Steamer For Clothes: Key Specifications and Features

There are basically two types of clothes steamers that are available.  You can buy a home steamer for clothes or a portable steamer for clothes.  This article is about home steamers which are more heavy duty, are designed for more clothes, and can handle a wider variety of clothes and other household items.  For more information on portable steamers, please see our article Clothes Steamers Best Portable For 2013.

Steamfast Steamer For Clothes


Why would you buy a home steamer perhaps instead of an iron and ironing board?  There are several reasons including space, type of material, ease of use, and performance.  Once only available to laundries and dry cleaners fully capable clothes steamers have come down in price so that they are now available to most households.

Important Steamer For Clothes Specs

Before we can discuss the best home steamer for clothes, we need to take a minute to discuss the important specifications and features that you should base any decision on.

Steamer For Clothes Power

Power means wattage.  The higher the wattage, the quicker the steamer will heat up the water in the reservoir.  Also, more power improves steam output to allow steaming a wider variety of fabrics. Lower wattage devices may have trouble removing wrinkles from tougher fabrics like denim.

Reservoir Capacity

How long you can steam and how many garments you can steam depends heavily on the water reservoir capacity of the steamer for clothes.  As you might imagine, the more water in the reservoir, the longer the steam will last.  This is an important consideration if you normally want to steam a large number of garments or larger fabric area like that of drapes and curtains.

Steamer For Clothes Danger Hot Sign

Heat Up Time

Waiting around for the steamer to start producing steam is not my idea of fun.  If you’re the impatient sort or just can’t afford to miss a minute of your busy schedule, choose a steamer with a short published heat up time.  Many newer garment steamers can begin producing steam in less than a minute.



Steam Time

Steam time for a steamer for Picture of Steam From Earthclothes is directly related to the wattage and reservoir size.  More wattage means more powerful steam but, it also uses the reservoir at a faster rate.  If you’re looking for high wattage, make sure the steam time matches up with your expectations.  This usually means choosing one with a correspondingly large reservoir to maintain steam time.





Travel steamers are ultimately portable due to their small size.  You won’t be Example of Steamer Portabilitytaking a home steamer on the road in most cases but, you still need around the house portability.  Weight, dimensions, and capability to be moved are all important considerations for portability.  Wheels are the most common addition to a home steamer that helps with portability.  If portability is important to you, make sure your choice has wheels or some other easy method of moving the steamer from storage to where you want to use it.

Clothes Steamer Storage



Storage is concerned with how easy it is to store the device.  Most home steamers are fairly easy to store.  They typically have a built-in garment hanger for you to hang your clothes while steaming and that makes them tall.  Some are collapsible which makes them even easier to store.  On the other hand, they are usually very narrow and can be stored in a corner of a room or in a closet.  Think about where you can store the steamer when considering a steamer for clothes.


Clothes Steamer Long Power Cord


Cord Length

Even though most home garment steamers are portable, ultimately the length of the cord determines how close to an outlet you need to be when steaming.  If you are limited in the availability of outlets in your home where you will be doing your steaming, make sure you get a long cord that can accommodate your needs.  Important:  You are highly discouraged from using any sort of extension cord with a high power device like a clothes steamer.  The risk of fire and burns due to a hot cord are a real possibility that you want to avoid at all costs.


Home Steamer For Clothes Key Features

Besides the key specifications that you should look for, there are some features that can make your life easier when using your steamer for clothes.  Take a look at some of the key features:

Key Features Clothes Steamer


Garment Hanger

Many modern garment steamers come equipped with a handy garment hanger as an alternative to hanging your clothes on a door or other hanger somewhere in your house.  If this is important to you, make sure your choice has a garment hanger.

Clothes Steamer Fabric Brush


Fabric Brush

Some home clothes steamers have an included fabric brush to remove lint while steaming.

Garment Steamer Warranty



All other features and specifications being equal, a longer warranty may tip the balance in favor of one steamer for clothes or another.  Warranties range from a low of 90 days to a typical high of 5 years.  Look for a warranty of a year or more on your clothes steamer.


Clothes Steamers Comparison

TitleSteamFast SF-407 1500-Watt Fabric SteamerJ-2000 Jiffy Garment Steamer with Plastic Steam HeadSF-510 SteamFast Everyday Fabric SteamerRowenta IS6200 Compact Valet Full Size Garment Steamer with Foot Operated On-Off Switch 1500 Watt, Blue
Feature1500-watt fabric steamer smoothes away wrinkles and removes odors
Heats up in 45 seconds; 1-1/4-quart water tank produces up to 45 minutes of steam
Smooth-rolling casters; telescopic garment-hanging pole collapses for compact storage
Drain plug; 6-foot grounded power cord; press pad and fabric brush included
Measures 12-3/5 by 8 by 12 inches; 1-year limited warranty
1300 watt solid brass heating element (120 volt for North America use only)
High-impact plastic outer housing for durability
Quick two minute heat-up time
1.5 Hour steam time per filling
5.5-foot hose with 6-inch steam head
Natural fabric care-freshens and deodorize with no chemicals
Continuous fill; remove and refill water tank anytime
Insutlated stay cool hose
Convenient cord wrap
Easy storage
Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging
Build-in hanger with garment clips and hanger hook to hold garment in place for more convenient steaming
Extra-large removable transparent water tank holds 81-ounce of regular tap water for 1 hour of continuous steam
Foot operated on/off switch with indicator light is designed for comfort and ease of use; large back wheels for convenient movability
Soft touch, stay cool handle and fabric hose for added comfort when steaming; telescopic pole to adjust height, push down for compact storage
Large set of accessories: crease attachment, fabric brush and lint pad
Warranty1 year limited warranty3 Year Warranty1-Year limited warranty
Height13 inch16.3 inch63 inch16.77 inch
Weight9 pound15 pound
Width9 inch11.5 inch11.5 inch12.76 inch
Length12.6 inch17.5 inch11 inch15.75 inch
Rating3.9 out of 5 stars4.5 out of 5 stars4.1 out of 5 stars4.5 out of 5 stars
ReviewsRead ReviewsRead ReviewsRead ReviewsRead Reviews
LinkMore InfoMore InfoMore InfoMore Info

Product prices and availability are accurate as of Jul 7 18:21:44 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.

If you’re in the market for a portable travel steamer, I recommend that you check out our article Clothes Steamers Best Portable For 2013.

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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 article has provided you with valuable information that will help you in making your choice of a steamer for clothes.

  1. John E Shumate

    Hello: I am looking for a hand held fabric steamer with dual/International voltage, that has 11,00 watts or higher . If you know of one please advise. Thank you for your help.

    • Mark Ridgeway Mark Ridgeway

      John, I don’t know of any U.S. models that meet your requirements. Have you considered getting a Conair ExtremeSteam GS23 and buying a separate dual voltage converter that can handle 1100W or more and is designed for hair dryers and other appliances? That’s my suggestion. -Mark