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The Best Travel Steamers

Y.P.photo/Shutterstock.com
🕚 Updated April 2022

Sometimes faster than a traditional iron, a steamer can get into folds, nooks, and crannies. Plus many of them are compact and travel-friendly. If you're ready to upgrade your clothing care routine, these are the best travel steamers you need.

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  Top Choice Premium Choice Most Powerful Choice Most Compact Eco-Friendly Alternative
 
  iSteam
Steamer for Clothes
Kexi
Handheld Steamer for Clothes
Rowenta
DR8120 X-Cel Handheld Garment and Fabric Steamer
CHI
Steam Handheld Garment Steamer for Clothes
InstaSteam
Starter Kit Clothes Steamer
 
Our SummaryA steamer that won't drop hot water even when used upside down.A compact design that easily slips into your luggage.A steamer that can stand up to whatever you throw its way.A truly sleek steamer that can fit practically anywhere.For when you can't bring a steamer or an iron with you.
Pros360-degree protection from hot water spills, heats up in 25 seconds, 10 minutes of continuous use, 120 ml water tank.Folding handle design, seven-foot cord, heats in 40 seconds, 12 minutes of continuous use, 140 ml water tank.Disinfects germs, two steam settings, 6.4-ounce tank, 10 minutes of continuous use.Compact design, heats up in 35 seconds, 1.1-pound lightweight design.Perfect for cruise ships, comes with a garment bag, all you need is water.
ConsExternal casing may get too hot during use.Expensive, fine mist steam may not work for heavier fabrics.Larger than most travel steamers.Tiny five-ounce reservoir may require frequent refills.May not be effective on heavier fabrics, only three pods included.
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The Best Travel Steamers

portable electric garment steamer and pile of folded towels on ironing board.
Y.P.photo/Shutterstock.com

Buying Guide for Travel Steamers

Landscape photo of steamer on white background.
Elisabeth Niken/Shutterstock.com

Why buy a travel steamer?

If you’ve never traveled before, it might seem like a silly thing to get a travel steamer. But, depending on where you’ll be staying when you’re away from home, an iron might not be available. So, having a portable option with you means that you’ll never have to suffer through wearing wrinkly clothes at your destination.

What should you look for in a travel steamer?

  • Settings: This feature may vary depending on the type of steamer you select. However, some steamers allow you to adjust the steam flow or temperature, while others may only have an on-off button.
  • Capacity: By default, travel steamers tend to be small so that they can easily fit into your luggage. However, you’ll want to pay attention to the water reservoir capacity. If it’s too small, you may find that you need to frequently refill it during a single use to completely steam an outfit.
  • Voltage Compatibility: If you’re only traveling domestically, this won’t be an issue. But if you’re traveling abroad, you’ll want to look for a steamer that supports dual voltage. This ensures that you won’t damage the heating mechanism when you plug your steamer into an outlet when you’re out of the country.
  • Design: Steamers come in a variety of formats. Even for travel steamers, you’re most likely to see a few common configurations. Some look like electric kettles with a nozzle, a compact iron design, or a wand design. There’s no right or wrong option, it’s a matter of which you find easiest to manage and that fits comfortably in your luggage.

What are some tips for prepping water for your travel steamer?

Most travel steamers won’t have this issue; however, once upon a time, steamers required specialized water solutions before you could use them. But when you’re traveling, this is something you want to avoid, so look for models where you can easily use tap water rather than searching for distilled water or water that must have salt added.

Our Picks for the Best Travel Steamers

Top Choice

iSteam Steamer for Clothes

A steamer that won't drop hot water even when used upside down.

Pros: Anyone who’s ever used a steamer knows that if you don’t pay attention to how you’re holding one while using it, you can easily burn yourself when hot water starts dripping out of the nozzle. The iSteamer Steamer is designed to prevent that from happening, even if you use it upside down, thanks to a 360-degree technology. It features a large 120-milliliter reservoir and even comes with a brush. The water heats up in 25 seconds, and you’ll get 10 minutes of continuous steam on a full tank.

