10 Best Steam Cleaners: Reviews and Buying Guide (2018)

A steam cleaner or steam broom cleans with the power of water vapor alone, without the addition of chemical cleaning agents. With such a household appliance, different surfaces can be thoroughly cleaned, with up to 99.9% of bacteria and germs and mites can be eliminated.

Table of Contents

10 Best Steam Cleaners

What is a steam cleaner and how does this appliance work?

Each steam broom or steam cleaner is an electrical appliance that must be connected to the mains. A power connection of approx. 220 V (standard) is sufficient.

As the name implies, the steam cleaner uses the hot water vapor for surface cleaning. The heart of a cleaning device is an electrically operated heating element that heats the water in a tank. When the device is switched on, the steam shoots through the differently shaped nozzles onto the surface to be treated and softens the dirt. This is absorbed by the absorbent cleaning cloths. After cleaning, the cleaning cloths are usually replaced and either disposed of or machine washed.

What are the features and functions of a steam cleaner or steam brush?

In addition to the difference in construction between a steam broom and stationary steam cleaner, the models have several other differences in features and functionality.

Carpet Glides – always included

In the meantime, every steam broom and stand steam cleaner is equipped with a carpet glider, so that not only hard, smooth floors such as tiles, laminate, and parquet, but also carpets and carpets can be steam-cleaned. The carpet glider reliably cleans the rugs with different pile heights without damaging them. Dust and dirt are reliably removed, the carpet is refreshed, but remains largely dry.

Nozzle set for more flexibility – also included in most models

Such models, which are designed exclusively for floor cleaning, have only a mostly triangular foot (floor element), the scope of delivery of most current models is much wider. These include, first and foremost, hand jets for cleaning window glass, upholstered furniture, joints and smoothing clothes. The conversion of a steam broom or another steam cleaner to a multifunctional handheld steam cleaner should be done manually. The easiest way to do this is to change over with the Kärcher steam cleaners;

Water tank – permanently installed or removable

In addition to the differences in the capacity of the tank plays the particular construction particularity for the handling of the devices an important role. A removable tank proves to be practical in that it is easy to refill from the faucet. Any risk of scalding is thus excluded. If a model is additionally equipped with a second, compact tank, cleaning does not even have to be interrupted for heating up.

Adjustable steam level – a handy feature

The steam level can be adjusted flexibly in quite a few models. This feature is especially useful for devices that are used in addition to the floor cleaning for other, sensitive surfaces. However, this feature is also useful when cleaning and maintaining different floors, as it is recommended, among other things, to clean laminate and parquet floors with only 50% maximum possible steam strength. If the model does not have a regulator for setting the steam intensity, only slightly sensitive wooden floors or, for example, tiles may be cleaned with this appliance.

Integrated descaler – useful, but dispensable

In the selection on STERN.de, some steam cleaners are equipped with a descaling cartridge intended for automatic descaling during operation. Otherwise, these devices should be descaled manually at regular intervals. Descaling a steam cleaner is easy and even without chemistry possible. Below, we discuss this aspect. Thus, a decalcifying cartridge is indeed a practical, but the dispensable feature.

Cleaning with a mixture of water and steam – only with a few steam cleaners with it

Thanks to this function, particularly stubborn impurities can be removed without pre-cleaning. This feature only distinguishes the upper-class equipment and is designed to combat particularly stubborn soiling. The mentioned function is useful, but also not necessarily necessary. With a little scrub in advance, the protection can be mobilized and then removed with a steam jet.

Different performance and pressure – important parameters

The models available on the market differ not least in the pressure with which the steam is conveyed out of the nozzle. While the steam brooms usually develop pressures between 1 and 1.5 bar, the standing steam cleaners are usually stronger with 3 – 4 bar. The pressure is determined primarily by the performance of each device. The power level is always given in watts: for a steam cleaner, the values of 1.200 – 1.500 W are in the lower middle range. Powerful devices from Kärcher are proven to have 2,000 W and more and are therefore able to fight the dirt with full force. Of these two values – the vapor pressure and the power level – it depends on whether the steam cleaner also copes with heavily contaminated surfaces.

