How to Buy a Clothes Steamer


Buying a clothes steamer can be a great investment for keeping your clothes looking wrinkle-free and fresh. With so many models on the market, it can be tricky to know what to look for when choosing a clothes steamer. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about buying a clothes steamer, from the different types available to key features and add-ons. We’ll provide tips on how to select the right steamer for your needs and budget. By the end, you’ll be ready to shop for a clothes steamer with confidence.

Types of Clothes Steamers

There are a few main types of clothes steamers to consider:

Full-Size Standing Steamers

These resemble an ironing board on a stand but without the board. They are the most powerful type of steamer and allow you to steam garments while hanging. Full-size standing steamers heat up quickly, hold more water, and provide a consistent steam flow. This makes them ideal for steaming lots of heavy fabrics or large items like dresses, coats, and drapes.

Handheld Steamers

Handheld steamers are compact and lightweight. You hold them over the garment to release steam. They are great for traveling and steaming small areas on clothes, like collars and hems. Handhelds typically have a shorter steam time before needing to refill the water tank.

Travel Steamers

As the name suggests, these are designed for use on-the-go. Travel steamers are smaller and more portable than full-size and handheld models. They are suitable for steaming a few garments at a time. Look for one with a dual voltage option if traveling overseas.

Key Features to Look For

Keep the following features in mind when choosing a clothes steamer:

Powerful Steaming

The steamer needs to heat up quickly and generate a strong, pressurized steam flow to penetrate fabrics and smooth wrinkles. Steamers with 1000-1500 watts deliver the best steam performance.

Large Water Tank

Look for a tank that holds at least 8 oz of water so you can steam longer without stopping to refill. Removable water tanks also make refilling easier.

Steam Time Per Fill

Steam time ranges from 10-15 minutes for travel steamers up to 60 minutes for full-size standing models. Make sure to get a steamer with enough steam time for the amount of steaming you plan to do.

Adjustable Steam Levels

Multiple steam settings let you use the right amount of steam for different fabrics. Delicate materials need less steam. Sturdier items can handle higher steam levels to get out tough wrinkles.

Comfortable Handle

You’ll be holding the steamer for an extended period, so look for one with a comfortable, ergonomic handle. Silicone handles stay cool to the touch for handheld models.

Extra Attachments

Helpful attachments include fabric brushes to fluff items and nozzles for concentrated steaming. A creaser attachment can help put crisp pleats back into trousers.

Auto Shut-Off

An auto shut-off turns the steamer off automatically if left idle, which is an important safety feature. Look for steamers with shut-off times of 10-15 minutes.

Add-Ons to Enhance Your Steamer

Certain accessories can improve your experience using a clothes steamer:

  • Hangers: Specialized hangers with clamps hold garments taut for easier steaming.
  • Garment Rack: A rack lets you steam several hanging items at once instead of just one.
  • Fabric Glove: This protects your hand when steaming delicate fabrics.
  • Wrinkle Remover: This liquid helps relax fibers to make wrinkles easier to remove.
  • Carry Bag: A custom bag protects your steamer and makes it easy to transport.
  • Fabric Brush: Use a brush to fluff up steamed fabrics and remove lint or pet hair.
  • Trouser Creaser: This attachment makes crisp pleats in pants after steaming.

Selecting the Right Steamer Type

Now that you’re familiar with the options, here are some tips for selecting the right steamer type based on your needs:

  • Full-size standing steamers are the best choice if you’ll be steaming large volumes of clothing regularly. Their power and capacity make short work of the task.
  • Opt for a handheld steamer if you just need to spot treat wrinkles or travel frequently. They’re great for small jobs.
  • Get a travel steamer for business trips or vacations when you’ll be away from your main steamer. These are lightweight and take up little suitcase space.
  • Consider a higher wattage model (1500+ watts) for very thick fabrics like denim, leather, and draperies. The extra power helps penetrate heavy materials.
  • Those on a budget can find affordable handheld or travel steamers. Expect a trade-off on power and features compared to pricier models.
  • If you’ll need to steam for long periods, pick a model with at least a 45-60 minute steam time so you don’t have to stop to refill as frequently.

