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Last Updated on May 18, 2020
Hissssss… that’s the sound of wrinkles being eased out of your clothes and curtains. Ahhh… as you smell the freshness you’ve restored.
Professional level results don’t need to come at pro prices. Our reviews run the whole range, from budget models to premium, and from tiny travel steamers to full-sized commercial-grade beasts.
Ding dong! It’s the delivery man. Your new garment steamer has just arrived. Clang! That’s the sound of you throwing your hateful old iron into the recycling bin. Good riddance!
“This page is a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about clothing steamers before making a purchasing decision. We outline the benefits of owning a fabrics steamer and explain what we look for when doing our reviews.Thanks for visiting and we sincerely hope we were able to help you out!
— Jen@Garment Steamer Reviews
Fabric Steamers – Comparison Chart
If you’re in a hurry and want to cut right to the chase, you can dive into our reviews of the best garment steamers (below) or choose one of our top picks.
|Product||Type||Heat-up Time||Steam Time||Weight (lbs)||Our Rating||Latest Price|
1h 30 min
Our Top Reviews
1. The Best High-End Steamer – Jiffy J-4000
Why is this worth the money?
This is the choice of professionals in the apparel industry.
Go to a movie set or backstage at a fashion show and you’ll see Jiffy products in use.
Perfect for de-wrinkling ANY type of fabric, from delicate dresses to suits and even upholstery; the Jiffy 4000 comes with either a plastic head (pictured) or metal.
If you choose the metal head (more expensive) it will heat up and you can use it somewhat like a traditional iron.
Great if you want to sharpen up some creases on trouser legs etc.
The Jiffy units are more expensive than Rowentas that seem to have similar specs, but they last FOREVER – that’s why they should be your first choice if you can afford them.
By the way, you’ll get your money’s worth both in terms of satisfaction AND trips you won’t need to make to the dry cleaner’s.
You’ll find the J-4000 in commercial settings – the main advantage of the J-2000 is some extra steaming time.
2. The Best Mid-Price Steamer – Jiffy J-2000
There are plenty of great options in the 100-250 dollar range, but you just can’t go wrong with the Jiffy J-2000.
Read our full review or pop over to Amazon and read more user reviews there.
Why is this worth the money?
Jiffy’s products are fan favorites and with good reason – their entire range is at the top or near the top of its niche.
Its appearance might seem old-fashioned, even quaint, but don’t be deceived – it delivers power and performance beyond its prettier competitors.
1300 watts of power heats the water up in two minutes, and the three-quarter gallon tank provides continuous steam for an hour and a half.
There are accessories that help you find even more value – and value is a key word here.
You can spend less and get less, and you can spend more and get less.
Considered over a 5 or 10-year span, the J-2000 represents fantastic value for money and might well be the best pound for pound garment steamer on the market.
Read our review of the Rowenta IS6300, which is a worthy runner-up.
3. The Best Hand-held Steamer – Pure Enrichment PureSteam
Competition is fierce in the hand held / travel section of the market, but we do have a favorite. It’s also America’s favorite steamer – the Pure Enrichment PureSteam Fabric Steamer.
Check out our full review. In second place is the Sunbeam, which is a little heavier but more powerful.
Why is this worth the money?
There’s a reason this is one of the all-time best-selling clothes steamers – it’s great and it’s cheap!
Coming with a generous 2-year warranty, it heats up fast, has an improved nozzle design over its predecessor, and whatever flaws it has is more than compensated for by Pure Enrichment’s great customer service.
Customer service is a real bone of contention in the home appliance sector – products are great until they break, and then you realize the company has good engineers and designers but hasn’t invested so much in customer support staff or training.
Step forward Pure Enrichment – between them and Amazon you’ll get great prices and great service.
All these factors combine to make it an attractive home steamer and a great travel steamer.
4. The Best Steam Station – Rowenta DG8520
Why is this worth the money?
