We Tested the Best Facial Steamers—These 6 Are Worth Buying

Our favorite is the Panasonic Nano-Ionic Facial Steamer

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Facial Steamers

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Steaming your face is nothing new. Like many DIY beauty buffs, you may have tried gazing down into a pot of hot water with a towel slung over your head, hoping the warm mist will clear up your complexion. As it turns out, this practice is more than a self-care cliché—the moist air might actually be doing something.

Byrdie Tested & Approved

According to our tester, the best facial steamer was the Panasonic Spa-Quality Nano-Ionic Facial Steamer—she said it notably opened her pores after a single session. For a budget-friendly pick, the Plum Beauty Facial Steamer topped our list.

"Steaming the face helps soften the oil deposits in the pores and also on the skin's surface, making it easier to remove that oil and ultimately decongest the skin," explains celebrity esthetician Elina Fedotova. And by softening the outer layer, steam can boost the absorption of your skincare ingredients.

In the era of at-home spa treatments, we're pleased to tell you there are much better ways to get your steam on than the old pot-and-towel method. Plug-in and battery-powered steaming gadgets are not only easy to use but also effective—and you can take it from us because we tested 14 of them in The Lab.

These are the best facial steamers tested by Byrdie.

Best Overall: Panasonic Spa-Quality Nano-Ionic Facial Steamer

4.7
 Panasonic Spa-Quality Facial Steamer
Our Ratings
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Skin Look and Feel
    4/5
  • Performance
    5/5
What We Like
  • Consistent, warm stream

  • Leaves skin soft

  • Beginner-friendly

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

After blasting our faces with 14 different steamers, the Panasonic Nano Ionic was a clear winner. Our tester liked how simple it was to set up, explaining that filling the reservoir, plugging it in, and waiting for the steam only took about two minutes. The streamlined, beginner-friendly design is super easy to use too.

While she had to move her face around slightly to get full coverage of the steam, our tester appreciated that the moist air flowed out consistently and felt warm against her skin. It boasts ultra-fine "nanoparticles" of steam for better penetration, and sure enough, our tester could feel her pores opening up and said her skin was notably softer after a single session.

Pretty enough to set out on a counter, this facial steamer has a sleek appearance with a fun fuschia accent. Measuring under 9 inches tall and just over 4 inches wide, it's compact too. In the end, we really only wish the price were a little more accessible.

Features: Ionic steam particles | Wireless: No

What Our Testers Say

"I could feel my pores opening as it steamed my face."—Erin Johnson, Product Tester

Best Budget: Plum Beauty Spa Facial Steamer

4.7
Plum Beauty Spa Facial Steamer

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Skin Look and Feel
    4/5
  • Performance
    5/5
What We Like
  • User-friendly

  • Steady flow of steam

  • Leaves skin soft

What We Don't Like
  • Nothing

Looking for a more affordable model? Plum Beauty is your best bet. Our tester said this spa-inspired facial steamer is easy to use—all you do is open the lid, fill the reservoir with water, put the lid back on, and press the power button.

Within a few seconds, you'll have a steady flow of warm steam across your entire face when you position yourself about five inches away. Our tester loved how soft her face felt afterward and was all-around impressed with the user-friendliness. We also like how compact this gadget is and that it has a carrying handle for easy transport.

Features: Carrying handle | Wireless: No

Plum Beauty Facial Steamer

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Best Splurge: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Pro Facial Steamer

4.7
Dr. Dennis Gross Pro Facial Steamer

 Courtesy of Sephora

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Skin Look and Feel
    4/5
  • Performance
    5/5
What We Like
  • User-friendly

  • Strong, consistent mist

  • Dermatologist-developed

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

If you're willing to shell out the big bucks for high-end at-home treatments, Dr. Dennis Gross is pretty much always a safe bet. The Pro Facial Steamer was a hit with our tester, who said it was incredibly easy to use and created a steady stream of mist within 30 seconds of turning it on. After using it for only four minutes, her skin felt noticeably softer, and (bonus!) her stuffy nose even cleared up a bit.

While this dermatologist-developed device works quickly, our tester said it's so relaxing she wouldn't mind sitting in front of it for a while. The compact design, carrying handle, and 5-foot power cord make it conveniently portable too.

