If you’ve always thought ironing was a dreaded chore, you’ll be pleased to find an effective alternative without the back-breaking work. Introducing the clothing steamer, a product that removes ironing from your chore list. The steamer offers a marked difference from an iron, giving you added convenience and durability.
The best clothes steamer delivers enough power to remove wrinkles quickly with damaging fabrics. We’ve put together everything you need to consider in a garment steamer, and our top picks.
Before we dive in, lets address something basic but rather important for clarity: we’ll be using the terms clothing steamer and garment steamer interchangeably! They are the exact same thing, so don’t worry if you’ve had any confusion over the differences in the two.
- Our Garment and Clothes Steamer Reviews
- Benefits of Using a Garment Steamer
- What to Look for When Buying a Clothing Steamer
- Tips for Buying a Garment Steamer
Our Garment and Clothes Steamer Reviews
As we mentioned earlier, there are two camps when it comes to deciding the best handheld clothes steamer and an upright model. The features to consider when choosing between the types of garment steamers and the respective units follow the round-up. Ultimately, it comes down to which one will serve your needs for your intended use while sticking within your budget.
Lemontec Portable Travel Garment Steamer
The Lemontec Portable Travel Garment Steamer is an excellent value for the money, especially if you need both a steamer and an iron. One thing you need to pay attention to when looking at economically priced items is its performance. This product got rid of wrinkles without spitting and delaying drying time.
The handle has a nice hand feel to it, making it easy to use on clothes or drapery. The cord is a decent size for a unit at this price point. The plug is two-prong and suitable for 110v only, but it’s certainly not a dealbreaker by any means.
It has the shortest duration for continuous steaming of the products we reviewed, but we’re only talking about a minute difference. It isn’t a high-performance unit with a 180 ml capacity (6 ounces). It’s adequate for small jobs which is just what it is meant to do.
The Lemontec Portable Travel Garment Steamer has a lot going for it as a possible choice for the best small clothes steamer. It’s lightweight enough to make the job easy with enough steam power to get the wrinkles out fast. It’s worth noting that it has the longest guarantee of the products we considered for best rated clothes steamer.
For an economy model, the Lemontec is a decent product for the price for most small jobs.
Proper usage is important with it. It may occasionally spit water as you steam your clothes. Pay attention to what you’re doing to prevent damage and water spots.
- Long cord
- Quick heating time
- Small enough to use as a travel unit
- Great value for the price
- Five year satisfaction guarantee
- Safety shut-off when it gets too hot
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PurSteam Fabric Steamer
The PurSteam Fabric Steamer is another economically priced clothes steamer that you can use both at home and on the road. It has an automatic shut-off switch if the product gets too hot and a protective glove you can wear while using it. For a small unit, it delivers a good stream of concentrated steam.
The water capacity is 110 to 180 ml which is fine for most light jobs. However, you might find it inefficient for larger fabrics like draperies. Like many steamers, use caution when using it on delicate products like silk. That’s especially true with this one because of its relatively strong stream.
The steamer comes with a glove and a storage bag. It was the only handheld product that had either one. The former isn’t a must for using it in most situations, but the latter is a welcome perk for traveling.
The steamer is an 850 water unit which is less than a standard microwave. It is constructed of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polypropylene materials. That gives it the added strength of ABS with the cost-savings of the latter for a lightweight, affordable product.
The PurStream is a lightweight handheld steamer that delivers a powerful blast of steam efficiently.
On the downside, this PurSteam Fabric Steamer also has a tendency to squirt water on occasion, so be careful when using it. While the automatic shut-off for low water levels is helpful, you may find that it is too sensitive at times, especially if you’re moving it around a lot.
- Includes a travel bag and glove
- 30-day satisfaction guarantee
- Long nine-foot cord
- Compact size that is suitable for travel use
- BPA-free construction
- Aluminum heating element
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The iSteams Steamer features some of the upgrades that we’d expect to see in this price point. It has a quick 60-second heating time to get you up and running fast. The 10-minute duration is par for the course.
This unit can also double as a travel steamer because of its compact size. It includes the automatic shut-off for low water levels and overheating that we’ve seen in other products. The 700-watt steamer.
You’ll like the design of the steamer head that delivers a concentrated area of steam which makes it more efficient. It’s well constructed and doesn’t feel cheap. The removable head is a welcome feature that we see in units at this price point.
The Isteams model ticks off a lot of the boxes for features we like to see when deciding on the best clothes steamer at an affordable price.
The Isteams Steamer is an efficient and well-made product that is easy to use and maintain.
Though the wattage is lower than some other products we reviewed, it works well for quick jobs and was the lightest of all the handheld products that we considered.
