We Review the Best Travel Steamers for Clothes

Megan Lee

You might think that living out of your travel backpack gives you the green light for looking a little slovenly. Some might even try to ball up and squish another outfit into that small outer pocket. Or maybe you’re just hoping that the restaurant hosting your next meeting has lights dim enough to hide your rumpled top.

Real talk: No one is going to take you seriously in that wrinkly-ass shirt. No, no. They won’t. Be better than that. And I’m not talking about the hotel iron. Those things often do more harm than good, unpredictable heat and spitting rust stains that ruin your clothes.

Arm yourself with one of the best travel steamers in the market and look fierce and ready to face the day—crinkle-free—in no time. Iron out your next trip abroad with the help of these handheld, portable steamers for clothes!

What to Look for in a Travel Steamer

When it comes to shopping for your travel steamer, this is what you need to consider before you buy:

Reach

Much like your phone charging cord, you don’t want to end up with a too-short cord situation. It’s just annoying. On the flip-side, excess cordage means tangling and unnecessary space used up in your bag. Aim for 5-6 feet minimum, but no more than 10 feet in length.

Water Capacity 

It can be frustrating to have to stop, refill, and reheat the water in the steamer frequently, so be sure to pay attention to the size of the steamer reservoir. Aim for about 10 minutes worth of steam when you’re choosing water capacity. That will be enough to get you through a full outfit.

A “mini travel steamer” can be great if you’re really space-conscious. They usually get the job done, take up less space, and weigh less than a typical travel steamer. The trade off is in water capacity. Be prepared for multiple refills while steaming a single outfit.

Lightweight

You don’t need a big honkin’ steamer to take up precious real estate in your travel bags. Opt for one that clocks in at 2 lbs or lighter—most should be ballpark 1.5 lbs.

Fabric-Friendly

Be sure to double check that the travel steamer you’re considering is safe for a variety of fabrics. This way, you can confidently erase wrinkles from suits, pants, dresses, even delicates.

Alternately, pack only tops and bottoms made of the fabric that you’re able to use the steamer on. This might be more work in the end, depending on your wardrobe, but might be a factor in choosing new pieces to add to your travel capsule wardrobe.

Heats Quickly

You don’t have all day—adventure is out there! Try to find a steamer that heats up in two minutes or less. Less standing, more steaming.

The Best Travel Steamers on the Market

PurSteam Garment Steamer for Clothes ($24.99)

Feel confident, professional, and capable ASAP. PurSteam is a popular steamer brand amongst travelers—it heats up in 90 seconds, is gentle on fabrics (including nylon, satin, cotton, wool, etc.), and only weighs 1.1 lbs. Though it doesn’t last for a full 10 minutes of steaming, the six ounce reservoir will keep you going for six to seven minutes.

Isteam – Steamer For Clothes ($27.99)

Erase wrinkles quick—the Isteam’s 60-second heat up time is just the first of many perks for travelers who bring one along. This steamer is suitable for all varieties of garments, and is perfect for both last-minute suit or skirt touch-ups in your hotel room or for your everyday steaming needs. It’s compact (only one pound!), yet its wide nozzle means better steam penetration and more efficient de-wrinkling.

AICOK’s Steamer for Clothes with Dual Steam Setting ($35.99)

While you might pay a little more upfront for AICOK’s steamer, the price differential is more than made up from its sleek design, low and high steam settings (the former for silk, nylon, and chiffon; the latter for cotton, woolen linen, etc.), and the included protection bag for storage. Not only that, but this steamer heats up in a whopping 20 seconds or less! While the kit also includes a fabric brush and heat mitt, I’d recommend ditching these unnecessary accessories when you’re traveling light.

Lemontec Portable Travel Garment Steamer ($21.99)

Get an instant refresh! Lemontec’s portable travel garment steamer will give an instant refresh to your clothes. It only takes about 75 seconds to heat up, and this mini handheld de-wrinkler can withstand up to nine minutes of steaming time. What’s more, this compact steamer cleans and sterilizes clothing, too—killing bacteria and germs that might be on your clothes. We’re *all* about staying healthy on the road, so Lemontec earns big points for this.

Xrool’s Mini Steamer for Clothes ($29.99)

This steamer markets itself as mini, but clocks in at about 9 x 4 inches and weighs around 1.3 lbs. While still manageable for anyone on the road, we don’t want you to get the wrong idea about it’s actual size. On the plus side, this mini steamer for clothes is a very cute color (I’m a sucker for turquoise) and gets rave reviews. An additional plus: it doesn’t spit water as it removes wrinkles from your travel clothes.

     

     

    Travel Steamer Q&A

    Do I *really* need a travel steamer?

    That depends. If you aren’t doing anything remotely professional during your trip, then you’re better off packing clothes that are wrinkle resistant and making the best of it. 

    But if you’re traveling for a conference, big-time meeting, business, or special event this tool can be a lifesaver.

    Do I need a travel steamer if I buy wrinkle-resistant clothes?

    Wrinkle-resistant is not the same thing as wrinkle-free. If you care about looking sharp—even while traveling—the combination of wrinkle-resistant clothes and a travel steamer is magical.

    Can I buy one at any brick-and-mortar shops?

    You bet! If online shopping isn’t quite your thing, check out options at retailers like Target and Walmart, or your local travel gear specialty shop.

    Is the steamer enough?

    If you’re traveling abroad, be sure to consider voltage and plug compatibility in advance. We’d hate for you to be prepping last minute for your business affairs just to realize you’re missing an essential piece (an adapter or converter)!

    TL;DR

    When your clothing looks new, sharp, and wrinkle-free, you feel amazing. If you’re traveling for some work on top of play, giving up the 7″ x 4″ space in your travel bag for a steamer just makes sense. They’re lightweight, easy to use, portable, and can make your look go from slipshod to polished in less than 10 minutes.

    Want more like this?

    Get weekly gear reviews, travel hacks, and packing tips sent straight to your inbox. As an added bonus, we’ll send you a carry on packing list right away.