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Clothes Steamers VS Irons: Which Is Best?

Although ironing clothes is a real chore, using the right iron that suits your needs will really make a world of difference as it is one of the most heavily utilised appliances at home. Depending on what you prioritise, we compare the key features of the iron and clothes steamer to help you decide which one best fits your needs.

1. Technology

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Interior Designer: Voila

An iron needs to be pressed against the fabric in order to smooth any wrinkles out when its metal base is heated up, but the clothes steamer releases hot steam that relaxes the fibres in the garment, without any direct contact needed. Due to the differences in how they work (heated metal base versus hot steam), the types of fabric that they are applied to matter as well.

Check Out: Tefal Press & Steam Garment Steamer, $212 on Lazada

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Gentle yet powerful, this clothes steamer by Tefal is safe to use on all clothing types.

Generally, irons are great for heavier fabrics such as twill or cotton, and for getting a crisp finish. Clothes steamers work wonderfully on softer fabrics such as silk, chiffon, and pleated fabrics. Whether you should get a clothes steamer or an iron largely depends on the majority of clothes hanging in your wardrobe.

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Check Out: Philips Azur Performer plus Steam Iron, $129 on Lazada


Highly rated by users for its lightweight body and quick heating time, the Philips Azur Performer comes with a three-way tip that gets into even the smallest corners (like your buttons).

Which is better? It depends. Skim through your wardrobe and find out if you have more of which - softer or heavier fabrics?

2. Ease of Use

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Interior Designer: Boon Siew D'sign

Both are easy enough to use, but the slight drawback of using an iron is that you’ll need an ironing board, or a flat heat-resistant surface to place the garment on. With a clothes steamer, you’ll only have to hang the garment up and get to work with the steamer, without any other tools needed.

Check Out: Conair ExtremeSteam Hand Held Fabric Steamer, US$29.99 on Amazon

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Interior Designer: Space Define Interior


Steam the wrinkles away with this size-friendly clothes steamer that promises to get you wrinkle-free clothes in no time.

There is also no risk of accidentally scorching your clothes, unlike with an iron. In terms of weight, an iron tends to be heavier than the clothes steamer, but if you think positively, it will give you crisp clothes with neatly pressed lines (and a really good arm workout).

Which is better? The clothes steamer comes up tops here - in terms of relative convenience ( there's no need to buy an additional ironing board or cover). However, for a better grip and consistent, straight clothes, an iron's grip - no pun intended - is preferred.

3. Energy Consumption

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Interior Designer: Studio Fortyfour

The good news is, both the iron and clothes steamer are not energy-hungry appliances, so there is no need to worry that they will bleed a hole in your pocket when it comes to electricity consumption. However, your clothes steamer works a tad faster than an iron in straightening out your clothes, so it might be a wee bit advantageous over the iron in terms of long-term energy consumption.

Check Out: Rowenta DW6010 Eco-Intelligence Energy Saving Steam Iron, US$139 on Lazada

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This eco-intelligent iron can save up to 30% on energy consumption, which is great if you pride yourself on being a green warrior!

Which is better? There's a clear winner - because of the steam cleaner's relative speed, it uses up less energy in the long haul compared to a conventional iron.

4. Speed of Straightening

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Interior Designer: Lemonfridge Studio

In terms of the start-up time, the clothes steamer takes no time to heat up and you can use it immediately to straighten out your clothes. In comparison, the iron needs a little bit of time to heat up, which can be a pain if you’re the sort who usually irons clothes at the last minute before rushing out of the house. The clothes steamer is also handier than the iron in the sense that it allows you to easily smoothen out the hard-to-reach places, potentially saving you some time in the process.

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Check Out: One Handheld Garment Steamer


This super portable clothes steamer comes in a handy size, which makes straightening clothes on the go a breeze.

Which is better? Once again, a clothes steamer fares better, in terms of the speed in set up and ironing.

Hey there - just so you know, all products listed in this article are independently curated by us. By clicking and purchasing from our Lazada & Amazon links, you will help to support our research and work by allowing us to earn a share of sales - here's a big thank you in advance! Do note that prices listed are accurate as of 15 September 2017.

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