IF YOU hate ironing (don’t we all?), you need our pick of the best clothes steamers.
They’ll easily get the creases out of difficult-to-iron clothing, such as dresses, and are ideal for refreshing garments that have only been worn once – or items that require less-frequent washing, like blazers and jackets.
Clothes steamers are also ideal for cleaning larger items of fabric that are just too big for the washing machine – such as curtains – and upholstered items that can’t be washed in the traditional way: fabric sofas, armchairs and seat pads.
And, because they use high-temperature steam, they can also sanitise; killing bacteria and banishing odours.
Now you know what they do, it’s time to pick the right type of clothes steamer for your needs. And you have two options: a vertical steamer and a hand-held one.
Vertical steamers are bigger, bulkier and more expensive than hand-held designs. But their larger water tank means you can steam for longer without stopping, and they’re more powerful too.
They also have a built-in clothes hanger – simply pop your garments on the hanger and steam away. Go for a vertical steamer if you’ll use it often and have a lot of tricky-to-iron clothes in your wardrobe.
The other option is a hand-held design – small enough to take away on holiday with you and easier to store, but less powerful and able to steam fewer items in one go.
They’re cheaper than vertical ones and are a good choice if you only see yourself using one occasionally.
We’ve picked six of the best vertical and hand-held clothes steamers at a range of price points so you can get the ironing out of the way and move on to more interesting things.
1. Best handheld clothes steamer: Philips GC300 Steam & Go Steamer
- Philips GC300 Steam & Go Handheld Garment Steamer, £34.99 from Argos – buy here
A great entry-level hand-held design, consider this if you’ve never had a clothes steamer before and don’t want to splash too much cash.
This one is best if you’ve forgotten to iron your favourite dress and you need to be out the door in a flash as it heats up in just 60 seconds and provides 4 minutes’ steaming time. The 60ml tank means it’s light and easy to lift and it packs 1,000W of power/20g of steam per minute.
It also comes with a handy heat-resistant pouch so it can be safely stored without cooling after use.
2. Best design clothes steamer: Philips GC362/86 Steam & Go
- Philips GC362/86 Steam & Go Handheld Garment Steamer, £64.99 from Amazon – buy here
Probably the best-looking hand-held clothes steamer we’ve found, this sleek black and copper design can steam horizontally and vertically for greater versatility and is safe to use on all fabrics, even delicate silk.
It’s powerful at 1,300W and 24g of steam per minute so it can blast out stubborn creases and has a 70ml detachable water tank.
The Philips comes with a heat-resistant pouch for safe and easy storage.
3. Best small steamer: Fridja f10 Handheld Clothes Steamer
- Fridja f10 Handheld Clothes Steamer, £83.02 from Amazon – buy here
One of the most powerful hand-held designs out there, this is a good option if you need to clean heavier, bulkier items, such as curtains and rugs frequently.
It gives out an impressive 1,500W of power and 25g of steam per minute yet is delicate enough to use on silk and velvet. It heats up in just 45 seconds and will steam continuously for 14 minutes so the 260ml tank doesn’t need to be refilled as often.
Comes in three colours and includes a portable hanger for on-the-go steaming.
4. Best vertical steamer: Philips GC558/36 ComfortTouch Plus
- Philips GC558/36 ComfortTouch Plus Garment Steamer, £115 from John Lewis – buy here
If you’re going to take the plunge and buy a vertical clothes steamer, you might as well get one that looks as good as it steams.
This 2,000W design kicks out 40g of steam per minute thanks to its 1.8-litre water tank. The extra-long garment board means you can steam the lengthiest of clothes (maxi dress, anyone?) in one fell swoop, while the lockable hanger keeps everything in place.
It has five steam settings for all fabric types and comes with a two-year guarantee.
5. Best portable clothes steamer: Tefal Master Precision 360º Upright
- Tefal Master Precision 360º Upright Garment Steamer, £194.99 from Very – buy here
This vertical telescopic design can be adjusted depending on the length of your clothes, and it can be easily moved to any room in your home because it's on wheels – nifty!
The hanger can be rotated 360 degrees so every inch can be cleaned easily and quickly, while the removable 2.5-litre water tank will heat up in just 45 seconds and provides 80 minutes’ continuous cleaning from two steam settings.
The Team Master precision comes in a rather funky red and black.
6. Best clothes steamer-iron combo: Swan Pressurized 2400W Steam Iron
- Swan Pressurized 2400W Steam Iron, £59.99 from Swan – buy here
Okay, so this isn’t strictly a clothes steamer – it’s both an iron and a clothes steamer.
A great choice if you don’t want to do away with your iron but don’t want lots of gadgets cluttering up your cupboards, this powerful 2,400W pressurised steam iron works like a regular iron but can also be used for vertical steaming, so it can get creases out of clothes and upholstery just as well as a dedicated clothes steamer.
It kicks out 70g per minute of steam to make stubborn creases disappear in the blink of an eye.
It has a small 50ml water tank – ideal for vertically steaming a few items here and a thermostat means you have precise control over the pressure of the steam.
7. Best travel steamer: Steamery Stockholm pink handheld steamer
- Steamery Stockholm pink handheld steamer, £75 from ASOS – buy here
Steamery Stockholm is a rather brilliant brand that combines Scandi-chic design with easy-to-use technology in their garment care products, which include steamers and fabric shavers.
The Cirrus No. 1 steamer works on all fabrics (including silk) to not only leave clothes wrinkle-free, but also odourless.
It heats up in under 30 seconds, and can also be used to steam curtains and bedsheets.
Which garment steamer is the best?
There are different garment steamers suited to different needs – the one that’s best for you will depend on your requirements.
Generally, handheld steamers are less powerful than upright designs, but if you need a garment steamer for travel, then you may choose a handheld version from a respected brand like Philips.
The Tefal Master Precision 360° IT6540 is widely regarded to be one of the best upright steamers available.
Do steamers really work on clothes?
If you need to get the creases out of delicate fabrics or spruce up your workwear shirts while travelling, then steamers can be a very good solution. They don’t touch the clothing like an iron does – but that doesn’t diminish their efficacy.
Steamers can be used for all types of garments, from suits to wedding dresses – without damaging them.
Is it better to iron or steam clothes?
If you’ve got time and a lot of laundry to get through, then ironing is probably a better option when it comes to getting clothes completely crisp and wrinkle-free.
Steamers typically take up less room and are easier to use too, so they’re good for giving a garment a quick refresh.
For travel purposes, a steamer can be indispensable.
We’re all about helping you find the best products at the best prices, so follow the link if you want to check out more of Sun Selects’ recommendations
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