Unwrinkle Your Wardrobe ASAP With the Best Clothes Steamers
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In the arena of oddly satisfying and mindless tasks, steaming clothing ranks high. In the early days of my career, I was a photo editor and fashion-prop stylist, and part of my role was steaming racks of garments before shoot day. It was a relatively foreign task to me at the time (I grew up in an ironing board household), but over the past 12 years, I’ve honed my craft with this magical de-wrinkling machine.
The pillars of a strong steamer fall into four main categories: setup, steam, application, and result. (Bonus points if it’s actually nice to look at.) The best clothes steamers check off all these boxes and blend in seamlessly with a well-designed home. By testing several models at home on my wrinkliest pieces, plus tapping Domino editors for some of their tried-and-trues, our fleshed-out list includes everything from lightweight handheld versions well suited for travel to stand-up steamers for marathon steaming sessions. Read on for our favorites.
- Best overall: Jiffy J-2000
- Best for quick touch-ups: Nori The Nori Press
- Best travel: Electrolux Compact Travel Steamer
- Best value: Pure Enrichment PureSteam Pro
- Best handheld: Steamery Cirrus 3
Best Overall: Jiffy J-2000
Height: 16.3 inches | Weight: 18 pounds | Water-tank capacity: ¾ gallon | Power: 1,300 watts | Heat time: 1 minute | Cord length: 7 feet | Attachments: Interchangeable steam heads
What we like:
- Sturdy pole
- No-fuss design
- Quick heat-up
- Hose can get hot
Why we chose it: A beloved Made in America steamer with a cult following.
Jiffy is an industry favorite for those in the styling community—and for good reason. This classic American brand has been designing steamers of some variety since the 1940s, and this model is the perfect blend of commercial quality and at-home versatility. The setup took me all of two minutes (attach the metal pole, twist the hose into the base, and tighten with a wrench that comes with the steamer). The water tank is easy to fill, and within seconds of switching it on, steam releases (though I’d suggest letting it run for a minute or two for the strongest flow of steam).
I tested this on a wool blazer, cotton poplin dress, and cashmere-blend cardigan—all of which were effortlessly de-wrinkled in no time. The only thing I would note about this model is that the hose can get hot, so you won’t want bare skin to have prolonged contact with it.
Best for Quick Touch-ups: Nori The Nori Press
Length: 14 inches | Weight: 1.4 pounds | Water-tank capacity: 29 milliliters | Power level: 450 watts | Heat time: 3 minutes | Cord length: 8 feet | Attachments: None
What we like:
- Six fabric-specific heat settings
- Sleek packaging, branding, and design
- A steamer and iron in one
- Best for smaller items
Why we chose it: The perfect travel companion for small wrinkles.
For the oh-so-trendy Nori steamer, I turned to Domino’s style editor, Julia Stevens, for her in-depth review of this handheld steamer-iron. Her first impressions of the model were a 10/10 with regard to packaging, branding, and design. She notes that the Nori takes around three minutes to heat up, and the directions recommend you put the garment either on a flat surface or hang it. “I found that hanging was much easier, because on a flat surface you’ll need to use one hand to keep your clothing in place while the other is ironing,” she says. While the Nori is a lifesaver for touch-ups, she adds that it’s designed to reach the center of a 22-inch shirt and thus best suited for small items.
Best Travel: Electrolux Compact Travel Steamer
Size: 9-by-6-by-4.5 inches | Weight: 1.64 pounds | Water-tank capacity: 3.7 ounces | Power level: 1,500 watts | Heat time: 30 seconds | Cord length: 7.5 feet | Attachments: Fabric brush
What we like:
- Compact size
- Minimalist design
- Includes fabric brush
- Hole for water refill is small
Why we chose it: A petite steamer that packs a punch.
Despite the fact that I’ve used upright steamers my entire professional career, at home I only use handheld models (that’s all that can fit inside my tiny New York City apartment). This Electrolux steamer is lightweight and easy to use, and the design is sleek and simple. It comes with a fabric brush, which is useful for removing hair and lint, and despite there being no actual handle, it was effortless to grip. The water reservoir is shaped to accommodate the half-moon silhouette of the base, so the hole is on the smaller side—not a big issue, but you’ll want to wipe off the water tank before clicking it back in.
Best Value: Pure Enrichment PureSteam Pro
Size: Base: 13.7-by-8.9-by-11 inches, Height: 4 feet, 6 inches | Weight: 9.9 pounds | Water-tank capacity: ½ gallon | Power level: 1,500 watts | Heat time: 45 seconds | Cord length: 7 feet | Attachments: Fabric brush
What we like:
- Multiple steam settings
- On/off foot pedal
- Comes with hanger
- Lightweight for upright model
Why we chose it: An under-$100 upright model that delivers on a strong, steady stream.
If you have the room for an upright steamer but aren’t sure you want to shell out several hundred dollars for one, I couldn’t recommend this model enough. There are several features that make it a good value, beginning with the on/off foot pedal, hanger attachment at the top, and strong steam (seriously, my garment wrinkles were gone in a flash). There are four heat levels total, and I used the hottest one on my toughest fabrics (looking at you, linen suit). The unit weighs less than 10 pounds, which is helpful in terms of moving it around, but it’s not quite as sturdy as other models that weigh twice as much.
