Last Updated On November 12th, 2018
It is unlikely to be your favourite household chore but ironing is, unfortunately, a necessary part of day to day life for many people. Whilst it is certainly difficult to make the chore fun, when you buy the best steam iron for your needs, it can at least make this tiresome job much easier and faster to complete.
Steam irons help to improve the process and save you time by quickly loosening creases using highly pressurised steam. However, because the manufacturers of these devices are continually improving their product designs and adding new functions, it can make deciding upon the right steam iron feel like a chore in itself!
Luckily for you, we are here to help. In our steam iron reviews, we examine the top ten irons on the market in detail, so you can buy the perfect one for your lifestyle and workload.
Best Steam Irons Compared
Top 10 Steam Iron Reviews
Before we get started, it is useful for you to consider your ironing workload and lifestyle by asking yourself the following questions:
What types of fabric do you have in your closet and home? Are you ironing for just yourself, a family or is it a source of income for you? Are you doing it only about once a week or is it a daily task? Does your task include drapes and bedding along with clothing? Is your wardrobe mainly dress shirts and slacks with accessories to iron around or jeans and t-shirts?
Once you have figured out the answers to these questions, you will have a better idea of what product qualities will be most important to you when you buy.
Keep these in mind as we now take a look at our top ten irons.
1. Tefal GV9071 Pro Express Care (Editors Choice)
Offering 7.5 bars of pressure and an extra steam boost of 500g per minute, the Tefal GV9071 is an iron with great power.
It has a large 1.6 L tank in the base, which not only lasts a long time but is also removable for quick refilling. This is a great benefit when you have lots of ironing to do. Furthermore, the 1.8m electric cord helps you to easily iron bigger pieces without having to move the fabric closer.
You won’t need to worry about burning your clothes when using this steam iron. It has 5 dedicated settings which create a perfect balance of heat and steam for each type of fabric. Also, it also has an easy glide feature which to helps speed up your chore, so you can spend less time on the chores. The extra steam boost function is very effective but requires three clicks of the button to activate it. This can get a bit annoying if you are using it for a long time.
Stains are avoided and the soleplate is kept clean by the removable scale collector. Unfortunately, some users found this iron sometimes leaks discoloured water, which often means that item needs to be re-washed.
2. Philips GC2086/30 EasySpeed Plus (Best Cordless)
If you hate corded ones, the Philips EasySpeed Plus is a great choice for you. This 2400w iron offers an impressive 35g per minute of continuous steam, as well as an extra 150g steam boost feature for those particularly deep or stubborn creases.
Totally cordless, this space-saving steam iron allows you the freedom to iron anywhere you please, as long as it is returned to its base for recharging approximately every 30 seconds. The recharging process is also super quick, taking only a mere 6 seconds before the iron is primed and ready to go again. Furthermore, a convenient light indicator keeps you informed of the heat and charge status, so you can iron with confidence.
Due to its compact design, it only has a 270ml reservoir. This isn’t very large, and will likely mean you have to re-fill multiple times if you iron lots of garments at once.
However, it does have an easy-glide ceramic soleplate which can help to speed up the chore between charges. You can also easily iron your curtains or other hanging fabric, thanks to the vertical option.
One important thing to consider with this iron is the lack of an auto shut off feature. This can be quite hazardous If you tend to get easily distracted.
3. Philips GC9630/20 Perfect Care Elite (Best Lightweight)
This is another steam generating iron from Philips, promising faster ironing due to the power of its steam output which can penetrate multiple layers at once, as well as deep into your tougher and thicker fabrics.
It offers one temperature that is suitable for all fabrics, making it stress-free to use. With this iron, you don’t have to worry about regulating the temperature manually for each particular piece of clothing or material.
If you encounter stubborn creases, the 420g steam boost packs a hefty punch, leaving you with smooth results quickly. Even so, the iron itself is only 0.8kg, so you should find it lightweight and simple to use. This will be especially welcome if you have arthritis or other such conditions.
The hefty 1.8L capacity means you don’t have to refill often. However, this can also make the entire product very heavy. Therefore, you will need to make sure you have an ironing board that can hold this weight safely.
4. Breville Press Xpress (Best Budget)
This Breville Press Xpress is a great choice of low-cost iron, which doesn’t compromise on quality. It has a special wide ceramic finish soleplate, enabling you to easily iron up and down as well as side to side.
The tank is 400ml, which isn’t particularly large. However, you should find it easy to refill thanks to the wide opening at the front of the iron. If your clothes have tough creases, they are easily penetrated and smoothed by the 180g steam shot, leaving you with a sleek finish.
The steam button is located on the handle, which may be a slight design flaw as you can easily press it accidentally. However, you have the option of using without the steam function if you prefer. This will help you limit the number of times you need to refill the reservoir.
It also boasts of an anti-drip function, meaning it minimizes the risk of water leaking onto your clothes. But some people found it will still leak if it is left still for too long.
It comes with an extra-long 3m cord which means you can use the iron in other areas of the room from where it is set up. While this is convenient in some instances, a very long cord may also get in your way.
