The Best Food Steamer

Updated on 28 April 2023

After 18 hours of research and a thorough analysis of 24 food steamers, 8 of which were tested, we recommend the Aigostar Fitfoodie Steel 30INA for its excellent value for money.

This comparison is certified 100% impartial and follows our selection process.

Our choice, Best budget

Aigostar Fitfoodie Steel

This appliance offers the best price/performance ratio of this selection. It also has good ergonomic features, making it easy to add water while cooking.

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Aigostar Fitfoodie Steel 30INA

Despite its very affordable price, this food steamer offers a 9L capacity, 3 independent levels, a grain basket and direct access to easily add water during cooking. The base is stainless steel but did not get hot during our tests. The baskets, on the other hand, are made of BPA-free plastic, but this material does not withstand the colour of the carrots. We found it very easy to use. Its timer shows the tens of minutes and the minutes in between with small lines, which is not common in this price range. The water level is also clearly visible, and the handles are numbered from 1 to 3 to help you place the baskets in the right order. Finally, we were pleasantly surprised by its performance. It took less than 1 minute to start steaming. The cooking was very fast (even better than other much more expensive models). For example, we cooked finely chopped fish in 3-4 minutes and some frozen beans in less than 6-7 min. Potatoes cut into eighths, sliced carrots, and chicken pieces took no more than 15 minutes to cook.

 

 

Best mid-range

Russell Hobbs 19270-56

Very similar to the Aigostar Fitfoodie mentioned above, this model is slightly less efficient, but just as practical. It also has three large numbered baskets.

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Russell Hobbs 19270-56

In terms of design, it is almost identical to the Aigostar mentioned above: appearance, the clear presence of the water level, timer up to 60 minutes, basket for grains, the possibility of adding water during cooking, numbers on the handles… The only not-so-positive point is its timer, which does not show lines between the tens of minutes. In our tests, it was slightly less efficient than its competitor for cooking food. However, they have an equivalent power of 800 W, three levels and a large capacity of 9 L. It took 25 minutes to cook diced potatoes and sliced carrots (which stained the plastic of the basket in the process). Chicken and fish, on the other hand, were cooked at the same time. Finally, like all the other models we tested, we appreciated the presence of a clear audible signal at the end of cooking.

 

Budget alternative

Kitchen Craft Clearview

The only non-electric model in this selection, this food steamer is a saucepan with two baskets. Made of stainless steel, it is compatible with all burners, including induction hobs.

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Kitchen Craft Clearview KCCVSTEAM22

This 3-level model (including two steam baskets) is the only one in our comparison that works on hobs (including induction). The advantage is that you can cook three dishes at the same time. It has a large capacity of more than 4 L and, being made of stainless steel, it is dishwasher safe. Its glass lid is sturdy and makes it easy to control the cooking of different foods. During our tests, we appreciated its large capacity. Of course, it resisted the discolouration of the carrots and was easy to clean, even by hand. Although we had to wait a little longer than with the electric models for the steam to appear (the time it took for the water to heat up with our gas cooker), the cooking time was very satisfactory. The fish pieces were cooked in less than 5 minutes, the frozen beans in 5-6 minutes, and the chicken pieces in less than 13 minutes. The sliced carrots and potatoes cut into eight pieces took just over 13 minutes to cook.

 

Our selection

Our choice, Best budgetBest mid-rangeBudget alternative
Aigostar Fitfoodie Steel Russell Hobbs 19270-56 Kitchen Craft Clearview
This appliance offers the best price/performance ratio of this selection. It also has good ergonomic features, making it easy to add water while cooking. Very similar to the Aigostar Fitfoodie mentioned above, this model is slightly less efficient, but just as practical. It also has three large numbered baskets. The only non-electric model in this selection, this food steamer is a saucepan with two baskets. Made of stainless steel, it is compatible with all burners, including induction hobs.
See the price on Amazon £ 59.00 on Amazon £ 37.50 on Amazon

 

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How did we do the testing?

To test the food steamers, we first looked at their design (materials, number of baskets, capacity, accessories…) and ergonomics. We also checked whether it was easy to add water during cooking and whether the handles were practical.

We then timed the cooking of different foods to check their performance: frozen beans, potatoes cut into eight pieces, sliced carrots, chicken and diced fish. It is also worth noting that every time we tried to cook basmati rice, the preparation was a failure.

