There are lots of reasons to break out a hand-held steamer: They’re less bulky (and lighter!) than a traditional steamer, and can be less damaging to clothes than an iron. They can be used on fabrics that can’t typically be ironed, like synthetics or tulle. And they’re a great way to freshen up clothing between washes or trips to the dry cleaner. Even better: Many models are small enough and portable enough and take with you when you travel.
So go ahead — keep your iron stashed in the linen closet and try a handheld steamer instead. Here are five models we recommend.
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1. PurSteam Garment Steamer
This PurSteam Garment Steamer starts produces steam within a minute of turning it on, and pushes out 5 to 7 minutes of powerful steam that can de-wrinkle, sanitize and refresh clothes. The design has steam escaping upwards when not in use which also prevents that annoying “sputtering” of boiling water. When held, the handle makes it easy for you to hold it safely at a 45-degree angle against clothes. A nine-foot power cord gives you more freedom of movement as well.
2. Magictec Travel Garment Steamer
Even more compact than the PurSteam, the Magictec Travel Garment Steamer has many of the same features: it heats up in the same amount of time for continuous, powerful steam, also has a nine-foot cord for mobility, a design that helps minimize spills and sputtering. Five vents in the nozzle keep the steam concentrated and directional.
3. Polardo Portable Hand Held Steamer
While most handheld steamers are small and powerful, the design of the Polardo Portable Hand Held Steamer is especially sleek, making it even easier to pack. The shape is less stable on a tabletop, but the design allows it to be held or pointed at any angle without spilling. A switch also allows you to turn off continuous steam — which is good if you want to pause between steaming garments. It even allows for horizontal steaming on an ironing board.
4. BEAUTURAL 1200-Watt Steamer for Clothes
With a comfortable grip and a spill-and sputter-proof pump design, this steamer can be used at any angle, including horizontal. When held, the steam can be controlled by a trigger. Because it doesn’t have a continuous flow, you can pause between steaming jobs without wasting water. It also heats up extremely fast — in about 30 seconds. Attachments also allow you to steam pleats as well as remove lint and steam furniture.
5. Rowenta 2 in 1 Handheld Fabric Steamer and Steam Iron
If you anticipate needing to iron and steam clothes on a trip, this will take care of both jobs. A comfortable handle lets you hold the iron vertically as you steam clothes without needing an ironing board. However, you can still use it as an iron for bigger jobs. Like regular steam irons, you can set it on variable temperatures depending on your fabric. And as an added bonus, the larger reservoir allows for up to 15 minutes of continuous steam.