The SmartFlow technology ensures that the steam plate is heated up to an optimal temperature. This way, the plate remains safe for all types of fabrics and prevents the occasional wet spots. It can be used vertically and horizontally.
The continuous steaming time is lower than advertised.
What the Philips GC362/86 handheld garment steamer lacks in steaming time, the model more than makes for up with its well-thought-out design, excellent functionality, and solid versatility. Aside from making your clothes look good, the appliance just as well removes odours and kills bacteria.
~ 1000 g
1 x heat-resistant storage bag, 1 x fabric brush, 1 x safety glove
Incorporating a no-leak silicone seal, this model can be stored and transported with a full tank. With its 15-minute continuous steam output, this handheld appliance lets you steam multiple garments at once. The heat-up time takes just 20 seconds.
The cable is a bit cumbersome.
Frequent travellers will not regret going with the Dodocool New LCD Smart Clothes Steamer. Despite its 2000-watt output, the model weighs just 1.4 kilogrammes, enabling hassle-free transportation. What's more, between 2 steam output modes, you can smooth out light and heavy fabrics alike.
1 x brush attachment
The lead is not long enough.
Albeit not the most powerful model out there, the Homeasy 800W Portable Handheld Garment Steamer is almost as capable as its more expensive competition. With the 5-hole nozzle head and the steam output reaching 130+ degrees Celcius, the model can remove the most stubborn wrinkles.
1 x storage bag, 1 x brush attachment, 1 x anti-scalding glove
The delicate bonnet will protect fine clothing. The upholstery bonnet will let you clean, refresh, and purify soft furnishings. Push the trigger lock and you can steam for 11 minutes straight without holding a finger on the power button.
The steamer's pretty heavy.
The Russell Hobbs 25600 will let you toss aside your ironing board. With this handheld garment steamer, you can handle the toughest laundry tasks without occupying a considerable amount of space. Plus, with the 3-metre cord, you can steam almost anywhere you want without worrying about the mains' location.
1 x delicate bonnet, 1 x upholstery bonnet, 1 x lint brush
2 years (1 extra year when you register the product online)
The unit can be used both vertically and horizontally. The six steam exits are spread wide to enable even and thorough steaming. The 1.9-metre cable does not restrict movements and lets you use the device without standing next to the mains.
The package is pretty limited.
The Swan SI12020N will let you steam on the road with about as much comfort as you'd have at home. Its ergonomic handle will allow you to target hard-to-reach spots and the large tank will enable prolonged steaming without refilling.
~ 60 sec
~ 15 min
~ 900 g
1 x fabric brush
Philips GC362/86 1300W
Go With the Flow
On paper, the Philips GC362/86 is your run-of-the-mill handheld steamer. Most of its specs do not necessarily disappoint nor impress. But that's just how it is on paper. Take a closer look and you'll find that the model actually has quite a lot going for it. At the end of the day, it isn't about the number of characteristics nor about the specs. More often than not, it is about execution. And that's where the steamer edges out a solid chunk of its competition.
That execution starts with the SmartFlow technology. In layman's terms, the technology ensures that the steam plate is heated up to an optimal temperature. This way, the plate remains safe for all types of fabrics and prevents the occasional wet spots. The heated steam plate makes it easier to press the fabric while steaming horizontally, giving you improved steaming results. All in all, the steamer is an equally fitting everyday solution for your standard garments and for delicate fabrics like silk.
By the way, the aforementioned horizontal steaming isn't your only option. Though it is the optimal choice if you need the right results in those difficult-to-iron areas such as collars and cuffs. But if you simply want to quickly de-wrinkle and refresh your clothes without using an ironing board, vertical steaming is the way to go.
Where Ergonomics Meet Functionality
Admittedly, some things about this handheld garment steamer aren't that impressive. The continuous steaming time of 8 minutes isn't too shabby for a handheld steamer but it isn't remarkable either. Plus, despite the advertised number, it doesn't always give you those full 8 times. The person to blame for the limited steaming time is mostly the 70-millilitre water tank.
