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Karcher SC1 Steam Stick review

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Karcher 1
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
59
inc. VAT (as of 12th of May)

The Karcher SC1 is a versatile steam cleaner that’s ready for any cleaning scenario

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Specifications

Dimensions (HxWxD): 321x127x186, Weight: 1.6Kg, Maximum reach: 6.2m, Water tank capacity: 0.2 litres, Warranty: Two years RTB

While a lot of steam cleaners are designed with one job in mind, the Karcher SC1 is a jack of all trades at a price that'll be attractive to most people. Its clever modular design and bundled range of accessories mean that you can use it as a steam mop for floors, and as a regular steam cleaner with a flexible hose for those hard to reach areas. The real question is, can this cleaner do a good job in all of these areas?

Design

The SC1 is the cheapest, lightest and smallest of Karcher's steam cleaner range, although with its mop and flexible hose it's certainly not lacking for features. Its small size is something of a bonus: weighing just 1.6kg, it's surprisingly nimble, letting you use the SC1 in a variety of different areas comfortably. Its sleek and compact body makes it easy to store, too, and there’s a bag for all of the smaller accessories too.

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The steam cleaner is incredibly easy to operate with accessories and attachments easily attached and disassembled with ease. Karcher ships with SC1 with two 0.5m extension tubes, extending the reach for those difficult to get to areas, or doubling up to turn it into a steam mop with the mop head accessory. You also get small and medium brushes, plus two nozzles for more intense cleaning. All of these can fit on the short flexible hose provided as well.

See all our top-rated steam cleaners here

If you’ve got children, the lock button is very handy, since the large button to produce steam is easily pressed. A large light on the side lets you know if the device is on, although it doesn't tell you when the cleaner's up to temperature. Instead, you have to wait three minutes for the SC1 to heat up, although you can hear a slight click (a bit like when a kettle finishes boiling) when steam temperature has been reached. For safety, you can't also unable to access the water tank when the Karcher SC1 is in use, with the internal pressure locking the screw-down lid in place. To refill the steam cleaner you either need to mostly empty it or allow it to cool down.

The water tank is quite small at just 0.2 litres, with average steaming time unsurprisingly coming up short at just over 7 minutes between refills. This is somewhat lacklustre compared to larger steam cleaners such as the 0.4-litre tank on the Morphy Richards 12-in-1, with its 14-minute total steam time. Given the SC1's size and portability, though, I’d say it’s a more than reasonable trade-off.

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Cleaning performance

During testing the Karcher SC1 could easily handle any cleaning situation I threw at it. Using the nozzle for steam cleaning with the extended tubes, the 6.2m total reach meant that I could work all the way around our test kitchen. After a lengthy three minute heat-up time, which is considerably longer than the 20 seconds of the Vileda Steam Mop, I got to work on the wall tiles in the kitchen.

The handheld Karcher handled the mouldy grout between the tiles with ease and a clear difference could be seen between tiles I had cleaned and others that I left alone. It only took around 1 minute of solid work and parts of the kitchen were already white and sparkly again. I could access difficult to reach places thanks to the handy thin nozzle.

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I did find that the Steam Stick was particularly heavy during extended use, proving to be quite taxing due to its one-handed design. Elderly users might struggle with it, especially considering the button needs to constantly be pressed down with one hand while the other is used to its hose. It would be best to get your thumb exercises in before using it. That said, the flexible hose means you can often set it down while cleaning.

The Karcher SC1 struggled a little when used as a mop, requiring multiple strokes to get rid of the stains, but did the job in the end. I did have to apply a fair amount of elbow grease to get rid of the tough stains. There’s no variable steam setting: you just have to make do with what you’ve got.

Conclusion

The Karcher SC1 Steam Stick is a handy and versatile steam cleaner, with a wide range of accessories included in the box, that’s able to handle pretty much any cleaning scenario you throw at it. The steam cleaner function is excellent and able to reach some particularly tricky locations, with noticeable results in just a few seconds.

It even held its own against other dedicated steam mops when cleaning hard floors and even got better results than some more expensive cleaners. Yes, the heat up time is long, the water tank is on the small side and the device is a little heavy during extended use, but the portability and sheer convenience of the SC1 Steam Stick outweigh these minor downsides. If you do want a purebred steam mop then check out the Vileda Steam Mop instead.

The handy and versatile Karcher SC1 Steam Stick is a great buy for anyone wanting that bit of extra help with cleaning around the home.

Hardware
Dimensions (HxWxD)321x127x186
Weight1.6Kg
Cable length3.9m
Maximum reach6.2m
Water tank capacity0.2 litres
Solution tank capacity (if any)N/A
SurfacesHard floors and walls
AccessoriesFloor cleaning kit, two 0.5 m extension tubes, power nozzle, round brush, extension hose
two cloth covers
Power and capacity
Heat-up time wattage0.05 kWh
Wattage during use0.16 kWh
Heat-up time0:00:03
Steaming time0:00:07

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