Give me all the steamy details...
October 1, 2010 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Inspired by today's question about choosing between garment steamers, I've just decided that I need need need a garment steamer, because I am not equipped to iron. My budget is smaller, and so is my storage. has a selection of lower priced steamers. I've hyperfocused on them for a little bit here at work, but now I'm starting to feel that overwhelmed feeling that I get from making choices. So, have you used any of these? Some other brand or type?

$95.99 Sunbeam

$24.99 travel/handheld from Smartek

$149 J-2000 from Jiffy (yes, it's pink, but it's $40 cheaper than the one on Jiffy's site)

$71.99 Rowenta

My uneducated guesses are that I want to steer away from a travel steamer, because this would get regular use a few times a week, and that maybe I can find what I want on Craigslist here in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area.

Also, I'm aware that this may not be the very very best use of my new funds, but it will keep me from burning holes in my clothes, keep me from shopping for new clothes while my lovely things sit wrinkled, and keep me away from the dry cleaner, while moving me in the direction of a promotion. So, long term, this has good investment written all over it.

I started a new business casual job a few weeks ago, so I got a first paycheck today. I'd like to look like a professional woman again, but my iron and ironing board are no longer in my life, so I'm a little closer to the casual end of the spectrum than I'd like to be.

Also, I have always been a terrible ironer, creasing things abominably, smooshing parts that shouldn't be smooshed, always in a rush to get last minute ironing done before careening out the door....and I'm not fooling anybody with the "shake it as soon as it comes out fo the dryer" trick for button down shirts.
posted by bilabial to Shopping (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I've been pretty happy with the "Jiffy Steamer Esteam" travel steamer, which is available various places online for about $50. It is a travel steamer, but there's nothing particularly special about the huge immobile ones - they just hold more water so you can go longer without refilling (but it's like 20 minutes instead of 10 - we're not talking hours vs days here). Plus, you can travel with the little one if necessary.

Generally, you should still get an iron and an ironing board, even if a miniature one you can put on the kitchen table or something - it's just way faster and better for large, flat fabric like the fronts and backs of shirts. Steaming is good for inherently curvy parts of clothes, like shoulders and neck areas, but it's pretty slow and the really stubborn wrinkles actually don't come out that well with steaming.
posted by rkent at 10:03 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've got one of these that works fine. Make sure to use the hanger-thingie for the steamer end or you'll scald yourself; I'm sure this is true for all hose models... this one comes with an over-the-door hook instead of a stand.
posted by cometwendy at 10:09 AM on October 1, 2010

I actually quite like travel steamers. Great for space, easy to use, heat up quickly and do just what they have to do. I realize I'm being somewhat useless in not actually linking to one, but I can't remember the brand of the one I've currently got. It really doesn't matter if you use it 7 times a week or 2 times a week; the fact that it's a travel steamer doesn't mean you have to use it less often.
posted by inmediasres at 10:34 AM on October 1, 2010

I've had my commercial Jiffy steamer for a few years and it's really fantastic. (Less fantastic on button-down shirts, but that's a steamer issue, not a brand issue.) A friend who works with steamers frequently steered me away from the travel steamer and I think the reviews bear this out. They work quicker and more thoroughly than the travel steamers.

I think you can do better on price than Overstock for Jiffy, at least. I don't know if you're a Costco member, but they have the J-2000 for $124 in a neutral color and I think it's gone on sale for less. A casual search indicates that $145-150 is a pretty common price.
posted by *s at 10:39 AM on October 1, 2010

The guy who installed our curtains had a small black hand-held Jiffy. I ended up buying one myself, and it's very good. Cost about $50 on Amazon.

I also have a Rowenta iron with "vertical steam," meaning you can hold the iron vertically to steam things. What's good about it is you can press a button to get a big whoosh of steam. And, of course, it's also an iron. I can pull the fabric almost taut, and run the iron along it, which does a better job than just steaming. On the down side, it's heavy.
posted by wryly at 10:57 AM on October 1, 2010

I got a no-name travel steamer for $25 @ Walgreens and I LOVE it. (I am also an ironing-impaired mom can iron a dress shirt perfectly in 30 seconds flat. Go figure.)
posted by smirkette at 9:14 PM on October 1, 2010

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