The Ultimate Guide to Buying Upright Clothes Steamer in 2019

upright-clothes-steamer-buying-guideIn a previous update, I considered the most sought after upright clothes steamers in 2019 and why they are worth your time and attention.

Today I’m following up with another post which will be focusing on the UTILITY and cost implication of upright clothes steamers. That way, you can make informed purchasing decisions while enjoying a pleasurable steaming experience.

Let’s dive right in.

How to Choose from the Best Standing Garment Steamers

Some upright clothes steamers are features packed. That, in addition to their many accessories.

If it helps to mention, only a few of these accessories and features are helpful.

I’ll advise you to resist the temptation to get carried away by all the bells and whistles. Instead, focus on some of the critical details below.

Or, in other words, here are some quick tips and tricks for selecting the upright clothes steamer of choice.

  • Water Capacity

The more the water capacity, the longer the expected steam duration. But remember that the heating element of some standing steamers utilizes water faster.

Understand likewise that a steamer water capacity is only one (out of the many) considerations for choosing the best standing garment steamer.

  • Heat-up Time

This is the time until an upright clothes steamer had achieved full steam and is ready for use.

Consider a standing steamer that heats up very quickly yet produces powerful, continuous steam.

(All items listed in our upright clothes steamer reviews heat up in two minutes or less–except for JIFFY 4000 steamer whose heat-up time is about 20 minutes).

  • High Heating Power

To have a strong, steady steam flow, a commercial clothing steamer needs to have a high heating power. Lower heating power means your clothing steamer will produce weaker steam. A weak steam flow means the steamer will be less effective in removing wrinkles.

  • Pole Height

A telescopic pole is a tall, adjustable, collapsible rod that accompanies most standing steamers. It is on this pole that the manufacturer’s built-in hanger rests (some manufacturers do provide additional hooks for additional hangers though).

Without mincing words, a standing garment steamer with a longer pole helps as it lets you reach longer fabrics like curtain and drapes.

The standing steamer with the tallest pole from our reviews of the best upright clothes steamer is about 7 ft tall; average height is 5ft; and the shortest, 4.6 ft.

  • Hanger Type

Stationary, rotating and press hangers–three common hanger types.

While the standing steamers with stationary hangers are the most popular, standing garment steamers with rotating and press hanger provides quicker access to target spots while saving you time and energy.

  • Steam Head Design

Metal or plastic steam heads are two steam nozzle designs.

If you don’t already know, the steam head, attached to the hose, is the part of the steamer that produces steam.

If anything, a large, wide-diffusion steam head makes wrinkle removal faster and efficient.

Either way, there is no winner or loser here–the two steamer design heads come in packages of pros and cons.

Additional note. If you have pets, consider a standing steamer that comes with a brush. You get to attach this brush to the steamer’s head and can use it to brush off extra hair on your clothes while steaming.  

  • On/off Switch Design

This is like a bonus but best if the On/Off switch of your steamer is within quick reach–like it can be foot-operated. This feature ensures you don’t have to bend over anytime you want to turn on/off the switch.

  • Item’s Warranty and Manufacturer’s Customer Support

Except for a few standing garment steamers (Salav, Pursteam) items particularly from Vivio, Jiffy and maybe Rowenta are priced $100 and up.

For a product at that price, you want to ensure it comes with a reasonable warranty (check the TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION section on the product page).

Also, ensure the manufacturer stand behind their product post-sales. 

  • Price

The price of upright clothes steamer ranges between 60 to 400 dollars.

It makes sense to find a middle ground since you can’t be so sure of the suitability of the clothes steamer to your needs, or its durability.

Do also keep in mind that cost consideration should not be treated separately from other factors.

Using your Stand Up Fabric Steamer and Managing Expectations

1. Different fabrics respond more or less likely to steam. For the best result (and depending on the thickness of the clothing material and the steamer’s pressure), you may have to hold the fabric taut and steam from the inside of the cloth and underside while slowly moving upward.

2. The manufacturers suggested heat up time and steam duration may be faster or slower, in reality, depending on some factors. Just know that some steamer heating element utilizes water differently, and more or less than the others, and this will affect the steam amount and volume and ultimately steaming results.

3. Like anything in life, steaming as well may require some learning curve. If it is your first time using a steamer, it might help to watch some how-to videos.

That mentioned, anyone telling you a crisp crease is possible with an upright clothes steamer (unless, of course, the steamer is the Rowenta DG6520) is not being sincere.

Yes, professional garment steamers pack a lot more steam quantity and volume (when compared with the handheld steamers) plus some of these fabric steamers have metal steam heads.

Metal steamer heads are great for releasing wrinkles quickly and effectively–they won’t do much to press sharp creases into your clothes.

4. For light, occasional uses, a standing steamer in the category of products from Pursteam, Puresteam, and Conair are more than okay. For the heavy-duty, rather frequent uses, consider products from Jiffy, Vivio, and Rowenta.

Don’t buy a get-me-ready-in-the-morning kind of steamer when what you want is a steamer for your boutique or clothing store.  Similarly, products from the likes of Jiffy, Vivio, and Rowenta, price wise, may tend to be on the steep side and this can only make sense from a business perspective.

5. If you are replacing your steamer with products from the same brand or even another brand, all you should have in mind is “does this steamer fit my needs or will it serve me well for the price I’m paying” rather than “how does this new steamer compare to my old one.”

6. Maybe not entirely true, but we have found that the possibility of a steamer developing issues increases with the number of people using the steamer.

7. Don’t be surprised if you are letting your steamer run out of the water repeatedly only to find out, within barely a year of use, that is no longer working. And this is without mentioning mineral deposit build up in the water reservoir that you have refused to clean, which is now causing your unit to sputter, instead of producing steam.

8. Ability to store a standing steamer should only be a plus. You can unscrew the pole–but you won’t want to do that every time. Standing garment steamers are meant to be rolled into a closet or behind a door and kept as is. They are commercial grade steamers after all. If you are looking for a foldaway, portable steamer, we recommend checking the best handheld steamers for home and travel.

9. For newer units hose can feel a little stiff. The hose needed to be thick to keep steam. Plus if the hose is not thick, kinking will result–which can alter the steam flow.

10. And lastly, the unit might produce an unpleasant smell when being used for the first time. You will be fine after a couple of uses.