5. Philips GC9650/80 PerfectCare Elite (Best For Shirts)
If you regularly iron shirts, the Philips GC9650/80 is a great option. Promising “ultra-fast” results, this attractive and compact iron also protects against fabric burns so you can be sure your shirts will be crisp in all the right ways.
The power of its 150g per minute steam output means this iron can penetrate layers of clothing as well as your thicker, denser fabrics, such as suit jackets and jeans. The single temperature setting means you can iron stress-free since it is suitable for all types of fabric, no matter how delicate.
If you want to up the power, the 500g steam boost will make short work of troublesome crumples. There is also a vertical steaming option, but you may find the iron leaks when using this method.
The iron itself is lightweight, at only 0.8kg, making it appropriate for use by most people. However, due to the large 1.8L reservoir, the entire unit is quite heavy at 5.1kg. You should take this into consideration if you have a lightweight ironing board.
6. Morphy Richards 333020
This Jet steam iron from Morphy Richards comes in an attractive purple and white colour. It combines steaming and heat and also has a spray feature to help tackle stubborn creases.
The steam generator heats up rapidly, being ready to go in under two minutes. This is great if you are in a rush to iron your favourite outfit before heading out. 100g of steam softens the fibres in your fabrics, which helps smooth them out. This amount of steam output is lower than other similar models we have seen but is still effective nonetheless.
If you often iron large fabrics, the long 1.6m cord makes it much easier to use without feeling tethered to the wall. The stainless steel soleplate is highly durable, so you can be sure this iron will not let you down for many years.
It also offers a detachable 1L reservoir, enabling you to get more done before requiring a refill. Furthermore, the special continuous fill boiler allows for refilling during use, so you do not need to interrupt your chores to top up the water. However, this does add to the overall weight and size of the unit, making it quite heavy.
7. Philips GC4526/87 Azur Performer Plus
The Philips GC4526/87 Azur Performer is another popular model from this brand. Although it is only able to produce around 50g per minute of continuous steam, this iron also offers an additional 210g steam booster to help you deal with persistent creases.
The 300ml tank is smaller than others we have seen. However, this does mean that it doesn’t add too much extra weight to the iron when filled. Therefore, this makes it a good choice if you get fatigued easily. Furthermore, the highly durable smooth glide soleplate makes the chore easier because it doesn’t require you to expend much effort.
This iron has intelligent temperature controls, which apply the perfect amount of steam for every type of fabric you are likely to throw at it. However, these controls are located in an awkward place under the handle, which means you may accidentally knock them during use.
The cord length is a considerable 2.5m which makes it flexible for different types of usage, but it can also be rather cumbersome and may pose a trip hazard.
8. Rowenta DG8962
The Rowenta DG8962 is a high-pressure steam generating iron, which is capable of producing impressive 460g/min bursts of steam to tackle difficult creases without being overly noisy.
It heats up quickly and has a durable and scratch-proof stainless steel soleplate which helps it glide smoothly over all fabric types. This can considerably shorten the time required to complete your chore since it takes much less effort. It also has hundreds of tiny holes for even steam distribution across your garments.
If you often iron around buttons or complex items, the narrow tip design ensures you can get to even the hardest to reach corners of your clothing.
You may find the overall unit heavy at 5.3kg, but the generous 1.4L capacity will last you through a tall pile of laundry. Some people found the reservoir quite frustrating to remove, so you may have to practice this a few times before you get used to it.
9. Tefal GV7466 Express
The Tefal GV7466 Express offers a 1.6L reservoir, up to 6.5 bars of pressure and 120g of steam per minute to leave your clothes looking sleek and smooth in no time.
While 120g/min of steam is certainly impressive, this iron also has a variable steam dial which enables you to adjust the amount of steam output as required for the fabric you are working with. This allows you the flexibility to choose the correct setting, whether you are using it on delicate or stubborn fabrics.
However, some people found that the steam generation seems to decline with use, and the iron needs to be restarted to solve this issue. Furthermore, it has been known to occasionally leak rusty water, which isn’t at all helpful.
With regard to durability, this iron has an anti-calc feature which protects iron performance and endurance in hard water areas. The easy to use calc collector also allows you to remove the calc deposits without any fuss.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an auto switch off feature which may be important if you are prone to leaving the iron and rushing out in the morning
10. Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 20630
This Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra comes in a sleek and unisex design, making it attractive to all members of the family. This steam iron releases steam continuously at a rate of 45g per minute and offers an additional steam burst feature of 210g per minute for those really tough creases.
As this is a traditional steam iron, the tank is located within the body of the iron itself. As a result, the capacity is only 350ml, so it will need refilling more often.
However, this means it only weighs 1.6kg, which is great when used both traditionally, or vertically. It will not take up much room on your ironing board or require abundant storage space. This iron also has a 3m long cord that will help you manoeuvre more easily during use. Unfortunately, though, there isn’t any storage feature for this cord, which can be frustrating.
As an added benefit, this iron includes an anti-scale feature. Reducing scale build-up aids longevity, so you should find this iron lasts a reasonable length of time, even with heavy use.
It also offers auto shut-off. This is a useful safety feature if you are often in a hurry to get out the door.
