How Do I Choose the Best Floor Steamer?

Dee S.
Dee S.

A person or company looking to choose the best floor steamer likely will have many factors to consider before making a final decision. These likely will include determining whether the floor cleaner will be used on hard floor surfaces — such as tile, stone, wood or vinyl — or on carpeted floors. The design of the handle, the presence of a filter, the maneuverability of the unit, and the ease and efficiency with which it will clean the flooring are all factors that should be considered before making a choice.

A floor steamer should include extra tools for cleaning the carpeting on stairs.
A floor steamer should include extra tools for cleaning the carpeting on stairs.

A floor steamer often is necessary to clean hard flooring, such as tile, marble, stone, wood or vinyl. This kind of steamer usually does not rely on dangerous chemicals to clean the flooring surface but on heated water, or steam. Most floor steamers will heat the water to 212° Fahrenheit (100° Celsius) or hotter, killing most household bacteria and viruses with the heat. If a steamer does not guarantee that its water temperatures will rise to that level, it is usually better to consider purchasing a different unit.

If a floor steamer is going to be used to clean carpeted floors, detergents also will typically be necessary. If the cleaner is going to be used in an area that receives heavy foot traffic, a button that will allow the machine to provide an extra boost of steam and detergent for spot cleaning may be best. Other factors that may be considered include whether there are extra tools for cleaning the carpeting on stairs and whether the tank is large enough to hold the water necessary to clean a large carpeted area without requiring a refill.

Some design features of the floor steamer also should likely be considered before purchasing a unit. For example, an adjustable handle may be a nice option, especially for users who are taller or shorter than average. In addition, if the handle has an S-shape, it may be more ergonomically correct when compared to a straight handle. Other design features that could be considered include the unit’s weight and whether the fill-tank can be easily removed. If the unit contains a filter, it will help to prevent the buildup of minerals and increase the life of the steamer, though it also should be easy to remove and clean.

Efficiency is often important when selecting a floor steamer. For example, many units have a fast start-up time, heating the water in less than 30 seconds, while other units take much longer to heat the water. In addition, some units easily fit under furniture. This alleviates the need to rearrange the furniture each time the floors are cleaned. If multiple brushes or jets are available on the floor steamer, then it will usually clean the floors better than a unit that has fewer brushes or jets.

Dee S.
Dee S.

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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