Heat-up time – important for easy handling and speedy work

To get started quickly with the cleaning, the user understandably wants the shortest possible waiting time. Each steam cleaner needs some time to bring the water to a temperature of 100 ° C so that the steam forms. The steam brooms can heat on average within 20 – 30 seconds, the models with wheels usually need a little longer.

Weight – especially important for steam brooms

On average, the steam brooms weigh less than 3 kg and are thus handy. It is also logical because when cleaning almost the entire weight must be held by hand. The wheeled steam cleaners add more kilograms to the balance by design, but this does not affect the handling, as the equipment does not have to be lifted during operation.

Other differences relate to the look of the device, with the trademark of Kärcher is the combination of yellow and black, and the steam brooms of other manufacturers are often emphasized tastefully designed.

For whom is a steam cleaner suitable?

Basically, this electrical appliance is a good choice for every household, because it facilitates the housework. Especially where high demands are placed on hygiene, as well as in allergy households, the steam cleaner proves to be a welcome solution.

Which surfaces can be cleaned with a steam cleaner?

As good as any steam cleaner is a multifunctional device that is useful in the home in different ways.

Hard floors such as parquet, laminate, and tiles – easy to clean with all steam cleaners and steam brooms

For smooth floors and for tile floors with joints, a steam cleaner, especially a steam brush, is the first choice.

In the case of laminate and valuable parquet floors, a comparatively weak steam jet is recommended at 50% of the maximum thickness, in which case the steam brooms offer a gentle solution due to the comparatively lower overall pressure.

Carpets and carpets can be cleaned with all steam cleaners

Included with each steam broom from the product range on STERN.de are the so-called carpet glides. The Kärcher steam cleaners are also equipped with a carpet glider, which can be easily integrated into the patented EasyFix system.

Clean mirrors and windows with a steam cleaner – with a handy hand nozzle

Most models of steam cleaners and steam brooms are equipped with a spot jet nozzle. Among other things, this accessory can be used to clean windows and mirrors. To clean glass surfaces with steam, the coarse dirt should first be removed with a wipe to thoroughly treat the surface with steam. Afterward, the water residues are removed with a puller. The glass is thus effortlessly clean without unsightly streaks.

Shower, bath and especially fittings – ideal for cleaning with steam

In the bathroom and toilet not only the tile floors can be successfully cleaned with steam. In particular, the fittings get a nice gloss finish thanks to a steam treatment. Shower cubicles, bathtubs, and sinks can be successfully cleaned with steam from soap scraps and lime. Here again, the point jet nozzle is used, possibly must be helped with a wipe additionally. Overall, the cleaning in the bathroom and toilet with steam is progressing very fast.

Upholstered furniture – only clean with a special upholstery nozzle!

Textile upholstery fabrics can be steamed up and cleaned from dust. Even stubborn stains are easy to remove from the upholstered furniture using the steam cleaner.

Clean joints and hard-to-reach areas with steam cleaners

In this case, a specially designed for this purpose narrow nozzle is used. But also with a point jet nozzle in combination with the round brush, the joints can be cleaned. Not only the tile joints can be cleaned using a steam jet, but also radiators or other hardly accessible corners.

Refresh clothes and iron wrinkles

On the one hand, garments that had to wait for months in a clothing closet for their use can be refreshed with a hand nozzle for textiles. In this way, the clothes do not necessarily have to be in the laundry. On the other hand, unpleasant wrinkles can be effortlessly smoothed with steam to save tedious ironing.

Car rims – to clean with a point jet nozzle

The rather unpleasant and energy-consuming work of rims cleaning can take over a steam cleaner. With a point jet nozzle, the dirt, including oil residues, can be removed without contact.

Car seats and the entire interior of the vehicle with a cushion nozzle get clean easily

The car upholstery can be cleaned with steam without chemical means, even preventing the unpleasant odor in the car. It is recommended, however, to suck the car in advance.

