Wrinkled clothes look tacky, we all know it and many of us do our best to avoid it. Fortunately, irons still exist and they’ve come quite aways from their humble origins. On the market today are tons of advanced irons that’ll help you make sure that you’re always presentable, no matter where you’re headed.
For what it’s worth, we feel like the Rowenta DW5080 Focus is the best currently on the market. It’s lightweight, easy-to-use, and more than suitable for the average user. There are a lot of them out there though, and it wouldn’t be fair to recommend just one. Some irons are better than others for different purposes after all. We’ve rounded up five of the best and then we’ll show you how we came to our final conclusions.
Overall, we feel like this is the absolute best option for the majority of households. Whether you’re working with everyday usage or just need to handle the occasional shirt or pair of pants you’ll be in good hands with this one.
Top 5 Steam Irons
|Rowenta DW5080 Focus||1700W||5/5||Check Price|
|CHI (13101) Steam Iron With Titanium Infused Ceramic Soleplate||1700W||4.5/5||Check Price|
|Rowenta DW9280 Steam Force||1800W||4.5/5||Check Price|
|Sunbeam Hot-2-Trot 800 Watt Compact Non-Stick Soleplate Travel Iron||800W||4/5||Check Price|
|BLACK+DECKER D3030 Allure Iron||1600W||3.5/5||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Steam Iron
Rowenta DW5080 Focus
This was our favorite for many reasons. For the average person it’s the perfect point between high-quality and pricing that makes it a wise investment.
This is a 400 hole model, pushing out quite a bit of steam and in testing we found it to be extremely agile and easy to use. On top of that, it has a vertical steam function in case you overdried your clothing before you decided to take an iron to it.
It has a ten ounce water capacity and pushes out roughly one hundred grams of steam per minute. It even has an anti-calcium system which makes it suitable for all but the hardest water sources.
It works quickly and easily as well. The buttons and thermostat settings are quick and super easy to use and the controls are quite intuitive overall. Rowenta thought this model through and this is actually one of their mid-end irons.
There’s a couple of flaws: it’s easy to overfill and some of our users found it a bit heavy although it definitely didn’t approach the weight of some of the options we considered.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent build quality
- Incredible amount of steam
- Heats quickly and efficiently
- Perfectly shaped plate for pleats and collars
- Easy to overfill, keep an eye on the water
- Some people found it a bit heavy for prolonged use
2. Runner Up For Best Steam Iron
CHI (13101) Steam Iron With Titanium Infused Ceramic Soleplate
While it’s not quite up to the Rowenta’s standard, this steam iron from CHI is actually quite well done overall and it’s a little bit cheaper. We certainly had no issues with it’s regular function.
Our main issue with it is that it’s not self-cleaning and despite the insistence that you can use tap water in it there are also precautions to be taken when it comes to particularly hard water sources. You’ll want to alternate with distilled water if you’re in the Midwest or on the coastline.
It puts out a respectable amount of steam and has a large enough resevoir that you’ll only need to fill it once for all but the toughest of jobs. That adds up to quite a bit of good functioning for the price.
When it comes down to it, this one is probably better suited for those who are planning on only using their iron on a monthly basis. You’ll be able to save a bit of cash and still get a high functioning steam iron after all.
It’s not a Rowenta, but if you’re not planning on using your iron on a regular basis then you may want to give a closer look to this CHI. It’s a fantastic little piece of work, and it’s price easily beats out the minor flaws.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent amount of steam
- High-build quality
- Fairly lightweight
- Easy to use controls
- Can’t handle really hard water
- Ceramic plate is prone to breaking if dropped flat
3. Best High-End Iron
Rowenta DW9280 Steam Force
Take our favorite pick, add a bit to the cost, and improve everything about it to an absurd degree. That’s the basic idea backing the DW9280, which really was by far the best steam iron that we tested out although we weren’t sure the increased cost was great for the average person.
If you’re planning on daily use, or have hobbies which require large amounts of ironing, then you’ll be in good hands and quickly be glad that you bought this iron. It heats up incredibly quick, coming in at 1800 Watts.
It even has an advanced, electronic display which many people found invaluable although there were some questions about the higher cost of the iron. It’s almost the perfect steam iron, although it’s rather heavy and expensive.
