After stepping into the world of professionals, ironing becomes an almost inevitable part of life. But that doesn’t mean that it needs to be a chore. In fact, there are so many irons on the market that you’re bound to find one that makes your morning routine as seamless as possible.
So here’s a quick guide to choosing the right iron for your needs, as well as ten of the best irons on the market right now!
How to Choose an Iron – Buying Guide
Doing a quick web search will tell you that there are a million and one different irons on the market. It may seem hard to distinguish between them at first, but there are a few things to look out for when making a purchase. If you pay attention to these six points, you’ll surely be able to find the perfect match.
Deciding between Steam and Dry
Most irons available for home use billow out steam, but there’s also dry models. They’re each good for different things, so you should figure out what you’ll be ironing most and then decide between them.
Steam Irons: Speedy Wrinkle Removal
Steam irons are the most common type of iron that you’ll find in stores. You fill them up with a little water, and the iron will in turn create high temperature steam that’ll smooth wrinkles. The more steam an iron produces, the easier it is to get rid of wrinkles (though the amount needed will also depend on the fabric that you’re ironing!). Since the amount of steam varies from iron to iron, be sure to choose one that suits your needs and will blast away all of your creases.
Something that many people don’t realize is that the quality of steam is also an important factor. Steam made up of smaller water particles will give you a better finish than steam with larger water particles.
You also want to find an iron that emits steam from the whole of its soleplate and is consistent. If the steam is too weak, or if it comes out irregularly, you’re more likely to have issues, such as water droplets dripping on the fabric or wrinkles that won’t come out.
Dry Irons: High Heat for Stubborn Creases
Dry irons are less prevalent because they take more effort to use. Because there’s no built-in steam function, if you need to work out a stubborn wrinkle, you’ll need to grab a spray bottle and spritz on some water.
That being said, dry irons can reach higher temperatures, and because they don’t have steam holes, their soleplates are completely flat, which can be good for sewing or if you need a more effective heat transfer.
It’s also worth saying that steam irons can also function as dry irons minus the smooth soleplate.
Corded vs. Cordless
There are two ways to power an iron: with an attached cord or with a charging dock. Naturally, a cordless iron allows more freedom of movement. Additionally, its charging dock gives you a safe resting place for when you need to put the iron down. You may, however, have to put the iron down more frequently than you want, as cordless irons will lose heat the longer they are off the dock.
Corded irons, on the other hand, will hold heat better, since they’re constantly powered. But cords get tangled and are a pain to store. If you do wanted a corded iron, it may be best to get one with a retractable cord so that it takes up less space and is easier to put away.
Considering Movement – Soleplate Material and Glide
Most soleplates are made from either stainless steel or ceramic. Stainless steel soleplates are more durable, glide smoothly on materials that are ironed on high heat, such as cotton, and have even heat distribution. Ceramic soleplates tend to be a little more expensive and wear down more quickly. But, since they don’t stir up static electricity, they have significantly better glide in general, particularly on synthetic materials.
The more easily an iron glides, the better. If it has a smooth glide, even if it is heavy, you’ll find that your arm won’t tire. So if you’re shopping in stores, try to feel the way the iron moves before you decide to buy it.
Measuring Effectiveness in Weight and Wattage
The two things that determine an iron’s effectiveness are its weight and power. When it comes to weight, you need to find a good balance. A heavier iron will more easily smooth wrinkles and press pleats, but it’ll also tire you more quickly. A lighter iron, on the other hand, is more portable. For everyday use though, it’s a safe bet to look for an iron above two pounds.
As for power, wattage is directly converted into the heat output of an iron. A block of ice won’t smooth anything out, so it’s best to look for an iron above 1000 watts.
Heat Gets Rid of Wrinkles
Some irons get hot within moments of turning on and others take a longer time to warm up. Some will maintain heat and others will see it peak and trough. Naturally, an iron that heats up quickly and stays hot will make the whole process faster and get you going sooner.
This is pretty hard to test out, so read reviews online!
You Can’t Use an Iron without a Handle
If the iron’s handle is too thick and the gap between it and the body is too narrow, your knuckles will get in the way as you turn your hand. Get one with a slimmer handle or larger gap, and it’ll be easier to maneuver the iron into different angles. Also, a thinner tip on your soleplate makes for tighter turns and easier ironing, so try to consider that as well.
Top 10 Steam Irons to Buy Online
Here are the best steam irons you can find online today!
10. Steamfast Mini Travel Steam Iron (SF-717)
Portable, Compact Iron for the Jet-setting Professional
This may not be the highest performing iron, but it’s extremely portable and surprisingly functional for its size. The Steamfast can be used as both a dry iron and a steam iron with four steam outlets for its 1.4 oz water tank. It heats up in fifteen seconds, which makes it ideal for quick touch-ups in hard-to-reach places.
And, at just five inches long and weighing under a pound, it’s the perfect travel iron. You don’t even need to worry about overseas travel – this iron has two voltage settings, which means it can work anywhere!
9. Oster Heavyweight Classic Dry Iron (GCSTBV4119)
A Good, Old Fashioned Dry Iron
At almost four pounds with a smooth soleplate, this Oster dry iron is everything a dry iron should be. It has variable temperature control for different fabrics and no auto-off feature, so it will always be hot when you need it.