- Removable head for easy cleaning
- Compact size for travel
- Lightest of the handhelds
- Quick heating time
- 7.5 ft cord
- Solid construction
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PurSteam Elite Garment and Fabric Steamer
The PurSteam Elite Garment and Fabric Steamer is one of the leading models in the huge line of garment steamers in the market. This steamer can effectively and easily remove wrinkles and creases from different types of clothing, garments, draperies, and fabrics.
You can also use this garment steamer on sofas, curtains, carpets, and beddings as long as they are made of fabric and safe to steam.
The second PurSteam garment steamer on our list, their Elite model is not handheld like the previous models on our list. What you sacrifice in convenience, you make up for it versatility and quality.
With this steamer, you will no longer have to spend hours to iron your clothes. In just a matter of 45 seconds, the PurSteam Elite garment steamer heats up the water in it’s large 61 ounce water reservoir to produce a steady stream of hot steam.
This garment steamer can steam and even out wrinkled fabric continuously for up to 60 minutes before needing a water refill. Compare that to previous models on our list, and you’ll see why this one is worth the added price. The PurSteam Elite heats the water up to 248 degrees, which is part of what makes it so effective.
Additionally, this temperature kills 99.9% of germs, helping to sanitize your clothing.
The PurSteamer Elite Garment Steamer comes with a crease attachment to help with seams. Other than that, though, this model is a little light on the attachments.
We love this garment steamer because it works on literally every type of fabric, ranging from delicate clothing all the way to drapes and jeans. It heats up really fast – its ready to steam your garments in 45 seconds. It is made with high quality parts (cast aluminum) and has proven to last consumers for a long period of time.
It also has an adjustable hanger that ranges from 15″ to 19″, which makes it a lot easier to hang your jackets and tops while steaming.
- Firm and steady grip for easy handling
- Extra long heating duration
- Wide nozzle for efficient de-wrinkling
- Five-year money back guarantee
- Quick heating time
- Works fast and efficiently
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Rowenta IS6300 Master Valet Full Size Garment and Fabric Steamer
The Rowenta Master Valet Full Size Garment Steamer is one of the best and most efficient garment steamers that lets you get the job done fast. This full sized garment steamer is made for heavy duty work to steam various types of fabrics around your home.
The sole plate of the Rowenta IS6300 garment steamer has a thick and heavy duty aluminum central core that ensures the even distribution of heat and steam.
Unlike old models and brands which concentrate a hot spot on a single area, this device produces the same heat and steam from all over which makes sure that your garments are steamed and heated equally.
It can remove wrinkles and crease from different types of fabrics, clothing, and garments. You can also use this garment steamer to steam, sanitize, and remove wrinkles from your curtains, draperies, bed sheets, sofas and more.
The tilt-and-roll mechanism of this garment steamer lets you transport and move this device easily around your house. It has a well-insulated fabric hose that prevents it from heating up and accidentally burning you.
- Large steam head for wide coverage of steam
- Adjustable height for easy storage
- Tilt and toll device for hassle free transport
- Quick heating time
- Comes with built in hanger and garment clips
- Has a fabric brush, lint pad, and steam bonnet for delicates
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J-2000 Jiffy Garment Steamer
The J-2000 Jiffy Garment Steamer is a product meant for someone who wants the best clothes steamer no matter what it costs. It is a unit built to last with a solid brass heating element and your choice of either a plastic or metal steam head. It is the most expensive and heaviest of the clothes steamer we reviewed.
It has a removable ¾ gallon water reservoir which will give you 1 ½ hours of steaming time, the longest of any steamer we considered. That puts it into the light commercial category for usage. That larger capacity comes with a tradeoff since it means a longer heating time of two minutes.
The construction is more sophisticated which reflects its use for bigger jobs. It’s evident in the electrical components, extra certifications, and wiring to make it a better investment. It has 360-degree swivel casters to make getting around easier.
All of these features mean that you can use it for other tasks too such as bedding and wallpaper removal. This Jiffy Steamer isn’t about all the bells and whistles that you see with other models. It focuses on doing what it does well.
It stands 64 inches tall with a 5 ½ foot hose but no other accessories, unfortunately. The steamer is easy to move around with its compact profile that measures 15 inches high by 10 inches wide. It’s not the best looking product out there (think: mop bucket), but it’s well-made to last.
The J-2000 Jiffy Garment Steamer will handle heavy use with a well-designed product that is meant to last for the long haul without a lot of extras.
It doesn’t have a lot of extra features that you may find with less expensive models. You can place a hanger easily on the top, but the hose is a bit stiff for moving around something stationary.
- Compact design for an upright
- Extra long heating duration
- Well-designed construction
- Two-year manufacturer warranty
- Made in the United States
- Metal steam head doubles as an iron
- 1300 watt solid brass heating element (120 volt for North America use only…not for export)
- High-impact plastic outer housing for durability
- Quick two minute heat-up time.6 inches wide plastic steam head.Cord Plug: NEMA 5-15
Benefits of Using a Garment Steamer
No matter how great-looking your outfit is, they can instantly look sloppy whenever wrinkles and creases are present. This is the reason why we take extra effort in ironing our clothes to make them look more presentable.
