How to buy the best portable steam cleaners for your clothes, car detailing, carpets, furniture, floors, and upholstery. Explore handheld steam cleaner features, benefits, pros, and cons. Models reviewed: Shark, McCulloch, Wagner, Bissell, and other top sellers.
Find out more about steam cleaning benefits, potential safety concerns, and its impact on the environment.
The buying guide helps homeowners to make informed decisions about why they should invest in a portable steam cleaner.
Steam cleaning is the safe and eco-friendly way of cleaning your floors, upholstery, clothes, furniture, cars, bathrooms, and kitchen surfaces, using only hot water. The temperature of hot water can reach temperatures over 300 F, producing steam or mist which dries very quickly.
It cleans deeper than other cleaning tools and supplies and by removing dust and dirt makes the surrounding air healthier to breathe.
It also prevents cross-contamination.
There is no need to use detergents and other cleaning chemicals, so it is safer for the environment, you, and your kids. No side effects and skin irritation when or after using the cleaner, making it ideal for allergy sufferers.
Except cleaning, hot steam helps in sanitizing surfaces in your bathroom, kitchen, and car. It can kill up to 99% of bacteria, germs, dust mites, flea eggs, bedbugs, and successfully remove mold and grease.
A portable steamer or vapor steam cleaner is a small and compact cleaning tool designed to clean various objects and surfaces of your home or vehicle, sanitizing and deodorizing easily and efficiently, leaving surfaces virtually dry.
Most small steam cleaners, such as models from the Shark manufacturer, are equipped with interchangeable quick-release hand tools, 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 larger ones that utilize wheels are ideal for floor cleaning, including large surfaces.
Portable steam cleaners are versatile household devices that can be utilized in many applications:
As there are a variety of 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 temperatures 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 time.
Based on the application and available features, you can find several types of portable steam cleaners:
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 loses the bonds of grime and dirt naturally. You can use 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 at 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.
Did you know that vapor steam cleaning originated in Italy?
Size and capacity. Steam cleaners come in many sizes, weights, and shapes. If you are looking to get a portable type, it might be important for you to buy a model that is easy to carry (lightweight) and store.
Handheld steam cleaners have much smaller capacity than the larger wheel-mounted units, 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.
Cost and quality. Expensive portable steam steamers are advanced, faster, and more effective than the budget models. With the higher temperature and pressure, such models generate more steam, resulting in deeper and dryer sanitary cleaning.
High-temperature steam where the temperatures are over 200 F helps destroy 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 many multi-purpose attachments...
Boiler quality. Buy a steamer that 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. Some models come with two water tanks, providing continuous refill and longer operation time.
Safety features. Steam cleaners are also safe. They come with safety features, including the automatic shut-off, child safety, low water indicator, all working to protect you from the high temperatures or a machine from breaking.
Attachments. Most cleaners come with the basic attachments, and that is ok if planning to clean only the recommended areas for such a type. But, if you plan to clean more areas and different types of surfaces, buy a steam cleaner that has more functions, or get the proper attachments. The attachments and accessories are sold separately.
Portable steam cleaners make our homes and vehicles cleaner, healthier, chemical-free, and more comfortable to enjoy. Cleaning tasks are faster and efficient without any impact on the environment and your household.