Then again, we can't really hold it that much against the steamer. The numbers may seem unimpressive out of context but keep in mind that we're dealing with a particularly compact appliance. It adds up to 38.2 x 15.2 x 13.6 centimetres in overall dimensions and weighs less than 1.3 kilograms. Add to that the ergonomic handle and you have yourself a practical and convenient device that you could use for hours on end.
The steam output here is fairly respectable. The electric pump that the model comes equipped with automatically provides you with a continuous steam output of up to 24 g/min, just the thing you need for quick and easy de-wrinkling.
In conclusion, what the Philips GC362/86 handheld garment steamer lacks in steaming time, the model more than makes for up with its well-thought-out design, excellent functionality, and solid versatility. Aside from making your clothes look good, the appliance removes odours and kills 99.9% of bacteria.
|Last updated price||£59.99|
Dodocool 2020 New LCD Smart
Let's be Smart About It
The Dodocool New LCD Smart Clothes Steamer is pretty cool, but not necessarily quite as smart as the name would have us believe. We're fine with that though. We don't need steamers to be smart, we need them to be effective and efficient, which is pretty much the case with this model. The 'smart' part comes from the LCD screen that this handheld appliance adopts. With this screen, the model tells you whether/when the heating is complete and lets you switch between two steam output modes: 25 g/min and 35 g/min. With the first mode, you can smooth out everyday creases, whilst the second mode will make sure you can handle the most stubborn wrinkles.
Considering the model's handheld design, you would not really think that this appliance is the most powerful one. But, drawing 2000 watts, the model is a lot more capable than 9/10 handheld garment steamers. Because this steamer's working with 2000 watts, the heat-up time is reduced ~twofold, with the model pre-heating in 20 seconds tops, whereas its peers usually take somewhere around 40-45 seconds.
With the new and upgraded version, the nozzles have been improved as well, producing ~80% more steam (relative to the previous model) and letting you get into hard-to-reach fabric areas without compromising power or steam output. Owing to these nozzles, you won't leave more than 0.01% of bacteria on your favourite clothes. You'll also be able to remove odours.
No-Leak Silicone Seal
The people behind this appliance are calling it a smart update and we can see where they're coming from. With its help, you can smooth out linen, fibre, nylon, cowboy, cotton, silk, and more fabrics. Again, whilst the first steam output mode will allow you to work with shirts, blouses, and such, the second, more powerful mode will have no trouble even with heavy coats.
What's interesting is the steam lock feature. Using this feature, the model stretches its continuous team output up to 15 minutes. Steaming multiple clothes at once, the feature lets you handle the largest laundry piles within 10-15 minutes tops.
Where this product falls a bit flat is with the cord. A little cumbersome, the cord makes moving this otherwise convenient handheld appliance a little uncomfortable.
Other than that, the Dodocool New LCD Smart Clothes Steamer will prove equally practical and effective at home as well as during travels. Plus, the unique leak-proof design, equipped with no-leak silicone seal, lets you store and transport the steamer even with a full tank without worrying about leaks.
|Last updated price||£36.99|
homeasy 800W Portable
The people behind the Homeasy 800W Portable Handheld Garment Steamer are saying that this steamer's bringing wrinkle-free elegance and, from what we can tell, that is an accurate assessment. With its 8-minute continuous steam output, this portable appliance is quite good at removing wrinkles. Because the steam flow reaches 18 grammes per minute, the model can penetrate even thick fabric areas, smoothing out the toughest crinkles.
But, before that, where the 'elegant' part even comes from? To start with, the steamer's mint green coating looks fairly tasteful, with the polished finish giving the model a pretty charming appearance. At 23 x 18 x 13.5 centimetres, this handheld garment steamer should not present considerable transportation challenges. Likewise, stopping at 1.1 kilogrammes with the water tank and 800 grammes without it, the model will not prove especially heavy. By the way, the one-button pop-up water tank design lets you remove the handle (that doubles as the tank) with one hand.
