Best clothes steamers – refresh your wardrobe the quick and easy way

A cloth steamer is a great addition (or substitute!) To a traditional steam iron for quick removal of wrinkles and fresh clothing. It works wonderfully on clothes made of soft or delicate materials, such as flowing skirts and silky blouses, and on suit jackets, sequined tops, and other difficult-to-press items. Because they are so portable, garment steamers are traveling right: they take up very little space in your luggage and you can fix clothing on the hanger. They are also easy to use around the house to make bed skirts, draperies and window treatments, pillow shams, and more.

The Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab tests all garment steamers for efficiency, warm-up time, and ease of use. Our experts begin by assessing how balanced and comfortable each steamer is, the ability and ease of vision in the water tank, and how easy it is to fill and empty. We time how quickly the appliance heats up, how long it lasts, and how many grams of steam it pumps per minute. Then, we take it in samples and fabrics of linen, silk, cotton, wool, and synthetic fabrics that we have endured overnight and are full of wrinkles. We take the amount of time it takes to itemize each item, and then score each fabric for smoothing using an industry-standard protocol borrowed from our GH Textiles Lab. We note any spitting or sputtering and test any attachments included with the steamer.

These are the best garment steamers, according to our tests:

Best Overall Garment Steamer: Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam Handheld Fabric Steamer
Best Value Garment Steamer: Conair CompleteSteam Fabric Steamer
Easiest to Use Garment Steamer: Reliable Dash 100GH Portable Garment Steamer
Best Upright Garment Steamer: Jiffy Steamer Personal Clothing Steamer
Best Household Fabric Steamer: Black + Decker Advanced Handheld Garment Steamer
Best Travel Garment Steamer: Conair CompleteSteam Handheld Fabric Steamer
Best Garment Steamer and Iron Combination: Rowenta IXEO All-in-One Iron + Steamer
Best Large Garment Steamer: Sunbeam Power Steam Fabric Steamer
Best-Selling Garment Steamer on Amazon: Hilife Handheld Garment Steamer
Best Compact Garment Steamer: Jiffy Steamer Esteam Handheld Steamer

How it Works

Have you ever heard (or perhaps even tried this trick yourself) that if your clothes get wrinkled during a trip, you can smooth them by hanging them in the bathroom while taking a hot bath? Using a cloth steamer is like a high-powered, more effective version of that trick.

The only thing necessary to use the steamer is some water – just fill the tank with water, secure everything in place, plug the steamer in and allow it to heat up. Once heated, you simply place the steamer downward onto the garment (note: make sure it hangs) that you are trying to de-wrinkle, press the trigger to release the steam, And the steam will release wrinkles according to the Vikhove. When you do this, your clothes will feel a little wet, so allow them to dry before putting them on.

Are steamers better than irons?

For some – but not all – de-wrinkling jobs, a steamer is a better option than a steamer iron. Garment steamers eject softbills of steam that pass through the fabric and delicate fibers to allow wrinkles to come out as you slowly tug on the bottom of a shirt or blouse. On the other hand, use a smooth and flat cloth to use iron, heat, steam, and pressure and remove wrinkles as you press against the board. Steamers are better for use on items adorned with sequins and beads and fabric tailored like a jacket, which is difficult to lay flat on an ironing board. Finally, use a steamer on any item where you do not want a pressed look or sharp creases, such as a knit sweater or clothes.

Best clothing steamers

Turbo ExtremeSteam Handheld Fabric Steamer 

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Conair Turbo Extreme Steam Hand Held Fabric Steamer;

This Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam Handheld Garment Steamer is our good housekeeping seal for a reason. This is one of the best wrinkle removers we have tested. Unlike others, it has two steam slots, a ceramic faceplate for a smooth glide, and five steam settings – from delicate to turbo – to fit any fabric need. Once it starts pumping, the steam is continuously released, so there are no extra buttons to press.

Conair includes a three-in-one attachment to lift the fibers, protect the delicates, and pull the fabric stem with a built-in creaser for better results to help achieve faster movement. We were particularly impressed with how it worked on heavy cotton pants and, with a nine-foot cord, is the freedom to walk through the outlet.

CompleteSteam Fabric Steamer

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Conair Complete Steam Hand Held Fabric Steamer;

The Conair CompleteStem Fabric Steamer is simple in design with just the on/off button and ready light but it does the job and does it well. In our tests, it needed just over a minute to heat up and we got a solid 10 minutes of continuous steam taking. This model is light and compact (only 9.5 inches long), so it is easy to store and toot anywhere around the house. To fill, simply remove the nozzle. Also, its low price makes it perfect for those who want a no-frills model or are new to steaming – a.k.a. Your 19-year old who just went to college.

