Long cord and hose offer great mobility
Provides a powerful steam blast
Lots of included attachments
Attachments are low quality
Connective pieces and buttons get stuck
Steam loses heat quickly
There are hundreds of steam cleaners on the market—a simple Amazon search will yield pages of results, each with impressive ratings and heaps of positive feedback. The right steam cleaner for you won’t depend on stars, though, it’ll depend on the kind of messes and square footage you’re working with. With such a vast marketplace for heat-powered cleaners, we wanted to see if this high-rated, well-reviewed McCulloch steam cleaner was a match for all kinds of messes in all kinds of spaces. Read on to see if this cleaner is as versatile as it claims.
Design: Sleek, but inconsistent
The McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner is a good-looking product. The control base, which also holds the water tank, is sleek, shiny, and fairly compact. It looks similar to a VW Bug, which is to say—it’s actually pretty cute. Weighing only 10 pounds, and equipped with dynamic wheels and a 15.7-foot power cord and 10-foot hose, it’s also incredibly mobile no matter if you’re lifting or dragging it.
Users might be overwhelmed by the 18 different accessories—including a water funnel, squeegee, and triangle brush—that come with the cleaner, as there is no included organizational case or carrier. What’s more, they might also feel underwhelmed with the quality of said attachments, as they appear to be made of a lesser material than the base. While the array of accessories alone might be impressive to some, switching between them is made difficult due to low-quality connective pieces which jam and get stuck easily.
Performance: Powerful, but fleeting
When you fill up the 48-ounce water tank, make sure you use the included funnel. We learned the hard way that if you try to fill it up without, water will go everywhere as it’s not designed to collect run-off. Once you fill the tank properly, you’ll have to wait 8 minutes until the water reaches 200º F. The manual claims that a full tank will give you 45 minutes of continuous steam, but we noticed that after only 15 minutes, the water seemed to cool a bit and become less effective. What’s more, the button on the hose attachment got stuck (there’s a lock function) and we nearly burned ourselves trying to release it. Starting and stopping the stream seemed to help the heat issue, but this was, of course, made difficult by the faulty button.
The manual claims that a full tank will give you 45 minutes of continuous steam, but we noticed that after only 15 minutes, the water seemed to cool a bit and become less effective.
When used in a small and relatively clean place like a bathroom, this product works well. It’s easy to maneuver in small, awkward spaces — like grimy shower corners — and not having to hold the base saves you energy while cleaning. When used in larger spaces that have messier floors, like the kitchen, this product is less effective. Continuous blasting and scraping at our moderately greasy stove proved only minorly helpful. The steam managed to loosen some grease and burnt food scraps, but not nearly enough to finish the job. In other larger areas of the kitchen, the gadget got rid of surface dirt and left the floors and appliances looking much cleaner than a simple scrub down would have left them. We have a dog, and by the time we finished the kitchen floor, there was no sign of an animal having ever been there.
Accessories: Smart, but flimsy
At first glance, the range of included accessories is impressive. The McCulloch comes with nylon brushes, brass brushes, a squeegee, a scrub pad, a floor mop, a cone brush, a floor brush, a telescoping wand, an upholstery brush, wet/dry cleaning pads, and multi-length adjustable hoses and wands. While the nylon brushes do a good job of lifting and loosening dirt, they wear down easily and will likely have to be replaced frequently. Due to the size of the squeegee, it’s only useful on small, perfectly flat surfaces and you’ll need a bit of arm power to make the steam effective. The triangle scrub brush is great for the bathroom and the brass scrubbers are very powerful, so make sure that you’re using them only on surfaces that can handle it.
Continuous blasting and scraping at our moderately greasy stove proved only minorly helpful.
Versatility: Safe for a wide array of surfaces and materials
Is this tool dynamic? Absolutely. But do the included attachments justify the price-point? Not quite. The McCulloch is safe to use in your car, on bare floors, carpets, ceramic and porcelain tiles, concrete, fabric, glass, granite, laminate, limestone, marble, metal, plastic, quartz, slate, travertine, upholstery, and vinyl. If you use this product regularly and don’t allow too much dirt and grime to build up between cleans, it should be reliable and efficient. However, if you’re trying to clean a very dirty space or surface, you might be frustrated by the lack of stamina this product has.
Additionally, if you don’t have much storage space, the various parts and pieces may be a deterrent. As we mentioned before, there’s no included storage bag, so they’re hard to store and increasingly so once they’re filthy and worn.
Price: Not completely justified
Retailing for $140, the McCulloch’s price point is on par with other mid-tier steam cleaners. While it’s powerful and versatile, the individual pieces feel cheap and will surely need to be replaced regularly, so we don’t think it’s worth the price.
Competition: Higher-rated options are out there for less
Compared to the BISSELL Steam Shot Hard-Surface Cleaner, the McCulloch has much more functionality, but, it doesn’t have high-quality attachments. The Bissell is a hand-held cleaner that’s small but powerful. It retails for just $40, and while it only holds 6.6 ounces of water (as opposed to McCulloch’s 48), it only takes 30 seconds to heat up. It comes with 10 attachments which are roughly the same quality as McCulloch’s—but for a fraction of the price. Despite its small capacity, refilling the Bissell over and over again may honestly be worth the $100 you save.
Only worth it if you clean regularly and can afford to replace accessories.
The hassle of having to replace the attachments and accessories regularly, in conjunction with the danger of getting scolded due to faulty buttons makes this $140 product a risky purchase. That said, if you happen to have a lot of storage space and can control the grime of your home regularly, you’ll appreciate the power and versatility of this product.
- Product Name Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
- Product Brand McCulloch
- MPN MC1275
- Price $139.99
- Weight 9.95 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 17.3 x 13 x 11.1 in.
- What’s Included Steam cleaner and 18 accessories including a brass brush, cone brush, floor brush, handle, hose, nozzle, nylon brush, squeegee, telescoping wand, upholstery brush, utility brush, and wet/dry cleaning pads
- Steam Hose Length 10 ft
- Power Cord Length 15 ft
- Warranty 2-year limited warranty for product defects