How Do Steam Irons Work?
Steam irons generate steam by using a built-in boiler to heat water to a very high temperature. Depending on the model, the water reservoir may be located either in the base of the iron or in a separate unit attached by a cord.
Once the water has been heated to an adequate temperature to create steam, the steam is then pressurised and forced out through the holes in the soleplate of the iron. As it penetrates the fabric, the power from the relaxes and loosens the fibres within, thus allowing any creases to be easily pressed flat by the weight of the iron. The steam also kills most of the bacteria and germs that tend to stick to fabrics.
Some also offer a ‘vertical ironing’ feature. This is designed to be used on fabrics which are either too delicate or too inconvenient to iron in the traditional way such as curtains. As the name suggests, this is a process which removes creases without needing to press down upon the fabric. This may be available on the iron itself, or via the use of an attached handheld wand.
Types of Steam Irons
When you buy a steam iron, there are two main types to consider: a traditional steam iron, or a steam generator iron. The best choice for your needs will greatly depend on your habits and workload.
Below, we examine the differences between each type in more detail:
1. Traditional Steam Irons
A traditional steam iron incorporates the water reservoir into the iron itself. In some models, the handle will be hollow to increase the capacity of the reservoir while still maintaining a more compact size. Traditional ones cannot generate as much steam power as steam generator irons and will require re-filling with water more frequently.
Even so, traditional ones are very effective, simple to use and do not take up much space. Therefore, it is a good choice to buy if you only deal with small amounts of household laundry.
2. Steam Generator Irons
If you regularly iron heavy-duty fabrics such as denim and linens, or need an iron for commercial use, a steam generator iron is likely what you need to buy. Once heated, this type of steam iron offers a constant supply of high-pressure steam power, helping you to get through large piles of laundry fast.
The water reservoir is much larger and located in a separate unit, connected to the iron by a hose. This large reservoir doesn’t need to be refilled very frequently. Without the reservoir in the iron itself, this makes it weigh much lighter.
However, one downside is the size. The combination of a separate high-capacity reservoir and iron means the overall machine is quite large and bulky. Unless you have a large ironing board, you will likely find yourself having to place the steam generator iron on a chair or nearby table during use.
How to Use a Steam Iron for Best Results
If you are currently looking at a large pile of crumpled laundry, you will be pleased to hear that steam irons are very simple to use. While the functions and individual specifications will naturally vary with each model, most have the same basic options and instructions which are not difficult to master.
In this section, we tell you how to get the most out of your steam iron, so you can easily achieve beautiful, crease-free fabrics.
1. Packaging and manual
When you buy your steam iron, the very first step is to remove all the packaging and read the manual thoroughly. Most manuals will recommend filling the water reservoir while the iron is unplugged and cold. Some have removable reservoirs. Therefore, they can be filled directly under the tap while others which have fixed reservoirs may come with a pitcher to help you fill it up without spills. Also, check for further instructions on how to clean your steam iron for maintenance and longevity.
2. Fill the water reservoir
No matter how you fill it, it is important that you only fill to the max water line marked on the side. This is so you can avoid any splashing or leaking from the machine during use. Always use clean water, or distilled water if possible for best results. Never pour hot water into the reservoir.
3. Plug and wait
Once you have filled the reservoir to the correct level, plug in the iron and allow time for it to heat. The amount of time required to heat the water will vary depending on the type and model of steam iron you are using. Some can take as little as 2 minutes to heat up.
4. Check the label
If you are ironing delicate fabrics, it is advised to check the label to find the recommended heat setting. You can then set the temperature level according to this to avoid damage. If your model is equipped with a light indicator, wait for the light to notify you that the iron is hot and ready to use.
5. Iron the fabric
When your steam iron is ready to go, lay the fabric out across the ironing board as flat as you can. Move the iron with the grain of the fabric, releasing steam regularly to relax and loosen the creases. If the garment has any graphics or vinyl designs, you should iron it inside out so they don’t melt.
Furthermore, never iron over buttons or zippers as this can damage them and your iron. Some have special notches in the soleplates which are designed to make it around buttons easier.
A quick note about safety
When setting the iron down, make sure to place it on its heel unless you have a model which has a dedicated ‘no burn’ base plate which it can be safely rested upon. Also, always ensure to keep it facing away from you during use. Not only is it very hot, but any accidental steam ejection can cause burns.
All of the products in our steam iron reviews would make great choices, but if we had to pick our favourite, the winner would have to be the Tefal GV9071 Pro Express.
We love how this impressive steam generator iron has enough power for most jobs by offering an incredible 7.5 bar of pressure as well as a hefty 500g boost of steam when required. Five individual settings for various fabrics mean that your clothes stay protected from burns, while those stubborn creases stand absolutely no chance of escape.
This iron also provides a generous 1.6L detachable water tank, which means you will spend less time refilling. Other aspects that make this the best steam iron are its easy glide, self-cleaning soleplate, removable scale collector and useful safety lock.
Overall, if you want a steam iron which can bring a little joy to your chores, we think the Tefal GV9071 Pro Express Care is the best for you.