The DG8520 a kind of hybrid between a normal iron and a garment steamer. Yes, you can use it on an ironing board to iron a pair of trousers. So far, so boring. The reason you’ll love it is simple – it takes five seconds to get the job done.
But here’s the real bonus: you can use it without an ironing board on garments you’ve hung on a hangar, or drapes.
It heats up rapidly and has an eco setting (20% energy saving). It has a 47oz water tank (which allows 1.5 hours of continuous steam) while the hand unit is fairly light.
The quality of this product is second to none and it has features like the precision-shot system that let it stand apart from the competition.
Similarly, its pointed tip lets you get between buttons and into pleats for when you’ve got a tricky garment to work with.
What is a Garment Steamer
Sometimes called ‘clothes steamers’, ‘steam dewrinklers’, or ‘fabric steamers’, garment steamers are devices that allow you to effortlessly get rid of wrinkles and creases from clothes by means of steam.
The steam from one of these products allows a fabric to ‘relax’ into its natural state.
Probably the three most important parts of a steamer are the tank – where the water is kept and heated – the nozzle – where the steam comes out – and the heating element.
The latter determines how fast the product will heat up and how powerful the steam will be.
What Types of Garment Steamer Are There?
We’ve split our reviews into 4 groups:
These top-of-the-line steamers come with all of the benefits and none of the compromises of modern garment steamers.
Treat yourself and never look back!
If space is tight in your closet or you want a travel steamer to pack in your suitcase, these are the 2020 models for you.
They’re cute, tiny, and fun.
Forget the 18th century – this is the golden age of steam!
These cheap fabric steamers don’t have all the bells and whistles, but they know how to get a crease out of a pair of trousers.
Simply hang up your blouse and let the steam work its magic!
Practical and easy.
This collection contains reviews of all the major full-sized clothes steamers in 2020.
As you might expect, there’s a lot of overlap between the hand held steamers and the budget steamers.
But sometimes a full-size steamer drops in price enough to be considered a budget product.
The 7 Benefits of a Garment Steamer
Garment steamers can be:
- Economical – First, you’ll save on dry cleaning bills. Second, they are much faster to use than irons, so you’ll save time. Time is money, right?
- Gentle – Ever ruined a dress by scorching it with your iron? Garment steamers are hot, but the steam is gentle enough to use on delicate fabrics, even wedding dresses! Want to iron chiffon? Forget it! But you can steam it.
- Easy – Ironing shirts and trousers is complicated (for me, anyway!). Do you turn it inside out? Do you start with the collar or end with the collar? What’s the right temperature for this fabric? Gah! Just steam it! There’s nothing to think about.
- Portable – The idea of packing your iron and ironing board in a suitcase is comical, but millions of people never leave home without a travel steamer. Plus even the bigger ones can be rolled from room to room. I’ve never seen an ironing board with wheels!
- Flexible – All steamers will get wrinkles out of shirts, but some will even work on heavy drapes. Being able to freshen up all kinds of items in the home is a real selling point.
- Ecological – There are no chemicals needed, just plain, pure water. Do you know what chemicals the dry cleaner uses? No, me neither, and I don’t want to know.
- Frugal – You’ll get more life out of a garment if you steam it instead of ironing it. If your clothes last longer, you’ll save money, and save the planet too.
Who Uses Garment Steamers?
All kinds of people: professional stylists; business travelers; people in a hurry; people who hate ironing.
Steamers are just waaaayyyyy less cumbersome than irons, and the bubbling sound of the water is pretty relaxing.
Can a Steamer Replace My Iron?
If you’ve got some very heavy fabric that needs to be pressed, you need the weight of an iron.
For fragile materials you should do a little test of the steamer in one corner to check the steam isn’t too harsh.
But in reality, steamers work on 99% of clothes and are actually better than irons in many cases…
Ask any dry cleaner: removing wrinkles with steam is gentler, safer, and more efficient than running a blazing hot piece of metal over your carefully-chosen garments.
Delicate material plus iron equals serious scorching.
