Let’s face it, no matter how carefully you pack your clothes, you end up with unwanted wrinkles. If you’re traveling for business, are headed to a wedding or formal event, or simply want to look your best for a day of exploring, you may want to consider bringing along a compact hand held steamer. This one handy travel accessory can smooth those wrinkles away, and restore a fresh clean look to your clothing.Three Best Clothes Steamers for Travels

Steaming vs Ironing

Steamers offer a great addition, or alternative, to ironing, and this is especially true when traveling. With steaming, there’s no need to find and deal with an iron and clunky ironing board, no unpredictable settings to figure out, no long wait for it to heat up. Just fill your steamer with water, and start steaming in minutes.

Many hotels offer irons in-room, or with just a call to the front desk, but its not just about availability. Steaming is different because it not only quickly and easily removes wrinkles from many fabrics, it’s gentler than ironing. That’s because it actually relaxes fibers instead of crushing them. It offers the added advantage of removing odors and renewing freshness to fabrics. Plus, it is much safer for the types of lightweight and specialty fabrics used in travel clothing. You’d hate to scorch or burn a hole in one of your only 3 tops!

There are certainly some situations where you’ll be better off with an iron. If you want to put a crease in your slacks or sleeves, or have that pressed look in clothing of heavier material, then an iron will be your better choice. But for lighter weight travel pants and shirts, wool suits, and flowing skirts and dresses, steaming is the way to go.


Characteristics of the Best Clothes Steamer for Travel

When choosing a steamer for clothes, think about what type of travel you’ll be doing, the types of clothing you’re bringing, and whether you’re traveling outside the country. World explorers benefit from lighter weight, easy to pack units that have built in dual voltage, while North American road warriors may not mind bringing along a 120-volt item that’s slightly larger or heavier.

Here are some of the features to consider when selecting the best garment steamer for you:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Ease of set up and use
  • Time to heat up
  • Length of steam time per filling


Our Top Picks for the Best Travel Hand Held Steamer

After talking with fellow travelers and scouring the internet for the best reviews and ratings, we’ve identified three top choices for the best hand held steamer to take with you when traveling.


1. Travel Smart by Conair TS184GS – Portable Garment Steamer    $25 – $30

This 400 watt clothes steamer has a design that is ideal for travelers. Its handle folds flat against the body, making it the most compact of our three choices. Dimensions when the handle is down are 4.5” x 4.5” x 9.5”, it weighs only 1.2 lbs, and has an 8 foot power cord. Conair Travel Smart Clothes Steamer

This steamer is ready to go within 2 minutes, and will steam for 10 minutes per fill of water.


  • Built in dual voltage for worldwide use
  • Includes detachable bristle and lint brush
  • Designed to steam at any angle – doesn’t spill or drip
  • Compact size for convenient packing
  • Economically priced


  • Housing gets hot, so you need to wait for it to cool before refilling
  • No on/off switch
  • About 8% of reviewers complain that the steam is not powerful enough to do the job on cotton or heavier materials to their complete satisfaction

If you’re looking for the best garment steamer that is a lightweight unit to do some quick touch-ups, or if you are traveling internationally, this is a good pick.



2. Steamfast SF-435 Compact Steamer for Clothes     $25-35

At 800 watts, this steamer is a bit more powerful than the Travel Smart. But it is also more bulky, measuring 8.5” x 7” x 3.5” with a 9 foot power cord, and weighing 1.55 lb. Its 7 ounce water capacity makes it last a full 12 minutes, after only 2 minutes of heat up time.

Steamfast Travel Steamer for ClothesPros:

  • Boasts an easy to fill reservoir
  • Includes attachable fabric brush and lint remover
  • Larger water capacity makes it last longer on a single fill


  • Not Dual voltage – international travelers will need a converter
  • Housing gets hot, so you need to wait for it to cool before refilling
  • No on/off switch
  • About 20% of reviewers report water leaking or droplets spurting out with the steam. Filling the reservoir only 50-75% full seems to resolve this issue for many, but also lowers the usage time per fill.

We were of course concerned about the high percentage of reviewers complaining of water leakage. But were also amazed to see over 600 4 and 5 star Amazon reviews for this product, claiming it does just what they need it to do quickly and easily while on traveling. So if you have the extra space in your luggage, this is another good option.



3. ESTEAM by Jiffy 0601 – Personal Hand Held Steamer    $55-60

This is the most expensive of our selections, but it has some significant features that make it stand out from the others. It heats up in just 1 minute, and boasts a full 15 minute steam time per filling due to its large 8 ounce water capacity. It’s longer than the others, measuring 6” x 5.5” x 11.5”, and has a 9 foot power cord.

Esteem Hand Held SteamerPros:

  • Automatically shuts off when it runs dry, preventing operation without water in the tank
  • Stay cool housing means you can refill it right away
  • 15 minutes of continuous steam means 3-6 garments can be steamed before refilling
  • Small steam head offers great flexibility for getting details like collars and cuffs.


  • Not Dual voltage – international travelers will need a converter
  • More expensive than the other options
  • Larger size makes it more difficult to pack if you only have a carry-on

If you can afford the higher price, and have the room in your bag, then this may be the best clothes steamer option. It definitely outshines the rest, especially if you have more than 2 or 3 items that will need steaming.

See our Travel Gear Store for other clothing care travel accessories.


Do you have other recommendations for getting those wrinkles out while traveling? Please leave a comment below and let us know what has worked best for you.


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