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A clothes steamer is a great alternative to irons: they are simpler to use and often more effective, and great for steaming all sorts of different garments to get rid of creases. Steamers can be stationary and kept in your home at all times, or they can be portable and designed to come to hotels with you if you have a life on the road. This can be useful if you’re going somewhere you need to look smart. Steamers have other uses too, such as removing wallpaper and also steaming tablecloths and bedding. We’ve explored the best clothes steamer models in both of these categories in this buying guide.
To establish which products are the best we need to know which features are most useful. What makes a good steamer? Features such as portability, the capacity of the water tank, ease of use and controls and the length of time it can be used for all play a part in a quality steamer. Other features such as the size and weight are also important to many people, especially for portable options. Warranties are a big plus point on any electrical product, too.
Our research is presented as a simple table overview with product ratings, detailed reviews of individual recommended products and then a full buying guide to allow you to establish what makes a good quality steamer and which features you should prioritize.
The J-2000 model of steamer is impressive both for home use and even commercial applications as some dry cleaning businesses include steamers as part of their service.
The durability of this steamer is aided by the quality plastic housing it comes in, which means that the normal wear and tear and the added heat can all be adequately dealt with by the body of the product.
It is also designed with a ¾ gallon water reservoir, which is encased within the plastic base. This level of water allows up to 90 minutes of continuous steaming before you have to refill. A no-drip check valve is included as an extra safety feature.
This is among the easiest to use steamers available. It heats up in next to no time! One minute is enough for the heat to be flowing, and the steam is ready within two minutes of turning on. It is made easier to use with the swiveling wheels that mean you can roll this to wherever you want, and the hose, which is over 5 feet long and has a plastic head. The on/off switch is the only control you need to get to grips with.
The 1300 watts of power is relatively impressive and good enough for ‘light commercial use’ as well as doing the laundry at home. It isn’t the cheapest model, and it is quite large, but for durability and ease, the J-2000 steamer is hard to beat.
With a name like the Reliable Vivio 500GC, it is vital that this lives up to the billing and doesn’t let you down. Fortunately, if you are in the market for something with durability and even the ability to be used commercially, then the Vivio 500GC could be a decent option.
This is a very large product with an upright design reaching 70 inches high, it also has a large 128 oz capacity tank, meaning you can use it for two hours without having to worry about refilling. This is great for doing big loads of steaming at home or even in a commercial setting such as doing the sheets in a hotel or in a clothing store.
A high-quality brass heating element adds further to the reliability of this steamer. The hose itself is thicker and superior to a lot of the other clothes steamers out there. All of this excellent build-quality adds to the durability, which also means a three-year warranty which is included with this steamer.
The main safety feature you would expect, an automatic shut-off feature when it overheats or runs out of water will kick in to avoid any burn risks.
For added cleaning options there is an included steaming brush. This is detachable so you can opt to either use it or not, depending on the material.
The price is higher than many other steamers on the market, and though it is largely used in commercial settings, this can be a hard-wearing way of steaming laundry if you have a large family, and a great alternative to ironing.
Why are we impressed?
Excellent quality brass components
Reliable and commercial-grade build quality
Comes with removable brush and hanger
What negatives must you be aware of?
Metal design may be a little too heavy for some users
The PurSteam Elite Garment Steamer is a good option which isn’t overly expensive and offers a truly incredible warranty. This is quite a big and hefty steamer, so it doesn’t make sense to purchase if you need something portable, but if it is going to sit in the same place in your home, it can be a great option.
In spite of having a really large capacity (61 oz tank), it can heat up in less than a minute before providing a whole hour of steam. The heat can reach up to 248 degrees F, which is designed to go deep into the fibers and quickly get rid of wrinkles as well as killing germs.
The heating element itself is aluminum, which is heavier and more sturdy than some competitors. This is why the manufacturers are so happy to provide an incredible five-year warranty!
Accessories are also very good when purchasing this steamer. It comes with a hanger to simplify the process when steaming tops and jackets, this expands from 15 to 19 inches as needed. It has a steaming board, much like an ironing board. There is also a cease attachment and clips for awkward fabric and unusual shapes.
All-in-all, the PurSteam Elite Garment Steamer is good quality, but is let down a tiny bit by the wheels, which can make it tough to move around. It is also a little heavier than some competitors.
Why is it special?
Exceptional five-year warranty
Comes with lots of accessories
Heats in under a minute
What are the flaws?
