2018's Best Clothes & Garment Steamers Reviews
Who here hasn’t wished they had a garment steamer at some point?
We all have that moment where our clothes are all wrinkled and we need to be somewhere soon (or at least I do). This is partly due to lack of time and partly due to laziness, but getting my clothes hung up is a hit or miss experience.
I could use an iron, but they’re a bit of a pain and I don’t have a ton of space to set up an ironing board. A garment steamer though? I can hang my shirt and pants straight on (or on a door) and let it rip. I love the things, and today I’m going to show you some of my favorites (and teach you why they’re my favorites while I’m at it).
In A Rush?
Here is the top overall:
Rowenta IS6300 Master Valet
My Top Picks for Clothes Steamers
(Click the link to check price on Amazon.com):
Best Overall: Rowenta IS6300 Master Valet Full Size Clothes Steamer
Best Professional: SALAV Professional Series Dual Bar Garment Steamer
Best Home: Joy Mangano’s My Little Fabric Steamer
Best Handheld: Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam Advanced Handheld Clothes Steamer
What Should You Look For In a Fabric Steamer?
There are two general types of garment steamer: upright and handheld .
Upright clothes steamers are for home use and should generally be thought of as a medium sized appliance like a vacuum cleaner (they take up about that much space). They generally have a tank size of a half gallon or larger, and are meant to operate for an hour or more on a single refill. They can also operate at a wider range of temperatures an often heat up far faster than handheld units.
Handheld garment steamers are meant more for traveling, though some are for compact around the home use. Their usual tank size is from a half cup to one and a half cups, and they’re made to operate for about 15 minutes, tops. These clothes steamers also tend to operate either at relatively lower temperatures, or are on full blast constantly.
Normal, or “wet steam” is boiling temperature; 212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees Celsius. “Dry steam” is hotter than that (by how much varies).
I tend to value garment steamers that CAN produce dry steam, though dock points for ones that ONLY do dry steam, as it’s not the best for many fabric types.
Most garment steamers (handheld or otherwise) pull between 1000 watts and 1600 watts of power. The more power they pull, the faster they heat up and the hotter they can get. More power is, therefore, usually better.
In general you should expect a garment steamer to heat up in under a minute, anything more than that is pretty slow. For dry steam a longer heat time can be forgiven (as they could be heating the water up to 100 degrees more) but no more than two minutes at most.
Most garment steamers exist in the price range of $30 to $70 for handheld fabric steamers, and $60 to $150 for upright clothes steamers. Some fall above or below that range in both categories, but prices are in general remarkably consistent (unlike most other appliances in my experience).
Extras range from the mundane (on/off switches and auto shutoff safety features) to the more luxurious (easy access foot pedals and multiple settings).
In general I expect every upright fabric steamer to come with a garment rack and multiple settings, while every handheld clothes steamer should at least come with a few simple attachments (like a fabric brush or ironing paddle). -BGSR staff
I don’t particularly over value a lot of these extras, but the addition of them for a minimal cost increase is always a welcome plus, as many make your life easier when using them.
Now, our main criteria explained, let’s get to it, starting with the top choices for a specific purpose!
Top Choices on the Market
Top Choices by Purpose
For Upright Use
Powerful and convenient.
This is a very nice upright fabric steamer. While it doesn’t get as hot as the Salav below, it focuses more on a wide diffusion of gentle steam. This makes it VERY good for doing a lot of clothes fast, as it disperses the steam over more of the garment at a time, reducing the need for overlapping passes.
It’s no slouch in the power department despite being weaker than some. It still draws 1550 watts of power, heating its 81 ounce (roughly 2/3 of a gallon) tank quickly and providing an hour of continuous steam.
With its convenient “tilt and roll” design plus the foot pedal, it’s easy to move around and take care of wide, long fabrics like curtains, sheets, or bedspreads with ease.
This is one of the top rated garment steamers out there and it’s easy to see why: it’s simply one of the top choices out there for ANY kind of job.
The only real hitch is the price, running you anywhere between $150 and $200, but for what you get I feel it’s more than worth it.
Rowenta IS6300 Master Valet
This is just a good all around handheld.
While there are others that outperform it in some small aspect or another, this product nails the important bits better than any other competition without letting some glaring downside (like a small tank size) get in the way.
It has a 7.3 ounce (nearly a cup) tank, with 1550 watts of power. It heats up fast (about 40 seconds) and will keep pumping out a good volume of steam for a solid 15 minutes. The stainless steel nozzle lets you press on fabrics like an iron for extra neatness.
Basically, it’s everything you look for in small portable clothes steamer, at a relatively cheap price (around $70).
Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam Advanced
For Home Use
More for big, infrequent jobs.
There’s a lot to love about My Little Steamer. It has a very nice tank size (an 11 ounce tank, close to 1 and a half cups), and can go for a good long while. It draws a very low amount of power (900 watts) which makes it produce a lot of very gentle steam.
While this makes it less than ideal for certain jobs where you might want hotter, more voluminous superheated steam, it makes it the perfect home fabric steamer. It can operate for a long time, letting you do a whole load of laundry or the curtains without the bulk of an upright clothes steamer.
