Looking to amp up your self-care routine? If so, a facial steamer could be the treat your skin needs. It helps to loosen dead skin cells and hydrate the skin, which is especially helpful if your complexion has been looking dull or if you’ve been struggling with clogged pores. As a secondary benefit, steam is absolutely incredible for relieving congestion when you’re sick.
They are a staple in every professional facial, so while you may not be able to enjoy the magic touch of an aesthetician at home, you can recreate the experience for similar benefits. In fact, a steamer costs about the same as a single facial, but it can be used over and over again.
If you’d like to boost your skincare routine, keep reading to see our favourite facial steamers for every unique need and budget.
For background information, see our comparison table and buying advice.
Best facial steamers
- Best overall – DR. DENNIS GROSS Pro Facial Steamer
- Best high-end – Panasonic Ionic Facial Steamer
- Best professional – Satin Smooth Professional Mini Facial Steamer
- Best for sensitive skin – Conair Facial Sauna
- Best for budget – Lonove Nano Ionic Facial Steamer
- Best for acne – Kinga Facial Steamer
Hours of Research
Best facial steamers comparison
|Dr. Dennis Gross||Panasonic||Satin Smooth||Conair||Lonove||Kinga|
|Best for||Overall||High-end||Professional||Sensitive skin||Budget||Acne|
|Treatment length (min)||9||6||Up to 30||Adjustable, 3-15||10||8-10|
|Warm up time||30 sec||30 sec||5-7 min||3 min||45-50 sec||45 sec|
|Other features||n/a||n/a||essential oil compartment, ozone setting||facial brush, narrow cone||comes with 4 extraction tools||5 extraction tools with case|
Best overall – DR. DENNIS GROSS Pro Facial Steamer
- Treatment length: 9 minutes
- Warm up time: 30 seconds
- Strong, steady steam
- Sleek, portable design
- Trusted brand with solid return policy
- Some users experience issues with water tank
Ease of use
This device puts out a consistent and strong steam for up to 9 minutes, which is great if you prefer longer sessions. The large opening ensures that the entire face and chest get access to the treatment, and the temperature is safe as long as you keep your face a good distance away.
Despite the name, this countertop steamer is designed for at-home use. It’s as simple as can be, with a hidden water tank that holds enough distilled water for one session of steaming, and a single on/off button at the front. It’s lightweight and portable, so you can easily move it around if necessary.
The value of this steamer is really apparent in the build quality. It’s a well-made product and you can expect it to last for years. As with other steamers, the water container is a little less durable than the rest of the device and can break if not handled carefully.
While it’s one of the more expensive options on our list, we think it’s worth it because it comes from an established brand you can trust. If you’re looking for a well-made product, it’s better to spend a little more.
Best high-end – Panasonic Ionic Facial Steamer
- Treatment length: 6 minutes
- Warm up time: 30 seconds
- Strong steam saturates the skin easily
- Very simple to use
- Stylish, durable design
- The water tank is a little more fragile than the rest of the device
- 6 minute steaming session is relatively short
Ease of use
This countertop device is extremely simple to use, with an easily removable water tank that holds enough water for two treatments, and it has just a single button to turn on or off. Once pressed, it starts putting out a powerful steam that’s just the right temperature as long as you don’t bring your face too close.
Some users complain that a 6-minute steaming session is not enough, though we think that’s not true in most cases.
It’s a well-built product that, when treated properly, can last for a very long time. It requires regular cleaning, and can only be used with distilled water. The only component that may cause trouble sometimes is the water tank, which may break if handled too roughly. Finally, it’s worth noting how elegant the design is – we appreciate a beautiful product.
This is one of the most expensive devices on our list, but it’s also one of the most well-made options, so we think it’s a solid investment.
Best professional – Satin Smooth Mini Facial Steamer
- Treatment length: Up to 30 min
- Warm up time: 5-7 minutes
- Other features: essential oil compartment, ozone setting
- Professional machine lets out strong steam for long time
- Rotating head allows for both personal use and professional use
- Includes essential oil compartment for aromatherapy
- Elements can overheat and burn if touched
Ease of use
This is the most professional and versatile option on our list. It gives a very strong and big current of steam that can last for up to 30 minutes. It also has an optional ozone setting, said to oxygenate and purify.
It includes a compartment into which you can drop essential oils, which has aromatherapy benefits and can be especially useful for clearing the sinuses.
Since this is a professional product, you can manipulate it to use both on yourself and others by adjusting the angle or length of the arm. Because it can work for longer certain elements can overheat, so users must be careful not to burn themselves.
This steamer is relatively well built, but like the other options on our list, it also has its occasional hiccups. Some users note that they’ve experienced water leaking, while others had minor parts break off, like the lid for the essential oil compartment. However, in comparison to other options on the market, it’s durable and should last a long time.
Surprisingly, this professional device isn’t more expensive than one intended for at-home use. If you need the added features and functionality to work on others, it’s well-worth the price.
Best for sensitive skin – Conair Facial Sauna
- Treatment length: Adjustable, 3-15 minutes
- Warm up time: 3 minutes
- Other features: comes with facial brush and small cone
- Durable product with a ton of features!
- Gentle steam perfect for sensitive skin
- Cone attachment allows for very targeted steam treatment
- Facial brush can boost your exfoliation or cleansing routine
- Old-fashioned design
- Weaker steam compared to other devices
Ease of use
The unique thing about this steamer is the cone-like attachment, that ensures the cloud of steam is concentrated directly on the face. The steam itself isn’t overly strong, so we think this is a great choice for those with sensitive skin.
