Some consumers who have clothes steamers say they'll never use an iron again. These folks probably own the Jiffy Personal Series J-2000 (Est. $160) , which is heavy-duty enough to be used in light commercial settings, but is most popular for home use. It can de-wrinkle clothes, curtains, drapes, tablecloths, and any other fabric that needs to be refreshed. Professional and consumer reviewers give it very high ratings for performance with one calling it, "the king of steamers."
The 1300-watt J-2000 takes one to two minutes to heat up and then steams for 1.5 hours thanks to its generous, 96-ounce water tank. Reviewers say its removable tank is easy to fill and does not need to cool down before refilling. Old water should be emptied periodically and the tank cleaned to remove hard-water deposits and sediment build-up -- every three to six months or so, according to the Jiffy website. Although it weighs 18 pounds, users say the wheels make it easy to roll around the house. The lightweight hose needs to be kept in an upright position so collected condensation flows back into the steamer, but there are no reports of leaks. The J-2000 has an on/off switch and an automatic shut-off if the machine accidentally runs dry.
Our runner up, the Rowenta Compact Valet Garment Steamer (Est. $100) , is not as user-friendly as the Jiffy J-2000, but owners say it's great for general household use. Like the Jiffy, it can be used for other steaming jobs besides just de-wrinkling clothes, but some complain that the hanger and clips that hold clothing are difficult to use.
Aside from that quibble, owners say the Rowenta is easy to set up and use. It heats quickly and steams for 1.5 hours on 81 ounces of water. The tank is removable and easy to fill; it does not need to cool down before filling. One problem that keeps this out of our top spot: There are a number of complaints that the handle gets too hot to hold after a while. At least one reviewer recommends protective gloves.
For a decent, full-size garment steamer at a budget price, reviewers say you can't beat the Steamfast SF-510 Fabric Steamer (Est. $60) . Owners say it works great at a variety of household jobs, but many say it's particularly well-suited for heavy fabrics due to its sturdy hanger setup. It heats up in less than a minute and steams for 50 continuous minutes. There are a few complaints about a too-short hose for some jobs and some reports of leakage, but, overall, most say it's a great steamer for the price.