Best handheld clothes steamers to smooth out creases with ease

Forget ironing – these days, it’s all about the clothes steamer

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Bianca Barratt9 January 2024
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Take the fuss out of creating crease-free clothing most quickly and efficiently.

Not every garment is created equal. Some, such as trousers, are relatively easy to iron whilst others – pleated skirts, ruffle tops and shirts of pretty much any design – prove an absolute nightmare.

To avoid the trauma of accidentally burning a treasured item of clothing, why not invest in a garment steamer? The handheld versions are easy to use and can leave you with clothes as perfect as the day you bought them in just a few short minutes.

What is the difference between an iron and a clothes steamer?

Similar to an iron, water is placed in a capsule and heats up but where they differ is in the application and result – steamers don’t make direct contact with clothes, thus preserving high-quality fabrics and achieving a crease-free look on even the most difficult-to-reach spots. As they work more quickly than irons, you’ll also save time and energy and their portability means you can take them anywhere.

Pro tips for a wrinkle-free wardrobe

  1. After you have allowed your steamer to fully heat up, test it on a kitchen towel first to prevent any water from sputtering all over your clothes. And always steam in a vertical position!
  2. Be aware of the type of fabric you are working with. Silk should be steamed from the reverse side to avoid water streaks and velvet should never touch the face of the steamer.
  3. Use distilled/deionized water to fill your clothes steamer. Hard water minerals found in tap water such as calcium and magnesium can clog clothes steamers and decrease their overall effectiveness. Distilled water is readily available from most grocery stores and costs about £1 for 2.5L.
  4. Clean your clothes steamer with white distilled vinegar. Fill the tank with the vinegar (white distilled only), allow to heat completely then push all the steam out into your kitchen or bathroom sink. Repeat with distilled water to remove any trace of the vinegar and voilà, a good as new clothes steamer.

Best travel steamers at a glance:

Here’s our pick of the best handheld clothes steamers

Fridja F10 Handheld Travel Clothes Steamer


Best for: An Instagrammable finish

- Kills 99.9% of bacteria

- 45-second heat-up time

- Continuous steam button

If aesthetics are important to you it doesn’t get much cuter than the Fridja F10, which comes in black, white or pink. Taking only 45 seconds to heat up, it makes quick work of crumpled clothing – especially as the steam jet can be held down continuously for up to 14 minutes.

The handle is slim and the model is light, making it easy to manoeuvre around garments and the chord stretches to almost two metres, which is great if your plug points are in awkward places. Add-ons such as the delicate fabric guard and collar press come in handy whilst the anti-calcium water tank gave us assurance that the product will be durable. Though one of the pricier products on the list, all these factors add up to make it a favourite.

Buy now£95.09, Amazon

Steamery Cirrus No.3 Steamer


Best for: An eco-friendly option

- Energy efficient - runs on 1200W

- Works on all materials except leather and suede

- Steamer iron hybrid

Another very attractive clothes steamer and this too comes in a range of chic, pastel hues including fashion-favourite sage, sand and charcoal.

The Stockholm-born label has gained widespread appeal, particularly with the style set for its ability to care better and more effectively for your clothes, thus elongating their lifespan. Not only is this more purse-friendly but it is better for the planet.

Whether it’s the silk slip that you’ve been reluctant to pop in the wash or your trusted coat that’s seen many a winter, this steamer has got you covered. It heats up in only 25 seconds and offers six minutes of non-stop steam with its 90ml water tank. The steamer switches itself off after 30 minutes.

There is also a travel-ready option that is compact enough to fit inside your case for a quick fix for crease-free clothing on the go.

Read our full review here.

Buy now£150, John Lewis

PHILIPS STH3000/26 Clothes Steamer


Best for: Hard-to-wash fabrics

- Detachable water tank

- 30-second heat-up time

- Foldable design

Streamline and compact, the Philips steamer is a small enough model to pack into hand luggage or a suitcase without taking up too much weight and space, especially since it folds onto itself.

It comes with just two buttons that are easy enough to understand without even having to look at the instructions (although we’d always advise that you do) – there’s an on/off switch and a button to release the steam. That’s all.

Fill the 100ml detachable tank that makes up the back of the device with water, plug it in and wait 30 seconds and you’re good to get steaming. Curtains, delicates and hard-to-wash fabrics can be refreshed and deodorised, killing 99.9 per cent of bacteria.

Buy now£37.99, Currys

Philips Steam & Go Plus Handheld Garment Steamer

Best for: A portable option

- Kills 99.9% of bacteria

- Vertical & horizontal steaming options

- 45-second heat up time

Restore your threads to like-new condition with Philips’ portable steamer. The device is fitted with a SmartFlow heated plate to make it as easy as possible to put the glory back into your garments. First and foremost, you can use it in just about any direction - vertically or horizontally, which is extremely convenient for those hard-to-iron areas. It also offers better and quicker results thanks to the continuous steam.

The Steam & Go has a pressure rate of 24g a minute, a 70ml capacity and a cable length that stretches for 2.5 metres. There is even a brush attachment so you can even steam those tougher, thicker fabrics. For those quick touch-ups to remove odour and bacteria from your pieces - you can’t go wrong with this steamer from Philips.

