Best Wallpaper Stripper 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

If you are redecorating, or have recently moved house and want to put your own touch on it, removing any existing wallpaper can be a huge pain before you’ve even started decorating.

Thankfully, the power of steam can help budge the majority of it. There will still be a bit of scraping involved, but the steam will soften the wallpaper paste and quicken the process.

Even better, they are a lot more affordable than you’d think. So even if you’re renovating on a budget, you don’t have to be priced out of having the right tools for the job.

Here are our top picks of the best wallpaper steamers and strippers around, which will get the old decor moving in no time.

The Best Wallpaper Steamers – Our Top Picks

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
BLACK+DECKER KX3300T
  • Capacity: 4L
  • Run Time: 60 Mins
  • Dimensions: 32 x 33.5 x 24 cm
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Earlex SS125UKP Warrior Wallpaper Stripper
  • Capacity: 4L
  • Run Time: 70 Mins
  • Dimensions: 22.8 x 33.4 x 30 cm
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Earlex Lmb176 Steammaster Wallpaper Stripper
  • Capacity: 7.5L
  • Run Time: 90 Mins
  • Dimensions: 47.5 x 44 x 46.5 cm
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Best Wallpaper Strippers

BLACK+DECKER KX3300T

Black + Decker are pretty unbeatable when it comes to power tool performance, and although we saw some strong contenders for the best wallpaper stripper crown, this one just pipped them to the post.

It is corded, with a power rating of 2400W and water capacity of 4L. This gives you a good hour of use before it needs to be topped up, which could see you powering through at least one room. It only takes about five or six seconds for the wallpaper to be saturated.

The hose length is 3.65m and cord 3m, so you can safely keep it on the floor or on top of the step ladders and away from the power source when in use. All you have to do is fill with water, wait for it to heat then start steaming.

People have commented that it even budges thick paper which had been up for a good 20+ years. Just put a few slashes in it, and allow the steam to go deep to the wall and it will still be a breeze. Even if you are moving into a house which has layer upon layer of wallpaper (as was once the done thing), you will be back to the bare wall in no time.

We like

  • Works without damaging plaster
  • Plenty of steam
  • Large pad for extra coverage

We dislike

  • No ‘on’ button so working out when it is ready can take time

Final Verdict

Creates a lot of steam, which means an easier and quicker job for you - no doubt it is a winner

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 4L
  • Run Time: 60 Mins
  • Dimensions: 32 x 33.5 x 24 cm

Earlex SS125UKP Warrior Wallpaper Stripper

Whether it has been layered on, painted over or was ridiculously tough to start with, this machine is Warrior by name and Warrior by nature.

The four-litre tank capacity is generous without being too cumbersome, and you will be able to get a good 70 minutes of use out of the water before having to stop, refill and reheat. It takes 12 minutes to reheat, which is perfectly timed with around how long it takes to fully enjoy a tea break, luckily.

The hose is about 3m long and is flexible without being uncontrollable so gives you the perfect amount of freedom.

So while it may take a while to get up to full heat, the long running time and effective work makes it a very worthwhile purchase – and it is a little bit cheaper than the Black + Decker.

We like

  • Easy to carry around
  • Generous run time

We dislike

  • Have to be careful not to hold it for too long - can bring plaster off too

Final Verdict

One of the cheapest we found but would have expected to pay more for it given the quality and power

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 4L
  • Run Time: 70 Mins
  • Dimensions: 22.8 x 33.4 x 30 cm

Earlex SS77 Steam Wallpaper Stripper

With a five litre capacity and 78 minute run time, this is one of the largest wallpaper steamer sets you can buy. Ideal if you have an awfully big task ahead, frequent use or if you need a steamer for semi-professional work.

Despite the size, it is lightweight to carry around even when full. There is enough steam produced to remove a couple of layers of paper, or tougher materials such as Artex.

There are good instructions and care points in the included documents, and it is important to descale it regularly to avoid it overheating or cutting out. Overheating protection is in place, and it seems a lot more strict than with other models, so a lot of people comment that it is a frequent issue. But the long run time and capacity reduce the need to stop for refilling as much, so it doesn’t become a huge problem –  it is good to have a break. And at least it shows that there will be no dangerous flaws.

We like

  • Good instructions provided
  • Easy to move and carry around
  • Effective overheat and safety protection

We dislike

  • Takes over 15 minutes to heat up

Final Verdict

One of the safest and the cutout can become frustrating, but the work it puts in definitely makes up for it. The best for long run time

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 5L
  • Run Time: 78 Mins
  • Dimensions: 28 x 34.8 x 36.2 cm

Earlex Lmb176 Steammaster Wallpaper Stripper

When you have a large task at hand, such as removing stubborn wallpaper from every single room in the house, you need something which can be quick yet reliable.