NameNumber of levelsPowerErgonomics (1=poor 5= very good)Cooking time (1= much longer - 5= superfast)Staining resistance (carrots)
Aigostar Fitfoodie Steel 30INA3800 W54No
Kitchen Craft Clearview2/44Yes
Russell Hobbs 19270-563800 W43No
Braun FS5100WH2850 W24No
SEB VC1451002900 W35Yes

 

How to choose your food steamer?

Steaming is a particularly healthy and effective way of cooking food while retaining as many of its nutrients as possible. It is a highly recommended technique if you do not want to consume fatty oils. However, there are several types of food steamer, so choosing one can be difficult.

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Before making your choice, you should know that there are two types of food steamers:

  • The steamer basket: this is the most common way of steaming food. It is a device placed inside a pot over a heat source. The concept is very simple: just add a little water to the pot and place the food in the basket. As the water boils, the steam softens and cooks the food in the basket.

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  • The electric food steamer: offers additional functions to the classic steamer basket (a timer, automatic stop function, etc.). Generally, it has a water tank and several levels to place the food. Some also have a control panel which determines the degree of cooking for each type of food.

With this in mind, we would like to point out some important features to consider before purchasing:

  • Frequency of use: if you only want to cook a very small amount of food, there is no need to invest a lot of money in one of these appliances. However, if you often like to steam vegetables, meat or even fruit, choose a sturdy model that will stand the test of time and frequent use. The purchase price will be higher, but it will be a good investment in the long run.

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  • Size and capacity: you should know in advance how much food you want to prepare based on the number of people in your family and how often you have guests. Check the number of trays included to get the right cooking space for the desired quantities. For easy storage, please note that some trays are removable and stackable.

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  • The materials used: directly influence the quality and variety of the food you can cook inside. Some steamer baskets, for example, are designed for use in the oven. This is the case, for example, with stainless steel models. Others can only be used on a cooker. For electric steamers, we recommend BPA-free plastic and non-stick materials for the steamer compartments.

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  • The steaming method: there are almost as many steamers as there are ways of steaming. The simplest method is to “hang” the food over boiling water. You can also wrap the food in wax paper or bamboo leaves (to preserve the flavour of the food).

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  • The timer: most food steamers have a timer that adjusts the cooking time. In this case, do not forget to check its accuracy. High-end models have digital timers which have the advantage of being a little more precise. Some appliances also have a timer function that allows you to turn on the steamer and not return to it until later.

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  • The water level indicator: shows how much water is left in the steamer tank. This prevents the food steamer from running dry. Most models have a simple system where the minimum and maximum levels are marked to prevent the tank from running dry or overflowing and splashing.

 

Other food steamers we recommend

Braun FS5100WH (£109.70 upon publication): too expensive for what it is. During our tests, we found this model efficient but not very ergonomic. At this price, we thought it would be easy to add water during cooking, but this is not the case. Furthermore, there is no water level indicator, and the timer does not show the minutes between the tens. On the other hand, its materials seem more solid than those in the lower price range. It also cooked a wide range of foods well: 5 minutes for diced fish and frozen beans, 16 minutes for potatoes and carrots and 13 minutes for diced chicken.

SEB VC145100 (£123.80 upon publication): ergonomics that could be improved. It is a carbon copy of the Tefal VC1451. At 900W, these two 6L models performed similarly well in our tests. For example, frozen beans and pieces of fish took less than 6 minutes to cook, and potatoes cut into eight pieces took no more than 15 minutes. For sliced carrots and chicken, we had to add a few minutes to the 15 minutes. On the practical side, the two steamers have two stainless steel baskets that do not discolour and are dishwasher safe. On the other hand, we criticise their lack of ergonomics. Although they have insulated plastic handles on the baskets and the glass lid, the grain basket is almost an anecdote due to its small size and imprecise timer. In addition, the retractable compartment for adding water during cooking is “sloppy” and sometimes leaks, spilling water on our worktop.

 

Other food steamers tested

H.Koenig VAP12 (£59.89 upon publication): Despite its 1000W of power, this food steamer simply did not match the performance of the other appliances we tested. For example, potatoes and carrots took 30 minutes to cook.

Cuisinart STM1000E (£209.99 upon publication): With its design without holes in the bottom of the glass dish, condensation builds up in the dish, forcing you to use the stainless steel basket each time and reducing the cookable quantities. In addition, the potatoes and carrots took well over 20 minutes to cook… In short, there are models three or four times cheaper that offer much, much better performance.

 

 

Translated by Ramsés El Hajje

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