Wheels are a little awkward to maneuver
A few users have reported needing to use distilled water to avoid limescale
This is a reliable upright steamer which has plenty of features for home use. Though it might fall a little short of ‘commercial grade,’ it has a lot of features that are great for the average home user at a price which isn’t too daunting.
As expected, the steam output is reliable and great for removing wrinkles from a variety of clothing and other materials. There is plenty of power on offer with the Pure Enrichment PureSteam XL Standing Steamer, which has 1500W of energy providing 45-second heating, so you don’t have to sit and wait.
This is one of the only clothes steamers with a removable water tank. This can make the process of refilling a lot simpler. Though this tank is only ½ gallon, whereas some steamers have double this, it can still provide a full hour of steaming on a single fill.
It has a garment hanger included for hanging your clothes ready for the verticle cleaning needed. It also has a brush attachment option which can be an excellent option on certain fabrics.
The price reflects the fact that this steamer is actually not the most durable. You may not get as many years service as you would if you are able to opt for something a little more pricey.
Many of the options on the market all look similar and perform quite similarly, too. The Greatic BK-668 Heavy Duty Powerful Steamer with Garment Hanger has some slightly different selling points.
It has a 360-degree swiveling hanger which comes with a steel stick which stretches to suit. Steam upwards from below and make your life much easier, while avoiding the need for ironing. This makes it easy to move around and to store as it can pack up to a compact size.
A 1.1-liter tank works well for up to 45 minutes, having only taken 45 seconds to get up to the right temperature and start producing steam. The steamer’s switch button also controls the volume of steam coming out of the nozzle. Not many steamers have an adjustable steam volume, so this is an excellent choice for those who are steaming a lot of different fabrics.
The safety features are great, as it will shut down to protect you when it starts to overheat or when the water is running low.
For home use, this has plenty of power and isn’t the most expensive steamer of its kind, making it a good option. It also has some brilliant consumer reviews.
What makes it stand out?
Adjustable steam level
Double safety shut-off
360-degree rotating hanger
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Runs best with distilled water as it can become clogged
The Kimryde Portable Steamer is a good quality, affordable travel steamer and a great alternative to a travel iron. The manufacturers have released upgraded models in recent years which are a big improvement in terms of features.
The steaming function can be controlled with some level of detail, as you can adjust to the appropriate temperature with its temperature control function. The Kimryde is also good for people in a hurry! It heats up within a minute and is ready to use for 10 minutes, perfect for getting your shirt or blouse ready in the morning.
The 150ml capacity is far from being huge, but it is fine for a portable model. It is versatile enough to be used with even delicate materials and fabrics. Of course, it has been manufactured to suit safety guidelines so you can rest assured of its safety when using on your travels. It has an automatic shut-off feature which will kick in when the water runs out or when the steamer overheats. There is also a heat resistant glove to protect your hands.
Because this model is designed to be portable, it has some great features to suit those who need to pack it in their luggage. It is small enough to do so, and can be used abroad with a transformer which converts voltage.
We understand that different people are looking to spend different amounts of cash on their steamer. This is understandable, and fortunately, a low budget doesn’t have to mean a bad steamer. Lemontec Portable Travel Garment Steamer could be the answer if you’re trying not to break the bank when buying a portable, handheld steamer for clothes.
In spite of the low price, the features are great.
It is compact. In fact, it is tiny, and can fit in pretty much any bag at just six inches long. It is lightweight, too, and the built-in cable means no need for extension cords.
It isn’t quite as reliable as the very elite, expensive products on the market, but this is to be expected considering the price point and the fact this is so much lower than others. That said, it can still do a good job of steaming most products at least in order to get rid of the creases.
It is vital that the steamer doesn’t run with low water or if it overheats, but the main safety feature included is the auto shut-off, which avoids this happening.
It isn’t suitable for long steaming sessions or doing the whole family’s laundry. The 180ml capacity is okay, but only allows nine minutes of steaming. This is more designed for a quick steam before a meeting or on an overnight trip somewhere.
What makes it special?
Small and portable
Quickly heats up, so it is ready to use in under 2 minutes
The Beautural steamer is a good quality portable/handheld steamer. It has a very different design to all of the other portable options we’ve included on the list, which helps with the unique selling point of this steamer. It has the ability to be used at all sorts of different angles, making it the best clothes steamer for use on furniture and upholstery too. It won’t leak however you use it.
