The Best Clothing Steamers of 2023, Tested by HGTV Editors
Quickly and efficiently get rid of pesky wrinkles in your clothes — without lugging out the ironing board — with one of these editor-tested and -approved steamers. Plus, learn about the many health benefits of using a clothing steamer on items throughout your home.
Our Top Clothes Steamer Picks
- Best Overall Steamer: Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam Handheld Steamer
- Best Handheld Steamer: Electrolux Handheld Garment Steamer
- Best Standing Steamer: Pure Enrichment PureSteam XL Standing Steamer
- Best Value Steamer: Hilife Handheld Portable Clothes Steamer
- Best Foldable Steamer: Beautural Foldable Handheld Clothes Steamer
- Best Versatile Steamer: Salav Adjustable Standing Garment Steamer
- Best Travel Steamer: Polardo Handheld Portable Travel Steamer
- Best Steamer/Iron Combo: Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam 2-in-1 Steamer & Iron
We've all been there: You're in a hurry to get out of the door in the morning, throw on a shirt, look in the mirror and realize it's a wrinkled mess. You don't want to bother with the cumbersome ironing board (and might not even know where it is). Enter a clothing steamer. A clothing steamer is an easier-to-use alternative to an iron that works by heating water from its reservoir to create steam. That steam is then able to loosen the fibers in the garments it comes in contact with, releasing any wrinkles. Many consumers are fans of clothing steamers for not only their quick wrinkle-releasing capabilities but also for their ability to clean, freshen and even kill odor-causing bacteria in a variety of fabrics.
Benefits of Using a Clothes Steamer
While clothes steamers function similarly to irons, one of the main benefits of using a steamer is that they are much less damaging on your garments than an iron — especially when used on delicate fabrics. Irons require direct contact with the garment and use applied pressure and heat to remove wrinkles, whereas steamers are held a short distance away from the garment and use — you guessed it — hot steam to remove wrinkles. However, if crisp pleats and sharp creases are what you're looking for, then an iron is the best choice.
Steamers are versatile. They work wonders on many fabrics throughout the home such as wrinkled curtains, drapes, bedding, shower curtains, tablecloths, table runners, napkins and more. And let's be honest: Lugging out an ironing board and an iron to remove wrinkles from those larger fabrics would not be the easiest task (or the most fun, either).
Steamers also have many positive health-related benefits, including the ability to kill up to 99% of bacteria, viruses and germs on not only clothing but also household items like mattresses, pillows, stuffed animals, pet beds, sneakers, upholstered furniture and more. For best results, make sure the steam is hot enough (200 degrees Fahrenheit or more) and is in continuous contact with the fabric for at least three minutes. And, because of the intense heated-steam output, steamers also have the ability to clean, deodorize and freshen clothing and fabrics.
What to Consider When Shopping for a Clothes Steamer
Handheld vs. Standing: There are two types of steamers: handheld and standing. Handheld steamers are more compact in size and often travel-friendly. These steamers are ideal for frequent use on clothing as they're easier to use and usually have a trigger for controlling when the steam comes out. However, handheld steamers have smaller water tanks and are best for steaming only a handful of garments at a time. Standing steamers, or upright steamers, are often described as professional steamers since they're more heavy-duty than handheld versions. They usually have a long hose attached to the nozzle, an extendable pole, larger water tanks and sometimes come with an attached hanger. Standing steamers are best for longer steaming sessions and jobs that require a boost of powerful steam.
Fabrics and Power Level: Consider what type of material you'd be using the steamer on the most. Steamers are ideal for delicate fabrics such as silk, cashmere and wool that an iron's direct heat could damage, as well as cotton, polyester and linen. Avoid using a steamer on fabrics that could be damaged by heat such as waxed garments, leather and suede. Also, be aware of any plastic buttons or embellishments on your garment that could melt if in direct contact with the hot steam. Delicate fabrics need less power wattage to remove wrinkles, while thicker materials, like curtains, may need a steamer with more wattage to get the job done.
Size and Portability: If you'll be taking your steamer on the road with you, opt for one that is travel-friendly. Handheld steamers are the best option and are usually lightweight and compact enough to fit in a suitcase. Also, think about where you'll be storing your steamer and whether or not you'll have the space (especially for a standing steamer). Double-check the steamer's weight and dimensions before buying to ensure it's the right size for your needs.
Features and Accessories: A few steamer features to think about when purchasing include how long it takes to heat up, water tank capacity, how long one tank can steam for, how many steam levels it has, if the steamer is leakproof or not, and if it can be tilted horizontally to steam. Some steamers will include additional accessories to make them multifunctional such as brush attachments, storage bags, lint removers, guards to protect delicate fabrics, small cups for filling the water tank and more.
