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We tested the Cirrus No.3 Iron Steamer from Steamery – find out how it fared. Frying pan
Steamery Cirrus No. 3 Iron Steamer is available from:
The Cirrus No.3 from Stockholm-based Steamery is not just a travel steamer, but an iron too. With a heated plate and steam vents, it’s advertised as a way to make your clothes smooth and wrinkle-free without having to take an iron on your travels. It also comes with a ‘wearable ironing tool’ – essentially an oven glove – that you can use on hems and collars.
The idea is appealing to me – I’m rubbish at packing, and when I arrive at my destination, my clothes are always rumpled with heavy lines from where they’ve been folded. I’m a fan of a smart-casual shirt, so even if they don’t have to be immaculately pressed, I’m keen to keep them looking fresh, and not like they’ve been folded up in my suitcase.
The Cirrus No.3 is elegantly designed, and feels solidly built. The water tank is held in place by magnets and slides into place with a satisfying click. The woven cord is thick, and feels like it could be wound up many times without damage.
At 24 x 14 x 8cm, the Cirrus No.3 is on the smaller side for a handheld steamer. It would take around the same amount of suitcase space as a hairdryer or a pair of shoes. I would have expected it to come with a carry case or bag, but since you only need the steamer and the wearable ironing tool, that’s not a big problem. Weighing 0.86kg and with a fairly narrow neck, it’s comfortable to hold in one hand, even after half an hour of steaming.
To test the Cirrus No.3, I packed a suitcase with a selection of shirt and trousers of different materials and left it overnight. Since the steamer is designed for travel, I ironed each of these items before I packed them. This way, I could test the steamer as though I’d taken it on a work trip or a weekend away, and I wanted to freshen up my clothes after they’ve been packed, not press them straight out of the tumble dryer.
After I turned on the Cirrus No.3 for the first time, it heated up in under 30 seconds, as expected. However, it wouldn’t steam straight away – after a few minutes of disconcerting clunks, it finally started to produce steam. The following times I used it, it would start to steam after only a few seconds of pressing the button once it had heated up.
After a few uses, the Cirrus No.3 started to sputter small amounts of water onto my clothes as I steamed them. I used water from my filter, but I suspect there was still some hardness. The water spots dried quickly, but I’d recommend sticking with specialised steaming or ironing water.
Though it looks good, the shape isn’t ideal. Since it’s top-heavy, it’s hard to balance it on an uneven surface like carpet. I was worried about it tipping over and burning my carpet, so I used the wearable ironing tool as a heat-proof mat to rest it on.
Here’s how the Cirrus No.3 fared on different items of clothing.
This shirt fared quite well in the suitcase, only picking up a few creases along the fold lines. The Cirrus No.3 dropped these out with very little effort and in only a few minutes, and the shirt looked a bit more crisp overall afterwards.
Along with some large creases along the fold lines, this shirt had many smaller creases that made it look crumpled. Steaming it was a bit tricky, and a lot of areas needed several goes to get them looking sharp. After 15-20 minutes, I got the big creases out, and the shirt looked fresher and less rumpled than before.
However, I couldn’t get all of the smaller creases to drop out, and some areas were quite difficult – the bottom hem in particular, since you need to hold the fabric taut and you can’t get too close to your fingers so you don’t burn them. That hem would be tucked into my trousers, though, so that doesn’t bother me too much.
All in all, the shirt looked much better than before.
This linen shirt came out of the suitcase looking incredibly rumpled. As with the viscose shirt, the big creases dropped out without too much trouble but the smaller ones proved more of a challenge. The finished product was rougher than the viscose shirt, but still looked fresher after a steam. I used the wearable ironing tool, which allowed me to get the collar and sleeves looking much nicer.
The Cirrus No.3 has a heated plate designed to be used as a travel iron. Following the instructions in the manual, I used a towel as a base and pressed a pair of trousers. They hadn’t picked up many creases in the suitcase, but there were a few fold lines.
The iron isn’t particularly hot, and didn’t make a huge impact on its own. However, when combined with the steam function, a couple of passes allowed me to get a crisp trouser crease.
The effectiveness of the Cirrus No.3 varies quite a bit depending on the material of your clothes – as would any iron – but if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can freshen up your clothes significantly. For the amount of space it takes up, it’s a worthwhile addition to your suitcase. Don’t expect perfectly pressed shirts, but it’s enough to make you look presentable for that conference or night out.
The Steam&Go Plus from Philips can be used either vertically or horizontally, to refresh your clothes when you don’t have access to an ironing board. It’s got a smaller water tank than the Cirrus No.3 – 70ml compared to 90ml – which is intended to do only one garment, and is slightly larger at 38 x 12.8 x 15cm.
Like the Cirrus No.3, it has a heated plate, which is specifically designed to prevent your clothes from feeling damp after you’ve finished steaming.
It’s safe on all fabrics, and Philips say the continuous flow of steam will kill 99.9 per cent of bacteria.
Designed with travel in mind, the Access DT7050 Travel Hand Steamer from Tefal runs on both 120V and 240V, so you can use it anywhere in the world. It also comes with a travel bag, and a door hook that you can place over your hotel door to hang your clothes as you steam them.
It holds 150ml in its water tank, which is enough for 8 minutes of continuous use at 17g of steam per minute. Unlike the Cirrus No.3, its base is large to prevent it from tipping over when you set it down.
The Access DT7050 also comes with a steam bonnet for delicate fabrics and a fabric brush for thicker materials.
The FRIDJA F10 Travel Steamer is a lightweight handheld appliance that heats up in 45 seconds. With one 260ml tank, it can steam continuously for 14 minutes.
The real benefit of the FRIDJA steamer is the accessories. As well as a delicate fabric guard, it comes with an attachment for pressing collars and a foldable clothes hanger. And, to make it even more travel-friendly, you can leave the water tank at home. Instead, you can take the provided adaptor and, when you arrive at your destination, screw in a regular water bottle in its place.
Online staff writer, BBC Science Focus
Sara is the online staff writer at BBC Science Focus. She has an MPhys in mathematical physics and loves all things space, dinosaurs and dogs.
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