The Kärcher SC 2 Upright EasyFix 15133470 is a steam mop that aims to make quick work of cleaning floors, from a brand better known for its bigger, pricier workhorses.
I’ve tested the top-of-the range Kärcher SC5 EasyFix cylinder steam cleaner and the more affordable Kärcher SC3 EasyFix before and they were very impressive. But could this slender stick live up to the German brand’s reputation?
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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
The Kärcher is a powerful and rugged steam mop with a slim build and no frills. There are no accessories apart from a water softener, no pop-out handheld, not even a spare cleaning cloth. But its performance on floors is hard to fault if you don’t want more.
Reasons to buy
- Great hard floor cleaning
- Slim for storage
- Limescale cartridge
Reasons to not buy
- No handheld cleaning
- Very few accessories
- No carpet glider
Kärcher SC 2 Upright EasyFix
- Capacity: 400ml
- Power: mains
- Cord length: 5m
- Wattage: 1600W
- Dimensions: H: 119cm W: 17cm D: 31cm
- Weight: 2.5kg
- Accessories included (2): microfiber pad, descaling cartridge.
Who will the Kärcher SC 2 Upright EasyFix suit?
If you simply want a steam mop for hard floors then the Kärcher is a good buy. It’s not the cheapest but it’s powerful, sturdy and easy to control. It’s manoeuvrable and the steam is strong and responsive.
The Kärcher comes in a tall, slim box. The mop itself is tall and thin too, it’s definitely a “stick” cleaner. It arrives complete: the only assembly is to clip the floorhead onto the body.
It’s very simple: it’s a steam mop with no handheld option and no spare cloths. It just comes with one microfiber pad for the floorhead and a descaling cartridge. At this price it would be nice to have a second pad for filthy floors or when the first one is in the washing machine.
The only unboxing disappointment was the two fat books: the instruction manual and safety instructions, each in 30 languages. It feels like a waste of paper when you only need 13 pages from them.
Assembly is simple enough that you don’t need instructions. The floorhead clips onto the body easily. There’s a large, clear button if you want to take it off again. Then you place the cleaner on the microfiber cloth and it attaches securely.
The descaling cartridge pops into the obvious place in the water reservoir. Then there are two ways you can fill the reservoir: either use a jug or pop the reservoir off the Kärcher with a firm tug and take it to the sink. I preferred the latter because it works well and makes it easy to refill at any time.
What’s it like to use?
There’s no on and off switch, just a button to cycle between the two steam settings: a gentler one for sealed wooden floors and a more powerful one for tiles and stone. It took 30 seconds to warm up on test. The red light turns green to indicate that it’s ready to clean. A trigger under your index finger controls the steam. You can hold your finger on the trigger, you don’t need to pump it.
Although it’s not very top-heavy, it doesn’t stand up independently. So when you’re waiting for it to come to temperature you have to either hold it, lay it down or lean it against something. But I love the clips on the cable storage lugs because you can clip up the power cable, so it’s not under your feet.
Steam cleaning the floor
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.
There’s no shortage of steam. Once the light’s turned green then the first time you use it holding down the trigger brings a series of staccato loud pump sounds (shorter pump sounds on the wood setting). You know the steam is working when those sounds quiet down and you see steam rising. After that, it’s ready the instant the light turns green.
The mop is very effective on hard floors. I pushed backwards and forwards three times on stubborn grime and just once for a refresh. It lifted the dirt well. The mop is very manoeuvrable, a pleasure to use.
How a steam mop stops is just as important as how it starts and with the Kärcher the steam stops flowing almost the instant your finger leaves the trigger. Some mops take ages to wind down, leaving a section of the floor soggy. And the floor – whether tiled or wood – isn’t left too wet. There’s a light layer of hot water which evaporates, leaving the floor dry and ready for use after two minutes. Impressive.
Steam cleaning by hand
The Kärcher doesn’t feature a pop-out handheld steam cleaner, it’s only a steam mop, with no additional tools. If you’re looking for a versatile steam cleaner that will tackle your soft furnishing, taps, grout, oven trays and more then look elsewhere.
My most challenging 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 Kärcher isn’t designed for more than floors but I was keen to see how it performed.
The steam is powerful and visible, penetrating the cushion well. But I found that the microfiber pad could peel off as I moved back and forth (if you’re cleaning carpets then there’s an optional floor glider to prevent this for £17.99). The only way to lift this dirt was to use the Kärcher’s steam to loosen it and then scrub it away with a hand cloth. The results were so-so. It was a visible improvement but there was a visible stripe in the middle that was cleanest, where the steam had penetrated the most.
Cleaning and maintenance
The Kärcher’s microfiber pad pulls off easily and is machine washable. The water reservoir pops off so you can tip it out or even turn it upside-down on the draining rack till its dry. The rest needs nothing more than a wipe down.
Storing your steam cleaner
There are no tools to store and there are lugs on the handle to store the power cable. Both of these lugs have a clever design that lets you clip the plug end of the cable in place.
Without the floorhead, the mop is very slim so easy to store, so long as you have a tall space for it. You can’t break that height down into two pieces. Also it would have been nice to have a hanging point at the top of the handle. Instead the only way you can hang it is via the handle itself.
Ideal Home’s verdict: is the Kärcher SC 2 Upright EasyFix steam cleaner worth it?
Kärcher has a great pedigree for cylinder-style steam cleaners, pressure washers and more. They’re yellow workhorses designed to last a lifetime, so I had high expectations of the Kärcher SC 2 Upright EasyFix.
It lived up to those expectations, performing well on hard floors and built to last. But it’s only a good buy if you don’t need the extra features of a handheld steam cleaner. Also for the price, I really would expect it to come with a second cleaning cloth. If you also want to clean carpets then it’s cheaper to buy a carpet glider accessory than to buy the next model up, the Kärcher SC 3 Upright EasyFix, which comes with one but doesn’t boast radically better features.
If you want to steam clean furniture, fittings and more, as well as floors, then the best of the bunch is the Vax Steam Fresh Combi upright or get the Polti Vaporetto Smart 100_B, a cylinder-style workhorse.
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…
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