Consumer Reports tests best steamers to smooth wrinkles

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Steamers can save you on your dry cleaning bill but which ones work best? Consumer Reports has the answer. (WPVI)

Steamers can save you on your dry cleaning bill but which ones work best? Consumer Reports has the answer.

Fabric steamers are useful time-savers and money-savers. They can spiff up your wardrobe and refresh your curtains.

Consumer Reports took a close look at three steamers, as well as an even easier solution to wrangling wrinkles.

Fabric steamers, like irons, used to take two full minutes to heat up. Now some go from zero to steam in under 30 seconds and come with accessories to de-wrinkle more efficiently.

Consumer Reports put three affordable steamers to the test.

The Conair Extreme Steam for $35 dollars is a handheld steamer that provides about 15 minutes of steam on one fill. Its fabric-creaser attachment does a good job creating crisp creases. But it didn't do a great job on shirts.

The $60 dollar Steamfast Fabric Steamer stands on the floor, and you hang your clothing from an adjustable rod. Its large tank provides almost 90 minutes of steam - handy when you want to take on a closetful of clothes. Bring the curtains down if you want to steam them, though. The Steamfast's hose is just 5 feet long.

The Shark Press and Refresh for $65 dollars is the most effective at removing wrinkles.

"The Shark did well with shirts because in addition to the steam, it has a heated pressing bar, which in combination with the vertical pressing pad removed a lot of the wrinkles," said Bernie Deitrick from Consumer Reports.

The heated bar also leaves your clothing less damp than other steamers. And the Shark's 15-foot long cord is helpful for reaching drapes.

Even easier - the Downy Wrinkle Release Plus spray. It costs about $8 dollars. Consumer Reports found that the spray did a good job of relaxing wrinkles from this very rumpled cotton shirt and other fabrics.

The sprayed shirt they tested didn't have the finished, pressed look of a freshly ironed shirt, but it could pass on Casual Friday.

If you like that freshly ironed look, Consumer Reports has also tested irons.

Consider one of these Best Buys - the Rowenta Effective Comfort DW2070, and the T-Fal Ultraglide FV4495. Both are around $50 dollars and provide bursts of crease-quashing steam.
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