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Ever used your hair straightener to get that final crease out of your collar in the morning? You're not the only one. If getting a garment steamer has been on your to-do list for a while now, the good news is we've got you covered.
The best garment steamer is easy to use with good steam pressure and a water tank big enough for at least 10-15 minutes of steaming. Traditional upright clothes steamers have big water tanks that feed up through a hose into a steamer head. Handheld clothes steamers are compact, with a smaller capacity for quick touch-ups between ironing. To save you another job, we've put in hours of research to suss out Australia's best clothes steamers.
How we picked
Garment steamers aren't everyone's cup of tea, but if you can't live without your iron (or your dry cleaner), they'll make your life much easier. The reviewers over at ProductReview.com.au know all about this, having given their two cents about several of the best clothes steamers in Australia. That's why we started there, adding top-rated garment steamers to our list.
Next, we checked CHOICE, Australia's biggest consumer advocacy group, to see if consumer feedback matched what Aussies had to say. After adding a few more garment steamers to the list, we did one final check-in with major retailers to be sure our picks matched what was available. That's how we ended up with our list of Australia's top garment steamers.
The best garment steamer for most
Choose this if
The Sunbeam Power Steam is a hit with Aussies, with a 300ml water tank, fast heat-up, and a lockable steam trigger to save you from finger cramps. This handheld unit has a 2-year warranty, and will spurt out steam for nearly 20 minutes straight.
What we love
18 minutes of steam
The 300ml water tank on this bad boy means you can steam for longer.
Heats up fast (so your Uber driver isn't left waiting).
In a neat little package for ultimate portability.
Lock-down trigger mechanism to save your hands.
The not so good bits
The 300ml tank on this handheld machine means it can get heavy to hold after a while.
The Sunbeam Power Steam handheld garment steamer is one of the best steamers you can buy in Australia. It's well-priced at around $80, with a hefty 300ml water tank, and up to 18 minutes of continuous steam. It heats up quickly, and the steam trigger has a lock so you won't get sore fingers. This is a versatile machine that can be used both horizontally and vertically.
The Sunbeam Power Steam handheld garment steamer looks like a cordless drill for your clothes. And it's basically a power tool for the laundry, with Aussies saying it 'blurts out steam' similar to professional steamers. People like the jumbo tank size, though some complain it gets heavy after a little while. But given the price and the 2-year warranty, we reckon this is a pretty good bet for most households. No wonder it scores around 4.5 stars on ProductReview.com.au.
The best luxury garment steamer
Choose this if
If you're in the market for a serious steam machine, the Tefal IXEO All-in-one is your one-stop-shop. It only has 2 buttons, yet combines a board and handheld steamer into one handy unit. The steamer head even has an iron-style soleplate.
What we love
Adjustable smart board
With three different positions, the IXEO's Smart Board means it does the work of a steamer and a traditional iron.
With up to 5 bars of pump pressure, this is a steamer with real oomph.
Light as a feather, stiff as a board
This cleverly-designed steamer is lighter than an iron, but has an iron-style head with a soleplate that works on the Smart Board as well as a traditional steamer.
Heats up in only 45 seconds, so you'll be out the door in a jiffy.
The not so good bits
At around $500, this innovative steamer doesn't come cheap.
If hearing the word 'ironing' is enough to induce a migraine, the Tefal IXEO All-in-one could be the answer to your prayers. With the soleplate of an iron and the lightweight steaming abilities of a traditional clothes steamer, the IXEO is somewhere between a steam station iron and a steamer. The integrated and adjustable smart board, handheld steamer and adjustable design mean you can steam on almost any angle. It also has only 2 buttons for the technologically challenged among us.
The Tefal IXEO is one of the best-reviewed garment steamer stations on ProductReview.com.au with around 3.5 stars. It's also reviewed by CHOICE. Most people are fans, though there is a bit of a learning curve as you get used to the upright board position. You can use it on bed linen and curtains as well as clothes. Overall, Aussies say it's convenient, works well, and heats up pretty quickly. The major downside is the $500 price tag. If your drycleaning bill is bigger than your laundry pile, it could be worth the investment.
The best value garment steamer
Choose this if
The Kambrook SwiftSteam is a winner in our books. At around $60, it's lightweight and portable with a detachable water tank. Aussies say it's best for quick little touch-ups on dresses and shirts before you dash out the door.
