Lets Talk Steam Cleaners: Critical Details VT 05478

There are definitely different classifications for steam cleaners: consumer, commercial and Industrial. Each which have their place. For personal use, a consumer grade steam cleaner will work just fine. However I would not recommend a consumer grade steam cleaner to a professional detailer. At times, I have spent well over an hour steam cleaning neglected door jambs with a commercial grade steam cleaner. The McCulloch steam cleaner (consumer model) has a maximum steam time of 45 minutes which means on the maximum setting you may see 20 minutes of steam. If I don’t refill my water reservoir and let the boiler drain, the 300CS provides about an hour of steam on the maximum setting. Continuous fill steam cleaners like the 300CS, do not list the max operation time because you will have an endless supply of steam.

The VX5000 steam cleaner seems to be the tipping point from consumer grade to commercial grade steam cleaners. The VX5000 costs roughly $800, and has a 4 liter boiler compared to the McCulloch which costs roughly $100, and has a 1.5 liter boiler. The VX5000 also offers 65psi of steam while the McCulloch only offers 35psi of steam. What manufacturers do not mention, is that the overall PSI rating, and the pressure will decrease to almost half the max listed PSI after the trigger has been pressed for close to a minute. The VX5000 is a great entry level commercial steam cleaner which is not to say it is inexpensive. A few hundred more dollars and you can pick up a steam cleaner that has more PSI and a continuous fill boiler, which the VX5000 does not have.

For the majority of professional detailers, a commercial grade steam cleaner ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 will be more than adequate. However there are some detailers that require an industrial grade steam cleaner such as an Optima DM. The Optima DM has a 10 liter boiler compared to the average 4 liter boiler found on commercial grade steam cleaners. The Optima DM also boasts an impressive 116psi which is 40psi more than most commercial grade steam cleaners. Detailing businesses that clean heavy equipment or provide exterior steam washes need an industrial grade steam cleaner.

Time is money but money is a definite consideration when it comes to detailing and purchasing a steam cleaner. A commercial grade steam cleaner will save you countless hours of labor and pay for itself over time.

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