This steamer may be very pricey, but you are paying for something of an industrial level of reliability. The steam plate size is huge at 305 x 235mm, and it can carry on for 90 minutes without any interruptions or the need to refill.

You may be wondering what the design is all about, as it looks very different from the others reviewed. It features a patented step design, so you can safely stand on the unit to reach higher areas. Obviously, you will probably still use step ladders for bigger jobs, but it is good for those quick reaches to peel off any bits left behind.

It also helps when packing it all away, as the pad and cable can all be stored or kept in one place when you’re moving from house to house or in and out to your van.

With a hose length of 5m and the same for the power cable length, it is perfect for larger rooms or older houses with high walls but fewer plug sockets. This is just another one of the many reasons it is great for professionals; you can use it in an old large Victorian detached house just as easily as you could in a two bedroom terrace.

It takes 30 minutes to heat up, which seems long but is actually great for the size and amount of water. As a bonus, the anodised aluminium tank will face less chance of rusting or scaling than other models, which means less time caring for it.

If you look at hiring a wallpaper steamer, you’ll actually see that this is the model many outlets offer, which just shows how loved it is.

We like

  • Rugged construction for safe use on busy sites
  • Anti-kink hose
  • Non-tip step design

We dislike

  • Price - but you may not bat an eyelid if you need the best for the job

Final Verdict

It is very easy to see why it is suitable for professionals. Well worth the investment to have a product which will not let you down over the years

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 7.5L
  • Run Time: 90 Mins
  • Dimensions: 47.5 x 44 x 46.5 cm

Wagner W16 Steam Wallpaper Stripper

This model is one of the higher prices options on our rundown, but there is a whole package provided, so you have all the tools you need to start your task straight away.

Nobody enjoys stripping wallpaper, and if you are dreading the task, then you’re going to want to make it as fast and painless as possible. A great amount of steam is released, and the pad is nice and large so you can get big sections at once. You also get a second smaller pad, which makes it one of the best if you will need to use it on smaller areas.

The 3.5m hose allows you to have a large working range, and it is heat insulated, so if you need to touch it to adjust the placement, you aren’t going to scald your hands. Nor will it damage anything it touches.

The steamplate is nice and lightweight so easy to manoeuvre, as is the actual water tank. The latter is also nice and stable, so you don’t have to worry too much about placement as it should sit comfortably on any flat surface.

It has the longest run time of all those we found at 80 minutes, despite having one of the smallest tank capacities, and when the time comes to refill it, the large filling hole and safety valve both reduce the risk of injury.

We like

  • Great long run time
  • Small tank
  • You get two plates with the purchase

We dislike

  • Takes a while to warm up

Final Verdict

A decent, compact tank and lightweight build makes it one of the easiest if you’ll be moving from room to room, and for storage afterwards

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 3.5L
  • Run Time: 80 Mins
  • Dimensions: 14 x 20 x 28 cm

Silverline 128966

Giving you over an hour of use thanks to the 4.5L capacity tank, Silverline is one of the best-known brands when it comes to wallpaper steamers (and indeed power tools), and this model is great if you have a big task ahead.

The 280 x 200 mm steam pad and 3m hose allow you to reach a generous area before having to re-setup shop, and it can get through multiple layers at once, so you just need to make a few scores, and the whole lot can come away in no time.

If you’re worried about using a steamer because you don’t want to damage plaster walls or ceilings, then the adjustable temperature function will allow you to still use the same technique without having to adapt, and will also help when tackling more sensitive areas.

It is an ideal weight to move and carry, and the base is stable so you don’t have to worry too much about where you place it as long as the surface is largely flat and heat resistant.

The lower price makes it well worth a go, and cheaper than hiring a model.

We like

  • From a trusted brand
  • Good price
  • Large steam pad

We dislike

  • Handle on pad isn’t overly prominent so can be difficult to hold

Final Verdict

Good quality for the price, especially as it can cope with the bigger jobs

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 4.5L
  • Run Time: 70 Mins
  • Dimensions: 31 x 26.5 x 28.5 cm

Performance Power Wallpaper Stripper PWS2000

Another budget pick, but surprisingly one of the fastest at heating up and getting the job done despite this.