Dash 100GH Portable Garment Steamer

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Reliable Dash 100GH Hand-Held Garment Steamer Stainless Steel Soleplate Steam Pump;

The benign steam output at the Reliable Dash 100GH is perfect for smoothing clothes that can melt and scorch high heat and pressure and even comes with extra delicate fabric, upholstery, and lint removal attachments. We found it lightweight, easy to grip, and easy to maneuver and used less heavily than other models, all helping to earn the top spot for ease of use among all models we tested. We like that it lets you choose between manually pumping steam as you need it or locking the mechanism for continuous steam performance.

Personal Clothing Steamer

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J-2000 Jiffy Garment Steamer with Plastic Steam Head, 120 Volt;

Go to any magazine fashion closet or any fashion photoshoot and it is safe to say that you will see this classic, proven Jiffy steamer with hard work. There are no fancy bells, whistles, or attachments here: what you get is 90 minutes of gentle, continuous steam from its 3/4 gallon water tank. It closes automatically for safety and is on swivel cast for easy movement, this Jiffy steamer is backed by a three-year warranty. We have used it many times in the Good Housekeeping Cleaning Lab and have always considered it the gold standard of upright garment steamers.

Advanced Handheld Garment Steamer

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BLACK+DECKER Advanced Handheld Garment / Fabric Steamer with 3 Attachments, Gray/Blue, HGS200;

You can steam more than just clothes with the Black + Decker Advanced Garment Steamer. The extra-long cord (15 feet!) Makes it easy to reach high spaces such as curtains and bed skirts that may be far from an outlet. It has a removable, easy-to-fill water tank and it closes automatically after 15 minutes, so if you are interrupted mid-job, safety will not be a concern. Like others, this model comes with upholstery, delicate fabrics, and attachments designed for lint removal and we found the ability to lock it in continuous-steam specifically for larger tasks such as draperies, mattresses, and furniture.

CompleteSteam Handheld Fabric Steamer

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Conair Complete Steam Handheld Fabric Steamer;

Thanks to its slim design, the compact GH seal-holding Conair handheld steamer is an ideal travel companion. At 650 watts, it’s not quite as big as the larger models, but it still produces all the steam you’ll need to effectively smooth wrinkled fabric straight out of a suitcase. You must press a trigger to disperse the steam.

It also comes with a detachable cloth brush that can help remove lint, pet hair, fuzz, and more as well as a removable water repository for easy filling in your hotel bathroom sink, and a trip / Storage pouch. In our tests, it heats up in just 20 seconds for fast wrinkles on the go.

IXEO All-in-One Iron and Steamer

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Rowenta QR1010 IXEO All in One Iron and Steamer Solution with Three Position SmartBoard, White;

If you can’t decide if you need a garment steamer or an iron, the Rowenta IXEO is for you. Its large one-liter water tank sits on a base and is connected to a mini combination of iron and steamer. To use it as a vertical steamer, simply hang your garment from the loop at the top of the board. Need to press out a crease? Flip the padded, rectangular board horizontally and iron away. For storage, it compacts down and the entire unit is on wheels.

We love the idea of this all-in-one system so much that it’s front and center in our GH Cleaning Lab. The board can be raised, lowered, or angled for any user and the water tank is removable for steaming solo. We find it’s steaming and ironing performance very impressive and the convenience unmatched.

Power Steam Fabric Steamer

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Sunbeam Handheld Garment Travel Steam Press for Clothes, Bedding, Fabric, Odor removing, Dust mites;

If you often stream multiple pieces or batches of clothing at a time, the Sunbeam Power Steam Fabric Steamer can help expedite that process and eliminate extra trips to the faucet for refills. It has a large water tank that’ll keep pumping longer than other models. It features a heated bar above the steam slot to nab any stubborn wrinkles without missing a beat as you move up it and down the fabric. With the usual brush and lint accessories, the Sunbeam also includes a steam guard to protect hands, a creaser, and an over-the-door pressing pad. In our tests, it heats up quickly and had an impressive steam output.

Handheld Garment Steamer

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Hilife Steamer for Clothes Steamer, Handheld Garment Steamer Clothing;

With over 5,000 5-star Amazon reviews, it’s safe to say that the Hilife Garment Steamer is a consumer favorite. Simply remove the nozzle to fill the steamer at your tap, plug it in, and turn it on. Just like a tea kettle, the water inside comes to a boil and pumps steam out through the vent holes. We like the large see-through water tank and long cord and that a model this basic comes with a fabric brush and water refill cup. There weren’t many negative reviews and we haven’t tested this model, but a few users complained it was leaky.

Esteam Handheld Steamer

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ESTEAM Personal Hand Held Steamer, 120 Volt;

The slim shape of this classic Jiffy Steamer Esteam Handheld Steamer makes it easy to tuck into even the smallest drawers. In our tests, it produced a good amount of continuous steam from its large water tank, yet it is lighter than other brands with similar capacities. You won’t find accessories, but even with such a small size, it has a 9-foot power cord. P.S. the model also comes in pink if you prefer a pop of color.

