Garment steamers are best split into two categories. There are smaller, cheaper, more portable garment steamers and then there are the bigger versions that connect to a hose and a water tank.
These steamers come in all shapes and sizes, and not all are created equal. Most people aren’t familiar with what to look for in a garment steamer, and many others don’t realize the full potential of the technology. Despite their name, many garment steamers can steam much more than just clothes.
If you’re looking for the information you need to make an intelligent purchase, you have come to the right place. This guide will fill you in on all the important details so you can make a confident decision.
Things to Consider
The first thing you need to figure out is what you plan on using the steamer for and how often you expect to use it. A small, portable steamer may be all you need for taking care of clothes, but if you plan to use it for other functions, such as removing wallpaper, a portable steamer will be sorely lacking.
2. Water Capacity
Water capacity in a steamer is just as critical as in iron, if not more so. This is especially so because some smaller garment steamers have minimal water storage. If it takes you an hour to iron your clothes, you may not want to stop every ten minutes to refill the water in your steamer.
Wattage plays a direct role in how quickly a steamer heats up. Higher wattage means quicker steam times. However, the amount of time it takes to heat up the water corresponds directly to the size of the tank. It takes a lot longer to heat half a gallon of water than to heat a quart of water.
A warranty is often a good idea no matter what you’re buying, but it’s something to pay attention to as different manufacturers offer wildly different warranties. Most warranties will last a year, but some companies offer three- and even five-year warranties.
For a lot of people, the final decision will come down to price. Those extra features may be nice, but they just aren’t worth it for some people. Others settle for nothing but the best and are willing to spend top dollar for a quality product. Of course, the price is not always an indication of quality, and the most expensive product isn’t necessarily the best.
Rowenta may be the name to beat in steam irons, but I think Jiffy has an edge up on garment steamers. Not aesthetically, mind you. Jiffy’s steamers look like a mop bucket with a long handle. But I feel like they perform better, and the warranty is superior. 96 ounce capacity.
Heats up in two minutes.
Steams for 90 minutes.
Maybe you have no idea what to look for. Maybe you want a good recommendation as a benchmark for comparison. Or maybe you just hate shopping around. No matter your reason, we’re happy to offer our recommendation. If you’re looking for the most value at the best price, the J-2000 Jiffy Garment Steamer is your best bet.
- Features a 1300 watt brass heating element
- 5.5-inch hose provides longer reach for removing wallpaper
- Durable plastic casing protects against damage
- 3-quart water tank steams for up to 90 minutes
- Water heats up to temperature in just two minutes
- Comes with a three-year warranty
Best Garment Steamers Under $50
10. Handheld Garment Steamer with 3.4 Ounce Capacity
This handheld steamer from Vivreal is a perfect portable steamer for traveling or light steaming uses. It’s small and easy to use. Just fill it up, plug it in, turn it on and go. The chassis offers a clear view of the water line, so you can always tell when you’re running low on water.
The steamer works on a variety of different fabrics, and it heats up very quickly. It’s ready to go in 90 seconds, so if you need to get clothes ready for an interview in a hurry, this is a great choice for setting up an ironing board and waiting for the element to heat up. It’s small; convenient size also makes it ideal for traveling. Clothes often get wrinkled in a suitcase or travel bag; this portable steamer makes it easy to smooth wrinkles on a business trip or vacation.
While I like this steamer, it’s small size is also its downfall. It heats up very quickly, but with less than three and a half ounces of water, it can only steam for about seven or eight minutes. That’s perfect for a couple of items of clothes, but it takes five or ten minutes to cool down before you can put more water in it. This is never going to replace your iron, but thanks to its small size and portability, it is the perfect travel companion and is ideal for a quick fix when you’re in a hurry.
9. 5-in-1 Portable Fabric Steamer
This is another portable steamer that I liked. Like the last steamer, it is lightweight and compact. It uses 800 watts of power and heats up in about 65 seconds. It can steam for 14 or 15 minutes at a time, which isn’t bad for a portable fabric steamer.
