The Top 10 Best Clothes Steamers of 2016

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Clothes Steamers: Questions & Answers

What are the benefits of clothes steamers over irons?

If you’re like most people, you’ve been using an iron to get the wrinkles out of your clothes at home. However, garment steamers have several advantages over irons. For one, they are more effective and faster. With an iron, you have to keep pressing down on deep-set wrinkles and oftentimes the water isn’t hot enough. With steamers, the heating elements are superior to irons and keep the steam very hot to get out trouble wrinkles. Steamers, while being stronger, are also gentler on your fabrics. With an iron, you can burn or melt clothes, and the pressure of the metal directly on the clothes wears down fabric. Pure, hot steam is gentle on every fabric, even delicate ones like silk and polyester.

What are the advantages of standing steamers over handheld ones?

When you’re choosing a clothes steamer, you will notice there are standing ones and handheld ones. Standing steamers have several features that make them more convenient than handheld steamers. The first plus is that they hold a lot more water. Handheld steamers work like irons in that you fill them with water, so you usually only get a few cups’ worth of steam. With standing steamers, there’s a separate water tank that can produce significantly more steam, like an hour’s worth or more. Another advantage is that standing clothes steamers function like mini dry cleaner’s; there’s usually some kind of telescopic pole, hanger system, and garment clip that holds up your clothes while you steam, so you can de-wrinkle full dresses, drapes, and so on right on the machine. With handheld steamers, you would need to use an ironing board or find a place to hang the item for steaming.

How do I care for a garment steamer?

Steamer maintenance is extremely easy. The only thing you really need to be aware of is that leaving unused water sitting in the tank can sometimes cause rusting. It’s ok to keep the water there for a few days if you don’t use it all and plan on steaming again soon, but in general, it’s best to empty it out right away. You should also be aware that some steamers have plastic water tanks that can warp or begin to melt from exposure to high temperatures, so consider what materials the steamer is made of if you plan on using it a lot and want it to last.

What is the preheat time on clothes steamers?

The time it takes for the water to get hot enough for steam depends on how big the tank is. The more water there is to heat, the longer it takes. In general, most standing steamers take between 45 seconds to two minutes to heat up. The Conair garment steamer has a quick heat time of 45 seconds to 90 minutes of steam. The SINGER SteamWorks Pro garment & fabric steamer has the same ratio.

How long can I use them before the water is gone?

Again, it depends on the water tank size. The bigger the tank, the more steam you’ll get. Distilled water is usually best and is used up less quickly than tap water. Depending on the type, you can get between 45 – 90 minutes of steam. An 84 ounce-tank produces that hour and a half. Some clothes steamers also have auto shut-off features that will turn the steamer off when there isn’t enough water. The SINGER SteamWorks Pro Garment & Fabric Steamer has this feature as well as an 84-ounce tank.

Can I use a clothes steamer on my drapes and furniture?

You definitely can. Clothes steamers are very versatile and can be used on a lot more than just clothes. You can steam drapes, curtains, sofas, sheets, armchairs, and pet beds. Steaming is especially useful if you own pets and the furniture starts to smell like a cat or dog. Instead of spraying artificial smells and chemicals into the air, a clothes steamer just uses clean water and heat. Steaming is a great way to freshen up your home without a lot of effort and the hot steam kills germs and dust mites.

What features should I look for in an easy-to-maneuver steamer?

With a standing steamer, you often have to move it around to steam different drapes and furniture in your home, so maneuverability is a concern. Look for rolling casters and consider how much the steamer will weight when it’s full of water. Bigger tanks will be heavier, so lifting them by hand should be avoided. Two specific clothes steamers that have great maneuverability are the Steamfast SF-407 and the Rowenta IS6200 garment steamer. The Steamfast is one of the lighter standing steamers and has especially mobile wheels. The Rowenta has a unique transportation design; it moves like a tilt and roll suitcase that you pull with a handle.

Can a fabric steamer get out really deep wrinkles?

One of the general concerns about clothes steamers is if they are able to get out really deep wrinkles like an iron can. Look for accessories like press pads and crease tools, as these really help with problem wrinkles to create crisp, smooth results. The Rowenta IS6300 garment steamer comes with a lot of these accessories, like a vertical roll and press pad which is basically like an ironing board attached right to the steamer.

What garment steamers are best for quick jobs on clothes?

For those times when you need to get out wrinkles or freshen your clothes quickly, steamers with smaller tanks are ideal. They heat up faster because they have less water, and you don’t have to leave a ton of water sitting in the tank when you’re done. The Steamfast SF-407 fabric steamer is especially convenient for quick jobs because it gets hot fast, has a smaller tank, and still provides a good 45 minutes of steam, which is more than enough to steam a few clothes before work, school, or an evening out.

What steamers are best for long steaming sessions, like steaming drapes and full laundry loads?

If you want a fabric steamer for your whole house, you’ll want a steamer with a big water tank. Depending on how many drapes or curtains you have, you could need an hour or more of steam to get the job done thoroughly. The two Jiffy steamers (J-4000M Jiffy and J-2000 Jiffy) are both very good steamers for this purpose. The J-4000M’s tank holds a gallon of water and provides two hours’ worth of steam. The J-2000 is a little smaller with a ¾ gallon and 1.5 hours.

What is the price range on clothes steamers?

Garment steamers cost more than irons, of course, but are much more affordable than dry cleaning. Some steamers on the lower end price-wise include the Rowenta IS6200 Compact Valet and the Steamfast SF-407, which are about $100-$150 apiece. The more expensive steamers like the J-2000 Jiffy get above $200. The J-4000M Jiffy is at the highest range at $300+. In general, the larger the water tank, the more expensive the steamer will be. It will also cost more if it’s made with more metal than plastic, so it lasts longer.

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