Dry vapor steamers are invaluable tools in a proper bed bug treatment. By delivering dry vapor steam of over 180 degrees, these machines are capable of killing bed bugs of all ages on contact. They can even penetrate into soft materials, like mattresses, furniture and baseboards, to reach bed bugs hiding out of sight. But it’s tough to choose between a budget-priced but limited steamer and a more powerful (but more expensive) machine. There’s a gap in the middle of the market that the Reliable Brio 500cc hopes to fill.
For most bed bug steamers out there, the steam treatment workflow feels roughly the same. The operator fills the tank, turns the machine on, waits for the water to boil, and then starts steaming until the tank empties. Once they run out of water, they must turn off the machine and wait for the pressure to drop before they can refill and reheat the tank.
Recently, commercial steamers have begun offering continuous fill designs. These combine a pressurized boiler with an unpressurized water reservoir. The technology allows the user to add more water to the reservoir without stopping and waiting to reheat the tank.
While continuous fill is a much desired feature among professionals, steamers with the feature can be quite expensive. The Brio 500cc by Reliable is the first continuous fill steamer available for under $1,000. Does the Brio have what it takes to be the new mid-range choice? Let’s find out.
Unboxing and first impressions
With most commercial-grade bed bug steamers, you get a box with very little branding or accessories. Steamers like the Armato 9000 tend to come in a simple package with simple purpose. In this case, the Brio 500cc’s box and contents are targeted more as a consumer cleaning solution. That means you get plenty of attachments for cleaning and sanitizing every inch of your home.
The steamer itself is a unique and attractive design. The body is surprisingly compact given its dual-tank capacity. You wouldn’t expect two tanks filled with 11 cups of water to fit into this unit, but that’s what it’s capable of. Other dual-tank steamers may carry more water, but they are much larger and heavier. That makes them harder to carry around during a treatment, and harder to store afterwards.
Another clever design touch is the Brio’s digital control panel. This LED display has a single soft-touch toggle for steam power and an easy-to-read pressure gauge. Unlike other steamers at this price range and beyond, you won’t have to fiddle with analog flip switches and PSI readings. Instead, simple colored indicators alert you of the Brio’s status at a glance.
Under the hood
Reliable Corporation is well-known for their efficient and powerful heating units. The 500cc comes equipped with a stainless-steel boiler, the same one used in their higher-end commercial models. This means the Brio can put out higher boiler and tip temperatures than competing brands. The boiler’s insulated construction ensures that that extra heat stays in place, too.
Along with the rugged tank are a couple of high-tech inclusions as well. The Brio features a micro computer, responsible for things like steam output and control. The Italian-made solenoid controller regulates steam flow into the hose. This reduces moisture and condensation buildup to ensure a hot, dry steam all the time.
There is a slight drawback for some users when it comes to the Brio versus other commercial steamers. Professional-grade models often have reinforced metal bodies made of sheet aluminum or steel. This is a design detail that’s sought after by pest control operators who keep their gear in the back of a work truck. Even a little bit of light jostling of tools in a truck can add up to a fair bit of body damage over years of service.
The Brio series is intended for home use, and wasn’t designed for professionals. That means that the 500cc comes with a plastic body and mostly plastic moving parts, in contrast to the Armato or Pro6 Duo’s metal frames. The upside of this construction difference is that it helps the Brio meet that $500 price point. You won’t find any of those metal-bodied dual-tank steamers anywhere near this price.
Using the Brio 500cc
The Brio has the features we want at the right price and then some. But how does it perform on the line of duty? Fortunately, a discounted price doesn’t show in the 500cc’s performance. With 72 PSI of max pressure from a boiler capable of a 320-degree boil, the steam from the Brio is always hot and dry.
Reliable didn’t stop at just tank power and performance when designing the Brio. There are many ergonomic advantages that come into play when steaming with the 500cc. The first that you’ll notice is the electronic control panel on the steamer body. This allows you to turn the steamer on and off with just one touch, and shows the pressure status with simple indicator lights.
Rather than manage steam adjustment on the steamer’s body, the Brio allows you to adjust steam pressure from the gun handle. Reliable placed the wheel right under your thumb, allowing you to make adjustments on the fly. Just turn the wheel left or right to decrease or increase the pressure.
There’s no question that the Reliable Brio 500cc is one of the best values on the steamer market. But it’s more than just a bargain – the Brio has the guts and features to stand on its own, regardless of price. Few steamers boast continuous fill design, steam adjustment, and solenoid control all in one package. The Brio 500cc packs all of that into a simple, attractive, and compact package.
So who should buy the 500cc? If you’re a pest control operator or property manager, the Brio checks off most of the specs you’ll be looking for in a commercial steamer. However, you’ll still want to consider more expensive steamers, like the Armato 9000 or Cimex Eradicator. The Armato offers class-leading durability and water capacity, while the Cimex Eradicator was purpose-built for bed bug treatments. But if you’re a homeowner who won’t be steaming every day, and just want a steamer that’s a cut above the usual consumer-grade options, the Brio 500cc is an exceptional choice.