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Do you want to always look elegant and your clothes to be flawless? But do you also want to avoid spending hours on ironing chores? Are you always traveling and looking for a way to keep your clothes from creasing during the trip?

However, when it comes to picking the right device to keep your clothes in impeccable condition, you hesitate and feel lost. After all, what are the differences between a steam iron and a garment steamer?

Discover all the characteristics that are offered by each device in order to make the most educated purchase that will suit your needs.

Steam Iron, garment steamer, steam station, what are the differences?

Of course, the most common devices are the steam iron and the steam station, they remain the go-to option for taking care of freshly cleaned clothes. These two types of product are able to take care of your ironing needs by removing wrinkles as it is their primary and main function. However, they are not always the most convenient way of proceeding. They both need ironing boards, can be hard to transport, be tedious to use and even don not always suit all types of fabric.

The garment steamer for its part is a lesser-known and used product. More specifically, it can be used to unwrinkle an outfit vertically, without the need of an ironing board. All you have to do is hang the piece of clothing that needs smoothening, apply the garment steamer and you are good to go. This type of product is perfect for taking care of your clothes while you are traveling.

Main advantages of using a steam iron

A classic steam iron is usually the first item that comes to mind if we are asked about ironing clothes. It is a cost-effective, small accessory that only requires an ironing board and most of the time, easy access to an electrical outlet. Rapid heating time, can be stored with ease, and efficient on all types of garment, this item is usually the best pick for single people or students.

Here is our guide to help you buy the best steam iron.

Main advantages of using a steam station

The most efficient way to iron clothes for a whole family, the steam station, is an eye-catching tool that requires a certain budget. In terms of productivity, no other device even comes close, its power allows you to iron at a way faster rate for a flawless result.

The steam station quite often comes with several fancy technical attributes that can greatly help you with your chores and increase the longevity as well as the quality of your clothes.

Main advantages of using a garment steamer

Garment steamers are a nice accessory to have because it can help finish the ironing job easily. How often do you realize after ironing that you have left, or even made wrinkles? I don’t know about you but it happens to me all the time. It also is a very useful device to have if you travel a lot and need to always look sharp. A garment steamer is indeed very easy to transport because of its size and weight. Wrinkles will appear quite often while your clothes are transported in your luggage. This will help you smoothen your outfits without the need of an iron board.

If you are a fashion enthusiast, this is a must-have. It will help you take care of delicate fabrics without risking any damage. It is also used quite often by professional sellers to give a better aspect to their products after receiving them.

If you want to know more about this atypical device, make sure to check out our article about the best garment steamers on the market.

Check out our purchasing guide of the best garment steamers.

Which are the main brands for these types of products?

Several brands are specialized in irons and steamers. Consequently, the market is huge, with a very wide and diverse range of products. Here is a little introduction of the most popular ones :

Characteristics of a Philips iron:

Philips needs no introduction, you probably all know this brand, even own some of their products. This Dutch company is an authority in every niche it decides to compete. Ironing products are no exception where they manufacture steam stations, steam irons, garment steamers, and even ironing boards.

Very innovative with their design, they often put their focus on the ergonomy and user experience.

Characteristics of a Rowenta iron:

Rowenta is a German brand that manufactures different kinds of products including vacuum cleaners, steam irons, electric shavers, fans, and hair dryers. Concerning our main focus here, Rowenta produces steam irons, steam stations, but also garment steamers.

The brand’s focus is set on building efficient products while reducing their energy consumption.

Characteristics of a Shark iron:

Shark is a very popular brand because of their aggressive pricing strategy. They offer low to mid-range steam irons that are quite efficient and overall well reviewed by the customers.

Originally created in Canada, the brand is now settled in the United States and have a quite restricted product range. However, they offer steam irons and garment steamers of great quality.

Characteristics of a Black and Decker iron:

Black & Decker is an American manufacturer, internationally renowned for the quality of its products. Liked by both individuals and professionals, their range of product is huge and are mostly within the scope of home appliance.

As the above-mentioned brands, Black & Decker manufactures a bit of everything, from your standard steam iron to a professional steam station.

Characteristics of a Sunbeam iron:

Sunbeam is an Australian brand of small home appliance products, their product range includes more than 250 devices. They are the leading iron brand in their local markets due to their focus on providing quality products at a very reasonable price.

Characteristics of a CHI iron:

Chi was originally a haircare brand that slowly transitioned its activity towards irons and steamers. They pay particular attention to innovation and always try to have a technological edge over their competitors. Acclaimed by the customers, their professional grade irons are available at very affordable rates.

Characteristics of a Steamfast iron:

Steamfast is a brand that develops products that produce steam for a variety of chores throughout the house. They offer great customer service and items that we are specifically interested in, from the most basic steam iron to the most elaborate garment steamer.

With this wide range of products Steamfast has developed, they surely are a powerhouse in their field and have a certain expertise when it comes to taking care of clothes efficiently.

