When it comes to keeping your floors spotless, vacuuming just isn’t enough. Sure, they do extremely well at dislodging and picking up embedded dirt from high-pile carpeting and in tile grout, but they won’t get everything. Bacteria and microscopic organisms on your floors can sigh a breath of relief if you don’t send a bit of steam their way.
This is where steam cleaners come into play. Whatever type of flooring you have at home – wall-to-wall carpeting, hardwood floors, or marble floors – a steam cleaner is the perfect solution to completely eradicate every speck of dirt and every splatter of mud.
Benefits of Steam-Cleaning
Oh, the advantages of steam-cleaning your home are limitless. Compared to traditional vacuuming and mopping, you can expect your steal cleaner to provide the following benefits.
1. Steam-cleaning gets rid of microscopic organisms by blasting them with jets of high-pressure steam. Vacuum cleaners simply suction them up and store them in a bag where they can escape freely without the slightest challenge. As for mopping, you’re simply moving them around your floors.
2. The drying process is almost instantaneous. Since steam is simply vapor produced by heating water, there’s very little water involved. Even the shaggiest carpets and rugs can dry within 30 minutes. As for tiled or hardwood floors? In under 5!
3. No more scrubbing. The heated jets of steam not only kill bacteria, but they also dissolve dirt and grime. Removing stubborn stains off of or between floorboards is a matter of aiming and firing. Consequently, your floorboards will remain scratch-free, thanks to the scrub-less cleaning action of steam-cleaning.
5 Best Steam Cleaners
Here are our top five picks of the best steam cleaners you can get online.
5. PureEnrichment PureClean XL
The PureClean XL is one of the most amazing steam cleaners currently available. Upon opening the box, you might be amazed to find 18 different attachments to make your steam-cleaning work a heck of a lot easier. Simply mount the right attachment to the nozzle, turn her on, and get to work.
This model features a large 1.5-liter tank that provides up to 45 minutes of continuous cleaning. It takes roughly only 15 minutes for it to begin producing steam. Though not the most efficient boiler, considering its long runtime, it’s definitely worth the wait.
The comprehensive list of attachments includes a triangle-head floor cleaner that’s ideal for getting every corner of a room. There’s also a targeted attachment that focuses the steam on a tiny area to dissolve the most stubborn stains.
For those of you who need a model that steam-cleans floors and vertical surfaces, the canister PureClean XL is for you.
4. Wagner Spraytech 0282014
The Wagner 0282014 is another canister steam cleaner. It comes with a slightly smaller tank compared to the PureEnrichment – about 1.36 liters – but the onboard boiler can heat up water in under 10 minutes. Furthermore, it delivers up to 45 minutes of continuous steaming on a single tank.
This model comes with only five attachments, but they’re more than enough to help you steam-clean any surface in your home. One of the more amazing attachments is the wallpaper steam plate which evenly distributes steam in a wide area to dissolve the glue holding wallpaper in place. If you need to redo wallpaper, just mount this attachment onto the hose and spray an area of your wallpaper until it begins to peel.
One major downside of this tool is that the amount of pressure deliver does not stay constant throughout the entire 45 minutes. From time to time, users found that pressure would drop significantly then pick up again after a few seconds. It’s not the biggest of deals, but you may need to make repeated passes over one spot to thoroughly dissolve grime.
3. PurSteam ThermaPro 10-in-1
The ThermaPro from PurStream is completely different from the other models on our list. It’s an upright model, meaning that you hold it like an upright or stick vacuum cleaner. The long handle and body has one humungous advantage: no leaning over to clean floors!
The ThermaPro features a minuscule 0.3-liter tank which may seem like a disappointment but considering it only takes 30 seconds for it to produce steam, you’ll reconsider your opinions regarding the size. A full tank of water can deliver roughly 25 minutes of steam.
One of the more astounding features of the ThermaPro is that it can turn from an upright cleaner into a portable handheld model in a blink of the eye. The handheld portion of the tool is the water tank which snaps on and off on the body. If you need to reach high spaces or do spot-steam-cleaning, just detach the handheld model. It’s that quick and easy!
2. Steamfast SF-3370WH
Now we’re back to canister models. The SF-3370WH from Steamfast is truly an amazing steal cleaner. It looks pretty bland from the outside, but what’s hidden beneath the hood is where the magic’s at. A full tank of water (1.3 liters) takes only 8 minutes to fully heat up beyond its boiling point. That’s almost half the amount of time as the first two canisters! It also delivers around 45 minutes of steam for thorough cleaning with each tankful of water.
As you’d expect, the SF-3370WH comes with a wide assortment of cleaning attachments made for every type of surface. But what’s cool is the double extension wands included in the box – with these babies connected to the hose, you can extend your reach farther than any of the other models.
