We updated this guide in May 2022 to ensure all products tested and vetted by the Good Housekeeping Institute Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab were in stock and reflected current pricing.
A garment steamer is a great addition (or alternative!) to a traditional steam iron for quickly removing wrinkles and freshening fabrics. It work wonders on clothing made of soft or delicate materials, like flowing skirts and silky blouses and on suit jackets, sequined tops and other difficult-to-press items. Because they are so portable, garment steamers are perfect for travel and they are easy to use around the house to spruce up bed skirts, draperies and window treatments, pillow shams and more.
The Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab tests garment steamers by assessing their efficiency, heat-up time, and ease of use. Our experts also look at other factors like balance, comfortability when holding the steamers and water tank capacity, just to name a few. During testing, our experts use a variety of fabrics including natural and synthetic fibers. These are our best garment steamers based upon categorical Lab tests and industry expertise:
Our top picks
Best Overall Garment SteamerTurbo ExtremeSteam Handheld Fabric Steamer Conair Read More
Best Value Garment SteamerCompleteSteam Fabric Steamer Conair Read More
Best Household Garment SteamerAdvanced Handheld Garment Steamer Black + Decker Read More
Best Combination Portable Steamer and IronTurbo ExtremeSteam 2-in-1 Iron Garment Steamer Conair Read More
Best-Selling Handheld Garment Steamer on AmazonHandheld Garment Steamer Hilife Read More
- Quickly removes wrinkles
- 5 steam settings
- Ceramic faceplate glides smoothly
This Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam Handheld Garment Steamer holds our Good Housekeeping Seal for a reason. It's one of the best wrinkle removers we've tested. Unlike others, it has two steam slots, a ceramic faceplate for a smoother glide and five steam settings — from delicate to turbo — to cater to any fabric need. Once it starts pumping, the steam comes out continuously, so there are no extra buttons to press.
The Conair includes a three-in-one attachment to lift fibers, protect delicates and pull fabrics taut for better results along with a built-in creaser to help achieve sharp pleats. We were especially impressed with how well it worked on heavy cotton pants and with a nine-foot cord, there's freedom to roam from the outlet.
- Easy to store
The Conair CompleteSteam Fabric Steamer is simple in design with just an on/off button and ready light but it gets the job done and does it well. In our tests, it needed just a little over a minute to heat up and we got a solid 10 minutes of continuous steaming time.
This model is lightweight and compact (just 9.5 inches tall), so it's easy to store and to tote anywhere around the house. To fill, just unscrew the nozzle. Plus, its low price makes it perfect for anyone who wants a no-frills model or is new to steaming — a.k.a. your 19-year-old who just went off to college.
- Long cord for ultimate reach
- Attachments for upholstery, delicates and lint
- Auto shut-off
You can steam way more than just clothing with the Black + Decker Advanced Garment Steamer. The extra-long cord (15 feet!) makes it simple to reach high-up places like curtains and bed skirts that may be far from an outlet. It has a removable, easy-to-fill water tank and it automatically shuts off after 15 minutes, so if you get interrupted mid-job, safety won't be of concern.
Like others, this model comes with attachments designed for upholstery, delicate fabrics and lint removal and we found the ability to lock it into continuous steam especially helpful for large tasks like draperies, mattresses and furniture.
- Versatile functionality
- 4 steam functions for various fabrics
- 10 minutes of continuous steam
This powerful garment steamer features a wide plate that doubles as an iron, dry or with steam giving you more bang for your buck. It also features four steam settings to accommodate different fabrics from delicates to more stubborn textiles. During testing, we were able to restore a wrinkled duvet cover right on the bed and love that it can be used vertically and horizontally without dripping. According to the brand, the 8.5 oz water tank provides 10 minutes of continuous steam and heats up in under 10 seconds.
