How to choose a steam cleaner for your home

The steam cleaner is a device for effective cleaning of the house, disinfection of various surfaces and removal of complex dirt.

How to choose a steam cleaner for your home

How to choose a steam cleaner for your home: characteristics to consider

When choosing a steam cleaner for home use, you should pay attention to the following technical characteristics of the device:

  1. Device type;

  2. Steam boiler volume;

  3. Heating type;

  4. Steam pressure;

  5. Power;

  6. Water heating time;

  7. Steam temperature;

  8. Protection system.

  9. The manufacturer of the device is also important.

Types of steam cleaners for home

Steam cleaners for domestic use can be divided into three groups:

  1. Manual;

  2. Outdoor;

  3. Steam cleaners, vacuum cleaners and other multifunctional devices.

Manual steam cleaners

Manual steam cleaners

Handheld steam cleaners are compact devices that are designed for short-term use. They are suitable for light garment care and short-term cleaning at home (for example, treating a single surface).

Structurally, such devices are similar to an electric kettle – water boils in a special container, and the finished steam is supplied through a flexible hose. The vast majority of models are equipped with a gravity steam supply system, as a result of which the quality of cleaning may suffer – it will be very difficult to 'knock out' dirt from the fabric, for example.

However, these steam cleaners are suitable for simple cleaning, cleaning and disinfection of surfaces.


  • Low price;

  • Mobility – you can freely move them around the house;

  • Possibility of using untreated water;

  • Simplicity of design, reducing the risk of breakage;


  • Low power (up to 1.5 kW), which leads to a long start-up time;

  • High weight of the device, leading to hand fatigue with prolonged use;

  • Small capacity of the water tank (up to 1 l, in most cases – 0.5 l);

Floor standing steam cleaners

Floor standing steam cleaners

Floor-standing steam cleaners are versatile devices that are suitable for full-fledged cleaning throughout the apartment. Thanks to their high power and large water tank volume, they can be used to treat numerous surfaces, furniture and clothing.


  • High power (usually 1.5-2.3 kW), providing minimum start-up time and maximum steam flow rate;

  • Usually a large number of attachments are included;

  • The presence of a boiler that supplies steam under high pressure;

  • Large volume of the water tank, which allows cleaning of various surfaces without 'refueling';


  • High price;

  • High power consumption;

  • Large dimensions;

Nonetheless, floor standing steam cleaners are the ideal solution for cleaning an entire apartment.

Steam cleaners, vacuum cleaners and other multifunctional devices

Steam cleaners-vacuum cleaners

Multifunctional cleaners can replace several household appliances. For example, they can be equipped with an iron attachment for ironing clothes or a vacuum cleaner mode for 'home dry cleaning' of carpets and similar floor coverings.


  • Possibility of complex room cleaning using one device;

  • Usually a large set with attachments for a variety of surfaces;

  • High-quality cleaning of a wide variety of surfaces;

  • Possibility of application in a variety of cases;


  • High price;

  • High requirements for the quality of the filled water.

Which steam cleaner for home is better to choose

The choice of a steam cleaner for the home should be based on the planned use cases. So:

  1. If you plan to process small surfaces or a small amount of clothing, then you should purchase a manual steam cleaner – it will be enough in most cases;

  2. If you plan to process a large number of surfaces, clothes, disinfect and clean a wide variety of products in the room, then a floor steam cleaner would be a good solution;

  3. If the budget allows and it is planned to carry out complex cleaning in the room, then it is worth purchasing a multifunctional steam cleaner.

When choosing a steam cleaner for your home, you should be guided not only by the type and scenarios of use, but also by the technical characteristics of the device.

Steam cleaner selection options

Main selection criteria

The technical characteristics of the steam cleaner directly affect its operational parameters. Therefore, it is important to consider the following device specifications:

  1. The volume of the liquid container;

  2. Steam supply type;

  3. Steam pressure;

  4. Power;

  5. Water heating time;

  6. Steam temperature;

  7. Protection system;

  8. Equipment.

Liquid container volume

The volume of the liquid container directly determines the cleaning time (and the number of surfaces that can be treated with the steam cleaner).

