Steamers can be used for a number of purposes including steaming wrinkles out of clothing or drapes. They can also be used to kill bed bugs on mattresses and furniture if they have enough steam at a high enough temperature to get the job done correctly. For home use there are steamers that are large, meant for larger cleaning jobs like floors and counters, large units designed specifically for clothes or smaller, handheld models that are more useful for dealing with wrinkled clothes.
The following models are all from Conair, a company that has been selling small appliances of all types since 1959. These reviews are for handheld or upright fabric steamers for clothing and drapes. These are all corded models.
The Conair Extreme Steam Handheld Fabric Steamer with Dual Heat Settings
This model comes in several color choices that includes: white with blue, plum, purple, white, white with champagne and white with green. It is also available in another model called “Turbo Extreme Steam”.
What You Get in the Box
For the Extreme Steam you get the relatively lightweight unit itself plus three removable attachments. These include a fabric brush, a creaser and a soft cushion brush. Each one is easy to remove and to put on.
The Features of the Extreme Steam Handheld Steamer
Steaming starts with the easy to fill water reservoir which holds a bit over 70 ounces of water. Heating time is around 75 seconds and the average steam time with this model is around 15 minutes. The Extreme Steam Handheld provides steam that is up to 30% hotter so that wrinkles are released faster. A yellow light lets you know that the unit is on while a green light lets you know that it is ready to go.The power cord is 9 feet long. There is a 1 year, limited warranty on this model.
Dual Steam Features
In addition to a steam trigger and a built in switch that allows you to use continuous steam, the Extreme Steam Handheld has two steam settings. One is 200 degrees and is meant for lightly wrinkled items as well as the more delicate fabrics that could be damaged by intense heat. The second setting heats to nearly 400 degrees and is meant for heavier fabric and for other uses such as killing bed bugs on mattresses and furniture.Always read all labels when choosing a setting for your item.
Is this a recommended Conair steamer?
There are some minor cautions about the Extreme Steam Handheld including the fact that it can get very hot especially when using the higher steam setting. There is not a stand so you can’t just place it down anywhere if you get tired of holding it. There are some issues with customer service in regard to honoring the warranty for this unit, but overall it is easy to use, does what is expected of it and has a decent pricing point. Use common sense when using this or any other steam/heat related appliance.
The Conair Turbo Extreme Handheld Fabric Steamer
What Comes in the Box
The Turbo Extreme Handheld comes with a 3 in 1 style attachment that functions as a silicone band to hold fabric tighter for easy steaming, a delicate fabric spacer to protect fragile fabrics and a bristle brush which is designed to loosen fibers for more efficient steaming.
The Turbo Extreme Handheld has a stand style base so that you can put your steamer down on solid surfaces. The water reservoir holds 73 ounces of water which heats in roughly 40 seconds and gives up to 15 minutes of continuous steam. Steam is available in two different settings, standard and turbo. In addition to the 3 in 1 attachment, the Turbo Extreme Handheld has an aluminum plate for professional, pressed results. There is also a built in creaser.
Is this a recommended Conair steamer?
The Turbo Extreme Handheld has some good qualities including one that makes it a better choice than the Extreme Steam Handheld Fabric Steamer. That quality is the stand style base that allows this steamer to be safely put down on a hard surface during steaming without fear of it leaking all over the place. The same precautions and common sense warnings are in place here. It is only slightly heavier than the other model.
The Conair Ultimate Garment Steamer in White
The Ultimate Garment Steamer is meant to be used for all of your clothing steaming needs. It has a number of features that make creasing and pressing everything from casual shirts to full suits easier and more efficient.
What is in the Box
The unit itself is easy to set up and has an insulated, cool touch hose as well as a cool touch T nozzle for accurate steaming. A telescopic pole with a 360 degree rotating hanger lets you hang clothing up to steam hands free. The hanger has clips which lets pants hang loose for full steaming.
The first feature is the easy to fill, completely removable water tank. The large capacity tank holds 80 ounces of water and has a release valve as well. The unit automatically shuts off when the water level is too low. Heating time is roughly 45 seconds and the unit gives around 90 minutes of continuous steam. It also has an energy saving steam pause.
Is this a recommended Conair steamer?