Another huge plus point of this steamer is the fact that it comes with attachments including a lint brush to remove annoying bits of lint and debris, a creaser for deliberate folds and a fabric bush designed for cleaning dust.
For a small, portable option, this also has a lot of power. 1200 watts in such a small steamer means it heats up in just half a minute. It reaches a heat high enough for sanitization of furniture as well as clothing.
The safety feature of the Beautural is a little different to most: it will shut off when overheating, but also after 8 minutes of not using it.
A steam lock works like a trigger for releasing short bursts of steam or continuous steam, it is up to you.
What makes it special?
Heats up very quickly
15 minutes of use from a 260ml reservoir
Spill and leak-proof
What cons did we find?
Not as sturdy as some other products, more liable to cracks
Is it an iron? Is it a steamer? The truth is somewhere in between. This is a good quality portable 2-in-1, meaning you can use it vertically as a steamer or horizontally as an iron. There is no risk of burning as it has an auto shut-off and is designed never to get over 150 degrees.
The added benefit of a 2-in-1 is that you can iron clothes both dry and wet.
Other features include ‘pulse boost’ and ‘atomization’ which means that clothes don’t get overly wet during the process, and also the high temperature has a disinfectant impact.
This is only really suitable for portable use. It only works for 10 minutes at a time which means that you won’t be able to do a lot of steaming and ironing. It is fine if you plan to go out and use it in hotel rooms on the odd garment, but not for big batches of clothing. That being said, it is easy to hold and use.
Though the product is pretty highly reviewed in terms of its features as a top travel clothes steamer, it doesn’t have a very long warranty. Just six months of protection come with this steamer.
What makes it special?
Heats up in 40 seconds
Includes pulse boost and atomization functions
Versatile – can be used on dry and wet clothes
What cons did we find?
Only 10 minutes of use at a time
Short 6-month warranty
Things to Consider
Though clothes steamers are immensely useful, they are not exactly everyday purchases. If you have purchased one in the past, you may well have forgotten what makes a great steamer, the many reasons there are to buy one, or how to choose the best clothes steamer for you.
Though we are focusing on steamers for clothes in this article, there are other benefits to steamers, too, and we will explore some of these in our buying guide along with the features, pros, and cons of these products.
Advantages of having a high-quality clothes steamer
One of the huge advantages of buying clothes steamers is the fact that it is an alternative to ironing! Not only does this mean you don’t have to spend time doing this arduous task, but a good quality steamer can also actually be better than an iron. Steamers don’t make contact directly with the garment in question. The process is also faster and preferred by many to spending time at the ironing board. It can be less effective for tailors, who prefer to use steam presses and steam generating irons.
Steamers work by relaxing the fibers in clothes and allowing creases to ‘fall’ out of the clothes. The end result is a smooth garment. The only real disadvantage is that you can no longer iron deliberate creases in, though some options even have tools inbuilt to allow you to do so.
Features to consider when choosing a steamer for clothes
When looking at top-rated clothes steamers, which features should be considered? How do you know if a product is for you? Is the water tank important or should you just be looking at the temperature? We answer these questions and more in this section.
Type of steamer
By type, we basically mean upright or portable/handheld. If you plan to keep your steamer in one room in your home, for instance keeping it in your wardrobe, then an upright model is a good option. However, if you spend a lot of time on the road and are looking to keep your clothes in good condition in hotel rooms or when taken out of overnight bags, a portable steamer is probably your best bet.
Portable steamers don’t provide anywhere near as long a time period, usually due to the fact that they don’t have a large capacity for water (more on that below). Portable models work without the ‘wand’ section, and resemble an almost gun-like shape, letting you simply point at your clothes and get going.
If you are able to opt for an upright steamer, you will probably end up with a lot more features. Some let you adjust the steam level as well as being more likely to have multiple attachments and brushes.
Water tank capacity
If you read through our list of the top steamers on the market, you will notice how much the water tank capacity varies. Some only have a matter of 150 ml of capacity, whereas other models have huge one-gallon tanks. Naturally, upright steamers have a lot more space and therefore are more likely to have larger tanks, whereas a portable steamer will have a lot less space for water.
As you can imagine, the less water the steamer holds, the less time between refills.
Heat up time
Nobody wants to spend lots of time waiting for a steamer to get to the right temperature. Luckily, with modern technology, most steamers are able to get to a temperature suitable for heating in a matter of just a couple of minutes. In fact, 1-2 minutes is about the average length of time for the water to heat up and start producing steam. Some of the models on our list can do so in just 30 seconds.
