A steamer can offer a handy alternative to your daily chore of ironing clothes. In smaller apartments, ironing boards take up scarce space, while steamers are easier and quicker to use when it comes to de-wrinkling your favorite dress shirts.
With a place to hang stuff, like a shower curtain bar or clothing rack, you can readily smoothen entire suits, dresses, sweaters, and even curtains. In our experience, a good steamer can readily substitute for an iron in 9 out of 10 jobs at home. Most are able to generate initial steam in 2 minutes or less, which is ideal for prepping attire before the morning rush hours.
In this search for the best steamer for dress shirts, we cover different types and features while reviewing advantages and problems of select models.
Check out our complete guide to steaming and see what a steam cleaner can do for you!
Why Steam Shirts?
Many people use steamers in order to de-wrinkle shirts, pants, and other clothes quickly and efficiently, without the bother of ironing. Common cotton and cotton-blend shirts may require slightly longer treatment with hot vapors than woolens and linens, but these items can always be neatened up faster with a steamer in hand.
It is a good thing that you cannot inadvertently brown fabrics in the way you could with unattended irons. Steam only reaches temperatures of about 212F, no cloth scorches naturally at that point. That said, steamers are not too great at producing sharp-edged pleats and starched collars and fronts, which irons and ironing boards are still best at.
What to look for in a steamer
The three basic steamer types include floor-standing or full-size, handheld midsize, and handheld travel size. A handheld midsize unit is usually fine for light use at home, such as preparing your shirts and pants before heading off to work.
Users with a heavy steaming schedule will almost certainly want a full-size, floor-standing model. These big steamers are built for those who have to de-wrinkle a whole bunch of clothing or crafters who routine work on big textile and quilting jobs.
If your duties involve steaming huge sheaths of fabric or long racks of clothing in one go, floor-standing steamers should be on your shortlist. On the other hand, frequent trippers might want to give travel-friendly handheld models a try.
Quality. Better units heat up faster in general. Also, the bigger the tank, the more steaming you can get done between refills. Floor-standing models typically offer the most tank volume and therefore the longest steaming sessions. Small and handy travel models will naturally provide the least capacity.
Ease of Use. With garments that are easily draped off clothes hangers, you may not require an extended steam tube or power cord so as to reach for things. Certain units include attachments that enable easier steaming of cumbersome drapery or oddly-shaped garments.
Easy maintenance. Reservoirs that can be removed are normally easier to refill as well as clean. If the base of a steamer base is not detachable, do check that cleaning instructions are available.
Steam volume. Models with bigger reservoirs typically supply more steam so that you can spend more time treating your items rather than constantly refilling the tank. Other than higher steam capacity, better designs are less likely to sputter droplets on your shirt (or on you), as they generally produce more uniform streams of steam.
Attachments. Some models feature protective functions or unique accessories that can make for easier and safer jobs, such as auto safety shut-off, spinning casters, hanger and board attachments, and so on.
Pricing. In this market, the price will depend on feature sets and normally, the water capacity of the boiler as well as the amount steam it produces from a single filling.
Reviews of the best clothes steamers
- 1500-Watt boiler
- 60-minute steam capacity
- Collapsible hanger
- Integrated steam board
The PS-910 performs well at smoothing out wrinkles while making steaming less of a chore at home. Constant steam is generated at temperatures of up to 248F, which deeply penetrates and loosens fibers of even the heaviest fabrics.
With its low-profile form, the unit can be quickly rolled to wherever steam is needed. An included adjustable hanger expands from 15 up to 19 inches and includes clips to hold various garments. The top hanging part can be substituted with a hook arrangement for easier storage.
With its 61-ounce reservoir, the unit can supply almost an hour of steam between refills. The sizeable capacity should be enough to serve most households. Included is a handy steam board for convenient de-wrinkling of collars, sleeves, and pockets. This can double as an attachment for working in more structured creases into collars, plackets, sleeves, and hems.
The streams produced by the boiler do not seem to flow as consistently as that of the best floor-standing models. There is also no auto shut-off safety feature. But this model can still be quicker at refreshing shirts than any steam iron and is certainly not the priciest on the market.
PurSteam’s PS-910 Heavy Duty Powerful Fabric Steamer is a competent model that can handle the steaming needs of most households at a reasonable price.
- 900-Watt boiler
- Lightweight handheld design
- Auto safety shut-off
- Simple operation
This newly updated model features an upgraded nozzle that is designed to distribute steam evenly and with more force, which helps in eliminating stubborn creases. Weighing just over a pound, the unit is not too heavy to swing about and is easy to learn and use in operation.
The boiler heats up fast enough to output steam in just 2 minutes and can produce a constant stream for up to 10 minutes from its 5-oz reservoir. An automatic safety shut-off kicks in whenever the unit heats up too much or the tank’s water level drops too low. This protects against bodily hazards and will lengthen the unit’s lifespan as well.
The entire unit can be carried without too much hassle to wherever it is needed around the home or office, for a handy storage pouch is included as well. More capacity would have permitted longer sessions between refills., though. And it can sputter droplets on occasion.
