My clothes were wrinkled beyond belief from being in a suitcase, lost by the airlines, and found just prior to my business consulting engagement. There was no iron available at our hotel and I was in a hurry. Thankfully I had packed one of those portable clothes steamers. I had spent a lot of time researching the best one before I bought it and I was happy to see that it worked again quickly to remove the wrinkles and save the day! Could this happen to you?
Clothes steamers are handy to have, whether they are portable, fixed, large, small, professional, or for home use. They can do a better wrinkle removing job than an iron on a wider array of fabric types without the risk of burning or scorching your valuable clothes. I have compiled a list of my favorite four clothes steamers that I discovered when researching one for myself. You may not agree with my list but, it should be a good starting point for your own research.
We have to begin with a list of the key specifications and features of clothes steamers so that you have some points of comparison. Some of the key specifications include:
Clothes steamers come either designed to be portable for traveling or portable within the home or business, or fixed and immovable. This article is about portable steamers for travel.
It’s important to know the wattage and voltage compatibility of the steamer. The higher the wattage, the faster the steam build-up and the more powerful the steam flow. Faster build-up saves you time and a powerful steam flow will make it faster to steam your clothes. Expect a steamer to be 600 watts or better. If you’re planning to stay in the states, 120 volt compatibility will be fine. On the other hand if you travel overseas, you should choose a steamer with dual 120/240 volt compatibility. Also make sure you have the plug adapters to match the country you are traveling to.
You should expect most travel steamers to have a durable plastic case but, some are more durable than others. Without actually touching the steamer before your purchase, the best you can do is to look for mention of durability in the advertisement for the steamer.
The more water you have in the steamer, the longer you will be able to steam at the same wattage. So it’s important when looking at water capacity comparisons to take into account the wattage. A lower wattage with a higher capacity will take longer to build-up steam and have a weaker flow but, it should steam for longer. A higher wattage device will build-up steam quickly and will have a faster flow but, will also use up the steam quicker. A usable steamer will have at least an 8 ounce reservoir.
Size and Weight:
Size and weight is a tradeoff among the wattage, size of the reservoir, the dimensions of the clothes steamer, its portability, and its steaming capability. Larger wattage, a larger reservoir, and more steam flow will translate to a larger size and less portability. Smaller wattage, a smaller reservoir, and less steam flow means a smaller size and better portability.
How easy is it to pour water into the device and what will you use when traveling to pour the water? If you have a large opening and a smaller device you may be able to fill it in the sink. Larger devices you may have to use the tub or a glass to fill it. Those with smaller openings are going to be more difficult to fill.
Some devices have trouble with hard water build-up. This can be a problem on the road where you won’t necessarily have access to distilled water. Some steamers specify using salt to soften the water and to speed steam build-up. You may not remember to pick up salt so keep that in mind.
How large is the handle? Does it fold for storage? Is it easy to hold and use the steamer? A larger handle usually will make it easier to use the steamer.
Unfortunately when you’re traveling, you don’t get to specify where the hotel places its outlets in your room. This usually means that although you want to hang your garment on the back of a door or on a hanger, there are only one or two choices for outlets and neither is convenient. The longer the cord length the more convenient it will be to use the steamer. Keep in mind that a long cord contributes to additional weight and less portability.
This is a must. Leaving your clothes steamer plugged in and unattended with the water exhausted is a recipe for a fire or electrical overheating. It’s easy to do when you’re in a hurry, so make sure you get a device that has an automatic shut off.
Steam is hot! It’s hotter than boiling water so it is possible to get burned with the steam itself let alone the housing. Make sure your device specifies a cool-touch housing or something similar to prevent inadvertent burns.
Hard Water Resistance:
Some clothes steamers are actually designed to minimize the effects of hard water. This is usually done by minimizing any narrow passageways in the design internally where hard water build-up can
We have used common features and specifications for the money for comparison purposes and judged a clothes steamer as better if it meets the specifications and if it gives a lot of value to the purchaser. As with all comparisons, this Top 4 is only our opinion and you may not agree. What we should be able to agree on is that there is enough information provided for you to make your own comparison and make up your own mind.
Clothes Steamers List
Please take a moment to read through our list and judge for yourself which clothes steamer is the best for you.
