Best Fabric Steamer

For three years in a row, we have found that the Jiffy J-2000M Garment Steamer is the best fabric steamer that is suitable for both in-home as well as commercial use.

Gone are the days when ironing meant slaving away at ironing boards with bent, aching shoulders and pressing real hard to get rid of those stubborn wrinkles. Also, if one is not careful enough, one may end up scalding themselves. The best garment steamer is extremely efficient, much more than a traditional iron could ever be, and at the same time, tremendously reduce the effort needed on your part. With so many variants in the market, it can be perplexing to zero in on a steamer for your needs. If your work entails you being impeccably dressed in business attire, it is a good idea to invest in a fabric steamer as you will get professional looking results at a much lower price. They are easy to maneuver around the house, unlike a traditional ironing board that is unwieldy to carry around without bumping to walls and furniture. Also, unlike an iron, there is no danger of burning holes in your clothes. Not only does the steamer do a great job in removing wrinkles, it also refreshes the fabric, making it look as good as new. What’s more, you can even use the garment steamer to refresh and steam your curtains, quilts, pillows, mattresses and upholstery in your home and car.

In short, a fabric steamer is a useful addition to your laundry room.

A word of caution though – just as you wouldn’t iron materials that cannot withstand heat, you shouldn’t use the fabric steamer on materials that cannot stand heat and moisture. Be sure to wear shoes that cover your feet fully while operating a fabric steamer – sometimes, a few drops of water may drip and scald your feet if you are not watchful enough.
Keep in mind that the traditional iron is still the most effective device for achieving a crisp finish with creases. This is possibly the only area where an iron out performs a fabric steamer.

Top Pick: J-2000 Jiffy Garment Steamer

Jiffy J-2000Jiffy J-21000 has been consistently rated as the best fabric steamer in the full-size category. It is durable, heats up quickly, lasts a good 90 minutes for each use and is effective for both delicate as well as heavy fabrics. Apart from clothes, it also does a great job of steaming various other things around the house like drapes, bed linen and couches.

Runner-Up: Rowenta IS6200

Rowenta IS6200
Rowenta IS6200
is extremely convenient for lugging around the house. It has special wheels that swivel around, just like the wheels of a suitcase. Also, the height of the machine can be adjusted using the telescopic pole. Another convenient feature is the foot operated on and off switch.

Budget Pick: Steamfast SF-407

Steamfast SF-407Steamfast SF-407is an unassuming fabric steamer and one of the bestsellers. It is much more affordable than the other steamers in its category, and is well built, along with decent specifications. It also comes with a host of accessories like a telescopic pole, attachable fabric brush and a clothes hook. It has consistently been receiving a lot of positive feedback from customers.

What is a garment steamer?

A garment steamer is a portable device that uses the power of steam to relax the fibers in the fabric, thereby getting rid of wrinkles. A traditional iron requires a lot of effort and considerable skill, especially garments such as dress shirts and pants that have a complex design. With a garment steamer, the whole process is much more simplified, and there isn’t a whole lot of skill needed.

All garment steamers work on the simple principle of generating steam from water that is stored in a reservoir. A tube connects the reservoir to the nozzle, which can be pointed to the wrinkled portion of a fabric. The gushing steam then soothes out the wrinkles.

The time required to smoothen a fabric of course depends on the type of fabric and the steamer used, but in any case, it is a lot easier than slaving over an ironing board.
Although a garment steamer, as the name indicates, is primarily used for clothes, it can have several other uses in a household. For example, you can use them on bedding, couches, car seats, mattresses. Garment steamers can kill dust mites and reduce strong odors.

What are the advantages of a garment steamer?

A garment steamer requires practically no skill to operate. The same cannot be said of an iron, which requires some practice to get the different techniques right. Moreover, they are much quicker and more efficient, and all this without the use of any chemicals.

A garment steamers uses steam to relax the fibre in the fabric, as opposed to a traditional iron that simply flattens the material. This makes it especially suitable for delicate fabrics like lace, satin, polyester and silk. Materials like organza and chiffon, which look delicate and are particularly used in wedding gowns and dresses, are easily robbed of their bouncy look when stored in a tightly packed closet or in a suitcase. These materials are especially tricky to smoothen using a traditional iron and this is where the garment steamer really comes in handy. A garment steamer can also be used to restore the shape of stretched out sweaters and other knitwear.

Frequent trips to the dry cleaners is both inconvenient and expensive. Dry cleaners use chemicals to clean the fabric and if overused, tend to destroy the fabric. Regular use of a fabric steamer can help you reduce your trips to the dry cleaners. You can remove strong odors like cigarette smoke yourself, and use the garment a few more times.
Fabric steamers offer the ease of portability. Unlike traditional ironing boards, they are easy to move around the house.

