Best Clothes Steamer for All Garments and Fabrics

While some clothes steamers are very high quality and well priced, others are weak and have novelty features you don’t need. At IroningLab, we’ve tested and reviewed several garment steamers over the years and can tell you exactly what to look for in the best clothes steamers and what to avoid.

There are 2 main types of garment steamer. A hand-held model where the entire unit, including the water tank, is held in your hand and a standing unit where only the steamer head is held in your hand while the water tank is resting on the floor or table.

Here are our winners in each category!Bianca

our-winner


1. Rowenta X-cel – Best Clothes Steamer


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  • Power: 1875 watts
  • Ready: 25 seconds
  • Weight: 1.41 lb
  • Water: 6.4 oz | 200 ml

The Rowenta X-cel is an exceedingly powerful 1875 watt unit with the best steam output of all the hand-held clothes steamers we reviewed.

The buttons are smooth and precise and the ergonomics are fantastic. There’s practically zero leaking or spitting water while steaming.  It’s perfect for heavier fabrics like denim and linen curtains as well as more delicate silk and wool items. (Code-69-4664)

  • Powerful and Fast
  • Excellent Quality

2. Conair Turbo – Best Handheld Steamer


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  • Power: 1875 watts
  • Ready: 40 seconds
  • Weight: 0.45 lb
  • Water: 7.3 oz | 210 ml

The Conair Turbo is a slightly cheaper steamer with the same power output as the Rowenta. The main feature is portability as it’s incredibly lightweight for such a powerful device.

It has an average water tank but a marginally slower heat-up time.  The manufacturing quality is decent for the price. (Code-53-9000)

  • Powerful
  • Lightweight

See our complete Best Handheld Steamer article.


3. PurSteam Elite – Best Standing Steamer


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  • Power: 1500 watts
  • Ready: 60 seconds
  • Weight: 12 lb*
  • Water: 61 oz | 1.8 liter

PurSteam Elite is an affordable standing steamer with a large water tank resulting in around 60 minutes of continuous steam output.

It’s perfect for larger items around the home like linen curtains, sheets, and table cloths, while also being versatile enough to handle smaller and more delicate clothing items. (Code-99-4900)

  • Great Price (for standing steamers)
  • Superb Quality

4. Rowenta Dual Voltage – Best Travel Steamer


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  • Power: 1100 watts
  • Ready: 45 seconds
  • Weight: 2.5 lb
  • Water: 5 oz | 150 ml

The Rowenta is perfect for travel due to its smaller size and relatively light weight. Not only that, it’s dual voltage, which is absolutely essential if you’re traveling to Europe, Asia, Australia, or Africa.

It heats up much faster than we thought and has a decent-sized water tank for such a small device. We really love the price for what you get, but I feel it might struggle with larger loads. (Code-42-376)

  • Dual Voltage for Travel (110 volt and 220 volt)
  • Great Quality
  • Excellent Steam Output
  • A little large, but well worth it

See our complete Best Travel Steamer article.


5. Electrolux – Best Curtain Steamer


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  • Power: 1500 watts
  • Ready: 30 seconds
  • Weight: 4 lb
  • Water: 10 oz | 300 ml

The Electrolux is perfect for Curtains as well as most clothing and laundry items. It’s well priced and does a fantastic job of general steaming, but lacks the massive power and overall quality of the 1875 Watt Rowenta (winner).

Its main advantage is the 10 oz water tank which is significantly larger than other hand-held competitors, making it great for curtains and drapes. (Code-46-1800)

  • Good Value
  • Large Water Tank (for hand-held)

6. Black & Decker – Best Wedding Dress Steamer


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  • Power: 1400 watts
  • Ready: 60 seconds
  • Weight: 3.6 lb
  • Water: 7.4 oz | 200 ml

The Black and Decker is a medium-powered steamer with a medium-sized water tank and a medium price tag. It’s an absolutely no-fuss product that’s durable and well made with some handy attachments.

It can handle anything from a delicate fabric like a silk wedding dress up to heavy, steam-safe upholstery materials. If you don’t like the Rowenta and would like a work-horse alternative, this is a great choice. (Code-59-1900)

  • Well Made
  • Better Options Exist

7. PurSteam – Best Professional Clothes Steamer


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  • Power: 1500 watts
  • Ready: 45 seconds
  • Weight: 13.71 lb
  • Water: 85 oz | 2.5 liter

The 85 oz / 2.5 liter water tank on the PurSteam Dual Pole, is the biggest by far of any clothes steamer. This makes it great for huge steaming at home and excellent for professional or commercial use.

