Home > Home & Garden > Clothes Steamers > Best Garment Steamers

Best Garment Steamers

By: Kelly Burgess on September 20, 2017

The best full-sized clothes steamers

Full-sized garment steamers are very popular for people who hate ironing, or for sewers or quilters who handle a lot of fabric. If you just need a steamer for light-duty work, or don't have a place to store an upright steamer, see our discussion of handheld/travel steamers elsewhere in this report.

Some people who have clothes steamers say they'll never use an iron again. Many of these folks probably own the J-2000 Jiffy Garment Steamer (Est. $180), 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. Expert and consumer reviewers give it very high ratings for performance, with many saying it's the best steamer they've every owned. Camille Perri at TheSweethome.com praises the Jiffy J-2000's "super minimalist design," which makes it easy to use despite being a garment-steaming powerhouse that efficiently removes wrinkles from various types of fabric -- such as cotton, wool and linen -- in just minutes.

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. In tests conducted by YourBestDigs.com, the Jiffy J-2000 far outperformed every other model tested in terms of steam time, producing 100 minutes of steam on a full tank, while its closest competitors produced just 40 minutes of steam. Reviewers say its removable tank is easy to fill and does not need to cool down before refilling, a definite plus for big jobs. The tank is also see-through, so you can easily see how much water remains. Leftover water should be emptied periodically and, according to the Jiffy website, every three to six months or so the tank should be cleaned to remove hard-water deposits and sediment build-up.

Although the J-2000 weighs 18 pounds, users say the caster 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. It's reported as very durable, and is backed with a three-year warranty.

Our runner up, the Rowenta IS6200 Compact Valet (Est. $100), has an adjustable-height telescopic pole that collapses for compact storage and an 81-ounce water tank that produces about 40 minutes of continuous steam in professional tests. It's practically identical to another model, the Rowenta IS6300 Master Valet Garment Steamer (Est. $125), which offers one additional feature: a "roll & press vertical support shade," designed to support fabrics, allowing users to steam with one hand. However, professional testers found the shade to be more of a hindrance than a benefit and not worth the added cost, a sentiment echoed by numerous consumers who say that the shade is too short for long pants, dresses and other longer garments.

In professional tests, the 1500-watt Rowenta Compact Valet performs well, removing wrinkles from clothing and drapes in several types of fabric in about one pass, and it comes with a number of attachments -- a fabric brush, a crease attachment and a lint pad. Editors at YourBestDigs.com say the fabric brush didn't make a noticeable difference compared to the standard steam head, and the crease tool does create creases, but not the same crisp lines you'd get with an iron. Like the Jiffy J-2000, it heats up quickly, in about 90 seconds, although testers report that the handles get noticeably warm during use.

We also read several complaints about durability, such as broken wheels, flimsy clips (used to hold garments in place), and issues with the hanger and attachments staying in place. Some users report leaks, and a few say that the hose gets hot during use. When it comes to performance, however, it's the only garment steamer that removes wrinkles as efficiently as the top-rated Jiffy J-2000.

The Pure Enrichment PureSteam XL (Est. $60) heats up in about one minute in tests and produces about 40 minutes of steam on a full tank (64 ounces). It takes about five minutes to steam one shirt with this steamer, or about eight shirts per tank, so it's not quite as powerful compared to the Jiffy J-2000 or the Rowentas. Still, the 1500-watt PureSteam XL works well on lighter fabrics such as silk and does a decent job on wool as well, although it may take more work to get the wrinkles out of thicker cotton or khakis. Most reviewers say it's easy to use and doesn't take up much space, but we did read a few complaints about leaks.

If you're looking for a more affordable upright steamer, the Steamfast SF-407 Fabric Steamer (Est. $50) is smaller than most, with a 40-ounce tank, yet it still produces about 40 minutes of steam time. It doesn't have a hanger attachment, although professional reviewers say that the pole head works perfectly for placing hangers. Like other upright clothes steamers, the Steamfast SF-407 heats up quickly, in about one minute. Another plus is the large steam head, which covers ample surface area with each pass without being bulky or difficult to manage. Editors at YourBestDigs.com point out that the unit makes gurgling noises when the tank is about ¾ empty, although it doesn't impact performance.

Users say the Steamfast SF-407 is easy to use, although the telescoping pole seems a bit flimsy, and a few wish the pole was longer. We read a few isolated complaints about leaks, and some users say it stops working after a few months of use. Overall, however, most users say it's a powerful garment steamer at the right price.

Recently Updated
Clothes Steamers buying guide

What every best Clothes Steamers has:

  • A good reach.
  • Good water capacity.
  • Automatic shut-off.

Read More »

Learn More »