What Is Red Steam Express?
Red Steam Express is a 2-in-1 device that combines a premium steam iron and a high-end clothes steamer into one portable unit that promises to quickly remove wrinkles from suits, dresses, shirts, blouses, and pants.
After taking about 30 seconds to warm up, Red Steam Express’s advanced turbo steam technology uses a high-pressure pump to create super-heated micro-steam molecules at the point of contact, instantly penetrating deep into the fabric, eliminating wrinkles, and even sharply creasing pants in one pass.
In addition to its ceramic coated soleplate, Red Steam Express also features three interchangeable, snap-on plates:
- Delicate – Ideal for silks, satins, and other delicate fabrics.
- Lint Brush – Promises to restore sweaters and fabrics.
- Bristle Brush – Removes piling on sweaters. Also great for couches, dresses, cushions, pillows, and even toys.
Combined with its variable temperature control and sub-two-pound design, this is why the commercial claims that more than three million Red Steam Express wrinkle-removing systems have been sold.
But for the money, can you expect Red Steam Express to provide wrinkle-free results faster than ever—even instantly? Will it help keep you looking your best?
You need information before deciding whether or not to hand over your money for Red Steam Express. That’s exactly what we’ll help you do, starting with what you’ll pay.
How Much Does Red Steam Express Cost?
Red Steam Express is priced at three payments of $19.99, plus free S&H. This will include an accessory kit with the three interchangeable plates, as well as a travel case, cleaning brush, handy stand, and measuring cup.
All Red Steam Express come with a 60-day money back guarantee, less S&H. In order to request one, Tristar Products’ customer support line can be reached at 973-287-5132.
How does this price compare to the competition? We’ll answer this important question in a second, but let’s talk about how these steaming devices work first.
How Does Heat Remove Wrinkles?
On a molecular level, fabric is held together by strong, long-chain polymer bonds. When these bonds encounter heat or water, they loosen and relax, allowing them to become locked into new shapes. This is essentially the same process that allows you to style your hair.
If these bonds become locked in the wrong shape when they dry, though (such as a wet shirt that’s fallen from a hanger to the floor), this can cause unsightly wrinkles in the fabric.
By reapplying this heat and moisture in a controlled, targeted way (whether with Red Steam Express or another device), you can release these wrinkle bonds, allow them to quickly dry, and maintain their straight, smooth shape.
This is the basic premise behind standard clothes irons, as well as why some models generate steam. But how does this compare to a clothes steamer?
Traditional Irons vs. Steamers
The biggest differences between a standard iron and a personal clothes steamer are that the former is designed with a flat (often ceramic) sole plate to be used in conjunction with an ironing board, while the latter is designed to be used upright, on hanging garments, away from an ironing board.
This seemingly minor difference allows traditional irons to deliver crisp, sharp creases and ultra-flat fabric, while steamers are typically gentler since they can be used without touching a heated metal surface to your clothes.
According to How Stuff Works, these design distinctions make “steamers better suited for soft and delicate materials like silk, satin, and velvet, as well as those that are difficult to press, like wool.” This also includes items “that can't be handled by an iron – like drapes, car upholstery, leather products and hairpieces.”
On the other hand, if you’re primarily looking to address “fabrics which are more likely to take on wrinkles – think standard cotton,” then the sharp creases provided by irons might better fit the bill.
How Does Red Steam Express Work?
Instead of forcing you to choose between the delicate-friendly nature of handheld steamers and the ultra-flat and crisp—but hotter and harsher—results of traditional irons, Red Steam Express promises to combine the best of both worlds.
It features a handheld, two-pound design with a built-in reservoir that turns water into steam at the point of contact, as well as more forceful steam ejection (called advanced turbo steam technology by the manufacturer) they claim will potentially provide faster results.
On the bottom, it also features a ceramic coated soleplate like a standard iron. But according to the commercial, Red Steam Express adds three interchangeable plates, depending on the type of fabric you’re working with.
