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Karcher SC1 Steam Stick review




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Karcher SC1 Steam Stick
  • Karcher SC1 Steam Stick
  • Karcher SC1 Steam Stick
  • Karcher SC1 Steam Stick
  • Karcher SC1 Steam Stick
  • Karcher SC1 Steam Stick
  • Karcher SC1 Steam Stick
  • Karcher SC1 Steam Stick
  • Karcher SC1 Steam Stick
  • Karcher SC1 Steam Stick


Our Score:



  • Good value
  • Heats up in just 3 minutes
  • Compact and versatile


  • Not many tools
  • Weight is all in hand
  • Steam not variable

Key Features

  • 250ml water tank
  • 4 tools
  • 4m cable
  • 1.5kg without accessories
  • Manufacturer: Karcher
  • Review Price: £99.00

What is the Karcher SC1 Steam Stick?

The Karcher SC1 Steam Stick is a lightweight steam cleaner that can be used as a steam mop – by adding the extension tubes – or as a handheld cleaner for detailed jobs.

It's affordable and heats up quickly, making it great for smaller jobs. But if you're looking for a workhorse for mopping the whole house there are alternatives that are easier in the hand.

Related: Best Steam Cleaners Round-up

Karcher SC1 Steam Stick – Design and Features

The lightweight handheld – in Karcher's trademark yellow – has a very practical design. You can add tools directly for close-up cleaning or use one or both extension tubes and the hose for a longer reach or for floor-cleaning.

The design gives superb reach and flexibility. The two tubes are each 45cm long and then the hose is 110cm so you can get anywhere.

It comes with a handy mesh bag to store tools in, but it doesn't come with many tools. Apart from the floor-cleaning head you just get a hand tool, small plastic brush, power nozzle and detail nozzle. Plus two sizes of terry towelling cloths – one for the floor-cleaning head and one for the hand tool.

If you want a brush, scraper or squeegee visit the Karcher website… where you'll find a very wide range of optional accessories.

Karcher SC1 Steam Stick – What's it like to use?

The Karcher is very quick to get started. It doesn't come with a jug but it's small enough that it fits under a kitchen tap.

A full tank of water is up to steam in 3 minutes. The 'run-in' time is fast too – that's the amount of time it coughs and splutters the first time you press the trigger, as you wait for the steam to come through.

The 1.5kg weight is extremely light for a steam cleaner. But it doesn't exactly feel light because all the weight is in your hand, compared with a stick-style steam cleaner where the weight is lower down.

The cleaning head, conversely, is lightweight so it struggles over bumps. A heavier cleaner would take floorboard edges in its stride but the lightweight Karcher just doesn't have the momentum to cope with them. And on heavy rugs it's sluggish, again because the cleaning head is so light – we found it helped to keep the body of the steam cleaner low, to put some welly into it.

That said, it does a good job of cleaning floors. The lightweight floor-cleaning head is flat, so it's great at getting under furniture. It comes with a flat, rectangular terry towelling cloth that clips is held securely in place by clips on both sides, though you could use any cloth that's the right size in its place.

Steam is powerful, but not variable. So if you don't want to leave the floor soaking you press the trigger in bursts rather than squeezing it constantly. The trigger also has a safety lock under your thumb, which is good for safely changing tools.

When you're done, the Karcher packs up nice and quickly. Turn it off and squeeze the trigger for a minute to release enough steam that it's safe to empty. Then simply tip it out. There's obviously no onboard storage, but it comes with a mesh bag for storing the tools – a practical design as you can throw them in there while they're still wet.

Should I buy the Karcher SC1 Steam Stick?

Yes – if you're looking for a versatile steam cleaner as opposed to a steam mop for floors alone. This design feels simpler and more practical than upright steam cleaners with a Dustbuster-style handheld that pops out of the middle. And it cleans very effectively.

If you'd prefer an upright cleaner then look at the Vax Steam Fresh Combi. It's also worth considering cylinder-style cleaners such as the Polti Vaporetto GO, which offers lots of cleaning power at a very reasonable price.

Related: Best Vacuum Cleaners Round-up


The Karcher is an impressive, versatile little dervish of a steam cleaner.

Overall Score


Jim Booth

April 15, 2017, 12:04 pm

Karcher SC1 Hand Held Steam Cleaner

Ok let me start by saying contrary to this post that I am a BIG Karcher fan. I have a Pressure Washer and a Window Vac that I both love and use weekly.

So that said our H2O Steam mop finally gave up the ghost and as the unit was 6 years old before just rushing out for a new one I decided to read through some reviews to see what was topping the list these days. I also decided that as we had cut back somewhat on hardwood floors for carpets that maybe a hand held unit rather than a full on steam mop would be the better choice. So after reading the whos best and all the expert reviews seeing that the Karcher was there or thereabouts in the polls was good enough for me given my experience with my other Karcher products.

I was actually quite eager to get the unit home fire it up and finish off the shower cubicle that the poor H20 had finally died on the previous day. Having read the do's don'ts and whatevers I filled the tank (with what turns out to be a thimble full of water) and diligently waited my three minutes for lift off.

There ensued the first shock . . you couldnt just turn the steam on you had to depress the trigger button for all the time you want the unit to steam.!!! I thought ok not the best but lets see, I waited after pressing the trigger button and here came my steam. . . . I kept pressing the trigger button thinking I had read somewhere it takes a minute to stop spluttering and it will actually give me some pressure. . . . . Two minutes came and went and wheres my pressure . . . . three minutes came and went still nothing that I can realistically call pressure coming out of it and to top it all my tanks empty already.

I could now go on and detail my next frustrating few hours but I think the point is made. I can only assume that all of the expert reviews that state a powerful cleaner suitable for all jobs around the house are based on these units being used to clean demonstration showers that have never been showered in and demonstration kitchens that have never been cooked in.

In all if you have ever used anything like an H2O X5 Steam mop and are thinking of taking one of these as an alternative just dont do it. Your six year old H2O will knock the pants off this unit in terms or Steam Power, tank Size and to booth you wont end up with a thumb rivalling that of Arnold Schwarzenegger after keeping your hand on the go switch for so long.

Buy on Name and repent at your leisure.

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