REVIEW – Steam. The universal cleaner. Steam cleans everything. It disinfects, sanitizes, and has a way to get out stains that other cleaning products simply can’t. Especially in today’s world, steam can offer a degree of cleaning that is more important than ever. Costway has a consumer-grade steamer that offers a wide variety of cleaning tools for nearly all your household surfaces. Does it vaporize stains and germs or is it just all wet?
What is it?
The Costway boiler steamer is a portable steamer on wheels. It produces high-temperature steam that you can direct to the area to be cleaned with a variety of tools.
What’s in the box?
- Steam cleaner
- Extension tubes (2)
- Glove (like a thin oven mitt)
- Ironing brush
- Big nozzle
- Floor brush
- Carpet glider
- Glass brush
- Measuring cup (800ml)
- Cord spool
- Round brush (Stainless)
- Round brush (Nylon) (5)
- Towel for floor brush
- Ironing towel
- Extra o-rings (2)
- Instruction manual
- Costway $2000 sweepstakes flyer
- Color: Red
- Material: ABS
- Net weight:11 lbs
- Product dimensions: : 10” (L) ×17” (W) ×10 ” (H)
- Voltage: 120V /60HZ
- Power: 2000W
- Tank capacity: 1.5L/ 51oz
- Hose length from the tank to accessory tip: 6′
- Tank constructions: aluminum
- Pressure: 4.0 Bar
- Power cord: 10ft
- Extension tubes: 20″
- Max steam temperature: 226℉
- Heating time: 5-6 min (approx)
- Continuous steam time: up to 45min
Design and features
The steamer comes in a spiffy red ABS plastic.
Wheels on the side make for easy toting around the house. In addition to the two large back wheels, there is a caster-style front wheel to allow for steering.
On the back of the unit, we find a rubber-covered power switch.
The rubber cover provides protection from water. More on that is a bit…
There is a flip-up covered storage area on top of the back of the steamer.
The black knurled knob unscrews to reveal the water tank filling hole.
The knob is also the pressure valve that protects the user from opening a hot tank. More on that later too.
That “T” shaped hole at the bottom of the photo above is a slot for the cord holder.
The storage compartment can hold the included scrub brushes, o-rings, and the ironing towel.
On the front of the steamer, there is an open area.
It is designed to hold the steamer head when not in use.
The steamer handle holds the trigger.
Pushing it forward with your thumb starts the steam flowing. It is quite stiff. If you are going to steam for an extended time, you can lock the trigger on with the red lock switch.
You can also use the lock to lock-out the switch, preventing steam from being inadvertently released.
The steam volume flow is controlled by a wheel located under the trigger.
All attachments hook on to the end of the trigger assembly. Everything is sealed with one or two o-rings and snap positively into place. Accessories come off with a simple thumb release.
The end of the main nozzle attachment has a couple of pegs on the end.
Those pegs are used to secure the nylon bristle and steel wire bristle scrub brushes.
The floor mop is designed to be used with the floor towel.
There are four clamps on top of the attachment – I have one open in the photo above. You fold the towel in half and use the clamps to secure it.
You can also use the floor tool on carpeting by attaching the floor glider over the towel.
The only setup involves filling the tank. Here’s complaint #1. The fill port is very small. Granted, the measuring cup provided has a spout, but wow – it would take forever to carefully pour the contents into that hole.
After the first cup’s contents, I already had a puddle going.
I resorted to using a funnel for cup #2 with much better results.
And this leads to complaint #2. The capacity of the tank is 1.5 liters. The capacity of the measuring cup is 800 milliliters. Why not have a 750ml cup? With what is supplied, you just have to guess so you don’t overfill the tank. A minor quibble, but still…
Once the tank is filled, you screw the knob back in place and turn on the switch to start heating the water.
When you screw in the relief valve knob, the little yellow pop-up is flush with the top of the knob.
In a claimed five to six minutes, but in my testing, seven to eight minutes, the water is heated and ready and the light turns green.
The other light will glow red when the tank needs refilling.
When the unit is hot, the yellow pop-up on the knob sticks up.
This prevents the knob from being unscrewed, exposing you to potentially scalding water. After use, letting the unit cool down for 20-30 minutes releases the pressure so you can unscrew the knob and empty the tank.
Let’s look at how the steamer performed.
Here’s a look at the relative steam flow from lowest to highest.
On its lowest setting, it puts out very little steam. Dialing up the flow produces a good deal of steam at a pretty good velocity.
To test out the steamer, I attacked a stubborn carpet stain that has been on our bedroom carpet since we moved in over two years ago.
We’ve tried all sorts of cleaners and solvents, but we never were able to get the stain out. A minute or so with the steamer and ta-da – the stain was gone!
We had some stubborn mold on a freezer drawer on the refrigerator in our garage. It was caused by condensation in the humid Florida summer. A couple of minutes with the steamer took care of that.
I tried the window cleaner attachment but wasn’t pleased with it. While it certainly applied steam to the glass and the squeegee dried the glass, the amount of water that is put out at the bottom of the window was nearly unmanageable. It nearly flooded the windowsill.
Unfortunately, it isn’t recommended to use steam cleaners on the hard flooring in our house, so I couldn’t test that. I did clean and sanitize the quartz countertops in our kitchen. They came out very nice and sparkling clean. I also used the basic wand to sanitize a toilet simply and easily.
The steamer can also be used to steam clothes to remove wrinkles. To do that, you insert the hanger accessory into one of the extension wands and place it in the holder on top of the steamer. You can then hang clothes on it and steam away wrinkles with the ironing brush and ironing towel.
The manual claims that the steamer can produce continuous steam for 45 minutes. Based on my testing, I think that is a reasonable claim.
Speaking of the manual, here comes complaint #3. Costway really needs to hire an editor with a grasp of the language.
Based on the description above, once you turn it on, you need to perform five to six dances before using it. Of course, that “depends on how many water your filled.” Seriously? That’s complaint #3.
Finally, when you’re done steaming and have let the unit cool, you must unscrew the knob, turn over the steamer and drain the tank. In addition, opening the trigger drains the water from the hose. This is all a bit cumbersome, so we’ll call that complaint #4.
What I like
- Easy to use
- Nice variety of included tools
- Good variability on the steam output
- Good runtime between fills
What I’d change
- Have a better tank fill method
- Include a measuring cup that matches the tank, or at least an even fraction
- Provide a manual in intelligible English
- Emptying the tank after use is somewhat cumbersome
- It is a little unwieldy to store – it would be nice to have an included tool storage bag
This is a versatile little steamer. With it, you can steam floors, carpet, windows, counters, furniture, spot clean, steam out wrinkles, and more. With its good runtime and variable steam output, I can’t think of a steaming application that this can’t handle. With an easier fill and empty process and certainly a better manual, it would be a better product. For the price, it hits in all the right places and misses only on items that are easily mitigated. If you need a steamer, the Costway boiler steamer should be on your shortlist.