Ironing can be a tedious and repetitive chore. While putting in a long shift in front of the ironing board is something most of us will never look forward to, investing in a good-quality iron can make the ironing process faster and easier – not to mention produce better results.
Iron prices start at $35 and go up to $200, with models ranging from basic to high-end professional units with a host of advanced wrinkle-busting features. Our guide will examine the key features you need to compare to find the best iron for your needs.
Compare some of the best irons
There are some facets of life where wrinkled clothes simply won't cut it. For many of us, the workplace is a key motivator for investing in an iron – turning up to the office in a shirt or dress that looks like it's been plucked from the bottom of the washing basket simply won't do.
There are also plenty of social occasions when a clean, crisp look is essential, making an iron a sensible purchase. And if you need to keep your entire family looking their best, your iron might be one of the most-used appliances in your entire house.
There are two main reasons why buying an iron may be a waste of money:
- If you don't need to look professional. If neither your job nor your social life requires perfectly crisp and wrinkle-free clothes, there's no need to bother with an iron.
- If you want to get the wrinkles out another way. Maybe an iron isn't the best choice for the amount of clothing you need to de-wrinkle. For example, if you're looking for a quick and easy way to remove wrinkles from clothes and delicate fabrics, check out our guide to buying a garment steamer. Meanwhile, families with a large amount of ironing to get through might be better off with a steam station, which we'll explore in more detail further down the page.
What types are available?
When comparing irons, one of the key features to consider is the soleplate – this is the metal plate at the bottom of the iron that you press onto the fabric. The material used here 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:
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:
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. With this in mind, you'll need to think about your own requirements before you start shopping around.
To help make it easier to compare irons, we've compared the pros and cons of five popular steam irons in the table below:
|The good||The bad|
|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 seem to be eternally working through a never-ending pile of ironing, you might want to 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 up quickly. They generate more steam pressure than a regular iron, allowing you to iron more clothes in a shorter period of time, and because the water tank is separate, the iron itself weighs less than a conventional steam iron.
If you need to work through a large pile of clothes as quickly as possible, for example, if you're doing laundry for a family of four or five, a steam station could be a wise purchase. However, they're more expensive than your humble steam iron – prices generally start at $200 but can go much higher – and require more storage space, so they may not be the perfect choice for every home.
Consider your ironing needs before deciding on the best solution for your creased clothes.
MORE BUYING GUIDES