Buying Guide for Clothing Steamers
Why buy a clothing steamer?
Clothes steamers use hot steam to relax clothing fibers, smoothing out wrinkles. They’re just as effective as irons on most clothing items and even more so on some hard-to-iron garments such as suit jackets. They’re also more space-efficient, especially handheld models, and they require less time and effort on your part, don’t pollute the air, can kill odor-causing bacteria, and remove allergens that attract dust mites. They aren’t limited to just clothing, either. Drapes, pillowcases, sheets, carpets, and even mattresses are all fair game for a clothes steamer.
What should you look for in a clothing steamer?
- Handheld vs. Full-Sized: Clothes steamers come in both portable, handheld models and in full-sized, almost vacuum-like styles. People who travel a lot may find a lightweight, handheld clothing steamer a worthwhile investment since you can’t exactly pack an iron and board in your luggage, but clothes still often wind up wrinkled during transit. Anyone who plans to use their streamer only at home may prefer a full-sized version since they have bigger tanks, and many come with a convenient built-in clothing hanger. Note that both types must be plugged into an outlet to function.
- Features: There are several different features that you can look for in a clothes steamer to make it more convenient or useful to you. As mentioned, a built-in hanger on a full-sized model can be quite handy since you never have to worry about finding a spot to hang your garments while using the device. Some have collapsible handles or bigger water tanks and longer cords than others. Some come with extra attachments that allow you to steam creases or remove lint. Others will have more heat or steam settings, heat up more quickly, or offer more stability or safety features to reduce the risk of hot water spills. Compactness and portability will likely be important factors for anyone who plans to use their steamer during traveling. And you may want a lower or higher wattage depending on how energy-efficient you’re trying to be.
- Price: You may find it handy to have a budget in mind before you go shopping for a clothes steamer. Full-sized models will generally be more expensive than handheld ones, but even those more portable models can be costly. Generally, the more features and accessories a steamer has, the pricier it will run. Try to balance price and functionality when looking for a steamer.
How should you clean a clothing steamer?
Cleaning and decalcifying your steamer is necessary because the minerals in the water can build up and clog its internal parts, making it much less effective. To do this, first, disconnect the unit and let it cool down. Then empty the tank of water and fill it with distilled white vinegar. For best results, let the vinegar sit for a half-hour and up to two hours to dissolve any limescale or mineral matter deposits. When that time is up, plug in the steamer and set the temperature to its maximum heat level. Hold the steamer over a sink and empty the tank by releasing the steam. When the vinegar is gone, fill the tank with distilled water and let it heat fully. Then expel all of the water into the sink to rinse it out. If you’re finished using your steamer, allow all unit parts to dry before storing it.
Our Picks for the Best Clothing Steamers
Hilife Steamer for Clothes
This portable, handheld steamer comes with a long extension cord, deep tank, and powerful wattage.
Pros: This handheld clothes steamer is perfect for travel and home use. The water tank has a capacity of 240 milliliters (just over 8 fluid ounces), enough for 15 straight minutes of steaming. The 700-watt device produces a strong jet of steam for powerful wrinkle-busting capabilities. It’s also lightweight for easy packing and portability on trips. The easy-grip handle makes it easy to operate, and the 9-foot power cord allows you to plug in and operate, even when outlets are scarce. For safety purposes, do not fill the steamer above the max water line, and do not tilt it upside down or past a 45-degree angle during steaming.
Cons: There is no steam-controlling trigger on this unit, so the steam is emitted continuously when the power is on.
Bottom Line: Consider this steamer if you are looking for a handheld model that can go where you go. Besides the clothes steamer itself, you’ll receive a cup, brush, power cable, and instruction user manual with your purchase.
BEAUTURAL Steamer for Clothes
This leakproof and fast-heating clothes steamer comes with three extra attachments for bonus functions.
