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Shopping Guide for Best Steam Presses

Few things make a person look sloppier than wearing wrinkled clothing, but let’s face it – it doesn’t take much to wrinkle some types of apparel. An iron can take care of most wrinkles, but if you’re tired of hovering over an ironing board for hours, a steam press is an ideal alternative.

Steam pressing require a lot less hands-on work than the task of ironing does. The job goes a lot faster, too. If you’re shopping for a steam press, you’ve come to the right place. There are many steam press options on the market, and at BestReviews, we’ve performed research that will help you know exactly which features to look for.

If you’re ready to buy a steam press, take a look at the matrix above for our top recommendations.

For general tips on how to select a steam press, continue reading this shopping guide.

Using a steam press can reduce ironing time by half.

Steam Press vs. Iron

If you’re debating between a steam press and an iron, here are a few reasons why you might want to add a steam press to your at-home arsenal.

  • Unlike an iron, many steam presses don’t require an ironing board. You simply place the press on a table or other flat surface. You can then sit down as you press your items.

  • An iron requires you to manually move the appliance over your clothing to smooth away wrinkles. With a steam press, you place the clothes on the bottom surface and close the top. The appliance does the rest of the work for you.

  • Because steam presses typically have a fairly large surface area and require less hands-on work, you can press your clothing faster than with an iron.

  • A steam press can hold more water than an iron, so you don’t have to stop to refill the steam press as often.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Steamfast SF-680 Digital

Quicker and Drier

The Steamfast SF-680 Digital employs an interesting "dual vaporizing" system that's claimed to reduce the actual moisture content in the steam so ironing is quicker and drier. There are also steam burst buttons on both sides of the handle and a wide opening so it's easier (and safer) to get items in and out.

How Do You Use a Steam Press?

Just as with an iron, you must fill the steam press water tank or compartment with clean water to start. Turn on the press, and choose the proper setting for the fabric that you’re pressing according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

For the best results, let the press warm up for a minute or two before you start.

Once the press is warm, open it and place the item to be pressed on the bottom surface. Close the press, and allow it to press the item for the recommended time. Many presses have a timer based on the fabric setting chosen. You receive an alert when the item is fully pressed.

Depending on the size of the item, you may need to press it in sections to smooth all of the wrinkles from it.

EXPERT TIP

Because a steam press doesn’t require as much hands-on work as an iron, it can be an ideal option for someone with arthritis.


Staff  | BestReviews

Steam Press Features

Features

Size and Surface Area

A steam press’s “surface area” is the area where you place your clothing or other items for pressing. The larger the surface area, the more room you have to press, and the faster you can work.

However, you should also take the overall size of the press into account. After all, you’ll need a spot for it when you use it and also a storage location for when it’s not in use. In general, it’s best to choose a steam press with a surface area at least 22 inches long and 10 inches wide.

You could opt for a larger model, but if you do, pay attention to the item’s weight. A steam press of 22 to 27 pounds is manageable for most people.

DID YOU KNOW?

The larger the surface area of a steam press, the faster you can press an item.

Features

Temperature Settings

Most steam presses allow you to control temperature via a digital panel. You’ll typically find temperature settings for different type of fabrics.

More heat is required for durable items like linens; less heat is required for delicate fabrics like nylon.

These helpful settings take the guesswork out of choosing the right temperature, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your items.

A steam press with digital controls typically provides more precise temperature control.

Staff
BestReviews
Features

Timer

Some steam presses feature a built-in timer that will sound when the appropriate amount of time has elapsed for the fabric being steamed.

Other presses don’t have timer settings for specific fabrics, but they do turn off automatically if the press is closed for longer than 5 to 10 seconds to prevent damage to your items.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some steam presses have an automatic alert that sounds when they’ve been closed for more than five to ten seconds. This can help prevent damage to your clothing.

Features

“No Steam” Setting

Some fabrics, such as sheer materials, don’t react well to steam pressing. Instead, they require dry pressing.

For the most versatility, choose a steam press with a “no steam” setting.

EXPERT TIP

Steam presses have larger water tanks than irons, which means you don’t have to refill them as often.


Staff  | BestReviews
Features

Safety Features

Some steam presses include features that enhance safety.

  • Automatic shutoff turns off the appliance automatically if it hasn’t been used within a certain period of time.

  • A locking handle can help prevent curious children and animals from investigating the hot appliance. A locking handle also makes it easier to move the steam press from place to place. Never move a steam press when it’s hot!

CAUTION

Never a leave a steam press unattended when it’s turned on. Always unplug it and turn it off when you’re finished using it.

How Much Should I Pay for a Steam Press?

Steam presses vary in price based on their size and features, but you can expect to pay between $170 and $500 for a good one.

  • For a compact steam press, expect to pay between $170 and $190.

  • For a medium steam press, expect to pay between $200 and $275.

  • For a large steam press, expect to pay between $300 and $500.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

SINGER ESP-2 Magic

Simple Quality

The affordably priced Singer ESP-2 is lightweight and easy to move in and out of storage. Controls are consistently rated by owners as simple to use, and there are safety features built in so you won't damage your clothing if you get distracted. For example, if you leave the Singer unattended for 15 minutes, it will turn itself off.

Tips

Follow these tips to maximize safety and steam press success when using your appliance:

  • Never a leave a steam press unattended when it’s turned on. Always unplug it and turn it off when you’re finished using it.

  • When you’re using a steam press to press dress shirts, you’ll get a nice, crisp fold for the collar if you press it with the right side up.

  • If you’re smoothing wrinkles from large items like sheets and tablecloths, fold them in half lengthwise before putting them on the steam press surface.

  • Use only clean water in a steam press. Scented water or water with fabric softener mixed in may stain your items.

  • Position your steam press far out of reach of children and pets to avoid accidental burns.

  • While a larger surface area means you can press items more quickly, large steam presses require more storage space.

  • Depending on the size of the item, you may need to press it in sections to smooth all of the wrinkles from it with a steam press.

A steam press with a nonstick coating prevents the fabric from getting damaged during pressing.

FAQ

Q. What features should I look for in a steam press to avoid damaging my clothing and linens?

A. A steam press should have multiple temperature settings that are designed for specific fabrics. That way, you’ll never use more heat than necessary to press each item. It also helps to choose a steam press with an automatic alarm that will sound if it’s closed for longer than 10 seconds or so.

In addition, we advise potential buyers to look for a steam press that has offers a “no steam” setting. Some materials, such as sheer fabrics, should be dry-pressed only.

Q. Where should I place a steam press for operation?

A. Some steam presses can be placed on a tabletop. However, other models require a sturdy stand similar to an ironing board to support it. You can disassemble the stand for storage.

Q. How do you clean the surface of a steam press?

A. When the steam press is turned off and cool, wipe it down with a clean rag that’s damp with water. If there are stubborn stains, you can make a paste with baking soda and water to scrub the dirty areas.

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