Tech review: Kärcher SC 3 Upright EasyFix Steam Cleaner functional but clumsy

If germ killing is the biggest objective, you must be willing to put up with a wet floor.
If germ killing is the biggest objective, you must be willing to put up with a wet floor.PHOTO: KÄRCHERFRANCE/YOUTUBE

Before I tackled this 3kg giant, I have romanticised steam cleaners as the solution to hygienic floors. After all, steam cleaners have been advertised to kill more than 99 per cent of all common household bacteria on hard surfaces - ideal for homes with children or pets.

If germ killing is the biggest objective, you must be willing to put up with a wet floor, as I've discovered after testing the Kärcher SC 3 Upright EasyFix Steam Cleaner.

I tackled my kitchen and living room marble floor using the maximum steam flow setting on the cleaner. The floor was too wet for my liking during the cleaning although I was satisfied with the cleaning result - the white microfibre cloth attached to the EasyFix floor nozzle turned black.

Adjusting the steam flow to the lowest setting minimises water condensation - although it is still not quite dry enough for parquet floor cleaning.

Thus, I would not recommend cleaning wooden floors with the Kärcher steam cleaner or any steam cleaner for that matter. The device is best for the toughest job of removing grime and dirt in the kitchen and bathroom, on stone or tiles.

Even though the 3kg giant is a bit clumsy to push around the house, I appreciate several well thought-out features.

One of the biggest selling points of the device is that users can finally say goodbye to chemical residues and toxic cleaning solvents. The microfibre cloth is also machine washable and reusable.

Its ease of assembly and use is another selling point. The steam mop has very few parts. It heats up in under 30 seconds; the LED light on the device turns from red to green, giving users a clear indication when it is ready to use.

Its refillable and removable fresh water tank includes a descaling cartridge to protect the device from limescale problems to ensure a long service life. The mop also comes with a carpet glider for cleaning carpets.

There are a few features I hope subsequent versions of the product will incorporate.

First, it needs to go cordless. Dragging a 5-metre power cable around is unwieldly to say the least. Second, I would prefer to have stronger vapour blasters for a deeper clean. The steam mop's heating output of 1,600 watts is among the highest available for home devices, but it is still not enough for me. I figured if I'm going to shell out a few hundred bucks and put up with a wet floor, it'd better be worth my while.

  • FOR

    - Ease of assembly and use

    - Gets the job done

    - Reusable parts, sustainable

  • AGAINST

    - Leaves the floor too wet

    - Power cord gets in the way

    - Steam not powerful enough

  • SPECS

    Price: $398

    Area covered per tank: 60m²

    Heating output: 1600W

    Cable length: 5m

    Heat-up time: 30 sec

    Tank capacity: 500ml

    Weight without accessories: 3.1kg

    Dimensions: 314 x 207 x 1185mm (L × W × H)

  • RATING

    Features: 4/5

    Design: 4/5

    Performance: 3.5/5

    Value for money: 3.5/5

    Overall: 3.5/5