Types of steamers

There are three types of garment steamers available today.

The Floor/Full-sized/Standing fabric steamers: These are most commonly found in dress shops and tailoring establsihments. They are particularly handy for removing wrinkles from clothes that are displayed in shop windows. They are also very handy around the home as they can be used for a plethora of purposes other than steaming clothes, for example for steaming bed linen, drapes, upholstery, etc.

They consist of a water tank that is connected to a nozzle with the help of a long hose. Most of the better models come with a rack so that clothes may be steamed while hanging them and feature a foot pedal for ease of operation. Due to this, they are a little bulky and do take up room. Almost all full-sized steamers come with caster-type wheels which allows for easy movement.

Travel/Portable Garment Steamers: This type of fabric steamer consists of a nozzle that is directly connected to the water reservoir. As such, it has no hose, so the steamer needs to be brought in direct contact with the clothes. Travel steamers are compact and light and are of a size that fits into a suitcase. Some models even fold and have dual voltage capabiltiies. It is especially beneficial for people who travel often and helps them save a lot of money on hotel ironing services. The downside is that because of their overall small size, the water reservoir is also small, which means it requires frequent refilling every 15-20 minutes. Also, it may take longer to remove wrinkles as they are more suitable for lighter duty jobs.

Compact/ Handheld Garment Steamers: These are a blend of the floor and portable steamers. These are smaller than the full-size ones and larger and more powerful than the travel sized ones. They come with larger water tanks compared to the travel sized ones and hence will not require very frequent refills.

Who should buy what?

There are some factors that you need to consider before buying a garment steamer. Analyze your needs before zeroing on the right kind of steamer.

If you are only occasionally going to use it, or if you are mostly going to use it on smaller, delicate fabrics, a compact steamer would suffice. If you mostly intend to use thick fabrics, a full-sized steamer is a better option.

Also consider your travel needs and of course, the size of your home. If you do not intend to take the steamer out of your house, then consider getting a full sized steamer as it is the most versatile of the three types. This type is generally comes with a number of accessories and can be used around the house.

If you reside in a small apartment or have other space constraints, it is a good idea to invest in a compact travel steamer. Those who travel often on business will do well with buying a travel garment steamer. These are small and light to fit into a suitcase. They turn out to be much more economical than going in for expensive laundry services at hotels. However, these come with smaller water tanks so you will need to frequently fill them up.

Irrespective of which type of fabric steamer you opt for, keep in mind that garment steamers will not give the creased and pressed look that an iron does.

How we picked

Apart from a great performance, good fabric steamer should have a few desirable features. Here are some of the criteria we used for coming up with our recommendations. The build must be strong and durable. A long hose, as also a long power cord ensures that the fabric steamer reaches into corners and high places easily. A larger capacity water reservoir means steam is continuously available for longer periods of time, without the need for constant refilling. A removable water reservoir makes refills easier and is easier to clean.

The steamer should be able to cater to a wide range of fabrics. A rack or a hanger is a handy attachment that makes steaming clothes much easier.

Full size steamers weigh upwards of 15 pounds, so good quality wheels are useful in moving the appliance from room to room.
Automatic shut-off is a safety feature that is very much desirable. In the event of the water running out, it prevents the motor from burning out.

Jen’s Top Pick: Best Garment Steamer

Jiffy J-2000Jiffy J-2000 is Jen’s Top Pick.

The fabric steamer features a solid brass heating element of 1300 Watts and this is more than enough for all your household needs, even if you are a frequent user. It is in fact, suitable for light commercial use as well. The steamer has a check valve system that allows for no spitting of water, thereby making it safe. The flexible hose is 5 and half feet long and the 6 inch steam head and handle are made of insulated plastic. The wheels are the easy roll caster type, which allow for easy movement. The device can be turned on and off with the touch of a button. The product has a 3 year warranty.

The water caddy made of clear plastic has a capacity of 3/4 th of a gallon and fits snugly into the base of the steamer. The Jiffy J2000 takes only 2 minutes to heat up and once filled up, offers steaming for a whole 90 minutes.

This steamer is perfect for both home use and for a bit of commercial use. It may be used around the house not only for removing wrinkles from clothes but also for bed linen, table linen and removing wallpapers. The outer housing is made of sturdy plastic that is extremely durable and the attached wheels can also swivel, making it easy to manoeuvre tricky corners.

With all these features, and its reasonable price, this is a great choice, especially if you are a customer looking to purchase a fabric steamer for the first time. It is very easy to operate, maintain and clean and you are going to enjoy using it for a long time. Multiple consumer review sites have consistently rated it top-notch.

