Best Garment Steamer Reviews 2018 – Comprehensive Guide
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Quick Links: The Best Garment Steamers
- What is a Garment Steamer?
- What Types of Garment Steamer Are There?
- The 7 Benefits of a Garment Steamer
- Who Uses Garment Steamers?
- Can a Steamer Replace My Iron?
- 5 Tips on How to Choose a Garment Steamer
- Garment Steamers Compared
- Top 5 Tips on How to Use a Clothes Steamer
- Top Steamer Brands and links
Welcome to Garment Steamer Reviews
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!
The Best Clothes Steamers in the World
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.
The Best High-End Steamer
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 suits, dresses, 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.
The Best Mid-Price Steamer
There are plenty of great options in the 100-250 dollar range, but you just can't go wrong with the Jiffy J-2000. Our full review is here 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.
Not convinced? Read our review of the Rowenta IS6300, which is a worthy runner-up.
The Best Hand-held Steamer
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. Here's the link to 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 realise 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.
The Best Steam Station
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:
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.
Can a Steamer Replace My Iron?
Pretty much! 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 drycleaner: 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:
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 dealbreaker 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?
How to Use a Steamer to Steam Clothes
- Hang 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.
- Fill 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.
- Pull 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.
- Some 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.
- Hang pants (trousers, for our British readers) from the cuff.
- If 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.
- Wearing 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.
- Finally, 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
Recent Articles from Garment Steamer Reviews
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.