Some of us love ironing, and some of us hate it. But whatever your stance, a decent steam iron is a time-saving godsend – one that will supercharge your ability to slash through ironing piles and steam away the deepest, stubbornest creases. This is precisely why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to take a closer look at the best steam irons, whether you’re living in the shadow of an ever-present tower of creased laundry or you’re a crease-busting connoisseur who loves nothing more than a steamy ironing session.
But first, some top tips from the experts when it comes to maintaining your iron. “Clean the steam vents on the iron using a mix of half water and half distilled white vinegar,” says Dean Davies, a cleaning expert at Fantastic Services. “Fill the reservoir with the liquid and turn on the steam. Next, grab an old towel and iron it. As you iron, the residue will come out of the vents, along with the vinegar.”
Feeling lazy? Try Davies’s next suggestion. “Another neat trick you can try with vinegar is to soak a towel in the vinegar and then set your iron on top. Let it sit there for 30 minutes, then wipe it down.”
As for finding your ideal iron, start by working out whether you’re after a standard iron or a steam generator. The latter have chunky base stations incorporating boilers that allow the iron to pump out blasts of steam with incredibly high pressures.
Steam generators generally have much larger reservoirs. On standard irons, reservoir capacities hover around the 0.25l mark, which is more than adequate. Take a second to think about where you’ll be ironing, too – if power points are few and far between in your household, a cordless model might be the best choice.
How we tested
A lot of ironing, obviously. In fact, thanks to the following irons, we’ve developed a new appreciation for the art of ironing. We paid close attention to the quality of the glide and ease of use, how easy it was to remove the water reservoir and the ease with which we could scroll through the different settings. Clarity was a big focus too – being able to monitor water levels was crucial, as were clear, easily visible markers next to the various settings.
The best steam irons for 2022 are:
- Best overall – Braun SI5008BL 2600W steam iron, blue: £62, Ao.com
- Best for smooth gliding action – Tower Housewares ceraglide 2800W steam iron black and gold: £39.99, Towerhousewares.co.uk
- Best for tough creases – Morphy Richards intellitemp steampro steam generator: £284.99, Morphyrichards.com
- Best steam generator – Beko steam generator iron steamxtra: £149.99, Beko.co.uk
- Best for versatility – Tefal FV2882G0 2600W iron, blue: £45, Ao.com
- Best for quick crease-busting – Dunelm 2200W ceramic iron: £15, Dunelm.com
- Best for lightweight design – Dunelm essentials 1600W green iron: £10, Dunelm.com
- Best for families – Swan 2400W steam station: £79.99, Swan-brand.co.uk
Braun SI5008BL 2600W steam iron, blue
We loved the look of this corded iron, with its aquamarine trim and its sleek tapered handle. But we’re all too aware a stylish profile doesn’t necessarily mean more efficient ironing times. What does, is the fantastic design of Braun’s iron. The open-ended handle ramped up the manoeuvrability, and we loved the smoothness of the glide offered by the ceramic soleplate. Controls, such as the water reservoir cap, are easy to grip without being overly chunky, and we loved the low weight, which came in at 1.2kg. In summary? A brilliant, wallet-friendly iron that is a worthy rival for models with a much higher price tag.
Tower Housewares ceraglide 2800W steam iron black and gold
Best: For smooth gliding direction
We were impressed with the smooth gliding action on this iron, but we’re also huge fans of the extra-long 2.5m cord on the base. Placement of power points should never be the deciding factor in where we indulge in our ironing sessions, and the cable on the Ceraglide gave us much more freedom of movement. We were also huge fans of the cordless design, which comprises a base (the Orbit 360 Easy Dock) and a 360-degree design that allows the iron to be placed in any position. The way in which it locks into place (and requires the press of a button to unlock) meant we were less likely to knock it over. It’s quick to heat up (the blurb states 25 seconds, which we verified), and we absolutely loved the placement of the steam button, which is a trigger-style affair positioned under the handle, making it much easier to reach.
