Why Do Some Vapor Steam Cleaners Cost More?
This is one of the questions we are asked all of the time. Here are the reasons why:
Good residential units have boiler steam temperature between 240 and 298 degrees Fahrenheit. For serious cleaning avoid any steam cleaner that has a lower average steam temperature. Hotter steam means a quantum increase in cleaning effectiveness. What’s more necessary is to start with a much higher temperature than you would think you might need, as all vapor steam cleaners lose some temperature on the way to the tip.
The very best machines have boilers made out of stainless steel which heat up faster, and do not rust.
Cheap machines do not have safety caps for refilling or emptying water. Without a safety cap there is danger of steam burns if the water reservoir is opened too quickly after usage. On the continuous feed machines there are two reservoirs for water. One is for filling and the water does not get hot. The other is for the boiler to produce steam.
The ability to refill water continuously is more important than you might think. If you have a continuous refill machine you do not have to wait for the machine to cool down and heat up again when you want to refill it [this can be a 20 plus minute wait on a pressure reservoir vapor steam cleaner ].It also means that the steam cleaner is lighter because it is not filled with water.
Water Reservoir – Tank Capacity:
Very small water tanks can drive you crazy when you have to refill them every 15 to 20 minutes.
Steam Regulation Control:
Can you regulate the steam outflow? Some tasks require a finer, more concentrated jet of steam (e.g. cleaning grout, nooks and crannies). This can be important when you want to avoid the splattering of dirt particulates all over the place. Some items require a more dispersed steam – large areas, plant misting and upholstery. We think the units with this steam control at your fingertips (on the wand) are the best. The lower priced units either do not have this feature or have a dial control on the canister.
Steam Temperature Regulation:
Some fabrics and surfaces require a cooler temperature so a unit with one level of steam might be too powerful for delicate items – fabrics, upholstery, etc. .
Length of warranty on boiler and other parts. It is usually 3 years for the boiler, and other parts are 1 year, on a good residential vapor steam cleaner and 5 years on a commercial vapor steam cleaner. Some units have a lower price because they only come with a one year warranty. Be sure to check this out.
These vapor steam cleaners need a good handle for easy lifting up stairs. Somebody needs to have really paid attention to this design feature. If you live in a multi-floor home or will be cleaning on different floors check out how easy it is to carry the vapor steam cleaner.
Do you have to carry the unit while you use it? Do you pull it on casters? Does it have casters? Are they decent sized for easy maneuverability? How long is the hose, wand and cord on the unit? Can you reach the areas you need to clean comfortably (for example – the bathtub and its fixtures, tiled shower ceilings)?
What are the standard accessories included for special cleaning tasks. Which accessories are optional and add to the cost of the machines? The more expensive machines have higher grade accessories that can stand up to the higher boiler temperatures. Size of the cleaning brushes is also an added expense. The better machines have bigger sized tools, that are a better quality, attach more easily, which allows for the cleaning to be done faster.
Quality of toweling covers and whether they can be attached and removed easily makes a difference. The better machines have easy clips to attach the toweling covers.
Some units seem to have all of the right features that would like but the weight is too heavy for normal residential usage. Our mid range and top of the line vapor steam cleaners weigh in at around 14-16 lbs. before water is added. Other cheaper units may weigh as much as 35-40 lbs. before water is added. We think this is much too heavy!
Training Materials and Instruction Manuals:
Since you may be new to vapor steam cleaners which come with a myriad of attachments, you will want to have an instructional video, printed instructions, and some units we sell come with a laminated cheat sheet of what to use when. It is not that these units are so complicated to use, it is that the video shows you the many ways that you can use the vapor steam cleaner and it tells you what attachments and toweling to use for different applications by giving examples that you can see. This will help you feel comfortable using the vapor steam cleaner and it will help you discover more items that you can clean with it. Most people do not want to read directions to figure something out — they would like to see it in action that is why the video is so helpful we think!
There are a greater number of steam outlets and larger places in more expensive machines to keep it all organized.