This steamer is designed to go with you on the road, and it has several attachments that come in handy. In addition to being a steamer, it has a brush attachment and a lint roller attachment. This minimizes a number of things you have to bring with you, and the attachments make it ideal for any business trip. Not only can you remove the wrinkles your clothes attained in transit, but you can clean off any hair or dust that might be on them with the lint roller attachment.
Again, this steamer isn’t going to take the place of your iron, but it isn’t meant to. Irons aren’t really designed for travel, and without an ironing board, they can be frustrating to lose. This portable steamer helps your clothes look their best at an affordable price.
8. Conair ExtremeSteam Hand Held Fabric Steamer with Dual Heat
Now this one I like. It’s a bit heavier than the last two steamers, but it only weighs three pounds. What it does, it does very well, and it’s very reasonably priced to boot. It comes with several different attachments for different steaming purposes.
First off, with 1200 watts of power, this thing heats up in 45 seconds or less. That’s fantastic. I’m usually running late wherever I go and being able to quickly remove a few pesky wrinkles is great. It also has two different heat settings: 200 degrees and 395 degrees. This allows it to handle most types of fabric, from wool and cotton to polyester and nylon. It steams for about 15 minutes, and it has a clear water tank at the base of the handle that’s easy to check and fill.
The biggest problem with this is that the steamer tends to stop working after a few months. The problems are generally easy to fix, but it’s still frustrating because no steamer should have to get fixed every three or four months. Even with this complaint, it’s a very good steamer, and well worth the price.
Best Garment Steamers Under $100
7. PurSteam PS-910
With the PurSteam PS-910, we move from the realm of portable steamers to heavy-duty ones. The rest of the steamers I tested are the all heavy duty. I liked this garment steamer from the moment I saw it; it looks like a little robot with wheels! Assembly was a little challenging, but I eventually figured it out.
Appearance isn’t as important as function, and the PS-910 worked really well. The water tank is just less than half a gallon at 61 ounces, and it provides constant steam for about one hour, which is a pretty good length of time to get some work done. The heating element is made from aluminum, and the steamer is backed by a five-year warranty, which is a really great offer.
The PS-910 has an adjustable hanger that extends from 15 to 19 inches and is ideal for hanging wrinkled clothes for easy steaming. Its telescopic aluminum pole collapses to make storage easier. The steamer reaches temperatures up to 250 degrees and is perfect for steaming and removing old wallpaper and bedding as well as clothing. This is a very nice garment steamer well suited for home use.
6. Rowenta IS6202
Rowenta is one of the leading manufacturers of steam irons, so it’s little surprise that Rowenta also produces garment steamers. They have quite a few different models, and the IS 6202 is one of their more affordable steamers. It still works pretty well, though.
The 1500 watt steamer heats up in just a minute and features an 81-ounce tank that steams for a full hour. It is a very nice, modern-looking steamer with a simple foot on-off switch. A built-in hanger and garment clips make steaming your clothes easier by providing the hangars you need to be built in. The hose is made out of a flexible fabric that stays cool even when running for a long time, which is great. The height is adjustable, and a telescopic handle makes for easy storage.
There’s a lot to like about this steamer. My only complaint is that I feel like it should be able to steam for more than an hour with such a large tank, as other comparable steamers do. It is very similar to the Rowenta IS6300, and I was hard-pressed to notice any significant difference in performance other than wattage.
5. SINGER SteamWorks Pro 1500
It takes just 45 seconds for this steamer to get up to temp, and it can steam continuously for 90 minutes. The hanger can rotate 360 degrees, and the handle is telescopic. The steamer stands 55 inches when fully extended. It comes with an auto-off feature so that the heating element automatically turns off when the water is gone. The hose is five feet long, so you have plenty of reach for removing wallpaper or other steaming uses.
This is a fine, durable steamer that works well and is reasonably priced. It comes with a two-year warranty, so your purchase will be secured for some time. A good value on a good steamer.