Cons: While effective at preventing spills and removing wrinkles, the heating mechanism gets so hot that you feel that heat through the plastic casing when you’re holding it.

Bottom Line: If fears of boiling water burning you have kept you away from using a steamer, this iSteamer model is a great alternative.

 

Premium Choice

Kexi Handheld Portable Travel Steamer

A compact design that easily slips into your luggage.

Pros: Sometimes steamers have a reputation for being clunky and oversized, but you’ll like the Kexi portable steamer that features a folding handle. Along with a compact design, you’ll get multiple steam settings, including a dry iron option. And there’s a 140-milliliter reservoir that’s with a double airtight design to prevent leaks and drips. This mini steamer heats up in 40 seconds and offers 12 minutes of continuous use on a full tank.

Cons: Although this pick is compact and does heat up fairly quickly, the steam created is more of a fine vapor, meaning that on thicker fabrics, it may not be strong enough to effectively remove wrinkles. Also note that this is one of the more expensive options.

Bottom Line: If compact is your primary goal, then this folding steamer with a larger capacity and seven-foot cord is a great investment.

 

Most Powerful Choice

Rowenta DR8120 X-Cel Garment and Fabric Steamer

A steamer that can stand up to whatever you throw its way.

Pros: In the world of garment care, Rowenta is a trusted name that makes a wide variety of irons and steamers, including travel steamers. This model offers two steam settings and has a stainless-steel heated soleplate for added durability. It’s ready to steam in 40 seconds with a 6.76-ounce tank that provides up to 10 minutes of continuous use. Better still, this can also be used to kill 99.9% of germs, dust mites, and bacteria.

Cons: Rowenta is effective, but this is a larger steamer. If you’re looking for a truly compact solution, this might be oversized, especially if you’re trying to fit everything in a smaller carry-on bag.

Bottom Line: For those that prefer reliability, the Rowenta steamer is designed to pull double duty and consistently produce results.

 

Most Compact

CHI Steam Handheld Garment Steamer for Clothes

A truly sleek steamer that can fit practically anywhere.

Pros: CHI is a brand that’s usually known for hot hair tools, but it makes sense that they would understand a thing or two about steam technology. If you want a truly sleek solution to keep your clothes wrinkle-free, their Handheld Garment Steamer is designed to do just that. It heats up in just 35 seconds and provides five minutes of continuous steam. You can use it with the wand in any orientation, and it even comes with a travel bag.

Cons: Sometimes compact comes at a cost. And for this steamer, what you save in size, you sacrifice in usage per full reservoir with only a five-ounce capacity.

Bottom Line: For those traveling light, this sleek clothing steamer is a great option and heats up quickly.

 

Eco-Friendly Alternative

InstaSteamer Starter Kit Clothes Steamer

For when you can't bring a steamer or an iron with you.

Pros: If you’ve ever taken a cruise, you know that there are no irons made available in the rooms and steamers are prohibited because of fire hazard concerns. So, what’s a person to do if they want to remove wrinkles? You could send your clothing out to housekeeping to have it pressed. Or, you could get the InstaSteam Starter Kit which relies on self-contained pods, water, and a garment bag. It works anywhere and provides consistent results.

Cons: Although this is effective on lighter fabrics, it may not work effectively to remove wrinkles on heavier garments. Also note that this kit only comes with three pods.

Bottom Line: If you are always on the go and love more earth-friendly options, this starter kit clothes steamer may be just what you are looking for.

Final Thoughts

Wrinkles are a part of life, especially if you’re traveling—but you don’t have to look like you slept in your clothes. A good travel steamer won’t take up much space in your luggage, but will help you make a good first impression no matter where your travels take you.

Dorian Smith-Garcia Dorian Smith-Garcia
Dorian Smith-Garcia is a diverse writer across beauty, fashion, travel, parenting, consumer goods, and tech. You can also find her work on Inverse, Healthline Parenthood, MindBodyGreen, The Confused Millennial, XONecole, Glowsly, and The Drive. Read Full Bio »
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