All you need to do is score the paper, and within a few seconds, you can start to see it peel away from the walls. The hose is a generous length at around 3.7m, making it one of the longest of those we reviewed and meaning you can tackle a larger area without having to move the water tank around or hold it.

Because it is so effective, it only needs a couple of moments use with each section. Don’t overdo it or you could face damaged walls and plaster. You also have to get used to the best way to hold it. The tube must be kept straight and elevated, or else it tends to spit hot water, but as long as you are doing the walls or higher areas and keep it out of the way of yourself and electricals, it shouldn’t be an issue.

We like

  • Translucent steaming pad helps to see water build up
  • Lightweight to move around
  • Powerful

We dislike

  • Can occasionally spit water

Final Verdict

There are a couple of flaws, but when considering the price and large capacity/long running time, they are flaws which are easy to cope with

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 5L
  • Run Time: 60 Mins
  • Dimensions: N/A

Denny International

A wallpaper stripper which is excellent value for money, the Denny is ideal if you want something simple and back to basics for a decorating job.

It can run for over 70 minutes, which is very generous, and the build makes it both comfortable to move around and easy to place wherever you need it to be.

The tube is 3m long, and the pad is 28 x 20cm, so even if you have a large room to get through, this steamer will still be quick at the job. The power cord is 1.5m, making it one of the shortest, so you may have to do a bit more setting up if this is the case.

But this is pretty much the only issue we found with it, which is surprising given the price. It may not last for years as it doesn’t feel like the strongest available, but for a quick answer to tackling wallpaper if you don’t want to hire, it is an affordable and simple solution.

We like

  • Price
  • Generous size

We dislike

  • Short power cable - may be harder to reach higher walls

Final Verdict

Efficient for the cost, and gives you plenty of time to get the whole room done in one go

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 5L
  • Run Time: 70 Mins
  • Dimensions: N/A

Performance Power Wallpaper Stripper PS-ZP-20

Complete with anti-discharge and anti-implosion valves, this is a safe yet easy device to use and comes in at a great cost.

You get a 3m long connect pipe and 2m power cable with the package, which can both be removed from the water tank to make for easier storage when it isn’t in use (which is going to be important as it could be a few months before you need it again).

One feature which makes it stand out is the temperature control switch. While many other models have one standard level of steam, requiring you to adapt the way you use it, you can choose the right level with this one. Power it up for tougher Artex or several layers, or keep it low for when there are only a few strands left, and you don’t want to damage the plaster.

The steam pad is comfortable to hold and a nice size for larger areas. To say you get 80 minutes of steam time from such an unassuming piece of kit is very impressive indeed.

We like

  • Steam time and large pad get the job done quickly
  • All packs away small

We dislike

  • Will spit water when almost ready to use

Final Verdict

An ideal option if you want something to use occasionally, but will still be in full working order when you need it again

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 4L
  • Run Time: 80 Mins
  • Dimensions: 26 x 21cm

Oypla Professional Wall Paper Wallpaper Stripper

A nice long run time, generously sized steam pad/water tank and internal thermostat to avoid overheating all make this a great choice for anyone who likes to do things all at once as opposed to pausing regularly.

There are reviews online from trade decorators who even sing its praises. This is probably a good sign of a great product. Surprisingly when considering this, it is actually one of the lowest priced wallpaper strippers on the market, if not the absolute cheapest.

It gets very hot even though there is an internal thermostat, which is good if there are a couple of layers to work through or the wallpaper is old and has since been painted over. To get to this point takes the longest out of all those reviewed, so while the run time is good and it is fast at the job, you will have to plan ahead when you want to use it.

Don’t expect a steamer which will last years or always be 100% comfortable to use for the price, but it is a quick solution for removing stubborn wall coverings.

We like

  • Price
  • Good run time

We dislike

  • Hose and power leads are on the flimsy side

Final Verdict

A great budget buy, definitely cheaper than hiring a model, so perfect if you want a cheap short-term option

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 4.5L
  • Run Time: 70 Mins
  • Dimensions: 31 x 26.5 x 28.5 cm

Help and Resources

Fridge Freezer Buying Guide

Capacity

This is how much water the unit will hold at once. Technically, it should be a good indicator of how long you can use the product before having to stop, refill and let it heat up again, but there are loads of other factors involved too. These range from how much steam they give out and how hot they get, to the power levels and size of the pad.

So a unit with a 6L capacity which is incredibly powerful in performance won’t necessarily last longer than one with a 3L tank which gives out basic levels of steam. The capacity, however, could affect how heavy the tank is to carry and move, and how large it is to place and store.

