Living with bed bugs is an unpleasant situation, to say the least. Getting rid of them from most of their hiding spots is fairly easy, but things get a little tricky after they have burrowed their way into mattresses or couches. The only way to kill them then is by exposing them to high temperatures, and the best way to do so is with a steamer. Here we will show you how high-temperature steam gets the job done and review some of the best bed bug steamers you can buy.
- Bed Bug Steamer Review Table
- Why Use Steam?
- What to Look For When Choosing a Bed Bug Steamer
- Water Tank Size
- Accessories and Add-Ons
- Steam Temperature
- The Best Bed Bug Steamers
- The Sunbeam Handheld Steam Press
- The Conair Turbo Handheld Steamer
- The Kiato Handheld Steamer
- The Ivation 1800W Canister Steamer
- The McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
Why use steam?
Steam is a great and highly effective way of sanitizing and killing bacteria, viruses, mites, bed bugs, and even mold without the need for using toxic and harmful chemical agents. Also, bed bugs have built up a very strong tolerance to harmful chemicals, whereas they are completely vulnerable when it comes to high-temperature steam.
Better yet, steam effortlessly penetrates most surface areas to clean and sanitize much deeper than just the surface level.
It can also remove stubborn stains, grease, and even odors from a range of different materials.
What to look for when choosing a steamer
Today there’s a large variety of steam cleaners available to buy, which can make choosing the best one for your needs a little bit difficult.
Here are some things to consider when choosing one.
Portability and functionality
There are two main types of steamers to choose from – the portable handheld ones and the larger and less portable canister types. The canisters are on wheels so they can be easily moved around, but they take more time to set up. However, what they lack in portability they make up for in functionality.
Water tank size
Handheld steamers have smaller water tanks (+- 220ml), which take just under a minute to heat up and give approximately 15 minutes of continuous steam time. For small jobs, this should be fine, but for larger ones, it could be a problem because you would have to refill the tank every few minutes.
The canister steamers have larger water tanks and can therefore easily give off hot steam for 30 to 45 minutes on average, which makes them much more suitable for bigger jobs.
Steam temperature is a very important factor to consider. Most steamers are capable of producing 120°F (48°C) steam which is enough to kill mold, bed bugs, bacteria, and viruses upon contact.
If the need for eliminating bed bug eggs is one of the primary reasons for wanting a steamer, then one that creates 120°F (48°C) steam won’t do.
Instead, you would need temperatures of around 300°F (149°C) to kill the eggs instantly. Fortunately, the Ivation 1800W Canister Steamer, reviewed on this page, easily exceeds that required temperature.
Accessories and add-ons
Accessories and add-ons extend the capabilities of the steamer, which is extremely useful as it allows you to clean various surfaces and materials such as tiles, tile grout, mattresses, carpets, etc. Most of the canister types include and can support these types of add-ons, but not all handheld steamers do.
The best bed bug steamers
Whether you want a steamer for general cleaning and sanitizing, or for bed bugs and mold – here are the best handheld and canister versions for what you need.
Sunbeam Handheld Garment Travel Steam Press
Not only does this steamer excel at sanitizing and removing wrinkles from fabrics, but thanks to its high-temperature steam, it also effectively kills bed bugs.
Its 300ml tank heats water to a maximum of 212°F (100°C) in a mere 45 seconds and will give off 15 minutes of continuous deep-penetrating steam. The water tank twists off easily, which makes refilling easy and quick and its base allows it to stand on flat surfaces between uses.
Things to keep in mind:
1: It has a feature that keeps the device releasing steam if you lift the trigger after pressing. This is convenient, but also dangerous because you can unknowingly engage it and you won’t know until you’ve put the steamer down and see that it’s still releasing steam.
2: The device is not cordless and has a relatively long swivel cord that measures 10 feet long. This is both good and bad – good because it gives you reach and bad because the cord is permanently attached thus prevents the steamer from being stored easily because you first have to wrap the cord around the device.