However, because it’s a dry iron, it’s less versatile than a steam iron would be, so it’s less ideal for people who need to iron a wide variety of materials. But, as it doesn’t produce steam, you never need to worry about water drops or mineral buildup ruining your clothes.
8. Hamilton Beach Steam Iron
Good Design, Great Outcome
It may not be the prettiest to look at, but the Hamilton Beach steam iron is an extremely functional iron. Its soleplate has a nonstick coating that makes its glide extremely smoothly. At 1700 watts, it gets very hot very quickly and has exceptionally powerful steam. Additionally, while most irons have a dial beneath the handle to adjust the temperature, this iron’s controls are a set of buttons on top of the handle, which is easier to change and prevents any accidental knocking.
It is on the heavier side, however, and even with the enhanced glide, some users may find it a tad tiring.
7. Panasonic Cordless 360º Freestyle Steam/Dry Iron (NI-WL600)
A Truly Freestyle Iron
This cordless iron features an elliptical shaped soleplate that allows you to move and turn in any direction. It functions as both a steam and dry iron and has two steam settings. Its steam burst function, while helping to fight wrinkles, also serves to clear out its vents and prevent calcium buildup.
Aside from the iron itself being hyper-mobile, its charging base also has a retractable cord–making for easy tidying up. That being said, however, as it isn’t constantly being powered, it can cool down while you’re using it, and you may need to occasionally put it back on its base to reheat.
6. Oliso Smart Iron (TG1100)
Safety Comes First with This Iron
The most expensive iron on this list, the Oliso smart iron is also the most full-featured. Its defining feature is its “iTouch” technology, which detects when your hand is on the handle and lowers and raises the iron accordingly to keep from burning the fabric. This iron also has three different steam settings so that you can choose the strength most appropriate for your needs.
If you can afford it, the Oliso smart iron is a great choice if you want peace of mind. However, most of the other irons on this list also have auto-off features, which turn the heat off if the iron is tipped, which is enough for most people.
5. T-fal Ultraglide Easy Cord (4495)
A Steady and Ergonomic Iron
The T-fal Ultraglide is designed to be functional. Its uniquely-shaped handle is built to keep the (extra long, 12-foot) cord out of your way while you’re using it, and its weight distribution helps it stay stable while standing. It’s lightweight compared to similarly-sized irons and features an exceptional glide.
Its high capacity water tank produces continuous steam at a rate of 35 grams per minute. Both steam and soleplate temperatures are adjustable, and it can be used to steam hanging clothes as well.
4. Sunbeam Steam Master (GCSBSP-201-FFP)
Budget and Family Friendly
The Sunbeam Steam Master is the most economical full-size iron on our list. But that doesn’t mean that it’s lacking anything. This iron is great at blasting away wrinkles with its steam power selection and Shot of Steam feature, which simply huffs out a cloud of steam. You can use it on clothes both when they’re draped over the ironing board and vertically hung.
Additionally, it has a retractable cord and auto-off feature, which makes it great for a busy household or anyone who wants easy storage.
3. Black + Decker Digital Advantage Professional Steam Iron (D2030)
An Iron That Just Plain Works
This iron is one of the best all-around irons and gives you a fantastic level of control. It has a high steam rate that’s adjustable for the type of fabric you’re ironing and a digital display that lets you control its temperature. But despite having a powerful steam function, you won’t have to worry about it dripping everywhere, thanks to its anti-drip moisture control features.
The Black + Decker iron is also ergonomically designed with a comfort grip handle and the perfect median weight. However, if you’re the type to prefer a retractable cord, just be warned that this iron does not have one.
2. Rowenta Focus Steam Iron (DW5080)
High Quality Steam Even Without Quality Water
Rowenta is known for its superior irons, and the Focus is no exception. With 400 steam holes across the entire soleplate, accurate temperature control, and a specially designed precision tip for getting into tight spaces, it’s one of the best irons you can buy.
The Focus’ real strength, though, is its Anti-Calc system, which automatically removes calcium build-up and impurities, helping the iron to remain functional and work longer. This means that whether it’s hard or soft, you can use water straight from the tap.
1. CHI Steam Iron (13101)
From Your Hair to Your Trousers, CHI’s Got You Covered
Unlike most irons on the market, CHI’s steam iron features an easy to clean, titanium-infused ceramic soleplate designed to be extra strong and scratch-resistant. The temperature control dial allows you to choose which fabric you’re working with, and it has over 300 steam holes to give you the best outcome. Additionally, its slightly lighter weight and longer cord allow you to be a bit more mobile than with most of the other irons on this list.
If the brand CHI sounds familiar to you, it might be because they’ve been a big name in haircare and styling for decades. The technology they developed for their line of hair flatirons transitions perfectly to clothes ironing, and their irons hold their ground against even the longest standing iron makers.
So there you have it–a comprehensive guide to help you choose the best iron for your needs, as well as a few suggestions to get you started on your hunt. Having the right iron can take the drudgery out of ironing and might even make things fun. But not too much fun–be careful, they’re hot!