Red Steam Express vs. Other Handheld Steamers
Browsing online for terms like “personal clothes steamer” and “portable steamer,” we found many different options that could provide the same gentle, wrinkle-reducing benefits on-the-go as Red Steam Express. These included the SteamFast Travel Fabric Steamer ($19.99), the Klaxon Portable Clothes Steamer ($17), and the Conair Portable Garment Steamer ($20).
Granted, these are traditional steamers. But there were also a couple of meaningfully similar options (models that combined steamers and irons) encountered during our research, including the Rowenta Steam & Press ($30) and the SteamFast Home & Away Steam Iron ($24.99).
Comparatively, the Rowenta model provided a similar steam “burst” as Red Steam Express (intended to better penetrate fabric), a 4.5" long polished soleplate, a lint brush and soleplate cover, and a “full-range thermostat [that] permits precise adjustment and ensures the proper temperature for all fabrics.”
The Home & Away model from SteamFast could also be used as a standard iron or an upright steamer and featured a 1-pound weight, a 3.1" aluminum soleplate, and a 15-second heat-up time.
For additional details about Red Steam—specifically, it’s 1) water tank/reservoir capacity, 2) estimated steam runtime, 3) cord length, and 4) whether or not it’s dual voltage—we made three calls to Tristar’s customer support department.
The first time, we were transferred to another line and waited on hold for nearly 10 minutes before disconnecting the call. The second time, we were transferred to a supervisor, but immediately were notified the user’s mailbox was full so that we couldn’t leave a voicemail.
The third representative we reached didn’t have any details but told us we’d receive a callback within 15-20 minutes, which never came.
Nonetheless, how can you choose which of these is right? While many portable steamer models are very similar in design and function, ConsumerSearch recommends considering weight, since “even a couple of pounds can add to a load of a fully-packed bag. Also, if you tend to run short on time, be sure you get one that does not leave water spots that may need time to dry.”
Similarly, keep in mind that handheld options will often feature smaller water tanks and that adding water will increase weight. This might be especially important to remember if you experience hand or wrist issues or chronic pain.
Also, if you frequently travel overseas, check to make sure that your steamer is dual voltage, or you might be out of luck after arriving at your destination.
Finally, keep in mind that there’s a difference between a handheld steamer like Red Steam Express, which is built to remove wrinkles, and a steam cleaner, which typically delivers higher-temperature steam to sanitize and disinfect surfaces.
What Can We Learn From Customer Reviews for Red Steam Express’s Manufacturer?
While Red Steam Express was too new at the time of our research for any customer feedback, Tristar Products is an exceptionally popular ASOTV company with hundreds of releases to their name, including recent options like the Copper Chef Pan, Perfecter Fusion Styler, and Power Pressure Cooker XL.
While many customers reported satisfactory results, common complaints referenced lower quality than expected and customer service issues.
Tristar also had an A Better Business Bureau rating, based on 900+ complaints, as of 4/11/17. Most of these seemed related to problems with the product or service, or advertising/sales issues.
Are you sure to experience the same with Red Steam Express? We’re certainly not claiming this. However, we are here to provide you with all the necessary, relevant information.
What’s the Bottom Line About Red Steam Express?
While we didn’t test it firsthand and it was too new for any customer feedback at the time of our research, the basic design (combining the soleplate of a traditional iron with the portability and gentleness of a personal steamer) seemed like it might deliver the best of both worlds while you’re on-the-go.
On top of this, Red Steam Express was priced meaningfully lower than its direct competition. However, these competitors were also sold through national big box retailers, which could put them in your hands more quickly.
Also, if you’re dissatisfied with these local models, returning them could be as easy as hopping in your car, and without having to pay to ship them back to the manufacturer.
If you feel like giving Red Steam Express a try, though, Tristar seems to stand behind it with a 60-day refund policy.
Just keep in mind that, depending on the type of fabric you’re working with, steaming won’t always be faster than ironing, especially if you’re looking for sharp, creased edges.
And since all steamers deliver heat at the point of contact, Red Steam’s “advanced turbo steam technology” didn’t appear to be a whole lot different than competing models. We didn’t encounter any evidence during our research that high-pressure pumps will deliver improved wrinkle-fighting power, either.