Best Clothes Steamers – Consumer Reports, 2024

Many people are okay with using traditional steam irons to remove wrinkles from their clothes. However, garment steamers are a great addition (or an alternative option) to steam iron. They are quite handy when it comes to clothes made of soft or delicate materials.

best clothes steamer consumer reports

Garment steamers work wonders on flowing skirts, silky blouses, and suit jackets. They can also handle sequined tops and other clothing materials we find difficult to press. You can use them to spruce up bed skirts, pillow shams, draperies and window curtains, and so on.  They are easy to use on any soft fabric around the house.

But that’s not all.

Because they are quite portable, garment steamers make for an ideal travel companion. Are your clothes wrinkled from the way you packed them in your suitcase? A garment steamer can straighten them out.

It’s easy to run out of ways in which this tool can make your life better. That’s why we did a review of the best garment steamers out there. This included handheld portable models, professional steamers, and more.

How does a clothes steamer work?

Clothes steamers use hot steam to smooth and remove wrinkles from clothing. The steam is generated by heating water in a reservoir inside the steamer. When the water reaches the desired temperature, it is vaporized and forced out through a steam head, which is used to apply the steam to the clothing.

What are the benefits of using a clothes steamer?

Clothes steamers can be a convenient and effective alternative to ironing, as they can remove wrinkles without the need for an ironing board. They are also gentler on fabrics than ironing, as they do not apply direct heat or pressure to the fabric. This can be especially beneficial for delicate fabrics or items with embellishments that could be damaged by an iron.

Can clothes steamers be used on all types of fabrics?

Clothes steamers can be used on a wide variety of fabrics, including cotton, silk, wool, and synthetic materials. However, some fabrics may be more delicate or prone to shrinkage and may require extra care when steaming. It is always a good idea to test the steamer on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before steaming the entire garment.

How do I use a clothes steamer?

Using a clothes steamer is generally simple. First, fill the water reservoir with tap water up to the designated fill line. Allow the steamer to heat up and produce steam, which may take a few minutes. Once steam is being produced, hold the steamer about 6 inches away from the garment and use a back-and-forth motion to apply the steam to the fabric. Move the steamer slowly over the garment, taking care to steam all areas evenly. If the garment is particularly wrinkled or stubborn, you may need to steam it in sections and go over it multiple times.

Best Steamers for Clothes – Consumer Reports

We gathered the top garment steamers around and carried out a number of tests on them. Our tests focused on efficiency, heat-up time, and ease of use of the tools.

We started out by checking out how balanced and comfortable it is to hold each steamer. After all, this plays a huge part in how comfortable using it will be.

Next, we looked into its water capacity and how convenient it is to see the water tank level. In addition to this, we considered how easily one can fill the tank and how quickly it empties.

Furthermore, we investigated how many grams of steam it pumps out each minute. We timed how quickly the appliance heats up, and how long it runs for.

After this, we used them on linen, silk, cotton, wool, and synthetic fabric materials that we balled up and left wrinkled through the night. We timed how long it took the appliances to remove the creases from each material and scored them based on how smooth the final product is.

We checked to see if the devices had any spitting or sputtering while working. We also tested the attachments that come with them.

And based on these tests, these are our best garment steamers:

1. Turbo ExtremeSteam Handheld Fabric Steamer (Best Overall)


The Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam Handheld Garment Steamer takes the cake for obvious reasons. It’s one of the best wrinkle removers that we tested.

Unlike the other devices, it has two steam slots and one ceramic faceplate. This allows it to glide smoothly over your fabrics and straighten out any wrinkles. It also comes with five steam settings. You can go from delicate to turbo based on the fabric you’re using it on.

There are no extra buttons to press on this device. Once the steamer starts pumping, the steam starts coming out without any interruptions.

This steamer from Conair also has a three-in-one attachment that helps to lift fibers. It protects delicate fabrics and pulls them taut for better results. There’s also a built-in creaser that will help you make sharp pleats. We were really impressed with how well it worked on some wrinkled heavy cotton pants. And with a nine-foot cord, you’ve got absolute freedom to use it a distance away from the power outlet.

Here’s why we love this appliance:

  • It removes wrinkles quickly
  • It comes with 5 steam settings
  • Its ceramic faceplate glides smoothly on fabrics

2. CompleteSteam Fabric Steamer (Best Value)


The CompleteSteam Fabric Steamer sports a simple design. There’s just one button on it – the on/off button. It also has a light that tells you when it’s ready to use.

Nevertheless, it gets the job done.

When we tested it, we found out that it needed just one minute to heat up. And we got a solid ten minutes of continuous steaming time from it.

The CompleteSteam Fabric steamer is also lightweight and compact. It’s only 9.5 inches tall, making it easy to store and tote anywhere around your home. You only need to unscrew the nozzle to fill it up with water.

What about costs?

This model has a relatively low price. This makes it a perfect choice for anyone who is new to steaming clothes and wants a no-frills device- like your teenage child who is going to college.

Here’s why we love this appliance:

  • It is lightweight
  • It is easy to store

3. Advanced Handheld Garment Steamer


With the Black + Decker Advanced Garment Steamer, you can steam way more than just clothing. It comes with an extra-long 15 feet cord that makes reaching high up curtains and extreme end of bed skirts that may be far from power outlets as easy as ABC.

