Why You May Need A Garment Steamer: The Alternative To An Iron - Updated March 2019

There are a few methods available when it comes to getting wrinkles out of your clothes. If you are wondering why you may need to get wrinkles out of your clothes in the first place, there are many reasons. The main reason is simply that wrinkled clothing looks unseemly.

While you may not mind if you are just going for a quick trip to the store, you will find that wrinkled clothes would be severely out of place if you are going on a dinner date. One of the most popular ways to get wrinkles out of your clothes is by using an iron, but there is also another option that is equally, if not more, useful.

Steamer-In-Room

The method we are talking about is the use of a garment steamer, which has many advantages over irons and other methods of reducing wrinkles in your clothing. We will take a closer look at the comparison between these two methods of wrinkle elimination later on, but first, we must address the basics.

What Is A Garment Steamer?

garment steamer is a machine which can reduce the wrinkles in your clothing, much like an iron, but it has a few differences in its method of operation. While irons make use of steam, the steam is used in combination with the hot iron to flatten out the fibers of an article of clothing; this is what eliminates the wrinkles in the first place.

Clothing steamers instead use steam as the main method of reducing wrinkles, as you may have noticed from the name. When wrinkled fabrics are exposed to steam, they tend to unravel and sort themselves out with less degradation than they would be subjected to than if they had been ironed.

Steaming-Shirt

While garment steamers were historically only available to tailors, as time has gone by, consumers have seen the advantages of garment steamers and demand for them has grown. Their increasing popularity is due to more than just increasing demand, however, it also has to do with advancing technology.

Decades ago, garment steamers were expensive pieces of machinery which could only be afforded by businesses. Today, with the increasing miniaturization of technology, you will find that garment steamers are a fraction of the size that they used to be as well as costing a fraction of the price.

How To Use A Garment Steamer

Using a garment steamer is a rather easy and straightforward process. The first step is to hang your wrinkled article of clothing on a clothes hanger in a reasonably ventilated area. Once that is done, you must fill up the water reservoir of your garment steamer with water, it can be either cool or warm.

When your garment steamer's reservoir has been filled, reattach it to the steamer itself, either directly or with the use of the provided hose. Once the connection is secure, turn on your garment steamer. When a garment steamer is first turned on, it will have to warm up so it can turn the water to steam.

Once your garment steamer has warmed up, you are ready to start using it. Simply point it at the article of clothing which is on your clothes hanger and press down on the trigger while you evenly spray the steam over your clothes. Make sure that you make wide, sweeping motions with the steamer to ensure maximum coverage.

Keep steaming your clothes until the wrinkles diminish gradually, the length of the process will depend on the thickness of the fabric and the extent of the wrinkles. When you are done, leave your article of clothing to dry off as it will be damp from the steam that it has been exposed to.

Types

Learn what garment steamer suit your needs. Here are the main types of the garment steamers:

Stand-Up-Garment-Steamer

Stand Up Garment Steamer

Stand up garment steamers are often referred to as professional garment steamers as they are seen in use by businesses more often than not. While they are available for consumer purchase, you will find that stand up garment steamers are simply overkill for customers who don’t deal with large numbers of wrinkled clothes daily.

Stand up garment steamers are so named because they are arranged in a standing configuration. These models often feature a separate water tank that is not integrated into the steamer itself (though it can sometimes be carried on a cart which the steamer is also attached to).

The water tank is connected to the steamer through a flexible hose in these models, which ensures proper water flow and ensures that you will not be encumbered by a large tank of water. Stand up garment steamers require large water tanks because they are meant to steam larger numbers of clothes.

When you have to steam a huge amount of clothes, you will find that you will save quite a bit of time by not having to go back and forth just to refill the water tank in for your garment steamer. The best way to reduce the number of refills required is to increase the size of the water tank simply.

Handheld Garment Steamer

Handheld models are the most popular garment steamer type that you will find available for sale to consumers. While handheld models often feature a lower water capacity for improved portability, you will find that they often feature enough water to de-wrinkle a reasonable number of clothes.

Garment steamers of the handheld variety will often output less steam than a professional model, so you will have to make more passes over your clothes to get the wrinkles out of them. Keep in mind that a lower volume of steam will also use up less water. The output of a commercial steamer would quickly run through the reservoir of a handheld model.

