Do you know that some of the best steam cleaner in the market these days play a very important role in keeping your home clean and allergy-friendly for your family members?
If you don't, I'm sure you have ever racked your brain over how to clean your house to minimize the allergy triggers? Or have you always thought that a clean house is only achievable by using lots of household cleaning products and chemicals?
These chemical cleaners often present themselves as more of a problem than a solution for homes with family members who have allergies, asthma or chemical sensitivities. The cons will almost always outweigh the benefits of keeping your home clean in this instance.
So how does a steam cleaner fit into the picture?
The best steam cleaners these days can not only help to clean most areas at home, it also plays the role of sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces. Steam cleaners are one of the safest and most cost-effective option to clean your home.
The most amazing thing is that for the steam cleaners to work, all that it needs is just ordinary water from the faucets. The water is boiled in the tank until it is hot enough to evaporate as steam. The temperature of the resultant steam is usually hot enough to kill bacteria, viruses, mold and fungi on surfaces.
How do we go about buying a steam cleaner?
Steam cleaners come in various forms - canister steam cleaners, steam mops or handheld steam cleaners. Let us break it down for you.
The most popular units for home use are usually the canister steam cleaners and for a good reason. These are versatile units and can be used on almost any area at home that you can think about - glass, stovetops, carpeting, bed, curtains, fabric upholstery. Some of these units are even incorporated into vacuum cleaners so you can save some time and effort on cleaning carpets.
If you're just starting out and not too sure if steam cleaners will suit your cleaning needs, steam mops are always to try out. Steam mops make cleaning hard floors in your living room, kitchen or bathrooms a breeze.
Handheld steam cleaners can come in handy and help you to work comfortably for some areas which are not accessible by the canister steam cleaners.
If you are considering buying one for the office or a really large home, you may like to consider heavy-duty commercial steam cleaners. While these units may be bigger and heavier and are usually mounted on carts with wheels, they are designed to work for longer periods of time and the pressured steam that comes out are usually much hotter than the regular home steam cleaners.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Canister Steam Cleaners
When I was doing the research before buying, some of the common questions that I asked were "Which is the best steam cleaner?", "What type of steam cleaner should I get?", "Which steam cleaner is suitable for my home?" I did finally settle on what I thought was the best canister steam cleaner for me, but how did I go about weighing the pros and cons?
The Pros of a Canister Steam Cleaner
Heavy Duty Workhorse
One of the main reasons that I bought a canister steam cleaner was because I needed the sheer power that it is able to produce. The high temperatures (more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit) of the pressurized steam makes it very helpful to break down stubborn stains, dirt, and grime with much ease. One of my favorite applications is in the bathrooms where I use it to clean the tiling and grout to keep it looking fresh. It takes care of any mold and mildew in the bathroom too.
Tools of the Trade
Most canister steam cleaners will come loaded with several accessories which make our job even easier. Some may come with longer hose lengths, brushes for scrubbing and even window cleaning accessories.
The capabilities of the steam cleaners are usually limited by its power and capacity. The canisters typically have a bigger water tank than most steam cleaners and are usually good for a couple of hours. If you compare this handheld steam cleaner which delivers only 15-20 minutes of steam, you would know why I chose this for my large home.
The Cons of A Canister Steam Cleaner
For all the performance that they deliver, the upfront purchase costs are probably one of the major drawbacks of canister steam machines. Even within the same range, the price of canister steam cleaners do vary, so you may still have choices even if you are on a tighter budget.
Needs Large Working and Storage Spaces
If you live in a small apartment, canister steam cleaners may not be the best choice for practical reasons. They are generally bulky and require large storage space, which in my opinion is not a valid point to trade off for strong cleaning power.When it comes to tighter spaces, they are not as portable as a handheld steam cleaner.
For certain areas at home where you need to clean it delicately (e.g. unsealed flooring, fabrics, upholstery), the highly pressurized steam may not be suitable.
Best Steam Cleaner Reviews 2017 - Canister Steam Cleaners
The first thing that I really liked was the array of accessories that it came with the unit. Out of the 18 accessories, my favorites were the brushes and scrub pads which really make scrubbing the dirt easy.
The next thing that really delighted me was the time to start up. For a 48-ounce water tank, it took just under 10 minutes for it to be ready for use. The tank has so far averaged about 35-45 minutes of continuous cleaning depending on the variable control settings which determine the amount of steam that is let out. I love the fact that you can also lock the trigger so that steam comes out continuously without having to depress the trigger for the whole duration.
The steam comes out at more than 200 degrees, so do be careful not to burn yourself accidentally when you're blasting away grime.
The lack of a handle for carrying this McCulloch was a small negative for me as it meant that I had to drag around or literally carry a boiling tank in my hands at times. Other than that, the McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner is an excellent workhorse which does not burn a hole in your pockets
If you have read our review above on the MC1275, you would have known that one of the things that delighted us was the accessories. McCulloch took it one notch up with the MC1385 - it came with lots of attachments, 23 to be exact. I'm sure you'll be able to find your favorite among the nozzles, brushes, pads.
