Most steam cleaners have an upright, steam mop design that’s designed for floors. You can usually also pop out the steam generator and attach accessories for smaller cleaning jobs. The Polti Vaporetto Smart 100_B, however, is a cylinder-style steam cleaner. Much like a cylinder vacuum cleaner, you pull the machine along behind you. The bit you actually hold – whether for floors or detail work – is lightweight.
Take a look at the best steam cleaners for more options
I tested it 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: 5 out of 5 stars
The Polti is pricey, at twice the price of most steam mops, but it’s incredibly powerful and yet light in the hand thanks to the cylinder design. You’ll find yourself setting out to do the bathroom floor and then cleaning the house top to toe.
Reasons to buy
- Powerful steam
- Light in the hand
- Onboard tool storage
- Refill any time
Reasons to not buy
- Storage uses more floor space
Polti Vaporetto Smart 100_B
- Capacity: 2 litres
- Power: mains
- Cord length: 4m
- Wattage: 1500W
- Dimensions: H: 52.4cm W: 32.4cm D: 32.4cm
- Weight: 5kg
- Accessories included (9): Vaporforce brush, rugs accessory, microfiber cloth, small brush with window cleaning fitting, small round brush with nylon bristles, small round red brush with nylon bristles, steam concentrator, sockette, spatula.
Who will the Polti Vaporetto Smart 100_B PTGB0077 suit?
The Polti is a workhorse so it’s well suited to anyone who wants to clean the house from top to toe, fast. You’ll find yourself cleaning more than you’d planned but faster than you’d hoped. And the variable steam means you can clean even delicate surfaces.
The Polti looks chunky but it’s surprisingly not too heavy and has an ergonomic handle, well balanced in the middle. Also, you don’t need to lift it, apart from up and down the stairs. It will obediently follow you around as you clean.
I like the combination of a clean white finish for the body and practical black for the floorhead and two-part tube.
The Polti clips together nicely. And the tube comes in two halves: that makes it easier to store but also means you can use just one section for a shorter reach.
The power cord seems short at 4m but then the hose adds another 1.5m plus of reach and then the two-art tube adds another 1m. So overall you can clean a long way from the socket it’s plugged into.
There’s also a small dispenser on the floorhead marked “deo dispenser”. This is designed for use with Polti FrescoVapor deodorant, which is gradually released while you steam clean floors. There’s a foot-operated switch on the floorhead to select whether you use it or not. But the Polti Vaporetto Smart 100_B doesn’t come with any of the deodorant – that’s a shame, they should have included a sample bottle.
What’s it like to use?
The Polti’s water reservoir has a huge 2 litre capacity with a huge fill hole. You can pop it off to fill it under the tap (though it’s quite bulky, too big for a tiny washbasin) or fill it with a jug. It’s designed to be refillable any time, while the steam cleaner is still switched on, so you can keep cleaning pretty much infinitely.
There’s absolutely tonnes of steam and a dial on the body to control it. You can dial it all the way from zero to intense. A trigger under your finger controls the steam and you can slide a lock to keep the steam on constantly, or lock the steam off for safety (whether that’s as a child lock or for peace of mind while you’re changing tools). I like the fact that the pole can click to stand up independently on the floorhead: you don’t need to lay it down when you pause cleaning.
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.
The Polti was great on tiles. It took over a minute to heat up but then the steam was constant and powerful. The tiled floor took a good 2 minutes to dry after cleaning because of the powerful steam, which delivers lots of water.
If you come across a really stubborn stain, you can tilt the floorhead back on its heel, where a small scrubby brush is built in.
I dialled back the steam for the wooden floorboards. The steam is highly controllable. You can turn it down so low that it only slightly wets the floor. The result is like a conventional mop but without the need for a bucket, so you can clean fast. The superb steam control makes it a good choice if you have delicate flooring.
The lightweight floorhead and tube make for a long reach and you can even lift it up high without needing big biceps. I started on the bathroom floors but found myself going right up the tiled walls, it was that compelling to clean with.
Steam cleaning by hand
Again with the tools, I found that I had to dial back the steam power as there was just too much steam on the top settings. But I loved the fact that all the tools were stowed onboard, ready for use, and that I could attach tools directly onto the steam hose or even the tubes. It’s versatile to clean with.
The brushes were great on bathroom taps and grout. Then I used the squeegee and cloth on muddy fabric boxes – it cleaned them well but not quite as well as the Vax Steam Fresh Combi.
The same was true for the truly filthy cushions. 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? I found the Polti’s floorhead and carpet glider were best but they still didn’t clean quite as well as the Vax Steam Fresh Combi S86-SF-C.
Cleaning and maintenance
The microfiber pad and sockette (squeegee cover) are machine washable and the rest of the Polti barely needs a wipe. It’s easy to pop off the water reservoir and tip it out into the sink if you want to. There’s an anti-calc collector on the side of the body to gather limescale that you simply rinse out once in a while.
Storing your steam cleaner
As a cylinder cleaner, the Polti takes up more floor space in your cupboard than a steam mop. But the clever design ensures it’s low and tidy. So there’s a space to sling the accessories, a place to park the floorhead and even two slots to stow the two-part tube so the machine isn’t too tall. There’s a length of Velcro on the power cord for storing that tidily too.
Ideal Home’s verdict: is the Polti Vaporetto Smart 100_B steam cleaner worth it?
If you want a workhorse with strong but controllable steam, look no further. I liked this cylinder steam cleaner a lot and the lightness and long reach means you can clean lots fast. I was literally going up the wall… the tiled wall, because it was so easy to clean it.
However, it is pricey and you might prefer an upright steam mop, in which case I’d recommend the Vax Steam Fresh Combi. It’s half the price, versatile and again a pleasure to clean with.
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…