Features: Carrying handle, auto-shutoff | Wireless: No

dennis gross face steamer tester

What Our Testers Say

"This is a popular facial steamer for a reason. It created a strong, consistent mist that left my skin feeling softer after just a few minutes."—Erin Johnson, Product Tester

Best Drugstore: Conair True Glow Moisturizing Mist Facial Sauna System

5
Conair True Glow Moisturizing Facial Sauna System

 Courtesy of Walmart

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Skin Look and Feel
    5/5
  • Performance
    5/5
What We Like
  • Easy setup

  • Cordless

  • Face-cradling design

What We Don't Like
  • Takes a few minutes to heat

  • Not rechargeable

Conair makes the best drugstore facial steamer. The True Glow has a mildly retro vibe reminiscent of early-'90s beauty devices—and we're here for it. But that's not all we love about this product. It's exceptionally easy to set up, and though it took about four minutes to start steaming, our tester said it generated a wide flow of mist that covered her entire face.

The unique cradle design also allows you to seal your face in for more concentrated results. This gadget is conveniently cordless, running on two AA batteries (not included). Beyond the reasonable price point, it comes with a facial cleansing brush with two attachment heads for deeper exfoliation.

Features: Cradle cone, 7 timer settings, auto-shutoff, cleansing brush | Wireless: Yes

conair true glow test

Best Design: Vanity Planet Aira Ionic Facial Steamer

4.7
Vanity Planet Aira Ionic Facial Steamer

 Courtesy of Vanity Planet

Our Ratings
  • Ease of Use
    3/5
  • Skin Look and Feel
    4/5
  • Performance
    5/5
What We Like
  • Sleek and compact

  • Works with essential oils

  • Leaves skin soft and elastic

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to remove tank

  • Calls for distilled water

Vanity Planet's facial steamer was a hit with both our at-home reviewer and lab tester. While getting the hidden water tank out was a little tricky at first, the Aria ended up being very straightforward to use. And the sleek, compact design is definitely part of the appeal.

This steaming device comes with a few essential oil baskets, elevating your at-home spa experience with a dose of aromatherapy. It calls for distilled water, but it's unclear whether there are any real advantages to using it (or disadvantages to using tap). Our tester said the Aria created a strong stream of steam and loved how soft, plush, and elastic her skin felt after using it.

Features: Ionic misting, adjustable nozzle, essential oil baskets, headband | Wireless: No

Vanity Planet Facial Steamer

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

What Our Testers Say

"My skin feels super soft and plush. I think it even made my skin a little more elastic."Samantha Aronson, Commerce Production Assistant

Best Value: Pure Daily Care NanoSteamer 3-in-1 Nano Ionic Facial Steamer

4.5
NanoSteamer
What We Like
  • Easy setup

  • Leaves skin soft

What We Don't Like
  • Takes a few minutes to heat

  • Calls for distilled water

The NanoSteamer also got the stamp of approval from both our home reviewer and lab tester. This facial steamer was easy to set up, and while it took about four minutes to start producing warm steam, the ultrasonic vaporizer created a consistent stream of "negatively charged ionic particles." According to the brand, this allows for deeper penetration into your pores.

Our tester had to move her face around a bit to get a full-coverage misting experience, but overall, she found the NanoSteamer easy to use and effective. And her skin felt notably softer after a single session. Just a heads-up—this device says to only use distilled water and warns that anything other than the purified variety could cause it to malfunction.

Features: Ionic misting, 3 modes, stainless steel tools | Wireless: No

Pure Daily Care 3-in-1 Ionic NanoSteamer

Byrdie/Tamara Staples

Final Verdict

Overall, we liked the Panasonic Nano Ionic Face Steamer. This beginner-friendly device generates a consistent stream of warm mist within seconds and leaves skin feeling clean and oh-so-soft. But if you want something a bit more affordable or are interested in a cordless option, you can't go wrong with the Conair True Glow Facial Sauna.

Okachi Gliya Facial Steamer

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

How We Tested

Byrdie editors took their time researching at-home facial steaming devices before narrowing it down to 14 to try out in The Lab, our in-house testing facility in Manhattan. Each product was first assessed for its look and feel, including its size, weight, appearance, nozzle, power source, and features.

Next, our testers evaluated the setup requirements and ease of use. Then they performed a mist test to see how quickly the steamers heated up, whether they produced a consistent stream, and how their skin looked and felt afterward. The devices that performed well in all assessments were ultimately selected for this roundup.

Urchoice Facial Steamer

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Other Options We Tested

UrChoice Portable Nano Facial Mister

We found this portable mister to be generally straightforward and easy to use. The cordless, rechargeable design is convenient, but the USB charging cable isn't a universal fit for all computers. And while the spray felt refreshing, it's more of a cool mist, so you probably won't get the pore-opening benefits of a traditional steamer.