5 tips for cleaning with a steam cleaner

Cleaning with a steam broom or cleaner is generally uncomplicated. However, there are some aspects to consider:

  1. Before steam cleaning, it is recommended to treat the surfaces with a vacuum cleaner or dust wipe;
  2. Unsealed, including oiled, floors may not be cleaned with steam, Sensitive floors should always be careful;
  3. Under no circumstances should the water tank be opened with a running steam broom or cleaner.
  4. The cleaning cloths should be replaced more frequently in order to achieve an optimal cleaning result;
  5. If you want to avoid descaling, you are welcome to use distilled water to fill the tank. It is not a must.

Descaler steam cleaner? That’s how it’s done!

If the steam broom or cleaner is not equipped with an integrated decalcifying cartridge, the unit must be descaled manually at regular intervals. Experience shows that in intensive use, the device is to descale every four weeks.

There are two ways to descale:

  1. Descale with vinegar. For this purpose, add about 200 ml of vinegar to the water tank for about 24 hours to allow this liquid to take effect. Then the tank contents should be disposed of completely, the water tank should be rinsed and the steam cleaner put into operation with the full charge.
  2. Use decalcifying agents from the trade. In this case, proceed exactly according to the instructions for use of the respective product.

Is a steam cleaner suitable for use outside?

Basically, these devices are predominantly designed for use with i7lindoor and only insufficiently protected from the effects of the weather.

A steam cleaner can therefore only conditionally outside use, for example, to clean the vehicle or to clean the immediate entrance area of the family house.

For the cleaning of garden paths and house walls, high-pressure cleaners are designed, which wash away the dirt with a powerful jet of water.

Buying guide – in five steps to the right steam cleaner or steam broom

At the market, you will discover a wide range of high-quality steam brooms and steam cleaners. With our guide on gametoaid.org, you will find a steam cleaner that optimally suits your needs.

  1. Only buy steam cleaners from reliable suppliers and pay attention to the test sigla. From a non-certified and tested electrical appliance is a high risk. For this reason, only buy devices that have been certified by a competent test center and have a CE mark. At STERN.de, we invariably present steam cleaners that meet high-quality requirements.
  2. Consider the future field of application in advance. Where is the steam cleaner used in the household? The decision for one or the other model also depends on this preliminary consideration. If primarily the floors and carpets are to be cleaned with steam, a steam broom is recommended. The triangular foot is ideally suited for cleaning even in narrow niches and between the pieces of furniture. The steam brooms are ergonomically designed, so you do not have to bend down when cleaning. If different surfaces are to be steam cleaned on a regular basis, a “Kärcher” type wheeled wheel cleaner is a suitable solution. The conversion of these devices is very simple and requires no prior knowledge.
  3. Do you need an adjustable steam level? The steam brooms clean with a relatively low pressure so that in such a device, a steam intensity controller is not absolutely necessary. When it comes to powerful cleaners, which are used, inter alia, for floor cleaning, then it makes sense to be able to throttle the steam sometimes. Thus, the rule applies: The more potent the steam cleaner, the more important is the ability to flexibly adjust the steam pressure.
  4. Can the water tank be removed? Although basically dispensable, this feature facilitates the operation considerably. If the device has a double water tank, the heating time can also be saved.
  5. Pay attention to the cable length! There are two things to consider here. The longer the cable, the larger the room can be steam cleaned without a tedious change of socket and without extensions. However, a long cable is often in the way and involves a considerable risk of stumbling. Cable lengths between 6 and 8 are recommended.

How do the experts of Stiftung Warentest evaluate the steam cleaner?

The last time Stiftung Warentest tested these devices in 2007. The testers were not really convinced of the quality of the devices offered at that time on the market. The 2007 tested models are largely no longer available, the manufacturers currently use an optimized technology and achieve a much better cleaning performance.

What do the eco-test and other testers mean to steam cleaners?

Currently, there are no test results from the eco-test. As soon as a steam cleaner test of the eco-test is available, this section will also be added.



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