioned above, as well as boast all of the aforementioned features.
HAAN steam cleaners are the brainchild of Romi Haann. A Korean housewife and mother, Haan was looking for a product that would easily clean and thoroughly disinfect her home that didn’t require a huge investment or the use of harsh chemicals. Haan found the perfect solution – her HAAN steam cleaning tools. Her steam cleaners became an instant hit, and HAAN steam cleaners are among the most trusted on the market.
Since 1943, McCulloch has been producing high quality cleaning products, and in 2005, the company began producing steam cleaners. McCulloch produces some of the most innovative steam cleaners on the market. They produces various types of cleaners that boast a variety of features, and you can find one that will suit any budget.
In operation since 1999, SteamFast only produces steam cleaning products, which allows them to produce extremely high quality products. SteamFast steam cleaners feature innovative designs and various features, ensuring that you can find the best product for your specific needs.
Wagner Spray Tech Corp
A part of Wagner Holdings, Inc, Wagner Spray Tech Corp manufactures a variety of products, including steam cleaners. Their steam cleaning products boast cutting-edge technology and a wide range of features.