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Which clothes steamer is best?

Clothes steamers, occasionally known as garment or fabric steamers, remove wrinkles in all kinds of fabric. Unlike irons, you don’t need an ironing board to use them, and they’re excellent for removing wrinkles from drapes, curtains and other hard-to-reach materials. Many people also find that they work quicker than irons too. 

The best clothes steamer is the Jiffy Steamer J-2000 Garment Steamer. It has a big water tank, which is enough to steam for up to an hour and a half.

What to know before you buy a clothes steamer

Clothes steamer types

There are three types of clothes steamers.

  • Standing steamers, also known as uprights, have large tanks that stay on the floor while you use a pole to steam clothes. The steam head hangs in a hook when it’s not in use. They are effective and efficient, but they are hard to store and quite expensive.
  • Hand-held steamers are small enough to hold in your hand. They’re good for steaming your next outfit or cleaning the occasional drape, but they don’t have the tank capacities for much else.
  • Travel steamers are especially small, and they can fit comfortably in your luggage. You can also take standard hand-held steamers on the road, but they tend to be a bit too bulky.


Clothes steamers heat up to different temperatures. The higher temperatures clean and remove wrinkles more quickly but are likely to damage your fabric. Better steamers have temperature control, allowing you to adjust the heat to the fabric you’re steaming. Those without controls can also decrease the temperature applied by pulling the steam head farther away.

What to look for in a quality clothes steamer

Tank size

Standing and hand-held clothes steamers have different tank sizes.

  • Standing steamers typically have tanks that range in size from 40 to 90 ounces, and they can run for 45 to 90 minutes.
  • Hand-held steamers typically hold a maximum of 10 ounces and can run for no more than 20 minutes.

Heating time

Clothes steamers need some time to get hot enough to produce continual steam. The best hand-held steamers only take 30 to 60 seconds, while the best standing steamers need one to two minutes. Poor steamers can take much longer to heat up.

Continuous steam

When you have a standing steamer, you want continuous steam, which allows you to steam large quantities of fabric. The best steamers have continuous steam modes and don’t require you to hold down a button to let the steam out.

How much you can expect to spend on a clothes steamer

Depending on the type, clothes steamers cost between $20-$200. Travel and hand-held steamers are the most affordable and rarely cost more than $75. Standing steamers typically cost between $50-$200.

Clothes steamer FAQ

How do I maintain a clothes steamer?

A. Like irons, clothes steamers suffer from limescale buildup over time. This only worsens if you use hard water to steam your clothes. To clean the tank, fill it with some distilled white vinegar, heat it up as normal and steam it out into your sink. Then, fill it back up with water, and repeat the process to rinse out the vinegar.

Do I need to press down on the clothes I’m steaming?

A. No. You can remove wrinkles from most fabrics by lightly touching the steam head to the fabric. In fact, some of the more delicate fabrics, such as velvet and silk, can become damaged with too much heat. Make sure you hold the steam head a little further away when you steam these delicate fabrics.

Are there clothes steamer accessories I should have?

A. Some clothes steamers come with accessories, such as alternative steam heads or lint rollers. If your clothes steamer doesn’t include any accessories, you can purchase them later. Just double-check that they are compatible with your steamer first.

What’s the best clothes steamer to buy?

Top clothes steamer

Jiffy Steamer J-2000 Garment Steamer

Jiffy Steamer J-2000 Garment Steamer

What you need to know: It has a huge water capacity and plenty of helpful features to make steaming a breeze.

What you’ll love: The tank holds up to 2.84 liters and steams for up to 90 minutes. Water will be hot in as little as two minutes, and steam comes out of the 6-inch wide head. You can select between a plastic or metal steam head too.

What you should consider: It’s expensive, and some consumers experienced an issue with the tank cap, which prevented water from leaving the tank.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top clothes steamer for the money

Conair Turbo Extreme Steam Hand-held Fabric Steamer

Conair Turbo Extreme Steam Hand-held Fabric Steamer

What you need to know: This hand-held steamer is perfect for minor steaming tasks.

What you’ll love: The head has a built-in creaser and a three-in-one attachment that pulls clothes tight, brushes clothes and protects delicate clothes. It can heat its water tank in as little as 40 seconds, and the base of the steamer holds the entire device upright.

What you should consider: You can use it for traveling, but it is bulky and may be difficult to pack. It can only steam for up to 20 minutes on a full tank.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

PurSteam Full Size Steamer for Clothes

PurSteam Full Size Steamer for Clothes

What you need to know: This effective steamer is a high-quality standing model for a great price.

What you’ll love: It has a 900-watt heating element that can ready the steamer in as little as a minute. Plus, it has four levels of steam to handle any fabric. The removable tank is easy to empty and refill, and the unit has a money-back guarantee.

What you should consider: Some purchasers had issues with the cord and said it was too short. Others felt the plastic construction wasn’t as durable as it could be.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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