What makes a great portable steam cleaner?  It depends on what you mean by portable and how much cleaning power you actually need.  Despite what you may have seen on a popular infomercial, a self-contained portable steam cleaner that you hold in your hand, is not the best choice for most users.

Portable Steam Cleaner McCulloch MC-1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner Hard Surface ViewWhat they don’t tell you on TV is that although their portable steam cleaner is compact in size, it may lack the power you need to tackle most cleaning tasks around your home.  Hand held steamers are compact for a reason.  If they made them any bigger, they would be too heavy to carry.  Since you have to hold the whole unit in your hand while you clean, that means that the water reservoir is inside the unit and water is heavy.

Hand held units are really a tradeoff among power, size, and weight.  The more powerful you make the cleaner or the longer steam time you design in, the bigger and heavier the unit has to be.  That’s because a longer steam time means a larger reservoir and a bigger heating element means a bigger size and more weight as well.  At some point, the unit becomes too big to easily maneuver and too heavy to hold for long periods of cleaning.

Since the reservoir is necessarily small in a portable steam cleaner, their steam duration is shorter requiring more frequent refills and more time is wasted waiting for steam build-up.

Small hand held steam cleaners typically have less than 1000 watts of power which means a longer time for steam build-up and a less powerful steam flow.  That means that it will have less steam pressure for your cleaning tasks.





Also, even though they are compact, they are not necessarily lightweight.  With a full reservoir, it may be difficult for many to hold the steamer for long periods.

You may also find that a compact steam cleaner may have a shorter power cord which probably will require an extension cord to reach all of your cleaning tasks.  Steam cleaners draw quite a bit of power, so a heavy-duty extension cord may be required.  Always consult the manufacturer’s recommendations about using an extension cord with an appliance like a steam cleaner that may draw 1000W or more of power.


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So what do we recommend?  We recommend that if you have several tasks around your home that require steam cleaning, you should choose a canister steam cleaner.  A canister steam cleaner has many advantages over a hand held steam cleaner.

They still function like a handheld steamer because they have a hose and a wand with attachments that you hold in your hand to shoot the steam directly at your cleaning task.  The difference is that the limitation on power and reservoir size are not as great, because all of the weight is in the canister which rolls on the floor.  The only thing you carry is the wand which does not weigh very much.


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A canister steam cleaner can have a very large reservoir providing a long steam duration of up to two hours and can pack a much larger heating element with more power to provide a faster time to steam and a more powerful steam flow or steam pressure.  That means that it will clean much better than a typical self-contained portable steam cleaner.

Look for a canister steamer to have a much longer power cord than a handheld, self-contained model which means less plugging and replugging to reach the cleaning tasks around your home.

If you’re serious about cleaning with steam, a canister steamer is definitely the way to go.  A canister steamer will be more expensive than a hand held steamer, but you usually get much more flexibility by way of more attachments so it’s like getting several steamers in one.


Take a look see if our choice of portable steam cleaner is the perfect model for your needs!


McCulloch MC-1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner

Portable Steam Cleaner McCulloch MC-1275 Heavy Duty Steam Cleaner Side ViewThe kind of clean you’re looking for when you think of steam cleaning is provided by a canister steam cleaner and the McCulloch MC-1275 Canister Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner is one of the best.  With 1500 watts of power, it provides professional-quality steam cleaning while allowing you to clean with a lightweight wand.  You will find that compared to a self-contained model, this canister gives you the power and accessories you need to steam clean everything from floors to above-floor surfaces all over your home.  Here’s what you need to know. 




  • One of the most powerful canister steam cleaners available at 1500W provides a powerful steam flow and a fast steam build-up
  • A large 50 oz. water tank provides a continuous steam duration of 45 minutes plus
  • Has the attachments to function as a capable sealed hard floor surface steam mop
  • Easy to transport and use this model has easy-roll caster wheels and is relatively lightweight
  • The combination of a flexible 10-foot steam hose and a 12-foot power cord means you will be able to reach even hard-to-reach above-floor cleaning tasks
  • Measures 17-1/2 x 11-3/7 x 9-1/4 inches and weighs in at about 13 lbs.




Included Accessories

  • 1 – Steam jet nozzle
  • 2 – Extension wands
  • 1 – Mop head
  • 1 – Triangle brush
  • 1 – Scrub pad
  • 1 – Upholstery/floor brush
  • 5 – Nylon utility brushesPortable Steam Cleaner McCulloch MC-1275 Heavy Duty Steam Cleaner Kit View
  • 1 – Squeegee
  • 1 – Funnel
  • 1 – Measuring cup
  • 1 – Terry cover for floor brush
  • 2 – Reusable and washable microfiber pads



  • Cleaning attachments to tackle all kinds of cleaning tasks
  • Great on windows
  • Long steam duration
  • Length of cord and hose comes in handy 



  • Expensive attachment replacement
  • No built-in cord or attachment storage
  • Button on handle can be difficult to push for long periods





Portable Steam Cleaner 


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As always, thanks for reading our SteamerCentral.com article!  We sincerely hope that it has provided you with valuable information that helps you choose the best portable steam cleaner for your needs!