Flaws but not deal breakers

Like any fabric steamer, you will not get the crisp pressed look that an iron delivers, though it works well for all kinds of materials. But again, this is true of any fabric steamer, so this is not a big problem area. Also, for heavily wrinkled clothes, it does take a few passes before the wrinkles are adequately removed.

The steam tends to come out in spurts and seems to have a tendency to spit water occasionally in spite of the valve system in place, so be sure to wear shoes that cover your feet fully. Be careful with the metal part of the hose as it can get fairly hot. We would have preferred an insulated hose.

The pole to hang clothes could have been a bit taller, especially when using it for full length dresses and gowns. A telescopic pole would have been a valuable addition.

Another desirable feature would have been lockable wheels.

The Runner-Up: Best Fabric Steamer

Rowenta IS6200Rowenta IS6200 is an efficient and easy to use full-sized clothes steamer that can be used for both garments and furnishings.

It has a steaming capacity of 1500 Watts and takes about a minute to heat up. The steam lasts up to an hour.

It has several desirable features like a foot operated on and off switch with an indicator light and a collapsible telescopic pole that can be used to adjust the height of the machine. There is a built-in hanger with clips to hold the garment in place while steaming.

The clear water tank has a capacity of 81 oz and is easily removed. The hose is only about 4 and a ½ feet long, but the frame extends to about 5 feet with the telescopic pole.
The large hind wheels allow for easy movement, akin to a suitcase. The hose and handle are insulated, thereby making it a safe device. The appliance comes with a useful set of accessories like fabric brush, lint pad and a crease attachment for the more stubborn wrinkles.

This is a great option if you are looking for a mid-range fabric steamer.

The Budget Pick: Best Budget Garment Steamer

Steamfast SF-407Steamfast SF-407 is our budget pick.

This full-sized fabric steamer has a 1500 Watt capacity and heats up in about 45 seconds. The 40 ounce removable tank provides a steam flow of 45 minutes.

The device has a detachable telescopic pole with a hook for attaching a clothes hanger. A fabric brush is included with the appliance. The wheels are of the rolling castor type, so free movement is possible, though a lock would have been desirable.

Best Professional Fabric Steamer

J-4000 Pro LineThe Jiffy J-4000 is a professional grade fabric steamer. It is the most advanced level steamer from Jiffy Steamer that is suited for commercial use.

The outer casing of the appliance is made of die cast aluminium. The water reservoir has a capacity of 1 gallon and is built into the housing and has a sight gauge that is easily readable. The internal steam chamber is made of stainless steel and has a 1500 Watt Incoloy heating element.

There is a preheat setting apart from the steam setting. The appliance takes about 15 minutes to reach the preheat temperature and an extra 2 minutes to generate steam. Each filling produces steam for 2 hours.

The hose is about 5 and 1/2 feet long and the steam head is 6 inches in order to cover a wider area in a single pass. The company provides a 3 year warranty on the product.

Best Compact Fabric Steamer

Jiffy Esteam
The Jiffy Esteam Personal Handheld steamer
Compact fabric steamer is our best pick in the handheld steamers department.

The device is simple to operate and has the most powerful handheld steamer available today. Simply plug in to use and unplug to turn it off – there is no on/off switch. There is an automatic shut-off function that provides the necessary safety should the water in the reservoir run dry. It can hold about 8 oz of ordinary tap water and provide 15 minutes of steam per refill. It is sufficient time to press wrinkles out of a selected outfit. It is also handy around the house for touching up drapes or shower curtains. It has a 600 Watt heating element and heats up quickly in about 2 minutes.

The outer casing is made of durable, high-impact plastic that is lightweight and provides for easy storage.

Best Travel Fabric Steamer

Conair Travel Smart
The Conair Travel Smart Garment Cleaner
is our top pick among travel fabric steamers. Weighing just 1 pound, it is extremely light, and the handle is foldable, making for easier packing. Even though it is extremely light, it is sturdy and durable. Also, the steam head is flexible, allowing for steaming in any angle.

The steamer has a capacity of 400 Watts and supports dual voltage that can be used internationally.

It heats up within a few minutes and runs for about 10 minutes, enough time for steaming clothes while on travel. It also has detachable bristles and a lint brush.


Although the above mentioned models are our best picks, there are several close contenders in each category. We list a few here.

Best Garment Steamer for Delicate Fabrics

Steamfast SF- 510

The Steamfast SF-510 is one of the best rated full-size fabric steamers. It has a power capacity of 1500 Watts that heats up in 45 seconds and features a 46 oz detachable water tank. With these specifications, it is reliable and efficient on both delicate fabrics as well as heavier fabrics like drapes and upholstery. The concentrated steam relaxes fibres and is effective in killing germs and bed bugs. The product has a one-year warranty.

