Steam cleaner review - 09/2019

Stubborn dirt on windows, in the bathroom or in the kitchen can easily be removed with a steam cleaner. In the long run, these household helpers will save you a lot of time and effort. We have tested several hand steam cleaners for you to provide you with honest and detailed product information. Our test winner is the SC 1 Steam Cleaner by Kärcherwith a score of 8.5/10. Learn more about it in our detailed test report!

last modified: 17.10.2019, 10:08
Winner
Our winner: Kärcher SC 1 Steam Cleaner Dirt Devil M 317 AquaClean Steam Cleaner ISILER Electric Steam Cleaner Sichler Steam Cleaner

Kärcher
SC 1 Steam Cleaner

Dirt Devil
M 317 AquaClean Steam Cleaner

ISILER
Electric Steam Cleaner

Sichler
Steam Cleaner

  • High-quality workmanship
  • A lot of power
  • Simple operation and handling
  • Good cleaning
  • Simple operation and handling
  • Long extension hose
  • Good cleaning
  • Large tank capacity
  • Incl. cleaning needle and funnel
  • A lot of steam
  • Short heat-up time
  • Incl. various nozzles and cleaning attachments
  • Incl. funnel
  • No own window attachment
  • Small filling tank
  • Little power
  • Small filling tank
  • With regard to renunciation only mediocre
  • Poor quality of the device and accessories
  • An impractical measuring cup that is smaller than the tank capacity
  • Difficult handling and operation
  • Attachments fall off during use

Good cleaning performance and high-quality workmanship. Makes cleaning enjoyable.

Good cleaning performance, which can only be used to a limited extent due to the small filling tank.

Suitable for all who need a lot of steam.

Its bad handling is not enjoyable during cleaning.

Heating capacity 1,200 W 1,200 W 1,100 Watt 1,000 W
Boiler/ tank capacity 0.2 l 0.15 l 0.35 l 0.25 l
Pre-heating time 3 min. 3 min. 2.5 min. 3 min
Cleaning efficiency
Handling
Accessory
Accessories Measuring cup 200 ml Spare sealing rings, cleaning needle, measuring cup 150 ml, extension hose Spare sealing rings, cleaning needle, funnel, measuring cup 350 ml, extension hose Measuring cup 200 ml, funnel, extension hose
Child protection Yes Yes No Yes
Steam pressure max. 3.0 bar 2.5 bar 3,0 bar 3.2 bar
Width 12,7 cm 12 cm 11,8 cm 14 cm
Height 18,6 cm 25 cm 23,8 cm 23 cm
Depth 32,1 cm 20 cm 28,5 cm 25 cm
Weight 1,6 kg 1,8 kg 1,4 kg 1,26 kg
Length of the power cable 4 m 5 m 3 m 3 m
Nozzles Hand nozzle, dot-jet brush, round brush, floor nozzle Long spray attachment, crevice nozzle, round brush, wire brush, trowel attachment, 2in1 combi attachment Round nozzle, crevice nozzle, multi-purpose attachment, window cleaning attachment, long spray attachment Multi-purpose attachment, round nozzle, crevice nozzle, cleaning cover, window cleaning attachment, long spray attachment
Test seal: Kärcher SC 1 Steam Cleaner, Rating 2
read review
Test seal: Dirt Devil M 317 AquaClean Steam Cleaner, Rating 2.4
read review
Test seal: ISILER Electric Steam Cleaner, Rating 2.6
read review
Test seal: Sichler Steam Cleaner, Rating 3.4
read review
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*All prices include VAT (if applicable, extra charge for delivery. Check the particular online shop to find information about the availability. Changes of indicated prices since the last update remain reserved.

