Garment Steamer vs Steam Iron – Which One Is Best For You in 2023?

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Ironing vs Steamer

Today we are going to dig deep into the debate between what is better an iron or steamer?

Ironing is a chore that none of us are thrilled to be doing but we can’t be walking around with creases and wrinkles in our clothes can we?

Steamers and irons essentially do the same job which is generating steam to loosen the material making it easy to remove the wrinkles in your clothes.

In 2023 these are the main two choices you have when it comes to removing wrinkles from your clothes.

A steamer or an iron is a must in every single household, so it is an important decision when you are spending your hard-earned money because you are going to want to get value for money and you also want the item to last a long time and not breakdown within a few months of purchase.

That is why we are here, we have done all the hard work for you, so once you have read through this full article you will have all the knowledge and will be able to make a choice that is best suited to you a steamer or iron.


Read below and you will learn the advantages and disadvantages of both appliances and you can then make your own decision on who wins the matchup of garment steamer vs iron.

Iron Pros

If you like your clothes looking crisp, sharp, creases in the right places, and wrinkle-free then a steam iron is your only option.

With the top of the range steam irons on the market, you can produce some fantastic results with creases that look like they are fresh from the dry cleaners, something you could never achieve whilst ironing with a steamer.

An ironing board is obviously an important part of having an iron and I definitely recommend that you have one, but you don’t have to have an ironing board to get decent results from an iron.

If you are struggling for space and that is putting you off getting a good steam iron then there are ways around that. Alternatives to a full-size ironing board include ironing blankets, tabletop ironing boards, and wall-mounted ironing boards.

One last bonus of steam irons is that you can turn off the steam…

Yes, you can turn off the steam and use the dry iron for when you need to iron delicate fabrics such as silk.

Even if your iron ends up spitting or leaking you can still use your iron by turning off the steam function and spraying your clothes with a water sprayer, a big advantage over a garment steamer which is useless if it starts spitting or leaking.

Iron Cons

The main problem most people will find when the time comes to have to start using the iron is there is actually a skill to it.

My mom made it look so easy when I was little and until we all get one of these ironing robots in our homes, we all need to learn.

So yes it definitely takes practice to master the art of ironing and I don’t think anyone would ever tell you differently.

We have all been there when we have accidentally burned a piece of clothing or can’t get that last wrinkle out of that shirt which can cause great frustration.

Believe me… we have all been there!

And this isn’t only beginners that can burn clothes, ironing veterans still run the constant risk of damaging clothing if they are not paying careful attention.

As I spoke about earlier you don’t need an ironing board but to get the very best results you are going to want an ironing board and ironing boards take up space especially when we are comparing it to a steamer.

Also if you do not have an ironing room where you can just leave the ironing board up or alternatively a folding wall mounted ironing board then they can become quite a hassle lugging it about, setting it up, putting it back down, and then moving it back to where it belongs… to look ugly and get in your way taking up precious space.

Steamer Pros

A garment steamer does not take up as much room in your house compared to an iron and ironing board and is easier to store away.

I would say an average steamer is the size of a vacuum cleaner.

When it comes to using a steamer for ironing your clothes you typically can just hang your item of clothing on a hanger and run your steamer up and down your clothing without making direct contact, and you will start to see the wrinkles in your clothing disappear like magic.

The convenience of a clothes steamer makes it a great alternative to a iron for people who may not have space or maybe looking for a lighter, quicker, easier, and more portable alternative to ironing.

Or maybe you just want to eliminate the storage problem ironing boards can cause to your household.

There is really nothing to learn when it comes to using a steamer unlike using a steam iron where there is plenty to learn and a lot that can go wrong.

All you have to do with a steamer is slowly move it around your clothing, absolutely no skill involved whatsoever.

If you can lift the steamer… then you can steam and you don’t need to keep readjusting your clothes like you would if you were ironing.

There is no ironing board or even a hard flat surface that you need to go and find.

