With all the different types of steam cleaners on the market, many of you will be wondering which type of steam cleaner is best for you. Allergymatters have therefore put together a simple guide and ratings chart that will help you choose the right steam cleaner for you and all your cleaning needs.
It is important to consider the size of your house or cleaning task when selecting a steam cleaner. For larger houses or larger cleaning tasks, you will need to choose a steam cleaner that is fully equipped and powerful enough to do the job in hand. For smaller cleaning jobs, you may consider a more economical steam cleaner that is quick, easy to set up and easy to use.
Continuous Refill Facility
Steam cleaners that offer a continuous refill facility give you the ability to steam clean endlessly. Mostly suited to those of you who have large households or commercial properties, and ideal for those that do not want a steam cleaner that you have to wait for, to cool down and heat up again when it needs refilling with water.
Many steam cleaners without the continuous refill facility can take up to 20 minutes before you are able to continue with your steam cleaning tasks.
The length of the cable will determine the distance your steam cleaner will allow you to clean before moving the machine. The longer the cable the further you’re cleaning range.
Most domestic and light commercial steam cleaners operate at low pressures, allowing the steam to loosen dirt and penetrate surface areas to provide intense cleaning ability.
Steam cleaners with small water tanks will need to be filled up a lot more often than those with a larger tank, and will affect the length of time it takes you to clean, especially if you are cleaning large areas. On average, a 1 litre tank capacity should give you about 45mins – 1 hour of cleaning time before it will need refilling.
Tools and Accessories
All steam cleaners will come with their own standard range of accessories. These can vary considerably from machine to machine. You will find that the more expensive steam cleaners are equipped with a better range of tools which are often of higher quality than the cheaper models, and are more effective in the job they do.
Optional accessories are usually available at an extra cost, so it is worth considering what cleaning jobs you intend to do and what tools you will need to carry out those jobs.
Variable Steam Control
It is important to consider whether steam cleaners have a variable steam control as some cleaning tasks (e.g. corners, grouting, faucets) require a finer, more concentrated jet of steam when cleaning. This can also be important when you want to avoid the splattering of dirt particulates all over the place. Other cleaning tasks that require a more dispersed steam output would include large surface areas such as floors, upholstery and plant misting.
Steam vs Steam & Vacuum - Traditionally, steam cleaners were made to sanitise and to dislodge dirt and grime, but they were unable to pick up the residue and moisture left behind. This meant that cloths were needed in order to dab off the residue…a very laborious and time consuming job, especially when it came to carpet cleaning!
There are still many of these traditional steam cleaners available on the market, but many people are favouring the new hybrid of steam cleaners – those that come equipped with suction or a vacuum function. These combination steam and vacuum cleaners do the same job that the ‘steam only’ cleaners do, but they are fitted with an extraction motor that sucks away all the dirt and grime that has been dislodged by the steam, and they leave the surfaces virtually dry to touch. The dual capability of steam and vacuum cleaners, make cleaning much quicker and an even more hygienic task to perform.
The weights shown refer to the weight of the machine before the water has been added to the tank. If you live in a multi-floor home or will be cleaning on different floor levels it is worth considering how easy it will be to carry the machine.
Many steam cleaners on the market do not have a safety cap on the tank, which can pose a real danger when you need to refill or empty the water. Without the safety cap, you could experience steam burns if you open the tank too quickly after use. The safety cap feature will allow the steam cleaner to cool down to a safe temperature before it will allow you to unscrew it and is an essential feature, particularly if you have young children.
Steam Cleaners with the continuous refill facility do not need a safety cap because they use 2 tanks to produce the steam. The water tank you fill up in the 1 st tank never heats up, as the water is passed into the 2 nd tank where the boiler is located, and it is here that the hot steam is created.
Boiler construction is important for durability and also for performance. The very best machines have boilers made out of high quality stainless steel which are rust resistant and enable the machine to heat up quickly. Other types of boilers require longer heating times and become corroded with calcium and other mineral deposits much more quickly.