3: The steam reaches a maximum temperature of 212°F (100°C), which is sufficient for killing bed bugs. However, it’s not enough to kill their eggs.
Overall, the Sunbeam GCSBHS-100-000 handheld steamer is a high-quality product that can easily kill bed bugs by penetrating steam into mattresses, upholstery, curtains, teddy bears, and a whole lot more.
The product has dimensions of 6.88 x 5.03 x 11.22 inches, weighs 2.46 pounds, and comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
Conair Turbo Extreme Handheld Steamer
The freestanding Conair Turbo Extreme steamer is easy to use. Just fill the 230ml water tank and wait 40 seconds for it to convert the water into steam. There are also 5 steam settings to choose from ranging from delicate to supercharged turbo and LED lights to indicate when the steamer has heated the water and is ready for use.
It comes with a handy 3-in-1 attachment which includes a fabric spacer for protecting delicate fibers and trims, a silicone band for pulling taut, and more importantly, a bristle brush for extra steam penetration into fibers.
Even more impressive is its ability to reach temperatures 395°F (202°C) – which is more than enough to kill bed bug eggs upon contact, thus making it the best handheld bed bug steamer on this list.
Things to keep in mind:
1: The product has a steam on/off button located near the handle and it’s therefore easy to accidentally trigger it without knowing.
2: It has a 10 feet long swivel cord that has to be wrapped around the device when storing.
The product has dimensions of 5.6 x 8 x 13.6 inches, weighs 2.2 pounds, and has a limited 2-year warranty.
Kiato Handheld Steamer
The Kiato Handheld Steamer includes a 10 piece accessory set that allows you to use the steamer on various items such as mattresses, sofas, kid’s toys, vehicle interiors, clothing, and even floors, toilets, ovens, etc.
It has a large 450ml tank, but it’s recommended to only add 250ml water for optimal use. The water takes about 2 and half minutes to create 221℉ (105℃) pressurized steam, which is hot enough to kill bed bugs, as well as all types of bacteria on contact.
Also, it’s fairly lightweight, portable, and comes with a power cord that measures just over 16 feet long.
The product weighs just under 5 pounds and has dimensions of 10.67 x 9.8 x 6.34 inches.
Ivation 1800W Canister Steamer
The Ivation 1800W Canister Steamer obliviates bed bugs and their eggs instantly upon contact because of its scorching hot 338°F (170°C) steam.
Even better is that the steamer includes 14 accessories that allow you to sanitize and steam just about any surface area such as floors, clothing, curtains, and even greasy ovens.
Its 2-liter capacity tank takes 7 minutes to heat up and provides an impressive 30 minutes of 338°F (170°C) continuous high pressure and deep penetrating steam. Pressure can be monitored via a manometer and even controlled with the built-in pressure control switch.
The unit may not be as portable as a handheld steamer, but its wheels are rugged and smooth which allows for it to be easily and effortlessly moved over various surfaces such as laminated floors, hardwood floors, and carpets. Also, its lengthy 16.4-foot power cord and 5-foot steam hose enable it to reach anywhere.
The product has dimensions of 19.69 x 12.6 x 42.91 inches, weighs 13.75 pounds, and has a limited 1-year warranty.
McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
The McCulloch MC1275 is called a heavy-duty steamer, and for the most part, it is but unfortunately lacks the necessary steam temperature to kill bed bug eggs upon contact.
It has a 1.5-liter capacity tank that heats water to a maximum of 200°F (93°C) in about 8 minutes. Steam exists through a powerful jet nozzle for up to 45 minutes and the handle has an optional lock that keeps releasing steam without having to hold the trigger down.
You will be able to steam clean just about any part and surface area of your home because of the 18 accessories included. Also, the 15.7-foot long power cord and 9-foot long steam hose increase its maneuverability while making it easy for hard-to-reach places.
The product has dimensions of 20.08 x 13 x 12.6 inches and weighs 12 pounds.