Do you need an iron or a clothes steamer? Both will de-wrinkle your clothes, but you have to decide which is best for you.
While they ultimately do the same job, garment steamers are generally more expensive than irons - they range from $50 up to about $250 or more. The difference in price is due mainly to the convenience factor and ease of use. Not many people enjoy ironing, and steamers are ideal for these people. The benefits of a steamer include the fact that they won’t ruin your clothes and they are more versatile than irons in that you can use them on more than just clothes. In addition, they make it far easier to de-wrinkle a large numbers of clothes.
Like irons, there are many factors to consider. Some are similar considerations, such as the size of the water reservoir (the bigger the better), weight/comfort (light and easy to manoeuvre) and maintenance. There are, however steamer-exclusive issues to consider.
Water Heat-up Time
As steamers use only steam to de-wrinkle clothes, they use lots of water, which leads to larger water reservoirs. This in turn can cause extended waiting time for the water to boil. High-end (read: more expensive) steamers can heat up their water in a minute or less. Smaller ones can take up to five minutes or more.
This goes without saying, but read the owner’s manual. In addition to proper usage, it will probably tell you the steamer's wattage and energy usage - they may require significant power to run. This isn’t a huge concern as long as you don’t keep your steamer on for hours on end, but it’s worth noting.
Most steamers include only one heat setting. This is actually due to the fact that it’s very difficult to damage clothing using a steamer, regardless of the fabric.
Basically, irons can be used for ironing; steamers are far more versatile. In addition to de-wrinkling, your steamer can be used on a number of household items - to clean beds, drapes and even furniture. The steam will kill most germs on contact.
Your steamer can include any number of attachments to make your tasks easier, from a selection of different brushes to creasing tools to clothes racks.