Today: 3 March, 2024

Clothes steamer vs iron – do you need both?

In this article, we compare two devices whose need for clothing care cannot be overemphasized: clothes steamer vs iron.

Our whole lives we’ve been listening to others (specifically mothers) talking about keeping our home neat and tidy. This also goes for our clothes. “Don’t go out like that, you look like a caveman.” “Oh for Christ’s Sake, iron/steam that garment.” “Ironing is one of the most important things you need to learn.”

As much as we don’t like ironing, it turns out that our mothers and friends were right. It doesn’t matter how much that dress, or shirt costs; what it matters is wearing it in style. Looking presentable.

But to achieve that, first you need to have the right tool, that is, an iron or a steamer. What’s the difference between steamer and iron? – You ask. Well, that’s a good question and you’re going to find out the answer. So, let’s talk about it.

Iron vs steamer: control

Ironing is an old-fashioned way of smoothing out clothes by removing wrinkles and creases.

Many of us still prefer using an iron over a streamer. But why?

The answer is simple enough – control. When we’re talking about controlling clothes steamer vs iron, it is easier to work with the latter. It gives us more control to go over areas that need special care, such as around the buttons or pockets. You can point the tip of the iron in the direction you want and iron the exact spot. A steamer doesn’t offer that precision although it removes wrinkles.

In addition, iron offers several heat settings for different fabrics such as silk, wool, cotton, etc. This means you can adjust the heat based on the fabric you’d like to iron. Thanks to this, this home appliance works like a charm for everyday ironing tasks.

Steaming vs ironing: ease of use

Although the iron offers more control, you would definitely want to be careful when using one. Not only can you burn your hands, but you can also burn your clothes. When it comes to ironing, there is a learning curve. You have to choose the right heat level for the given garment. Higher heat will burn or damage clothes whereas lower heat will not remove wrinkles. Also, it takes some time to learn how to use a steam iron to get perfectly pressed clothes.

Using a steamer is much easier, with almost no learning curve at all. A great tip is to steam clothes from bottom to the top as this will save you time. However, keep in mind that you need to hold a steamer upright which can be tiring for your arms, especially if you have a pile of clothes ahead of you.

Clothes steamer vs iron: convenience

If you want to invest in an iron, our review of the best irons on the market will help you choose the right model. But, you will also need to buy an ironing board and ironing blanket as this is not something usually included with the product. A steamer, on the other hand, comes with the necessary accessories such as a brush and a creaser.

Anyone who’s been using an iron knows the pain of dragging out the ironing board and setting everything up for ironing clothes. Then, putting everything away when you’re done. Needless to say, this is a downside of using an iron. A steamer is far convenient to use and store because there’s no need for an ironing board. You only need to make some space to safely use a steamer.

Steaming vs ironing: gentle fabrics

But when are steamers better than irons? When we need to be gentler to our clothes.

A steamer is a great choice for removing wrinkles on shirts, pleat skirts and dresses, delicate fabrics, suits, and jackets. It doesn’t come into contact with the fabric. Instead, it uses hot steam to smooth out wrinkles on the clothes from a safe distance. And since the cloth is on a hanger there’s no need for an ironing board.

Ironing can burn clothes if you are not careful when ironing. A steamer will not do that. Even if the garment has some stubborn wrinkles, you just need to hold the steamer over that spot for 10-15 seconds and voila – the wrinkles are gone. No spots burned. However, while steaming remove wrinkles, it doesn’t create that nice, clean look you get with an iron. The same goes for creases on your clothes. You can only achieve that with an iron.

Clothes steamer vs iron: versatility

One of the major benefits you get with a steamer is versatility. Apart from steaming clothes, it can be used for steaming all kinds of things – pillows, linens, curtains, etc. And since hot steam works like a natural disinfectant, this is a great way to have a cleaner home.

So, the answer is now obvious for those of you who have been wondering “Are clothes steamers any good?”.

It’s a big YES.


Many people don’t know the difference between a clothes steamer and iron, which is why we answered these questions for you. Hope you will find what you wanted to know.

  • Is Dry cleaning the same as steaming?

Dry cleaning involves using dangerous chemical perchloroethylene whereas a steamer only uses hot steam to clean clothes, remove odor and kill bacteria and germs.

  • Is it better to iron or steam clothes?

It depends on the type of garment and fabric. More delicate fabrics should be steamed, and tougher fabrics such as cotton and jeans should be ironed.

  • Which garment steamer is the best?

Read our review of the best clothes steamers.

  • Does steaming clothes remove wrinkles?

Yes, it does but it cannot create crisp lines and get creases.

  • Steamer or iron which one is better?

Those who use a steamer will tell you it’s far better than an iron, and vice versa. In our opinion, everyone should have an iron and a steamer in their home because each one has a different purpose and works on different fabrics.

The bottom line

And now that you learned the difference between steamer and iron, you can decide which one to buy. Be sure to buy a good product that will fit your needs.

Joseph is the founder and Chief Editor of "Indoor To Outdoor". He is an entrepreneur with experience in sales of household products. He also travels a lot, takes pictures and loves to ride a bike.


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