When You Might Still Need an Iron

Steaming can’t get your clothes as crisp as an iron according to SF Gate, so if you have items that you prefer pressed or with creases, you’ll need to keep your iron around.

Tips & Tricks for Successful Steaming

Ideal fabrics for steaming? Wool, wool blends, synthetic wool-like fabrics, cashmere, silk, silk blends, and other delicates.
Fabrics to avoid: suede, waxed jackets, and anything plastic—it might melt.
Steam any sort of lining first, and always steam items from top to bottom.
Don’t attempt to steam anything while you’re wearing it.

How to buy the best clothing steamer for you

There are two types of clothing steamer to choose from:

Handheld clothing steamer These pack away no bigger than a shoebox and are great for travel, taking to work or if you work in the fashion industry – stylists love them. But the price of portability is a small water tank that needs refilling if you want to blitz a whole pile of clothing. And you’ll need to hang your garments somewhere: a doorway is good.

Vertical clothing steamer These clothes horse style clothing steamers include a clothes hanger on a telescopic pole. They typically pack down to the size of a small, cylinder vacuum cleaner. They’re much bulkier to store but steam is a bit more powerful and a large water tank means you can keep steaming for much longer.

Bear in mind that many steam irons offer vertical steam too. So if it’s just for occasional use, you could use an iron that does both instead. If you want to steam lots though, clothing steamers feel much nicer than holding a heavy iron aloft.

How much should I spend on a clothing steamer?

Handheld steamers start at £50. They will do the job just fine. Budget at least £100 for a vertical steamer with a clothes hanger and a much larger water tank.

What else should I look for in a clothing steamer?

Steam Measured in g/min, the larger the number, the more powerful the steam (removes creases quicker); a few steamers let you adjust the level for different fabric types.


Do handheld steamers really work?

Steamers are much faster than irons. Handheld garment steamers beat irons in terms of convenience because they are lightweight and require little space. … An iron isn’t going to work well on a sweater or to bring clothing to life and get out odors. You’ll need a steamer to clean delicate clothes.

Is steaming better than ironing?

Steaming is an effective way to get wrinkles out of almost any fabric, it requires less space to use a steamer (especially if you use a handheld steamer) and it takes less time and effort than ironing does. Plus, there are plenty of other benefits—even health related! —to steaming that you can’t get from using an iron.

What is the best portable clothes steamer?

Here are the best clothes steamers:

  • Best clothes steamer overall: PurSteam Elite Garment Steamer.
  • Best budget steamer: URPOWER Garment Steamer.
  • Best handheld steamer: Rowenta X-Cel Steam Handheld Steamer.
  • Best steamer for travel: Conair Travel Smart Garment Steamer.
  • Best heavy-duty steamer: J-2000 Jiffy Garment Steamer.

What is the best travel iron?

Top 5 Travel Irons Review 2020

  • Steamfast SF-717. Editor’s Choice. Editor’s Choice. …
  • Sunbeam GCSBTR-100. Budget Pick. Budget Pick. …
  • SMAGREHO Travel Steam Dry Iron. Most Functional. Most Functional. …
  • Ivation No-Drip Mini Steam Iron. Mini Compact Design. Mini Compact Design. …
  • PurSteam Travel Steam Iron.

Do Steamers get wrinkles out?

A steamer takes the wrinkles out of a cloth without making contact with the fabric. A garment steamer uses hot steam to relax the fibers in clothing. … Steamers are also effective in smoothing out sleeves, pleats and ruffles in garments.

Are floor steamers worth it?

In theory, mops that produce more steam should be better and quicker at cleaning, but aren’t always. … (Ideally, you should get at least 15 minutes worth of steam.) We also timed how long each unit took to heat up (less than a minute in almost every case) and how much water the reservoir can hold.

What fabrics should not be steamed?

Fabrics that can be steamed include most cottons, silks, wools, and polyesters. However, some fabrics should not be steamed. These fabrics include waxed jackets, suede, or materials that may melt, such as plastic.

Does steam really sanitize?

Steam cleaning kills 99.9 percent of bacteria, germs and dust mites. This includes E. coli, Staph bacteria, Salmonella and other micro-organisms, surface molds, bacteria, viruses and other dirty things lurking around the house. Water has to be heated to 175 degrees for it to effectively sanitize.

Can shower steam Unwrinkle clothes?

Shower Out Wrinkles
Multitask and steam out the wrinkles in your clothing while you take a shower. Put the garment on a hanger, and hang it in the back of your shower. … Then leave the water on for approximately 10 minutes, and when you come back, the outfit will be ready to wear.

Does steam cleaner kill bacteria?

Steam cleaning kills 99.9 percent of bacteria, germs and dust mites. This includes E. coli, Staph bacteria, Salmonella and other micro-organisms, surface molds, bacteria, viruses and other dirty things lurking around the house. Water has to be heated to 175 degrees for it to effectively sanitize.

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