Best Handheld: Steamery Cirrus 3
Size: 9.7-by-5.5-by-3.15 inches | Weight: 1.9 pounds | Water-tank capacity: 90 milliliters | Power level: 1,000 watts | Heat time: 25 seconds | Cord length: 90 inches | Attachments: Wearable ironing mat
What we like:
- Functions as steamer and iron
- Quick heat-up
- Minimal dripping
- Button to expel steam
Why we chose it: A well-designed handheld model with thin, powerful steam.
I tapped Domino’s deputy commerce editor, Samantha Weiss-Hills, to test Steamery’s handheld Cirrus 3 model for a recent work trip of hers. She used it on a very wrinkly cotton-spandex–blend shirt, polyester suit, and cotton dresses—all with great success. It took around 25 seconds to heat up, and steam quality was continuous, thin, and had very minimal dripping. Even though holding down on a button is required to release steam, she still liked the size, weight, and ease of use of this handheld; its base is even flat so it will stand up straight. She adds that the longer cord length was helpful as was its dual functionality. “What’s cool is that you can use it as a steamer or as an iron because it comes with a little mat you can put over your hand to iron for a more crisp look,” she explains. To note: The iron functions at what’s considered a level 1, so creases will be soft.
I also tested Steamery’s No. 3 Home Steamer, which I think deserves a shout-out thanks to its flexible hose (this makes steaming so much more pleasant) and easy-to-slide-on (and off) brush attachment, as well as the steam quality—I used it at the highest level on a stubborn cotton-poplin blouse and pair of wool trousers and was pleasantly surprised with the results.
How We Chose These Products
I researched dozens of steamers, looking not only for well-designed models but those that had desirable attributes like longer cords, easy-to-fill water tanks, attachments, and quick heat-up times. Then I called in several samples to test at home. I also tapped Domino editors for their favorites to add to the list. The end result is an edit of highly efficient, thoughtfully designed steamers.
When testing each steamer, I followed a specific methodology to evaluate the product: setup, steam, application, and result. With setup, I observed how easy it was to fill the water reservoirs, how long the heat-up process took, and how much setup was required before using. For steam, I kept an eye on the quality of the steam, if the flow was strong and continuous, and if there was any excessive dripping. Application pertained to considerations like how heavy the steamer was, the flexibility on the hose, and if the pole felt sturdy. And finally, for the result, how did the steamer do its job? Did I have to run it over the same area multiple times or did it de-wrinkle quickly?
Our Shopping Checklist
There are two main types of steamers: handheld and upright. Handheld steamers are great for mobility and easy to store. Upright steamers take up more space, but they make the steaming process more effortless and typically get the job done quicker than their smaller counterparts. For handhelds, it’s important to look for steamers that are lightweight and easy to use (e.g., holding down a button to release steam is more unwieldy). As for uprights, it’s important that the pole is sturdy and that the hose is flexible enough to wind around your garment without twisting up.
Steam Settings and Adjustments
While many steamers have settings that adjust the strength of the steam, some (like the Nori model) go the extra mile and offer custom fabric settings. I typically find that unless you are steaming a delicate texture like silk that is particularly pain-free to remove wrinkles from, the higher setting is the best approach.
All of the models shown here heat up quickly and release steam in a minute or two. This especially comes in handy for days when you’re running out the door and need to rapidly remove a wrinkle down the front of your shirt. Each model is also equipped with an auto shutoff, so you have some insurance if you forgot to turn it off.
Some of the larger upright steamers had wattage in the 1,500 range, which means it’s probably a good idea to plug into an outlet of its own while you steam your clothing. For the smaller models, it dips into the 450 range and you run less of a risk of blowing a fuse.
Some of the models I tested included a brush-head attachment. I had never used one of these before and always wrote them off as unnecessary, but for those garments that attract hair and dust, this extra feature proved to be a game changer. I would recommend steaming without the brush, especially for delicate fabrics like silk, but clipping it on when necessary (don’t do this while the steamer is hot—learn from my mistakes!).
Upright steamers are going to be more of a hassle when it comes to storage; it’s not efficient to break down and set up each time you use it. But if you have the closet space and find yourself needing quick steam most days, it’s a worthwhile investment.
Q: Are clothes steamers better than irons?
It depends on what you’re trying to de-wrinkle. For thin fabrics like silk, a steamer works extremely well. If you’re working on a pair of thick wool trousers or linen, ironing can be a more efficient route.
Q: What fabrics shouldn’t be steamed?
Leather! For the love of all things holy, never steam leather (that includes suede). Also don’t steam anything that contains a plastic material, as it may melt.
Q: How can I avoid water drips and leaks?
In my experience, even the best steamers can leak water from time to time. The best way to avoid this with handheld devices is to never fill your water tank above its fill line. For upright models, be sure to lift the hose up straight and hold for a few seconds before running it over the fabric—this allows any excess water that’s been gathering in the hose to drain to the bottom (and not scald your hand).
The Last Word
Having a steamer in your home is the ultimate life hack. It’s less clunky than an iron and ironing board, easy to use, and makes your overall appearance infinitely more polished. If you’ve lived without a steamer up until now and have decided between an upright versus handheld design, take the plunge and begin your new life as a de-wrinkled person today.
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