What Is a Styler Appliance and Can It Replace Your Washing Machine?

The LG Styler steam closet takes your laundry game to the next level, removing odors and wrinkles. But can it replace your washer completely?

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Laundry is hands down one of the most daunting domestic chores, both time consuming and — if done right — tedious. The newest player in the laundry game aims to lighten the load by offering an alternative to the washer-dryer merry-go-round and endless dry cleaning runs: the LG Styler steam closet.

Introduced in Korea a decade ago, it started gaining traction in the U.S. the past few years. The steam closet’s hefty price tag makes it a niche product for now. But this type of clothing care system offers significant benefits and has become increasingly popular for domestic use.

What Is the LG Styler Appliance?

The LG Styler, known as a steam closet or clothes manager, is a refrigerator-sized machine that pumps in steam to kill odor-producing bacteria and allergens from clothing, bedding and plush toys. They come out sanitized and smelling fresh, without the time and wear of a full wash-and-dry cycle or the use of harsh chemicals.

The steam system also smooths out wrinkles while a moving hanger rack swings back and forth to shake out any particularly stubborn creases. The cycle ends with gentle heat to dry clothing at a temperature low enough for the most delicate fabrics.

If steam isn’t enough to refresh and crisp your clothing, the LG Styler also offers optional aroma sheets for an extra shot of scent. It also comes with an incorporated press on the inside of the door to sharpen the crease in dress pants.

Can a Styler Replace Your Washing Machine?

Though the LG Styler can freshen anything from a musty-smelling cashmere sweater to a crumpled work suit in minutes, it’s meant to complement rather than replace your washing machine. It won’t remove dirt or stains, and even the extra aroma sheets aren’t enough to blast away strong smells of perspiration or cigarette smoke. Instead, a steam closet can give your clothes that straight-from-the-cleaner polish in your laundry room in less than an hour.

What Are the Benefits of a Steam Closet?

Though it can’t completely replace your washing machine, there are a few things a steam closet can do:

  • Kill odor-producing bacteria and microorganisms;

  • Eliminate dust mites and other allergens;

  • Smooth wrinkles and crisp pant creases;

  • Freshen-up stored sweaters and coats;

  • Treat delicate fabrics and knits without dry-cleaning chemicals;

  • Dry sweaters and lingerie safely via gentle heat;

  • Save time with cycles as fast as 20 minutes;

  • Lengthen the life of clothing by limiting wear from the washer and dryer;

  • Cut the cost of dry cleaning bills.

Does the Styler Have Any Competitors?

As a testament to the growing popularity of steam closets, Samsung released its own version, the AirDresser, which offers similar specs and functionality as the LG Styler at an equally premium price.

Both the LG Styler and Samsung AirDresser can be easily installed in your laundry room or closet, as their refillable tanks eliminate the need for an external water source. Just plug it in and you’re ready to go. At roughly six feet high and two feet wide, these steam closets take up a considerable amount of space, but the noise level is lower than most washing machines.

Also worth noting: The LG and Samsung systems sync to smartphone apps. That lets you download and select cycles, check cycle times and save care details for specific garments.

Rebecca Winke
Rebecca Winke moved to Italy from Chicago in 1993 and shortly thereafter took a deep dive into country living by renovating a sprawling medieval stone farmhouse and running it as a B&B for 20 years. Today, she spends her time writing about travel, culture, and food (it's Italy, after all!) for publications like The Telegraph and Italy Magazine, as well as pondering the strange winds that blew an urban vegetarian to a farm in Umbria.