Finishing Touch Flawless Facial Steamer

This device was easy to set up and generated mist almost right away, though it had a faint burnt-plastic smell at first, and the steam flow sometimes needed to be redirected. We liked the sleek design, built-in mirror, and rose gold accents. And while our tester said her skin felt hydrated, the results just weren't as great as other steamers.

Okachi Gliya Ionic Care Facial Steamer

We liked that this modish steamer has a built-in lighted mirror and comes with a cute cat-ear headband to keep your hair out of your face. Our tester said her skin felt soft afterward, but the mist stream wasn't very consistent, and unfortunately, it had that faint burnt-plastic smell.

Meet the Expert

  • Elina Fedotova is a celebrity esthetician and founder of Elina Organics Spas in Chicago and Kalamazoo, MI. She’s known for her customized, skin-changing facials—where steaming is always an essential step.

What to Look For in a Facial Steamer

Nano-Ionic Technology

When it comes to shopping for the right facial steamer, Fedotova recommends looking for devices that use nano-ionic technology. Combining smaller, ionized particles of steam is meant to up the ability of the steam to penetrate deeper into your skin, essentially helping it work better and faster. She points out that nano-ionic steamers also enhance their hydration benefits, so any steamer that utilizes this technology is a great choice for those with especially dry skin.

Hot and Cold Settings

Steam doesn’t necessarily have to be hot to be effective, so Fedotova suggests opting for a steamer device that generates both hot and cold steam—especially if you have finicky skin. “For inflammatory conditions like rosacea or excessive redness or extremely sensitive complexions, it can be better to use a cool steam,” she says. “This helps hydrate and soften the skin without heating it.”

Size and Design

Is this something you’re going to leave out on your vanity for daily use? Only pulling out for special occasions? Taking with you wherever you go? Shapes and sizes of facial steamers vary greatly, so take how often you’re going to be using it and where you’re going to store it into consideration.

FAQ
  • Do facial steamers work?

    When it comes to professional facials, Fedotova compares steaming the skin to putting gas into your car in order to drive it. In short, yes, facial steaming works—and if you’re planning on doing any other at-home treatment, whether it’s extracting blackheads or putting on a purifying face mask, it's an essential step for prepping the skin to ensure these treatments are most effective.

    “In addition to hydrating the skin, steaming helps prepare it for any purifying treatments—it softens sebum, softens the epidermis, and preps it for vacuuming, extractions, and exfoliation,” she says.

  • Are facial steamers good for acne?

    According to Fedotova, steaming is beneficial for every complexion—acne-prone included. She says that those with acne are dealing with excessive oil production, and steaming helps prep clogged pores for extractions without damaging blood vessels in the process.

  • Are facial steamers safe?

    Blasting hot steam onto your face without the guidance of a professional may feel iffy, but according to Fedotova, as long as a product is certified—and, of course, used properly—then it’s safe. “Manufacturers are now focusing a lot more on safety than before,” she says. “Of course, you also need to make sure that you have a comfortable distance between the steamer’s head and your face.”

    The strength of a device’s steam stream will vary from product to product, so be sure to thoroughly read through its directions and follow the guidelines for appropriate distance and facial position while using it.

What Is Byrdie Verified?

Did you notice the Byrdie Verified seal of approval at the top of this story? This seal means that our team has researched and tested every product on this list using a unique methodology that’s designed to focus on what our readers really want to know—and to deliver insights that you can’t find anywhere else. Occasionally, beauty brands and PR agencies will send us samples for coverage consideration, but our thoughts and opinions are fully our own. If you visit links within our content, we may receive commissions from your purchases, but we never receive any compensation or consideration for the content of our recommendations. In short, the Byrdie Verified seal stands for product recommendations you can trust.

Why Trust Byrdie

Theresa Holland is a commerce writer and product reviewer specializing in beauty. For this article, she compiled expert insights from a celebrity esthetician, as well as notes from Byrdie's in-house lab testers. Each product was carefully vetted and ultimately selected due to its user-friendly design, standout features, and effectiveness. Theresa has personally tried beauty gadgets from Panasonic, Dr. Dennis Gross, Plum Beauty, Conair, and Finishing Touch. You can read more of her stories on People and Travel + Leisure.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any facial steamers from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Cleveland Clinic. Is steaming your face good for your skin?

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