Handheld steamers are the easiest way to remove wrinkles from clothes and curtains. They are really easy to use and store away much easier than a hot iron.
Unfortunately, so many websites pretend to know which models are good without ever having used them. We have tested the best handheld steamers and can say with absolute confidence, which ones are the best at steaming shirts, dresses, sweaters, suits, and even curtains.
For all other types of steamers, see our Best Clothes Steamer overall article.
1. Conair Turbo
- Power: 1875 watts
- Ready: 40 seconds
- Weight: 0.45 lb
- Water: 7.3 oz | 210 ml
The Conair is our favorite handheld steamer thanks to the massive power output for its great price. The water tank is fairly large and the weight is very light, making it very easy to use on larger items like dresses or drapes. Thanks to the power, it heats up quickly and can manage relatively large loads. If you need a great steamer at a good budget, this is a fantastic choice. (Code-53-9000)
- Great Value
2. Rowenta X-cel
- Power: 1875 watts
- Ready: 25 seconds
- Weight: 1.41 lb
- Water: 6.4 oz | 200 ml
Rowenta is often seen as the pinnacle in power and comfort, and the X-cel steamer is no different. Although it’s a little pricier than the Conair Turbo, and has the same 1875 watt power output, it is much faster and much higher quality.
The overall feel of the model is sturdy and well made, while the steam output is incredible for handheld steamers. We wish the tank was slightly larger. This is a better choice for people who need the extra steam and power, and are willing to pay a little extra. (Code-69-4664)
- Powerful and Fast
- Excellent Quality
3. Steam Creation
- Power: 1500 watts
- Ready: 15 seconds
- Weight: 3.3 lb
- Water: 4.3 oz | 130 ml
The Steam Creation is a powerful handheld steamer with a design similar to most standing steamers. It’s meant for smaller steaming tasks. Due to the design with a narrow handle, the water tank is much smaller than other handheld models. That being said, it has the power to battle with the big guys. You will just run out of water quicker.
Although this is a beautiful steamer, it’s really just for people who would appreciate the style and elegance of the design, over the need to use it for larger steaming tasks. If you are planning on steaming the occasional sweater or dress, the super-fast Steam Creation is our favorite choice. (Code-69-123)
- Elegant Styling
- Fast Heatup
- Soft Bag Doubles as a Protective Cloth
- Small Tank
- Power: 1500 watts
- Ready: 30 seconds
- Weight: 4 lb
- Water: 10 oz | 300 ml
Electrolux is a household name where value and quality meet. With its large 300 ml water tank, their steamer is the perfect workhorse for larger tasks. Anything bigger and you’ll need a standing steamer.
The price is equally attractive and, combined with good power and a decent tank, makes this the perfect model for anyone who wants something plain and simple, that excels at steaming. (Code-46-1800)
- Good Value
- Large Water Tank (for hand-held)
5. Black & Decker
- 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
- Ample Accessories
- Power: 1200 watts
- Ready: 40 seconds
- Weight: 1.61 lb
- Water: 4.5 oz | 140 ml
Kexi makes a medium-powered steamer for travel and other smaller tasks. It’s ultra high quality and well designed, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have dual power settings for Europe or Asia.
The handle folds in making it extremely compact and it even has an ironing soleplate attached to the front of the steamer. (It doesn’t replace an iron though.)
This is a pricier model, so you really need to decide if you want to use it for traveling across North America and Canada or for small steaming tasks where the garment might also need some ironing. Otherwise, it’s a little impractical. (Code-99-266)
- Very compact
- Folding Handle
- Soleplate for Small Ironing Tasks
- Quite Pricey
- Power: 900 watts
- Ready: 25 seconds*
- Weight: 1.2 lb
- Water: 4 oz | 120 ml
iSteam is a tiny low-powered steamer that comes in at a low price. You can only steam one or two items effectively at a time. The tank is really small and the power is almost as low as it gets.
If you want something this small and don’t need the power or water capacity, it’ll be a great choice. (Code-37-14700)
- Low Power
- Small Water Tank
- Power: 700 watts
- Ready: 130 seconds
- Weight: 1.7 lb
- Water: 8.11 oz | 240 ml
The Hilife steamer is by far the most popular steamer due to it’s incredibly low price. The water tank is large and can handle lots of steaming work.
Unfortunately, the power is the lowest of any steamer model we’ve tested. This means it has slow heat-up times and struggles to produce oodles of steam consistently.
If this is your first steamer and you want to see if steaming actually works better than ironing for some of your garments, it might be a great choice. You certainly can’t go wrong with the incredible price. (Code-29-69000)
- Very Cheap
- Extremely Popular
- OK Performance
- Fair Quality
- Very Low Power
- Slow to Heat Up
What to Look for in a Handheld Steamer
Portability (Weight and Size)
Why this matters: You’ll be lifting the steamer up with your arm. The average steamer weighs 3.5 pounds and can hold another 7 ounces of water. That’s around 4 pounds you’ll need to move up and down along every coat, dress, or curtain you’re steaming.
It may not sound like a lot, but if you’re prone to getting tired quickly, a smaller, lighter model will be a better choice for you. Also consider a standing steamer instead, where you only hold up the steam nozzle, not the entire unit.
Why this matters: Power leads to faster heat-up and better, more consistent steam production
The one problem with handheld steamers, especially cheaper models, is that they lack power. They go as low as 700 watts which is very weak and takes forever to heat up.
You really need at least 1500 Watts to get significant steaming work done. 1875 Watts would be fantastic but is overkill for some people.
Why this matters: More steam means you can remove wrinkles faster.
Steamers like the Rowenta, have a massive steam output which is further amplified with its steam burst function. You will cut through the wrinkles in half the time of a regular steamer.
Weaker or smaller steamers, will also lack serious steam output and can be much more frustrating to use.
Water Tank Size
Why this matters: Bigger tanks allow you to steam for longer without refilling.
Handheld steamers, by definition, don’t have a large water tank on the side. They need to incorporate the tank into the unit without making it too heavy when the tank is filled with water. You’d be surprised how heavy a full 300ml water tank can get.
That being said, if you are constantly interrupted by having to keep refilling the tank, it can be extremely frustrating. You have to decide how much you want to steam. If it’s 3-4 garments at a time, a regular 200 ml water tank is perfect.
An added safety feature is the auto-shut-off, that some steamers offer.
If you have three kids running around and distracting you from ironing or steaming tasks, it is probably a good idea to check if a steamer has this feature.
Otherwise, we have found that it isn’t really that essential.
You need a steamer with enough power and steam output to handle the tasks you’ll be using it for. For some people, 1500 watts is critical while others can get away with 700 watts.
Either way, you must make sure you have enough. You can always use a more powerful steamer with a bigger water tank on smaller items, but it doesn’t really work the other way around.
We’d suggest the Rowenta or the Conair if you’re really not sure. The Electrolux and the Black & Decker are perfect middle ground choices and the Hilife is really cheap, but works.