If you’re in a hotel and you want to quickly steam your clothes in the morning, being able to turn on your steamer and have it ready in under a minute is a big advantage.
Continuous use time
The amount of time you can use the steamer depends on both the amount of water it is using to create steam (you will eventually need to refill the water) and also, in some cases, how hot the steamer is getting. Most clothes steamers have an auto shut-off in place which means they will stop working if they get too hot, this is a simple safety function.
The main thing which dictates the use time is the water tank, though some do use their water more efficiently than others. For an upright steamer, a product which is able to hold more water, around 60 minutes of run time is a very good feature.
If you are opting for handheld, you will probably only get 10-15 minutes of use between refilling.
Weight is important if you are going to move your steamer around a lot. If it is going to be stationary in your home, then this is not the biggest concern, but if you are taking your steamer out on your travels with you, then it is really important that it doesn’t take up a huge amount of your luggage allowance.
Dimensions are even more important for handheld options. The best portable clothes steamers are great for putting in a backpack of your luggage to use when you are on your travels. If you have something big and bulky, that means less space for the rest of your luggage.
Steam hose length
The hose will usually sit separately from the main unit. This is true of upright steamers. The hose length will dictate how far it can reach. If you want to hang an item on a door, for instance, before steaming it, you will need something with a relatively long hose length. Many of the steamers on this list come with a hanger which allows you to position the garment somewhere appropriate before steaming.
All of the steamers on our list have a power cord, and the length isn’t usually an issue for the majority of steamers. As long as the power cord is long enough to reach the area where you plan to have the steamer, then this is not too much of an issue.
For portable steamers, a long cord means that even if you can’t get to a power supply that is in the perfect position, you can still use your steamer.
The warranties on the steamers we have come across vary a huge amount. When buying any electrical product, it is always advisable to look for the longest warranty possible. While some of the steamers on the market only have 6-12 months of warranty, there are products with five-year warranties, including our budget pick, the Lemontec Portable Travel Garment Steamer.
A longer warranty shows that the manufacturers have faith in the abilities of their product to last a long time.
Following a few simple tips can help you to get the most out of your clothes steamer.
Fill your steamer with distilled water, or alternatively filtered water. This will mean there is a lot less chance of any limescale build-ups which can cause a malfunctioning steamer.
Be careful not to tip your steamer in a direction where it may leak. Not all steamers are leak-proof, so you may have to point them in a certain direction.
Consider what materials you will be steaming. This will help you to decide how long to steam and also which attachments to use. A longer time period and a brush will suit thicker fabrics and materials.
You can use your steamer for things other than clothes! There are some hacks out there describing how you can use a clothes steamer to disinfect other materials, clean things like curtains and cushions and even strip wallpaper from the walls. Just be careful, and remember that the water coming out as steam will be very hot.
The majority of fabrics are absolutely fine to be steamed, but not all. If you have any coating on your material that may melt (wax jackets, for instance), then this can cause issues. If you are steaming very delicate materials such as lace or silk, then you should take extra care.
Yes! The same rules apply, as long as the material of the furniture and upholstery is not going to be damaged by heat then this is absolutely fine, a steamer can be a good way to disinfect and kill bacteria that can build up in your furniture. Removable covers are the easiest way you can steam upholstery.
This depends completely on the model of steamer. Most upright steamers are not designed with any capability to be used horizontally. Some handheld models are leak-proof and therefore suitable for use horizontally. You can even use these on an ironing board. The Easehold Steam Iron Garment Steamer is a 2-in-1 model which can be used on a board.
There are a lot of models on our list, from small clothes steamers to bigger, industrial units. So, which are our favorites?
The J-2000 Jiffy Garment Steamer is our top-rated steamer. It combines excellent build quality and components with simple use and up to 80 minutes of run time. It also has a 3-year warranty. We’ve rated this a full 10/10 due to its versatility.
Our top commercial-grade model is the Reliable Vivio 500GC Garment Steamer, with a rating of 9.8 due to the fact that it has an incredible use time of up to 2 hours. It also has some great safety features and comes with a garment hanger.
Another option for the best clothes steamer is the PurSteam Elite Garment Steamer – this is incredibly well made with a brilliant five-year warranty, so you have peace of mind when purchasing.
The incredible amount of options can be confusing, but following our steamer buying guide can help you to ensure you end up with the best product for you.