While not everyone’s favourite household chore, ironing is a necessary one for many people. Choosing the best steam iron to buy for your needs can make the job much easier and faster. A steam iron is designed to do a simple task; emit steam from holes in a hot surface to allow the user to remove wrinkles from fabrics.
Steam iron manufacturers are continually improving their product designs and adding features for consumer ease of use and efficiency. Steam iron reviews cover the many different options to consider before making a purchasing decision.
Top 10 Best Steam Irons Comparison Table
|Product Name||Soleplate||Steam Shot per Min.||Water Tank Capacity||Our Rating||Price|
The Steam Iron
A steam iron is a staple appliance in many homes all over the world. They are so essential that most hotel rooms contain one for the convenience of their guests.
The iron, though gone through many improvements over the years, is essentially a hand-held device with a flat triangular surface that when heated is used to remove creases or wrinkles in fabrics when pressed.
The electric flatiron was invented and patented by Henry W. Seeley in 1882. By creating a hot iron that uses electricity he significantly improved its efficiency and ease of use. These first electric flatirons were slow to heat and weighed nearly fifteen pounds.
The Eldec Company introduced the first iron that produced steam. It became mainstream in the 1940s and 1950s. The popularity of steam irons grew causing the product technology to advance more quickly. Before the 1940s, rusting soleplates were a common problem. Manufacturers then began using a rust and leak proof aluminium alloy.
Soon innovations and improvements were made such as a nonstick coating on the soleplate, adding more holes for steam output, and plastic bodies. In the 1980s the automatic shut was introduced in the industry. The industry continues to increase the ease of use and efficiency of the steam iron with many innovative features.
How a Steam Iron Works
The steam iron works by heating water held in a reservoir until steaming. The hot mist is then pressurised out through holes in the soleplate of the iron. The steam loosens the fibres of the fabric to allow the creases in clothes and fabrics to be pressed flat by the weight of the iron. This combination of heat and weight reshapes the fabric.
A vertical ironing feature is available either on the machine itself or a handheld wand that allows wrinkle removing without pressing down with the iron. It is a useful feature when ironing curtains, comforters, and delicate fabrics.
Types of Steam Irons
There are two main types of steam irons. The traditional and the steam generator iron. The choice for the best steam iron or best steam generator iron for you depends on your ironing habits and workload. The most obvious difference is the size of the tank. With the latter, the capacity is much greater.
1. Steam Generator Iron
The steam generator offers more pressure that works well with heavy duty fabrics like denim and linens. It has a lighter handle because you aren’t lifting the water as you work. A hose connects the water tank to the iron. With a constant flow of high-pressure hot mist, you complete your chore faster, but this type of iron does use more space. It is usually placed on a chair or rack unless you have a large ironing board.
2. Traditional Steam Iron
A traditional iron is easier to use and store because of its compact size. The water reservoir is contained in the handle to make a one piece iron. Also, they can still provide plenty of power to make your chore easier. If space in your home is an issue, a traditional might be a better choice.
3. Cordless Steam Iron
There are some cordless steam iron models on the market. These are helpful for increasing manoeuvrability.
How to Properly Use a Steam Iron
A steam iron is easy to use. Each model varies with features and specifications, but most have the same basic options and instructions. Using a great hot steam iron results in clothing that is clean and crisp with a fresh appearance.
- Before using the iron remove all the packaging. Review your manual for the instructions for your particular model. Most manuals recommend filling the reservoir while the iron is unplugged and cold. Some models have removable tanks and can be filled directly under the faucet, and others come with a pitcher to fill it up with.
- Be careful to fill only to the max fill line marked on the reservoir to avoid splashing or leaking from the machine. Use only clean or distilled water if recommended.
- Plug in the iron and allow time for it to heat. Time to heat the water varies by type and model. Set the temperature level according to the recommended setting for the fabric you are going to iron.
- Most clothing labels have a recommended fabric setting. If your model is equipped with a light sensor, wait for the light to notify you that the iron is hot and ready to use.
- Experts recommend moving the iron with the grain of the fabric. For very deep creases use the spray function if available then iron over the moistened area. Iron the garment inside out if it is important to protect the colour or any graphics. Don’t iron over accessories such as buttons or zippers. Some models include features designed to iron around buttons and in small areas such as pleats.
- When setting the iron down make sure to place the iron on its heel or its base unless you have a model that specifically has a no burn feature that allows for the appliance to set on its plate.
- Turn off and unplug the appliance and empty out the tank carefully if you’re done for the day.
