News center
Sophisticated machines and superb skills

Tested and Reviewed: The Best Travel Steamer to Take on the Road

Mar 24, 2024

By Erinne Magee

Even the most seasoned travellers open their suitcase after landing and find themselves with a daunting task ahead: deciding if their wrinkled clothes can get by with a thorough shake out or if reinforcements are needed.

Of course, most hotel rooms are equipped with irons, but the task of setting up the ironing board can feel overwhelming. Not to mention, some hotel irons aren't so trustworthy, while some fabrics are too delicate for harsh heat. Enter our swanky new friend, the travel steamer.

When I set out to find the best travel steamer, I admit, I was hesitant about such a practical item taking up precious carry-on space. But when travelling as a family of four, as I often do, an ironing board set-up can quickly become a catch-all for toys, shopping bags, or electronics and simply get in the way. After testing these steamers, I’ll be leaving the iron tucked away.

Of the 10 steamers tested, my favourite models had one thing in common: a metal soleplate, allowing you to touch the steamer to the clothing to smooth out tricky spots. While steamers are mostly celebrated for their ability to get wrinkles out, they also kill 99.9 per cent of bacteria. Important to note, most steamers come with the recommendation of distilled water to keep the sediment buildup at bay, which I did not use as most of us don’t have easy access to it when we travel.

Each steamer has been tested and reviewed on jeans, khakis, t-shirts, button-down shirts, blouses, and jackets based on the following criteria:

The design here is just smart. The steamer weighs less than 500 grams, but produces a solid stream of steam. With a small reservoir, I was surprised the water lasted for almost 10 minutes, allowing for five items to be de-wrinkled (though it was not powerful enough for jeans). There is a button to turn the steam on, but you don’t have to hold it down, which I appreciated. The metal soleplate allows for an ironing option, which is what I ended up using to smooth out the jeans. An adjustable head not only makes the seamer compact but gives you the option to steam at different angles. I did wonder if frequent adjusting of the head would loosen the feature, but the steamer seems to be quite solid and well-made. The unit also comes with a wall mount so you always have a place to hang the garment at home.

Weight: 0.3 kg

Size: 22.6 x 7.9 x 4.2cm

Pros-Lightweight and packable-Adjustable head-Comes with wall mount-Powerful

Cons-Works best on lighter fabrics only

Most travel steamers will fit into your carry-on and can go through airport security without any issues; just make sure any remaining liquid from the reservoir has been emptied before getting to the airport.

If you are going to a formal event such as a destination wedding or know you’re packing clothes that are famous for wrinkling, then yes, it's worth adding to your suitcase. As someone who typically only uses a carry-on unless travelling with family, I do value my space and find the steamer to be an easy item to remove should I be running short on room.

The Nesugar steamer weighs less than a pound, which inched it ahead of the Conair Turbo (weighing in at about 900 grams and measuring 33cm long) in overall rating.

Of the 10 steamers I tested out, these are the others I would recommend, with caveats:

Leave it to Swedish brand Steamery to create not just one of the most effective hand-held steamers on the market, but also the most aesthetically pleasing. Their latest style is a slick-looking steamer and iron in one. The tool heats up quickly with just one button and the power is impressive – I was able to steam a couple of crinkled silk dresses in a matter of minutes. It also comes with a wearable heat-protecting ironing mitt so it's really easy to remove every crease. Overall it's not just great for travel, but can easily replace your iron at home. If you're hand luggage only, this one may be a little on the heavier side, but if you're travelling with check-in luggage, the minimalist design is easy to store amongst your other items. They also make a fabric spray that is brilliant for keeping clothes smelling fresh when you're travelling. Lauren Burvill

Weight: 0.86 kg

Size: 24.6 x 14 x 8cm

ProsPros-Can dewrinkle anything -Can stand on its own-Quick heat-up

Cons-On the heavier side for travel

The Conair is definitely a winner in terms of power and functionality — a t-shirt can be good as new in less than a minute. While the steamer can blast wrinkles from jackets, you can also lower the setting for more delicate items. The Conair turbo is the only steamer I tested that had various settings to choose from. It even has a built-in creaser, if that’s your thing.

Because the steamer is more powerful, it uses more water, so refills are necessary after a few items (depending on the fabric and intensity of the wrinkles, of course). The Conair Turbo would’ve taken top spot if it were more compact for travelling. If you find yourself using an iron a lot at home, this steamer may actually be your best bet.

Weight: 1.38kg

Size: 34.5 x 21.4 x 14.4 cm

Pros-Can dewrinkle anything -Various settings to choose from-Quick heat-up

Cons-Hard to fill with small opening-On the larger side for travel

At first, I was wondering if I had a faulty unit because it took several minutes for this steamer to heat up, which felt like an eternity compared to others. Once it was ready to go, though, the steam was quite efficient as long as the material wasn’t too thick (button-down shirts worked fine, but nothing heavier). Again, the metal plate comes in handy for more stubborn wrinkles. You have the option to lock the steamer into a continuous stream or control the trigger for smaller bursts (this helps save water in between items, too).

Weight: 1.19kg

Size: 28.5 x 12.5 x 12.5 cm

Pros-Metal plate-Option for continuous steam or manual

Cons- Longer heat up time-Won't tackle jeans or heavier garments-Heavy

International travellers will be happy about the automatic dual voltage with this steamer. While the heat up is quick (about 20 seconds), the reservoir of the steamer is painfully hot so be sure to only hold on to the handle. Unfortunately, the high temperature of the reservoir requires a pause between fill-ups, but you can get three items done with one tank. My favourite feature is the automatic steam from the get-go, which means your fingers get a rest from holding down the trigger button that comes with many other steamers. The main reason this steamer remains on the final list is for its appeal to those who frequently travel abroad.

Weight: 0.5kg

Size: 24.1 x 11.4 x 11.4 cm

Pros-Collapsible handle for travel-Automatic heat-up (no power button)-No trigger needed to release steam

Cons-Cannot promptly refill reservoir because the tank gets so hot

This article was originally published on Condé Nast Traveler US.

Size/packabilityPower/efficiency:Water capacity:Leakproof:Durability/longevityWeight:SizeProsConsWeight:SizeProsProsConsWeight:SizeProsConsWeight:SizeProsConsWeight:SizeProsCons