UPDATED: July 2022NEWS
What to Look for when Buying a Steam Iron or Steam Generator
Choosing a new appliance is always a difficult process when you are not familiar with the different product lines, features and jargon. In addition to our comprehensive buyers guide, here is a summary of the 5 most important things to look for when buying a new steam iron or steam generator iron.
Steam Iron or Steam Generator Iron?
For more detailed information on the differences, read our buyers guide
Find the Perfect Steam Iron
Steam Iron Top Tips Summary
- Weight The ideal weight is 1kg to 1.25kg
- Soleplate Ceramic coated is the smoothest
- Output At least 35g per minute is best
- Cord Length Between 2.5 and 3 metres long
- Auto Off This features adds peace of mind
Some irons can weigh 1.5 kilos or more - and that's before you add any water.
If you iron for long periods of time, check the weight of the iron or consider steam generators which generally have more lightweight irons (around 1 kilo).
A ceramic soleplate is the smoothest and most damage resistant (stainless steel is also good, aluminium or non-stick are the poorest).
Some manufacturers coat their ceramic soleplate with another material to give even better gliding or scratch protection.
3. Continuous Steam Output
While most irons have a larger 'burst shot' which delivers a short, large puff of steam, it's the continuous steam output that matters.
To be able to tackle a wide range of fabric types, 35g or more is ideal.
4. Cord Length
The maximum length is around 3 metres, though some irons only have 2 metres. Think about where you will be ironing most and how accessible the plug sockets are.
5. Auto Off
More and more irons are coming with this handy safety feature that cuts off the power after a period of inactivity. Read more on that here
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Find the Perfect Steam Generator Iron
Steam Generator Iron Top Tips Summary
- Pressure At least 5 bar pressure for better performance
- Water Tank At least 1.5 litres is ideal
- Descaling Keep your iron clear of limescale
- Auto Controls Controls steam and heat for you
- Ironing Board Is yours strong enough?
1. Bar Pressure
Pressure is measured in Bar with around 6.5bar being the current maximum. Anything over 5 bar should be plenty for every day ironing.
2. Water Tank Size
A steam generator uses much more water so a big water tank will mean less time stopping to refill. A 1.5 litre tank is ideal, though some models have a giant 2 litre capacity.
With all the extra water use, a steam generator is more likely to suffer from limescale in hard water areas.
Make sure there is some kind of filter or calc-clean system. Tefal use a very clever calc-collection system, while others use replaceable cartridges to filter the water.
4. Auto Controls
An increasing number of steam generators (and some hand irons too) are equipped with automatic controls, doing away altogether with buttons and dials. These systems work well and are appearing even on entry level models.
5. Your Ironing Board
Steam generators are heavier and bulkier than hand irons and will require an ironing board that is designed for such a unit.
Alternatively you could position the unit on a nearby table or worktop as long as it's safe and stable.
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