The vast majority of portable steam cleaners are equipped with a liquid container with a capacity of up to 0.5 liters inclusive. This is enough for short-term processing – for example, enough to clean one or two windows or one chair. In the future, you will have to add water and wait until it boils.

Floor standing steam cleaners are equipped with a 0.5-2 liter reservoir. This is already enough for cleaning several carpets, upholstered furniture, etc. But when choosing a steam cleaner with a tank of more than 1.5 liters, you should make sure that it will be powerful enough to boil water quickly – that is, have a power of more than 2 kW.

Multifunctional steam cleaners in most cases are equipped with a 1-1.5 l tank, which is explained by the need to fit additional components into the body. But even this volume is enough to handle almost all the necessary surfaces in a small apartment.

Steam type

There are two types of steam cleaners for the home – with continuous steam supply and with a built-in steam generator. They differ in the intensity and temperature of the hot air at the outlet.

Direct-flow steam cleaners

Direct-flow steam cleaners are just a kind of electric kettle. After boiling water in the boiler, steam is independently supplied through a flexible tube to the nozzle.

Direct-flow steam cleaners are suitable for treating various surfaces, removing light stains and refreshing loose fabrics. They simply cannot cope with serious tasks such as 'dry cleaning' carpet.


  • Low price;

  • Minimum water quality requirements;

  • Simple and reliable design;


  • The intensity of the steam supply can be quite low, and the flow simply does not pierce dense fabrics;

  • The intensity of the steam supply is variable – it gradually increases, as a result of which part of the usable volume of water remains unused.

Steam cleaners with built-in steam generator

Steam cleaners with a built-in steam generator provide significantly higher steam pressure and steam density (from 3 bar and 70 grams per minute, respectively), therefore they are suitable for dealing with serious dirt and for processing heavy fabrics such as carpets or upholstery.

Often, manufacturers do not indicate the presence (or absence) of a steam generator in the specifications of a steam cleaner. Therefore, it can be determined by the characteristics of the steam pressure. If it is more than 3-5 bar, it is most likely that a steam generator is installed in the device. If it is less or simply absent from the specifications, we are talking about a direct-flow model.


  • They quickly and efficiently deal with complex dirt (such as stuck on dirt in the kitchen, dirt in the cracks of tiles or parquet, traces in the hood);

  • The steam flow penetrates deeply into the structure of the material (therefore, dust mites from upholstered furniture or dust from the radiator are removed).


  • Usually a short time of operation in the maximum intensity mode (after which the device starts to work like a direct-flow one);

  • High price;

  • High requirements for water quality;

Steam pressure

Steam pressure

The steam pressure directly determines the intensity of cleaning and the depth of penetration of hot air. It is measured in bars and is indicated in the device specifications:

  1. Not specified – most likely, we are talking about a direct-flow steam cleaner, which is designed for disinfection of smooth surfaces and processing of thin fabrics;

  2. Up to 3 bar – suitable for disinfection and cleaning of smooth surfaces, removal of light dirt, treatment of children's toys, soft furniture with loose upholstery, fabric draperies, clothing made of breathable materials;

  3. From 3 to 5 bar – suitable for removing most dirt, processing upholstered furniture and bed linen, has an effective antiseptic effect;

  4. More than 5 bar – suitable for removing difficult dirt (including grease marks on kitchen utensils and appliances), penetrates deep into the structure of the material, cleans and disinfects carpets, upholstered furniture, bedding with high quality. But it can damage heat-sensitive materials – plastic, polyethylene, delicate fabrics – and also lead to the detachment of low-quality dyes or varnishes.

For complex cleaning, it is worth purchasing a steam cleaner with the ability to adjust the steam pressure.

It is also worth remembering that some manufacturers in their specifications indicate not the actual steam pressure at the outlet, but its value in the steam boiler (tanks for boiling water). While hot air flows through the tube, its pressure can drop by 1-2 bar. This must be taken into account when choosing a device.


The power of the steam cleaner directly affects the boiling time of the water. It must correspond to the tank capacity:

  1. Up to 0.5 l – 500-1200 W will be enough for a quick start;

  2. 0.5 to 2 L – 1000-2500 W;

  3. More than 2 liters – from 2200 W.

If the power is less, the boiling time can be several minutes – and there will be a large loss of the effective amount of water (up to 10-15% of the tank capacity).

