Irons are simple appliances that make our clothes look fresh and new again, so you might think they’re all the same. But actually, they can come in all different shapes and sizes with a range of features you might not have thought about. So, if you want a little help finding a trusty iron that you can rely on for years to come, you’ve found the right place.
Traditional irons use hot steam to relax your clothes as they glide over them, making it much easier to get rid of creases. An iron with a high steam output means easier and quicker ironing. Also, a high wattage and the ability to generate and manage heat well will increase the impact of the iron’s steaming power. Steam irons are ideal if you’re tackling smaller laundry piles or prefer to iron as you go.
Steam generator irons have built-in boilers that produce high-pressure steam. They’re perfect for busy households, or if you simply want to blast through your laundry in half the time. Non-pressurised models produce twice as much steam as a regular iron for fast results. As do pressurised models, but they release the steam at a higher rate of pressure, helping to remove even the most stubborn folds and creases in one glide. The vertical steam function makes it ideal for suits, dresses and other hanging fabrics, even your curtains!
Handheld clothes steamers are great if you’re looking for something to get the job done quickly and easily. These lightweight steamers let you iron your clothes vertically while on a hanger without having to pull out the ironing board. So, they’re ideal when you’re in a hurry or you just want to neaten up that smart shirt.
Weight – It may sound silly, but the weight of an iron will determine how comfortable it is to use. If you’re ticking off a whole pile of laundry, your arms may struggle with a heavy iron. So check the weight in the product specifications before you buy. The average weight is around 1.5kg.
Water tank – No one wants to be refilling the water tank every two minutes, especially when you have a huge pile to get through. So, when picking out that new iron, think about getting one with a decent sized tank. But bear in mind, the bigger the tank, the heavier the iron.
Power cord length – The longer the length of the cord, the more room you’ll have to manoeuvre. So, if you want to iron comfortably, check the product specifications to find out the cord length.
Soleplate – This is the part of the iron that comes into contact with your clothes, so it’s important to find one that distributes heat and steam evenly and glides smoothly over your laundry.
A lightweight material that transfers heat quickly and evenly. It can scratch easily though.
A high quality, non-stick surface that distributes steam well and can reach really high temperatures without damaging your clothes.
A very durable material that distributes heat evenly and glides smoothly over your fabrics. Very easy to clean and maintain.
A scratch-resistant and non-stick material that glides smoothly over your clothes.
The anti-drip feature stops the iron from dripping if used before reaching the required temperature. This means you won’t have to worry about your clothes getting unnecessarily wet while ironing.
Everything’s cordless these days, and irons are no exception. The benefit of a cordless iron is simple, you can just switch on and go without the hassle of a cord holding you back.
A handy safety feature that’s useful if you forget to turn off the iron every now and then. If your iron hasn’t been used for a certain amount of time, it’ll simply turn itself off.
With sleeves, pockets and buttons to navigate, ironing shirts the traditional way can sometimes be fiddly. But, thanks to the vertical steam option, you can easily remove creases without dividing your clothes into annoying sections.
The wattage determines how powerful your iron will be which will affect how quickly you’ll be able to speed through that big pile. Check the product specifications for an iron’s wattage.
If you want to get through the ironing quickly, look out for an iron with a high steam rate. A higher rate will give you continuous steam for a longer period time, meaning fewer interruptions. The steam rate is usually measured in grams per minute and can be found in the product specifications.
Whether it prevents limescale or removes it, anti-calc technology will keep your iron free from the damaging effects of hard water. With calcium build-ups a thing of the past, your iron will always run like a well-oiled machine.
The self-cleaning function is pretty much what it says on the tin. Usually you just need to fill your iron up with water and then hold it over the sink before pressing the self-clean button. Your iron will then wash away any limescale or dust that’s built up inside to keep it in tip top shape.
Whether you’re into organic cotton or the finest silk, your sheets will be in safe hands thanks to the special ceramic soleplate. It glides effortlessly over all fabrics, so you’ll never have to worry about pulling or snagging.
Some models come with pre-set programmes which set the temperature for you based on the fabric you're ironing. This way you’ll know your clothes are getting the best care.
We’ve rounded up the best irons for all your laundry needs
You want to be looking out for things such as the weight of the iron; a lighter model will be more comfortable to use, meaning you’ll be much quicker. The size of the water tank is also important to consider, because the size will determine how often you need to refill it. We recommend thinking about the soleplate; this is the area that comes into direct contact with your clothes – stainless steel and ceramic soleplates are usually two of the best to go for.
Pressurized steam generated irons use boilers to create a powerful force of steam that drives deep into your clothes fabrics. This means they’re quicker at getting the job done and get through tough creases with ease.
For an in depth look at some of the best irons on the market, check out our handy page. Find out more.
A self-cleaning iron will, at the touch of a button, wash out any limescale and dust that may have built-up in and around the soleplate. Normally you just need to fill up the tank with water before holding over the sink and pressing the self-clean button. This process will keep your iron in top condition so you can use it again and again.