A top garment steamer will ensure you clothes look good, while also making your life easy.
Removes Wrinkles Better
Steamers do a better job of removing wrinkles than irons. There, we said it.
A garment steamer—as it name suggests—uses steam to relax the fabric and remove any crease or wrinkle. The steam can penetrate deeper than an iron, which just uses conductive heat to remove wrinkles. While an iron can work great for easy, light wrinkles, a steam garment cleaner can work out even the deepest of wrinkles.
Better for Delicate Clothing
Delicate clothing like lace and chiffon which can be easily damaged or destroyed when ironed incorrectly.
Less Risk of Clothing Damage
Irons actually crush your fabric fibers while they press the wrinkles out. This shortens the lifespan of your clothing. Irons also need to be used very delicately, as the heat that comes into direct contact with the textile can burn and mark the clothing.
Steaming clothing doesn’t pose any of these risks, as you’re using water instead of direct heat.
Kills Bacteria and Allergens
Steamers kill bacteria that cause odor, which not only leaves your clothes cleaner, but it helps to remove some of that smell that can develop. We all sweat, and steaming (along with washing) helps to remove all of the odor-causing bacteria.
Steaming your clothes also expels the allergens that bring about dust-mites. Dust mites cause allergies and can eat away at your clothing, creating holes and looser fibers.
Finally, steam cleaning is environmentally safe and toxic free. All you are using is water! No chemicals to pollute or unnatural products to infect.
Don’t think that an iron is a space saver… you have to store the ironing board too! Many homes have an ironing board built into a wall, allowing it to fold down when needed and tucked away when not. Some homes and apartments don’t have that capability though.
Regardless of how easy your ironing board is to store, you still have to get it out to use it. And, an ironing board takes up a lot of space when set up. This might not be a problem for some, but for others in more cramped quarters, this is a big deal.
Steamers, even the larger canister options, save space, both in storage and in use.
Ironing takes awhile, as you have to set up the ironing board, wait for the iron to heat up, and then repeatedly work over wrinkles to get your outfit wrinkle-free.
Using a clothes steamer, though, is typically a lot quicker. You can leave your clothes hanging, and don’t have to deal with an ironing board. Most of the best clothing steamers hit up in a few minutes, and you can quickly pass over your clothing to get rid of wrinkles.
Not only is steaming your clothing faster, but its also easier. For most of us, working in and around an ironing board is difficult. Its such an odd shape, and it is difficult to work the shirt around so that all of it gets ironed.
Yes, there is a process to ironing that streamlines that, but lets face it – few of us know the process and very well, and rarely use it.
Steaming, on the other hand, is simple. You don’t even have to take the clothing off of it’s hanger. Just keep it hung and fire the steamer up.
You can use your garment steamer for a wide range of things, from steaming your clothes to removing wrinkles from your suit to pressing a tablecloth. One fun use that very few people know about – use your clothing steamer to clean your windows!
What to Look for When Buying a Clothing Steamer
Now that you’re convinced that having a clothing steamer is a great idea, lets walk through the key features you need to look for:
Usage and Types
There are a few different kinds of products that serve some purposes better than others. That’s what you’ll need to consider when homing in on the right one for you. The three basic types are handheld, upright, and travel.
The handheld models are lightweight and portable which is their overriding advantage over the others. They offer an excellent option if space and size are considerations too. On the downside, they won’t deliver the same power as an upright steamer which could be a deal breaker for heavier fabrics.
The portable travel steamers are scaled-back handheld models that you can tuck in your suitcase when on the go. They carry the same limitations as these products with water capacity and heating duration. However, if your hotel room doesn’t have an iron and ironing board, they’re a lifesaver if you want to look your best.
The standing clothes steamers, also known as upright steam irons make the job easier by allowing you to hang your garments on the unit for hands-free operation. And they do a good job at it too since they have a larger water capacity for more steaming time. However, they are more expensive than handhelds and will take up some room even while not using them.
Our reviews today focus on standing clothes steamers almost exclusively, as we have a different article dedicated to the best handheld steamers.
Water capacity is where you start to see some of the trade-offs between handheld and upright models. The advantage of using a clothes steamer is to remove wrinkles quickly and effectively. That becomes harder if you have to go and forth filling the tank which is the bane of the smaller units.
Standing clothes steamers will have a larger reservoir which contributes to their usefulness and improved efficiency. Some handheld products will have a removable tank which makes them easier to use. Remember, that water adds to the weight of the unit, so a larger water capacity comes at a price.
Many manufacturers provide this figure in milliliters, especially with handheld units. You can use this handy tool to convert it to fluid ounces to make the math easier when it comes to figuring out the weight.
