Cylinder Steam Cleaner Buying Guide

The consumer can find a lot of benefits that come with owning a steam cleaner. A good machine will clean so many areas around the home and it will provide much better results than doing the job by hand. If you are looking for multi-purpose steam cleaning, then a cylinder model will probably provide the best results. To help consumers find the right steam cleaner for their home, here is a guide that covers many of the points that you should consider in the purchasing process.


These are the cleaners that provide the best results for a broad range of jobs. They might not be quite as convenient as a steam mop for cleaning floors, but they deliver results that are just as good and on top of that, they tend to be much better suited for multi-function use.


With a steam cleaner, much of the cleaning power comes from the heat. The heat helps to remove the dirt and grime on a surface and it is the heat that kills bacteria. A machine that operates at a higher temperature will provide better cleaning and it will kill germs more effectively.

Steam Output

The amount of steam being delivered to the cleaning head will also make a difference. A machine that can put more steam in the cleaning area will usually clean better, but there is also such a thing as too much steam. On some jobs, an excess of steam will leave the surface wet and that could affect the overall performance.


For the most part, steam cleaners use steam to clean and kill bacteria, but detergent can be useful in some situations. To provide consumers with a little extra cleaning power, there are machines that have a small detergent tank. Most of these machines will have some type of detergent control that will at least allow the user to turn the detergent feature on or off.

Handling the Cleaner

Part of the reason that people buy steam cleaners is because they make home cleaning easier. With that being the case, you want to find a machine that is easy to handle.

The top thing to consider when it comes to handling a steam cleaner is the cleaning wand. This is the piece that you are going to be handling the most when you use the machine, so if it isn’t well-designed, it is going to make cleaning a bit of a hassle. The cleaning wand should have a good spot for the user to hold and control the wand. It is also important to consider the balance. A well-balanced wand will be easier to handle as you put it to different jobs from those that are down low to those that are up high.

Size and weight are another consideration. The cylinder models are going to be heavier and less compact than the steam mops. You want to check out the wheels and whether the body has a handle to make it easy to carry. You also want to think about the fact that these machines can hold more water. That means that the weight of the machine will increase more when they have a full tank. Most models will be pretty easy to carry when they are empty, but it could be a bit of a burden when the tank is full.


A cylinder style steam cleaner is always going to come with a set of attachments and accessories. In general, these models are going to come with a more comprehensive set than the steam mops or the portable models. In addition to that, a cylinder will probably be designed to use the broad range of tools more effectively. The following list includes a few of the more common tools that will come with a cylinder steam cleaner:

  • Floor cleaner
  • Cloth for hard floors
  • Upholstery tool
  • Hand tool
  • Window cleaner
  • Large and small brush tools
  • Detailing tools
  • Garment steamer

Operating Costs

Steam cleaners usually have fairly low operating costs. When it comes to electricity, the use of one of these machines will have a minimal impact. The areas to consider when it comes to operating costs are the cleaning pads and whether you have to use de-mineralised or distilled water with the machine.

Cleaning pads

For cleaning floors and surfaces, the machine will usually come with a cleaning pad or cloth that removes and absorbs the dirt. With most machines, they are washable, so there is no need to worry about buying new pads, but you may want to consider whether one pad is enough. As you clean, the dirt and grime are going to build up on the cloth and this will make cleaning less effective toward the end of a particularly large job. To address this issue, some manufacturers will include two floor-cleaning pads, but if there is only one, then you may want to consider the cost of buying a second cloth for floor cleaning.


With the use of tap water, mineral deposits could build up inside the machine. These deposits can affect the operation of the machine and when they accumulate to such a level, they can make it unusable. For this reason, many manufacturers recommend the use of de-mineralised or distilled water. Failure to do so can damage the machine and it could void the warranty.

To allow the user the more convenient option of using tap water, some manufacturers have designed solutions into the machine. The most common is designing the machine so that the boiler can be descaled. Descaling is usually as simple as filling the machine with a descaling agent and letting it sit for a few hours, but you will need to buy the mix for the descaler.

Another solution is integrating a hard water filter into the machine. Some machines will filter the water before it reaches the boiler and this allows the consumer to use tap water without having to descale the machine. However, this option will mean that you have to buy and replace the filter after some time.


The price of a cylinder steam cleaner can vary significantly depending on the model. The cheapest machines come in at around £60-70 and the most expensive can be in excess of £300. In general, you are going to get better quality and more features and attachments with a more expensive machine, but a higher price does not always mean a better steam cleaner.

Additional Factors

Water Capacity – Cylinders have the highest water capacity, so that is going to mean that they usually offer the longest running time. This also means that the machine will be heavier when it is full, but the tank and cleaning wand are two separate parts of the machine, so it is not as much of an issue as it would be with a handheld or a steam mop.

Heating Time – Most of these models will take longer to start producing steam than the steam mops or the portables. There are some quick heating models that are ready in less than a minute, but most machines will take about 5-10 minutes.

Steaming Time –Steaming time is usually where the cylinders come up big. The average cylinder will offer a longer steaming time and that means more cleaning on one tank. In addition to that, more of these models have tanks that can be refilled while the machine is in operation.

Steam Settings – The ability to control the steam is especially important for multi-function cleaning. Most cylinders have variable steam control and some of them even offer steam control from the handle of the cleaning wand.

Working Radius – The working radius is how much area the machine can cover from one electrical outlet. With these machines, the length of the cord and the length of the cleaning hose will dictate the cleaning radius.

Storage – Being easy to store is just one more feature of convenience. Consider things like storage for the tools and attachments, cord storage and whether the machine has a parking position to prevent it from rolling in the storage space.

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