Buying an iron may not seem like a very complex task; however, steam irons today come with a lot of different features and they can range in price from as little as $20 to as much as $200, making them a sizable investment should you be looking to purchase a more expensive model. Picking the right iron for your needs will save you time and money. Below are the features (including pricing and warranties) we consider to be most important when comparing different steam irons. We highly recommend that you take your time to study this list before you read our reviews. If you just want to see which irons we’ve rated the best in their respective categories click here or simply scroll down to the bottom of the page.
Steam helps to take stubborn wrinkles out of clothes and helps the iron glide over the fabric without snagging or grabbing. However, some fabrics require more or less steam than others do, and some things are best ironed steam free. When considering which steam iron to purchase, first consider the type of fabric you routinely iron and how much steam you normally require. For those ironing uniforms and clothes that require a professional looking press, getting an iron with a steam boost is recommended. For those whose ironing basket is full of assorted fabrics, an iron with a variety of steam options is best. For those who iron curtains and other hanging items, a vertical steam feature is a must have.
Heat is a very important aspect of ironing. Generally the more heat the better. Look for an iron that has at least 1500 watts of power and heats up quickly. Almost all irons say they get nice and hot, but only a few really do. Check customer reviews to ensure the iron gets as hot as the manufacturer says it does.
The soleplate is the bottom of the iron, the part that heats up. Generally soleplates come in a type of aluminum, stainless steel, titanium or are stainless steel plated. Stainless steel soleplates seem to be the best. Many manufacturers claim that their soleplate is non-stick, but studies have shown that non-stick soleplates seem to actually stick and drag more than normal soleplates do. In addition, when considering an iron, getting one with a precision or designer tip is a good idea, as it greatly helps ironing around buttons and in close areas. An additional feature that is great for a soleplate to have, is holes for steam release; this helps to distribute the steam better.
The majority of steam irons come with an auto shut off feature to help ensure there are no accidental burns or fires; however, a few irons do not. Some people find the auto shut off a headache when they are doing a lot of ironing, and some sewers who need to iron as they sew can find an iron with a auto shut off difficult to work with. However, for most people, auto shut off is an extremely important feature and is well worth the extra money.
All steam irons have a water tank: you need water to make steam. Water tanks range in size from around 8 ounces to 12 ounces. Generally the larger the water tank, the less times you’ll spend filling it. However, even a large water tank can empty quickly if you are using a lot of steam. Some irons have a very small water tank hole that is hard to fill, while others have a large hole that makes adding water simple. Some irons specify the use of spring water only, while other irons are fine for tap water as long as it is not hard water. Also keep in mind that the larger the water tank, the heavier the iron will be when it is full. In addition, one of the most common complaints about water tanks is that their water level indicator is nearly impossible to read. Transparent water tanks are great for being able to see how full the tank is.
For the average user, look for a water tank that is about ten ounces large, is positioned well for easy fill, has a large water opening, can be filled with tap water, and has a water level indicator you can easily read.
Some steam irons have a normal electrical cord, some have a normal electrical cord with a 360 degree pivot, some have a retractable cord and some are rechargeable so they have no cord. Rechargeable steam irons sound great: having no cord to worry about would certainly make ironing faster and easier; however, they do not heat up as well as a corded irons do and are not worth the money. An iron with a normal electrical cord tends to get tangled far too easily and ends up being a big headache, so they are also not the best choice. The best electrical cords are either ones with a 360 degree pivot or retractable ones. However, between the two, a normal electrical cord that pivots is better, as retractable cords tend to snap back and some can break easily.
Generally steam irons weigh anywhere from 3-4 pounds. Too light or too heavy an iron can make the job much harder. Look for an iron that is a comfortable weight for you; most people like an iron that’s about 3.5 pounds. All models of irons are designed differently. If possible, physically pickup and try the iron to ensure it fits well in your hand. Some irons have special features to make them more comfortable to use, such as a padded handle, thumb rest and ergonomic design.
Although a fabric setting is not a mandatory feature on a good iron, it certainly is nice to have. A fabric setting will make ironing much faster and easier, especially if you have a bunch of different fabrics in your ironing basket. Look for an iron that has an easy to read and set dial or control.
Steam irons range in price from $20-$200. Low end irons do not have a lot of special features and are best suited for those who only iron occasionally. High end irons are packed full of great features and offer a professional press; however, they are a waste of money for someone who only irons occasionally. High end irons are best suited for those who iron on the regular bases and for those with uniforms and such, that need to have a professional quality press. Midrange irons are best for those who use the iron several times a month, but not all the time. They offer most of the features that the high end irons offer, but have a far more affordable price tag.
