Buying a wallpaper stripper

If you’re thinking of buying a wallpaper stripper – wallpaper steamer, steam stripper, or steamer (there are just so many terms for this tool!), you’ve clearly had enough of sponges and buckets of warm water, products in bottles that promise they make stripping so much easier, and scraping away till the small hours and cursing the fact that you keep digging holes in the wall. We’ve all been there, and to be honest, unless it’s a very small area of paper, I won’t even entertain stripping walls without having a wallpaper stripper to hand. I’ve used many of these contraptions over the years, and below I’ll share with you what I feel to be the essential points when deciding on which wallpaper stripper to buy.

Wallpaper stripper specifications and claims

As with any tool, manufacturers will claim you need this feature, that feature, remote control, walnut dash etc etc. but with a wallpaper stripper, your needs really don’t get much more basic. These are the three features you actually need:-

  • The wallpaper stripper needs to boil quickly.
  • The tube connecting the stripper to the steaming plate needs to be sound enough not to keep coming loose and falling off.
  • The steaming plate needs to be light, otherwise it really does become a very tiring task.
Best wallpaper stripper

The best wallpaper strippers, for me, are certainly not the more expensive, heavy-duty options. As long as it’s lightweight, has a long enough hose, and boils quickly, what more do you need?

Don’t be tempted by claims such as ‘our stripper out performs all others’ – How exactly? Can some manufacturers’ steam strippers boil water more than your standard 100 degrees? I don’t think so – one stripper’s steam is the same as the next. Can the steam plate be better? As long as it directs and spreads the steam on the wall, and doesn’t leak steam all over your hands – I can’t see too many design issues that will make one much better than the next. ‘Our hose is the longest on the market’ is another ridiculous statement because as long as it can easily reach the top of the average wall height and a bit more, that’s all you need – the rest of it just tangles around things like step ladders and passers by. So, just keep it very, very simple.

Wallpaper strippers do look like fairly innocent pieces of equipment, but remember that they need serious respect. Therefore make sure that you also have the necessary protective equipment before you think about using a wallpaper stripper. Good gloves spring to mind, but always take notice of any specific manufacturer instructions with the particular model you choose.

The best wallpaper stripper

Wallpaper strippers were an expensive option a few years ago, but now, it really is a different story. In 9 out of 10 cases, I will normally recommend a tool or product that is in the above average price bracket, as quite simply, quality usually costs. However, this is one of those joyous situations when ‘cheap’, truly is the best option. Not just cheap – probably the cheapest!

Without question, I think the best wallpaper strippers on the market are the little Earlex strippers, as they comply perfectly with my three essentials outlined up above. True, they do look like they may have come out of a Christmas cracker, but they are just superb, as they boil up in minutes, have a super light steaming plate, are easy to move around, and strip paper as efficiently as it is possible to do. Therefore my favourite wallpaper stripper model would be the exceptionally well priced Earlex SS125UKP.

I normally find the best deals for the Earlex wallpaper strippers on Amazon. It is also worth checking Screwfix, Tooled-Up, and the UK Tool Centre for price comparisons.


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