Between the ergonomic nozzle head and the 5-hole nozzle setup, the steamer's application area is increased, meaning that you'll be wasting less time moving the unit around the garment. To add more, with the steam output reaching 120-140 degrees Celcius, the model can penetrate deep into the fabric, not just ironing the garment out but also refreshing it and killing bacteria. Sofas, carpets, curtains, towels, you can disinfect most household items with this steamer.
Continuing with the model's specs, this handheld garment steamer draws and outputs 800 watts, which is decent but nothing to write home about. On the one hand, the unit will be consuming less energy. On the other hand, again, its continuous steaming time peaks at 8 minutes, which means that steaming multiple garments in one go will seldom prove realistic.
What is realistic, however, is the steamer's 45-second heat-up time, letting you put the model to good use without waiting even a minute. What's also realistic is the brush attachment that comes with the package that enables you to remove lint from clothes and clean visible dust from different fabrics. On the package subject, the box also contains a storage bag that will enable hassle-free transportation and anti-scalding gloves that, as one would suspect, will allow you to steam garments without scalding your hands.
In short, the Homeasy 800W Portable Handheld Garment Steamer makes steaming various garments pretty easy at home and equally easy on the road.
|Last updated price||£26.99|
Russell Hobbs 25600 1650W
Lock the Trigger
The Russell Hobbs 25600 is not the smallest, most compact model in its price window. But, considering that the steamer's pushing 1650 watts, its size is understandable. In fact, taking its wattage into account, the 14.5 x 12 x 29 centimetres that this portable appliance measures and the 1.27 kilogrammes that the unit displays on weight scales are quite modest.
Setting these values aside, however, there's nothing modest about this product. On the contrary, its 260-millilitre water tank is fairly tremendous, letting you clean multiple garments or even handle a decent laundry pile without refilling the tank. What's also fairly tremendous is the model's 11-minute continuous steam time, contributing towards the same cause that the above-mentioned water tank is contributing, which is making sure that you can finish several garments without taking unnecessary breaks.
As subjective as it is, the steamer's appearance is where things start falling a little flat. Of course, this is not surprising when you take into account its size and immodest power, but we've seen more attractive handheld garment steamers before. We're not necessarily crazy about the purple and white combination either. Having said that, we do appreciate the transparent water tank that lets you figure out how much is left inside the tank without removing it. But we do not appreciate it quite as much as the trigger lock that allows you to steam without squeezing and holding the power button.
When you start nitpicking, the 3 holes on the nozzle might feel a bit inadequate at times. The good news is that you'll rarely be using them without putting some attachment first anyway. These attachments include a delicate bonnet that lets you steam fine clothing without worrying about damaging it. They also include an upholstery bonnet that cleans, refreshes, and purifies soft furnishings. As always, handheld garment steamers are not complete without a lint brush, picking up and removing lint and loose hairs.
Removing the attachments from the equation, the appliance automatically shuts off after 15 minutes of inactivity, which is always nice. The 3-metre cord is nice too, enabling you to steam without making you feel tied to the mains.
Long story short, with the Russell Hobbs 25600, you'll be making light work of the toughest laundry tasks, making sure that every item receives a fast and efficient freshen-up.
|Last updated price||£39.99|
Swan SI12020N 1100W
The Most Portable One
The Swan SI12020N belongs to the budget bunch, where the builds are not green and the outputs are not pretty. Despite that, the product is not bad, even without taking its price into account. Sure, the unit takes 60 seconds to pre-heat, ~20 seconds more than more expensive models. But, considering its 1100-watt output, we're not mad about that.
We're certainly not mad about its 15-minute continuous steaming time, matching even some premium handheld garment steamers and, truth be told, anything above that is excessive more often than not. This continuous steam action will be easily working through suits and dresses, removing creases and ironing wrinkles. Besides that, not unlike most steamers these days, this portable appliance will also be killing bacteria and eliminating odours.
