Heats up in 60 seconds
Steams for 10 minutes straight
Automatically shuts off
Only works on lighter wrinkles
Can’t tilt beyond 45 degrees
Lacks dual voltage
When you stash clothes in a small or even large suitcase or duffel bag, it’s inevitable you’ll arrive with a wrinkled wardrobe. Some travelers overcome wrinkle woes with the hotel iron, while others simply accept the worn look. But compact travel steamers like the PAX Handheld Fabric Steamer are another great way to make traveling crease-free not just doable, but affordable. The PAX Handheld Fabric Steamer promises quick heating, wrinkle release across all fabrics, and a compact size that fits in carry-on suitcases or even small travel backpacks. But can the small PAX Handheld Fabric Steamer be as mighty as promised? We put our most rumpled shirts and pants to the test.
Design: Simple, straightforward setup
The PAX Handheld Fabric Steamer has a straightforward and functional design with an on-and-off top switch. Unlike other travel steamers, the PAX Handheld Fabric Steamer and a small instruction sheet are the only things in the box: No travel pouches, brushes, or steaming gloves accompany it.Filling the steamer’s water basin is simple; twist the top of the steamer to the right and pop it off. (Make sure the device is completely cooled before taking this step.) With water filled to the brim, we found that most steams can last up to 10 minutes. If the water basin gets empty, the PAX Handheld Fabric Steamer automatically shuts off for safety. While we thought the simple design was user-friendly, it’s lacking when it comes to versatility. If you tilt the steamer too far forward (more than 45 degrees), water will spill out of the spout. Is this a reason to boycott the steamer? No. But you should know its limits and be cautious when tilting the hot steamer—if the water drips on your body, you’ll likely get burned!The PAX Handheld Fabric Steamer requires 110V; those traveling overseas will need a converter to use the steamer safely.
While we thought the simple design was user-friendly, it’s lacking when it comes to versatility.
Size: Perfect for carry-on-only travelers
This compact steamer is half the size of an average household steamer, making it easily portable and perfect for carry-on bags. The PAX Handheld Fabric Steamer weighs 1.1 pounds and measures at 7.5 x 5.5 x 3.5 inches. The water basin can hold up to 140 milliliters.
Performance: Hit-and-miss wrinkle release
This steamer can remove most simple wrinkles on a t-shirt or blouse, but when you throw in trickier items such as slacks or a suit jacket, the steamer, well, loses steam. In our tests, it only half removed our trickiest, deepest wrinkles, so we had to use the hotel iron for the rest.One perk of the PAX versus a traditional clothing iron is the speedy setup. In a matter of minutes, you can have the PAX ready and loaded to steam, with heat-up time taking no more than 60 seconds. Given it’s not as powerful as most home steamers or the latest leading irons, it took about five minutes to fully press one t-shirt.
In a matter of minutes, you can have the PAX ready and loaded to steam.
Price: An affordable travel steamer
The PAX Handheld Fabric Steamer is among the lowest-priced steamers out there. But, like most things in life, you get what you pay for. The PAX Handheld Fabric Steamer will get the job done for most carefree, low-maintenance travelers, but those seeking perfection or needing to de-wrinkle before weddings or meetings may want to up their investments with a more powerful (yet higher-cost) steamer.
This steamer can remove most simple wrinkles on a t-shirt or blouse, but when you throw in trickier items such as slacks or a suit jacket, the steamer, well, loses steam.
Competition: A middle-of-the-road steaming option
URPOWER Portable Garment Steamer: On the surface, the PAX Handheld Fabric Steamer and the URPOWER Portable Garment Steamer, which we also tested, look almost exactly the same. They have a similar build with the twist-off top and the inability to be tilted more than 45 degrees, but there are a variety of distinct differences in performance and speed. The URPOWER steamer costs about the same as the PAX, but it comes with two accessories: a heat-resistant glove and a travel pouch. The PAX does beat the URPOWER in heat-up time, though, as the URPOWER takes at least two minutes.
BIZOND Mini Clothes Steamer: While both portable, the similarities between the PAX Handheld and the BIZOND Mini stop there. At around $40, the BIZOND steamer is about double the price of the PAX, but after reviewing both, we know that higher price means higher quality. To start, the BIZOND has a sturdier, no-leak build (even when tilted). It also steams with much more power. It can get the wrinkles out of virtually any kind of material, and it can do so quickly. It took us under one minute to press a long-sleeve blouse. With a similar blouse, the PAX steamer took five minutes. The BIZOND also comes with a variety of useful accessories, including a brush for deeper steaming and cleaning, along with a pouch for travel. The speedy BIZOND Mini heats up in 25 seconds, but the PAX Handheld outlasts it with a 10-minute steam time; the BIZOND only lasts for about five minutes.
- Product Name Handheld Fabric Steamer
- Product Brand PAX Products
- MPN H-106
- Price $24.99
- Weight 1.1 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 4.75 x 8 x 3.5 in.
- Capacity 140 ml
- Power AC 120V, 60HZ, 700W
- Warranty 2 years