Iron or Steamer? A Product Review

Written by Janell McPhail


Posted on April 03 2024

Here at Sweet Elaine Boutique, we steam a lot of clothes. I mean...a lot. Part of it is because we specialize in fabrics that are better suited for a Southern climate. These fabrics are breathable, lightweight....AND, wrinkle easy. So through the years, we have developed a major need for steaming and ironing clothes that go on the store floor.

Customers have figured this out, and often ask us what is our favorite steamer and iron to use. As a result, we thought it would be interesting to do a little experiment for our customers. Now, when Sweet Elaine Boutique conducts experiments, there isn't anything scientific going on. We have no control group, or data collection. We just try out a product and give you our honest feedback. Take it or leave it.

Here's the nitty gritty....

If you ask us if we prefer steaming or ironing, we are going to tell you we prefer steaming 100% of the time. Period. Now, there are a few fabrics that require ironing, even before we put them on the floor, but the best thing ever invented when it comes to wrinkles is a steamer.

If you don't own a steamer, the short of it is, you need one. We're doing the leg work for you and we tested out three, consumer level, steamers. Here's what we learned:

1. Conair Turbo Extreme Steam

We started with the Conair Turbo Extreme Steam because it actually was reviewed by Good Housekeeping and was issued the seal. So we figured it should be part of our experiment if it was good enough to test for them!


 Pros Cons
1. The product itself is designed well and is easy to hold. 1. The container that holds the water to turn to steam is really small. It only holds enough water to steam one item before it needs to be refilled.
2. The product produces a good amount of steam and not as much water as some other models we've had in the store in the past.  2. The "head" of the steamer gets hot like an iron so you have to be more careful when handling the product.
3. The button to produce steam can be held down in an "automatic" fashion allowing steam to be regularly produced. 3. When comparing to other models tested, this one warmed up more slowly.
4. The "head" of the steamer gets hot as well, almost acting like an iron and a steamer in one. 4. ~$65


Overall, this is a good steamer option and we can see why Good Housekeeping gave it a good review. However, the small reservoir for the water is a non negotiable for us. We are not refilling it each time we steam a garment.


2. Rowenta Handheld Steamer

Next up is the Rowenta Handheld Steamer. I have a Rowenta iron (and have almost 20 years) and it is fantastic so I wanted to try out this product to see if the steamer is as good of a product. 


 Pros Cons
1. The moment you pick up this product you can tell it is well made. It has a nice weight and the materials are better quality than the Conair. 1. It's heavier and slightly larger than the Conair making it a little more cumbersome to pack if you wanted to travel with it.
2. The water reservoir is larger making it able to steam 2-2.5 garments before it has to be refilled. 2. The steam produced also comes out as water making the garment wet occasionally.
3. It has a button to be pushed to produce steam and it can easily stop producing by no longer pushing the button. Even after sitting a while, it will produce steam very quickly once the button is pushed. 3. In order to produce continuous steam, you have to hold the button down constantly. There is not an auto button option.
4. only $43


We like the Rowenta steamer very much. Although it does "spit" water sometimes instead of steam, it actually means it's easier to work out more difficult wrinkles and isn't a problem. The larger reservoir and price is what makes this one a good option.

3. Pure Enrichment PureSteam XL Standing Steamer

While we have always used a handheld steamer in the store, I constantly look for the kind where you can hang an item as you are steaming it. It really never made monetary sense to find a larger steamer for the store because the last time we shopped for steamers, the stand up kind was $250 or more. The handheld steamers were working just fine so the need to spend that kind of money wasn't necessary.

However, upon researching steamer options this time, we uncovered The Pure Enrichment PureSteamXL Standing Steamer option that was VERY affordable so we decided to test it out.

Pros Cons 
1. The standing option of this steamer is a really nice feature because your arm gets much less tired when you are steaming multiple items. 1. The equipment for the standing pieces isn't the best quality so I worry if it withstand wear and tear for years to come.
2. The water reservoir is MUCH larger and can steam 8-10 items before it has to be refilled. 2. Because this product is on wheels, it is somewhat cumbersome to move around in different places. It also has a shorter power cord so it cannot get too far from a wall plug.
3. The steam lasts a really long time. The marketing says it lasts an hour, but I'd say it's more realistic to say 30 minutes. However, it is much longer than the other two products tested. 3. The product itself is noisy.
4. The stand up portion of this steamer is adjustable for different heights. 4. This product is not as easy to store as the smaller handheld products tested.
5. $69


Overall, we really like the Pure Steamer the best, mainly because it steams the most clothes in one sitting without having to refill water. If I had this item at home, I could see having a specific area in the laundry room so clothes can always be wrinkle free and you don't have to iron them for that to happen!

In closing, we also kept the Rowenta handheld steamer to use in the store as well when we have smaller or more compact needs. We took the Conair back to the store, not because it wasn't a good product, but because we really just liked the other two much better-- especially for the price. 

We hope our experiment helps you all and that you feel more capable of being wrinkle free in your style choices from here on out.




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