Hand-Held-Garment-Steamer

Portable garment steamers are also ideal for travel, as you may have guessed by their small size. You can easily pack a garment steamer into your luggage to ensure that your clothes will be in perfect condition if you are on a business trip or will require immaculate clothing for any other reason.

Handheld garment steamers also have the advantage of being much more affordable than larger models. If you are trying to find the cheapest garment steamer available, you will find few better options than a handheld model. You will also find it much easier to store a handheld model since they are so much smaller.

Specs

We have done all the work and listed for you all of the key specifications and features:

Dimensions

The dimensions of your garment steamer are one of the more important specifications to account for. Larger garment steamers will be more powerful, and they will have larger reservoir tanks, so they will be able to create more steam for a longer period than smaller models.

Smaller garment steamers have their advantages, however. As we stated in the previous section, you will find that a smaller garment steamer will be easier to transport if you plan on going on vacation. Small garment steamers will also take up less storage room when they are not in use.

When it comes to price point, you will find that larger garment steamers tend to be more expensive, as is the norm with most other products. If you are trying to save money when purchasing your garment steamer, you will find that looking for a smaller model means that you will not have to give up quality.

Voltage

The power rating of your garment steamer is another important consideration to make. Less powerful garment steamer models can be used with regular power outlets, which makes them far more versatile. While it is convenient for these models to feature greater compatibility, it also reduces their ability to steam larger amounts of water.

Voltage-Options

If you are looking for a professional garment steamer, you will find that you may need to opt for a model which plugs into higher amperage outlets. A model which connects to these outlets can make use of a much higher wattage, which is required to create the large amounts of steam which are necessary for these garment sprayers.

Heat-Up Time

The amount of time that it takes for your garment steamer to warm up is another characteristic which is often crucial. The warm up time of your garment steamer will depend on many aspects. For example, more powerful models will often be able to warm up faster, but this is counteracted by the larger amount of water they hold.

Most models that are available to consumers will be able to warm up in around one minute, but you will find that it can vary depending on the wattage of your garment steamer. A faster heat-up time can make for a garment steamer which is far faster to operate, as this is the main source of downtime when you use them.

Water Tank Specifications

The water tank is one of the main components in any garment steamer, but there are many different types of water tanks featured in different styles of garment steamers. Water tanks which are included with handheld models are often integrated into the steamer itself; this helps improve the portability of your garment steamer.

While integrated water tanks contribute to making a garment steamer much more compact and portable, you will find that they may need to be refilled more often since they contain a lower volume of water. Thankfully, integrated water tanks tend to be smaller and easier to refill since they weigh less.

Professional garment steamers instead make use of larger water tanks. These water tanks feature a much higher water capacity than the integrated tanks that you will find on smaller garment steamers. Since larger water tanks can hold more water, they will be much heavier when full.

Large-Water-Tank

A heavier water tank will necessitate a better method of transportation. Many larger water tanks come equipped with convenient carry handles, but other models even come with a cart to facilitate their movement. This also means that these water tanks are harder to refill since they will be more difficult for you to handle.

Garment Steamer Vs. Iron

Garment steamers are often compared to irons because they both share an identical application, which is to eliminate any wrinkles present in your clothing. The manner in which they go about this is different, but you will find that the result is often similar. There are some pros and cons to consider, however.

Garment steamers are usually far more user-friendly than clothing irons as they simply have to be pointed at your clothes to be used. This contrasts with ironing, however, which requires a more refined technique, which can be a little difficult for beginners to grasp.

Irons are also far less forgiving than garment steamers. If you overly steam your clothes, you will have no issues except for wet clothes. Ironing, on the other hand, can have some serious consequences if you are not careful while you are eliminating the wrinkles in your clothing.

For example, if you leave your iron on your clothes for too long, there is a genuine chance that your clothes will end up burning. While you can end up ruining a ten dollar t-shirt like this, you can also end up ruining a 100 dollar dress top in the same way.

It is for this reason that most people opt to have their more expensive clothes cleaned and pressed by a professional. Even if you are as careful as possible while ironing, however, you will find that an iron will slowly degrade the fabric of your clothing over the course of each use, as the heat will be bad for the threads.

Also related to this reason is the fact that you will be unable to use an iron with certain materials which are very thin, very sensitive, or both. Materials like silk would be instantly ruined by an iron, so the only choice you have at your disposal if you would like to remove wrinkles quickly is a steamer.