- The level of output is a factor to consider when you have a variety of different types of fabrics to iron. Some models have just an on or off switch, but some allow you to control the mist. The consistency of the output is a consideration as well. The steam should be steady and powerful to make work as quick as possible.
Steam Iron Features
Examine the many features to help determine which ones help with the type of ironing you typically do. For example, will it include mostly traditional clothes, mostly hanging fabrics and bedding, or delicate fabrics?
Choosing from types of controls, cords, water reservoirs, and cleaning systems can be overwhelming, but with a little information, the decision of which is the best steam iron for you becomes a little easier.
1. Storage/Water Capacity
Most steam irons store water in one of two ways. One type uses a reservoir connected to the iron under or in the handle of the machine and the other uses a separate tank connected to the iron by a hose.
The tank is the base for the appliance. The size of the reservoirs vary, and deciding factors include how much you iron at one time and how often you need to refill. Also, take the weight of the filled tank into consideration if you are transporting it from location to location. Look for one with a large opening or a detachable tank for easy filling.
When selecting the right steam iron for your lifestyle, weight can be a key deciding factor. Look for an iron that is lightweight and easy to manoeuvre if lifting things is an issue for you or if you have any shoulder or wrist issues.
Also if your workload is big using an iron for long periods of time can be tiring. The pros of purchasing a heavier iron are that irons use a combination of the heat and pressure to remove wrinkles. Let the iron do the work if it’s a heavier model. The weight of the iron can reduce time going over deep or hard to remove wrinkles, especially in thicker fabrics.
3. Steam Output and Steam Shot Button
The higher the steam output, the more efficiently it removes wrinkles, reducing time spent ironing. Irons that offer a trigger or button to give a powerful burst or surge of steam are helpful with deep or stubborn creases, especially on thick fabrics. High-pressure hot mist is measured in bars.
4. Steam output and Variable steam
Typically for most fabrics, 35 grammes per minute of steam is standard. A variable steam feature is a lever or switch that allows you to control the output. Having control is helpful if you iron a variety of fabrics including delicate fabrics that can be damaged by too much steam.
5. Vertical Steam Function
This function gives you the ability to steam out wrinkles in hanging fabrics. This feature is necessary for ironing curtains and draperies while they are hanging and also makes it easy to iron bedding while on the bed or delicate fabrics such as velvet where the fabric could easily be damaged if too much pressure is put directly on it. Vertical steam is also used for dresses and suits.
6. Spray Mist
A button to spray mist from the top of the iron is common on many models. The mist option allows you to add more water in a fine spray onto hard to iron areas of the fabric.
7. Anti Scale and Self Cleaning
Using tap water can leave calcium residue to build up in the iron. Most new models have built-in anti-calcium features. Some contain a self-cleaning valve that acts as a filter, and some offer a calcium clean slider that removes scales from the iron. Removing the scale maintains the performance of the iron and increases the life of the appliance.
An anti-drip feature prevents leaks when the iron is not hot enough to steam. This eliminates getting large drops of water staining the fabric.
The power or wattage is a feature to consider. The higher the wattage, the faster the steam will heat up and be ready to use.
10. Safety Lock
A safety lock allows you to have confidence when you place your hot iron back on the dock it cannot be knocked off accidently or removed by a child. Carrying the iron becomes safer as well.
11. Auto-Shut Off
Introduced in the 1980s the auto shut-off safety feature is now common on most models. For busy consumers and parents, this feature turns the machine off if the iron is not used for a specified amount of time. This safety feature eliminates the worry of the hot iron being left on after you leave the house. Some models have a three-way shut-off; face down, side, or upright.
12. Soleplate Type
The most technical improvements on the steam iron are coming from soleplate design and materials. They are most commonly made of ceramic, aluminium, stainless steel, and other non-stick materials. It is most effective if it is smooth and slick.
- Ceramic is considered the highest quality by providing the best gliding performance. Their surface is non-stick and evenly distributes heat and steam. The smooth surface penetrates deep into fibres for a faster result.
- Stainless steel and aluminium soleplates are basic materials and are both good heat conductors. They are more susceptible to scratching. A stainless steel plate glides well, but an aluminium that is not non-stick allows it to reduce its effectiveness over time.
The more holes or vents in the soleplate, the more steam is allowed. Models vary the size and amount of holes but typically the smaller and higher amount of holes provides the best combination.
13. Cord Length, Cord Clip, and Storage
A long cord provides more room to move around the ironing board and with a steam generator iron it allows you to position the water tank on a surface other than your board.
A retractable cord feature is available on some models.
