- Great engineering
- Reeks of quality
- Small water tank
The new TaoTronics TT-PI001 Portable Fabric Steamer is a fantastic addition to the world of low-cost, hand-held, portable fabric steamers. It is a product where every design choice seems to make sense, one which would be hard to improve upon.
It's less than 8 inches tall, and comes with heat-resistant gloves and a fabric brush.
The water tank holds about 120ml - this has pros and cons. On the plus side, a smaller tank means a lighter steamer, and the water heats up faster (the unit starts to spew steam after ninety seconds).
With a bigger tank you'd have a bigger volume of water and it would take longer to produce the steam needed to 'iron' my clothes. No thanks! If I'm going to do a lot of steaming I'll just keep a little jug of water nearby. As it is, the small amount of water - four ounces or so - gives you about six minutes of steam.
If your clothes are as wrinkled as mine you might only get one or two garments done in that time. On the other hand, you do have to refill it more often so bear that in mind. If you're going to steam a lot of garments you should probably get a full-sized one.
Using steam on clothes is better for the textile of the garment than ironing. Ironing can damage the fabric or cause colors to fade. You might not always see a burn mark but it's all too easy to overheat cotton or wool with the harsh heat of an iron.
Not everyone knows how to match the temperature of an iron to the clothes being ironed - I certainly have no clue and have ruined several pairs of trousers and tops in my lifetime. But steam works equally well on most garments and you don't have to worry about controlling the temperature.
The TaoTronics Handheld Portable Fabric Steamer keeps everything at 100 degrees C (212 F). At first I was apprehensive about using steam on delicate textiles, but I needn't have worried. With a little care the steamer wipes away creases and the clothes come out completely unharmed. Clothes shops and dry cleaners use steam all the time and they should know what they're doing!
Using the steamer is simplicity itself. A quick twist of the nozzle gives you access to the water tank - fill it to the level labeled MAX. Twist the nozzle back to lock it into place.
After turning it on you'll wait about 90 seconds - the ideal time to hang up the garment you want to steam - and when the steam is flowing freely you just bring it close to the fabric and gently brush it up and down. The creases will disappear before your eyes! If only there was such a device to remove facial wrinkles - the inventor would make billions.
The heat resistant glove is useful, just as a precaution. But still, you should let the steamer cool off for a while before you take the nozzle off or pack it away. The first time I used it I didn't expect it to be so hot and some drops of water splashed onto me - it wasn't painful but I wouldn't like to make a habit of it.
As with all steamers, you have to be a bit careful about the angle you hold it at, otherwise - obviously - hot water could pour out. But that's just common sense.
As well as the MAX marker, there's a MIN gauge - that lets you know when a refill is needed. The steamer will turn off if it's completely dry - this is for your safety otherwise it could get dangerously hot. Just keep an eye on it and you'll be fine.
If you live in a hard water area you can use distilled water to prevent scale building up inside the tank. Cleaning is a whizz- a few drops of vinegar or a specialist product like you'd use in your kettle.
The quality of this product is pretty high - no shoddy workmanship here. You should get a few good years of service out of this one. The power cord is nice and long - something surprisingly important when choosing a garment steamer.