For direct-flow steam cleaners, it is worth choosing models with increased power – this will provide a higher steam pressure at the nozzle outlet.

Water heating time

The water heating time directly depends on the power of the steam cleaner and the liquid container. So, for most models, the standard value of this indicator is:

  1. 15 seconds – for hand;

  2. 45 seconds – for floor standing capacities of about 2 liters;

  3. 30 seconds – for multifunctional capacities of about 1.5 liters.

This parameter determines the user experience rather than the actual practical qualities of the device.

Steam temperature

The standard steam temperature is 100 (or even a little more – about 101-102) degrees Celsius. With a decrease, condensation is observed – drops of water appear. However, in supersaturated air, steam can retain its gaseous form even at much lower temperatures, up to 60 degrees; and in direct-flow steam cleaners closer to the end of the cycle, its temperature can rise up to 120-130 degrees.


The higher the temperature of the steam, the more effective it has a cleansing and disinfecting effect. But, at the same time, very hot air can be dangerous for delicate fabrics and materials like plastic or polyethylene.

In addition, it is worth considering that in the process of passing through a flexible tube from the boiler, the steam temperature decreases – to 80-90 degrees at the beginning of the water boiling cycle and to 90-100 degrees at its end.

Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of manufacturers do not specify the steam temperature in the specifications of the device, and steam cleaners with the ability to adjust this parameter are very rare.

Protection system

The protection systems that are used in steam cleaners can be very diverse. Firstly, the boiler lid is blocked. It prevents the water container from opening when boiling is in progress or when the temperature is high.

Secondly, it is automatic shutdown. It can be realized upon reaching the maximum pressure in the boiler (if no steam is released) or by emptying the tank when it runs out of water.

And finally, the third protection system is child protection. In this case, steam is released only after pressing a special button on the handle of the device.

It is recommended to select models equipped with all possible protective measures to prevent burns or to ensure maximum fire safety.


The practicality of a steam cleaner for the home is determined by the number of nozzles included in the kit.

  1. Iron and non-stick iron pad for ironing clothes.

  2. Different types of brushes (eg round) are suitable for removing dirt from various surfaces, but are best for cleaning upholstered furniture and toys.

  3. Brushes with brass bristles (or other hard bristles) are designed for cleaning heavily soiled surfaces that can be scratched without losing the performance of the product – for example, for pans without a non-stick coating.

  4. Microfibre nozzles and wipes are designed for cleaning smooth surfaces such as flooring, bathroom fixtures, cabinetry, windows, etc.

  5. Window scrapers are designed for cleaning smooth transparent or mirror surfaces.

  6. Steam turbo brushes effectively remove stubborn dirt from textile surfaces – floor coverings, upholstery, etc.

  7. The spot nozzle and crevice nozzles are suitable for removing dirt from floor joints and complex structures, as well as breaking up stubborn, dried or stuck-on dirt.

  8. The textile care nozzle is designed for steaming clothes.

It is worth choosing a complete set based on your needs.

Steam cleaners cost

The cost of steam cleaners directly depends on the type and power. Manual models cost from 1.5-2 thousand rubles, and most of the models are in the price range of 4-6 thousand rubles. Floor standing ones cost from 5 thousand rubles, most models – in the range of 8-10 thousand rubles. Multifunctional ones cost from 12 thousand rubles, most models are in the range of 20-30 thousand rubles.

The best steam cleaner manufacturers – which company to choose

Among the manufacturers of steam cleaners are:

  1. Karcher, MIE are manufacturers of premium steam cleaners with wide functionality, high power and excellent durability. The disadvantage is a very high price even for its segment;

  2. Kitfort are good steam cleaners in the middle and budget price segment.

  3. You can also highlight the companies DeFort and Smile, however, it is very difficult to find steam cleaners of their production on sale.


In the following articles, we will tell you how to choose the right iron for your home and the secrets of choosing a garment steamer.

Video for choosing a steam cleaner for home

Attention! This material is the subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a purchase guide.

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