Now, from where we're standing, this is an excellent opportunity to transition towards the portable part. Measuring 32.8 x 17 x 14 centimetres, the unit is even more space-saving than most handheld models, whereas its weight does not even reach 900 grammes, allowing you to steam without experiencing any hand fatigue. Needless to say, you should be able to always find enough space inside the suitcase to fit this compact unit. Plus, its long, 1.9-metre cable will allow you to avoid restrictive movement while steaming and will not keep you as tied to the mains as most cables, which is something that people who spend a decent amount of time in hotels will find pretty convenient.
Even and Thorough Output
Where construction and performance intersect is the nozzle. Here, it is reasonably ergonomic, fitted with six exit holes that are wide and spread enough to keep the steam output even and thorough. You'll be able to use that output to refresh anything covered in fabric, from clothes, curtains, and bedding items to carpets, sofas, and cushions. The consistent flow will also allow you to straighten most garments without facing substantial challenges.
The odd man out here is the package. Whereas most handheld garment steamers are shipped with multiple attachments, including lint removers, steam bonnets, door hooks, and pleat attachments, this product is shipped with but one fabric brush, so no great shakes here.
An opposite sentiment can be extended towards the model's tank though. With its 250-millilitre capacity, the tank will enable convenient steaming without frequent refilling.
Taking everything account, the Swan SI12020N will guarantee respectable results and will prove comfortable and practical at home and during travels, so its ~25-quid price is quite easy to justify.
|Last updated price||£24.00|
What Is a Handheld Garment Steamer?
A handheld garment steamer is an appliance that is used for removing wrinkles from anything made out of fabric, especially clothes, curtains, sheets, and other things that often get wrinkled with use or in storage. They are similar to steam irons, but there is one big difference - they can be used without an ironing board. Handheld clothes steamers have become quite popular to use for removing wrinkles from clothes without even having to remove them from the hanger.
On a very basic level, their main purpose is for removing wrinkles from clothes, but many models do have some additional benefits. Clothes that have been lightly worn before can be refreshed with a steamer without needing to toss them in the washing machine. Minor dirt stains can be removed, and unpleasant odors can be removed. What's more, many steamers can often heat up to full power much quicker than a standard steam iron, making the refreshing of clothes and other things made of cloth very convenient. Curtains can be smoothed and refreshed without having to take them down, and furniture can be quickly cleaned to remove unpleasant smells. All in all, they are very convenient for those who don't have the time to put various things through washing and ironing cycles.
What Features to Compare
Type and Use
There are several types of clothes steamers available today. The most popular one is a handheld garment steamer. It is used to de-wrinkle and smooth clothes that are hung on a hanger or attached to some pole. The beauty of handheld garment steamers is that they allow for a quick freshening of clothes including upholstery that is impossible to iron in any other way. Upright models are compact in size and take very little space; they offer excellent manoeuvrability. The second type is a steamer with a base. This type of garment steamer, obviously, is bulkier but it is also more versatile allowing you to iron almost all types of clothes and fabrics that you have in your place. Generally, using these garment steamers requires an ironing board too.
Power and Steam Output
The next two features to consider are the power and steam output. These two parameters determine how fast you'll be able to smooth and de-wrinkle your clothes. It's crucial that the steam flow is not weak and allows you to finish ironing in less time. 1300-1800 Watts are considered the ultimate performance with the minimal steam output of 25 g/min. It goes without saying that the more powerful the steamer is the faster the steam will be produced. Though the difference in time is not huge, it's still nice not to waste time waiting. So make sure to check out the heat up time as well.
Capacity and Steaming Time
Tank capacity is also important. The bigger it is the more time you will be able to iron without having to refill it. On average, tank capacity featured on garment steamers varies from 200 ml up to 2 litres. Whether you need a steamer for home use or you're looking for a portable thing suitable for travel as well, the market offers multiple options to choose from. Like we said before, the steaming time is linked to capacity.