While it’s a little straining on the wrists over long periods (about 3 lbs full), that’s only if you try to use it across multiple refills without a rest. That same factor makes it a less than ideal travel companion as well, but there are plenty of other great options in that regard.
Not bad for around $40.
Joy Mangano’s My Little Steamer
For Professional Use
Super hot, super good.
This baby outputs super hot steam on demand, or can dial it down a notch for your more fragile fabrics. It draws 1500 watts of power to heat a whopping 1.8 liters of water (around half a gallon) to potentially upwards of 300 degrees in 45 seconds.
I’m a big fan of “dry steam” garment steamers, and this is one of the best around of that type.
It doubles down by giving you very convenient foot pedals to dial down the temperature or turn the unit off (which made it edge out a similarly powerful Conair for this slot).
Everything else is just extras, but nice extras. A double level garment bar, a double insulated hose (to prevent leaks and stay relatively cool to the touch) and a host of accessories (including an ironing paddle) round out the roughly $90 package.
Great for the price, or for any price.
SALAV Professional Series Dual Bar
Top Brands & Manufacturers
Still great, still pricy.
Like I said above, this is one of the best rated clothes steamers for a reason. It’s powerful, has enough capacity to do large jobs with ease, convenient to use, and able to do any job you need it to.
The only gripe is the potentially close to $200 price tag, but it’s a great machine even considering that price.
Rowenta IS6300 Master Valet
The best professional model is also the flaghship one Salav makes. While they make some other great models, this one is a stellar upright model. Their handheld models all have some vital flaw that holds them back (for most it’s the same: an absolutely minuscule tank size), but this has no such glaring drawback.
It’s hot, it has a bunch of great features, and it’s relatively cheap. What’s not to love?
SALAV Professional Series Dual Bar
I waffled a bit on whether to put this or the full sized upright version of the Extreme Steam in this spot for a bit. Eventually, I decided the Turbo Extreme Steam handheld was the better of the two.
For reference, the upright Extreme Steam is very similar in specs to Salav’s Professional model, with similar temperatures, power draw, tank size, heating time, and so on. The only real thing it lacks is the foot pedals and better hanger system.
While that sounds really good (and it is, it’s still a solid second place for commercial fabric steamer), the main issue I ran into is that it is very consistently rated as being a fragile piece of equipment.
I could write off my own experiences with it as a fluke, but nearly every bad rating on Amazon also backs up the idea that while the Extreme Steam is a very high performance machine, it also has a tendency to completely break down in multiple different ways.
So, I disqualified it from this list in favor of the handheld version, which is a very good all around machine for a good price.
If you’re willing to take your chances with the full size version, by all means: people who report it working long term are very happy with it (including some who use it in their professional steaming business), but be aware that yours may be a lemon.
I really like this thing. It’s not the best on the market in most aspects, but sits in an interesting middle ground between travel and home clothes steamer that makes it very good in a specific niche.
It also has one of the more ergonomic designs of any handheld fabric steamer, most of which are content to be shaped either like a price gun or a really funky looking flashlight and just feel awkward in the hand.
This, despite the weight, is very comfortable to hold and use.
While it lacks many of the bells and whistles of some other handheld units (like the Extreme Steam or many of Salav’s handheld models) there’s a certain elegance in this simplicity where all of its desirability comes from the basic design.
Joy Mangano’s My Little Steamer
Quite a nice little handheld.
I find very little to complain about with this one, and there’s a lot to love. It has a sizable 200 mL (a bit over ¾ of a cup) tank, and can heat to boiling in a minute, and to 320 degrees Fahrenheit in 2 minutes. This means it can be hot enough to produce dry steam, or left to produce cooler, wetter steam as needed.
It comes with a nice set of accessories (a steel press head and door hanging press pad are included), but it didn’t quite make the cut for handheld use due to lacking some basic features, including auto shutoff and temperature settings (you have to eyeball time to get certain heat settings) and other quality of life features.
For the price (around $70, usually) I expect an appliance like this to either make things easy on me or far outperform the competition, but the Press and Refresh does neither. It’s still good, and I don’t feel it’s overpriced (especially with the press pad included), but others do it better.
Shark Press and Refresh Portable
Underpowered and overpriced.
Ten years ago this may have been a decent garment steamer, but today?
Its only redeeming factor is a relatively large 1 cup tank, but other than that it’s unremarkable to put it mildly. It’s low-powered (600 watts), uncomfortable to use, has no press head or attachments, and is just all around underwhelming.
I wouldn’t pay $20 for this, but the asking price is nearly 4 times that, which is unacceptable for what it brings to the table.
Give this one a HARD pass: I can’t think of a single garment steamer on the market that performs this poorly for even half this price.
Jiffy 1901 Pink ESTEAM
And the top pick is…very hard to choose!
With the exception of the Jiffy Esteam, all of the garment steamers on this list are very good.
If you had to twist my arm, I’d go with the Rowenta Master Valet. As much as I like dry steam units, I have to admit for most of my purposes it isn’t necessary, and the wide nozzle and huge tank make doing everything I DO regularly engage in a breeze.
The Salav Professional and Conair Turbo are also great options: you wouldn’t go wrong picking one of those either.