Hilife Steamer Review

hilife portable garment steamer

The Hilife steamer is one of the best-selling handheld steamers on the market. Why, however, I’m not quite sure. It is inexpensive but also not very powerful, can’t be tilted past 45 degrees, can spit water, and the steam output is mediocre at best.

In short, this is not a handheld or travel steamer design that I would purchase. Here are my honest thoughts on the Hilife steamer and why it’s not on my best handheld steamer list.

You Can’t Tilt the Hilife Steamer Past a 45-degree Angle

One of the biggest drawbacks of the Hilife steamer is you cannot tilt it past a 45-degree angle. If you do, water will leak out, and your steamer may spit or splutter water.

Far more handheld steamers today offer full 360-degree rotation with a secure water chamber, no leaking, spitting or spluttering.

The Power is Only 700 Watts

Seven hundred watts of steam output is pretty poor. In 2023, handheld steamers output steam at 1875 watts and offer up to 5 different steam settings.

This makes for more steam output rather than just a drizzle of steam.

If you want decent steam output, you must choose a higher-powered machine. I recommend at least 1500 watts.

Hilife Steamer Takes 2 Minutes Plus to Heat Up

The Hilife steamer has a 2-minute heat-up time, which is fairly long. Most handheld steamers heat up in 30-45 seconds.

Many users have compared this steamer to a kettle of boiling water. This is a true representation of this style of handheld steamer, which has a heating element in the bottom, boils all the water, and the steam floats out the top.

This design is why people experience spitting water, as the chamber is not self-contained. As you tilt the steamer, this can cause water leakage and the boiling water to splutter. If the hot water gets on your hands, it’s a complete burn risk.

The 7 in 1 Steaming Benefits Are Not Unique to Hilife

Hilife claims their clothing steamer is a 7 in 1 multipurpose steamer.

The Hilife steamer runs for around 15 minutes, so I agree you could use this as a room humidifier for a short time, to steam lightweight curtains, or to steam vertical sections of a fabric lounge or bedhead.

But 7-in-1 function? Hilife doesn’t explain these seven functions, nor can I think of how I could use a low-watt steamer that you can’t tilt past 45 degrees for anything else.

I did find other clothing steamer manufacturers referring to 7 in 1 multi-function as:

  1. Steam iron
  2. Clean
  3. Sterilize
  4. Treat
  5. Refresh
  6. Humidify
  7. Defrost

If that’s the case, then all garment steamers will do this. It is neither a unique function to the Hilife steamer nor a compelling reason to buy this brand over another.

The 5 Star Reviews May Be Incentivized

I originally wrote this Hilife steamer review in 2020, when there were 9958 feedback. Fast forward to 2023, there are now over 100,000 reviews, and according to Amazon, 30,000 people a month buy this steamer. What?

Deep dive into the customer reviews, and you’ll see users disclosing they were incentivized with a gift card in return for a 5-star review.

Other Steamers to Consider Other Than The Hilife Steamer

Keeping the budget under $30 (at the time of writing), here are a couple of choices that I would choose over the Hilife steamer:

hilife steamer alternative

Hilife Steamer Alternative

The Beautural handheld steamer is a better option than the Hilife steamer. It has a higher wattage for stronger steam output, can be used horizontally and vertically and includes attachments to make steaming pants and thicker clothing easier. It is comparable in price to the Hilife garment steamer but offers much more value.

handheld steamer light blue alternative to hilife

Hilife Alternative Runner-Up

The Reemix handheld steamer has a foldable design for travel and operates at 1200 watts, outputting steam at 20 grams per minute. It heats up in 25 seconds and gets the job done. With one less attachment than the Beautural steamer above, it’s my runner-up choice for a similar price.

Still Want to Buy the Hilife Steamer?

I hope I’ve convinced you there are better steamers in 2023 and 2024 than this old-school, water-spitting, kettle-style steamer. The steam output is gentle (to say the least) and at 700 watts of power, makes it suitable only for lightweight fabrics. The 9ft power cord is handy but not the longest on the market (Black + Decker has a handheld steamer with a 15ft power cord). You can only use this steamer in an upright position.

The incentivized reviews are misleading for consumers, particularly if you don’t take the time to sift through them and find honest reviews. I’d stay away from this clothing steamer to avoid disappointment.