It probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that we’re not huge fans of ironing here at IndyBest, which is why we’ve got a weakness for garment steamers. These gadgets use superheated blasts of steam to quickly smooth away creases without the need for long ironing sessions or the hassle of unfolding unwieldy ironing boards.
If you’re considering investing in a garment steamer, factors to consider include heat-up time – portable ones should take around 40 seconds max, while heavy-duty ones with built-in support boards can take up to two minutes – and wattage, avoid anything below 1,000W.
It’s also worth considering steam output, which typically varies from between 25g per minute to 200g. But don’t get overly concerned with the latter, because features such as ceramic plates and steam boost functions can more than make up for lower outputs.
Steam settings which allow you to quickly change temperature and steam output will mean you can easily steam a wide range of garments in a single crease-busting session, while a collapsible design and detachable brushes will be a godsend if space is in short supply. It’s also worth noting that steamers with built-in flexible ironing boards – which typically have larger built-in tanks – can weigh over seven kilograms, while handheld ones typically weigh between 1-2kg.
Finally, remember that garments steamers are no longer designed just for clothes. Due to the high temperature of the steam, steamers will typically kill 99 per cent of bacteria with just a 60-second cleaning sessions, so they’re a great way to keep soft furnishings such as sofas and curtains germ-free. Although certain features – such as an extra-long cable – will come in especially handy if you’ll be using your steamer in this way.
So what did our testing involve? Some seriously steamy crease-busting sessions, and admittedly a not-insignificant amount of time grappling with upright garment steamers, filling water tanks and tying ourselves in knots with steamer cables. That said, we’re definitely garment steamer converts, and hopefully the following models will convince you of their benefits, too.
The best clothes steamers for 2021 are:
Best overall – Philips Series 3000 STH3010 compact garment steamer: £29.99, Argos.co.uk
Best for super quick crease-busting – Russell Hobbs steam genie garment steamer: £39.99, Russellhobbs.com
Best value – Swan SI12020N handheld garment steamer: £24.99, Robertdyas.co.uk
Best for tough creases – Tefal access steam care clothes steamer: £89.99, Tefal.co.uk
Best for big garments – Tefal IXEO power QT2020: £349.99, Tefal.co.uk
Best for small homes – Tefal IXEO cube garment steamer: £279.99, Johnlewis.com
Best for gadget geeks – Samsung DF60R8600CG AirDresser clothing care system with JetSteam: £1999, Johnlewis.com
Best for crease-prone garments – Fridja high pressure clothes steamer f1500: £199.99, Fridja.com
Best for travel – Swan portable garment steamer: £34.99, Swan-brand.co.uk
Best for slick design – Steamery stratus no.2 professional steamer: £320, Selfridges.com
Philips Series 3000 STH3010 compact garment steamer
Tank size: 0.1l
This is a gadget which looks, feels and even sounds like a premium steamer. It’s incredibly travel-friendly as it comes with its own travel pouch and has a wonderfully compact design – the highlight of which is a handle which folds flat against the body of the steamer, which helps to minimise the risk of accidental burns.
The hairdryer-style design meant our hands were well away from the steamer’s business end and there’s a generous two-metre cable, which will come in especially handy for steaming sessions in unfamiliar hotel rooms with randomly-placed plug sockets (sadly, we tested it in the rather boring confines of our own home, to be clear).
The 0.1l water tank doesn’t have a release button, but simply clicks off with a light tug. The steamer made light work of some incredibly deep creases on a tent-like cotton maxi-dress (thanks largely to its super-sized head) and we loved the fact that we didn’t have to worry about slotting it back into its stand when taking a pause – it can simply be rested on its tank.
Buy now £29.99, Argos.co.uk
Russell Hobbs steam genie garment steamer
Best: For super quick crease-busting
Tank size: 260ml
This versatile garment steamer which comes with three attachments – an upholstery attachment for use on larger items such as curtains, a delicate attachment for materials such as silk and a lint attachment to deal with dreaded pet fur. Russell Hobbs’ steam genie packs a decent amount of power (1,650W), is quick to heat up – we timed it at just under 45 seconds – and has a large 260ml water tank which allowed us to indulge in steaming sessions of up to 10 minutes. Although the head isn’t ceramic, its extra width was a godsend, allowing us to cover larger garments in record time. Our favourite bit? The cable, which is the longest we’ve come across, coming in at a whopping three metres.
Buy now £39.99, Russellhobbs.com
Swan SI12020N handheld garment steamer
Tank size: 250ml
This is a brilliant budget-friendly garment steamer which instantly de-creased our favourite denim dress, and which comes with the added extra of a garment brush to help smooth down the fabrics – although to be honest, we found its crease-busting prowess just as impressive with the brush removed. The 1,100W provide more than enough power and the 250ml tank slides out incredibly easily (although you don’t need to remove it to fill it). Our one gripe? We would love to have seen a slightly longer power cable than this one, which measures 1.9 metres.
Buy now £24.99, Robertdyas.co.uk
Tefal access steam care clothes steamer
Best: For tough creases
Tank size: 0.2l
We’ll be honest: we’re huge fans of Tefal when it comes to crease-busting, and this portable garment cleaner shows us exactly why. Three steam settings and brilliant accessories (including a so-called steam bonnet for delicate garments and a vertical support board which can be dangled from hooks or door knobs) make it an incredibly versatile steam cleaner. Although the steam output could be higher (it’s 30g per minute) we’ll bet good money most consumers won’t notice, largely because the brilliant ceramic-plated head picks up the slack. This is a brilliant option for holidays, and the addition of the support board means it’s easy to get to grips with deeper creases without having to unfold the dreaded ironing board.