Why is it important to iron your clothes?

Long gone are the days where your clothes would magically go back to your drawers and closets, fully cleaned and ironed by one of your parents. Now that you are living on your own or have a family, these chores are yours to accomplish and we sometimes can be tempted to just skip the ironing part.

But there are indeed many reasons why you should iron your clothes. Firstly, you want to iron for aesthetical reasons. A nicely ironed shirt gives you a better overall aspect, makes you look more elegant. We live in a society where looks are important, especially in the professional world, so don’t neglect yours.

The second main reason for ironing is related to hygiene. Whenever you iron a piece of fabric with steam, it undergoes a very high temperature which finishes the cleaning job by killing the remaining germs within the fibers of your garment.

How to keep smooth clothes while traveling?

Nobody wants to take a steam iron on a trip. It is highly inconvenient, takes storage room in your luggage and is pretty heavy. This is why you need to clean and iron your clothes beforehand. All you will need to do upon unpacking is garment steam the clothing items that may have wrinkled.

Iron for the whole family

Here’s where the steam station really shines. This device will make your ironing task way easier for a stunning result in a shorter time. Not only will the increased steam power take care of creases more efficiently, but it will also loosen the fibers of the textile, thus giving a much better finishing result.

Best option for sewing and quilting

When it comes to sewing, I personally think that a classic steamless iron is the best choice. The steam can cloud your vision, burn your hand and make you miss important details. You can also opt for a steam iron if you want to work on large pieces of fabric.

Dealing with delicate fabrics

Ironing a delicate piece of clothing is always a brain teaser. Silk, pieces of metal, pearls, embroidery. All of these can be damaged during the ironing process if you don’t know what you are doing. The safest way to deal with these is the garment steamer since it does not require to touch the fabric to do its job. Only the steam will smoothen the creases in this particular situation.

Ironing on a budget

There are no 3 ways to go about doing that, the cheapest way to properly iron your clothes is through a standard steam iron. There are dozens of great options for relatively cheap. Make sure to check our guide about the best cheap irons.

What about shirts and suits?

Don’t get me wrong there, the best way to take care of your suits and shirts is taking them to the dry cleaner. Of course, this solution is not always convenient and can be quite expensive. If you want to do it yourself, the steam station is going to be your best option. The steam will penetrate the thick fabric of your suits, giving them a great overall aspect.

Taking care of furnishing fabrics

Your best tool here would be the garment steamer. It will allow you to take care of your curtains without having to remove them. It can also steam your couch and your armchair very easily, right on the spot. The steam will give them a nice, clean look while killing germs, bacterias and eliminating the bad smell they could cause.

How to iron Hama beads?

If you’re into arts and crafts, you probably know what Hama beads are. In order to melt the plastic, you need to iron your creation above a piece of baking paper. The best way to do that is with a regular iron or a steam station, pushed at maximal temperature without the use of the steam function. It could indeed damage the beads.

How to keep your clothes in good condition, and longer?

In order to always have clean, good-looking clothes, you must take care of them every step of the way. And the way begins in the laundry basket.

  • Step 1: Sort your laundry

Ideally, you want to separate your dirty clothes into three different compartments. The first one will be allocated to light and medium colors, the second to whites and delicates such as wool and the last one to dark colors. You want to wash your clothes following this sorting method as often as possible.

  • Step 2: Do not overload your washing machine

Clothes need room to be properly washed. Also, it can cause damage to your washing machine and your clothes can come out smelling worse than when they entered.

  • Step 3: Pre-treat stains and choose a proper laundry detergent

Any heavily soiled piece of clothing needs pre-treating, a process that will allow the stain to loosen up and be more easily removed. The laundry detergent needs correct dosing and greatly depends on the amount of water that will be used during the process. Please refer to the instructions on your laundry detergent.

  • Step 4: Use the most appropriate setting on your washing machine.

You obviously don’t want to use a wrong program to wash your clothes as it can cause irreversible damage to your garments such as shrinking or stretching.

  • Step 5: Empty your machine as soon as possible.

This way, you will prevent your clothes from smelling bad because of moisture.

  • Step 6: Dry your clothes

If you are going to use a rack, you can make your ironing easier by laying your garments properly, with the folds on the seams whenever possible.

  • Step 7: Iron your clothes

Now I presume you know all about that step by now but here is one more thing you should know. Iron t-shirts and shirts first, pants and sweaters last. This is because those items of clothing usually require a much hotter iron than the rest.

  • Step 8: Tidy up your clothes

Ideally, a well-ventilated place to avoid mites and moisture.


All these products and techniques I have presented to you in this article all have the same goal. Iron efficiently and properly. No matter what you use, a cheap steam station or an expensive steam station, keep in mind that ironing is an essential aspect of taking wardrobe care. If you are looking to buy one of these products, try to think of the essential features you would need and what your budget would be. Once you do that, read some of our purchasing guides like this one. I will be glad to help you choose the perfect product for you.