And have you ever tried ironing a curtain? While it’s hanging? You can with the right steamer.
Steaming is also five times faster than ironing.
Fashion designer Rachel Roy (in her book Design Your Life) says “When steamed, clothes look the way they’re meant to because they hang the way they’re meant to drape on your body—as opposed to being flattened and pressed against an ironing board.”
In summary, steamers are better than irons. This lady understands:
If you however still think that an iron is the right solution for you, by all means then try at least to get one of the good ones with good steaming capabilities.
5 Tips on How to Choose a Garment Steamer
- Set a budget and stick to it. Given that you’re replacing an iron and ironing board and you’ll use it many thousands of times in the next 10 years, you might think that spending 300 dollars is a worthwhile investment. Then you can get a really premium model. Or you might be unsure about the whole steam thing and not want to risk more than 70 dollars. Either way, try to avoid ‘feature creep’ – don’t even look at those expensive steamers – they’re really tempting!
- Think about how you’re going to use it. A little hand held steamer with a tiny tank isn’t the best option for steaming your drapes. On the other hand, if you’re mainly going to use it to unwrinkle your t-shirts in summer, you don’t need a full-sized one.
- Think about how quickly you need it to heat up. Some of the bigger steamers have huge tanks and they take a while to heat up and start producing steam. If you can switch the steamer on, hoover up, then start steaming – perfect. If you need it to be ready to go in 5 minutes so you can get on with your day – get one with a smaller tank. In our reviews we try to mention how long it takes for the device to get started.
- Think about how much storage space you have. Since it’s probably going to replace an iron and ironing board, you should have space for it. But if you want to free up some space or are moving to a smaller apartment, consider getting a steamer with a smaller footprint.
- Another tip is if you’re going to steam a lot of shirts, jackets, and so on you should probably get a full-size steamer. They normally come with hangars built in – you can pop the shirt on the hangar and steam it right there. If you use a hand held steamer you’ll need your own hangar – not exactly a deal breaker but a fraction less convenient. You could also get a garment steam board – it’s like an ironing board you hang over a door. There’s a good one on Amazon made by Sunbeam.
Where Can I Quickly Compare the Top Garment Steamers?
Garment Steamer Comparison
Compare garment steamers side by side with our beautiful, easy-to-understand charts. Then read our detailed reviews, and you’ll be all set to make an informed decision.
There are lots of garment steamers on the market, and even on an easy-to-navigate site like this one, the choice can be overwhelming. So we’ve tried to create some charts that compare some of the best and best-selling steamers at a glance.
These charts show our ratings (out of 10) lifted from our reviews – we are interested in
- The features of a steamer – accessories, different types of head, different modes, etc
- The performance of a steamer – how fast does it heat up, how powerful is it, and so on
- The overall rating – a combination of the other two with room for that je nais se quoi factor – some steamers are just a joy to hold and to use, while others have good specs and features but are somehow annoying or aggravating in an undefinable way
These are the best-of-the-best, crème de la crème, the knees of the bees of the garment steamer world.
We pay more and expect more – some of these steamers are used by hotels, dry cleaners, fashion houses etc.
In a competitive field we penalized the 3000IS for its lengthy warm up and cool down time.
The other units were packed with useful functions and accessories.
Two steamers were given full marks – the J-2000 and 3000IS. The J-4000 actually packs more of a punch, but it just takes a while to get going.
Assuming most of our readers want to buy a steamer for use in the home, the J-2000 might be more apt.
As you can see, it’s a pretty tight field.
While each steamer has its own strengths and weaknesses, none of these will give you buyer’s remorse and all are more than capable of blasting those darn wrinkles out of your clothing.
The DG8520 and IS6300 are our favorites – they do all the basics, have all the advanced features, but also have that air of craftsmanship that is the difference between an average smartphone and an iPhone.
Budget and Travel Steamers
These have retail prices under 100 dollars, though many are MUCH less than that.
Bear in mind that 9/10 in features and performance on a one-foot high travel steamer is NOT the same as a 9/10 rating on a 400-dollar premium steamer!