Machines vary with controls and settings. The temperature controls can be a dial, digital display or a slide. The best controls are the ones that you prefer. Some users choose a simple, user-friendly and easy to read setting, while others like the option to have as much control over the machine output as possible.
15. Button Notch
A button notch is an indented area on the soleplate that allows you to quickly and easily iron around buttons while getting very close to the button. If you typically iron shirts with buttons this feature might be worth considering to make your job easier.
How to Choose the Right Steam Iron
Before making your final decision on which steam iron to buy, consider your workload and lifestyle. 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?
After figuring out the majority of your work and what features are most important to you, it becomes easier to choose the best steam iron or best steam generator iron for you.
Top 10 Steam Iron Reviews
1. Tefal Gv8461 Pro Express
The Tefal GV8461 Pro Express offers 3 hours of use with continuous fill capability. With its auto clean features and powerful output, this iron is ideal for heavy long-term use. It offers a lot of operation time and works quickly and efficiently.
- Powerful output 6 bar pressure and extra 260 g/min surge
- Anti-scale collector
- Autoclean plate
- Lock system on storage tanks
- 20% energy savings “eco setting”
- Auto off
- 120g continuous steam
- 260g boost
- 6 bars pressure
- 2 min fast heat up function
- 1.8L capacity
- 3m cord
- Cord compartment
- Some noise complaints
2. Russell Hobbs 20630 Powersteam
The Russel Hobbs 20630 Powersteam Ultra has some special features along with traditional ones. This product features a tapered tip with grooves for easily working around buttons, a vertical steam function, ceramic soleplate, anti-scale capability and anti-drip with a self-cleaning function.
- 45g continuous steam
- 210 g shot of steam
- 3100 w
- Triple action cleaning
- Weight: 1.6 kg
- Tapered tip with button grooves
- 350ml capacity
- Auto shut off
- Soft touch handle
- 3m cord
- Self-cleaning function
- No cord clasp
- No cord clasp
- Heavy for some people
3. Philips GC4526/87 Azur Performer
The Philips GC4526.87 Azur Performer Plus delivers powerful performance with ease of use. One of the special features on this iron is its easy fill water resevoir with a door that opens sideways. Other premium features include a T-ionic Glide scratch resistant plate and a cord guide that clicks onto your board to guide the cord away from the area you are working. This machine also includes a triple precision tip with a sleek nose design and a button groove. If you deal with a lot of detail work, these features make your work quicker.
- 2600 watts-quick heat up
- 50g minute continuous steam
- 210g steam boost
- Easy fill tank-300ml with sideways opening door
- Smooth gliding
- Scratch resistant (T-ionic Glide)
- Built in calcium container-prevents from settling
- Two-year warranty
- Safety Auto off
- CordGuide: clicks only ironing board and guides cord away while you iron
- Auto steam control
- Triple precision tip for optimal control and visibility: pointed tip: a button groove and sleek nose design
- Self-cleaning for effective calcium removal: built in calcium container
- Power cord length: 2.5m
- Soft grip
- Pitcher not included
- Shorter than average cord
4. Philips GC9630/20 Perfect Care Elite
For users concerned with using ECO-friendly appliances the Philips GC9630/20 Perfect Care Elite Steam Generator Iron might be the best option. This model features an ECO energy saving mode that uses a reduced amount of steam, while still providing enough to properly iron fabrics. Another special feature of this product is its one temperature setting. It only uses one setting for all types of fabrics and guarantees no burning. The Perfect Care Elite also features a safe carry lock to attach the iron to the base. Tested and approved by independent textile experts; Philips brand with Optimal TEMP technology is so far only brand certified the Gold standard from Woolmark.
- Fast-powerful output
- One temperature setting from jeans to silk-no burns guaranteed
- Optimal TEMP technology
- 1.8L capacity
- Quick 2-minute steam ready heat time
- Ultra light at .8 kg
- Smooth gliding and scratch resistant
- Safe carry lock
- Two-year warranty
- 60-day money back guarantee
- 6.7 bar pressure
- Up to 470g boost
- ECO mode-save energy; uses a reduced amount of steam, but still a sufficient amount
- Automatic switch-off for safety and energy saving
- Low water alert
- Power cord length: 1.8m
- No control over temperature
5. Tefal FV9965 Freemove
The Tefal FV9965 is unique because it’s a cordless steam iron. This gives you freedom to move around the board as needed. Its intuitive control panel alerts you when it’s time to recharge. It also features an ergonomic shock absorbing suspension dome. It has an extra large filling hole for refilling ease.