Weight becomes more of a consideration with a handheld considering that standing clothes steamers will often have caster wheels to move them. Many units hover around the one pound range, especially with the cheaper plastic models. Look for the water capacity to take that into account, remembering that one gallon of water equals eight pounds.
Don’t be fooled by small differences in this figure, especially when you take water capacity into consideration. Even something less than two pounds is going to feel heavy after several minutes of steaming. You’ll find that manufacturers often market handheld steamers for travel use too which keeps the size and weight down.
Other features can offer you further information on how well a particular model will work for you. That’s where you can figure which one is the best clothes steamer. Look for things such as an automatic shut-off if it runs out of water and the amount of steaming time you can get with a full tank.
Some products may have an automated setting to turn it off if it gets overly hot. It is a nice feature if you’ll use it for drapes and curtains too. For upright units, look for accessories such as hangers and hooks available in Conair models to get the optimal use of these types of steamers.
The reach of the model based on its cord length and height if applicable is something you should investigate. For it to be practical for other uses, you have to be able to get around easily. Also, check whether it has a two or three-prong plug which can also affect its operation.
If you travel overseas, you’ll like need a converter with most units. It’ll simply get too hot to use if it was baked into the product’s features. Most handheld models are 110v only with a wattage of under 1000.
The line between travel and handheld units is blurred as long as the size is manageable. The true difference exists between them and upright steamers. That’s where we see a clear breakdown in price points.
That’s why we suggested considering how you’ll use your clothes steamer. It can make a bigger difference if you’re using it for draperies, especially heavier ones that will require more time and effort. It’ll also make features like water capacity and weight more important.
Heating Time and Duration
The specs for a clothes steamer include some other figures to note. You’ll find differences in heating time and the duration for continuous use. The former reflects both the design and the water capacity since a larger volume will take longer to heat, depending on the model.
The time can range anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute or more, depending on the type. Generally, travel and handheld units take the least amount of time around 60 seconds or so. The larger upright steamers will push that two-minute mark if they have a larger water capacity.
Since we’re talking a very short amount of time, it isn’t an overriding consideration. To use, the duration of the continuous steaming use is most important. Around 10 minutes is the norm for smaller models, with larger ones breaching the one-hour threshold.
That matters when thinking about how you’ll use it and what types of fabrics. A wool suit or heavy drapes will require more juice than a few blouses. You may find it helpful to keep both figures in mind to judge the overall performance of a product.
- Ease of Use: Perhaps the most important factor to consider is when buying a steamer is which one can be easy for you to use. A steamer that has a comfortable handle and not too heavy or light for you will be a great advantage.
- Multi-Purpose: When buying a steamer, you would want to look for a model that you can use for different types of fabrics, from the thickest of fabrics such as those used in suits to the thinnest and most delicate such as silk and wool. Having a multi-purpose steamer means you can steam other fabrics aside from your clothing.
- Effectiveness: A garment steamer that can quickly turn water into steam and has a sizeable water compartment is something that you should look for. You would want a garment steamer that can even out the wrinkles and creases at a smaller amount of time.
- Water Capacity: Pay attention to this figure, because the more often you have to run to the sink to fill up your water bin, the longer it will take you to steam clean. Remember that with every trip, the water has to re-heat!
- Long Reach: A garment steamer that has a long cord and handle is something that you should look for if you want to use it for steaming draperies. A short-handled garment steamer will leave you with aching arms if you use it to steam curtains and draperies.
Tips for Buying a Garment Steamer
You need to read the product descriptions carefully once you’ve decided to buy the best cloth steamer for your money. That’s where knowing how to use one will help you separate the true claims versus the ones that stretch the bounds a bit.
- Many manufacturers will boast that their models can handle all fabrics from heavy-duty draperies to polyester blends to delicate silk garments. On the surface, that’s true, but the essential thing is whether it’ll damage any materials. Our advice is to test out a new piece in an inconspicuous area to make the final call.
- Many models will have similar features at different price points. That’s where you want to pay attention to potential design flaws. You should choose a product that offers some kind of guarantee or warranty
- Make sure to read the fine print when it comes to these features. Check to see exactly what is covered and how shipping works. Some manufacturers will pick up the cost of returning it with other expecting you to pay for it.
- Some clothes steamers include some accessories. You might find attachments for specialty materials or storage bags for using them on the road. Upright units may have hangers or hooks.
You need to use common sense when using either an iron or a steamer because of the heat involved. However, the steamer has the added advantage of cooling off quicker, especially if you have one made of plastic.
The best steam cleaner for clothes fits your needs and budget with versatility an added perk in extra features or accessories. While not a replacement for an iron, using one can make your garments look great with just a few passes for lightweight fabrics.
That makes getting one for home and travel use a priceless investment at any price point.