Unlike the other models, this one is not a handheld steamer. It is set up to look and function more like a professional styled steamer without the professional price tag. If you are steaming a few items a month, it should be fine however be warned that if you are steaming on a weekly or even daily basis, it is likely going to fail pretty quickly for you. Recommended for infrequent uses but not for people who need to steam things often. This one may also be a bit frustrating to set up for use every time unless you have an area that you can dedicate to it. It is not huge so a small corner of a room should be okay.
The Conair Extreme Deluxe Upright Professional Fabric Steamer
What is in the Box?
The base, which doubles as a storage unit for some of the accessories weighs 12.6 pounds. A 360 degree turntable hanger plus a telescopic pole make steaming clothing a hands free experience. Four clips in total hold clothing in place for steaming. The steam nozzle is triangular in shape and has a metal sole plate with a built in creaser. Two removable attachments include a fabric brush and a soft cushion brush.
The hose, attachments and the steam head can all be stored inside of the unit’s base when not in use.
The Extreme Deluxe Upright Professional Fabric Steamer heats in just 90 seconds and provides up to a full hour of steam time per water fill up. There is a steam trigger lock for continuous steam. The nozzle allows for steam from many directions.
Is this a recommended steamer?
This one is meant to be professional in many aspects but falls short. The power cord is only 6 feet long which means you must be near an outlet or consider using an extension cord. There are no controls over how how the steam becomes which means that one day you will have tepid steam and the next it will be scalding. Most of the time, the steam’s temperature will be very hot, to the point that you will likely end up with burns because the unit leaks from several areas. You may also want to use caution with the attachments because this does become hot enough to melt them. It is heavy, unwieldy and not entirely reliable enough to overlook any of these design flaws. Conair makes far better upright fabric steamers with similar or better features and fewer of these issues. This one is not recommended at all.
In the world of steamers, there are two general models. The handheld is best for short term use and quick steaming of materials such as clothing and drapes. The model you choose should be easy to use, lightweight and preferably have a stand of some kind so that you can safely place it down if needed.
A standing or upright steam cleaner can be used for more serious steaming needs including thicker types of material, deeper set wrinkles and even for steam cleaning things like mattresses and furniture. A third option, the combination model (not reviewed here) can be the best of both worlds however these typically bring the worst of both types as well.
Regardless of the style that you choose, the steam should be quickly made and fairly long lasting. You should be able to get at least one garment steamed from a single tank of water if not more. The tank itself should be easy to fill.
An indicator when the water is ready is a great feature as is a warning that the water level is getting too low. For units that do not have this option, an automatic shut off is a great alternative.
Nearly every steam cleaner is going to have some level of sputtering or even dripping. It is also likely that the unit will become warm to the touch during use. It is important to always exercise common sense precautions when using any appliance that involves heat or steam including not using them near children or pets. Some fabrics should not be steam cleaned or pressed at home because they are too delicate and should only be treated by professionals. Always read and adhere to the suggestions from care labels before attempting any steaming.
It is also important to consider your water source when filling your fabric steamer, especially if yours does drip or sputter from time to time. People with hard or well water should definitely use distilled water in their steamer, regardless of model. If you find that you are getting excessive sputtering or the steam is coming out in weird directions, you may need to clean the unit with some vinegar to clear out any clogs caused by mineral build up. This can happen with tap water especially in some areas with lower quality water. Well water could potentially cause additional problems including staining some fabrics. If you are unsure about the quality of the water in your home, use distilled water in all appliances and get your water testing as soon as possible.
Before you buy a handheld or upright fabric steamer consider the features that you need and will use most before getting seduced by a model with all of the bells and whistles. Most people just need basic steam that you point at the material to erase a few wrinkles and nothing more. Remember, the more attachments that you have, the more things you will have to store and keep track of.
Finally, consider the amount of time that you will be using the fabric steamer that you choose each week. The more frequently that you plan to use it, the more durability you will need. That may mean spending far more money up front to get the higher quality model rather than buying one that will need to be frequently replaced. The savings you get from a good, solid unit that lasts for years will offset the initial expense. Fabric steaming freshens the garment and makes it presentable for another wearing so it saves the fabrics and money there as well. Steaming at home saves trips to the dry cleaners which is another bonus to consider.