Nozzles and Accessories
Finally, consider the package: what nozzles and how many accessories come supplied with the unit. What is also important to pay attention to is the quality of materials. To reduce the price of their products, many manufacturers produce nozzles from plastic, but if you want them to serve you longer, we highly recommend considering those made of durable aluminium or stainless steel. Some of the nozzles may also include an additional heating element which allows them to heat up faster and better removing stubborn creases. These nozzles are usually connected to a steaming station by a special hose, through which goes the steam; the longer they are, the easier it is to move the steamer over clothes. Last but not least, check out what brushes come included. Many of them can be really helpful, allowing you to clean not only your blouses, dresses, and pants but also heavy fur winter coats.
Did you know?
Tips for Using a Handheld Garment Steamer
Anyone who hasn't used a handheld garment steamer before may be a little confused about how to operate them. Most come with instructions, but many really don't provide much in the way of best practices for getting the best results. There tends to be some confusion about which types of fabrics to use them with as well. Here we will provide some tips on how to get the best results from your handheld garment steamer
- Be aware of which fabrics that garment steamers are meant to work with. In general, garment steamers work well with any fabric made of cotton, wool, silk, or polyesters. Some types of fabrics, however, should not be used with steamers, such as suede, waxed leather, or anything made from plastics. Make sure you check the label of your clothes or other fabric items to see what it is made of before using your steamer on it.
- Be careful with steaming delicate fabrics such as silk or velvet. Using too high of a temperature with the steamer can cause damage to these fabrics. Make sure that the steamer is held at least two inches away from the fabric, and don't keep it in one spot for too long. Any kind of fabrics that have prints on them may be better to steam inside-out.
- There are many types of clothes that steamers can be used on instead of irons. Heavier types of fabrics may get best results from irons, but many that are more delicate are best de-wrinkled with a steamer. Clothes such as jeans, dress coats, ties, and heavy cotton shirts will have best results with an iron, especially if they have creases that should be pressed.
- It's always best to use a steamer on clothes while they are on the hangers. Most handheld steamers work best when held in an upright position, and are specially made to work with vertically-oriented clothing. Turning a steamer at a low angle may result in problems with steam properly escaping or even water leakage.
- Anyone who does a lot of travelling is best off investing in a steamer instead of an iron. Many handheld steamers are made with portability in mind, have a smaller footprint, and weight much less than most irons.
- Handheld steamers can be used with much more than just clothing. They often work well with refreshing and de-wrinkling curtains, thin towels, and even some tapestries. Of course, before using on such items, be sure to check the material that they're made of before using your steamer on them.
- Don't overfill your steamer with water. Most steamers have some kind of indicator in the water tank to show the maximum filling level. Filling the water tank beyond this level may cause some problems, such as the steamer not distributing steam correctly, or excess water coming out of the steam holes.
- When using the steamer, it is best to move the steamer in slow, downward strokes along the fabric. Moving too quickly may not allow enough steam to be absorbed in the fabric, and moving too slowly can result in the fabric getting soaked and saturated. It may take a little practice with using the steamer before you are able to get the best results from it.
1. Martha's Tips for Choosing a Clothes Steamer, Martha Stewart. September 26, 2014.
2. Kelly Burgess How to Buy a Garment Steamer, ConsumerSearch. August 10, 2015.
3. Garment Steamer Buying Guide, eBay. February 18, 2014.
4. 3 Tips for Choosing a Portable Garment Steamer, DoItYourself.com.
5. Rebecca Ciaramidaro Garment steamer buying guide, Choice. March 21, 2014.
6. Mariette Mifflin Common Uses for a Garment Steamer, the Spruce. February 17, 2018.
7. How to Use a Clothes Steamer, wikiHow.
8. Irons vs. Steamers, eBay. June 9, 2014.
9. Clothes steamer, Wikipedia. January 14, 2018.
10. Kimberly Janeway Steamers Can Save a Trip to the Cleaners, Consumer Reports. September 21, 2015.