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Best Travel Steamers

Updated July 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 91 Models Considered
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 138 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best travel steamers

    Last Updated July 2018

    Most hotel rooms have ironing tools for you to use, but do you really want to use an old, musty ironing board to freshen up your business attire? Do you want to risk staining your new dress with a potentially dirty or broken iron? Pack a travel steamer in your suitcase instead, and you’ll have a quick, convenient way to de-wrinkle and refresh your clothing when you’re away from home.

    Travel steamers are compact, portable tools that allow you to easily remove wrinkles from your clothing … even when you’re on the road. And they’re not just for vacations and business trips; you can keep a travel steamer at the office for use before an important meeting or in case of an emergency. If you’re low on storage space at home, you can keep one there, too.

    The BestReviews team performed in-depth research on travel steamers to identify the very best products. Read on to learn more, or check out the travel steamers we’re recommending.

    Steam heat kills bacteria. Using a steamer will help keep your clothes smelling fresh by sanitizing them.

    Benefits of a travel steamer

    The application of steam is a great way to get wrinkles out of delicate fabrics. Most travel steamers have smaller water reservoirs than their full-sized counterparts, so if you have a lot of work to do, you may need to refill yours more often. Some travel steamers may also produce less steam than traditional models. Nevertheless, many people agree that a steamer is a more convenient appliance than an iron.

    Here are some of the main advantages of owning a travel steamer.

    • Portable

    • Won’t burn clothing

    • Can be used on almost any type of fabric

    • Sanitizes and removes wrinkles

    • No chemicals (unlike dry cleaning)

    • Low cost (unlike dry cleaning)
       

    Keep in mind that although steamers are highly convenient, they cannot produce the crisp creases that you can achieve with a steam iron and ironing board.

    Fast and powerful

    A water reservoir capacity of almost nine ounces and 1,200 watts of power make this little travel steamer an anti-wrinkle workhorse. It heats up in just over 30 seconds and provides continuous hot steam for up to 14 minutes. No matter how you hold it, it won’t leak, and the device shuts itself off when a low water level is detected (or if it’s been unused for eight minutes).

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    Steam can burn your skin, and many travel steamers heat up surprisingly fast. Never point your travel steamer at your face or body.

    Considerations

    Here are the main things to consider when shopping for a travel steamer.

    Size and weight

    Make sure your chosen travel steamer is suitably lightweight for travel. It should be compact enough to fit easily inside your suitcase. A unit that’s too heavy will be cumbersome to pack and challenging to hold, as well. Most travel steamers vary in weight from just over one pound to a little over three pounds.

    Water reservoir size

    A larger reservoir usually means that the unit will be heavier when full. But it also means the device holds more water, which translates to a longer steam time and less-frequent refilling.

    Heating time

    How quickly does the travel steamer heat up? Heating times can range from 20 seconds to several minutes. If you’re a last-minute kind of person, opt for a steamer with quick heating so you can plug in and go. Many manufacturers state the device heating time on the package.

    Performance

    How big is the water reservoir? A larger reservoir may allow you to steam more than one garment before you need a refill. Most travel steamers have water tanks that provide enough steam for one item of clothing at a time.

    A good steamer doesn’t spray hot water; it produces a steady stream of hot steam. Look at the product description to discover how long the unit can produce a continuous stream of steam. Avoid models for which users have complained of water leakage.

    Steamers with higher wattage are more powerful but may be larger, bulkier, and not ideal for travel purposes.

    Ease of use

    The best travel steamers are easy to use. The tank is removable for cleaning and filling, and the unit doesn’t leak or dribble water. The cord is long enough to maneuver the steamer without fuss; it may even be retractable. The controls or buttons make sense, and the handle is comfortable to hold as you de-wrinkle your clothing.

    Safety

    Most steamers have an auto shutoff feature that turns off the device when the water reservoir is empty.

    Dual voltage

    Wall outlets differ depending on where you are in the world. For overseas travel to Europe, you’ll need a dual-voltage device or an adapter to use the steamer with a different outlet type. Notably, it might be tough to find a steamer with dual voltage; this feature is more common in travel irons.

    EXPERT TIP

    A travel steamer isn’t only for travel. At home, it’s a compact laundry room tool that doesn’t require the use of a bulky ironing board.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    You can use a handheld travel steamer to eliminate bacteria from surfaces other than clothes. Use it to refresh your shower (if the surfaces are sealed), sink, or bedding.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Travel steamer prices

    • Budget travel steamers: $25 and under
      Travel steamers in this price range take longer to heat up, have smaller water reservoirs, and produce shorter continuous bursts of steam. They tend to be less powerful, too, with most models providing under 1,000 watts of power.
    • Mid-range travel steamers: $30 to $50
      For a bit more money, you can get a travel steamer that heats faster and has a larger water tank. Most units in this range provide at least 1,000 watts of power.
    • Premium travel steamers: $50 and up
      The priciest travel steamers offer more powerful wattage (over 1,000 watts). They heat up very quickly and deliver long, steady bursts of steam.

    Small comforts

    The VIVIREAL steamer is a portable, easy-grip unit with a 3.4-ounce water reservoir – enough for freshening up to two garments. It’s small enough to fit neatly in a suitcase but efficient enough to get out stubborn wrinkles. If you want a budget-priced travel steamer for small tasks, this is a nice product to have in your arsenal.

    Packing to prevent wrinkles

    A travel steamer can help get out stubborn wrinkles when you’re on the go, but the first step to wrinkle-free travel is actually the proper packing of your suitcase. Here are some tips for wrinkle-free packing.

    • Roll cotton tees and clothes instead of folding them.

    • Choose synthetic fabrics to pack since they won’t wrinkle as easily as cotton. Wool is also wrinkle proof.

    • Use packing cubes to keep clothing from tumbling around inside your suitcase.

    • Neatly fold sweaters and shirts into squares. Use plastic bags (dry-cleaning bags are a good choice) to prevent wrinkling.

    • Keep smaller items like underwear and lingerie in zip-lock bags.

    • Minimize loose space to prevent jostling. Use items like socks to fill in the gaps.

    • Don’t overpack. A fully packed suitcase can squish and compress your clothing, causing it to wrinkle and crease unnecessarily.

    • Bundle wrap your clothing to keep your garments looking neat and tidy. The method involves wrapping delicate, wrinkle-prone items with clothing less likely to wrinkle.
    Hot steam can melt plastic buttons and ruin fabrics like suede. Use care when you steam vulnerable garments.

    FAQ

    Q. Do travel steamers come with accessories?
    A.
    Some travel steamers may come with a brush attachment or lint roller attachment to help keep your clothes looking sharp. But steamers are relatively basic devices, and you don’t need extra accessories to steam your clothing correctly.

    Q. What’s the best way to clean my travel steamer?
    A.
    Over time, mineral deposits can build up inside your steamer head and clog the unit. To thoroughly remove residue, fill the water reservoir with vinegar. Turn on the steamer and let the steam run its course. Once the reservoir has emptied, repeat the process with water. Rinse the tank when you’re done.

    Q. Should I use distilled water in my steamer?
    A.
    The use of distilled water is recommended but not necessary. Using distilled water helps reduce buildup and mineral deposits, but it’s not dangerous to use regular tap water to steam clothing. If you don’t regularly clean your steamer, however, mineral deposits may eventually produce white stains on fabric.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Laura
      Laura
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor
    • Steph
      Steph
      Writer