Most steam irons come with anywhere from a 30 day to a year warranty. Irons generally do not break down in the first few months of use, so a short warranty tends to be rather useless. Try to get one that offers a full year warranty. Many customers have stated that their iron broke down after 9-10 months of use, so a year warranty would at least cover them.
Below is a short synopsis of online steam iron reviews. Reading customer reviews and analyzing steam iron ratings is an excellent way to determine which steam iron is the best steam iron for you. Note that this is our updated list for 2015. You can find last our rankings of last year’s top rated models at the bottom of this page.
#1 Best – Rowenta DW9280
If you’re looking for a premiere steam iron, one that will last for years, work like a charm, and make the chore of ironing quicker and easier, then the Rowenta DW9280 might be perfect for you. This fantastic iron is jammed pack with great features that puts it a class above most other steam irons. The DW9280 has 1800 watts of power, steam pump injection, ready-temp and anti-drip systems, and a mist trigger to help get out stubborn wrinkles. It has a scratch resistance non-stick stainless steel soleplate that has rounded edges and precision shot zone. It also features a long seven foot electrical cord, automatic turn off to help save electricity and ensure no fires start by accident, and a full one year warranty. The DW9280 is a dream to use and makes ironing a pleasure to do. It has around a $130 price tag.
#2 Best – Oliso TG1050
Ironing clothes can be a bit of a tedious task, but with the Oliso TG1050 the job can be done quickly and expertly with very little fuss. This excellent steam iron offers 1600 watts, fast heat up, a long 8’8” electrical cord, a stainless steel soleplate with more than average steam holes, and a rounded detailer tip that makes ironing corners and cuffs a breeze. It features a large side fill water tank that is easy to fill and produces both vertical and horizontal bursts of steam. It also has an automatic eight minute shut off. However, what really sets the Oliso TG1050 apart from its competitors is its fantastic and unique iTouch Scorchgaurds that ensure you never accidentally burn or scorch your favorite clothes while ironing. This excellent iron retails for around $100.
#3 Best – Rowenta DW9081
Like all of Rowenta’s steam irons, the DW9081 is made to give a professional quality press quickly and efficiently. The premiere feature of this excellent iron is its pump action steam force that pushes out 30% more steam than the average steam iron does. In addition to the steam force feature, it has a stainless steel soleplate that has 400 microsteam holes and a precision tip to make ironing quick and easy. It also has 1800 watts of power, one-touch steam and temperature controls, a fabric select dial with an easy to read LED screen, a large water tank, burst-of-steam and cool-spray-mist functions, and a 3-way auto shut off to prevent accidents. This fantastic iron comes with a year warranty and retails for around $130.
#4 Best – Rowenta DW6080
Finally we have an eco-friendly iron that still offers the power and features to do the job like a professional. Rowenta’s DW6080 is their first eco-intelligence steam iron. It runs at 100% efficiency and uses 25% less energy than other similar irons do. It also has three steam settings, dry, eco and boost, so users can conserve water and energy by picking the right setting for the job. This excellent iron has 1700 watts of power, and heats up quickly. It has a scratch resistant stainless steel plated soleplate that has 400 microsteam holes in it and a 3D design that helps center and direct the steam to where it’s needed most. The soleplate also has a precision tip which is perfect for ironing in tight places. This iron was made to last; it comes with an integrated Anti-Calc cartridge and self clean system, to ensure it stays at peak performance and lasts for years. The DW6080 is designed to be comfortable for both left and right handed people. It comes with a full year warranty and sells for around $90.
#5 Best – Panasonic NI-W950A
With its sleek and stylish appearance, excellent features and high quality make, the Panasonic NI-W950A is one of the most popular steam irons on the market today. This fantastic iron offers a larger than normal soleplate that makes ironing large items a breeze, and is dual tipped and multi-directional, making it excellent for ironing difficult items with lots of buttons, pleats or tight corners. The soleplate is also well vented and goes over any fabric smoothly, without catching or dragging. The NI-W950A also offers tons of great features such as a power shot anti-calcium and self clean system, adjustable steam control, temperature control, vertical steam, anti-drip, 10 ounce water tank and a very handy ten foot long electrical cord. Packed with great features and made with high quality material by a brand you can trust, the NI-W950A is a excellent iron worth a little more than a normal price tag.