Just hang your clothes up and steam the wrinkles out.

It’s simple.

One of the biggest positives I find when it comes to steamers is how easy it is to use on delicate fabrics such as silk and polyester that I am usually scared to touch with an iron because the fabric can be so easy to damage.

Some people are swearing off ironing for good because of steamers!

Here is a bonus use for your garment steamer that I have learned quite recently, you can actually use your garment steamer to remove bed bugs.

All you have to do is run the steamer up and down every inch of your mattress like you would an item of clothing and the steam will kill all of them.

Find my review on the Conair GS59 steamer here.

Steamer Cons

Now with the convenience that you get with garment steamers, they do have some downsides that are worth knowing about.

Garment steamers are far from perfect if you are looking for that perfect crisp look that you can only achieve with a steam iron or even a steam presser.

Clothes steamers just can’t achieve the deep crease you can with a traditional steam iron, so if you like creases in your clothes such as down your pants then a steam iron is a much better choice for you, but if you want to go big then a steam press is the best tool that you can have in your arsenal to give you long-lasting creases.

Even stubborn wrinkles can cause you trouble with garment steamers and may not be able to completely erase all the wrinkles that you come across.

They will remove most… but I do come across some tough wrinkles every now and then that refused to be steamed out.

It is definitely important to note that clothes steamers can become tiresome on your arm.

If you have a big laundry pile remember that with a steamer you will need to hold the steamer in an upright position for a significant amount of time.

A garment steamer can weigh over 3 lbs, so keep in mind you will have to hold it through your whole ironing load.

What’s Better A Steamer or Iron?

So as we all know by now that the goal of both the steamer and the iron is to remove wrinkles, add the right creases, and have you looking fabulous.

And we also know both products offer differing results which leads some to believe that the iron can never be replaced and for now I do agree that the iron can not be fully replaced.

I also do believe there is a place for garment steamers, it really is a personal preference of what are you actually looking for, and does it help your life?

Irons are for perfectionists who want great results and want to produce all the right creases and don’t mind taking longer and dealing with more hassle.

If you find yourself wearing dress clothes, ironing shirts a lot, then there is really no option other then to have a steam iron in your house.

Rowenta steamer and iron

Steamers are much quicker and easier to use but you will not be able to replicate the creases and crispness that you can produce by using a conventional iron, but if you need to quickly remove wrinkles then a steamer can be a perfect addition to your household.

You don’t want to be getting out the ironing board and everything else you need to do when ironing with a traditional iron if you just want to remove some light wrinkles and head out the door in a hurry.

This alone makes the garment steamer more flexible, easier, and quicker to use than a traditional iron and you can use your steamer on all types of clothing without being afraid of damage of any kind.

Steamer or Iron For College?

Whenever I get asked ‘should you get a steamer or iron for college?’ again I always think it depends but for most college students I would recommend a clothes steamer because it is simple to use and hard to burn your clothes.

You also do not need an ironing board which takes up a lot of room and most college students are too lazy to iron anyway.

You can even look into wrinkle release sprays that are even easier to use than a steamer.

Should I Get A Steamer or an Iron?

As we wrap up our steamer versus iron battle it is obvious that both appliances have their advantages and disadvantages to eradicating wrinkles in your clothing.

I can’t give you a definitive answer to which you should purchase between a clothes steamer or an iron because that is going to be a personal preference only you can answer.

What I hope I have done for you in this article is to explain the differences and the positives and negatives of both items.

One of the main questions you should ask yourself is…

Do I want to sacrifice results for time or do I not mind taking the time and getting them perfect creases?

At the end of the day, I really believe that both appliances serve their purpose and belong in all households, I could not give up either of my steamer or iron.

Which one did you decide to go for?

Click here to see my reviews on the best Rowenta garment steamers in 2023.

Click here to see my reviews for the best steam irons with retractable cords.

Written by Shaz


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