The first thing you’ll want to do when you get the Nugeni Steva+ Handheld and Upright Steamer and Vacuum ($449) is take everything out of the box. But don’t throw the box away, because you’ll likely discover that you overlooked something. According to the parts list, this thing has more gadgets and gizmos than The Little Mermaid. By our count, there are 28 pieces that comprise the Nugeni Steva+ system. Because it’s both a vacuum and a steamer and has handheld and upright options, it requires a lot of gear to be so versatile.
The handheld vac and the steamer can be snapped into the upright unit. There are three attachments for the vacuum (a hard floor tool, crevice tool, and brush tool), plus an extension wand. You can fit some of these tools onto the charging base. The Steva+ has so much stuff for the steamer that a lot of it — but not all of it — comes in its own little storage case. There are detail brushes, a squeegee, garment brushes, and cleaning cloths. A storage bag gives you another option for storing accessories. This is supposed to be a space-saving all-in-one, but you’ll probably want to make sure you have enough room in your closet to stow all the gear. The kit also comes with a little brush to help you get rid of some of the gross stuff that makes it way onto attachments.
With the ability to both steam and vacuum, the Nugeni Steva+ is several cleaning machines in one.
Once you’ve arranged the hoses, nozzles, and such around you in a circle, you might think you’re ready to begin. You’re not. Read the manual. You’ll notice that there are a couple pages of warnings. We got a little nervous perusing the manual: water plus electricity plus hot, hot steam. But we watched a how-to video and felt like we could handle this. Since the vacuum is cordless and needed to charge for 2.5 hours, we started with the steamer.
The filler cup was one of the things we missed in the box. It has markings for 500 millimeters, or about 16 ounces, though the steamer can hold 19 ounces, enough for 28 steamy minutes. If you’re going to use the steamer to mop the floor, you put it in the mop stick, then velcro a cloth onto a plastic plate that clicks into the bottom of the mop stick. The steamer must be plugged in to operate, but the 28-foot cord gives you a lot of room to roam. If you’re using the four-pound steamer as a handheld unit, you can choose to attach a shoulder strap. It makes you feel a bit like a Ghostbuster with a proton pack.
To get the steam going, you press the power button. There’s a trigger under the handle, and it takes around 20 seconds for puffs to start coming out of the unit. A dial lets you adjust the level of steam; you’ll want to use less for delicate items and on certain flooring. The trigger lets you apply intermittent steam, but holding it and the power button down for three seconds releases a non-stop cloud.
You can attach the squeegee or various types of brushes to the Steva, and cover these with washable cloths if you want. (“Can it steam clothes?” our husband asked. Yes. “Can it steam hams?” Unclear.) We easily got rid of some soap gunk in the shower with the squeegee, which we ran all over the doors and tiles.
You may need to add an extra closet to fit all the attachments.
In the kitchen, we used the soft-bristle detail brush to degrease a sheet pan from the previous night’s baked sweet potato fries. It was ridiculously easy. The real test came with the oven door, which was last cleaned at half-past never. The squeegee and brush both managed to lift of some of the hardened, gross gunk, but we still had to break out the magic eraser. Alternating between the two methods, cleaning it took probably half an hour, but the sponge and steamer seemed to make each other more effective.
The steamer is far less scary than we originally thought. The base unit itself gets a bit warm. The manual warns you’ll want to wait about half a minute before switching attachments, as these are in direct contact with the steam and get very hot. The handheld part of the steamer stays upright by itself without the mop stick, but there was no good way to set tools down when the hose was attached. They just sort of flopped on the floor when not in use.
Using distilled water in steamers helps prevent mineral build-up. Nugeni recommends this but also confusingly claims tap water is OK. We found it a little difficult to pour water out of the tank when we were done steaming. Because of the way it’s designed, it can be hard to shake it all loose, which could lead to odors down the road.
Degreasing a pan was ridiculously easy with the steamer.
The vacuum can also be handheld or upright. Its battery lasts about 16 minutes on turbo, 20 minutes on regular. That’s comparable to the Dyson V8, which takes twice as long (five hours) to charge. The vacuum is definitely the weaker link in the Steva’s duo functions. We found it best to leave it on turbo, especially when dealing with pet hair. The brush attachment has some little gripper teeth that do a pretty good job of snagging hair, but it needs to be cleaned really frequently during vacuuming.
Our bathroom feels way less grody after we blasted some germ-killing steam around, but we do wish the vacuum was a little more robust. The Steva comes with a zillion attachments, but that also means you’ll spend some time swapping them out — like between vacuuming and steaming, and again if you’re going from hardwood to carpet with the steamer. There are some places you shouldn’t use the steamer: for example, on unsealed floors, velvet, leather, or pets. At $450, it’s quite a space hog, especially considering you’ll still want to hang on to your magic erasers.
Still, we’re kind of hooked on the power of steam. And feeling like a Ghostbuster.DT Editors' Rating: 3/5