When it comes to taking care of your carpeted surfaces, nothing beats a gentle yet thorough cleaning power of steam-based vacuum cleaner.
Indeed, these contraptions can not only suck in the itsy bitsy pieces of dirt and those dog food granules from commercials, but they can also sanitize the surface they’re hovering over thanks to their steam output.
As you probably already know, steam has the ability to penetrate deep into the fibers of a carpet or other similar material, as well as hard surfaces, and tackle head on any impurities, microscopic parasites and other small creatures and fungi that shouldn’t be there.
What makes steam-based vacuums so popular, among other things, would be their rather simple way of operation. Namely, steam cleaners only need a tank of water, a heater to turn that water into steam, and then a small motor with a fan to disperse the steam in drive it in the fibers of the carpeted surfaces below. (For the record, the fibers in question don’t need to be just carpets – any cloth or fabric can benefit massively from a proper steam cleansing session.)
In this article, we’ll discuss these hefty devices in more detail. Namely, we’ll explain what they’re all about – that is, their parts and what to pay attention to when buying one. Also, there’ll be a top 5 list of the best steam-based vacuum cleaners currently on the market that we’ve prepared for you!
Alright then, folks here’s the deal.
Steam-Based Vacuum Cleaners – A Short Buyer’s Guide
As is the case with virtually every contraption that features a heater, an important parameter when it comes to the efficiency of a steam vacuum would be its heat-up time.
The working principle of a steam-based vacuum is following: there’s a tank of water that gets heated by a heating element. When the water’s turned into steam and is ready to be deployed, the motor disperses it in the necessary direction. Simple as that.
Now, the heat-up time depends on two parameters – the size of the tank and the power of the heater. Generally speaking, it’d be wiser to look for a model with a powerful heater rather than a small tank, as you’ll be able to use it for longer periods of time without interruptions because a smaller tank equals more frequent refills.
On the other hand, buying a model with a strong heater will probably going to cost more. Bottom line, striking that fine balance of cost and power (and tank size) is the key to securing a good deal on a steam-based vacuum cleaner.
Temperature of Operation
The fact that water turns into steam under certain conditions (pressure + temperature) doesn’t mean that the resulting steam will always be of the same temperature. In fact, the variations in temperature of the steam make all the difference when it comes to the cleaning effectiveness of a steam vacuum cleaner!
As a rule, higher temperatures are more effective in killing off various bacteria, fungi, microorganisms, as well as fleas, bugs, and whatever else may crawl on your carpets than steam of lower intensity. Now, to make hotter steam, what you’ll need is quite simply – a stronger, more powerful heating element.
Other than a powerful heater, you may also want to look into a category known as ‘volume control’. Not all steam models have this option, but those that do allow you to control the temperature and intensity of the steam they let out, so this would be a feature you should be interested in if you have different carpeted surfaces to clean.
When it comes to various accessories, regular vacuum cleaners tend to be much better represented in comparison to steam-based ones. This, however, does not mean that you won’t find steam vacuums with plenty of different accessories for various purposes – they just tend to be somewhat rarer.
Anyway, as you may have already figured, more accessories usually mean a higher price, but if you have a large household with plenty of different surfaces that need steam-based cleaning, spending a bit more money may be a wise investment.
Whether it’s a scrub brush, a squeegee attachment, a collection of spare scented pads, brass brushes, nylon brushes, or special mops – a series of accessories can help you clean your entire house with only one tool. What’s not to love?
Water Tank Size
Although the water tank doesn’t really represent the most important part of a steam vacuum cleaner, it certainly has its role. In fact, about the only water tank parameter, you’d need to take into consideration when buying a steam vacuum would be its size. (Meaning the water tank’s size, not the vacuum’s.)
Generally speaking, the larger a water tank is, the more time you’ll have available to clean with it without interruptions. Of course, a larger tank does mean it will require more heating power to heat up the water inside, but if longer use and ease of use are your main priorities, you should definitely go for a model with a large water tank.
Although steam-based cleaning tools aren’t really notorious for being unbearably loud, as vacuum cleaners often are, the noise they let out is still an aspect of their operation worth taking a look at, so to speak.
The noise levels of steam vacuums are minimal as it is because their motor only has to push the steam out of the nozzle at low pressure, unlike vacuum cleaner motors, which have to produce a lot of suction. Therefore, even the most powerful steam vacuums will produce but moderate amounts of noise.
So, if you’re hell-bent on reducing the noise output to the lowest possible level, you may want to check out the descriptions of each individual model. Some manufacturers will go out of their way to market the quietness of their product, so if you’re really interested in this particular parameter, check out what the folks who make the model in question have to say about its noise pollution levels.
5 Best Steam Vacuum Cleaner Models
1. Bissell – Power Fresh Steam Mop + Spring Fresh Scented Demineralized Water
If you’re on a lookout for a simple and efficient way to get rid of up to 99.9% of all germs and bacteria, as the manufacturers claim, this Bissell Power Fresh Steam mop can be the perfect tool for the job. As the name of this product itself suggests, this offer actually represents a bundle of two products – a steam mop and a bottle of scented demineralized water you can use with it.
