The Bottom Line
A handheld steamer is a completely unnecessary tool for most knitters, who will either use other methods of blocking, use their iron to block items that need steam, or just not block garments at all.
For those who knit a lot with fibers that like steam (such as cotton) or who don't want to have to wait for pieces to dry as you do with a wet blocking method, having a steamer makes a lot of sense.
The Rowenta Ultrasteam is incredibly easy to use, heats up super-fast and provides a good supply of steam for each filling of the tank. It's also portable and great for clothes.
- Water heats quickly and is enough to steam a large knit piece.
- Steamer is very easy to use.
- Can be used in America and Europe.
- Small size makes for easy storage and travel use.
- It's hard to know how far away steam should be from garment.
- A little pricey for a task you could also do with your iron.
- Wand-shaped steamer makes it easy to steam block knitting or clothing.
- Can be used on 120 volt or 230 volt circuits.
- Is lightweight and easy to store or pack in a bag for travel.
- Comes with a clothing brush and a lint removal brush (not to be used with the steamer part).
- Has a 1.86 ounce water tank that runs on plain tap water.
Guide Review - Rowenta Ultrasteam Handheld Steamer
Most people don't do a lot of steam blocking of their knit garments, but it can be a handy way to gently get the knit fabric into the size and shape you want.
Blocking in this manner can be accomplished with the steam from your iron, but there are also handheld steamers on the market, designed to take wrinkles out of clothes, that can be used to steam block knits.
I have the Rowenta Ultrasteam Handheld Fabric Steamer, and after using it a few times I wouldn't go back to blocking with my iron.
For one thing, this device is a lot lighter than my iron. The steam is more concentrated, and it heats more quickly. The level od steam is also adjustable. The chamber for water is larger, meaning I can block more with fewer refills.
Push-button activation provides a continuous spray of steam until you take your finger off the button, meaning you can steam a whole piece without stopping if you want (assuming you don't run out or water).
Because it's designed for travel, it is light and has dual voltage capabilities. It even has a storage bag for stowing in your luggage.
It comes with a brush that is supposed to be used when steaming clothing, but I didn't want to use the brush on my knitting so I used the steamer without this attachment. The instructions suggested the brush should touch the garment being steamed, but didn't suggest how far away the steam should be from a garment being steamed without the attachment (I went with about two inches and that seemed to be fine for wool, but always steam a swatch if you're not sure how the yarn will react).
The steamer made quick work of blocking, even when I had a lot of adjustments to make, and the knit items dried very quickly.