If you’re willing, or need to, spring for an amazing iron then this is exactly what you’ve been looking for. It’s a bit much for the average person using an iron, however, and we mostly recommend it for the fastidious and those who have hobbies which will require them to be ironing frequently.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent digital display
- Extremely high build-quality
- Precision plate for hard to iron places
- 210 grams of steam per minute
- Too expensive for most people
- Rather heavy
4. Best Steam Iron for Traveling
Sunbeam Hot-2-Trot 800 Travel Iron
This is the weakest, and cheapest, of our picks but it actually performed well in one place that we didn’t consider when initially drawing things up: portability and travel. If you’re frequently on the road and want to make sure you look presentable then this tiny iron might be exactly what you need.
It comes in at a low 800 watts, which isn’t going to be impressing anyone any time soon, and it has a rather small water reservoir as well. On the other hand, it fits neatly into a suitcase and for niche usage it’s pretty much perfect due to the small size and lightweight build.
It’s a Sunbeam, so you know it’s not a bad purchase but it definitely wasn’t made with heavy duty work in mind. It does heat up rather quickly due to the tiny water reservoir, however, although we found that it sometimes leaks in usage.
Perfect for niche travel usage, but not going to be winning awards any time soon on it’s merits as an iron, this is perfect for those who are on the road frequently and need to look nice. We just don’t recommend picking it up as a “cheap” iron when you can spend a bit more and end up with something much better.
Pros and Cons
- Easily portable
- Super cheap
- Rather durable
- Small reservoir and underpowered
- Definitely not a great “at-home” iron
5. Best Budget Steam Iron
BLACK+DECKER D3030 Allure Iron
If you need a cheap iron for around the house then we strongly recommend the D3030 Allure. While there have been some compromises made in it’s design it comes in at about half the price of our favorites and many people have found it to be exactly what they need.
There’s also a digital version available for a couple more dollars but we didn’t think that it was worth it for most people. You’ll also want to keep the warranty around if you decide to go with the Allure.
This is primarily due to some early failures which we saw reported, with the irons lasting a bit less than a year. On the other hand, they also have a two year warranty so it’s not that big of a deal although it’s likely to ruin an afternoon if it dies in the middle of things.
For the price, however, it’s a high-quality iron and many people have used them for years with no complaints. If you’re one of those then you’ll be in good hands, as it’s a great little iron. A bit slow heating due to the only 1600 watts powering it, but for the price you really can’t ask for much more.
If you’re looking for a budget iron then you’ll be in good hands with this one. On the other hand, if you’re using your iron frequently then we recommend spending a little bit more money to get something which is less likely to malfunction when you need it.
Pros and Cons
- Great price
- Easy to use
- Two year warranty
- High build quality
- Reports of early failure
- Heats a bit slowly
Why Use a Steam Iron?
While many of us will quickly throw a shirt or pair of pants in the drier and hope for the best when it comes to wrinkles, it’s quite hard to beat a good old fashioned steam iron.
While older models consisted of various mechanisms of heating themselves, newer irons are made to be heated electrically and then a button is pressed to release the steam. The pressure of the push, the weight, and the steam combine to stretch fibers out and get rid of wrinkles in a hurry.
While some people still use older irons, they’re not quite as controlled as the modern variants. Indeed, most of the modern ones have tight thermostats, release steam with the press of a button, and otherwise are much more useful.
We’ve stuck with consumer models for the most part, the average person isn’t ironing everyday after all. Some of the higher end models are definitely useful for those who regularly make or alter clothing, or otherwise find themselves with a lot of things to iron and in that case we’ve made sure to point out one for you.
What to Look for in a Steam Iron
It took us a bit of time to figure out which steam irons performed the best, mainly because people have so many different requirements for them and… well, they’re prone to user errors which doesn’t give you an honest representation of the steam iron when it’s used properly.
Weight and Handling
While irons need some weight in order to do a good job at getting wrinkles out, too much weight can make them a bit of a bear to use. The shape of the iron also affects the agility of the iron, as we found out, which is important for getting the job done quickly.
In general, if an iron is light then you’ll need to apply more pressure and use more steam in order to ensure that it’s pressing things out but we found some remarkably light irons which worked well.
Speed of Heating
No one wants to sit around and wait for minutes at a time for their iron to heat up. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to figure out which irons heat up more quickly: the higher the wattage, the faster the iron will heat up.
We recommend that you go for a high wattage iron in order to save some time. Anything 1500 watts or above could be considered respectable however.
Thermostat and Presets
A tight thermostat is something that needs to be present if you’re planning on working with more than one type of clothing. If you try to iron silk, for instance, at the temperature you’d use for something heavier you’re risking permanent damage to the garment.
Many irons have a variety of settings which are labeled for specific materials, while others may just have a temperature gauge. If you’re a veteran the latter may be the way to go but for most people it’s a good idea to just go with one that has the presets available.