Using this scrubber can save you some time doing your chores, as the built-in scrubber enables you to easily take care of the scrubbing part of the job without having to use a separate tool after you’ve done steaming your floor.
For ensuring each surface you intend to work on is approached with the perfect amount of steam power, the folks at Bissell have installed a steam intensity controller in this vacuum cleaner. You can set it to work at low, medium, and high steam intensity.
- Capable of killing off 99.9% of germs and bacteria
- Built-in scrubber
- Comes with a variable steam controller
- This vacuum leaves a special spring fragrance after cleaning
- Features a bottle of demineralized scented water
- The scrubber is not as efficient in tight spots and against walls
- You need to use filtered water
2. Shark – Steam Pocket Mop Hard Floor Cleaner with Swivel Steering
Wielding a powerful heater that can turn tap water into a deadly weapon you can use against bacteria, microorganisms, and germs inhabiting your floor, this Shark mop for hard floors is a contraption that can help you resolve your floor-related sanitary issues.
Since one of the most important aspects of a vacuum cleaner when it comes to its space-covering prowess would be the length of its cord, the folks at Shark have decided to equip this particular model with a long 25-foot power cord. The design is quick-release, so you can unfold it quickly to use your vacuum straight away whenever you like!
As far as the heat-up time of this particular model is concerned, a full tank of water can be ready for use in less than 30 seconds. The resulting steam is super-heated and will be able to penetrate into and completely dissolve any dirt and bacterial particles that stand in its way.
- Comes with a long, 25-foot power cord
- Capable of getting rid of 99.9% of all germs and bacteria on your floors
- Heat-up time of only about 30 seconds
- Features two washable microfiber pads
- Ergonomic handle with a soft grip
- Can be used with regular tap water
- Does not perform as well on grout
- Some users have reported that this unit is difficult to push
3. McCulloch – Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner with 18 Accessories
With the appearance of a Volkswagen Beetle with some additional tubing, this McCulloch heavy-duty steam cleaner is a beast of a steam-based vacuum that can easily take care of a wide variety of messes. Its biggest selling point would be the fact that it doesn’t require any additional chemical solutions to deliver its cleansing punch. All it pretty much requires is some water and a power outlet!
Thanks to its powerful steam output, this contraption can be easily used on a wide variety of surfaces including granite, tile, laminate, grout, as well as grills, cars, and other surfaces in need of a speedy steam delivery.
Now, the way this vacuum cleaner works on cars and other non-floored surfaces is that it comes with no less than 18 different accessories including a squeegee, a mop pad, a floor mop, a nylon brush and many more.
- Cleans without the need for chemicals
- Can take care of tile, granite, grout, laminate, and other surfaces
- Comes with a large capacity water tank (48 ounces)
- 18 accessories for a wide variety of surfaces
- 2-year warranty
- Contains cheap plastic parts
- Fairly expensive
4. Bissell – Steam Shot Hard-Surface Cleaner
Looks like a kettle, produces steam like a kettle, but unlike a kettle – this contraption cleans floors and other surfaces in need of some good steamin’! This unorthodox-looking model from Bissell represents a great steam-based utensil that you can use for cleaning floors, cars, furniture – you name it.
Even though it doesn’t look as much from afar, this small but plucky contraption actually has an impressive 1000-Watt power rating, which enables it to heat up steam quickly and efficiently every time. This also means you won’t have to wait for ages for it to heat up, so you can use this unit whenever you like or need to.
Out of accessories, the folks at Bissell have decided to include an extension hose, a nozzle, grout brush, a fabric steamer, a window squeegee, and several others. Each of the accessories has a role in performing different clean-up tasks, so this model would be perfect for people who have to take care of messes on different surfaces.
- Chemical-free cleaning
- Easy-to-press trigger
- Continuous supply of steam
- A long power cord of 20-feet
- Impressive 1000-Watt power rating
- Includes a number of accessories for different cleaning tasks
- Small water tank
- Features some cheap plastic parts
5. Dupray – Neat Steam Cleaner
Representing a curious white box with only a single button and a black hose sticking out of it, this Dupray Neat steam cleaner is a piece of work that you have to see to believe. Its main principle of functioning is delivering scorching hot steam that can be used to sanitize any surface without the use of additional chemicals.
The secret lies in the temperature of the steam, which reaches up to 275° Fahrenheit – more than enough to take care of even the most stubborn patches of grease as soon as you can say ‘Jack Robinson’. When it comes to the time you will have on your disposal to keep attacking the grease, grime, and whatever other pollutants you plan on tackling, you’ll have some 50 minutes of cleaning per tank.
- Does not require any chemical solutions for cleaning
- Can clean, deodorize, disinfect, and degrease the surfaces it tackles
- The steam temperature reaches 275° Fahrenheit
- Up to 50 minutes of cleaning
- 2-year warranty
- Lifetime warranty on steam cleaner boiler
- Refills can take up to 20 minutes
- The handle and the hose can get quite hot after prolonged use
In conclusion, if you want to get something sanitized, deodorized, and completely clean and bacteria-free, using one of these steam-based cleaners would be the best way to go. We hope you found this article helpful and wish you the best of luck finding your perfect steam-spewin’ bacteria-destroyin’ companion!