Most people turn to traditional irons to fix wrinkles and creases, but there’s no better tool than a fabric steamer for tougher jobs that the conventional iron just can’t handle. Fabric steamers effectively relax the fibers in clothes until the wrinkles disappear, as opposed to irons which force the material to flatten with heat and pressure.
There are many different styles and sizes of fabric steamers to choose from, making them ideal for people who frequently travel or are away from home. If you’ve never owned a fabric steamer before, you may be wondering how good they are at eliminating creases. The answer is: very effective. And not only that, they are also more gentle on fabrics, extending the life of your favorite blouse or suit. Another great use for fabric steamers is on upholstery and draperies. An iron would damage or accidentally scorch these fabrics. For that reason, the top choice for most people when it comes to preserving their clothes and linens is the handy dandy fabric steamer. In our opinion, the traditional iron and the steamer both have their advantages and disadvantages, so we recommend that consumers have one of each in their home. An iron is great for creating a crisp pressing and for setting pleats, while steamers let you straighten clothes right from a hanger.
Another advantage you get with steamers is that they can do more than just de-wrinkle your clothes. Pillows and heavy quilts can also benefit from occasional steaming. Some do this to eliminate dust mites that may be living within the fibers, but we didn’t find any research to prove this theory. So, if you’re here because you want to know how to choose the best fabric steamer and which ones are the most recommended, then look no further. We painstakingly did the research ourselves to figure out which models are worth your time, and what aspects to consider so you won’t regret your purchase.
Considerations When Choosing a Fabric Steamer
Type of Fabric Steamer
Generally, there are two main types of fabric steamers. The first type is the portable fabric steamer, or also the hand-held steamer. They’re ideal for trips away from home. The second type is stationary steamers. They’re typically larger and heavier, but also more powerful due to their various attachments. If you’ve never owned a fabric steamer before, don’t worry. Both types work by adding water into the reservoir and you’re ready to steam with a touch of a button.
The accessories that are available to you will greatly affect how convenient and versatile the garment steamer will be. Some common accessories include nozzles, cables, clips, and hangers for clothing. You may not get a lot of accessories with entry-level models since they’re designed solely for steaming clothes and not furniture or drapes.
If you live in an apartment and don’t have a lot of room to spare, your best bet is to get a handheld steamer. They can fit in a medium-sized bag, making them easy to store away and even take with you on trips. If you need a unit that can handle upholstery, curtains, and couches, and have a large home, then you will be happier with a traditional upright fabric steamer. If you’re not planning to get a steamer for your home and just need something that you can carry with you on the go, then choose travel-sized fabric steamers.
Fabric steamers are available at different price points, so shoppers can easily find a product that will fit their budget. Different models also come with their own set of unique features, but their main function is the same. Fabric steamers that are designed for portability tend to be more affordable, while upright steamers are more expensive since they pack more power.
The 5 Best Fabric Steamers in 2016
- 1550-watt full-size garment steamer with roll-and-press vertical support to hold garments in place
- Built-in hanger with garment clips and a hook for your own hanger; foot-operated on/off switch
- Stay-cool handle, flexible fabric hose, and large steam head with wide diffusion for fast results
- 1 hour of continuous steam on a full tank; extra-large 81-ounce transparent water tank removes for easy filling
- Adjustable-height telescopic pole pushes down for compact storage; tilt-and-roll maneuverability; fabric brush, lint pad, and steam bonnet included
The top spot on our review for best fabric steamers goes to the Rowenta IS6300 Master Valet, an upright garment and fabric steamer that’s as powerful as it is attractive. Just one look at this device and you can already tell that it’s a heavy-duty workhorse that’s designed for tougher steaming jobs. If you’re steaming your entire wardrobe, you can bet that this machine can get the work done with ease and comfort. You can hang your clothes on the product’s built-in hanger and turn the unit on or off with your foot. Steaming for longer periods is also completely safe since the handle doesn’t heat up and the hose is long enough for easy maneuvering. Take note that this is a 1,500-watt machine with a water capacity of 81 ounces. You can let it run for as long as an hour, while heat up takes about a minute. Yes, it’s that powerful. The unit comes with wheels so it can be easily dragged around. In terms of features, the Rowenta IS6300 Master Valet is loaded with many convenient ones. There’s a lint remover and fabric brush that helps clothes look their best. There’s also a press pad so you can still achieve that “ironed” look. Considering all its wonderful features, it’s not hard to see why the Rowenta IS6300 Master Valet is hailed as the best for a lot of consumers.
