Steamer vs Iron – Which one is the best?

If you’re considering buying a clothing steamer, you might be wondering if it is possible to give up ironing all together. There are pros and cons to both steamers and irons, with some new release irons now having a steaming function built in and some steamers with heads that look like irons and back boards to replace ironing boards.

Clearly, consumers are looking for best of both worlds when it comes to irons and garment steamers and manufacturers are starting to respond. Creating a two in one style product, could be the solution. We’ll look at the differences between steamers vs irons below:

Full Size Clothes Steamers

Benefit = Efficiency

PurSteam Full Size Garment Steamer Professional
The PurSteam Heavy Duty Steamer has 4 steam levels and runs for over 60 minutes with continuous steam

For a large family, or a large wardrobe, a full size clothes steamer or commercial steamer would be our choice as the most efficient way to get through your ironing each week. Steaming is faster than ironing, including adjusting steam settings between different fabrics. A full size garment steamer should run at max steam for around 60-80 minutes, plenty of time to get through an oversized pile of wrinkled clothes.

Most full size clothes steamers also come with attachments suited for different styles of clothing, such as a fabric brush for lint, or a creasing tool to add creases into sleeves and trouser legs. Whilst these aren’t as good as ironing in creases, with a bit of practice, they are effective tools for a tailored look.

Traditional Irons

Benefit = Creasing and Heavier Fabrics

If you’re a fan of heavy denim, strong creases or super thick fabrics, an iron is more likely to be a better choice for you. Whilst a steamer will relax the fibers in these items, removing all the wrinkles in heavy denim jeans needs an iron, or a little more patience with a steamer.

If you prefer prominent defined creases and starching clothes, stick with an iron

You also have more control over adding creases or pleats to pants, trousers and skirts and the finer details such as collars and cuffs when using an iron.

Also, if you enjoy using starch for an ultra pressed look, an iron is a better choice for you. Steamers are designed to relax fibers in clothing, using starch and steam together is not effective.

Ironing also takes longer than steaming, including waiting for irons to heat up or cool down depending on the fabric you are ironing.

Clothes Steamers with a Built in Iron

Benefit = Compact Design for both steaming and ironing

If you prefer to steam your clothes and use the iron for small touch ups, or to straighten hems, collars and cuffs, a multi-purpose steamer and iron could benefit you.

Rowenta All in One Iron and Steamer
The Rowenta All in One Iron and Steamer Solution

The Rowenta All in One Solution (pictured right) has a removable water tank so you can move the steamer about the house to steam curtains and drapes or soft furnishings. The backing board adjusts to 3 positions, which is great for steaming items that require more of a “pressed” look or using to iron heavier items such as denim jeans.

Lay the backing board flat to use like an ironing board for small touch ups – keep in mind though that it is not as large as a regular ironing board – the Rowenta Steamer is designed to be used more often as a steamer than an iron, using the iron function for smaller items.

Irons with Steam Functions

Benefit = Precision, Test if you enjoy steaming

Rowenta Steam Iron

If you enjoy the precision of ironing but would also like the benefit of steam, an iron with steaming function could be a good choice.

The downside of using an iron as a steamer is irons are usually quite heavy. Could you imagine holding an iron full of water vertically to steam your clothes or curtains? Probably not.

Overall, whilst the thought was there to promote the benefits of steaming, the practical application of actually using an iron as a steamer is highly unlikely. You’re more likely to use the benefits of steam whilst ironing in a traditional manner, to make your ironing more efficient, than using an iron as a steamer.

Portable Steam Irons

Benefit = Great for Travel or a Quick Iron Before Work

Portable Steam Iron Easehold
Easehold 5 in 1 Portable Steamer Iron

Small portable steamers such as the Easehold Steamer Iron (right) are a new design for 2019. Perfect for travel, or steaming your clothes before work in the mornings, a steamer such as this will run for around 6-8 minutes continuously.

The Easehold Steamer Iron can be used as a dry iron, steam iron and vertically as a steamer. We are loving this little design, particularly for travel – giving you the benefit of a iron for the finer details, collars or cuffs of an outfit as well as the benefits of a steamer that won’t break your arm to hold vertically. At under $40, it also won’t break the budget! It’s also been suggested this would be a great gift for a college student and we couldn’t agree more, with its small compact design and both steam and iron function.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our article on Steamers vs Irons and this helps you weigh up the benefits of both clothes steamers and irons. It’s great to see that newer designed steamers are adding features for more precision – as steaming your clothes is far more efficient than ironing. Not to mention the other uses for your garment steamer such as steaming curtains, drapes, bedding, linen and soft furnishings.

There are many benefits to steam, in particular the antibacterial properties. Steam kills 99.9% of bacteria and germs and will kill dust mites and bed bugs on contact. We believe buying a clothes steamer is a great investment, not only for the time saved over ironing clothes, but also for the multi-purpose uses to keep your home clean and fresh.

Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below!

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