Buy now£74.99, Amazon

Tefal Access Steam Care DT9100 Garment Steamer

Best for: Easy to use, hand-held design

- 3m power cable

- Detachable tank

- Includes fabric brush, steam bonnet and door hook

No ironing necessary, this steamer from Tefal will take the creases out of your clothes without fuss or the need to source an ironing board. It heats up in just 40 seconds and has a powerful steam output of 30g a minute. It comes complete with a bonnet attachment that prevents dripping water on your clothes so you can wear them almost straight away. The device is also suitable for even your most delicate of garments where there are three settings so you can adapt it to the fabric at hand.

It tackles tough stains and can be used for far more than just your clothing. If there’s a piece of furniture that could do with freshening up - enter the Tefal steamer. The handy size ensures that you can easily pop it into your case to decrease your pieces, while on holiday or a business trip. The cord stretches to three metres and there’s a lock for continuous steam.

Buy now£79, Argos

Swan SI12020N Handheld Garment Steamer

Best for: A compact option

- Dual-use mechanism

- Compact, handheld design

- Overheat protection system

With this small but mighty steamer, you can take the hassle out of your clothing maintenance. It quickly and effectively removes odours and bacteria from your garments with 1100W continuous steam, 250ml capacity and a 1.9 metre cord so you can even target those hard-to-reach areas.

The device can be used upright, flat and on all fabrics from silk and velvet, to cotton and carpet. Just opt for the fabric brush attachment for thicker materials.

Swan’s offering is lightweight, compact and ergonomic - but more importantly, it could not be easier to use.

Buy now£21.99, Amazon

Beautural Clothing Steamer

Best for: A versatile option

- Can be used on clothes, fabrics and furniture

- Anti-leakage system

- Continuous steam function

The 1200W of power provided by this steamer makes it a powerhouse at getting out tough creases and enables it to work continuously for up to 15 minutes. What’s more, it works on multiple fabrics including cotton, wool, silk, polyester, velvet and linen to name but a few. What we really love about this model, though, is its intuitive, simple design.

There’s an on/off button and trigger which can be manually activated or set on a lock (allowing a continual flow of steam) and it works both vertically and horizontally thanks to the small pump in the water tank. Aside from that, all you need to do is ensure the no-spill vessel is filled up. Added conveniences such as the 360-degree swivel chord and 35-second heating time make it a particularly user-friendly model.

Buy now£22.79, Amazon

Pro Breeze Garment Steamer

Best for: A travel-safe option

- Compact and modern design

- 850-watt ultra-fast heating

- Travel and storage-friendly

A truly multi-purpose item, the Pro Breeze Garment Steamer isn’t just good for clothes – it can be used on furniture, upholstery and, most importantly, bedding too (a dream if you love perfectly smooth bedsheets but can’t be bothered to iron them).

Looking a little like a watering can, it’s easy to grip although is a little on the heavier side. It comes with a safety auto-shut-off which disables the steamer if it overheats or runs out of water, bringing us peace of mind in those unpredictable moments such as when the phone rings, the doorbell goes or a child under our care starts climbing into the toilet (for example…). This one also works well on beaded and sequined garments – a godsend if you’ve been wondering what to do with that crumpled ballgown that’s been sitting at the bottom of your wardrobe since last year’s Christmas party.

Buy now£24.99, Amazon

Tefal Access DT7050 Travel Hand Steamer

Best for: On-the-go fashion lovers

- Crease free results anywhere, anytime

- Kills 99.9% of bacteria

- 45-second heat up time

Looking more like a retro microphone than a clothes steamer, the Tefal DR7050 is one of the most aesthetically pleasing on the list.

Its steaming works well on some of the more crease-prone synthetic fabrics, creating a smooth finish quickly and thanks to its 45-second heat up time, you can have you don’t need to set aside much time to use it.

On the plus side, its cord is two metres long, allowing for greater flexibility when in use, but it is on the heavier side, so if you plan to steam multiple items in one go, you may want to choose a lighter option.

Buy now£49.99, Amazon

BELDRAY Handi Steam Max Pro BEL0932RG Hand Steamer


Best for: hassle-free steam cleaning

- 30-second charge

- 15 minute usage time

- LED display and auto shut off

For a quick-fix wrinkle solution, call on this steamer from Beldray. With a 270ml tank, it’ll work as a steamer for much longer periods than most with enough capacity to finish your shirts for the week with a duration of 15 minutes.

Heating up in just 30 seconds, the model is lightweight and can be used with both hard and soft water. There are two steam settings with variable steam and a high enough pressure for the more stubborn creases you’re tasked with removing. Nifty and compact, its ingenious design is something of a space – and life-saver.

Buy now£29.99, Amazon

Homeasy Clothes Steamer


Best for all-rounder

- Detachable water tank

- Ready to steam in 45 seconds

- Steamer iron hybrid

If you're in the market for a steamer that does it all at a great price, Homeeasy's offering has you covered. From the ultra-portable detachable design, to its multi-functional abilities, as well as its quick start-up time, it ticks all of the boxes in one compact package.

It's effective, too. With the ability to steam constantly for six minutes, there's enough time to steam a full outfit - and then some. We noticed barely any spitting, so your clothes will be good to throw on and go as soon as you're finished. And we love the mint green shade.

Buy now£29.99, Amazon


For all-round use, we’d recommend the Fridja F10 and for garments that have tough creases, nothing can match the power of the Beautural model.