When it comes to laundry, LG has staked its claim on innovation. From quicker washer cycles to one of the largest top loaders ever conceived, the Korean giant has been at the forefront of clothes cleaning since it entered the US market more than a decade ago.
Enter the Styler. When we first saw this steam closet in Korea, we wondered if it would ever make it to the U.S. And when it appeared at CES 2015, we couldn't wait to bring one into our labs. LG claims that it can steam away odors, remove allergens, and shake out wrinkles. Would this product finally mark the end of ironing and dry cleaning?
It takes a lot of travel to find out about the latest and greatest technology, so the folks at Reviewed.com had plenty of opportunities to test out the Styler on wrinkled dress clothes.
The tiny closet is 72 3/4" tall, 17.5" wide, and 23" deep. It weighs about 100 lbs. and comes with an anti-tip kit. It draws water from a tank at the bottom (the user fills it up), generates steam using a heat pump, and then releases it onto clothing. The user can also choose to add a dryer sheet for a fresh scent. If you've ever refreshed a suit by hanging it in a hotel bathroom during a hot shower, you've got the basic picture.
But that's not all: Specially designed hangers shake gently to help remove wrinkles, and there's also a pants creaser to give dress pants that freshly ironed look.
In testing, we used a dress shirt and a pair of pants that had spent some time in a suitcase. The pants were made of a polyester blend, similar to that found on many dress skirts and slacks, but the shirt was made of 100% cotton. It's a material that most dress shirts and blouses are made of, and one of the most frequently professionally-cleaned fabrics—but the Styler doesn't claim to fully de-wrinkle it. We tested it anyway, using the Normal cycle.
After 48 minutes of refreshing, the end result was a shirt that had some of its wrinkles removed and a pair of pants with most of its wrinkles removed. The cotton shirt wasn't as crisp as it might have been from an ironing board, but it certainly looked presentable. We were most impressed by the pants, however. They were almost totally smooth—you'd have to examine them closely to find a wrinkle. Most importantly, cotton or not, the Styler will definitely deodorize all your clothes in a pinch. We'd call that a win.
When visitors toured our labs, they naturally gravitated to the Styler. Some even refreshed their own clothes in it. If we had a nickel for every time someone told us how much they wanted a Styler in his or her own home, though, we still wouldn't have enough money to buy one.
With a $2,000 MSRP, the Styler is clearly a luxury item. It will not replace the elbow grease of an iron nor the efficacy of a dry cleaner. The fact is, most Americans simply don't wear enough dress clothes to make the Styler worth it. Even if it helps you avoid a $50 dry cleaning bill each month, it would take several years for this appliance to pay for itself.
However, the Styler may find traction in hotels, airports, or big offices with formal dress codes. In fact, there's already a deal in place that will see the Styler appear in luxury rental homes this year.
Unless you do a lot of travel or have a high-priced wardrobe made of delicate fabrics, it might be overkill to buy a Styler for your own home. But if you spot a Styler in a nice hotel or airline lounge someday, don't be afraid to throw in that wrinkly jacket.