- 2600 w and up to 160 g/min steam output
- Continuous steam output: 35 g/min
- No cord: allows/enables freedom of movement to work around the board
- Ultra glide diffusion plate
- Base recharges iron in seconds
- Trigger-controlled variable steam
- Ergonomic: shock absorbing suspension dome
- Automatic steam function
- Intuitive control panel alerts when you need to recharge
- Double anti-drip system
- Double anti-calcium system
- Quick recharge
- Precision tip
- Capacity: 250 ml
- Auto off
- Anti-scale function
- Needs recharging
- No concentrated steam boost at tip
- No cord storage
- No scale collector
- No scale alert
6. Tefal GV8976 Pro Express
The Tefal GV8976 Pro Express combines powerful steam at 6.58 bars of pressure and features Smart Technology for optimal steam and heat combination. The five pre-set settings allow you great flexibility. It offers an anti-calc limescale collector.
- 6.5 bars of pressure and 450 g/min shot of steam
- Five pre-set settings
- Glide protect auto clean plate
- Smart Technology for optimal combination of steam and heat
- Anti-Calc limescale collector
- Weight: 6kg
- Wattage: 2400
- Capacity: 1.8L (continuous fill)
- Short cord
- Heavy for some people
7. Tefal Ultimate Anti-Calc FV9630
The Tefal Ultimate Anti-Calc FV9630 is a powerful iron that combines long-lasting steam performance with hassle free maintenance. It features an anti-calc limescale collector that is easy to remove. It offers a vertical steam option with a continuous steam output of up to 50g/min.
- Anti-calc limescale collector (easy to remove)
- 2600 w
- Large front opening for refill
- Auto off
- Extra stable heel
- Premium soleplate with a superior glide with precision shaped tip (Ultragliss Durilium)
- 2in1 auto steam control
- 350ml tank (XL-opening for refilling)
- Auto off
- 2.5m cord length
- No LED control panel
- No cord rewinder
- No cord storage
8. Morphy Richards 332001
The Morphy Richards 332001 strongest feature is its auto clean. It automatically descales protecting the machine from damage. It lasts longer. It’s also a powerful iron with 170g of constant stream. It provides a large tank to save filling time and provides vertical steam.
- Unique auto clean feature keeps it performing like new for longer, good for crease removal in toughest fabric
- Auto clean feature-automatically descales (protects from limescale and damage)
- Iron locks to base for easy, safe carrying
- Large: 2.2 L capacity (convenient-less time refilling)
- Ionic ceramic soleplate
- 5 bar pressure
- Variable Steam Settings: a choice of settings to suit needs
- Simple controls
- Wattage: 2400
- Settings: 3
- Type: pressurised
- Auto Shut-off: yes
- 2m power cord
- 1.8m cord
- Automatic anti-scale
- The extra water storage can make the iron heavy
9. Philips GC2045 EasySpeed
For little complication and easy of use the Philips GC2045 EasySpeed 2300 W Steam Iron is a great choice. This iron is easy to set up and store. It is a compact appliance but still powerful with pressurised and powerful steam. Vertical steam is an option as well as a quick two-minute heat up feature.
- Easy to set up and store
- Compact and powerful
- Practical and convenient: very light and easy to use
- Pressurised Steam 35g per minute of continuous steam
- Powerful 120g steam boost
- Vertical Steam
- 270 ml resevoir capacity
- Ceramic Soleplate
- Smart scale clean slider and reminder
- 2300w for quick 2 minute heat up
- No auto off or safety lock.
- No self-adjust for turn-ups; only one setting
10. Morphy Richards 42244 Jet Steam Generator Iron, 2200 W
This Morphy Richards model is a great option for consumers that require vertical steam. It has a 100 g steam output and a large tank for longer use – which is detachable for easy refilling. The unique feature on this model is its durable diamond steel soleplate.
- Anti-scale removable cartridges
- 2400 watts
- Vertical Steam Shot
- 100 g steam output
- No auto shutoff
The steam iron reviews above show that you have many great options for when you set out to the right steam iron for you. Our choice for best all-around steam iron is the Morphy Richards 332001 Power Steam Elite Steam Generator Iron with Auto Clean. The iron is powerful enough for most jobs with 170g of constant steam and features an auto clean feature that automatically descales the iron for longer life. This iron provides a large 2.2L detachable water tank for less type spent refilling. Other features that make this the best steam iron generator in the UK are its variable steam settings, vertical steam and ceramic soleplate. Its controls are user-friendly and it offers 5 bars of pressure. Also, the safety features include the auto shut off plus a lock to the base.