Kärcher

SC 1 Steam Cleaner

Test seal: Kärcher SC 1 Steam Cleaner, Rating good

The Kärcher Steam Cleaner convinced us in the test, although this steam cleaner also has its weaknesses. The advantages definitely predominate. The cleaning performance is, in any case, one of these positive features. Due to its power, this small unit is superior to the competition. The quality of the components and accessories is also significantly higher than those of the competition. The operation during the application is simple. One of the weaknesses of the device is the small filling tank for the water. Smaller surfaces can be cleaned easily, but larger ones are a bit challenging. Several windows cannot be cleaned with one load of water. In such cases, water must be refilled.

read review

Kärcher - SC 1 Steam Cleaner

Winner: read review
  • The hand steam cleaners are supplied with various brushes and nozzles. Before you start, check which nozzle is best for your application.
  • The steam or water from the steam cleaners is quite hot. Be careful!
  • Consider in advance whether the use of a steam cleaner is really necessary or whether the dirt can also be wiped away with a damp cloth.
 

In the run-up to the test, we defined practical requirements and the following test criteria:

  • Cleaning performance
  • Handling
  • Accessories
  • Quality impression

In order to evaluate these criteria, we have defined several tests for the hand steam cleaners. In these tests, the appliances have to assert themselves in four different cleaning scenarios: freshening up clothes, cleaning joints in the kitchen, cleaning windows and removing a coffee/orange stain from a smooth surface. The best cleaning result is then assessed. During the test series, the handling and ergonomics of the appliances are assessed. The additional attachments included in the scope of delivery are also tested. However, a large number of attachments does not guarantee a better grade as long as the cleaning result is not satisfactory.

Thermal picture of a hand steam cleaner
A thermal picture of one of the test devices

In order to rule out mistakes and to ensure the load of everyday use, each test takes place in several rounds.

The test criteria receive percentages depending on their importance. The final score is then objectively calculated from the test criteria using an algorithm.

Product selection

Our product selection is based on an observation of the current market. In addition to popular branded products, we also include insider tips in our selection. Criteria such as price and range of functions are an important factor for us. The test field is also determined by analysis and evaluation of customer reviews and external tests (e.g. Stiftung Warentest).

The devices are purchased anonymously or lent to us by the manufacturer. Dealers and manufacturers have no influence on the tests and our evaluation.

As soon as new relevant products come onto the market, our test field is extended by these. The new products go through the same test as the already tested devices.

Steam cleaner
Steam cleaner by Kärcher

Keeping one's own four walls clean is usually not that easy. But clever household helpers can save a lot of time and effort. This also includes steam cleaners. The handy appliances are suitable for a wide variety of cleaning tasks. But what distinguishes a good steam cleaner and what should you look out for when buying it?

In order to be able to use a steam cleaner effectively, you should first understand the functional principle behind it. Basically, the hand tool works with hot steam, which can reach up to 300 degrees. The heated steam is blown out at a speed of up to 180 km/h with the aid of pressure.

The pressure reaches up to 4.5 bar. Due to the high heat and the pressure generated, dirt particles are detached from the surface to be cleaned. Since a condensation process occurs immediately, the dirt solution is not only superficial but also very thorough. Compared to brushes or a mop, the dirt is not only affected from above. In fact, condensation ensures that the dirt also dissolves at depth.

Large steam cleaner
Large steam cleaner - Photo: © Frank Gärtner adobestock

Depending on the application, steam cleaners are available in different sizes and designs. The steam broom is used similarly to a mop. The steam is released onto the floor under pressure and thus dissolves dirt particles which are wiped up in parallel. Due to its nature, the steam broom is only suitable for use on floors.

The steam vacuum cleaner, on the other hand, is much more flexible. The steam vacuum cleaner is a steam cleaner that initially removes dirt from surfaces and sucks up the dirt particles flying around. It can be used on smooth surfaces as well as on textiles and even carpets.

The handy version of the steam cleaner is also called steam duck. Unlike steam brooms or steam vacuum cleaners, the steam duck is a compact and handy steam cleaner that can be operated effortlessly with one hand. Thanks to different attachments the steam duck can clean virtually all surfaces as well as textiles.

Before you start, check which nozzle is most suitable for your application.

Steam cleaners are versatile
Steam cleaners are versatile to use.

The application areas of the small and handy helpers are very extensive. In addition to floors, windows and even upholstered furniture can be cleaned. The main advantage is that cleaning with a steam cleaner saves a lot of time and energy. Steam cleaners can also be used to clean hard-to-reach areas. Since there is no direct contact with the surface to be cleaned, even angles can be cleaned easily.

