After a year spent cooped up indoors, many Americans are looking for new (or improved) tech to elevate their time at home, from smart technology like bulbs and speakers to modernized appliances like steamers. These cleaning tools have been around for years, but are receiving more universal adoption as of late, offering shoppers a more eco-friendly, effective way to clean your home.
If you’re thinking of buying a steamer, here’s what experts recommend knowing, from key features some of the best steamers to consider right now. You can also find steamers at our reader-favorite retailers like v-mart.net
Should you get a steamer?
While both use steam, steamers are different and more versatile than clothing irons. Irons use a flat, heated surface to remove clothing wrinkles. Steamers emit a jet of steam out in front of you via a handheld head attached to a water tank. Steamers typically work better on fabrics that can’t be laid out on an ironing board, and can be used on many different surfaces. You can even use a steamer as a replacement for certain cleaning products, too.
Certain cleaning chemicals can cause irritation, explained Kenneth Mendez, CEO and president of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Steamers offer a chemical-free way to clean and disinfect appliances and difficult dirt and grease that builds up on your stovetop or the grout in your bathroom, said Maker.
There are two different types of steamers: Handheld steamers and standing steamers. The main difference between the two is size
Handheld steamers are often compact and travel-friendly.
Standing steamers are larger, will typically hold more water and can therefore last longer without a refill.
They also use more power, take up more space and are often more effective in getting out tough wrinkles.
How to shop for a steamer
Steamers come with different water tank sizes, which determines how long you can use the steamer without a refill. Some steamers may take longer to heat up, which can add up over time for regular users. Prices range from $25 to over $200 — you’ll mostly get what you pay for, said Maker, so if you plan to use your steamer often, it may be worthwhile to invest in a higher-quality steamer: “I’m a huge fan of buying the better model and buying it only once. You don’t want to save money now, but then have it break in six months.” Some steamers come with additional features like steam settings, heat adjustments and attachments.
The water in a steamer can reach upward of 300 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning improper use can be quite dangerous, said Laura Dellutri, a home and lifestyle expert.
When using a steamer on clothes, put the item on a hanger and keep the steamer upright.
When cleaning or disinfecting, make sure to angle the steamer away from you.
And while it may seem smart to put your own cleaning mixture in the steamer’s tank, Maker advised sticking to water — some chemicals could damage the interior of the product.