A hot, steamy iron with a good sole can do wonders on wrinkled garments. Many new irons are easier to use and release enough steam to smooth dry cotton and linen.
You won’t see wireless irons in our ratings. They weren’t impressive in past tests, so for now, we’re not testing them.
Most of us iron clothes every day, or at least every couple of days. Our current iron may not give us the kind of quality we would like, or maybe, your current iron is starting to give problems. Using such iron is tedious, especially when you have a lot of clothes to iron. Having the right iron can make this task simple and effortless. There are a number of irons available today, ranging from laptops for travelers, light irons for home use to heavy irons for laundry shops and dressmakers. Different types of irons have their own set of features and choosing the right one is very important. If you are planning to buy a new Iron, here are some quality checks and features you should look for.
The ideal iron
Your iron must be able to:
reliably control your temperature to handle different fabrics
produce a useful amount of steam without dripping or spitting water; and
glide effortlessly over your clothes.
What to look for
Variable steam allows you to control the amount of steam produced while ironing, so you can raise it to remove creases from clothing and lower it for more sensitive fabrics.
Vertical steam allows you to iron heavy objects such as curtains while they hang.
Shot-of-steam features give you an extra burst of steam at the push of a button, to help reduce persistent wrinkles.
Looking for Irons?
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Look for an iron that has reliable and accurate control over sole temperature, so you can tackle a wide range of fabrics to put your new steam iron to work for the whole family. The controls should also be easy to see and adjust so that you can continue with the task at hand.
A light iron is easy to move, but needs more pressure down when you use it, while a heavier iron needs less pressure, but can give the term pumping iron a new twist.
A non-stick sole is usually easier to keep clean than a stainless steel one, but you should be careful not to scratch it, as this can cause the griddle to crawl over time. Polished stainless steel can work well, but it is also susceptible to scratches and stains.
This prevents water from dripping through the sole and from staining fabrics, especially at low temperatures.
Transparent water tank
This makes it easier to see the water level on your Steam Iron when you are filling it up and when it is going down.
This feature allows you to adjust the iron to remove scale deposits that could clog the Steam Valve and outsole holes.
Look for a specially designed heel to wrap the lace and a clip to secure it.
This cuts off the power to the plate after it has been left motionless for a certain period of time. Most give an audible signal when turned off, so you’ll hear it if you’ve left and left the iron on (again).
This safety feature lets you know that the iron is on and therefore hot.
A gap between the iron body and the sole makes it easier to navigate around the buttons, and helps beginners prevent them from melting. It’s always a good thing.
Choose from stainless steel, anodized aluminum, ceramic and non-stick. The best candles are often stainless steel or ceramic; our tests found that the non-stick soles didn’t slip as well.
Irons have dials, slides or digital controls. Make sure controls are easy to see and adjust and fabric settings are clearly marked.
Even an iron that’s great for ironing can feel heavy or uncomfortable in your hand, so hold it before you buy.
Keep Your Iron
Clean surface occasionally
To remove residues, clean the sole of the Iron, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and especially if you use starch.
Leaks can occur when pressed at lower temperatures. To prevent dribbling, press delicate fabrics first and before adding water. After ironing items that require Steam, empty the water. This reduces the droplets next time and the heat can evaporate the remaining moisture. It can also reduce mineral deposits on the sole.
Using Tap Water
Almost all irons work well with tap water, unless the water is very hard. Your manual will indicate what is best.
Irons vary according to sole material, size, weight and characteristics. All of the Irons tested removed wrinkles, but some produced more steam, making the job faster and have a sole that glides more easily. The best slip sole plates are often made of stainless steel or ceramic. These are the types of steam irons to consider.
Conventional steam irons
These allow small amounts of hot steam to be applied to the fabric when ironing, making the folds disappear faster. Features previously found only on more expensive irons are now standard on less expensive irons. Most new Irons can be used with tap water, thanks to anti-calcium valves or resin filters.
Steam ironing systems
#A griddle allows you to apply a constant flow of high-pressure steam. A system takes up much more space than a conventional iron and can be placed on a chair or on a shelf at the end of the ironing board. These systems take longer to heat up and some do not turn off automatically if left unattended, the same goes for some irons. Steam production speeds up ironing and can easily remove wrinkles even from dry clothes. Systems generally lack a spray function, but that is irrelevant if the vapor flow is high enough. Past tests found systems that earned excellent overall ratings in our tests. There are currently none in our ratings.
These look like conventional steam irons, but do not have a power cord. While more maneuverable, the models we’ve tested have not been impressive and no longer appear in our steam iron rankings (available to subscribers).
Features that were previously only on the more expensive irons are now standard on the less expensive models. Consider these features.
Most new Irons have this feature. Power is turned off if the iron is stationary for a number of seconds or minutes, whether placed flat or propped up. Some irons will also go out when they are set aside. Automatic shut-off can prevent a fire, but the stored heat can still burn the fabric if the iron is left upside down.
Steam or surge explosion button
It provides an extra burst of steam to subdue persistent wrinkles, especially useful if you often press linen or heavy fabrics like denim.
The list of fabric settings should be easy to see. A clearly marked and easily accessible temperature control, preferably at the front of the handle, is an advantage. Most irons have an indicator light to show that the power is on.
You can keep the cord out of the way when using the iron or when storing, but make sure the cord does not move when retracting.
It cleans mineral deposits from vents, but is not always effective with prolonged use or very hard water. Try the steam blast function to clean the vents.
Adjustable steam or Steam meter
Adjust the amount of steam or turn off steam as needed. An anti-drip function, found on most irons, is designed to prevent leaks when vaporizing at lower settings.
Transparent water tank
Some reservoirs are a small, vertical tube; others are a large chamber under the handle. A transparent camera makes it easy to see the water level. Check that the water tank is marked with the water level.
Use the Iron upright to remove creases from hanging garments and cool curtains.
Water filling cover
A hinged or sliding cover over the water filling hole is supposed to prevent leakage, but it doesn’t always work.