Iron-And-Garment-Steamer

Steamers are also much more convenient to operate than an iron since they require less setup and do not have a need for an ironing board, which can end up taking up a good deal of space. Once your garment steamer is full of water, all you need to do is hang up your clothes and steam them.

You will also find that you are at less of a risk of injury when using a garment steamer. While irons feature an extremely hot underside that can end up burning you if you are not careful, it is comparatively hard to be injured by a garment steamer unless you make a grave mistake while using it.

Manufacturers

Here we check out some of the best options on the market.

Rowenta

Rowenta garment steamers are some of the best on the market because Rowenta is one of the world’s oldest manufacturers of appliances such as irons. Rowenta is based in Offenbach, Germany, which is very close to Frankfurt. The Rowenta company has existed since 1884.

When compared to other garment steamers, you will find that Rowenta products may be a little more pricey, but they certainly get the job done more effectively. They tend to feature a combination of quality construction and some helpful extra features to improve user friendliness.

Jiffy

The Jiffy company is one of the world's largest manufacturers of steam cleaners. They have existed since 1940, and they arguably have more experience in this field than any other manufacturer of garment steamers. They are based in America.

Jiffy is a company which is devoted to ensuring that they provide the best customer service possible. If you end up with a defective Jiffy product, you often have little to worry about since their agents tend to be polite and helpful. Their products also benefit from their years of experience making steam appliances.

Conair

As with the other companies on this list so far, Conair is another maker of garment steamers that has been in operation for a long time. Conair was founded in Stamford, Connecticut in 1959. They are one of the leading manufacturers of hair dryers, but they are also proficient at manufacturing garment steamers.

You will find that Conair garment steamers tend to feature the greatest level of reliability that you will find in any garment steamers. While they may not make the fanciest garment steamers, you will find that Conair is devoted to making products that work, first and foremost.

Shark

Shark is a company which manufactures household appliances, and garment steamers are one of them. They were founded in 1995 in the city of Montreal, Quebec, in Canada, though they now do business in Needham, Massachusetts. Do not let their large catalog of products fool you; their garment steamers are of top quality.

Shark specializes in making garment steamers that provide the best value for money. This means that their products are inexpensive, but they are not made to poor standards. If you are looking to get the most bang for your buck out of your garment steamer, opt for a Shark model.

Philips

Philips is a Dutch company which is based in Amsterdam; they were founded in 1891, making them one of the oldest manufacturers on this list, along with Rowenta. Philips is the world's largest manufacturer of lighting, but you will find that their other divisions are just as proficient at what they do.

Philips garment steamers tend to be more balanced than the models which you will find from other makers. They are not cheap or overly expensive, and they do not excel in any single area. You will find that their garment steamers are reliable, workhorse products that require little extra maintenance.

Safety Features

While garment steamers are certainly safer than irons since they pose less of a fire hazard if left unattended and they have a lower chance of injuring you, you will find that they can still be dangerous. Any item which propels hot steam to accomplish its task can end up injuring you.

Most garment steamers feature a trigger as a control input that has to remain depressed for the steamer to keep releasing steam. If you drop your steamer, you will not accidentally burn yourself because you will have let go of the trigger. There may also be a warning light for when the device is warmed up.

How To Clean A Garment Steamer

You will find that the cleaning process for a garment steamer is relatively straightforward. As with any other product, liberally scrub the handle when you clean it as dirt and germs will tend to accumulate there since it is the part which is always in contact with your hand while using it.

You may also have to clean out the nozzle on your garment steamer as the steam can end up leaving a residue on it. This residue can end up on the next bit of steam that comes out of your garment steamer, and it can end up dirtying your clean clothes if it is not dealt with.

Maintenance

Keep in mind that you will also have to maintain your garment steamer to ensure that it keeps performing at the top of its capabilities. There are not many parts which will need to be maintained, but you will find that the constant flow of steam can start to degrade the parts before you even know it.

Garment-Steamer-Maintenance

You will have to check the nozzle for signs of damage and possibly replace that during your maintenance process. Another part of your garment steamer to examine is the water reservoir. You will have to check it for any signs of failure and act accordingly. If your reservoir is connected with a hose, you should also check the hose to ensure that it is not clogged.

Conclusion

We hope that we have managed to provide all of the information that you have been looking for about garment steamers. While one would assume that it is not a topic about which you can say a lot, it is evident that there is still a wealth of information available. Feel free to continue to our buying guide in which we will review the five best garment steamers.

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