Comparison of the best portable steam cleaners for residential homes. How to buy a handheld steam cleaner, features, pros and cons, pictures and videos. Reviews of a Shark, McCulloch, Wagner, Bissell and other popular manufacturers.
Portable steamer or vapor steam cleaner is the small and compact cleaning tool for clothes, carpets, floors and car that can clean, sanitize and deodorize very easily and efficiently while leaving surfaces virtually dry.
Most small steam cleaners, Shark brand is a good example, are equipped with the interchangeable quick-release hand tools that are designed to clean flat surfaces, also hard-to-reach and tight spaces. Smaller models are designed as handheld steam cleaners, great for spots and surfaces, while other, larger ones with wheels are ideal for floor cleaning.
Based on the application and available features, you can find portable steamers as:
Vapor steam cleaning originated in Italy.
Small and portable steam cleaners are equipped with an internal boiler that heats water and then releases the pressurized steam or vapor through a nozzle. This way the steam looses the bonds of grime and dirt naturally. You can use, and is recommended by manufacturers, a clean cloth to remove dirt, by wiping the steamed surface off before it gets dry.
Most portable steam cleaners, such as handheld travel and garment steamers do not use suction, as larger carpet cleaners or floor steam cleaners. They simply expose the material with the light mist. As the steam coming out is on a high temperature, it is recommended to expose the surface for a few seconds in order to sanitize it properly. Vapor steamers actually offer a chemical free cleaning solution.
As there are variety types of steamers, buy one wisely. Use floor steam cleaners just for floors, portable clothes steamer for clothes and when traveling use travel steamers... use it only for what it is designed for.
As different materials react differently on high temperature and moist, use the manual to see where the steam cleaner can be used. If not sure, always test on a small area first and for a short period of time.
Handheld steam cleaner has the much smaller capacity that the larger wheel-mounted unit, and the steaming time is shorter, usually up to 10 minutes. Bigger units, equipped with the wider nozzles, wand extension, can clean larger areas for up to an hour.
This is why steamers with a larger boiler are user preference. Smaller units or handheld are easy to move and transport, you can carry them from one room to another without the hassle, and clean every part of your home. Large and bulkier models are harder to move around and reach areas, such as sofas or cars.
More expensive portable steam steamers are faster and more effective as they generate more steam with the higher temperature. High temperature steam... i.e. over 200 F helps in destroying dust mites, mold, viruses, bacteria... or sanitize dirty areas. They are also equipped with better material, such as stainless steel boiler vs. plastic one on the cheaper models, pressure gauge, steam control and a lot of multi-purpose attachments...
Buy a steamer which has a stainless steel or aluminum boiler as they are more durable. If the water tank can separate from the unit, better. Fast start up time means you can clean it sooner.