The unit is able to hold up to 64 ounces of water and warms up in 15 minutes ready for use. With the big tank, it isn't surprising when we can move it around the house for almost 2 hours and work its way through dirt and grime with its high-powered steam.
While the high temperatures of the heat make cleaning much easier, you have to take note that the attachments do heat up quite a bit and you have to be really careful not to burn yourself. After you are done with cleaning, do allow up to 30 minutes for it to cool down before opening the cap to drain off the excess water.
In my point of view, the McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe Canister Steam System is really suitable for larger homes and for those who usually takes a while to do some detailed cleaning. The unit will feel in the right place not only in the house, but also your garage if you wish to use it for your cars.
The relatively compact-sized canister steam cleaner from Sienna may not look like a serious contender in terms of steam cleaning performance, but do not be fooled by its outlook. The SSC-0312 is able to push out high-pressured steam from its 40 ounces tank within just a few minutes of warming up.
We really liked the way that it was designed with the user in mind. The length of the handle is more than adequate even for tall people, and this is particularly useful if you need to reach for a certain spot - up to 3 feet. The lock on handle makes it easier for us to do extended cleaning without having to squeeze the handle all the time. We also liked the fact that it was relatively light and easy to move around the house.
I have to admit that the performance from this unit exceeded my expectations. I wasn't expecting such power from a relatively small unit, especially when I was trying clean the tile grout in my bathrooms. As I have sensitive skin, the traditionally harsh chemicals that I usually use to clean the tile grout are a thing of the past. Say hello to eco-friendly cleaning!
Steam cleaning the floors and the carpets were a breeze too. However, as there is no way to control the steam pressure, you will have to be mindful of the surface that you are cleaning can withstand the high heat to avoid any unnecessary damage.
The lack of a locking mechanism made depressing the trigger literally a pain. If you were to be depressing the trigger for the next 20-30 minutes while on the job, I'm pretty sure your fingers will not be pleased. The lack of a water level indicator meant that the steam just stops when it runs out of water.
The Sienna Eco Canister Steam Cleaner SSC-0312 is an affordable piece of machine and is well-positioned to take on some tough cleaning. It may have its own little quirks, but it does what it is supposed to do well and we cannot complain about that.
The next one that makes our list of the best steam cleaners is the Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaning System. Being rated as one of the consumers' choice, this unit packs performance, ergonomics, and durability into one neat package.
The stainless steel boiler tank holds about 54 ounces and while it may not be the biggest around, it is adequate for about 60 minutes of non-stop cleaning. The level of steam output can be adjusted for different applications and this may also contribute to a slightly longer operational time.
We love the rubber grip on the handle and this makes it comfortable to hold during cleaning. The retractable 18-foot power cord gives it a good range and the rubberized wheels makes it easy for you to move around the house steadily.
The cleaning performance is great for a relatively small unit, and it works great from clearing calcium deposits on doors to cleaning tile grout or grease on the stove top.
In our opinion, we did find the noise to be not so pleasant as we thought steam cleaners would be quieter. Having said that, it is a capable unit which blasts its way through the stubborn stains and deposits. We love it for how well suited it is for killing the bed bugs and dust mites with its 220 degrees steam. It may not be the cheapest option, but it is one unit that we do not mind paying for.
With its simple design, it can be quite easy to not think too highly of the Steamfast unit. I was able to pick it out from the box without much set up required and I was ready to go in a while.
While it wasn't a necessity for a funnel, the set came with one and this was nice to have when you're filling up the 48 ounce water tank. The brushes, pads and nozzles made up the remaining 16 accessories and it was adequate in my opinion.
Once that was done, we switched it on to get ready for cleaning. It too under 10 minutes for the water to heat up and we were up and about.
We started with the hardwood flooring this time round. We attached the mop pad and went around the living room. I activated the trigger lock as I did not want to be pressing it all the way. It picked up the dust and dirt without much effort and not much water trails were left on the floor. This is important as we do not like to do double work of mopping the floor dry after steam mopping.
The tile grout in the bathrooms were next. The machine was getting a little hot and there was no doubt about it as the bathroom evolved into a little steam room. However, it took a while for the grout to be removed, and that was with some brushing. The pressure was adequate, but not enough to be blasting away the dirt and grime with ease. By the time I was done with the two bathrooms and the living room 40 minutes later, the continuous stream of steam spurted and stopped.
In my opinion, I felt that the Steamfast SF-275 Canister Steam Cleaner performed acceptably. It is reasonably priced and will come in handy for small apartments who require the occasional light cleaning. The lack of a longer cord, accessories and a higher steam pressure will make us think twice if we were using it in a large house or when you need to do heavy duty cleaning.