this thing's incredible

The Steamer Uma Thurman’s Stylist Uses Gives My Clothes a Dry-Cleaner-Quality Finish Every Time

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist

When I ironed for the first time, I knew it was to be my last. I burned off a few fingertips. I stamped big horseshoe-shaped marks onto a couple of T-shirts. More sweat than steam was involved. The experience made me vow never to use an iron again, so a succession of travel-size steamers followed, mostly because the heavy-duty kind resemble Ghostbusters equipment.

But every steamer fell short of the freshly laundered, carefully starched look I love. There was always a slight crinkle to my hems and collars, and the task itself was positively Herculean. One pucker would require endless passes, along with a decent amount of arm strength and a water supply for refills. The chore was made worse by the steamers spitting out water in unpredictable rages, which meant that I often ended up scalded, thanks to my snail-like reflexes.

This is the price of wanting to be wrinkle free — or so I thought until I met the Conair Turbo. Though I was wary of trying out yet another steamer, the “Amazon’s Choice” banner and 10,000 reviews proved stronger than my reluctance. The order was already placed when I learned that it’s the same steamer Uma Thurman’s stylist, Kate Young, uses. And after testing out the Turbo for months now, I can see why it’s such a favorite: It gives you a red-carpet-immaculate finish every time.

The Conair Turbo getting ready for battle. Photo: Ambar Pardilla

Its steaming power rivals that of the highly efficient Jiffy-esque standing steamers I used as an Anthropologie sales associate — the benchmark by which I judge others. That’s a big feat considering the Turbo is probably smaller than the tank alone of an industrial-grade steamer. The continuous supply of steam means the Turbo can un-wrinkle just about any fabric, from fussy chiffon and wilty linen, in its 15-minute run time, which is on par with other models of a similar size. And although the steamer has “turbo” in its name, it’s relatively light and simple, with only three buttons to toggle between, including the on-off switch. But the most ingenious part of its design is the aluminum plate on top — unlike other steamers where water explodes out of holes in the head, the Turbo’s small slit lets out a steady stream of steam that’s not a burn hazard.

Even practically unsteamable items surrender to the Turbo. Though the “steam ready” button will get you far in unwrinkling most items, you can hit the eponymous “turbo” setting, which makes the Conair jolt into action, with even faster puffs of steam that leave pieces looking like they’ve just returned from the dry cleaners. It even comes with a built-in creaser (a feature seldom seen in steamers) to give pleats a sharp, professional effect.

Being something of a wrinkle realist, I know that some clothes are doomed to crease more than others. But now, I have the solution and no excuse to look wrinkled ever again. And it takes much less effort (and personal injury) than before — now all I need to do is push the “turbo” button.

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The Tiny Steamer That Makes My Clothes Dry-Cleaner Crisp