The difference between steam and vacuum cleaners

The difference between steam and vacuum cleaners

If you have been shopping for a new carpet cleaner recently, you probably noticed how confusing it is. There are two basic choices: an Ottawa vacuum cleaner or a steam cleaner. You may be asking yourself if you need both a vacuum and a carpet steamer or if one can do it all. Everyone is familiar with a vacuum that comes out once a week to give the carpets a good swipe and leave your home refreshed. Steamers are used less often and primarily for difficult stains and high-traffic areas.

The difference between vacuum cleaners and steam cleaners

Vacuum Cleaner

This appliance uses air suction to remove dust, dirt, hair, and other smallish particles. You plug it in and go. Vacuum cleaners can come in a variety of different styles. 

A canister vac looks like a small tub on wheels, and the primary cleaning mode is with a hose attachment. The "tub" holds the motor and the bag for the debris. They are easier to maneuver, suitable for bare floors and stairs, and quieter.

An upright vacuum is efficient and easy to store but is heavier, and you can't always get into tight spots. They do come with the option of bagged or bagless versions. With a bag, as it fills, you remove it and throw it out with the trash, which means you are buying bags regularly. Bagless versions use a bin, which can redeposit dust and particles as you clean them.

Steamer Cleaner

Some people confuse carpet cleaners and shampooers with carpet steamers. While carpet cleaners do not have a water tank and use a cleaning product and brush with no water involved, a steamer is an appliance that cleans the carpet using water steam. The tank is filled with water, heated to the boiling point, and then sprayed on the carpet. The water is then suctioned into a reservoir. This offers a much deeper cleaning, and the carpet dries quickly. Steam cleaning is recommended on a semi-annual basis.

Look for how long it takes for the water to heat into steam fully, how long the tank of water will last, and how large the reservoir is.

Do you need both?

It depends on what your cleaning needs are. If your budget allows, consider purchasing both appliances as they will allow for a deeper cleaning if you use both. If you plan on primarily using one or the other, decide which device best suits your needs. If you choose to buy a vacuum and a steam cleaner, start your cleaning shore with a good vacuum and then proceed with the steaming. After the steaming is over and the carpet is dry, vacuum again to lift the fibres and remove any cleaning agent.


A hybrid model combines a traditional vacuum and steam cleaner into one appliance. They are similar to a wet-dry vac. When shopping, look for a good suction and good steam pressure. The combination of a vacuum and steamer results in a machine that, overall, is less potent than two separate units. Be sure that the model can handle both carpets and bare floors.

While this might be a great time-saver, you will need to determine how much storage space it will take and how easy it is to work.

Find the best cleaning appliances for your home.

If you are reading this article, you probably consider getting a vacuum or steam cleaner. If that is the case, check out our online store. At Vacuum Parts Canada, we are proud to offer a wide range of high-quality vacuum cleaners and steam cleaners from leading brands. We are sure that you will find the perfect model for your needs. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our team of experts will be more than happy to assist you.

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