Hot, steamy iron with a good soleplate can work wonders on rumpled garments. Many new irons are easier to use and release enough steam to smooth dry cotton and linen.
Irons cost anywhere from $15 to $150 and our tests show that price doesn’t always indicate performance—several top pick irons are around $50. You won’t see cordless irons in our ratings. They were unimpressive in past tests so for now, we’re not testing them. Use this guide to help you choose the best iron for your needs and budget.
Top 10 Irons
- Steammaster steam iron features 1400 watts of power, large stainless steel nonstick soleplate, large water...
- Clothes iron has a Shot of Steam feature for an extra burst of steam on flat surfaces or vertically hanging...
- 1700 Watts of Power
- Anti-Drip System
- Stainless Steel Soleplate - The durable, heavy-duty soleplate glides smoothly over all fabric types to press...
- High Steam Rate - Blast away wrinkles efficiently with customizable digital settings that deliver the perfect...
- MADE WITH CHI FLAT IRON TECHNOLOGY. Designed using the same titanium-infused ceramic soleplate technology that...
- POWERFUL STEAM FOR EFFORTLESS IRONING. With over 300 steam holes, this iron delivers powerful steam that makes...
- 🔎 CUT YOUR IRONING TIME IN HALF - Easy gliding across various garments, smoothing hard-to-reach areas,...
- 🔎 TRUE POSITION AXIAL ALIGNED STEAM HOLES - Scientific research and testing has proven that less is...
- SmartSteam Technology - This proprietary technology automatically regulates the amount of steam based on the...
- 3-Way Auto Shutoff- Get peace of mind with motion-sensitive technology that automatically shuts off the iron...
- HEATS FASTER: Maytag's M400 Iron reaches max temperature in less than a minute, much faster than traditional...
- VERTICAL STEAM: The Maytag M400 is not JUST for ironing, now you can steam out wrinkles on your hanging...
- Easy Glide - The aluminum soleplate is built to last, with a smooth, nonstick finish that glides over all...
- Steam or Dry Ironing - Switch on the steam setting to help iron out tough wrinkles, or turn it off when dry...
- Rapid Even Heating: Featured with 1700W powers can ensures that the temperature of the ironing soleplate...
- Tapered Teflon Soleplate: This Iron with nonstick soleplate is perfect to glide smoothly across all types of...
- Iron with the Sunbeam advantage of no leaks, no mess and no worry with anti-drip technology and 3-Way Motion...
- Variable Steam, Fabric Dial setting and Spray Mist provide added control for ironing with precision
Steam and More Steam
Steam and heat are important for banishing wrinkles. And while many of the irons tested will remove wrinkles, eventually, irons that produce little steam take longer to get the job done. You’ll see steaming-rate scores in our ratings, along with scores for ironing quality and ease of use.
Choose from stainless steel, anodized aluminum, ceramic, and nonstick. The best gliders are often stainless steel or ceramic—our tests found that nonstick soleplates didn’t glide as well.
Irons have dials, slides, or digital controls. Make sure the controls are easy to see and adjust and that fabric settings are clearly marked.
Even an iron that’s excellent at ironing may feel heavy or awkward in your hand, so hold it before you buy.
Clean the Surface Occasionally
To remove residue clean the iron’s soleplate—following the manufacturer’s instructions—and especially if you use starch.
Leaking can occur when you press at lower temperatures. To prevent dribbles press delicate fabrics first and before you add water. After ironing items requiring steam, empty the water. This reduces drips the next time and the heat can evaporate remaining moisture. It can also reduce mineral deposits on the soleplate.
Use Tap Water
Nearly all irons work fine with tap water unless your water is very hard. Your manual will indicate what’s best.
Irons vary by soleplate material, size, weight, and features. All tested irons removed wrinkles, but some produced more steam, making the job faster, and have a soleplate that glides more easily. The best gliding soleplates are often stainless steel or ceramic. Here are the types of steam irons to consider.
Conventional Steam Irons
These allow small amounts of hot steam to be applied to the fabric when ironing, making creases disappear faster. Features once found on pricier irons only are now standard on less expensive irons. Most new irons can be used with tap water, thanks to anti-calcium valves or resin filters.
Steam Ironing Systems
An iron allows you to apply a constant flow of high-pressure steam. A system takes up a lot more space than a conventional iron and can be placed on a chair or on a rack at the end of the ironing board. These systems take longer to heat up and some don’t automatically turn off if you leave them unattended—the same is true for some irons.
These resemble conventional steam irons but do not have a power cord. While more maneuverable, the models we’ve tested have been unimpressive and no longer appear in our steam iron ratings (available to subscribers).
Features that were once only on pricier irons are now standard on less expensive models. Consider these features.
Most new irons have this feature. It turns off the power if the iron is motionless for a number of seconds or minutes, whether laid flat or propped up. Some irons will also shut off when left on their side. Auto shutoff can prevent a fire, but stored heat can still scorch fabric if the iron is left face down.
Burst-of-Steam or Surge Button
Delivers an extra blast of steam to subdue stubborn wrinkles, especially handy if you often press linen or heavy fabrics such as denim.
The list of fabric settings should be easy to see. Temperature control that’s clearly marked and easily accessible, preferably on the front of the handle, is a plus. Most irons have an indicator light to show that the power is on.
It can keep the cord out of the way when you’re using the iron or when storing it, but make sure the cord doesn’t whip when it retracts.
Flushes mineral deposits from vents, but not always effective with prolonged use or with very hard water. Try the burst-of-steam feature to clean vents.
Steam Gauge or Adjustable Steam
Adjust the amount of steam or shut the steam off, as needed. An anti-drip feature, found on most irons, is designed to prevent leaks when you steam at lower settings.