Safety Tips for Using Your Steamer

Steamers can reach extremely high temperatures. Follow these precautions for safe operation:

  • Only fill the tank with water, never cleaning solutions or other liquids which could contaminate fabrics.
  • Avoid overfilling the water tank beyond the max fill line. This can cause sputtering or scalding hot water to eject.
  • Place your steamer on a stable, heat-safe surface since the steam vents are extremely hot. Never place it on carpet or a delicate surface.
  • Keep children and pets away since the steamer poses a burn hazard.
  • Handle the steamer with dry hands to avoid burns. Never touch the hot steam vents.
  • Unplug the steamer when filling, emptying or not in use to prevent accidental operation.
  • Take care to keep the cord away from the hot steamer body to prevent fire risks.
  • Allow your steamer to fully cool before storing it away. Never store it when it’s still hot.

By following basic safety precautions, your clothes steamer can provide years of convenient, wrinkle-free steaming.

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Steamer

With regular care, your steamer will give you years of wrinkle-busting service:

  • Always unplug and allow the steamer to cool completely before cleaning.
  • Wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth. Never submerge the steamer body in water.
  • Descale the interior about once per month using distilled white vinegar. This prevents mineral buildup.
  • Empty the water tank after each use so stale water doesn’t linger.
  • Give the steam plate a periodic wipe down with a soft cloth to prevent fiber buildup.
  • Store your steamer upright, away from dust. Place a towel underneath to absorb condensation.
  • Don’t let water sit in the tank for more than a day or two to avoid algae growth.
  • Use distilled or filtered water to help minimize mineral deposits.
  • Fix leaks right away. Even a small leak can allow moisture inside and damage the internal heating element.

With regular cleaning and maintenance, a quality steamer should last for many years of dependable service.

Finding the Best Deals on Clothes Steamers

Here are some tips for getting the lowest price on your steamer purchase:

  • Check for sales around major holidays and during inventory clearance events. Retailers offer big discounts at these times.
  • Sign up for email alerts from brands like Conair, Rowenta, and Jiffy to receive notifications about promotions.
  • Look for bundle deals that include accessories like brushes and hangers for one low price.
  • Search coupon sites for promo codes you can apply at checkout to lower the price.
  • Consider buying a refurbished or open box steamer from a reputable retailer. You can often save up to 50%.
  • Compare prices across retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond.
  • Avoid paying full price by shopping at the right time. Buying during non-peak seasons like summer will yield better deals.
  • Use cash back apps and browser extensions to earn additional savings as you shop.

By seeking out deals and sales opportunities, you can often purchase a high-quality clothes steamer while sticking to your budget.

Clothes Steamer Brand Reviews

Not sure which brand to buy? Here’s an overview of some top clothes steamer manufacturers:

Rowenta is known for making powerful, high-end garment steamers with German engineering. Models like the Rowenta IS6200 deliver pro-level steaming power for heavy usage.

Conair offers a wide range of steamers across all price points. Their travel steamers provide good performance at affordable prices. Conair steamers have ergonomic designs.

Jiffy has specialized in steamers since the 1940s. Their innovative Cyclonic Steam heads rotate for effective wrinkle removal. The Jiffy Esteam is a workhorse.

PurSteam is the leader in chemical-free steamers made with stainless steel. The Eco-friendly SimpleSteam provides fast, green steaming power.

Steamfast makes lightweight yet capable handheld and standing steamers at budget-friendly prices. A top seller is the Steamfast SF-717 Home & Away steamer.

T-Fal designs user-friendly steamers perfect for home use. T-fal’s Ultraglide Easycord steamer delivers vertical and horizontal steaming.

How Often Should You Steam Clothes?

Here are some tips on the recommended steaming frequency for garments:

  • For crisp everyday shirts and blouses, a quick touch-up steam is ideal before each wearing.
  • Jackets and suits can be steamed after every 2-3 wears to maintain a fresh, wrinkle-free look.
  • With heavy fabrics like linen and wool, steaming after each wear helps them hold their shape well.
  • Delicate materials like silks only need an occasional steaming every 4-5 wears to avoid moisture damage.
  • Pretreat stubborn wrinkles on cotton with a fabric relaxer spray before steaming. This helps the fibers respond better.
  • Jeans can be gently steamed inside out after a few wears. Avoid over-steaming dark denim to reduce fading.
  • Pleated trousers may need more frequent steaming every 1-2 wears to hold those crisp pleats and creases.
  • Outerwear like overcoats see less frequent wear and can go longer between steaming sessions.