URPOWER’s Garment Steamer makes handling a wrinkled shirt or two an easy and fast job. Good for light use, it is our pick for an everyday budget steamer.
- 1000-Watt boiler
- Very fast boiling time
- Lightweight and portable for travel
- Auto safety shut-off
- Brush accessories
A versatile portable, the Smart 1000W weighs just 850 grams. Its ergonomic, lightweight design has a steady handle that will let you heft it about without straining your arm. With 1,000 watts of heating power on tap, it outputs steam in just 20 seconds and will continue to produce more for 7 minutes or so.
This steamer may be small, but it is capable of removing creases from most fabrics, such as cotton, nylon and polyester blends, woolens, and linens. Two brushes are included, a cloth type with six steam outlets and a lint brush for rendering shirts in pristine condition.
The nozzle is configured to prevent the water from sputtering, which one thing less to be bothered about on the move. An automatic safety shut-off is also integrated to protect against overheating. However, some users have experience that the steam produced may not always be sufficient to handle the deepest wrinkles.
That said, OXA’s Smart 1000W Ultra-Compact Handheld Garment Steamer is lightweight and effective enough to pack and use during your travels.
- 1200-Watt boiler
- Extra-wide nozzle
- On-demand trigger
- Temperature controls
- Brush accessories
The ExtremeSteam not only performs impressively at outputting loads of steam, it also includes capabilities and accessories that are absent in far pricier models. A creaser, as well as cloth and soft cushion brushes, are included to manage special tasks.
A 1,200-watt heating element produces enough steam to loosen heavier cloth as well as smoothen stubborn wrinkles. The larger steam head efficiently covers many times the surface area of rival nozzle designs. This can speed up treatments as fewer passes will be needed to cover the same surface.
Flows can be adjusted and set to various heat and steam output levels according to the type of fabrics being treated. Other than temperature controls, there is a steam trigger for on-demand control as well as a switch for enabling continuous steam output. The operation is nicely flexible but it can be a little noisy at times.
The unit’s tank locks securely into the base and is easy to fill. It also features a quick 45-second heating period and the ability to supply 15 minutes of steam per session. It seems that water needs to be added almost every time you need it running, though. A little more reservoir capacity would have been nice, we think.
The steamer takes up little space and features a long 9-foot power cord, which is great for reaching around a rack to any item in need of hot jets of vapor. One annoyance is that it can be tricky to store the unit in a stable upright position when done.
In any case, Conair’s ExtremeSteam Hand Held Fabric Steamer offers a faster means of getting your shirts wrinkle-free during busy mornings.
- 1300-Watt boiler
- 90-minute steam capacity
- Tall built-in rack
- Auto safety shut-off
- Solid construction
Of the floor-standing models, we think that the J-2000 is best-equipped for serious steaming. Integrated into the steam head are 6 wide-set channels that work to flow steam effectively onto larger-sized items. The streamlined shape can be readily moved to wherever it is needed on four quiet-rolling wheels.
The robust housing weighs 17 pounds with its solid metal pole mounted, which reaches 5 feet and 4 inches in height. No superfluous features are included, such as integrated hangers that can be more bothersome than helpful. Only a small rack is present, on which even the longest pants will drape freely without touching the ground.
Better yet, any shirt can be processed on its own clothes hanger. This means that it can stay on its original hanger once you are finished, rather than be transferred off some quirky built-in hanger, as is awkwardly done with other models.
The large tank readily fills up to hold 96 ounces of water, which allows for one and a half hours of steam between refills, the longest available with consumer models. Its see-through plastic construction lets you monitor water levels and a looping handle at the tank’s bottom is handy for positioning the reservoir’s mouth under a water faucet.
Full steam is produced in less than 2 minutes, which goes on to smoothen crumpled cotton-blend shirts and woolen jackets just as quickly. Both hose and plastic handle remained mostly cool to the touch at all times. The steamer’s safety feature will always automatically it shut off whenever the water runs out or if the unit overheats for any reason.
With its sturdy build and well-thought-out design, Jiffy’s J-2000 Garment Steamer with Plastic Steam Head can handle all steaming tasks for an entire family and then some. It is our obvious pick as the best steamer for dress shirts.
If you will be steaming a lot more than just a shirt and pants every day, floor-standing models may well be the most sensible choice for your needs. The simple and sturdy and very capable Jiffy J-2000 Personal Clothing Steamer wins hands-down in the serious department.
The J-2000 abounds in thoughtful details, such as an easy-filling and see-through reservoir and auto safety shut-off protection. It is proper gear that is built to last in heavy use while undergoing maintenance through many years. Anyone who is responsible for clothes cares wholesale can justify the high price that Jiffy’s full-size model commands.
For less intensive use, a mid-sized portable unit will make the most sense for smaller households, particularly tiny city apartments.
More capable than a travel-size model, but still portable enough to be carried around without fuss, URPOWER’s Garment Steamer smoothens wrinkled shirtfronts more efficiently than the average iron. For that reason as well as its very low price, it is our budget steamer pick.
OXA’s Portable Travel Steamer is specifically designed for travelers with a steaming habit and simply excels in this role. We think it is the best-dedicated travel steamer available.