Advantages of having a high-quality clothes steamer
One of the huge advantages of buying clothes steamers is the fact that it is an alternative to ironing! Not only does this mean you dont have to spend time doing this arduous task, but a good quality steamer can also actually be better than an iron. Steamers dont make contact directly with the garment in question. The process is also faster and preferred by many to spending time at the ironing board. It can be less effective for tailors, who prefer to use steam presses and steam generating irons.
Steamers work by relaxing the fibers in clothes and allowing creases to fall' out of the clothes. The end result is a smooth garment. The only real disadvantage is that you can no longer iron deliberate creases in, though some options even have tools inbuilt to allow you to do so.
Features to consider when choosing a steamer for clothes
When looking at top-rated clothes steamers, which features should be considered? How do you know if a product is for you? Is the water tank important or should you just be looking at the temperature? We answer these questions and more in this section.
Type of steamer
By type, we basically mean upright or portable/handheld. If you plan to keep your steamer in one room in your home, for instance keeping it in your wardrobe, then an upright model is a good option. However, if you spend a lot of time on the road and are looking to keep your clothes in good condition in hotel rooms or when taken out of overnight bags, a portable steamer is probably your best bet.
Portable steamers don't provide anywhere near as long a time period, usually due to the fact that they don't have a large capacity for water (more on that below). Portable models work without the wand' section, and resemble an almost gun-like shape, letting you simply point at your clothes and get going.
If you are able to opt for an upright steamer, you will probably end up with a lot more features. Some let you adjust the steam level as well as being more likely to have multiple attachments and brushes.
Water tank capacity
If you read through our list of the top steamers on the market, you will notice how much the water tank capacity varies. Some only have a matter of 150 ml of capacity, whereas other models have huge one-gallon tanks. Naturally, upright steamers have a lot more space and therefore are more likely to have larger tanks, whereas a portable steamer will have a lot less space for water.
As you can imagine, the less water the steamer holds, the less time between refills.
Heat up time
Nobody wants to spend lots of time waiting for a steamer to get to the right temperature. Luckily, with modern technology, most steamers are able to get to a temperature suitable for heating in a matter of just a couple of minutes. In fact, 1-2 minutes is about the average length of time for the water to heat up and start producing steam. Some of the models on our list can do so in just 30 seconds.
If youre in a hotel and you want to quickly steam your clothes in the morning, being able to turn on your steamer and have it ready in under a minute is a big advantage.
Continuous use time
The amount of time you can use the steamer depends on both the amount of water it is using to create steam (you will eventually need to refill the water) and also, in some cases, how hot the steamer is getting. Most clothes steamers have an auto shut-off in place which means they will stop working if they get too hot, this is a simple safety function.
The main thing which dictates the use time is the water tank, though some do use their water more efficiently than others. For an upright steamer, a product which is able to hold more water, around 60 minutes of run time is a very good feature.
If you are opting for handheld, you will probably only get 10-15 minutes of use between refilling.
Weight is important if you are going to move your steamer around a lot. If it is going to be stationary in your home, then this is not the biggest concern, but if you are taking your steamer out on your travels with you, then it is really important that it doesn't take up a huge amount of your luggage allowance.
If you have an upright steamer, one which is small enough to store away in a wardrobe is a bonus. The Greatic BK-668 Heavy Duty Powerful Steamer with Garment Hanger is an example of a steamer which can collapse to some extent, so it takes up a smaller space.
Dimensions are even more important for handheld options. The best portable clothes steamers are great for putting in a backpack of your luggage to use when you are on your travels. If you have something big and bulky, that means less space for the rest of your luggage.
Steam hose length
The hose will usually sit separately from the main unit. This is true of upright steamers. The hose length will dictate how far it can reach. If you want to hang an item on a door, for instance, before steaming it, you will need something with a relatively long hose length. Many of the steamers on this list come with a hanger which allows you to position the garment somewhere appropriate before steaming.
All of the steamers on our list have a power cord, and the length isn't usually an issue for the majority of steamers. As long as the power cord is long enough to reach the area where you plan to have the steamer, then this is not too much of an issue.
For portable steamers, a long cord means that even if you cant get to a power supply that is in the perfect position, you can still use your steamer.
The warranties on the steamers we have come across vary a huge amount. When buying any electrical product, it is always advisable to look for the longest warranty possible. While some of the steamers on the market only have 6-12 months of warranty, there are products with five-year warranties, including our budget pick, the Lemontec Portable Travel Garment Steamer.
A longer warranty shows that the manufacturers have faith in the abilities of their product to last a long time.
Following a few simple tips can help you to get the most out of your clothes steamer.
- Fill your steamer with distilled water, or alternatively filtered water. This will mean there is a lot less chance of any limescale build-ups which can cause a malfunctioning steamer.
- Be careful not to tip your steamer in a direction where it may leak. Not all steamers are leak-proof, so you may have to point them in a certain direction.
- Consider what materials you will be steaming. This will help you to decide how long to steam and also which attachments to use. A longer time period and a brush will suit thicker fabrics and materials.
- You can use your steamer for things other than clothes! There are some hacks out there describing how you can use a clothes steamer to disinfect other materials, clean things like curtains and cushions and even strip wallpaper from the walls. Just be careful, and remember that the water coming out as steam will be very hot.