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Best Handheld / Travel Steamers

By: Kelly Burgess on September 20, 2017

Handheld steamers offer quick de-wrinkling

Handheld or portable garment steamers are very handy to have around for light household duties like de-wrinkling clothing, curtains and items like bed skirts. They're best for occasional use, though, because they don't have super long steam times. For a garment steamer that can handle light-commercial duties or with longer steam times, see our picks for full-sized garment steamers elsewhere in this report.

Many users say that with a steamer like the Jiffy Esteam Personal Handheld Steamer (Est. $70) they don't need an iron. The Esteam is easy to use -- simply fill it with water and plug it in to create steam. It heats in just a few minutes and the 8-ounce water reservoir produces enough steam to last about 15 minutes, which is plenty of time, most say, to press the wrinkles out of their chosen outfit for the day -- even if it is a heavier band or police uniform. Many also use it around the home for touching up anything that may need to be refreshed, such as draperies or shower curtains.

The Jiffy Esteam heats quickly, in under 2.5 minutes, and produces a steady stream of steam. It's also reported as sturdy and durable. The Esteam is lightweight and compact, so it's easy to store away and, at just two pounds, doesn't cause fatigue even if you use it to the capacity of its steam time. The 9-foot power cord is ample for even taller jobs, but it's not retractable, so it adds bulk to the unit when it's stored. There is no on/off switch; the steamer must be plugged in and unplugged to turn it on and off. However, it has an automatic shut-off function if its water reservoir runs dry. Many use the Esteam for travel, saying it doesn't take up much room in a suitcase; for about $30 more, you can also purchase the Esteam with a set of converter and adaptor plugs for international travel.

The Joy Mangano My Little Steamer (Est. $40) is also an easy to use handheld steamer -- simply fill it with tap water and plug it in to create steam. It heats in less than two minutes. However, we were not able to ascertain how long it steams for. Camille Perri, in testing the steamer for TheSweethome.com, doesn't mention tank capacity or how long this particular garment steamer lasts on a fill-up, nor does the product's website. However, we do know from Perri's comments that it lasts at least nine minutes, and users indicate that it produces plenty of steam in one fill to refresh an entire outfit.

The My Little Steamer gets its best reviews at HSN.com, which makes sense since it is, basically, an As Seen on TV product. Owners at both HSN.com and Amazon love this little garment steamer and we saw a lot of comments from people who buy them as gifts for everyone they know. Owners say it does a great job of steaming out wrinkles, although, like most clothes steamers, it works best on lightly-wrinkled fabrics; it may take longer to get out deeper wrinkles. Users also appreciate the nice array of features, which include an on/off switch, wide mouth that's easy to fill, retractable 8-foot cord and auto-shutoff. The My Little Steamer also comes with a matching storage bag that users adore.

The Rowenta X-Cel Steam Hand Steamer DR8080 (Est. $70) costs a bit more than the Jiffy Esteam, but it packs more power, with 1500 watts compared to the Esteam's 600 watts. Reviewers say it feels substantial and sturdy, and in addition to the standard, extra-large steam head, it also comes with three attachments including a fabric brush, lint pad and steam bonnet. The water tank, removable for easy filling, holds 6.76 ounces of water, producing 10 minutes of uninterrupted steam. It's equipped with a hook, which allows you to hang it on a chair when you need two free hands to switch or adjust garments. Some users say it's a bit bulky to hold for longer than a few minutes at a time, and it's not ideal for travel, but it's a powerful, convenient steamer for those who need to steam a few garments at a time.

If you're looking for a cheaper handheld steamer, the URPOWER Garment Steamer (Est. $25) heats up in under 1.5 minutes and produces nine minutes of steam on a full tank, which holds about 4.4 ounces of water. It shuts off automatically when the water level is too low or the unit gets too hot, and it's safe for use on all types of fabric. It's compact and lightweight enough (at just 1.2 pounds) for easy travel, and reviewers say it does the job well, although it may take more than one pass to completely remove wrinkles from some fabrics.

Travel steamers smooth out road wrinkles

While any of the above handheld/portable clothes steamers can be used for travel, an even better option is the Conair Travel Smart Garment Steamer (Est. $25). At just one pound it's super light, and the handle folds in for packing, then back out when it's time to use the steamer -- a feature that earns high praise from reviewers. In spite of its diminutive size, owners say this Conair clothes steamer works very well, and is far preferable to hauling out the often low-end iron and ironing board at a hotel. Best of all, the Conair Travel Smart has dual voltage support, so it can be used even on international trips to countries that use a different voltage standard than the U.S.

The Conair Travel Smart heats up in minutes and runs continuously for about 10 minutes -- plenty of time, business travelers say, to refresh their suitcase-creased suits, plus it comes with a detachable bristle and lint brush. It's also very popular with those in charge of organizing destination weddings, earning praise for taking up little space and gently steaming the delicate fabrics of the bridal party's finery.

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