- Reviewer favorite
- Simple, foolproof operation
- See-through tank
With over 47,000 5-star Amazon reviews, it's safe to say that the Hilife Garment Steamer is a consumer favorite. Simply remove the nozzle to fill the steamer at your tap, plug it in and turn it on. Just like a tea kettle, the water inside comes to a boil and pumps steam out through the vent holes. We like the large see-through water tank and long cord and that a model this basic comes with a fabric brush and water refill cup. There weren't many negative reviews and we haven't tested this model, but a few users complained it was leaky.
- 90 minutes of continuous operation
- Auto shut-off
- Industry favorite
Go into any magazine fashion closet or on any fashion photoshoot and it's safe to say you'll see this classic, proven Jiffy upright steamer hard at work. No fancy bells, whistles or attachments here: What you get is 90 minutes of gentle, continuous steam from its 3/4 gallon water tank.
It shuts off automatically for safety and is on swivel casters for easy movement, this Jiffy steamer comes backed by a three-year warranty. We have used it many times in the Good Housekeeping Cleaning Lab and have always considered it the gold standard of upright garment steamers.
- Long Cord
- Produced lots of steam
Rowenta irons always perform well in our tests which is why we included the X-Cel, an updated model of the previously tested and now sold out Rowenta IXEO All-in-One Iron, which did a great job removing wrinkles and produced lots of steam. The 9.8-foot cord allows for easy movement while steaming. According to the brand, the X-Cel steamer is ready-to-go in 25-second, produces 28g of steam per min and has a 6.4oz water tank for long steaming sessions.
- Slim profile with large water tank
- Lightweight but powerful
The slim shape of this classic Jiffy Steamer Esteam Handheld Steamer makes it easy to tuck into even the smallest drawers. In our tests, it produced a good amount of continuous steam from its large water tank, yet is lighter than other brands with similar capacities. You won't find accessories, but even with such a small size, it has a 9-foot power cord. The model also comes in pink if you prefer a pop of color.
- Comfortable hold
- Comes with travel case
This Good Housekeeping Cleaning Award winner is a lab favorite. The slim steamer is comfortable to hold and about the size of a flat iron. The stylish steamer heats up quickly, is easy to fill and pumps out five minutes of steam when you press the button. During testing, we got pro results even on the front placket of a cotton shirt. It works in any direction without dripping and has a travel case.
The Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab tests all garment steamers for efficiency, heat-up time and ease of use. Our experts start by assessing how balanced and comfortable each steamer is to hold, the capacity and ease of seeing into the water tank and how easy it is to fill and empty. We time how quickly the appliance heat ups, how long it runs and how many grams per minute of steam it pumps out.Then, we take it to the linen, silk, cotton, wool and synthetic fabric swatches and garments we've balled up and wrinkled overnight. We time how long it takes to de-crease each item and then score each fabric for smoothness using an industry standard protocol borrowed from our GH Textiles Lab. We note any spitting or sputtering and test any attachments included with the steamer.
For some — but not all — de-wrinkling jobs, a steamer is a better choice than a steam iron. Garment steamers pump out soft billows of steam that pass through fabrics and delicate fibers to allow wrinkles to fall out as you gently tug on the bottom of the shirt or blouse. Irons, on the other hand, use moisture, heat, steam and pressure to smooth and flatten fabrics and remove wrinkles as you press against the board.
Steamers are better suited for use on items decorated with sequins and beads and tailored garments, like jackets, that are difficult to lay out flat on an ironing board. Finally, use a steamer on any item where you don't want a pressed look or sharp creases, like knit sweaters or dresses.
Carolyn Forte, the Good Housekeeping Institute's Home Care and Cleaning Lab Executive Director, has a B.A. in Family & Consumer Sciences from Queens College, City University of New York, and is a consumer products expert. She has been testing, speaking and writing about appliances, textiles, cleaning products and more at Good Housekeeping for more than 40 years as well as consulting with the appliance industry, especially washing machine manufacturers, about appliance testing protocols and consumer laundry habits.