Pros: This handy, handheld garment steamer with three interchangeable attachments allows you to use the device for additional bonus functions. It runs on 1,200 watts of power, operates on constant pump steam technology, and takes a mere 30 seconds to heat up for a powerful steam output that smoothes out your clothes faster. The water tank holds under 9 fluid ounces for 15 straight minutes of uninterrupted steaming. The tank is also detachable for easier filling, and the device is designed to be leakproof, steaming with equal effectiveness held vertically or horizontally. The three extra attachments include a brush to remove lint from garments, a soft brush to get rid of dust, and a creaser to steam out areas not normally accessible with a steamer, such as pleats and folds.
Cons: Some may find this steamer a bit heavy for travel.
Bottom Line: This steamer is a great choice if you want maximum versatility. You can steam safely on all fabrics, from cotton to wool to nylon to silk, and on clothes, curtains, and furniture.
Polardo Clothes Steamer
This light and compact, travel-friendly handheld clothes steamer is equally effective as a full-sized model.
Pros: This lightweight, portable steamer weighs slightly over a pound, and despite its small size, it’s every bit as effective as a full-sized steamer. You can pack it in your backpack, suitcase, or its complimentary travel bag. The stainless-steel head is tough and reliable, and the entire device remains cool to the touch and automatically shuts off to avoid overheating. It heats up in under 30 seconds and runs for 10 minutes straight without interruption. This steamer is designed to operate at a full 360 degrees and continually and evenly steam regardless of the angle, even upside down, without spitting or leaking water. It works well on most fabrics, such as wool, satin, linen, and more. The included bonus brush is gentle on delicate silk, lace, sequins, and embroidery.
Cons: Although this steamer is effective for many fabrics, steaming heavier materials such as thick cottons may require more work.
Bottom Line: If you’re someone who often travels, this super lightweight, compact, and easy-to-fill handheld model may be the perfect choice for your lifestyle.
Pure Enrichment PureSteam XL Standing Steamer with Garment Hanger
This standing steamer heats in 45 seconds and features a fabric brush and hanger for convenient, professional-quality garment care.
Pros: This full-size steamer is powerful enough to de-wrinkle clothing, sanitize fabrics, and even treat upholstery to remove bed bugs and dust mites. A removable, easy-fill half-gallon water tank heats in 45 seconds for up to an hour of continuous steam. The 1500-watt motor provides superior steam output for a wide range of fabrics. The unit includes a fabric brush and a garment hanger to make the most of your time in the laundry room.
Cons: Standing at 5 feet, 5 inches tall, taller users may find the device to be a bit short.
Bottom Line: This is a great choice if you’re looking for a full-sized unit to handle all your steaming and sanitizing needs.
Conair Turbo Handheld Garment Steamer
This handheld steamer features a three-in-one brush attachment, a built-in creaser, and five heat settings for customizable streaming.
Pros: With the Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam Handheld Fabric Steamer, you can get the look of a freshly-pressed garment in seconds. This steamer has a 40-second heating time, so it’s ready to use when needed. The 7.3-ounce water tank provides up to 15 minutes of continuous steam. The high-performing aluminum steamer plate blasts wrinkles on garments, upholstery, curtains, and other textiles. A built-in creaser allows you to create crisp folds in clothing as if they were just taken from the dry cleaners. The three-in-one attachment includes a silicone band that smoothes the fabric, a delicate spacer that protects trims and fine fabrics, and a bristle brush that ensures that the steam penetrates fibers for an optimal press on heavy fabrics.
Cons: Some may find this handheld steamer to be a bit heavy, so it may not be ideal for travel. However, the brand offers a travel steamer for those looking for a smaller model.
Bottom Line: This steamer boasts the trusted Conair name and an abundance of convenient features that help ensure smooth, wrinkle-free, and sanitized garments. This handheld model is available with a plum or white/champagne-colored trim.
Keeping a closet full of clothes looking their best can often seem daunting, but the best clothing steamers are tools that can help you accomplish this task quickly and easily without spending all your time ironing. Whether you’re looking for a full-sized steamer or a handheld model that’s convenient for travel, one of our picks can add comfort, convenience, and good results to your garment care routine.