The fabric steamers in this table represent some of 2018’s best-selling steamers, and they will probably continue to sell well for many years to come.
There’s a clear first rank of steamers that offer most of what you’d want from a low-end device – the Puresteam, Sunbeam and Taotronics lead the pack, with the Extremesteam not too far behind.
The Joy-900, Gideon, and SF-435 fare badly in this category, but it’s not the end of the world. Many people are perfectly happy with those devices.
In terms of power and performance, we rated the E-best Mini top, with the TaoTronics also impressing. Bottom came the Extremesteam.
The E-best Mini was our favorite in this category since we started the site – until we got our hands on the TaoTronics.
That led the pack for a while, though the differences were small enough that if there was a good deal going on any of the top 5, we’d recommend that model.
Now we have a clear favorite – the Sunbeam.
The remaining ones are not worthless, but I’d only be interested in an SF-435 or Joy-900 if there was an amazing deal to be had. The Gideon is one of many garment steamers plagued by fake reviews and massively under performed.
How to Use a Steamer to Steam Clothes
- 1Hang up the garment (on a clothes hanger, on the steamer’s hanger if it is full size, or even on your shower rail – you could also buy a dedicated garment steam board that hangs over a door). Every steamer is different so read the manual to learn about best practices. This is a general guide only.
- 2Fill the steamer’s tank with water. If you live in a hard water area, use distilled water (if possible). That will avoid the build up of minerals in the steamer. When you’ve filled the tank, plug in and turn on. You should know it’s ready – steam will be shooting out in a consistent volume.
- 3Pull your garment taut, touch the material lightly (repeat, lightly) with the steam head and wrinkles will – POOF! – vanish (hopefully!). It’s important to combine the steam and the steam head – both in harmony will ensure a smooth finish. Most people move the steam head in an upward motion. Be extra careful around decorative elements.
- 4Some clothes can be steamed better from underneath. It’s said to relax the textile and lead to better wrinkle-removal. If you have a stubborn wrinkle, try changing the angle.
- 5Hang pants (trousers, for our British readers) from the cuff.
- 6If you steam with the hose in an upright position, the condensation will be free to drip back into the tank. This is good. If you’re bending down a lot (for example, steaming drapes) then stand up from time to time and straighten the hose.
- 7Wearing shoes is a good idea, since hot water might drip out. As with an iron, let the device cool down before moving or storing it. It’s better to pour the remaining water out before you put it away.
- 8Finally, if you have a problem with the product you bought, read the Amazon reviews on it. Often times, someone else had the same problem as you and either returned the steamer or found a solution!
Top 5 Tips on How to Use A Clothes Steamer
Top Garment Steamer Brands
A Brief History of Garment Steamers
The first garment steamers were created by Jiffy, who are still one of the top brands. The Jiffy Steamer company was founded in 1940 when they patented the Model J-1 hat steamer.
As you know from old photos, war movies, and ‘Back to the Future’, in the olden days everyone wore hats. The most popular male hat was the fedora, which was shaped by holding it over a kettle full of boiling water.
The Jiffy J-1 hat steamer was a device specially made for the task, allowing hats to be steamed without firing up a stove. The process was so quick and convenient that the phrase ‘I’ll do it in a jiffy’ was coined and entered the lexicon.
It wasn’t long before people realised that the steamer also removed wrinkles from clothes, and they rest, as they say, is history…
By now, we hope you agree that ironing is a thing of the past. After all, when you think of the iron age you think of cavemen with shaggy beards trying to light fires with stones. When you think of the steam age you think of glorious trains spanning continents, the rise of industries – a fast-paced, exciting and dynamic time. And that’s, in our opinion, the difference between ironing and steaming your clothes.
Out with the tedious old, in with the convenient new!
Steam – your clothes will be wrinkle-free, your mood will be brighter, your days longer.
Save money, be elegant, and let the only creases in your life be caused by your wide, beaming smile.