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Compare the best irons
The best tools for keeping your clothes crisp and wrinkle-free.
Putting in a long shift in front of the ironing board is something most of us will never look forward to. Investing in a high-quality iron can make the process a lot faster while producing better results.
|Sunbeam Steam Master GCSBSP-201||$29.00||Stainless Steel||1,400||No||1.37||Buy now|
|BLACK+DECKER Digital Advantage D2030||39.99||Stainless Steel||1,500||No||1.81||Buy now|
|Rowenta Focus Excel DW5260||$59.99||Stainless Steel||1,715||No||1.7||Buy now|
|Singer Expert Finish||$52.98||Stainless Steel||1,700||No||1.62||Buy now|
|Rowenta Pro Master DW8080||$64.77||Stainless Steel||1,700||No||1.59||Buy now|
What types of irons are available?
When comparing irons, one of the key features to consider is the soleplate — the metal plate at the bottom of the iron that you press onto the fabric. The material used is important because it affects how smoothly the iron will glide over your clothes, how well it resists scratching and how easy it is to clean.
There are several different soleplate materials to choose from:
- Aluminum. Typically used on entry-level irons, aluminum is cheap and will do the job. However, it may become “sticky” over time, creating more wrinkles as you iron.
- Nonstick. Irons with a nonstick coating on the soleplate glide smoothly over clothes. They’re generally easy to clean, but be careful not to scratch any of the coating off.
- Stainless steel. Stainless steel soleplates are a popular choice and available in both entry-level and top-end models. They provide an even spread of heat and smooth performance, but zippers and buttons will scratch them.
- Ceramic. Durable and reliable, ceramic soleplates conduct heat efficiently and should glide smoothly over clothes. However, they tend to be expensive.
These are the most commonly available options — but palladium, titanium and a number of other materials and coatings can also be used. Research the performance and claimed advantages of the soleplate material before making a purchase.
How to compare irons
While irons appear to be fairly basic appliances on the surface, there are several factors you need to take into account when comparing your options:
- Controls. Does the iron have dials, slides or digital controls? Are the controls easy to understand and use, and are they positioned in such a way that they’re unlikely to be accidentally bumped? Are all fabric settings clearly marked?
- Ease of use. Check how easy it is to fill the water tank, move the iron around, use its steam and spray functions and adjust the temperature.
- Power. Check the power output — expressed in watts — of any iron you’re considering so you can get a better idea of how quickly and efficiently it produces and maintains heat. Higher wattage means a shorter heat-up time and better performance. Entry-level models have around 1,400 to 1,500w, while more expensive models could have up to 3,000w.
- Heat and fabric settings. A good iron will quickly heat up to your desired temperature and allow you to adjust the heat to suit whatever fabric you’re ironing. While basic units will simply allow you to adjust the temperature as you see fit, the more advanced models will feature specific settings designed for different fabrics.
- Steam. Many irons will offer one or more of the following steam features:
- Vertical steam. This feature allows you to use the iron to steam hanging clothes or large items such as curtains. However, a garment steamer usually provides the best vertical steaming.
- Variable steam. This feature automatically adjusts the iron’s steam output to suit different fabrics.
- Steam burst. The steam burst feature provides an additional burst of steam when you need a little extra heat to smooth out a stubborn wrinkle.
- Continuous steam. Provides a continuous output of steam to help you quickly remove wrinkles.
- Weight. Heavy irons can provide better pressing ability but be tiring to use. See how much the iron weighs and how comfortable it is to hold for long periods.
- Cord. The longer the cord, the more flexibility you have to move around the ironing board and attack creases from different angles. Also consider where the cord attaches to the iron, as some models can be difficult to use if you’re left-handed.
- Warranty. Check the length of the manufacturer’s warranty — most provide one to two years of protection — and what the warranty covers.
- Price. While you can pick up an entry-level iron for around $35, premium irons generally range from $100 to $200.
Which iron is best for me?
The best iron for you depends on your personal circumstances — including how often you iron, the amount of clothing you have, the results you want and how much money you want to spend.
Some pros and cons of five popular steam irons are:
|Black & Decker Digital Advantage D2030|
|Sunbeam Steam Master GCSBSP-201|
|Tefal TurboPro Anti-Calc FV5648|
|Rowenta Pro Master DW8080|
|Shark Ultimate Professional GI505|
Steam irons vs. steam stations
If you regularly find yourself ironing a never-ending pile of clothes, consider a steam station instead of a steam iron. Also known as steam generator irons, steam stations feature a large water tank with a boiler designed to heat the liquid quickly. They generate more steam pressure than a regular iron. And because the water tank is separate, the iron itself weighs less than a conventional steam iron.
However, steam stations are more expensive than your humble steam iron. Prices generally start at $200, but can go much higher. They also require more storage space.
Consider your ironing needs before deciding on the best solution for your creased clothes. Start comparing your options today.
How did we choose these products?
We considered the size, price, type and overall features of each product to create our list of the best irons. We also factored in our own online research and third-party product reviews.
Frequently asked questions
Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash
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