- Compact and lightweight, great for travel and quick touch-ups
- On/off switch for convenient control
- Ready to steam in 2 minutes, up to 12 minutes of continuous steam
- Easy, direct-fill tank uses tap water, 7 oz. capacity
- Includes fabric brush and lint remover attachments
A lot of people think that fabric steamers are luxury gadgets with a price tag that can put a hole in your wallet. The Epica Powerful 800 Watt Handheld Garment Steamer proves otherwise. It’s a basic steamer that’s perfect for quick cleaning jobs and easy to pack with you on trips. You can smooth out wrinkles in mere seconds, and you get amazing results despite it being a low-end device. The Epica Powerful 800 Watt Handheld Garment Steamer is clearly a traveler’s best friend and doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it gets the job done quickly and efficiently. This item comes with a 10-feet cable that’s long enough for you to dance around your garment while steaming it. Another thing we loved is the design of this product. It’s an attractive hand-held steamer that isn’t choosy with the type of water you load into it (as opposed to units that require distilled water). At under $20, it’s one of the cheapest models you can find in the market today, but trust us when we say that it works like a charm. If you want to get the most out of the Epica Powerful 800 Watt Handheld Garment Steamer, just make sure to keep the device upright when using. Also, be careful not to overfill the water tank or let the unit run dry. This isn’t a high-end product so we’re not surprised that people reported water spots on their clothing if not used correctly. In the end, the positive reviews far outnumber the negative ones, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to people who are always on the go or don’t have time to iron.
- Perfect travel or at home steamer
- Removes creases and wrinkles from fabrics thick, thin or delicate for seamless results
- Just fill with tap water
- Includes a drawstring travel bag
- Plastic; 3 1/2 x 5 x 8 inches
It’s not hard to tell what this steamer is great for. The Ultra Mini Travel Steamer is another product on our list that’s perfect for frequent travelers. Compared to the Epica we just covered above, it does cost a few dollars more, but you are guaranteed a quality product that’s powerful enough to steam your suits for important meetings and events. It still shares the same problems with the Epica, too. If you don’t keep the device upright, or if you put in too much water, it will spit some of the water out when steaming. There have been a couple of complaints about the construction of the Ultra Mini Travel Steamer. The plastic doesn’t feel as durable as it should for its price, but judging from the many positive reviews from users, this doesn’t affect the steaming performance of the device. This cord is 8-foot long; long enough for most people. The water reservoir is not as large as other handheld units (5 ounces), so expect to refill it more often. The Ultra Mini Travel Steamer is tough on creases and wrinkles, but not on fabrics and delicate clothes. At more than $40, it’s a bit on the expensive side for a unit that doesn’t have any additional accessories except a drawstring travel bag. As its name suggests, this product focuses on portability and not very much on versatility. However, users of the Ultra Mini Travel Steamer claim that this product is a good value for the money and would recommend it to other buyers.
- 1500-watt fabric steamer with 40-ounce capacity removable water tank
- Heats up in 45 seconds and provides up to 45 minutes of continuous steam
- More effective and gentler on fabrics than ironing for all-natural garment care
- Removes wrinkles and odors from clothes, linens, curtains, upholstery, and more
- Includes telescopic pole, attachable fabric brush and clothes hook
The Steamfast SF-407 Fabric Steamer is another great choice for shoppers who don’t want to spend too much on a decent fabric steamer. At $58, it’s a fair price for a product that comes with three useful accessories. And because it’s a 1,500-watt steamer, it heats up faster than most entry-level steamers. You won’t have to worry about constantly refilling the water tank since it can hold up to 40 ounces easily, giving you at least 45 minutes of steaming – enough for an entire wardrobe. And because it’s an upright steamer, you won’t have to worry about it spitting out water when steaming. The Steamfast SF-407 Fabric Steamer is also one of the more attractive units on the market right now. It has a very clean yet classy look and can even pass for a commercial steaming unit. The telescopic pole is adjustable, letting you adjust the height so you can position yourself more comfortable when steaming. This also makes the product easy to store away in closets. If you have a lot of wool clothing, you’ll appreciate the fabric brush that comes with the unit for any hairs or loose threads that stick to the fabric after a laundry wash. Its last useful accessory is the clothes hanger hook where you can conveniently let the clothes hang while steaming. This means you can do the steaming virtually anywhere in your home that has an outlet nearby. And don’t just limit this product to steaming clothes. It’s also great for cleaning drapes and furniture, making the Steamfast SF-407 Fabric Steamer a sensible purchase for smart buyers.
- 1300-watt solid brass heating element (120 volt for North America use only)
- High-impact plastic outer housing for durability
- Quick two-minute heat-up time
- 5 Hour steam time per filling
- 5-foot hose with 6-inch steam head
- 3 Year Warranty
The last product on our review list is also the most expensive. The J-2000 Jiffy Garment Steamer is a high-end model that’s great for both home and light industrial use. Although there’s no doubt as to its capability to steam, we’re a little disappointed that it doesn’t come with more accessories. It’s a few cents under $160, so we’re wondering why the manufacturer didn’t think to add useful extras to make this steamer more versatile. Despite that slight drawback, we’re impressed at how sturdy this product is. If you’re looking for lightweight steamer that works like a professional-grade unit, we highly recommend the J-2000 Jiffy Garment Steamer. Like with any steamer, however, it takes a little practice to get good at using this device. Most users recommend steaming from the inside of your clothes so you keep the heat from escaping easily, allowing more fiber strands to relax and straighten. Although the company claims that this item can run for an hour and a half, consumers report that it can mostly run for a little over an hour – more than enough time for most cleaning jobs. Overall, there’s no doubt that this product is more effective than any iron you’ll own, and it’s gentler on fabrics, too. For $159, you get a reliable, long-lasting product that’s powerful enough for commercial use.