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Not all hotel rooms come with ways to de-wrinkle travel-weary garments these days: As more formal, heavily starch-dependent daywear and evening wear have faded out over the years, so has the tucked-away presence of irons in hotel wardrobes and cabinetry. That's why having a travel steamer with you is a great idea. That way, you’re guaranteed fresh-looking, crisp suiting and wrinkle-free evening wear. These little steamers are also a good idea if you tend to wear wrinkle-prone silk blouses and ties when you travel for business—or, upgrade to a more heavy-duty model for a steamer that you can use around the house, whether it’s for sanitizing counters or de-wrinkling a roomful of new curtains.
It’s hard to know where to start, though — unless your favorite steamer model just happens to come in a luggage-friendly size. But there’s something for everyone out there, from those with enough steam time for an entire destination wedding bridal party to the most mini of models that keep packing simple. We’ve done the hard work by rounding up the best travel steamers on the market. Read on for our top picks.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Evening Handheld Steamer
This steamer has plenty of satisfied customers, thanks to its sleek design and amazing efficacy at getting serious wrinkles out of clothes. Its unusual shape is actually designed to prevent it from tipping over and spilling, and the nozzle is built to prevent water from sputtering out while you’re steaming. There’s also a built-in temperature control function, so it won’t get too hot, and an automatic switch-off system, so you won’t accidentally leave it on (it also powers the gadget down if water levels get too low).
It’s not quite as powerful as most other steamers on this list at 850 watts, but for light, everyday use, it’s more than fine. You can also use it from all angles, with continuous steam lasting for up to 10 minutes.
For those who travel frequently, this is one of the more solid picks at an affordable price tag.
Best Heavy-Duty Steamer: Rowenta DR8080 X-Cel
Rowenta has made its name with heavy-duty, powerful irons, which are some of the best you can buy — so you can bet the brand’s steamers are going to be just as amazing. According to the company, this steamer is just as powerful as the full-size Rowenta in a smaller make. With 1500 watts — more than almost any other steamer on the market — and a quick heat-up time of just 45 seconds, the Rowenta DR8080 is the perfect iron for those who have hit the snooze button one too many times.
The extra-large micro stainless steel head distributes steam evenly and rapidly — 22 grams per minute — while the metal plate allows for superior heat conduction. We also like the chair hanger, removable water tank — no finagling it around shallow sinks with overbearing faucets — and three-meter cord length that reaches outlets in hard-to-access places. It also comes with a fabric brush, lint pad, and steam bonnet.
Best Travel-Friendly Features: Travel Smart by Conair Portable Garment Steamer
One of the most affordable travel steamers out there, Conair’s steamer from its Travel Smart line of handy on-the-road gadgets is also, not surprisingly, one of the best for travelers, thanks to its well-thought-out banquet of features. You get 10 minutes of steaming in one go from this little powerhouse, which is enough time to steam one or two pieces of clothing as you get ready for the day. Given that travel steamers can sometimes be awkward to pack — there’s lots of bulkiness and awkward angles — we appreciate the collapsible handle on this model.
Plus, it has worldwide dual voltage so you just need the right adapter for your country to plug it in (no messing around with converters here). It also has a detachable water tank (handy in more compact hotel bathroom sinks), an eight-foot cord (great when all convenient outlets are already charging the day’s gadgets), and there are two brushes that come with it: a bristle one and a lint one.
Best Multi-Use Steamer: iSteam Steamer for Clothes
In addition to its compact (and, dare we say, cute) design, this little steamer does a great job at getting even the most stubborn wrinkles out of clothes. Despite its tiny size, it dispenses continuous steam for 10 minutes, enough time to prep your outfit for the day ahead. It also heats up in just 25 seconds, with a proprietary electronic pump system that stops water from spurting, making the steaming process safer along the way.
It can also be used at multiple angles, so break it out when you’re back at home to sanitize countertops and even defrost ice-blocked freezers. It comes with a nozzle brush to get the dust off of coats and suits that have been held in storage for perhaps a bit longer than you’d like to admit.
At this price point, you might as well try it: The steamer comes with a year-long satisfaction guarantee.
Best Ironing Substitute: Shark Professional Portable Garment Steamer
Shark does household appliances extremely well, and this steamer — best for people who hate ironing — is no different: This pro-level steamer has 1580 watts of power, which gives it a major boost when it comes to getting every last wrinkle out of your outfit. It’s also the first “portable garment care unit” (the company’s words) that can vertically press clothes: The included press pad (best for use at home) mimics the effect of ironing, giving clothes a crisp edge.
Plus, it’s just as practical around the house as it is on the go, with the capacity to virtually steam an entire room of drapery, thanks to its 15-foot cord. The only downside is that it’s on the larger side for a handheld steamer at 3 pounds, so suitcase space and weight restrictions can get tight if you’re packing this, especially in a carry-on — though by no means is the size prohibitively large, just a bit more cumbersome than other picks on this list.
Fastest Heat Time: OXA Smart 1000W Ultra-Compact Handheld Steamer
OXA’s features belie its small size in more than a few ways. First, there’s plenty of power for everyday use on the road — 1000 watts is no small thing. Secondly, it heats up super-quickly: In just 20 seconds, this little steamer is ready to go. Third, those 20 seconds get you six to eight minutes of steaming before you need to refill, which is more than enough time to get the wrinkles out of your outfit for the day.
The steam is push-button based, so you can summon only as much as you need, saving water and preventing puddles from sputtering water while you’re at it. There’s also automatic shut-off protection, which is handy if you happen to be rushing out the door. The only downside is it’s not dual-voltage, so if you’re heading abroad, you’ll need to buy a transformer — or rely on your accommodation to provide an iron or steamer.
Best Handheld: Beautural 1200W Handheld Garment Steamer
This model is a little larger than your standard travel-size model — the 8.7-ounce water tank is basically a swimming pool compared to smaller models — but a bit more on the size front means a heck of a lot more power on the wrinkle-releasing side of things. It has 1200 watts of power and heats up in just 35 seconds, making it comparably fast, and has enough capacity to allow for 14 minutes of continuous steam — definitely enough time to get the wrinkles out of that silk blouse for your presentation, if not smooth out a new curtain. Speaking of which, we like that you can use this steamer not just vertically, but horizontally, too: It’s built so it doesn’t leak at any angle.
And if you’re rushing out and forget to turn it off? No worries — it has an automatic shut-off function. It also comes with accessories like fabric and lint brushes.
Best Steamer for an Organized Suitcase: BIZOND Mini Steamer for Garments
Handheld steamers — even the travel-sized ones — can be awkward to pack: The angles are weird to organize garments and other travel gear around, and they’re kind of bulky no matter how you lay them in your suitcase (especially so if you have a hard-shell suitcase with inflexible sides). Sometimes it pays to think a little smaller: This mini version of already-small travel steamers is a lot easier to pack with, thanks to clever design that means that the handle doubles as the body of the steamer.
If you didn’t think there was such a thing as an easy-to-pack, tiny, and still-effective steamer, think again: The BIZOND mini heats up in just 25 seconds, which is way faster than most models, can get up to 10 minutes of steaming from one fill of the tank, and incorporates a clever electronic pump that eliminates spitting water from the steaming process.
Bonus: It has a built-in water purification system to help the product last longer — especially handy if you’re traveling somewhere with hard water for an extended period of time.