The 10 Best Travel Steamers
This wiki has been updated 15 times since it was first published in December of 2016. The only thing worse than wearing wrinkled clothes is ironing them. Luckily, you can look your best on the road without having to break out a board with these travel steamers, as they smooth out a variety of fabrics while also tucking away in purses or carry-ons. Be careful, though, because they use boiling water, and it turns out that severe burns are worse than having to iron things. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best travel steamer on Amazon.
Keeping Clothes At Their Best
The travel steamer can help you maintain a positive self image by keeping your clothes in pristine condition.
The steamer relaxes clothing fibers instead of forcibly flattening them with a hot metal surface.
Imagine yourself in a hotel room getting ready for a job interview with the company of your dreams. You plan to meet with top-level executives. Everything is going according to plan with the exception of the clothes you're wearing. You're unlikely to dazzle the interviewers wearing a shirt full of wrinkles. You also can't travel with a bulky iron, nor do you want to entrust your clothes to hotel staff. As an alternative, a travel steamer will ensure you appear dressed for success when on the go and in front of your new would-be employer. Dressing well is an important part of a first impression, with a profound psychological impact on a person's self image. The travel steamer can help you maintain a positive self image by keeping your clothes in pristine condition.
Designed in the shape of a tea kettle with a small internal water tank, a travel steamer is responsible for boiling and releasing water in a completely gaseous state to remove wrinkles from various fabrics. The steam is released through a flat nozzle at the top of the unit. Whereas a traditional iron makes direct contact with a garment using a heated metal surface, the travel steamer blows evaporated water onto clothing without actually touching the fabric at all. By doing this, the steam essentially loosens the bonds formed between long-chain polymer molecules in the fabric, reducing the appearance of visual imperfections in the clothing itself.
Aside from being easy to pack in a suitcase, travel steamers offer several benefits you won't find with traditional irons. Because the steamer doesn't make direct contact with clothing, less wear and tear occurs on the fabric. The steamer relaxes clothing fibers instead of forcibly flattening them with a hot metal surface. This makes the device well-suited for removing imperfections from more delicate fabrics, such as silk or from weaves that include velvet and satin. There is also minimal concern for the steamer overheating to such a degree that its surface potentially burns the very fabric a person wants to improve. Now, we're not telling you to hang your clothes in a running shower stall for steam. After all, walking into a job interview won't go over too well wearing a wrinkle-free suit that's also dripping wet. But the operation of a travel steamer will help to extend the longevity of certain garments between wash cycles.
The travel steamer also helps to kill potentially harmful bacteria that accumulates on fabric, such as E. coli and salmonella. This is particularly helpful in situations where you have clothes that are dry-clean only or rarely washed at all. The device is also multi-functional, meaning it can be used on other objects such as: drapes, upholstery, pillows, and even carpeting. Finally, the travel steamer is environmentally friendly. It removes certain allergens from a garment's surface without the use of detergents and other materials with strong odors that could otherwise pollute the surrounding air.
Getting Steamed Up For All The Right Reasons
As it's name suggests, the travel steamer simplifies the process of revitalizing clothing when going from place to place. For that reason, considering its overall performance is key. The unit should be able to heat ordinary tap water in under two minutes, so that it's ready for use as soon as possible. Additionally, the larger its water tank, the less often you'll be forced to refill it when you're in a hurry. Obviously, a machine the size of a tea kettle isn't going to have the capacity for several gallons of water. However, the device should be energy-efficient and able to maximize the volume of water it does contain.
For that reason, considering its overall performance is key.
In terms of construction, choosing a steamer made from sturdy and lightweight BPA-free plastic is the smart choice. It's relatively easy to keep clean and withstands heavy use.
The outlet holes for the steamer should be uniform in shape. The best machines release smooth and steady streams of steam from their nozzles, not in the form of splattered water vapor. It's important to understand the distinction between steam and vapor so that you know your device is powerful enough to heat water without making a mess. Drippage need not apply.
Finally, consider a device with a built-in automatic shutoff feature for when its water level runs low. This will help to prevent overheating and extend the machine's life.
A Brief History Of The Travel Steamer
First evolving during the early 1900s, the garment steamer was considered the solution to the constant wrinkling of men's bowlers, fedoras, and other felt-made hats popular at the time. In those days, steam emanations from home-based tea kettles were often used to straighten out disheveled headwear. This spawned a commercial obligation for businesses to design a machine capable of removing imperfections from various articles of clothing. The earliest attempts merely consisted of a hose and brush head attached to a kettle-shaped device.
Jiffy's Model J-1 was specifically made to steam hats without requiring home-based fires or kindling.
The first dedicated garment steamer appeared in 1940 and was credited to the Jiffy Steamer company. Jiffy's Model J-1 was specifically made to steam hats without requiring home-based fires or kindling. With this invention, businesses soon realized that the J-1 was also capable of removing wrinkles from garments that were difficult to iron.
Today, the garment steamer has become a necessary companion for the busy traveling professional who is unable to have their clothes laundered on the go. Consider, for a moment, how important the mobile phone is to that same professional. Without technology to keep the person connected to colleagues and family, travel is exponentially more difficult. Now, while there is no direct correlation between a cell phone and something that turns water to steam, both devices do serve to make travel more convenient in their own ways. From a perspective of portability, the travel steamer is no exception to the rule.
Statistics and Editorial Log