The reliability of the thermostat is important as well, overheating can cause serious damage to the material of a garment and most of the pricer materials tend to be the most sensitive to heat damage.
The sheer amount of steam put out by an iron makes a huge difference. While low-end irons might only put out a couple of grams per minute, better ones can put out up to thirty or even more. The more steam, the more malleable the cloth underneath the iron will be.
We recommend trying to find something which puts out as much steam as possible while staying within your budget. It just makes things easier in the long run.
The controls and the grip of the steam iron make a huge difference in how easy it will be to use. We focused on this quite a bit, since a comfortable handle made the iron more agile and that made the whole job much quicker overall.
The controls on irons vary quite a bit. The biggest problem we found with many models was that the steam button needed to be pushed down much too far for it to be comfortable while we were using them.
Easy controls that were slightly out of the way were ideal, but as with many appliances it’s almost impossible to find everything in perfect alignment.
The size of the water tank should be at least eight ounces in order to make sure that you’re able to get through the whole task without having to refill the whole thing and reheat the tank to get more steam going.
We stayed away from industrially sized irons, for any at home use the extra complications introduced by their external tanks and hoses are simply a bit too much complication.
Cordless vs. Corded
We weren’t impressed by the cordless options available. At all.
Irons require some pretty high wattage and batteries haven’t quite caught up with the energy needs of irons just yet.
That said, they can be handy if you only have light duty. That would usually mean a single shirt or pair of slacks but they’re really only useful if you’re on the road. If you need to do multiple garments at a time then we recommend sticking with a corded iron.
Speaking of which, an eight foot cord is about what we found to be the sweet spot between too long and too short when it came to ironing.
Make sure that any iron you purchase has a warranty of at least a year. This will help in case something happens to the iron and you’ll be able to replace it without having to spend the money to buy another one.
Some of the more well known brands offer two year or more warranties, which not only covers you for longer but shows a large amount of faith in the product itself.
Unless you’re often sewing or need to press a shirt and pants everyday, we recommend sticking under $70 or so and even picking up a budget iron if you’re planning on using your appliance less than weekly.
It doesn’t make sense to buy a super high-end, ultra-fabulous iron if you’re not going to be using it regularly after all.
When we were looking over the reviews of steam irons to pick those we found that many people were using the wrong type of water and quickly finding their iron in disrepair.
There’s some debate on this, and if you live in an area with particularly hard water you may need to “cut” it with distilled water to avoid getting deposits on the iron. On the other hand, if your iron specifically says to use distilled water follow the instructions.
The one thing you should never do is use deionized water in an iron. With a lack of positive ions the water will have a tendency to want to strip them from the nearest source… the electronics in your iron.
As a general rule, follow manufacturer’s instructions on the type of water to use they know best after all.
Common Ironing Mistakes
In this modern day, not everyone is particularly adept with an iron. There are a lot of common mistakes which people make when they’re ironing that can be avoided quite easily.
- Your clothes should be slightly damp when you pull them out of the dryer if you’re ironing straight after doing laundry. This will help keep them malleable, that is to say make them a lot easier to press without having apply excessive amounts of force.
- Overfilling the dryer is another major culprit. If you stuff to many clothes in there they’ll come out excessively wrinkled, making a lot more work for yourself.
- If you have a variety of different clothing to handle, then start with cooler fabrics like silk first and then work your way through wool and into the high-temperature ironed fabrics like linen and cotton. It’ll make your life a lot easier.
- Always shake and smooth out your clothes before you iron them. It won’t do the whole thing by itself, but it’ll make your job much quicker since there won’t be excessive wrinkles in the clothing.
- Use a sprayer. If your iron doesn’t have one built-in then a spray bottle filled with water can help to make the cloth easier to straighten out.
As long as you follow the instructions and keep the above in mind you should have a smooth time of it. Ironing isn’t all that hard, but many of us do it so rarely that it’s easy to be doing it wrong.
Finding an iron doesn’t have to be a challenging affair, just pick one of favorites. The best steam iron will make your clothes look great and presentable with a minimum amount of hassle, and whether you’re using it for Sunday church clothes or to keep that suit sharp everyday before work you’ll be in good hands.
Our favorite is the Rowenta DW5080 Focus, it’s easy to use, lightweight, and versatile enough to handle most fabrics without adding any stress to your life.
If you’re like us, then you’re tired of your clothing choices being limited by what’s wrinkled or not, and fluffing in the drier can only do so much when it comes to finding that perfect fit. Pick up the right steam iron today and make those worries a thing of the past.