Advantages Versatile, excellent value and build quality.
Disadvantages Hard trigger handle can cause blisters. Some minor design niggles.
|Value for money|
|How much did you pay?||£47.99|
When we moved into our first house six years ago, we had quality new carpets installed throughout the property. They’ve seen a fair bit of wear and tear over the years, but despite three major building projects, various family parties and the kind of food and drink spills that come with the territory when you have young children, they are still in relatively good shape. However, with plans to move up the property ladder later this year, we needed to find an economical way to spot clean high traffic and problem areas in a bid to avoid the expense of replacing the whole lot.We ruled out having them professionally steamed after a number of quotes from local “professionals” came close to half the cost of buying brand new carpets. We also looked into hiring equipment from the likes of HSS and doing the work ourselves, and although this seemed like much better value, a bit more digging revealed that we could buy a decent steam cleaner and a separate carpet cleaner for a similar cost. Given that we have an infant who will soon be crawling and weaning, having our own cleaning and sterilising equipment also made a great deal of sense.
After doing some on-line research, we settled on the Ewbank SC1000 Steam Dynamo, which seemed to offer a good balance between performance, portability and price. We found that Argos were offering the best price deal at remarkable £47.99 (we had seen it offered for as much as £69.99), and, better yet, given we have stockpiled a significant haul of Nectar points over the years, managed to get the unit completely free of charge.
The Ewbank SC1000 Steam Dynamo (“the Dynamo”) is a compact, lightweight and versatile steam cleaner that is suitable for use on a wide variety of surfaces, including carpet, decking, lino, laminate, glass and upholstery. It cleans and sterilises using high pressure steam only, without chemicals or detergents. As such, whilst it is effective at loosening hardened stains and raising the pile of your carpets - it is not an all-in-one solution – you will still need to use a carpet cleaner before the steamer.The unit comes with a number of accessories (tubes, nozzles and adapters) some of which can be handily stored in a compartment at the front end of the unit (more detail on these below). You also get a 750ml plastic measuring jug, a small funnel, some terrycloth towelling which fits over the floor cleaning head, a detailed instruction booklet and a selection of spare rubber washers. The two extension tubes, the squeegee head and the floor-cleaning head are too large to be stowed within the unit, so these would need to be stored separately. I would suggest keeping the robust cardboard box the unit comes in to keep everything together.
From a technical perspective, the Dynamo’s unique selling point is the balance between the pressure generated, the speed at which optimum pressure is reached, and the longevity of use from a single fill of its 1.5 litre reservoir. The time from switching it on, to the unit being ready for use is around 15 minutes (advertised as 12, but it varies), delivering around 3.5bar of steam for about 45 minutes of use per fill. It weighs around seven (7) kilograms when full of water, which in old money equates to around 15 lbs.The Dynamo is finished in a dark matt red, with the hoses and accessories in hardened matt black plastic. The unit has two fixed wheels at the back and a swivel wheel underneath, toward the front, which makes it quite easy to move around. There is a large moulded handle on top to help you carry it. In a thoughtful design touch, there is also a small receptacle at the back of the unit which allows you to slot the cleaning head, extension tube and trigger for temporary storage in an upright position.
The cable for the plug is a reasonable two and a half metres (2.5m), which is suitable for most uses, but it’s not exactly generous. I find I need to use an extension cord more often than not. The other minor niggle is that the cord is not retractable and there is no logical place on the unit to wrap it or store it, making it a little awkward to put away.
You then select the accessories you intend to use and attach them to the trigger handle using a simple slide in and locking mechanism. For example, if cleaning floors, you slide the two extension tubes on to the handle, followed by the swivel adaptor, which in turn attaches to the floor brush/mop.Once the water is in, you plug it in and turn it on using the black rubberised switch on top of the unit. There are two large indicator lights alongside the switch, both of which light up when you first turn it on. The red one indicates the Dynamo is powered, and the orange one indicates that pressure is building. Once the unit has reached the correct temperature and pressure, the orange light goes off and it’s ready to use.