The dual pole construction provides added stability for heavier clothing like larger coats or wedding dresses. For its stability, power, and overall quality, it’s still a very well-priced machine. (Code-119-2900)

  • Massive Water Tank
  • Very Stable

8. Salav – Best Steamer for Suits


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  • Power: 1800 watts
  • Ready: 60 seconds
  • Weight: 15 lb
  • Water: 40.5 oz | 1.2 liter

The Salav is a top-of-the-line clothes steamer with a matching price tag. It is hugely powerful and very high quality.

Thanks to the detachable ironing surface and the soleplate design of the steamer, it can be used for steaming or ironing.

It’s designed for people who want to spend more on a well-made luxury product with added versatility. (Code-269-53)

  • Powerful
  • High Quality
  • A Bit Pricey

9. Rowenta QR – Best Steamer for Shirts


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  • Power: 1500 watts
  • Ready: 45 seconds
  • Weight: 36.6 lb
  • Water: 33 oz | 1 liter

The Rowenta QR offers the same dual-purpose steaming and ironing with its built-in ironing board and sturdy frame but at a better price. The large ironing board is fantastic for steam-ironing dress shirts.

As with any Rowenta, the quality is outstanding and the power is more than sufficient to make light of larger ironing or steaming tasks. The floor unit is easily removed from the frame for portability allowing it to be used on anything from expensive wool suits down to bed linens and curtains with absolute ease. (Code-229-429)

  • Excellent Value
  • Rowenta Quality
  • Large Ironing Board

10. Perfect Pro – Best Rowenta Steamer


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  • Power: 1800 watts
  • Ready: 45 seconds
  • Weight: 15.2 lb
  • Water: 37 oz | 1.1 liter

Although not strictly a steamer, the Rowenta Perfect Pro is an ironing station (sometimes called a steam generator) and produces a massive amount of steam. The 430g/min bursts cannot be matched by any traditional steamer.

It is actually an iron but can be used vertically without touching the fabric, just like any clothes steamer. You simply turn the “iron” vertically and steam away any wrinkles from clothes to curtains.

If you’re not sure whether you should be buying an iron or a steamer, this does both, really well! (Code-299-2700)

  • Massive Steam Output
  • 50% iron / 50% steamer
  • Pricey, But Worth It

11. Hilife – Best Affordable  Steamer


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  • Power: 700 watts
  • Ready: 130 seconds
  • Weight: 1.7 lb
  • Water: 8.11 oz | 240 ml

The Hilife clothes steamer is an immensely popular budget steamer. It’s so affordable that we were really surprised by its performance.

Let’s be honest, it’s low-powered, slow to heat up, and of average quality. But for most people who just want the occasional clothing item steamed, it’s more than enough. If you can get past the uneven spitting and hissing along with less than average steam output and the long warm-up time, it might just be a really good budget choice for you. (Code-29-69000)

  • Very Cheap
  • OK Performance
  • Fair Quality
  • Low Power
  • Slow to Heat Up

12. LG Styler – Best Steam Closet


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  • Power: n/a
  • Ready: n/a
  • Weight: 162 lb
  • Water: n/a

The LG Styler is a wifi-enabled steam closet that does everything automatically. You just place the garments inside and click start.

But don’t be fooled, it will only be useful to a select group of people. It costs about as much as a fridge and can only manage clothes, not curtains, drapes or bedding. As far as steam closets go, it’s about as good as it gets. (Code-999-0)

  • Hands-free Steaming
  • Expensive
  • Limited Use

Other Steamer Reviews

This article contains all the steamers we like. We have also reviewed steamers for more specific purposes like travel, dresses, and curtains. Click on the link below to visit them.

Best Steamer Overall (This page)


How To Buy a Clothes Steamer

Here are the most important considerations when choosing the best clothes steamer for your needs.

Standing vs Handheld

Why this matters: Standing units have larger water tanks.

Hand-held clothes steamers hold around 7.4 oz (0.2 liter) of water while standing units can easily hold up to 10 times more… usually around 70 oz (2 liters).