Best Commercial Garment Steamer

Rowenta IS9200The Rowenta IS9200 Precision Valet Commercial Garment Steamer provides stiff competition to the Jiffy J-4000 among commercial grade fabric steamers.

It has 1550 Watts of power and heats up in just 60 seconds. Its large steam head provides for high steam output that quickly removes wrinkles. The 1 gallon removable water tank provides 2.5 hours of continuous stem. This commercial grade steamer has the following features in common with its regular full-size counterpart, the Rowenta IS6200 – suitcase-like wheels that can be tilted and rolled, a foot operated on/off pedal, telescopic poles for height adjustment and in-built clothes hanger. In addition, it has a retractable power cord that can be operated with the foot pedal. Other desirable features include a curtain extension for higher reach and on-board storage compartment that provides ample space for the included accessories like the upholstery brush, lint brush and crease attachment.

Best Handheld Garment Steamer

Conair Extreme SteamThe Conair Extreme Steam Fabric Steamer is a versatile 1100 Watt handheld steamer that provides two steam settings that can be used on any type of fabric. The device heats up in 75 seconds and provides up to 30% hotter concentrated steam that enables de-wrinkling up to 5 times faster than a regular steamer.

The higher heat setting can be used for thicker fabrics like cotton and wool and the lower one for more delicate fabrics like nylon, silk and polyester. There is also a steam trigger that can be pressed for a constant jet of stream. There is also a steam pause feature that aids in saving energy when the device is not in use.

The removable 10 oz water tank provides 15 minutes of intense heat per fill. This kind of concentrated steam kills dust mites and bed bugs.

Three useful accessories have been included – a creaser attachment that is perfect for pants and shirts, a fabric brush to remove lint, and a soft cushion brush to shield delicate fabrics.

At 9 ft, the power cord is long and convenient to use when reaching drapes.

Best Compact Garment Steamer

Steamfast SF-435The Steamfast SF-435 is an 800 Watt fabric steamer that provides 12 minutes of steam. The 7 oz water tank heats up in about two minutes. It is modestly priced, though it doesn’t perform satisfactorily on heavier fabrics. It is better used for touching up lightly wrinkled garments rather than for heavy duty use. Its compact form and light weight make it an ideal choice for travel. A fabric brush and lint remover are also included.

Best Travel Garment Steamer

Ultra Mini
The Ultra Mini Travel Steamer
, with dimensions of 3 1/2 x 5 x 8 inches, is among the smallest fabric steamers available. Its light weight makes it an ideal travel steamer for those who travel a lot and wish to keep their garments in perfect condition. The power cord is a decent 8 feet in length and is tangle resistant.

An on/off switch is built into the unit and the unit functions with tap water. The small 5 oz reservoir needs to be refilled often, but that has not impacted its popularity.
It is perfect for both indoor and outdoor use, at home or on travel. The 850 Watt heating coil is powerful and can easily remove creases from light as well as heavy fabrics. The unit comes with 5 interchangable steam heads that provide a steady stream of steam. An aesthetic drawsring travel bag is included along with this durable and energy efficient fabric steamer.

Frequently asked questions

How to use a steamer?
Gently touch the fabric with the steam head of the steamer in order for the wrinkles to vanish. Please be extra careful when dealing with delicate fabrics like nylon, lace and velvet. You could possibly bring the steam head close to the fabric but not touch it directly.
Do fabric steamers remove stains from clothing?
Fabric steamers do not remove stains from clothes or upholstery. They only disinfect them.
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Can regular tap water be used in my steamer?
Hard water causes mineral deposits to be formed inside the water tank. For this reason, it is best to use distilled water in your steamer, unless expressly mentioned that it is compatible with tap water.

Can water be left in the steamer?
Yes, but it is best to drain water from the steamer when not in use. Water left in the tank may cause mineral deposits to be formed.

Wrapping it up

Even the finest clothes look shabby when wrinkled. Fabric steaming is a simple way to keep your clothes in perfect condition. Choose from the range of options in terms of wattage as well as budget to find the most suitable garment steamer for your needs.

The Jiffy J-2000M Garment Steamer is the most popular full-size best fabric steamer for household use and it even withstands light commercial use. On the other hand, if you require a smaller and more portable handheld appliance, the Jiffy Esteam is what you need. If you are on a budget, the Steamfast SF-407 is a great option.

In any case, a fabric steamer is a valuable addition that you won’t regret adding to your laundry room.

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