No bed bug treatment is complete without a bed bug steamer. While your powders and sprays might do a great job on the surfaces that they’re applied to, only a steamer can effectively penetrate soft materials like mattresses and upholstered furniture. They can also push steam into cracks and crevices, like windowsills and door frames, more effectively than anything else out there. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford the hundreds of dollars that a high-pressure, high-capacity dry vapor steamer can cost. Is the affordable handheld Haan HS-22 the right choice for you, or are you better off saving up for a steamer like the MR-100 Primo?
The HS-22 is one of the smallest and lightest steamers we have to offer, weighing in at just under three pounds on an empty stomach (and just under 3.5 pounds full). It was designed and constructed with household cleaning in mind: for a low price, you can sanitize virtually every surface in your home with one hand and no harsh chemicals.
It just so happens that the HS-22’s pressure rating and max tip temperature hit the minimum requirements to effectively kill bed bugs. Bed bugs are highly susceptible to heat, and can be killed at any age when exposed to at least 180 degrees of direct heat. The small but powerful HS-22 can deliver this heat by pushing steam into a mattress, bed frame, windowsill, or almost anywhere else that bed bugs could be hiding.
Unboxing and First Look
Like most budget steamer offerings, the HS-22 comes in minimal, no-frills packaging. It doesn’t come with the arsenal of accessories that a larger steamer, like the MR-100 Primo or the BRIO EB250 come with. However, for most home cleaning purposes, and certainly for bed bug treatments, the attachments included with the HS-22 will work.
Inside the box, you’ll find a cone-shaped concentrator nozzle, a flexible extension hose, an angled nozzle for cracks and joints, a brass detail brush, a wire bristle brush, a flat upholstery attachment, a fabric cleaning sock, a steel wool bundle to assist with scrubbing, a measuring cup and funnel, and the steamer itself. The accessories all fit in the included bag, and the manual is a must-read to ensure safe operation.
The steamer itself is surprisingly well-made for its price range. The thumb-operated trigger is generous to the touch, and the lack of extra dials and switches make learning to use the device a piece of cake. While you can’t expect top-tier aluminum or steel, found on commercial steamers that cost dozens of times more than the HS-22, the matte polymer reduces the weight of the machine while still feeling grippy and sturdy in the hand. You also won’t find any bonus features like steam adjustment, continuous fill, or CEME solenoids, that you might find on a higher-priced steamer.
Using the Haan HS-22
So far, it seems like the Haan is a pretty sweet deal. You get the right size and the right attachments for the right price. But does this killer value hold up as a bed bug killer?
The short answer is “yes.” The long answer is “yes, but you might be a bit annoyed along the way.”
The problem with this budget handheld steamer isn’t the “budget” part; it’s the “handheld” part. When you’re just cleaning up the grill after a weekend barbecue or getting some grime out of your ceramic tile grout, this little guy gets the job done right. Unfortunately, the low capacity offered by this form factor doesn’t lend itself well to a bed bug treatment.
The HS-22 has a 10-ounce tank that offers over seven minutes of steam time. That means that after about seven minutes of steaming, you’ll need to unplug the steamer, let it cool down, then refill it and wait for it to heat up again. Fortunately, the unit heats up quickly – just a little under three minutes in our testing. However, this made for a rather tiring and inefficient process when we had a whole bedroom full of little cracks and crevices to cover. When you’re trying to steam your bed, windows, door frames, baseboards, and more, having to take a break every seven minutes or so gets old quickly.
To add to the frustration, the HS-22’s heating element simply isn’t powerful enough to maintain a strong pressure for long. When holding down the trigger, the pressure of the steam output drops significantly in under a minute. This is to be expected of a steamer this size, but it’s still annoying when you’re trying to penetrate soft materials like carpet and upholstered furniture. Add that to a handheld design that lacks the versatility of a canister steamer with a longer hose and extendible handle, and you end up with a lot of work on your hands when using the HS-22 instead.
There’s a reason that the ~$300 Vapamore Primo is our top-selling steamer: being able to steam for up to an hour without refilling, and maintaining a strong pressure for the whole operation, is more than worth the added cost to most buyers. Throw in solenoid control and adjustable steam pressure, and the Primo is the real value to beat.
All in all, the Haan HS-22 is the great value that we had hoped it would be. It’s a great value with its sub-$100 price tag, and the lightweight handheld profile serves very well as a household disinfectant.
Our gripes about its limitations as an effective bed bug killer are limited only to how it compares to larger and more expensive steamers on the market. As with most things in life, you really do get what you pay for. If you can afford it, the MR-100 Primo is by far the more convenient bed bug steamer to use. This great value does come with limitations, but if you’re on a tight budget, have a lot of time on your hands, and don’t mind working on your hands and knees, the HS-22 can fill the steamer role as part of your bed bug treatment process.