There’s an easy-to-fill, removable water tank that automatically shuts off after fifteen minutes of use. So, if you get distracted by something when you’re using it, you won’t have to worry about it causing any harm.

Just like other steamers, this device comes with attachments that are designed for upholstery, lint removal, and usage on delicate fabrics. Plus it has a wonderful feature wherein you lock it into continuous steam pumping. This comes in handy when using it on large fabrics like draperies, sofas, and mattresses.

Here’s why we love this appliance:

  • It has an extra-long cord for ultimate reach
  • The attachments for upholstery, delicates, and lint are useful
  • Auto shut-off feature

4. Turbo ExtremeSteam 2-in-1 Iron Garment Steamer


Another product from Conair, the Turbo ExtremeSteam 2-in-1 Iron and Garment Steamer is a powerful device that sports a wide plate that doubles as an iron. It doesn’t matter if the surface is dry or has steam, it’s going to give you lots of bang for your buck.

There are four steam settings to choose from based on the fabric you’re dealing with. The lowest setting is for delicate clothing while the highest deals with stubborn textiles.

We used this steamer to restore a wrinkled duvet cover right on the bed. We admire the fact that we could use it horizontally and vertically and it won’t drip water. Conair said the 8.5 oz water tank will last you for ten minutes of continuous steam. And it heats up in under 10 seconds. Fantastic device.

Here’s why we love this device:

  • Its versatile functionality
  • It has 4 steam functions. You can use it on different kinds of fabrics
  • It gives 10 minutes of continuous steam

5. Handheld Garment Steamer


The Hilife Garment Steamer has more than 39,000 5-star reviews on Amazon. So, if you say it’s a buyer favorite, nobody will argue with you.

To use this steamer, simply remove the nozzle to fill it with your tap. After this, plug it, turn it on and it’s ready to go.

It looks like a tea kettle with a handle and a mouth where vent holes are located. Water boils inside the device and it pumps steam out through the vent holes. The large see-through water tank is quite admirable too.

In addition to this, we like its long cord and the fact that a model this basic sports a fabric brush and a water refill cup. This is pleasantly surprising.

There aren’t many negative reviews of this product on Amazon. However, a few people said it was leaky — probably because they were unlucky to have gotten faulty units.

Here’s why we love this appliance:

  • It’s a favorite for many reviewers
  • It has a simple, foolproof operation
  • It has a see-through tank

6. Personal Clothing Steamer


If you enter any magazine fashion closet or photoshoot, I bet you’re going to see this classic device in use. It’s a proven jiffy upright steamer that hardly disappoints. It’s got no fancy bells, whistles, or attachments, but it is quite effective. You’re going to get a solid 90 minutes of continuous steam from its ¾ gallon water tank. It’s programmed to shut off automatically when not in use. This makes it a safe device.

Furthermore, this device is on swivel casters, making it easy to move about. It also comes with a 3-year warranty, which will put your mind to rest about damages.

We used the Personal Clothing Steamer several times in our labs. And we consider it to be a paragon of garment steamers.

Here’s why we love this device:

  • It offers 90 minutes of continuous operation
  • Auto shut-off feature
  • It is an industry favorite

7. SteamMaster Handheld Fabric Steamer

71mlRiFJ1+L. AC SL1500


We haven’t tried this specific SteamMaster Handheld Fabric Steamer model before. However, we love the previous model because of its extra-large water tank. The tank weighs 8 ounces and is also removable, which is quite fantastic.

This makes it a perfect option if you’ve got multiple garments that you need to steam.

Sunbeam said you can get 15 minutes of uninterruptible steam operation from the device. It also heats up in less than 60 seconds and comes with a cord that is 8-feet long.

Here’s why we love this appliance:

  • It heats up quickly
  • It offers 15 minutes of continuous steam usage

8. Esteam Handheld Steamer


Jiffy Steamer’s Esteam Handheld Steamer has a slimp shape that makes it a classic. You can easily tuck it into the smallest drawers for storage, making it a fantastic travel companion.

It has a relatively large water tank. And it produced a steady stream of continuous steam from this tank when we tested it. But despite having a large water tank, the Esteam Handheld Steamer is lighter than other brands that have the same capacity.

It doesn’t come with any accessories, which may be a bummer. However, it sports a 9-foot power cord that is longer than what you’ll find on most models. If you want a pop of color, you can get a pink model.

Here’s why we love this appliance:

  • It’s got a slim profile
  • It has a large water tank
  • It is lightweight but powerful

Are steamers better than irons?

It depends.

For some people, a garment steamer is better suited for some de-wrinkling jobs while a steam iron works best in heavier situations.

Garment steamers work by pumping out soft billows of steam. These pass through delicate fabrics and clothing materials to iron out their wrinkles whilst you gently tug on their bottom.

Steam irons, on the other hand, use moisture, heat, steam, and pressure to smoothen fabrics. That’s why they only work when you use them on a board or any hard flat surface.

Steamers are ideal for materials that are decorated with sequins and beads. This includes tailored garments like jackets too. They’re also especially good for materials that are hard to lay out on a flat surface like an ironing board. Ultimately, use a garment steamer if you don’t want fabrics like knit sweaters or dresses to have a pressed look or sharp creases.