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Garment steamers: your new speedy ironing solution?

Which? tries out seven popular garment steamers

If you need to iron a shirt in a hurry, or don’t want to trust your delicate fabrics to an iron, a gadget that you can use to steam clothes while still on the hanger sounds like just the ticket.

We’ve tried out seven garment steamers to see whether they can leave clothes crease-free. Models reviewed include Philips, Rowenta and Tefal clothes steamers – as well as a cheaper option from Pro Breeze that sells well online. 

You can see them in action in our video below, or head to our garment steamer first look reviews for the full video review and our verdict on each model.


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Garment steamers explained

Garment steamers are marketed as an ultra-convenient and quick way to de-wrinkle clothes, perfect for the busy or ironing-averse amongst us, or for those who find traditional steam irons cumbersome. 

There are two types: handheld and upright steamers. Handheld models are designed for giving the odd garment a quick once-over – some are even compact enough to take on your travels. Upright garment steamers are designed for de-creasing several items at once, without the need for an ironing board. They look similar to the ones you might see being wheeled around clothes shops.

From refreshing fabrics, to gently de-creasing delicates, clothes steamers are claimed to be the ultimate quick fix solution but, with most costing £60 or more, it’s a high price to pay for convenience. 

Find out more about the different types of garment steamer and whether they are right for you with our garment steamer buying guide.

Which? garment steamer first look reviews

We tried out five handheld garment steamers and two upright steamers in our first look trial. We pitted each one against a heavy cotton short and light viscose blouse to see how well they tackle different fabrics. 

We assessed how well each model removed creases and how easy it was to use. We also checked how damp each one left clothes afterwards.

We found that, while some garment steamers pumped out enough steam to see off creases, others were pretty feeble. Impractically, some models ran out of steam before we’d even finished one shirt. Others left clothes far too damp to wear immediately, so won’t be ideal if you want to spruce up a favourite top just before heading out.

Head to our garment steamers compared page to get our verdict on each model and our pick of the best options, plus top tips for using a garment steamer.

Here’s the full list of garment steamers we tried:

Handheld garment steamers

  • Philips GC330/47 Steam and Go handheld, £79
  • Philips GC442/67 StyleTouch Pure, £120
  • Pro Breeze Fabric Steamer, £27
  • Rowenta DC6055 Ultrasteam handheld, £35
  • Tefal Access Steam DR8085, £59

Upright garment steamers

  • Tefal IS13361 Instant Compact, £79
  • Tefal IS8360 Instant Control, £99

Prices correct as of 20 December 2016

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