Since steam cleaners not only clean surfaces but also remove deep-seated dirt, they are often used to disinfect surfaces. This process is facilitated by the high temperatures of the steam. Since this is usually over 100 degrees hot, germs and bacteria are reliably eliminated.

Pro's

If you decide to do your housework with a steam cleaner, you will primarily find advantages of a technical nature. All cleaning methods are initially based on a mechanical effect on a surface.

Steam cleaners work with a high physical effect by releasing compressed steam pressure at high speed onto the surfaces to be cleaned. Therefore, even coarse soiling can be removed without great effort.

In addition, the intensive cleaning of surfaces ensures that the degree of disinfection is significantly higher than is the case with conventional cleaning methods.

The high temperature of the steam cleaner makes cleaning considerably easier.

In addition to easy handling, there are other advantages to using a steam cleaner. Since the physical effect of the cleaner is sufficient, no further cleaning agent is usually required. In this way, the environment, in particular, is protected, since many cleaning agents are mixed with chemical components.

There is also no danger that unattractive streaks will appear or visible residues will remain when windows or any glass surfaces are cleaned. In addition, even hard-to-reach areas can be easily cleaned with steam cleaners.

Last but not least, due to the low moisture released by the steam cleaner, it takes considerably less time for cleaned areas to dry after cleaning.

Con's

Although steam cleaners can score points in many respects, the few disadvantages should also be examined. For example, steam cleaners cannot always be used. Especially with temperature, there are sensitive materials you should be careful with and use a gentle cleaning method. Since the steam can be up to 300 degrees hot, the cleaning of sensitive materials with a steam cleaner is not recommended.

Caution! The steam or the water from the steam cleaner is quite hot.

In addition, electricity costs must not be forgotten. Compared to other cleaning methods, energy consumption is significantly higher.

Also in terms of safety, slight compromises have to be made. Due to the high temperatures that can occur during operation, children should always keep their fingers off steam cleaners. There is too great a risk that children could injure themselves if the appliance is handled incorrectly.

If you want to buy a steam cleaner, you should first consider the range of functions you want from your appliance and which fields of application are suitable for the application. The more tasks the steam cleaner is to perform, the greater the range of functions and accessories should be.

An important aspect when dealing with pressure and high temperatures is safety. When purchasing, you should, therefore, make sure that the model of your choice has a thermostat and a pressure switch. Both mechanisms ensure that the device switches off if a certain temperature or a too-high pressure inside is reached.

To allow thorough cleaning and disinfection of the surface to be cleaned, the steam temperature should be at least 80 degrees. Otherwise, the dirt will be much more difficult to remove and germs and bacteria will not be killed. Ideally, when buying, you should clean thoroughly and choose models with a steam temperature of more than 100 degrees. This ensures that germs and bacteria are definitely eliminated. The heat output is also important. This indicates how quickly the appliance is ready for use. Since you don't want to waste too much time waiting, you should opt for a low high heating output.

In view of the range of functions, steam cleaners with stepless steam quantity and steam pressure regulation are recommended. In this way, you can adjust the steam so that you can clean a wide variety of materials, including upholstered furniture. Particularly practical are models in which the steam regulator is attached directly to the handle. Last but not least, take a look at the accessories. The more attachments or nozzles there are, the more intensively and effectively steam cleaners can be used.

For window cleaning we have also tested special Window vacuum cleaner. For the "normal" dirt we offer wireless vacuum cleaners, which we have also tested extensively.

How do we test at askgeorge.com?

Live and authentic: We get the devices into our Hamburg test laboratory. Here we take a close look at everything.

Each test is preceded by an extensive search:

  • Which suppliers are on the market?
  • What current products are there?
  • What are the comparison criteria?
  • What tests are we going to run?
  • What is the test procedure?

When everything's settled, we'll bring the devices to us. For each product the test procedure, the measured values and product properties are documented in detail. We create photos and videos. We evaluate the results for you, summarize everything in a test report and calculate the test grade.

Have fun!

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