How to Choose the Best Steam Cleaner

by James Mcdaniel

Steam-cleaner-buyer-guideA steam cleaner is a device used to clean and sanitize homes and business through the use of heat and steam.  Many steam cleaners use pressurized steam to create enough force to blast stubborn stains and messes out of hard to reach places.  The high level of heat found in many steam cleaners is enough to kill germs and bacteria, making them useful for sanitation as well.  Steam cleaners require no chemicals – the heat and pressure created by the cleaners is all that’s required.

Not all steam cleaners are created equal. There are a variety of forms a steam cleaner can take.  The form of a cleaner determines where and how you can use it.

  • General Steam Cleaner: A basic steam cleaner has a large tank attached to a hose with a nozzle at the end.  The tank rests on the floor while the nozzle can be pointed to spot-clean messes.  These types of cleaners are ideal for small cleaning areas and often come with a variety of attachments for other cleaning jobs.
  • Steam Mop: Steam mops are designed to be used on hard, sealed surfaces such as kitchen or bathroom tile.  They have a long handle with a shallow square or rectangle shaped head that touches the floor.  The head is covered with an absorbent cloth through which hot steam is forced.  The steam loosens dirt and stains off the floor to be picked up by the cloth.
  • Carpet Cleaners: A steam carpet cleaner looks very similar to a large vacuum cleaner.  These devices are intended to be used on carpeted flooring. Generally these machines have a powered brush that loosens dirt from carpet fibers.  The machine then sends heated water and cleaner into the carpet, and then sucks the excess water, cleaner, and dirt back up into the machine.
  • Handheld Cleaners: A handheld steam cleaner is a small device that can easily be picked up and moved around from mess to mess.  A small tank holds and heats water, and a nozzle distributes the pressurized steam into hard to reach areas.

There are many factors to take into consideration when choosing a steam cleaner.  When considering your next purchase, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Tank Capacity: How much water can the tank hold at one time?  A small tank is easier to move around, but will require more time to refill.  A large tank can go longer on one refill, but can be cumbersome.
  • Continuous Refill Capability: Many cleaners are not able to be refilled while the water in the tank is still hot.  If you are concerned about getting cleaning done in a short amount of time, find a machine that enables you to add more water without shutting down the machine.
  • Variable Steam Control: Having the ability to control the amount of steam your cleaner puts out allows you to tailor your cleaning methods to your mess.
  • Cord Length: The length of your power cord will determine how far you can go without switching outlets.
  • Variety of Attachments: Some cleaners come with attachments that allow you to wash windows or steam clothes.  Find a cleaner that caters to the tasks you need done.
  • Heat of Steam: Not all steam cleaners heat water to the same level.  If you want to be able to clean and kill germs, make sure your cleaner heats water to at least 225 degrees.
  • Ergonomic Design: A cleaner with an ergonomically designed handle will allow you to work for longer without feeling sore or cramped.
  • Weight: Some of the larger cleaners can be a little hefty.  If you are limited in what you can carry around, find a lighter model, or opt for a handheld one.
  • Noise Level: If you’re sensitive to noise, be careful about which model you choose.  Some steam cleaners emit a loud, annoying noise as they work.

A number of cleaning companies have steam cleaners out on the market.  A few of the most popular ones are described below:

  • Hoover: Known for their vacuum cleaners, Hoover has expanded their product line to include steam based carpet cleaners.  These products look similar to their upright vacuums and offer the Clean Surge feature, an extra boost of power perfect for cleaning stubborn stains and spots.
  • Haan: Haan offers a line of high quality, brightly colored steam cleaners that clean and disinfect sealed surfaces and hard to reach areas.  Their cleaners heat water to a temperature hot enough to disinfect, so none of their products require residue-leaving chemical cleaners.
  • McCulloch: Like Haan, McCulloch offers variety in its selection of steam cleaners.  Their handheld and floor-based cleaners offer high steam pressure that’s perfect for cleaning grills, cars, and boats.
  • Shark: Euro-Pro’s Shark offers lightweight cleaners for light use around the house.  Their mop and handheld models are easy and comfortable to use, giving just enough cleaning power without overburdening you with weight and attachments.
  • Ladybug: Ladybug offers very high end steam cleaners for use in the home or in some commercial situations.  The quality of Ladybug’s steam cleaners is extremely high.  These machines last a long time and have more than enough power to deal with any mess. They also heat water much higher than many other steam cleaners.

Steam cleaners are an easy, effective, and environmentally friendly method of cleaning your home.  They clean dirt, stains, and gunky messes without forcing you to expend a lot of elbow grease.  The heat they use will also sanitize your flat surfaces and kill germs, dust mites, and other unwanted household guests.  The variety in price and function in these devices makes it easy to find the perfect machine for your budget and situation.  Steam cleaners are a fantastic investment in the cleanliness and health of your home and family.