The Ultimate Guide to Clothes Steamers

Perfect for eliminating pesky creases and wrinkles, clothes (or garment) steamers are a must-have appliance for any household. Here, we share the reasons why garment steamers are so handy, and what to look out for when buying your own.

Clothes steamer pros

There are a number of benefits to enjoy when you choose to purchase a clothes steamer, and they are particularly handy when you have complicated or delicate items that you need to make wrinkle-free.

For example, garment steamers are ideal for getting creases out of long dresses that can be awkward to arrange over an ironing board, and are perfect for straightening out your curtains during a spring clean.

In addition to this, there’s no risk of scorching your items, unlike when using an iron, so you can be confident that fragile materials won’t get damaged during use. Plus, the fact that you don’t need an ironing board makes clothes steamers a great option for those lacking storage space.

Clothes steamer cons

Clothes steamers are an amazing appliance for those tricky to iron items, but if you tend to have piles of work shirts to get through this probably isn’t the item for you.

This is because the steam only lasts for a short amount of time, which is ideal for one complicated item but not so helpful when preparing a week’s worth of shirts.

In addition to this, clothes steamers aren’t able to tackle creases around shirt collars or buttons, they are really more suited to long or delicate lengths of fabric. Like with an iron, you will need to take care when using a garment steamer, as they can spit hot water while in use.

What are the different types of clothes steamer?

When it comes to buying a clothes steamer, there are two main types to choose from. The first is a handheld steamer which is very easy to use and the cheapest option available.

Handheld garment steamers are portable, which is great if you want to be able to steam your clothes while on holiday or getting ready for a party in a hotel, and are the perfect choice for one-off items.

Hand held garment steamer
Tefal Access Steam Care Garment Steamer
A popular and top-rated option, this handheld provides a continuous flow of steam and is ideal for getting rid of creases on the odd garment or two.

The second option is a free-standing upright clothes steamer. These appliances are far more powerful than their handheld counterparts, and have a large water tank meaning that they can be used to steam multiple garments.

Free-standing garment steamer
Philips ComfortTouch Plus Garment Steamer
A budget free-standing unit enables quick and efficient steaming of garments when ether needed.

Things to look for when buying a clothes steamer

If you are hoping to buy a clothes steamer for your own home, there are a number of things to consider. If you’re opting for a handheld garment steamer, you should pay attention to the weight of the appliance as you want to make sure that it won’t be too bulky if you’re planning on taking it on holiday with you.

This is also linked to the item’s water tank size, as you want to ensure that it is big enough that you’re not having to constantly top it up, without making the appliance too bulky.

Steam flow settings are another feature to look out for when buying a garment steamer, as some have been designed to be suitable for both delicate and more hard-wearing items, and you should try to choose one that is suitable for all fabrics too.

Finally, you should check the steamer’s heat up time, as you don’t want to be waiting around for ages before you can use it, especially if you’re hoping it’ll save you time over ironing.

Now that you know all about clothes steamers, it’s time to find the perfect option for you and your requirements.

Top-Rated Clothes Steamers

Hand held clothes steamer
Tefal DR8085 Access Steam Handheld Garment Steamer
Despite the budget price tag, this handheld is great value with a fast 60 second heat-up time and removable 200ml water tank
Available from
Portable garment steamer
Pro Breeze Garment Steamer
Lightweight and truly portable with 50 seconds heat-up time and 200ml tank, another good value option
Portable garment steamer
Philips Steam & Go Plus Handheld Garment Steamer
A mid-price option with continuous steam, a heated head plate and brush attachment for deep pile fabrics
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