The handle is made of hard plastic and is ridged along the top for extra grip. However, it does take its toll on the hands – particularly on the inside of the thumb – and prolonged periods of cleaning can cause sufficient rubbing to raise a blister. The handle would have been better if it was rubberised to reduce friction. That aside, it fits nicely in the palm of the hand and has a safety catch with two functions. The catch can be used to stop the handle from being depressed, or to lock it into the “steam” position so you don’t have to constantly grip the trigger.The steam pressure is not constant. Occasionally, the orange light will come back on again, requiring you to stop steaming for about forty seconds or so until the pressure builds again. When the water runs out (the steam will stop – there is no other indicator) you have to switch the machine off and wait for the pressure to subside before refilling the tank. You check for steam by depressing the handle trigger, and if none comes out you can unscrew the reservoir cap. The accessories cannot be “hot-swapped” either. You have to turn the machine off and wait for the pressure to subside before you can safely exchange nozzles and attachments.
Once you are done with the Dynamo, you need to empty any remaining water out of the tank to avoid scale build-up inside. Allow the unit to cool for about 20 minutes, and then empty the reservoir by tipping the unit upside down so the water comes out. It’s not the most elegant solution, as the unit, with hose and electrical cord can be a little bulky.
The eight page instruction and care booklet is in English language only and is a no-frills affair covering the basic functions of the unit, care, cleaning and maintenance. Although it is adequate, I thought Ewbank could have done a better job in presenting the information more clearly, and made better use of the limited illustrations provided. The product is covered by a 12 month manufacturers guarantee, so be sure to keep your receipt. There is also a national rate customer service telephone number for spares, service and further information.
The Dynamo really comes into its own as a multi-function device. It is highly effective on our laminate kitchen mock-Travertine floor (water resistant Aqua-loc from B&Q) as it cleans and sterilises without the need for unhealthy chemical solutions, a welcome bonus given that Baby H is likely to be crawling about the place in the next few months. In addition, the squeegee attachment works a treat in removing dirt and lime scale build-up on the bathroom and kitchen tiles. I most recently used it to successfully shift some hardened deposits that had built up over the winter on our French windows, again without having to resort to chemical solutions. On a safety note, hot steam on cold glass can cause it to shatter, so the instructions recommend you warm the glass with the steam head from a distance before applying it directly to the pane.The two extension “wands” attached to the trigger have a nice rigidity to them, and combined with the flexibility of the main hose, are comfortable to work with, barring the issue with the handle. However, I have solved that problem by wearing a heavy duty gardening glove, which significantly reduces the irritation caused by the ridges on the handle. The accessories and parts fit together snugly and securely, but are also quite easy and quick to disassemble. In my many hours of usage, they have yet to show any signs of leakage, but as already mentioned, Ewbank have provided a full set of replacement rubber seals in case there is a problem. Although the main components are made of hardened plastic, the Dynamo has a nice solid feel to it and has been thoughtfully put together to provide a robust and durable appliance. The fact that it’s easy on the eye is simply an added bonus.
The Dynamo is by no means perfect. I would have liked a longer cable, possibly retractable, a more comfortable handle, as well as the ability to switch out accessories without having to cool down the unit. The lack of warning about the water level is also a downside, particularly as the safety instructions take great pains to warn you against operating it without water in the tank. That said, if it runs out while you are cleaning, you will know, and you shouldn’t leave it unattended while switched on anyway.One other slightly irritating aspect is the short delay required when the steam pressure subsides (i.e. when the orange light comes back on) and you have to wait for it to build again. This can be a little frustrating when you are in the flow of cleaning, but is a relatively small inconvenience to put up with given the cleaning power the Dynamo delivers. As such, on balance, considering its current £50 price point, this is an excellent, value for money multi-faceted steam cleaner that can perform a number of very useful functions around the home.
Highly recommended.© Hishyeness 2010
Attention, this is the first review from this author
Instead of giving a negative rating, consider:
Help this member by giving your advice
Report fraud (for example plagiarism) or other issue with the review to the Ciao support team
Add your comment
Ewbank Dynamo Steam Cleaner SC1000 Ewbank Steam Dynamo 12 Month warranty Sent Next Working Day Delivery The Steam Dynamo powerfully and...