Steamers are a wonderful alternative to ironing, ideal for artists working with large-scale textile artworks that are prone to wrinkling. Steam allows textile fibers to temporarily relax, which means wrinkles are released and fabrics flattened for beautiful results. Steamers are not just for clothes; they are also excellent for theater curtains, banners, wall hangings, silkscreen prints on fabric, and many other artistic uses. The hot air freshens fabrics and may dissipate musty odors. Find the steamer that’s right for your needs by perusing our picks of the best, below.
1. Jiffy J-2000 Garment Steamer
This steamer’s 1,300-watt solid brass heating element warms up within two minutes for fast-acting, powerful steam. You can steam wide areas with its metal head, which is attached with a five-foot flexible hose to a convenient rolling base. The steamer holds three-quarters of a gallon of water (2.84 liters) for 1.5 hours of steaming power per fill and features an automatic safety shut-off function. Its high-impact plastic outer casing resists breakage, and when not in use, it stores easily thanks to its slim, compact base.
2. Rowenta DR8080 Handheld Steamer
Want a steamer that’s ultra-compact and ultra-portable? This steamer is a top-notch choice for those looking for a handheld option. With 1,550 watts of power, it can take on wool, woven oxford, and similarly tough textiles. Plus, it’s ready when you are, capable of heating up in just 45 seconds. Its tank holds 6.76 ounces of water for up to 10 minutes of continuous steam. Using it for this long is easy on the wrists, as the steamer weighs just over two pounds. It features a broad metal head—which is durable and long-lasting—but make sure you attach the included steam bonnet when heating up delicate fabrics like silk and rayon.
3. Hilife Steamer
This handheld steamer is a better choice for artists shopping on a budget who still want the convenience that the Rowenta DR8080 offers. Providing 15 minutes of continuous steam with its 240-mL tank, it weighs just 1.7 pounds, thanks to its all-plastic construction. This is a 700-watt steamer, so it gets the job done for materials like cotton and polyester.
4. Conair Complete Steam
This workhorse of a steamer is perfect for classrooms, art centers, or busy theaters, quickly removing wrinkles and odors from costumes, props, backdrops, silkscreen prints, and other fiber works. The steamer’s 1,500-watt central unit heats up in less than a minute and provides up to 90 minutes of high-velocity steam from its 80-ounce water reservoir. Its large steam head covers oversize objects quickly, and the heat not only smooths fabric but kills bacteria, dust mites, and bedbugs. It’s ideal for light and medium-weight fabrics; heavier fabrics will need additional passes. It is compact and easy to lift at 10.4 pounds, and its telescoping pole is hidden when not in use but easily extends when needed. Though economical, note that this steamer does not have wheels.
5. Rowenta All in One Pro-Garment Steamer and Iron
Rowenta’s all-in-one, 1,500-watt steamer offers ultimate convenience in one sleek design. After heating up in just 45 seconds, it releases steam via its intelligent head, which acts as both an iron and a steamer. The head has an iron soleplate that assists with targeted, precision ironing, and if you need steam, just press a button; or, press twice for turbo bursts of steam. Mounted on two sturdy legs is what the maker calls a smart board—a height-adjustable ironing board with three angled positions. Vertical, the board is great for steaming. Horizontal, it is great for ironing. At 45 degrees, it can handle both. The tank, which holds about a half-gallon of water, is easy to fill and is incorporated in the mobile base with discreet, built-in wheels.