The Rowenta Ultra Steambrush is reviewed by several professional reviewers and users, but not all the reviews are positive. On one hand, reviewers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute give it the highest score of all the steamers they review, praising its light weight and steam output. On the other hand, a reviewer at The Wall Street Journal notes that while it's effective on wrinkles, it doesn't knock out real creases. Slate.com's reviewer ranks it dead last in her write-up, citing a defective unit. All the professional reviewers note the Steambrush's small water reservoir.
Slate.com reviewer Laura Moser says the button of her first Steambrush overheated and burned her, and the second one intermittently turned off. Users also say the steamer tends to fail over time, though using distilled water may lengthen its life. Despite the negative reviews, many are very pleased with the Rowenta's performance, saying that it's easy to use, and doesn't drip or spit boiling water. It also doesn't get hot on the outside, like the Jiffy Esteam Travel Steamer (Est. $62), making it possible to quickly and easily refill. Most agree the steam is not as hot and, therefore, not as effective -- but also not as likely to burn the user.
1. Good Housekeeping
The Good Housekeeping Research Institute lists seven handheld garment steamers, and the Rowenta Ultra Steambrush gets the highest grade (an A-minus). The Rowenta wins for being lightweight and pumping out more steam than any of the other tested models. The editors note that the water reservoir is small in this model, meaning it may need to be refilled for steaming multiple garments. Overall, the Steambrush gets the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. This review is not as recent as others we found, so it's possible it may be out of date.
Review: Rowenta Ultra Steam Model #DR5020 Handheld Steamer, Editors of Good Housekeeping, April 2009
2. The Wall Street Journal
This hands-on test evaluates four travel irons and steamers designed to keep you wrinkle-free on the road. The author notes that none worked as well as a full-size iron and that it took longer to get the wrinkles out of garments. The Rowenta Ultra Steambrush got wrinkles out of a cotton skirt, but couldn't eliminate deep creases. The author also notes the Steambrush is a little large for a small suitcase.
Review: Footloose and Wrinkle-Free, Anjali Athavaley, May 21, 2009
Laura Moser tests six travel garment steamers, but the Rowenta Ultra Steambrush does not perform very well. The Jiffy Steamer Esteam, Steamfast SF-435W and Joy Mangano My Little Steamer all outperform it. Initially the author was impressed by the Rowenta, praising its steam controls and lint-removing brush, but she says it began malfunctioning after several uses. The button that releases steam overheated and burned her, and when the defective steamer was replaced, the new one intermittently turned off when in use. Though it gets a passable score for its design, it doesn't score well for its ease of use and performance.
Review: Getting Steamed, Laura Moser, May 6, 2008
Fashion stylist Lesley Kennedy recommends must-have travel accessories, including the Rowenta travel steamer. She says she packs it with her everywhere she goes and it's quick and easy to use. While this isn't a direct comparison of multiple products, as an industry insider, it's likely Kennedy has had some opportunity to compare products.
Review: 7 Holiday- Travel Packing Tips From a Pro, Lesley Kennedy, Dec. 15, 2011
The Rowenta Ultra Steambrush does not perform as well in customer reviews as other models. It averages 3.5 stars with about 30 reviews. While many say they're very pleased with the Rowenta's performance, others have issues with its longevity. Some reviewers say using distilled water may improve the life of the heating element. Multiple reviewers note that the steamer doesn't have an auto-off function, making it possible to accidentally leave it on for hours -- possibly contributing to the steamer dying over time. Almost all agree the steam is not as hot as that from the Jiffy Steamer Esteam, but some find that to be a positive, as there's less opportunity to burn yourself. Most also say the Steambrush doesn't drip or spit like the Esteam, and it doesn't get hot to the touch.
Review: Rowenta DR5015 800 Watt Ultra Steam Brush with Travel Pouch, Contributors to Amazon.com