A larger tank increases the time you need before refilling by around 10 times! It’s great for larger fabrics like curtains, tablecloths, or multiple items like wedding- and bridesmaids’ dresses.

It also often results in a much higher power as well as steam output.

Hand-held units, on the other hand, are much lighter, more portable, and easier to store. They are great for smaller laundry work like the occasional wool coat or dress shirt.

You’ll need to consider what you’ll be using it for more often, and decide accordingly.

Steam Output

Why this matters: The higher the steam output, the more effective the garment steamer will be.

A lightweight travel steamer will really struggle to steam a thick curtain and even some heavier fabrics like denim can be a problem.

There are two types of steam output. Continuous steam and Steam Burst, sometimes also called Turbo Mode.

If you want to really fly through your work, the massive steam burst like the Rowenta Pro Station with 430g/min is absolutely fantastic.

Power (Time to Ready)

Why this matters: Simply put, the higher the power, the faster the steamer is ready to use.

Clothes steamers range in power from 700 Watts to 1875.

Power also improves steam production since the heating element can convert more water into steam at a higher rate.

Overall, the process of steaming anything becomes much quicker with higher-powered steamers.

Standing garment steamers usually have higher power since their heater is located in the floor unit.

That being said, exceptions like the Rowenta hand-held clothes steamer as well as the Conair Turbo both produce a staggering 1875 watts and easily compete with the power of standing units. They just lack the same water capacity.

Water Capacity

Why this matters: Tank size determines continuous use time without refilling.

Water reservoirs on the hand-held clothes steamers range from a minuscule 100 ml to around 300 ml. Larger tanks mean less refilling.

When it comes to hand-held steamers, bigger tanks aren’t always better though.

Thanks to the metric system we can quickly calculate that a full 300 ml tank will add 300 grams of weight to the unit. That’s around 10 extra ounces of water added to the 25-ounce steamer. It can really start to feel heavy if you’re steaming say curtains.

Floor standing garment steamers have much larger tanks that range from a conservative 1 liter to a massive 2.5 liters.

Since weight is not an issue, larger is usually better here.

Temperature Adjustment

Why this matters: The ability to adjust temp to be more effective on heavier fabrics or safer on delicate fabrics.

Not all steamers allow for temperature adjustment. If you’re looking for high steam volume and adjustable temp to work through larger items and loads, standing units will suit you better.

Weight & Portability

At around 3 pounds, handheld units are the most portable and can store away very easily.

Standing units come in two different types. With wheels and without. Those without wheels have a built-in ironing board and the steamer unit can actually be picked up and removed from the standing frame and carried around the home.

Accessories

You may want to look out for steam guards, attachable brushes, and hose extensions depending on your needs. Also, if you’re looking at a standing unit, consider if you need a built-in ironing board which could completely negate the need for a separate iron and board!

Quality (Leaking and Spitting Water)

We’ve looked at the overall quality of the product including its ability to prevent leaking and spitting water while in operation. Cheaper units can be quite a hassle to work with as they hiss and spit steam unevenly while splashing water droplets everywhere!

Rowenta is extremely well trusted in the world of ironing and their German-made products are incredibly high quality. You can feel it in the way the dials turn and the buttons push. If you’re not in the mood to shop around and are willing to pay the slight premium, Rowenta is our firm favorite for hand-held and standing steamers.

Black & Decker and Electrolux are equally well known but lack  the german manufacturing precision.

Conair is a more affordable option but is heavily focused on steamers which gives them the edge over some of the more general brands.

PurSteam is another dedicated steamer brand and offers a great alternative to the pricier brand names while still delivering great quality.

Price

Some units, particularly the standing steamers, can get very overpriced. You don’t get all that much more for the price increase and steamers like the standing PurSteam will likely work fine in every possible situation you can throw at it. Around $100 is a great price for a standing steamer while $60 gets you a really good handheld unit.


Notes

Referring to the specifications of each product:

  1. Power (measured in Watts) results in faster heat-up times and better steam production.
  2. Seconds to Ready is claimed by the manufacturer and is often a little slower in practice.
  3. Weight refers to dry weight (empty water tank) and includes the weight of the attachments. Standing steamer weights refer to the entire unit.
  4. Bigger tanks don’t necessarily mean longer use. Models with higher steam output will consume water faster.