Not only that, but this model features an onboard spot to coil the hose around. You won’t need to risk cracking the hose when storing the unit in a closet.
1. McCullough MC1275
And finally, we have the McCullough MC1275, one of the most highly regarded steam cleaners currently available. Although aesthetics hardly plays a role in the tool’s performance, we much say that this is one sleek steam cleaner.
Like the previous canister models, this baby can supply up to 45 minutes of stem. It comes with a 1.3-liter tank that boils water in 8 minutes or less. Efficiency is what makes the MC1275 shine.
Upon opening the box, you’ll find 18 different cleaning attachments to steam-clean any surface imaginable. It also features dual extension wands that measure in at 19 inches each. Add that to the 9-foot hose and you’ve got a pretty wide range of movement.
Essentially, what puts the McCullough on our list of the top five steam cleaners is its efficiency and range. Performance-wise, all five of these models work extremely well at steam-cleaning both large and small spaces.
Steam Cleaner Buying Guide
We know what steam cleaners are, and their advantages, so now let’s take a look at what sort of specs and features matter the most.
The size of the tank is an important factor to take into account. A larger tank holds onto greater quantities of water, reducing the frequency of refills per cleaning session. The convenience of a larger tank is getting more work done per tankful, but the downside is the added weight of carrying all that fluid. Canisters carry the most amount of water inside of their large bodies, and they roll around on casters, so you don’t have to lift the unit at all (except when moving between stories).
Or rather, the unit’s heating efficiency. An efficient boiler can produce steam in less than five minutes in upright and handheld models. For canisters and their larger tank capacities, it can take a considerably more amount of time. The “ideal” heating time depends on your personal preferences since five minutes can mean anything to anybody. Just take a close look at the machine, see how quickly it boils water (if getting a dry-steam cleaner) and make a judgment call.
Length of Hose
A longer hose offers a longer reach for cleaning higher surfaces. It also allows users to move around more freely without having to worry about disconnecting the hose from the unit or tug the cord out of a wall outlet. The only problem, if you can call it that, is storage; putting a long hose away can be troublesome when coiling it up.
Corded vs. Cordless
You have two options: corded steam cleaners and cordless steam cleaners. The clear advantage of corded models is the infinite runtime (not taking into account the tank capacity and heating efficiency). Cordless models, however, don’t keep you tied down to a wall outlet and can be used virtually anywhere on the planet. Want to melt some ice on Mount Everest? A steam cleaner with a full battery can do it for you.
From lightest to heaviest, it goes handheld, upright, then canister. However, in terms of actual lifting weight, it goes canister, handheld, then upright. The only part of a canister you typically need to lift is the hose, and whatever attachment is fitted onto the end of the hose. Handheld models require that you fill the onboard tank with water which can weigh the unit down. Using an upright involves moving the entire unit – cleaning head, tank, boiler, and every other component – to steam-clean your floors.
This variable applies only to uprights and canister steam cleaners. They can have stands or wheels for moving and keeping the unit in place. When working on smooth surfaces like tiled or hardwood floors, you don’t want the weight of the unit along with the weight of the tank to create dimples. Cushioned stands or wheels eliminate the risk of scratching or creating tiny craters on your beautiful floors.
Steam Cleaner FAQs
1. Are steam cleaners safe to use?
No question about it. There’s a risk of burning yourself on the steam or heating mechanism, but as long as you exercise caution when using it, you should be fine. As for your floors, you need to wipe away any residual moisture after steam-cleaning.
2. Does mixing vinegar with water make deep-cleaning more effective?
There’s been a lot of talk about the effectiveness of vinegar as a cleaning ingredient. Although it works wonders on faucets and even to eliminate odors from upholstery, we’d recommend sticking to a detergent. However, if and only if you’re highly sensitive to chemicals, you can use a 50/50 vinegar and water solution in your steam cleaner.
3. Can I use a steam cleaner on [insert surface type]?
There’s nothing that a steam cleaner can’t clean, provided you use the right attachments. However, just because you can steam-clean, it doesn’t mean you should. For instance, steam-cleaning the interior of your car can be fine, but not on the exterior (paint damage, vapor can leak into headlights).
So there you have it, ladies and gents – the ultimate guide on steam cleaners. This guide should provide you with the basic knowledge about what steam cleaners can do for you and how to the find the very best steam cleaner. We’ve even thrown in our top five picks of the best models that you can find online.
The two most important considerations when shopping for a steam cleaner are its tank capacity and its heating efficiency. You might also want to decide on whether to get an upright, canister, or handheld model since they offer different levels of convenience and steam-cleaning abilities.
Thankfully, finding the best steam cleaner isn’t as difficult as it was in the past thanks to the numerous manufacturers and they’re competing for our affection. As long as you’re comfortable using the tool to deep-clean your home’s floors, then that’s the right model for you.