Steam Iron Buyers Guide
Let's be honest - ironing can be a real chore (and a bore) and most of us don't like doing it!
In fact research has shown that when it comes to doing the ironing, most people will want to get out of the way as quickly as possible.
However, help is at hand with today's modern steam irons and steam generator irons (also known as steam generators or steam generating irons).
The choice has never been greater and there are many innovations that can help you cut through your ironing quickly and effectively.
There are two main types of iron available:
This is the traditional iron that most of us are familiar with. Designed for smaller ironing loads, steam irons have on-board water tanks that generate continuous steam, usually at a rate set by the user (called variable steam).
Steam irons can also give short bursts or shots of steam to help with removing those more stubborn creases. Heavier irons can be more cumbersome to use but generally have better pressing capabilities.
Steam Generator Irons
A steam generator iron has two parts - a traditional steam iron but without the integral water tank, and a much larger water tank is fitted into a separate unit.
This separate unit allows much more high pressure steam to be generated and is therefore more suitable for larger loads.
The continuous steam is delivered to the iron via a steam hose at up to double the rate of a standalone steam iron. They will therefore make ironing much easier and quicker. Steam Generators can be pressurised or non-pressurised.
What Makes a Good Steam Iron?
Here are the basic five things to get right:
- A smooth soleplate - one made from ceramic is smoother than stainless steel or aluminium
- Weight - not too heavy, especially if you plan to do a lot of ironing in one session
- A decent continuous steam output with an extra steam shot for those thicker fabrics
- A generous cord length of around 2.5 or 3 metres
- Some kind of anti-calc system is essential in hard water areas to prevent limescale build-up
Additionally, for steam generators which have far higher steam output, a water tank of around 1.5 litres means less time spent refilling water. An iron with automatic controls is worth considering and auto-off is a very useful safety feature.
Read on for our top tips and jargon busting buyers guide!
We Rank Irons in 3 Categories
Across our site, you'll notice we have created 3 power levels for steam irons and generators. Here's what they mean:
Ideal for occasional ironers and budget conscious
Extra power to get through a lot of ironing easier
Maximum power for all types of fabrics and ironing loads
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