Vax are one of the giants of the cleaning world and have been producing everything from steam mops to vaccums to carpet shampooers for a very long time now. And this Vax steam mop, the S86-SF-CC, follows in this long line of products and has a dazzling array of features that are, most importantly, very useful. The name implies that this is a versatile gadget and this is very true. It is possible to clean virtually anything in the home with this steam cleaner – and without using harsh chemicals.
Vax S86-SF-CC Steam Mop – Overview
To call this simply a steam mop would be an inadequate label. Vax have put of a lot of effort and years of experience into creating the S86-SF-CC. It successfully pulls of being a very effective steam mop AND a steam cleaner in one well designed unit.
Inside the box:
This mops comes with a plethora of useful attachments that gives rise to its namesake of a 10-in-1 cleaning device. Inside the box is every type of attachment you could possibly require – allowing you to clean floors, carpets, clothing, cooker tops, windows and much more! (You even get a 250ml bottle of detergent included – should you wish to use it.)
A number of these attachments can be stored on the device itself, with the ‘concentration nozzle’ (a part which focuses the steam into a confined stream for extra cleaning power) having it’s own specific storage space on the handle. The back of the mop also contains further storage for more of the included accessories – these can be clicked in and pulled out for simple storage and use.
For those accessories that might be a little too large to store on the body of the mop Vax have included an accessory bag so you can keep them all together. This is fantastic consideration because it is often easy to mislay any attachments which might not be used that often, and a handy bag keeps them all safe, in one place.
Finally we come to the accessories we expect to see with most steam mops:
The first is a bottle of detergent that Vax have included for free – although we must stress using it is optional.
Secondly there is a carpet glider (more on this later).
Finally we come to the cleaning pad. This replaces the traditional string-style mop heads and acts as a sponge to absorb the dirt lifted by the steam. The cleaning pad is little larger than the mop head, but this is by design not by accident. Vax have added overlap tabs on the corners of the pad allowing you to simply place you foot on the tab and lift the mop upwards to remove it – preventing any burns which may occur by using fingers to remove the pad. This is one of a few great features that really show Vax’s experience in the market place.
Just like with most steam mops/cleaners some assembly of the S86-SF-CC is required. This is a simple process and follows a format that most steam mops are using these days. A simple push and click system connects the 3 main components of the mop together easily. The handle locks into the top of the body and the body locks into the mop head; and with the exception of storing a few attachments on the device this is all that is needed for assembly – easy!
As with most steam mops the main controls are located on the mop body and follow a familiar format. A large rubber/plastic push button is used to switch the mop on/off and a dual light system shows when the mop is on and when the steam is ready for use. Above the indicator lights – to the left of the mop body – the detergent dial is located. This is a simple twist dial that, when on, dispenses detergent into the steam to leave a fresh scent after cleaning and for a little extra cleaning power when required.
When the mop is turned on it can be ready for use in only 20 seconds. This is one of the fastest heat-up times we’ve seen and is certainly very impressive.
So how do you use it?
First the mop needs water. This can be added via the water tank which sites at the bottom of the machine. Two buttons need to be pressed and the tank pulled for removal – this is a simple mechanism that is easy to use and means the tank is securely locked in place while the mop is in use. The tank only holds a maximum of 260ml of water which is little on the small side. But when you consider how fast the machine heats up and that it can also operate as a small handheld device you can understand why capacity needed to be reduced and the added benefits they bring more than make up for the reduced size.
Once full, the tank is simply clicked back into place.
The detergent tank is located at the top of the mop body, immediately below the handle, and uses two release buttons for its removal – similar to the water tank. The detergent tank holds 200ml of diluted detergent at a ratio of 50ml detergent to 150ml of water.
A button on the handle dispenses the steam when you need it and a simple back and forth motion with short bursts of steam is all that is needed to start cleaning. It’s lightweight body (only 3.7 kg) makes moving it around a breeze and it comes with a roomy 7 meter power cord which would make it more than adequate to clean most rooms without the need for changing plug sockets. The mop head is angular in design (a common feature with most steam mop heads) making it ideal for cleaning around tight furniture and right up to the edges of the floor.
The power rating on this machine is 1600w and it can produce very hot jets of steam that can eradicate 99% of harmful bacteria in the home for up to an impressive 7 days at a time. This even outperforms some chemical cleaners and is environmentally friendly too!
The included carpet glider allows for easy cleaning of carpets and nicely clips into place on the mop head. Because it locks onto into place this will prevent it falling off when cleaning stair carpets – a feature where the ADSM4001 steam mop by Abode falls short. Just like the cleaning pad, the carpet glider can be removed by pressing on a tab with your foot to help prevent potential burns.
Now we reach a feature that really adds a huge level of versatility to this steam mop. Inside the body of the mop is a handheld steamer, this is detached using a release button located on the steamer handle.
Essentially the steam generator for the entire mop is contained within the handheld steamer – which is why the water tank is smaller than in some other models. But, this gives you a much greater degree of cleaning power and can help speed up more mundane tasks such as cleaning bathroom tiles, windows and even upholstery and clothing – just to name a few. You can even use it effortlessly clean barbeques and cooker tops without abrasives or chemicals.
It would have been nice to see a cooling plate with this unit to stand the mop in after use. But given its impressive attachment set and features it is only a minor omission especially as it is currently on sale and is priced as low as some of the entry/mid range steam mops.
What we think about the Vax S86-SF-CC Steam Mop:
Vax have clearly bought their wealth of experience when creating the S86-SF-CC. Any compromises made on this model (such have a reduced water tank size) have clearly only been made to allow for more useful features to be included; and in that respect clearly balances out the minor niggles with even more impressive positives.
This is truly a powerful, yet compact device that offers a lot more cleaning power many steam mops made by Vax’s competitors. Not only this but it is essentially two cleaning devices in one and represents excellent value for money by a well established brand and, in our opinion, is one of the best we’ve seen.