In general, garments worn close to the body tend to require more frequent touch-ups. Follow fabric care instructions and adjust steaming as needed. With the right technique, your clothes will stay looking their best.

Steaming Different Fabrics and Materials

Adjust your steaming method based on the fabric:

Cotton – Use high steam and go against the grain to get into wrinkles. Work quickly to avoid moisture damage.

Wool – Only use low steam and avoid prolonged exposure to prevent shrinkage or water spots.

Silk – Carefully hover over the fabric on the cool-down setting to gently smooth wrinkles.

Linen – This crisp fabric can handle high steam levels with no risk of damage.

Denim – Gently steam inside out at a low temperature to avoid fading indigo dye.

Rayon – Lightly hover the steamer over this delicate material using low heat. Don’t oversaturate.

Polyester – Use medium steam and move continuously to prevent water droplets from landing on fabric.

Sequins/Beads – Avoid direct steam contact to prevent tarnishing delicate embellishments. Lightly hover instead.

Leather – Briefly hold the steamer 6-8 inches away on low setting to relax wrinkles. Be very cautious.

Helpful Steaming Techniques

Once you have your steamer, use these techniques to get the best results:

  • Hang or hold garments taut for optimal wrinkle release. Loose fabric is harder to steam effectively.
  • Work methodically and slowly. Don’t rush the steaming process.
  • For heavy wrinkling, pre-treat fabric with a wrinkle relaxer spray before steaming.
  • Angle the steamer head up toward garment seams and vents where wrinkles tend to gather.
  • Use a brush attachment to fluff and shape fabrics after steaming.
  • When finishing, use cool-down steam to eliminate moisture pockets and avoid re-wrinkling.
  • For delicate fabrics, place a towel over the garment to protect it from direct steam contact.
  • To sanitize garments, use hot steam and slowly work across every area of fabric.

With some practice, you’ll get fantastic results and bring new life to your wrinkled wardrobe.

Troubleshooting Common Steamer Problems

Having issues with your clothes steamer? Here are some fixes for common problems:

Not heating up – Check that the steamer is plugged in correctly. Descale interior mineral deposits. Make sure the water tank is full.

Sputtering steam – Refill tank and double check water filters are clean. Use distilled water. Descale regularly.

Leaking – Examine seals and connection points for cracks. Tighten down loose parts. Replace worn gaskets and seals if needed.

Steam surges – Avoid overfilling tank past max line. This can lead to steam surges.

Weak steam – Examine steam plate and remove debris buildup with a cloth. Give interior a descaling rinse.

Auto shutoff engaging – This safety feature turns the steamer off after preset time of inactivity. Normal function.

Fabrics not smoothing – Increase steam level, re-fill water, and hold steamer head closer to garment as you work.

With some DIY troubleshooting, you can often resolve common steamer issues. But for internal repairs, be sure to consult an authorized service center. Proper maintenance will keep your steamer running smoothly.

How to Buy a Clothes Steamer: Final Takeaways

  • Choose from full-size standing, handheld and travel steamer types based on your needs. Seek out models with powerful wattage and large water tanks.
  • Opt for useful features like variable steam, a comfortable handle, attachments and auto shut-off for safe use.
  • Accessories like hangers, garment racks and creaser tools let you tailor the steamer to your wardrobe.
  • Follow all safety precautions when operating your steamer to avoid burns. Allow proper cooling before storage.
  • Maintain your investment with regular descaling, cleaning and proper care when not in use.
  • Adjust steaming technique based on each garment’s fabric and delicacy level for optimal, damage-free results.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can find the ideal clothes steamer for hassle-free wrinkle removal and easier garment care. With the right model, you’ll save time getting ready while keeping your clothes looking their absolute best.