Steam dryers help to reduce the wrinkles in clothes and sanitize the load to remove odors better than ordinary dryers. Some require a connection to the washer for the water to create the steam while others require the user add water to a holding chamber.
Clothing left in a dryer after the cycle ends tend to develop wrinkles and require touch-ups using an iron. Clothing steamers use hot, moist steam as an alternative to an iron. Steam dryers provide similar benefits to clothing steamers while the clothes remain in the machine. Some of these units provide a hold cycle of two to three hours after the dry cycle ends.
The steam setting also removes some resistant odors. If the wash cycle does not remove all the odors, the steam helps to kill bacteria that cause them.
However, steam machines are one of the features that Consumer Reports considers a money-wasting feature. It says the steam cycles do not eliminate wrinkles. Adding a damp washcloth or three to four ice cubes to the dryer drum and allowing it to operate on a hot dry cycle provides a similar steam effect without the additional cost. However, this approach does not provide an automated option.