Iconic brand Hoover is best known for vacuum cleaners: so much that Hoovering is a verb. This upright is its top-of-the-range steam mop and features a pop-out handheld steam cleaner in the middle. But is it good enough to live up to the Hoover brand name?
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I tested the Hoover Steam Capsule 2 in 1 on a range of jobs around the house. Thanks to children and pets, there’s never a shortage of cleaning to be done. But I considered practicalities like size, storage, accessories, build quality and value for money as well as its cleaning performance.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
With this good-looking Hoover mop you get a lot for your money. It comes with plenty of tools, including an unusual mid-sized scrubbing brush, but there are some annoyances that stop it getting top marks.
Reasons to buy
- Useful triangular brush
- Stands up by itself
Reasons to not buy
- Heavy to steer
- No tool storage
Hoover Steam Capsule 2 in 1 CA2IN1D
- Capacity: 350ml
- Power: mains
- Cord length: 7m
- Wattage: 1700W
- Dimensions: H: 117cm W: 31cm D: 18cm
- Weight: 3.5kg
- Accessories included (13): 2 microfiber pads, carpet glider, pop-out triangular brush, steam hose, squeegee, microfiber cover, concentration tool, 2 plastic brushes, small metal brush, large metal brush, bent nozzle.
Who will the Hoover Steam Capsule 2 in 1 suit?
The Hoover is a good all-rounder for most people… it’s just not a great all-rounder. So while it’s not a bad buy we’d recommend taking a look at the Vax Steam Fresh Combi instead.
The Hoover’s first impression on unpacking is one of annoyance because you immediately realise you need a screwdriver to assemble it. But the dark grey and bright blue design is good-looking. The name “capsule” doesn’t mean capsules of detergent, by the way. It’s just Hoover’s name for the handheld.
The handle feels ergonomic but, as you’ll see below, it isn’t nippy. It drives like an old-fashioned upright vacuum cleaner, not a lightweight modern one.
As mentioned above, you need a screwdriver to assemble the Hoover. It’s just one screw, to join the two halves together securely, but it’s an annoying start.
You also soon realise that it comes with a steam hose and a number of accessories, such as brushes and cloths, but no means of carrying them or even storing them. You’ll need to sling them in a bag, so you may find yourself cleaning around the house without the tools to hand.
I still don’t understand why most brands don’t bother with onboard storage or even a practical mesh bag. A tool is only useful if you have it with you… if it’s lost in the cupboard under the stairs then it’s no use at all.
What’s it like to use?
The Hoover looks good from the front because the handheld pops out of the back. But as a result controls – the power button and a sliding control that selects between three steam levels – are hard to reach at the back. There’s a red light that indicates it has power and a green light that indicates it’s up to temperature, but they’re hard to see in bright light, so you sometimes can’t tell if it’s on or off.
It’s a pain to pop off the handheld. It’s also hard to pop off the water reservoir and then, when you do, you must open a fiddly rubber cap to reveal a minuscule filling hole. It’s not easy to fill from the tap. The power cord is long at 7m
Steam cleaning the floor
The main, rectangular floorhead is quite bulky and comes with two microfiber pads and a carpet glider. I like the fact that the mop stands up by itself if you click the upright into the right place. This is handy when you need to pause cleaning or are waiting for it to warm up.
I test steam mops on flooring: bathroom tiles and also wooden floorboards. A steam mop can make quick work of them but it’s important that it cleans well without damaging the floor and that it leaves the floor as dry as possible.
The trigger is responsive but the Hoover is heavy to steer. It drives like an old-fashioned upright vacuum cleaner, not a lightweight modern one. There’s plenty of steam on the highest of the three steam settings but ever with the microfiber pad mopping it up, it took a while for the bathroom floor to dry. I used a lower setting on the wooden floor, so it dried faster. When you let go of the trigger the steam keeps going for around 7 seconds.
Unusually, you can pop off the floorhead, leaving a mid-sized, triangular brush head. This is brilliant for scrubbing stubborn stains. I used it on the bathroom floor for the line of grime around the base of the loo. It scrubbed well as long as I pushed down hard on it.
The cable is annoying: there should be somewhere near the top of the handle to clip it to, so it doesn’t get under your feet. You find yourself holding it in your hand as you clean.
Steam cleaning by hand
As mentioned, the Hoover comes with plenty of accessories but I want a mesh bag to store the hose and tools at the very least. The brushes all need you to add the concentration tool first, with or without the hose.
The lowest steam setting was plenty for the small brushes, which did a good job on bathroom taps. But for the larger squeegee and cloth I turned the steam up high. Then it removed entire stripes of unseen grime from the grey bathroom tiles, proving both that steam cleaning is great and ignorance is bliss.
The same squeegee and cloth combo was great on grubby upholstery. I used it, with the steam on high, to get mud stains off fabric boxes quickly and easily.
The photos show one-handed use but the Dustbuster-style design of the handheld is heavy in the hand, so when using it to clean the walls I used my other hand to support the weight of the body and put more pressure on the cleaning head.
My most challenging steam cleaners test is a large sun lounger cushion that the dog has taken as his own. It’s beyond filthy but it’s salvageable. Can I lift that dirt so much that the cushion is fit for human use? The squeegee and cloth did nothing much, so I reached for the Hoover’s triangular scrubby brush. It soaked and scrubbed but, with no cloth, didn’t lift the dirt, it just loosened it. But I found that if I scrubbed the cushion with a cloth straight afterwards the dirt lifted really well. It was streaky but a vast improvement and less effort than washing it.
Cleaning and maintenance
The Hoover’s microfiber pad is easily attached and detached. This and the smaller pad are both machine washable. The water reservoir pops off so you can tip it out if you want to, though the filling hole is very small so you won’t get it completely dry. The rest needs nothing more than a wipe down.
Storing your steam cleaner
There are lugs on the handle to store the power cable and a clip on the back of the plug lets you attach it to another part of the cable to hold it in place. As mentioned above though, there’s no storage for the tools and steam hose. The Hoover is tall and can’t be taken apart for everyday storage because that requires a screwdriver.
Ideal Home’s verdict: is the Hoover Steam Capsule 2 in 1 steam cleaner worth it?
The Hoover looks good and you do get a lot for your money, beyond a steam mop. I especially love the mid-sized scrubbing brush that pops out of the floorhead. It comes with plenty of other accessories too, including a steam hose and a good selection of cleaning tools to use with the pop-out handheld cleaner.
But the Hoover doesn’t get top marks because it has some design annoyances and because the Vax Steam Fresh Combi does all the same things and more. The Vax’s design is similar but it’s more effective, nicer to use and boasts onboard tool storage. Both the Vax upright and the Polti Vaporetto Smart 100_B cylinder are even more compelling to clean with.
If you want a much lighter steam cleaner then it’s also worth considering the Black & Decker 10-in-1 Steam Mop. And if you only want to clean floors then the Kärcher SC 2 Upright EasyFix is simple and powerful.
About this review and our reviewer
Caramel Quin has been writing for Ideal Home and other titles at Future for many years and tests a wide range of consumer technology for newspapers, magazines and online. She prides herself in real-world testing and translating geek speak into plain English. Her pet hates are jargon, pointless products and over-complicated instruction manuals.
She’s an engineering graduate, an award-winning journalist and writes regularly in the Evening Standard. She has appeared as a technology expert on TV and done countless radio interviews.
Caramel lives in east London with her two children, dog, two cats and eight hens. Together they assist her with destruction-testing home electricals and ensure that the house is always dirty enough to need steam cleaning…