Buy now £89.99, Tefal.co.uk
Tefal IXEO power QT2020
Best: For big garments
Tank size: 1.1l
This is a stand-up garment steamer – as well as the steamer itself you get a stylish, black and copper stand incorporating what Tefal refers to as a “smart board”, which is basically a small, vertical ironing board which can be angled at will. It’s one step up from Tefal’s bestselling IXEO QT1020 upright garment steamer, and it packs quite a punch, offering 2170W of power (which is similar to the average steam generator-style iron), throwing out 5.8 bars of steam and offering the option to activate short, sharp steam boosts of 200gm per minute. Everything is also refreshingly easy to use – the 1.1l water tank slips out effortlessly, and the steamer head itself is incredibly light.
Buy now £349.99, Tefal.co.uk
Tefal IXEO cube garment steamer
Best: For small homes
Tank size: 1.1l
Yes, £279 is a lot to spend on a garment steamer, but in this case, it’s worth every penny. It’s certainly got a more industrial feel, with a 1.1l water tank and a ruggedness (backed up by a 10-year guarantee) which suggests it could handle a certain amount of wear and tear. Despite its size, it’s still relatively light, with a weight of just 3.8kg – something which certainly helped prevent the dreaded arm ache we experienced with other similar garment steamers.
Although we were initially slightly intimidated by the control panel, which has more buttons than many of the steamers we tested, it’s actually incredibly easy to use, and the combination of a portable design (why don’t more steamers have handles?) and a three-metre cable will appeal to those who want to use their steamers on items such as curtains, as well as clothing.
Buy now £279.99, Johnlewis.com
Samsung DF60R8600CG airdresser clothing care system with JetSteam
Best: For gadget geeks
First things first: this obviously isn’t your average garment steamer, or the ideal option for small homes. That said, if you’re keen to slash your ironing times, are feeling flush and have an abundance of space, the Samsung airdresser might just be the answer to your prayers. Part wardrobe, part garment steamer and part steam cleaner, the airdresser is a cupboard-sized piece of kit which resembles a futuristic fridge.
Place items inside it and after a couple of hours they’ll come out clean, dry and largely crease-free. Its crease busting powers work best on wool, but will still work wonders on thinner materials such as cotton and rayon, and a weight kit, designed to be clipped to the bottom of clothes, boosts its crease-busting credentials. Oh, and you can control it with an app, too. Watch this space for the version which will fold your clothes and put them away (joking, maybe).
Buy now £1999.00, Johnlewis.com
Fridja high pressure clothes steamer f1500
Best: For crease-prone garments
Tank size: 3.8l
Another seriously heavy-duty garment steamer, the Fridja high pressure clothes steamer f1500 produces five bars of pressure, comes with an enormous 3.8l tank and a flexible ironing board which slips into the main unit. It’s not the lightest of steamers, but a set of wheels increases its manoeuvrability, and there’s an overload of accessories, all of which proved useful (the fabric guard, designed for delicate fabrics, and the heat protecting glove, came in most useful).
It takes a slightly longer-than-average two minutes to heat up, but once it’s ready to go, its 2,200W of power ensures it blasts away creases in seconds. However, we’d suggest opting for something a little less heavy-duty if you’re new to the world of garment steaming – the design of the steamer itself meant there was worryingly little room between our hand and the hot blasts of steam, so you’ll need to be adept at handling this type of tech.
Buy now £199.99, Fridja.com
Swan portable garment steamer
Best: For travel
Tank size: 300ml
This sleek black monochrome steamer has a ceramic coating, which did a great job of slashing our ironing times. It’s also got several features we found incredibly useful, such as the slider-style steam control, which allowed us to tweak the steam output by tiny increments. The 300ml water tank meant we could sign up for lengthy steaming sessions without running out of, well, steam, and the 1500W power rating is more than enough to deal with a wide range of garments. We’d recommend it as the ideal steamer to take on holidays, although its compact design makes it a brilliant option for small homes, too.
Buy now £34.99, Swan-brand.co.uk
Steamery stratus no.2 professional steamer
Best: For slick design
Tank size: 3.2l
Upright garment steamers rarely look stylish, but this one comes surprisingly close to achieving just that. It’s incredibly quick to set up – ready to go in just one minute – does a great job of maintaining a constant steam temperature (you’ve got the solid brass boiler to thank for that). Plus, it can be used on a wide range of fabrics – switch to 1500W mode for lighter ones or 1850W for more resilient fabrics.
Although it’s far from the cheapest garment steamer, the added extras – you’ll get a fabric brush, heat protection gloves and a crease clamp – go some way to justifying the cost, as does the clever design. Four ridged wheels allow it to be quickly and easily stored away without compromising stability, and it’s also incredibly rugged. The nylon-blend steam head will stand up to some serious wear and tear, and despite the large tank, which will take 3.2l of water, it’s got an incredibly slimline design.
Buy now £320.00, Selfridges.com
The verdict: Clothing steamers
Philips’ Series 3000 STH3010 compact garment steamer looks amazing, but it’s not just its appearance which bagged it the top spot – it’s got a slick, compact design and is packed with features we wish we saw more of.
Russell Hobbs’ steam genie garment steamer is a brilliantly priced steamer which is simple to use and packs plenty of steam power. While Swan’s SI12020N handheld garment steamer is one of the best sub-£25 steamers we’ve come across, and is incredibly easy to use, too.
For offers on home appliances, try our discount code pages:
Want to take the hassle out of laundry day? Read our review of the best washer-dryer machines