We considered all of these factors, as well as customer reviews, when selecting and testing our top picks. Shop our favorites below.
Conair's Turbo ExtremeSteam Handheld Steamer checks all the boxes with its powerful, penetrating steaming capabilities and takes our Best Overall title. A removable 7.3-ounce water tank fills easily with the recommended distilled water, and the steamer heats that water up in about 40 seconds. The nozzle features a dual-slotted ceramic plate that combines with 1,875 watts of power to produce double the steam and provide a smooth distribution of that steam for faster results — and fewer passes of the nozzle on wrinkles. While a lot of steamers on the market only offer one steam setting, the Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam boasts five settings, from Low to Turbo. Our tester found one tank of water to steam for about 15 minutes on the Mid-High setting and appreciated that the steamer could be used both vertically as well as horizontally — ideal for steaming fabrics low to the ground like the skirt of an armchair without having to worry about water spillage. She tested the steamer on cotton, linen and polyester-nylon performance upholstery fabric and noted that, while the upholstery needed more passes of the steamer to remove wrinkles, it was very effective at de-wrinkling the fabrics and was easy to maneuver. The steamer also comes with a built-in creaser for creating perfect pleats and a built-in stand for easy storage, while an included three-in-one attachment features a silicone band for pulling fabrics taut, a spacer for protecting delicates and a bristle brush to loosen fabrics.
Gone are the days of waiting forever for the iron to heat up and even longer to finally remove wrinkles and get out the door. With the Electrolux Handheld Garment and Fabric Steamer, you can have wrinkle-free clothing in just a few minutes. The removable 10-ounce water tank heats up in only 30 seconds and can continuously steam for up to 18 minutes. The steamer features two steam settings as well as an option to lock the trigger for continuous steam. Its 1,500 watts of power efficiently removed wrinkles in our tester's lyocell dress in just one pass, and her cotton dress took about two passes to remove the wrinkles. Because our tester says she always forgets to iron/steam until the last minute, she appreciated how quickly the steamer heated up and how fast it got the job done. As well as fast wrinkle-releasing capabilities, it also features a heavy-duty ceramic soleplate on the nozzle that evenly distributes the heat of the steam and helps control static on garments. Pump steam technology ensures no leaking or spilling of water no matter which way you use the steamer, vertically or horizontally, though our tester did notice a slight condensation transfer on the first few passes of the steamer after heating up. Other notable features include an auto shutoff function, a 12-foot power cord, included lint remover and fabric brush attachments, and a heat-resistant storage box.
Ensure you always have the freshest fabrics with the Pure Enrichment PureSteam XL Standing Steamer. The steamer is ready to use in just 45 seconds and makes quick work of wrinkles thanks to its 1,500 watts of steaming power. A removable half-gallon water tank allows you to de-wrinkle, clean and deodorize fabrics for up to an hour without having to stop and refill it with water. Our tester loved how quickly the steamer was able to freshen and get rid of wrinkles in her 100-percent cotton dress in just a few passes of the nozzle, noting that the handle is very easy to hold and control while using. She appreciated how smoothly the wheels were able to guide the steamer across her hardwood floor and how sturdy the telescopic pole was when it was fully put together. However, she does wish the hose was less stiff and a little longer in length to reach the top of her curtains. In the box, you get the steamer plus a hanger with clips and a fabric brush attachment. A two-year warranty is also included with your purchase. Pure Enrichment even claims this steamer can kill bedbugs and dust mites, and although we didn't test this claim, the high heat output of the steam created seems to back that statement.
With more than 77,000 positive consumer ratings on Amazon, the Hilife Handheld Portable Steamer definitely deserves a spot on our list. And, because of its powerful steaming properties for under $30, we've deemed it the Best Steamer for Value. The steamer heats up in a few minutes and boasts an 8.1-ounce water tank, which our tester found to last for 16 minutes of active steaming. Its light weight of 1.7 pounds paired with an ergonomic handle makes for a comfortable design, but the steamer should only be kept upright when in use and not tilted to avoid water spillage. Our tester found the steamer's 700 watts of power to work great, getting rid of wrinkles in her polyester dress and linen skirt in about two to three passes — all without any leakage or sputtering of water from the nozzle. While it only has one setting, the steam produced is more than sufficient for lightweight clothing but might need more passes on thicker fabrics to remove wrinkles. Other highlights include a 9.2-foot power cord, an included fabric brush attachment and an included water cup to make filling the tank a breeze.