It comes with a second, smaller attachment that you can use when you only want steam for inhalation rather than for a facial treatment, as well as a facial brush that helps with exfoliating or applying moisturizer. It also has other cool features, like a timer you can control for a customized treatment and a cool mist option.
This design isn’t as attractive as other options on our list, but it’s one of the most durable constructions, so you don’t need to worry about fragile parts or breakage when you fill it up with water. According to Conair, you can use it with tap water but we’d still recommend sticking to distilled water to guarantee longevity.
Price-wise, it falls right in the middle of our list, but we think its durability makes it one of the most cost-effective options.
Best on a budget – Lonove Nano Ionic Facial Steamer
- Maximum treatment length: 10 minutes
- Warm up time: 45-50 seconds
- Other features: comes with 4 extraction tools
- Simple and easy to operate
- Extremely affordable
- Sleek, portable and stylish design
- Inconsistent build quality
- Malfunctioning devices can spit hot water instead of steam
Ease of use
Anyone can use this sleek steamer which has just a single button and a water reservoir that doesn’t need to be removed for filling. Once you turn it on, it starts producing steam very quickly. The temperature is slightly on the hot side, so keeping a proper distance is very important. It comes with a set of 4 extraction tools to help with blackhead removal after the session.
Our budget pick is also the most adorable device we’ve seen, with a small, streamlined design. Unfortunately, while the aesthetic is great, the build quality isn’t as good as others. Multiple users report getting faulty steamers that either don’t work, or spit out hot water instead of steam. We suggest testing it before using it on the face in order to avoid getting burned.
While Lonove has its drawbacks, the price is low enough that you might be willing to take the risk of getting a malfunctioning device.
Best for acne – Kinga Facial Steamer
- Treatment length: 8-10 minutes
- Warm up time: 45 seconds
- Other features: 5 extraction tools with case
- Gentle but consistent steam
- Affordable price
- Includes kit for post-steaming extractions
- Cord is a little short
Ease of use
This easy-to-use device emits a consistent steam that’s not overly hot or strong, so it’s perfect for all skin types, and especially those with redness or sensitivity due to acne.
If you are dealing with breakouts, you can also use the included extraction kit to unclog pores, although be careful not to overdo it and damage the skin.
We find this design very similar to the steamer from Dr. Dennis Gross, but the build quality is not quite as good so it won’t last as long. The cord is a little short, so if you don’t have plugs conveniently placed around the house that may be an issue. The most common issue with this steamer is the water reservoir breaking or leaking.
If you’re not ready to spring for Panasonic or Dr. Dennis Gross, this steamer is a fine choice. It has its issues, but the price is hard to beat for such a simple and effective design.
What to consider when looking for a facial steamer
Ease of use
While different users have different needs, a great steamer should still be easy and convenient to use. It should have an easy-to-fill tank and a long enough cord so you can place it anywhere in your home.
It should also emit a steady and comfortable cloud of steam, although the strength and temperature of the steam can vary. Those with resilient skin will prefer a strong and hot mist while sensitive or acne-prone skin types might prefer something more gentle.
Some steamers can come with added functions, like different settings or timers. The more functions a steamer has the slightly more difficult it will be to use.
There are a few “claims” that we decided to disregard, especially when it comes to buzzy sounding words like “nano-ionic” which is just fancy-sounding pseudoscience.
Just as with any other device, it’s important that steamers be built well so that they last longer and don’t malfunction in a way that can injure users. Some malfunctions are quite common even with high-end steamers, like having a fragile water tank or a bit of leakage, but others are worrisome, like having a device that emits hot water instead of steam.
While steamers from reputable brands are generally very consistent in build quality, cheaper ones from less known brands often malfunction and will likely have a shorter lifespan.
In Canada, you can expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $200 for one of these. When taking into account that a single facial can cost the same, that’s not bad at all!
There is a big difference in quality between cheap and expensive options when it comes to quality and longevity, so we find that even expensive steamers offer great value. We’d only suggest buying a budget steamer if you’re not totally certain you’ll use it often, since you can always upgrade down the line.
What are the benefits of steaming your face?
Contrary to popular belief, steam does not “open the pores” or “detoxify the skin.” Instead, it’s most helpful for alleviating skin dehydration and dullness by infusing the top layer of skin with moisture, making it soft, supple, and more youthful-looking.
It can also increase the effectiveness of exfoliating or pore unclogging treatments by loosening up sebum and dead skin, and it boosts the permeability of the skin so any topical skin care product can penetrate better.
If you get congested often, steam is also fantastic for loosening up that mucus to help clear the sinuses.
How to use a facial steamer? What order is it used in?
First, you will need to first fill up the water tank with distilled water, since tap water can damage your device. Then you just turn it on and wait for it to start emitting steam. Then, hold your face about 20 cm away from the device to benefit from the steam without overheating the skin.
Generally, you want to steam your skin after exfoliating and before moisturizing. If you’ll be exfoliating or doing extractions, wait until after you’ve steamed your face. If you want, you can apply a hydrating essence or serum before steaming for added moisture.
Note that if you don’t apply toner or serum and moisturizer to your skin shortly after a steaming session, the water can evaporate from your skin leaving you feeling more dehydrated than you were at the beginning.
How long and how often should I steam my face?
Steaming for 6-10 minutes is ideal, and for the best results, you can do it once or twice a week. You can also quick-steam the face for just a minute or two before special events or you can multitask by running the steamer while applying your moisturizers, to infuse the skin with added hydration and to make sure you look extra radiant.
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Over to you
Have you tried doing your own at-home facial before? Do you have any steaming tips or your own favorite steamer? Let us know!