Should You Get an Iron or a Clothes Steamer

Laundry is one of those chores that you either love or hate to do. Part of what makes laundry such a chore to do is de-wrinkling. When discussing which hot tool is best at de-wrinkling, two contenders always come up; the iron and the steamer. If you do not know which side of the debate you are on, here are some key characteristics for both tools that can help you decide which one will work best for you.


Irons are built with a container to hold water and a metal plate with holes that allow steam through on the front. Most irons have the capacity to get between 250 and 360 degrees. The metal plate makes direct contact with the clothing piece and is meant to glide back and forth over the item in order to press in seams and smooth away wrinkles. Different temperature settings suit different clothing fabrics.

Because the iron makes direct contact with the clothing item, there is a greater chance that you could damage your clothes if not careful. Which is why you should take the time to learn which temperature works best for which fabrics and never leave the iron resting on a piece of clothing.

Irons also need a flat surface to work on. Most likely then, you will need to purchase an ironing board in addition to an iron. But if you really appreciate a clean, crisp line in your shirts and pants, an iron is great at achieving that look.


Steamers have a water reservoir, a long hose, and a handle that allows the steam to escape. Steamer settings generally range from 200-400 degrees. Again, the different temperature settings are designed for safe use with different fabrics. Most steamers have a place to hang your garment, so no additional equipment is needed. Once the water has heated up and the steam is created, gently move the wand around the garment. The steam will loosen the fibers of the garment so that the wrinkles simply fall away.

Because you do not make direct contact with the clothing item when using a steamer, there is less of a chance that you will damage the garment. Most steamers have a portable design. This way, you can roll the unit into a closet or out of the way when not in use.

And there you have it. The main differences between irons and steamers. Just remember to use care in order to prevent damage to your clothes or injury to yourself, regardless of which de- wrinkling tool you choose.

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By Energy Smart New Homes 6-17-2022