This steamer comes in black or pink. It has a 600 watt heating element for fast steam buildup; claimed to be one minute. It has a high impact plastic housing for durability on the road. Its 8 ounce water capacity gives it approximately 15 minutes of steam duration. It weighs about 2 lbs and has dimensions of 5 x 6.5 x 11 inches. It has a wide mouth making it easy to pour the water into the steamer. It uses regular tap water and does not need salt to aid in making the steam. From a safety standpoint, it has an automatic shutoff to prevent overheating when the reservoir runs dry. The ESTEAM comes with a cool-touch housing, hard water resistant design, a comfortable handle to hold the steamer securely and a long 9 foot cord for convenient use. This steamer is made in the USA and carries a 1 year warranty. It will be handy at home, at the office, or while traveling.
This is a compact clothes steamer (7 x 9 x 4 inches) that makes a great addition to any trip. It has an 800 watt element that provides a full 12 minutes of continuous steam. It is an excellent choice for all fabrics and can also steam draperies, curtains, and upholstery. It uses regular tap water in a 7 ounce reservoir and is great for touching up your shirts and blouses while traveling. The SteamFast SF-435 comes with a fabric brush, lint remover, and rubber accessory housing.
This clothes steamer is designed for travel but, can easily be used at home. It will remove creases and wrinkles from your thickest, toughest fabrics or your delicate thin fabrics alike. At home you can use it on curtains or tablecloths and dresses, suits or skirts while traveling. The Ultra Mini Travel Steamer is lightweight but, still has an 850 watt element for quick steam build-up and great flow. It is the perfect travel size being only 3.5 x 5 x 8 inches in size with a 3 inch steaming surface. The 5 ounce reservoir contributes to its small size. It comes with 5 interchangeable steam heads for a variety of uses. It uses regular tap water and comes with a long 8 foot, tangle-resistant cord. A drawstring travel bag is included for easy storage while traveling.
The Samsonite travel steamer is designed for travel within the U.S. and to foreign countries. It comes with built-in dual voltage (120/240 volts) capability. It is very lightweight and comes with a handy fold-away handle for easy storage. It claims to be able to easily remove heavy wrinkles in fabric from being packed in a suitcase. A detachable storage brush is included. The device also has a power-on light. Samsonite has designed this steamer with built-in anti-spill baffles to prevent hot water leakage at awkward angles.
Travel Steamer Comparison
|Title||SteamFast SF-435W Compact Fabric Steamer, White||ESTEAM® Personal Hand Held Steamer||Ultra Mini Travel Steamer||Samsonite Travel Garment Steamer Dual Voltage|
|Feature||800-watt fabric steamer provides 12 minutes of continuous steam|
More effective and gentler on fabric than ironing; 7-ounce water capacity
Removes wrinkles and odors from clothes, linens, curtains, upholstery, and more
Includes a fabric brush, lint remover, and rubber accessory housing
Measures approximately 7 by 9 by 4 inches
|600 watt heating element (120 volt for North America use only)|
High-impact plastic outer housing for durability
Quick one minute heat-up time
15 Minute steam time per filling
Made in the USA
|Perfect travel or at home steamer|
Removes creases and wrinkles from fabrics thick, thin or delicate for seamless results
Just fill with tap water
Includes a drawstring travel bag
Plastic; 3 1/2 x 5 x 8 inches
|Anti-spill baffles mechanism helps prevent hot water leakage|
Dual 240/120 voltage operation for worldwide use
Large-capacity reservoir (with water line window) fills easily under tap
Compact steamer quickly removes stubborn, packed-in wrinkles without harming fabrics
Lightweight, compact design with fold-away handle, detachable brush and power-on light
|Warranty||1 year||3 Year Warranty|
|Height||4 inch||11 inch||8 inch|
|Weight||1 pound||3 pounds||1 pound|
|Width||9 inch||6.5 inch||5 inch|
|Length||7 inch||5 inch||3.5 inch|
|Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews|
Product prices and availability are accurate as of Jul 7 18:04:26 UTC but are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the merchant site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
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For more great information on other home steamers don’t forget to check out our related articles Clothes Steamer: Top 4 Home Clothes Steamers For 2013, Handheld Steamer: 4 Most Popular Travel Steamers, and Best Clothes Steamer: 12 Travel Steamer Smart Buying Tips.
I hope this information will help you to make a better buying decision about a clothes steamer. There are many desirable features of a travel steamer but, it’s difficult to find ones that can make the grade. I have tried to point you in the direction of the best portable clothes steamers I’ve found.