Whether you're traveling with your steamer or just looking for a space-saving design, the Beautural Foldable Handheld Steamer is a great option. With 1,000 watts of power and a 30-second heat-up time, this steamer gets rid of wrinkles in no time. Our tester found the 5-ounce water tank to be easy to fill, with it twisting off and popping back onto the machine seamlessly. She steamed a cotton-blend shirt, a polyester shower curtain and polyester blackout curtains and was impressed with the steam level and how quickly it was able to remove wrinkles from those items. The steamer's handle folds into the device for when it's not in use and even comes with a mesh bag for on-the-go steaming and easy storage. A huge plus of this steamer is that it can be used either horizontally or vertically, and our tester didn't experience any leaking or drips of water while using it. While it is made slightly cumbersome by the fact that you have to continuously push the steam button to use it, she felt the effectiveness of the steamer far outweighs this con. And, an extra-long, eight-foot power cord allows it to reach across larger fabrics such as bedding and upholstered furniture with ease.
From curtains and upholstered furniture to blouses and slacks, the Salav Standing Steamer is versatile enough to remove wrinkles from and clean most fabrics its steam comes in contact with. Thanks to a 1.8-liter water tank, the steamer can provide over an hour of steam time without having to stop to refill it. Its 1,500 watts quickly and easily got rid of wrinkles in our tester's faux-linen curtains as well as multiple polyester tops. Because the steam produced reaches over 200 degrees Fahrenheit, this standing steamer is ideal for deodorizing, cleaning, freshening, and killing germs and bacteria on not only clothing but also bedding, pet beds, stuffed animals and more. While this steamer produces powerful and hot steam, its dual-insulated hose and nozzle ensure it can withstand the heat. Our tester appreciated how easy it was to store the steamer, with the adjustable telescopic pole and foldable hanger collapsing down to just 32 inches in height, which fits perfectly in the corner of her closet when not in use. A downside she noticed was that the included hanger was a bit flimsy at times. To prolong the life of this steamer, use only distilled water and empty any remaining water in the tank after each use.
Say goodbye to wrinkly clothes while traveling for good with the Polardo Handheld Travel Steamer. Its petite size, light weight of 1.2 pounds and handle-free design allow it to slip into a suitcase or weekend bag without taking up too much space. While the water tank is smaller than full-size steamers at just four ounces, its powerfulness removes wrinkles from clothes just as efficiently as those models. Our tester found that the steamer heats up in just 25 seconds and one tank of water lasted for 12 minutes of steaming time. A stainless-steel plate and 360-degree, anti-spill design allow it to be used as a steamer and an iron. Our tester used it to iron a linen shirt on her bed, running the metal plate over the fabric, and raved about the wrinkle-free results. She also used it as a regular steamer and found it to work just as well at removing wrinkles. Another perk of this steamer is that it features an internal nano water filter that allows you to fill the tank with tap water without the risk of calcification. One drawback our tester found was that, although it wasn't a lot, this steamer did spit small amounts of water when first switched to the steam setting and occasionally while using it. As a bonus with the steamer, a drawstring travel pouch and lint remover attachment are included.
You've probably heard of a steam iron (an iron with a steam function), but what about a steamer with ironing capabilities? The Conair 2-in-1 Turbo ExtremeSteam Steamer and Iron is able to do just that with its incredible 1,875 watts of steaming power. Heating up and ready to use in just 10 seconds, the 8.5-ounce water tank steams continuously for up to 10 minutes and would be best for quick work on a few garments at a time. When held vertically, the steamer functions like a normal clothes steamer, but when held horizontally, the steamer functions like an iron. An extra-large aluminum plate on the nozzle presses garments just like an iron would for a professional look. Four steam settings — Low, Mid, High and Turbo — allow you to take the steam from delicate fabrics (Low setting) to thick upholstery (Turbo setting) with a click of a button. Our tester found the Mid and High settings to work on everything she used it on, from denim and flannel to linen and cotton. She even used the steamer on hem tape for a sewing project and was impressed with the amount of steam it generated. While it does have a Smart Sensor Safety Feature that stops steam when the machine is placed on a flat surface, our tester wished it had an auto shutoff function as well. The steamer comes with three attachments including a bonnet to protect delicate fabrics, a creaser for pleats and folds, and a two-in-one silicone band and bristle brush for pulling fabrics taut and penetrating thick fabrics.
How We Tested
Our team of editors tested 16 different clothes steamers in a variety of prices, features and designs to discover the best one for each category and household. We put each steamer to the test and observed how quickly the steamers were able to get rid of wrinkles, if they leaked water at all, their ease of use and maneuverability, how long a tank of water was able to continuously steam, how powerful each steamer was, if they were travel-friendly and if the steamer included any accessories. Our testers used the steamers on a variety of fabrics including cotton, linen, polyester, lyocell, suede, denim, flannel and more. We noted our likes, dislikes and opinions for each one to determine the overall winners.