What we love
Detachable 250ml water tank for easy top-ups between steams.
Touch and go
Heats up in a flash - just press the trigger and away you go.
This lightweight handheld garment steamer scored well with Aussies for its ergonomic design.
Cheap and cheerful
At around $60, you won't feel guilty grabbing a second one for work, too.
The not so good bits
The 250ml tank size keeps the Kambrook SwiftSteam lightweight, but it also means you'll have to refill after 15-20 minutes of steaming.
The Kambrook SwiftSteam may well be the best handheld garment steamer in Australia. To start with, it's small, easy to use, and at around $60, it won't break the bank. It ticks a lot of boxes, with a fully detachable 250ml water tank that’s capable of pumping out continuous steam. All you have to do is press the trigger to get started.
We love the Kambrook SwiftSteam because it's one of the cheapest garment steamers on ProductReview.com.au, yet boasts one of the highest ratings. Scoring around 5 stars, this handheld garment steamer is also reviewed by CHOICE. People love it because it's lightweight, super-portable, and excellently-priced. On the other hand, most Aussies say it's best for casual use, so you'll need to get the iron out for anything really wrinkly.
Others worth considering
The Kmart Anko garment steamer is another winner from a household name. It has a massive 1.65L water tank with a water level indicator for nearly a whole hour of non-stop steam. This steamer is the generous type, with a steaming board, glove, fabric brush, rack, and telescopic pole. Unfortunately, it was a little too much for some households, with two reviewers saying it short-circuited the electrics. But if you're looking for a cheap thrill, this $50 garment steamer might be just the tick.
The Philips Steam&Go is a compact, stylish garment steamer that fits in the palm of your hand. If you like your garment steamer to look as chic as your clothes, this is the one you've been looking for. This handheld steamer comes in a slick black and gold, and the SmartFlow heated plate is guaranteed not to burn (yep - you read that right). It'll steam continuously and can be used vertically or horizontally.
Aussies give it around 3.5 stars on ProductReview.com.au. They say the SmartFlow Heated Plate is ideal for delicate fabrics.The Philips Steam&Go may put style over substance, however, as most reckon the tank only lasts 1-2 garments. This may reflect a small capacity, which ensures a lighter product that heats up in a jiffy.
The Sunbeam Butler Turbo is one of the most heavy-duty garment steamers we found, with 5 steam settings, a gargantuan 3L tank, 2000w of steam power and a standby auto-off feature to boot. It has a 24-month replacement warranty, and we reckon the RRP around $200 price tag is reasonable. Sure, it's not the most beautiful steamer you'll find, but for the cost, it gives other steamers a run for their money.
The Sunbeam Butler Turbo garment steamer is reviewed by CHOICE, as well as a good handful of Aussies on ProductReview.com.au. They reckon it performs well, and doesn't leave clothes damp like other steamers. Unfortunately, two reviewers found their Butler Turbos tripped the household wiring. Some Aussies were also frustrated that the wheels won't turn on tiles or smooth surfaces.
The Philips ComfortTouch garment steamer is a fairly deluxe steaming station with 5 different steam levels for different fabrics. It makes light work of thick clothes, with a whopping 2000w of steam power and a special fabric brush to help the process along. It comes with a 2-year warranty, and a StyleBoard which you can press onto for wrinkle-free shirts.
The Philips ComfortTouch has mixed feedback from Aussies, scoring around 3 stars. They say it's quiet, beautiful and ergonomic. So why only 3 stars? While the reviews were limited, two users have trouble getting deeper creases out of their clothes with this steamer. It's 'suitable for silk,' but the steam power may not be up to the challenge for thicker cottons.
The bottom line
A garment steamer is a godsend for anyone who's found themselves using their hair straighteners to touch up their collar in the morning. Whether you want something to replace your iron, or just a stand-in to save your collars from your hair straightener, there's a garment steamer for every household.
We reckon the Sunbeam Power Steam is best for most Aussie households. It's a handheld unit, so it won't take up too much space, and comes with a 2-year warranty. We're also impressed by its steam power. With a 300ml water tank, this machine can spout steam for nearly 20 minutes without stopping.
