The Best Clothing Steamers

The Best Clothing Steamers

Our pick

Sunbeam Power Steam Fabric Steamer

Sunbeam Power Steam Fabric Steamer

A powerful steamer with clever details

This steamer melted wrinkles without spitting water on our fabrics—rare among the models we tested. It’s also comfortable to hold and has exceptional features, better than those of any other handheld steamer we tried.

Buying Options

$55* from Amazon
$50 from Walmart

*At the time of publishing, the price was $50.

Like most of the midsize handheld steamers I tested, the Sunbeam Power Steam Fabric Steamer produced ample steam for the job, and it was easier to hold and more thoughtfully designed than the competition. It was also one of the only handheld steamers that didn’t leave wet spots on test fabrics. The Sunbeam weighed just over 4 pounds with a full water tank (other midsize steamers we tested weighed between 2½ and 5 pounds), yet it was the most balanced and comfortable to hold for several minutes. It was the only steamer I tried that had a heat-up metal strip above the steam opening, which helped smooth fabrics (much like an iron would), and it was the only one with a switch to control the force of steam (low or high). Plus, it has a trigger button to switch between a steady flow or short bursts. It also includes a “steam handle,” a snap-on accessory that helped protect my fingers from the scalding steam and let me get up close to tough wrinkles. It has a three-year limited warranty, compared with the one-year warranty on the Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam (the second-best midsize steamer I tested).

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Budget pick

Conair Complete Steam Hand Held Fabric Steamer (GS2)

Conair Complete Steam Hand Held Fabric Steamer (GS2)

For occasional use

There are some real clunkers in the world of small travel steamers. But this one is better built and more efficient than others we tried—it even outperformed some of the pricier midsize competitors.

Buying Options

$17* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $18.

If you want a steamer on hand to occasionally freshen up a suit or a delicate top or to pack in your suitcase, you probably don’t need anything fancier than the Conair Complete Steam Hand Held Fabric Steamer (GS2). It’s less than half the price of the Sunbeam, and it was more effective at smoothing wrinkles than any other steamer I tried in its price range (most of which were junky). It was also one of the only steamers of this size (often called “portable” or “travel steamers”) I tested in 2019 that didn’t pour water out of the spout when tipped over. It has a relatively small water tank (5 ounces; the portables I tried ranged from 5 to 8 ounces), and it did spit some water when in use, but it left fewer wet spots on clothes than the other portables I tried. If you think you’ll use a steamer regularly, invest in the well-made Sunbeam, but if you just need to smooth a wrinkle now and then—at home or while traveling—the Conair is a solid choice. It has a one-year limited warranty, which is typical for small, inexpensive steamers.

Upgrade pick

Reliable Vivio 500 GC Professional Garment Steamer

Reliable Vivio 500 GC Professional Garment Steamer

For marathon steaming

This floor-standing steamer was more pleasant to use than the other big steamers we tried. It has smooth bursts of steam, a comfortable handle, and the biggest water tank of those we tested.

Buying Options

$190 from Bed Bath & Beyond
$190 from Home Depot
$220 from Wayfair

If you do a lot of steaming, or if you’d rather skip hefting a heavy handheld steamer, the Reliable Vivio 500 GC Professional Garment Steamer is a pleasure to use. It’s nearly 6 feet tall, with a base about the size of a canister vacuum; despite its cumbersome size, it was my favorite steamer to use in testing. The tank holds a gallon of water (the most of any steamer I tried), it heats up quickly, and its steam head was much more comfortable for extended use than the Sunbeam (which could stand in for a gym weight). Be careful rolling the Vivio across the floor when the tank is full—it can splash water. This steamer comes with a three-year limited warranty, which was average for the ones I tested.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Sunbeam Power Steam Fabric Steamer

Sunbeam Power Steam Fabric Steamer

A powerful steamer with clever details

This steamer melted wrinkles without spitting water on our fabrics—rare among the models we tested. It’s also comfortable to hold and has exceptional features, better than those of any other handheld steamer we tried.

Buying Options

$55* from Amazon
$50 from Walmart

*At the time of publishing, the price was $50.

Budget pick

Conair Complete Steam Hand Held Fabric Steamer (GS2)

Conair Complete Steam Hand Held Fabric Steamer (GS2)

For occasional use

There are some real clunkers in the world of small travel steamers. But this one is better built and more efficient than others we tried—it even outperformed some of the pricier midsize competitors.

Buying Options

$17* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $18.

Upgrade pick

Reliable Vivio 500 GC Professional Garment Steamer

Reliable Vivio 500 GC Professional Garment Steamer

For marathon steaming

This floor-standing steamer was more pleasant to use than the other big steamers we tried. It has smooth bursts of steam, a comfortable handle, and the biggest water tank of those we tested.

Buying Options

$190 from Bed Bath & Beyond
$190 from Home Depot
$220 from Wayfair

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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