It is best to get a good balance of all of these factors.

Run Time

This is basically how long you can use the stripper for before the water runs out. It is calculated by how much water the tank holds and how powerful the unit is. So while a model which lasts for 90 minutes looks more appealing on paper than one which lasts for 40 minutes, bear in mind the steam output may not be as grand. There are big exceptions to the rule, though.

Bear in mind the rooms you will be tackling and how long you want to give yourself. If you want to strip a large bedroom in a day, you’re going to want a larger run time. If you don’t mind the job taking a bit longer or the rooms are on the small side, the run time may not be as important.

Safety

The majority of models currently on sale will have safety cut out features, which stops the unit and turns it off to cool down if it senses it overheating. This is important, as you are working with boiling hot water and steam – any incidents could see serious injuries or damage to goods in the room.

You may also want to look at the handle of the tanks and steam pads to try and find one which you’d be comfortable holding and carrying. If you find the unit difficult to control, it could cause accidents.

Wall Type and Steam Time

How you use the steamer depends on the material your wall consists of. If you are unsure about this, it is usually dictated by how old your property is:

  • Plaster: The plaster is applied to the surface of the inner wall, which should either be bricks, concrete blocks or stone. This is often found in older homes where all homes feature thick walls
  • Plasterboard / Drywall: In some newer properties, wallpaper is applied directly over plasterboard partition walls

The latter will be a lot more susceptible to over-steaming, which could lead to damp or damage. However, this could also be a concern with ordinary plaster and older houses, especially if the paper has been on there for a while. The foundations may be dry and brittle, leading them to become damaged when exposed to steam.

Not sure which wall type you have? Try the knock test. Ordinary stone and brick will be solid and not really make any sound when knocked, but plasterboard will be thin and audibly echo-ey if you knock it.

To get the timing right, go very slow, steaming for around three seconds at a time and increasing this ever so slightly if more is needed. You may be surprised at how little time is needed on each section.

Always prepare for a bit of damage, though. Read below for what other products you need when steaming.

FAQ’s

How Do I Use A Wallpaper Steamer?

The steam breaks down the adhesive holding the paper to the wall, making it easier to peel or strip off, using a technique known as hydrolysis.

First of all, it is best if you score the paper or tear off little sections. This allows the steam to reach the back of the paper as opposed to having to penetrate the outer surface. This is particularly relevant with thicker layers, or certain materials such as Artex or shiny coatings.

To use a wallpaper stripper, you need to fill the tank with water and then leave it to heat up to boiling point, which creates the steam. This heated water travels down the hose to the steam pad, which you hold against the wallpapered area you want to tackle.

As mentioned above, how long you hold the steamer to the wall depends on the type of wall in your house.

What Else Do I Need To Buy Before Steaming?

When you’re buying your steamer, you may also want to look for some other products at the same time:

  • Scraper: This will help remove the actual wallpaper once the steam has loosened it
  • Filler: Expect a little bit of damage to the plaster when removing wallpaper or paint, either from the steam or the scraping. Have some filler to hand to fill them in as quickly as possible
  • Soap and water: Steaming gets most of the wallpaper away, but there may still be some residue or glue left behind. You want to ensure it is all off for the next coating of paint or wallpaper, so this will get any little bits leftover. You may also want to use sugar soap
  • Ladder: To ensure you use the steamer safely, you don’t want to stretch it too much or reach above your head. Use a ladder to get to higher places, and move the steamer up to a reasonable level too
  • Gloves: These will not only protect your hands when peeling and scrubbing the paper off, but will also guard them against any excess steam which may be uncomfortably hot

Is It Cheaper To Hire A Wallpaper Steamer Than Buy One?

Surprisingly not always, especially if you need to use it over the space of a few days. Hiring a wallpaper steamer could cost you anywhere between £20 and £50 per day, and reach at least £50-£100 for a week depending on the model and where you get it from.

Granted, the ones you can hire are probably closer to industrial power than those featured above, but the ones in our list should be sufficient for most non-professional atmospheres and wallpaper types.

Buying one means you always have it for when you need it, and the ones available to buy are usually a lot easier to use and move around. Friends and family can borrow it if needed, so it can really pay for itself. And if you overrun on time (these things can take longer than anticipated), you don’t have to fork out for extra time. Tougher materials such as wood chip could take over a week to fully remove in one room alone.

They are so cheap to buy now, and as wallpaper is coming back into fashion and house renovations are on the rise, you may end up using it more than you thought at first.