Have you ever accidentally burned a hole in your favourite shirt, or tried to smooth out wrinkles on a fancy silk blouse or linen sheets to no avail? We’ve all been there. Ironing can definitely get our heads steaming but, fortunately, garment steamers are designed to help iron out these issues. To help you decide on which garment steamer you should buy, Canstar Blue has compared the top brands on the market.
Canstar Blue surveyed 302 Australians for their feedback on the garment steamer brand(s) they’ve purchased and used in the last three years.
Respondents rate their satisfaction with their garment steamer brand(s) from zero to ten, where zero is extremely dissatisfied and ten is extremely satisfied. Brand satisfaction was rated by respondents on the following criteria:
The winning brand is the one that receives the highest Overall satisfaction rating once all the scores from the Overall satisfaction criteria are combined and averaged.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included, so not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The brands rated in this survey are listed below in order of best overall satisfaction.
• Kmart (Anko)
Philips was the only brand to score five stars, earning top marks in every category, including: value for money, performance, features and functions, ease of use, design, and overall satisfaction.
Find more detailed information on our ratings methodology.
Philips steamed ahead, scoring five stars in every category including value for money, performance, features and functions, ease of use, design, and overall satisfaction.
Philips has a variety of handheld and stand garment steamers and offers models for anywhere between $79.95 and $549. For a handheld steamer, a more affordable option from the brand is the Philips Steam&Go Garment Steamer ($139 RRP*). This comes with a SmartFlow heated plate to distribute optimal temperatures and an electric pump that provides automatic continuous steam for rapid and simple de-wrinkling. It also provides 1300W of steam power, and a brush head accessory to help steam reach deeper into coats and other types of clothes with thicker materials. It can be used vertically and horizontally to reach every wrinkle. For something smaller, and even foldable, you can check out the Philips 3000 Series Handheld Steamer ($79.95 RRP*). This 1000W model is the cheapest garment steamer from the brand and has a quick heat-up time of 30 seconds.
Braun received four stars in nearly every category. This includes performance, features and functionality, ease of use, design and overall satisfaction. The brand settled on three stars for value for money.
If you don’t want to fuss around with learning a totally new ironing system, Braun’s line-up works just like its steam clothes irons. Its CareStyle steam generators use many of the same functions you get from the brand’s popular range of irons, such as FreeGlide 3D technology, in addition to a large removable water tank and settings like turbo mode. Other standout features include digital anti-drip technology, which is said to prevent water stains and leakage, and DoubleSteam technology which speeds up the ironing process by producing more than double the amount of steam as some other steam irons.
Kmart brand Anko achieved four stars for value for money and overall satisfaction, and three stars for performance, features and functionality, ease of use, and design.
Bargain hunters will be glad to know that Kmart’s popular Anko appliances range extends to garment steamers, with products costing between $42 and $55. A light and compact option is the Handheld Garment Steamer, which heats up to approximately 98°C within 30 seconds. Kmart also has a stand garment steamer up for grabs, and is one of the cheapest on the market. The 1500W unit provides up to 50 minutes worth of continuous steam and comes with a rack and telescopic pole. Accessories include a steaming board, a fabric brush, and a press for pants.
Not all garment steamer brands in the market qualify for our ratings (based on minimum survey sample size), but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth considering. Here are several more brands to check out before making a purchase decision.
If you would like to get it right with your garment steamer, check out our buying guide. It gives you a handy rundown on the differences between steamers and irons, the pros and cons of a steamer, and some insight into whether it’s the right appliance for you.
A garment steamer blows hot steam via a handheld component, which is attached to a water tank that produces steam between 200°C – 400°C. Unlike clothes irons, these usually don’t make direct contact with the material. Instead, you can hang the clothes and run the nozzle parallel to the fabric. You can also use a garment steamer around the house, including on curtains, pillows, and mattresses.
Garment steamers can be handheld or come as a larger standing unit where the steamer is attached to a large water tank via a cord. The freestanding units may also have an adjustable pole and hanger for easy use.
Garment steamers are better than irons if you’re short on space and want to save time on ironing. Garment steamers are also faster than irons (to heat up) and don’t require an ironing board, meaning they’re easier to use and store than clothes irons. You’d also benefit from a garment steamer if you need to regularly fix creases on delicate fabrics, such as silk, on materials with curves, or on items that are oversized or awkwardly shaped.
The main difference between clothes irons and garment steamers is that an iron has a flat soleplate that’s placed directly onto the material in order to press or steam out the wrinkles. Garment steamers, on the other hand, use steam alone to de-crease fabrics without contact.
We’ve listed several pros and cons of buying a garment steamer, so you can see how it compares to a regular clothes iron.
|Pros of using garment steamers||Cons of using garment steamers|
|Can be used on a wider range of fabrics, including delicate fabrics||Can be more expensive to buy than clothes irons|
|Can remove bad odours and bacteria from clothes with steam||Can damage suede, plastic, and other fabrics that can melt|
|Easier to control, allowing you to be more accurate with which areas to steam or press||Can be more difficult to use|
|Portable and lightweight enough to use on curtains, bed sheets and bulkier items||Less efficient at smoothing heavier fabrics, such as denim, linen and wool|
|Can be faster and easier to use than clothes irons||Not as good as clothes irons when creating crisp lines, such as for hems or cuffs|
While garment steamers are suitable for delicate fabrics, they can’t be used on fabrics that can melt. These include suede, plastic, and items with a wax coating. Steam can also cause suede to shrink. Garment steamers can additionally damage clothes if you hold the steamer too close, or if you use a chemical solution. So, make sure to familiarise yourself with the instruction manual before using your garment steamer.
A garment steamer is worth buying if you’re short on space, feel limited by the functionality of a clothes iron, or need a portable crease-removing solution when you travel. It’s also useful if you tend to wear delicate materials. Otherwise, it can be a potentially pricey purchase that may not be as much of a gamechanger as you first thought.
Our latest ratings show that more than a third of people (37%) enjoy their steamer so much that they use it weekly, while around one in five (18%) use it daily. In terms of cost, those surveyed seemed frugal, spending an average of $75 on a new garment steamer. However, 25% admit they often just can’t be bothered steaming their clothes, and 18% wished they paid more for a better model.
Megan is Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Editor, leading the team that focuses on consumer products and services, ranging from supermarkets and groceries to home and personal appliances and retail stores. She interprets Canstar Blue’s bespoke research on the thousands of brands that we compare, rate and review, to help shoppers make better purchasing decisions.
Samantha Howse is Canstar Blue’s Consumer Research Specialist, coordinating the consumer research program behind our customer satisfaction awards across Canstar and Canstar Blue in Australia and New Zealand. Sam has earned a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) from Griffith University and, with seven years in market research and 2 years in marketing, she is experienced in survey design, implementation and analysis, coupled with an understanding of marketing principles and best practice.
*Prices are taken from respective websites, correct as of January 2023.
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