Best Garment Steamer Under $150
4. Rowenta IS6300
The IS6300 is a pretty great midrange garment steamer that offers some nice extra features over a lower-end model. It’s durable, efficient and looks pretty great too. With 1550 watts, it heats up quickly and provides continuous steam for a long time.
It heats up quickly, and its 81-ounce tank provides for an hour of continuous steaming. It has a very nice built-in hangar design to hold your clothes, and it also has a hook to use your own hanger with. It turns on and off easily with a foot-operated switch. The telescopic pole adjusts to different heights, and the steamer comes with a variety of useful attachments such as a fabric brush and a lint bag. Thanks to its design, with large rear wheels, it’s easy to move.
One thing I did notice is that both this and the 6202 seem to go through water faster than some other steamers. The 81-ounce water tank is only marginally smaller than the 2.5 liters (84.5 ounces) SteamWorks Pro 1500 tank, but its steam time is one-third less. The Rowenta models still work well, but I wonder if I’m getting the same bang for my buck.
Best Garment Steamer Under $200
3. J-2000 Jiffy Garment Steamer
Rowenta may be the name to beat in steam irons, but I think Jiffy has an edge up on garment steamers. Not aesthetically, mind you. Jiffy’s steamers look like a mop bucket with a long handle. But I feel like they perform better, and the warranty is definitely superior.
If I have one complaint about the J-2000, it’s that the water doesn’t heat up as quickly as other models. The 1300 watt steamer takes about two minutes to come to temp. I find it hard to find fault with that, though. I’m not so impatient as to be bothered by a single minute’s difference.
The J-2000 has a 96-ounce tank and can steam continuously for 90 minutes. It has a high, telescopic handle and a five-and-a-half-foot hose. A six-inch steam head covers territory more quickly and thoroughly, reducing the amount of time spent steaming. The model I tested had a plastic head, but there is a model with a metal head for a bit more money.
This steamer may not look like much, but it comes up big where it counts – performance. You’ll have a hard time finding a better garment steamer for the price.
2. Rowenta IS9200
Now, this is more like it. I was a little disappointed with the other Rowenta models I tried because I felt like they didn’t match up favorably to other, similarly priced steamers. The IS9200, however, is everything you want it to be. It might be a bit too much for the average household, but if you need a more powerful commercial model, this is fantastic.
I complained that the other Rowenta models didn’t steam long enough. The IS9200 fixes that problem by providing two and a half hours of continuous steaming, thanks to its huge one-gallon tank. Adjustable steam input allows you to use the right amount of steam for any job. The steamer is foot activated and automatically shuts off when empty.
The steamer comes with one hanger and two hooks. By tilting it onto its back wheels, it’s easy to move, and the power cord and handle are both collapsible. It’s hard to imagine the average household needing two and a half hours of steaming time, but for professionals, this is a great commercial steamer.
Best Garment Steamer Under $250
1. J-4000 Jiffy Garment Steamer
The J-4000 also has a one-gallon tank, and it offers a similar two hours of steaming time. It doesn’t have the hangers and hooks that the IS9200 does, but I feel like its actual performance was better. The six-inch steam head just gets the job done so much more quickly than other steamers, and the aluminum housing is super durable, meaning this garment steamer is built to last.
There is one thing that baffles me about the steamer. It takes 15 minutes for the steamer to preheat and another two to five minutes to produce steam. Considering all the other steamers can do it in two minutes or less, I simply can’t figure out why it takes so much longer for this one to work.
Despite this one complaint, this is a powerful workhouse that will serve you well for years.
I spent a lot of time trying out these steamers and was satisfied with all of them.
Whether you need a simple, portable steamer for your travels, a larger steamer for home use or a heavy-duty commercial behemoth, there are a lot of great options here for you to choose from.
The J-2000 is probably the best residential home steamer, and I’m convinced it will serve you well for years to come.