How to Choose the Best Garment Steamer
What will help you decide on the best garment steamer will depend on what your needs are. What size unit is acceptable? Do you need it to be portable? Is price important? How much clothing do you regularly need pressed or dry cleaned?
The clothes steamer works with plain water. Do not add anything to the water because you risk clogging the machine. The portable ones will make it easy to go from bedroom for the bed skirt, to living room for upholstery, to any room for drapes. The best garment steamer will work faster than an iron to remove wrinkles from your garments.
There are the full size commercial clothing steamers and hand held, portable models. The full sized ones are usually stable and have a wide steam nozzle. They often include a pole to hang your clothing while you steam them, the ability to control the steam and a handle for the nozzle.
The portable models are less expensive with a smaller nozzle. These are easy to maneuver from room to room and some are small enough to take them with you when you travel. Being smaller, they are easy to store. On the downside, the water tank is smaller so you will get less steam per fill, the steam will not be as powerful and you may need several trips to the sink.
The large or full size steamer has a base with a boiler to heat the water. On the boiler is a tank to hold water. This tank is filled with tap water and turned upside down onto the base. The model you choose should hold a lot of water. The amount of water it holds directly corresponds to the amount of time you will have to steam your clothing. A one gallon tank can steam for about 90 minutes. The best garment steamer for you will have to capacity to handle your steaming needs.
Large capacity professional garment steamers usually are 1,200-2,000 watt machines. It is important to note that some machines require a warm up time, which can range anywhere from five to twenty minutes. They cost from $120-$200 on average. Some have controls for steam settings. This allows you to adjust the steam according to the fabric you are working with. There is also a press pad that may be included or purchased as an accessory. This decreases the possibility of burning your hand while steaming. Professional steamers are the best choice for high volume users.
The portable units are often made as one piece with the nozzle attached to the boiler. It will produce continuous steam, although there are a few with push button steam control. These are compact and lightweight, perfect for small household jobs. They do not hold much water and the steam generally only lasts for 10 to 20 minutes.
A hand held clothes steamer can cost from $30-$60. They normally include a travel case and accessories. The wattage varies widely from 200-1,000 watts. The higher wattage units usually provide more powerful steam. The one drawback is you can only handle three to five garments per fill.
These are your choices for the best garment steamer. If you decide on a hand held unit, it will be light and easy to carry or travel with and will provide consistent, but less powerful steam, for shorter periods of time. You will still get a smooth, wrinkle free result.