If your cleaning obsession rivals Monica's from Friends, the Tefal IXEO should be at the top of your wishlist. This clever steamer station has a Smart Board built in, and the steamer head has the soleplate of an iron. While it's around $500, you'll see good value in the IXEO because it does the job of both an iron and a steamer in one handy package.
The Kambrook SwiftSteam takes out best for budget in our books, scoring well with Aussies on ProductReview.com.au for its price, simplicity and portability. This handheld steamer will set you back around $60, and the tank is fully detachable. Its tank size means it's not cut out for longer steam sessions, though, so it's best for quick touch-ups.
Features to consider
Let's be real: some garment steamers are just better than others. Here are some features to keep an eye out for when buying a clothes steamer.
Handheld vs upright
There were broadly 2 kinds of garment steamers across our research: all-in-one style upright steamers, and handheld steamers.
Upright steamers are traditional clothes steamers, with a large water tank at the base and a hose connecting the steamer head. Most also have hangers so there's somewhere to put your clothes while you steam them. Many have telescopic wands and wheels for easier storage and portability. Some of the upright designs also have built-in smart boards, which may mean you can banish your iron for good.
Handheld garment steamers are a more modern take on the traditional clothes steamer. They're much more compact and portable than their forerunners, and look a little like cordless drills without the drill bit. Handheld steamers usually have the water tank at the base. These steamers have triggers you pull to start the steam process.
A higher water capacity means longer steam time, but it can also add weight to the unit, so keep this in mind when buying a handheld model. The sweet spot for handheld machines seems to be 250-300ml, as this size balances weight with the length of time your steamer will go for. If you're aiming to use your clothes steamer as a replacement for an iron, you'll want an upright or all-in-one steamer rather than a handheld model.
Most garment steamers require you to press a trigger to release steam. Smaller models will have a harder time releasing constant steam given their water capacity, but some of the larger models we saw have trigger locks to save your fingers from cramping.
Garment steamers start at around $60, and go all the way up to $500+. A mid-range upright steamer should set you back between $100-$300, but if you're after a handheld model, you'll likely get away spending less than $100.
What you get if you spend more
Those drycleaning bills can really add up, so if you're on the lookout for something a little more heavy-duty, here's what to look out for.If you can afford to splash out on an iron, here's what you can look forward to.
Spending a bit extra? You can look forward to a higher-quality steamer. Most of the garment steamers in the $100+ range were upright or all-in-one models. Reviews show that cheaper models were more likely to have electrical design flaws, and in some cases, they tripped the wiring in Aussie homes.
If you're spending a little more, keep an eye out for a longer product warranty. This may help justify the higher cost of the product.
In the higher price range, a few models also had adjustable Smart Boards, which are like ironing boards built into an upright steamer unit.
Let's face it - a garment steamer can be a bit of an eyesore. The good news is that pricier models tended to be better-looking, with ergonomic design for ease of use.
How does a garment steamer work?
When it comes down to it, garment steamers are pretty simple machines. Water is heated inside the unit until it becomes steam. The steam is then propelled outwards through a steamer head over clothes or fabric. This is like a sauna for your clothes, relaxing the fibers until they're crease-free.
Is a steam iron station the same as a garment steamer?
You may have seen 'steam station irons' or 'steam iron stations' while shopping for garment steamers. These are different from garment steamers, though they work in a similar fashion. Steam station irons are a hot take on the classic steam iron. While normal irons have the water tank in the main unit of the iron, steam station irons have separate tanks to the main handheld unit. This means a steam iron station can pump out more steam for longer, like a sort of heavy duty iron.
A garment steamer is different from a steam station iron in that it doesn't usually have a soleplate. The Tefal IXEO falls somewhere between a steam station iron and a garment steamer, with an iron soleplate and steamer head in one. Most steamers don't have soleplates, which is why they're usually different to a steam iron station.
What else can I use a garment steamer for?
A garment steamer is useful for more than just your collared shirts and dresses. You can use them on upholstery, curtains, and soft fabrics all around the home. Garment steamers help to freshen up bedding, too. Some folks also use them for removing stickers, as the steam helps release the tack. Steam also kills 99.9% of bacteria and germs, so your garment steamer may also sanitize your clothes while banishing crinkles.