If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
As more people return to doing things in person — from work to social events — it’s time to put the sweatpants away and break out all of the clothes we missed out on wearing in the last year. But whether you’re hopping on a Zoom call or heading into the office, there’s nothing worse than showing up in a wrinkled outfit. Luckily, all you need is a portable, handheld steamer.
When it comes to eliminating those creases and making sure your clothes look as spiffy as possible, conventional wisdom might have you think the solution is to iron your clothes. That’s not necessarily wrong, as ironing has historically been a great way at smoothing everything out and having a crisp, sharp outfit. However, it’s a time-consuming activity and isn’t a solution for every type of fabric or article of clothing. Plus, you also need an ironing board and enough space to use it all.
Instead of an iron, using a handheld steamer is often a quicker solution for eliminating those pesky wrinkles from your favorite shirts or articles of clothing, especially if you’re traveling or you’re short on space. Read on for our tips on how to buy one, and what to look for in today’s best handheld portable steamers.
The Benefits of Steaming Your Clothes
While there are irons that having a steaming function, a classic garment steamer is ideal for delicate items or if you’re just trying to preserve the lifespan of your wardrobe. Steam billows out of the steamer and passes through the fabric of your clothes, causing the wrinkles to fall as you softly pull the bottom of your article of clothing. If you have a suit jacket, dress or anything that might be difficult to lay across an ironing board, steaming can be an easy option. Steaming also gives your clothes a more natural look, as opposed to that sharp or pressed look that sometimes comes with ironing.
The Best Garment Steamers
We picked our favorite handheld steamers that will keep your clothes smooth and clean, no matter the occasion.
1. Hilife Handheld Garment Steamer
This portable and lightweight steamer is all about ease, so you can just focus on the task at hand no matter where you might be or where you’re going. It lets you steam continuously for 15 minutes, and thanks to the 9-foot power cord, you don’t have to worry about being extremely close to a power outlet. The simple design and inexpensive price tag makes this a perfect choice if you’re new to steaming your clothes, but works just as well for seasoned steamers. If you don’t believe us, just take a look at any one of the over 5,000 five star reviews on Amazon.
2. Conair Turbo Extreme Handheld Fabric Steamer
Don’t let its compact size fool you, this steamer from Conair gives standard irons a run for their money and does more than just eliminate wrinkles. The three-in-one attachment includes a silicone band that gently pulls the fabric of your clothes, a spacer that will protect any delicate trims and finer materials, as well as a bristle brush to ensure a deep and perfect press. There’s even a quilted aluminum plate and built-in creaser to give your clothes a pressed look.
For some added steaming power, tap the Turbo button, which provides a hotter and more powerful steam. Not only will this instantly smooth out your wrinkles, but, according to the company, it can kill up to 99.9% of germs, dust mites and bed bugs; you’ll have peace of mind knowing your clothes aren’t just crisp, but clean as well.
3. Black+Decker Advanced Handheld Steamer
This handheld steamer from Black+Decker doesn’t just work wonders on your clothes, but can keep other things in your home fresh as well. Thanks to the three attachments that are included, it’s equipped to handle curtains, plush toys, bedskirts and upholstery. The locking stream trigger and a burst function promise a powerful and continuous flow of steam that will make wrinkles vanish in seconds. There’s even an extra-long 15-foot cord, so you can make more involved steaming sessions as easy as possible, wherever you are. Refilling the tank (220mL) is a breeze too: just remove it and slide it back on. As an added bonus, this steamer shuts off after 15 minutes, eliminating any concerns about safety should you forget or if something comes up while you’re steaming.
4. Jiffy ESTEAM Personal Handheld Steamer
If you’re traveling and looking to make sure you look your absolute best, this slim and compact steamer can be easily stored and packed in any bag when you’re lacking a lot of space. There are also four adapter plugs included, so you can make sure you’re prepared, no matter where you’re traveling. Despite its size, it features a large water tank so you shouldn’t need to take a break to refill it between steam sessions. Whether you’re looking to remove wrinkles from a suit, dress, blouse or shirt, this steamer will delicately remove wrinkles and help extend the lifespan of your garment. It also comes in pink.
5. Sunbeam Handheld Garment Steamer
If you have multiple garments or pieces to steam, but are short on time, this option from Sunbeam is perfect thanks to the large water tank. Fabric, linens, drapery, you name it, this steamer will penetrate the fabric of whatever it is you’re looking to freshen up. Odors, stains and wrinkles are no match for its 15 minutes of continuous steam, and the wider steam exit allows you to cover more fabric area so you can finish the job faster. The bar also heats up so you can tackle tougher wrinkles, ensuring a smoother and crisper look and feel.