Morphy Richards intellitemp steampro steam generator
Best: For tough creases
This is another iron – in this case, a steam generator-style one – that has a gorgeous design. Steam generators, which comprise a unit that generates very high-pressure steam, are ideal for families and anyone who wants an iron that will handle the toughest of creases (in this case, you’ll be treated to seven-bar pressure and a crease-busting 600g/minute steam shot). The downside? They’re often rather bulky, but this one bucks the trend. Despite the base unit having a huge 1.6l water reservoir, the iron itself is surprisingly compact, and we loved the way the cord wrapped neatly around the base, keeping it out of our way while ensuring it didn’t get tangled when it needed to be unravelled. It’s wonderfully low maintenance, and alongside the auto-clean and auto-shutoff features (which are standard on this type of iron) is a brilliantly innovative intellitemp feature to ensure the optimal balance of temperature and steam output, whatever the garment.
Beko steam generator iron steamxtra
Best: Steam generator
This particular steam generator might not have all the features of more expensive models, but if you’re craving extra steam power and don’t want to break the bank, it’s a fantastic option. We’ve touched on how steam generator-style irons are always going to be bulkier pieces of kit, but various features on this iron ensure it’s still easy to manoeuvre. This includes the placement of the steam button – a trigger-style affair placed under the handle – and the sharp taper on the soleplate, which made getting to the trickiest of corners a breeze. It’s incredibly quick to heat up and, living in a hard water area, we appreciated the “calc buster” function, which flushes out the calc (the build-up of calcium and mineral deposits that cause limescale) from both the 1.8l reservoir and the internal workings, helping to keep the iron scale-free.
Tefal FV2882G0 2600W iron, blue
Best: For versatility
Prone to clumsiness? This could be your dream weapon for waging war on your laundry pile. This sculpture-like iron (and yes, we did just say that about a household appliance) has a streamlined shape and a tapered soleplate, which took the hard work out of ironing the items we dread the most (we’re looking at you, lapels and oversized cuffs). We were sceptical about the anti-drip system, but we’re converts – this is one of the few irons that won’t leave random splashes of water on your freshly-ironed clothes. Our favourite feature? The vertical steam option is designed for smoothing creases on items such as curtains. Its water reservoir, which has a capacity of 0.27l, isn’t the biggest, but this didn’t prove to be an issue.
Dunelm 2200W ceramic iron
Best: For quick crease-busting
This speed demon is one of the best budget irons we’ve come across, thanks largely to the base. This feature is a super-fast ceramic soleplate with an elaborate network of channels and vents that did a great job of dispersing the steam where we needed it most (and our testing material included a crumpled T-shirt with more creases than the Grand Canyon). This is a brilliant iron for couples or singles. Its 230ml reservoir is undeniably on the small side, but it will handle a wide range of garments with ease, and we loved its profile, particularly the way a semi-transparent cover shields the reservoir lid, which on many irons (at least in our experience) has an annoying tendency to pop open during ironing sessions. We appreciated the generous two-metre cable, too.
Dunelm essentials 1600W green iron
Best: For lightweight design
One of our favourite aspects of this lightweight iron was the clarity of the controls. Temperature settings don’t mean that much to us – how many of us know the ideal temperature for silk, cotton and linen, after all? This is precisely why we loved the clear markings indicating the ideal settings for a wide range of materials, including silk, cotton, linen, wool and synthetics. Vertical steam options meant we could iron draped items, including curtains, and the combination of a wide reservoir mouth and the included pourer made top-ups easy. And, believe it or not, you’ll get all this for just £10.
Swan 2400W steam station
Best: For families
“Station” is an apt word for this generator because it’s guaranteed to be a hub for anyone in your household with heavy-duty ironing needs. On a fickle note, we love the way Swan has attempted to lighten the boredom of ironing by sticking some fun facts on the box. Who knew, for example, that up until 1933, most households heated their irons by either putting hot coals inside them or putting them over gas rings (which, to be clear, is something that absolutely shouldn’t be done in this day and age). But back to the important stuff. We were impressed with the ultra-secure way the iron locked into the base and with the layout of the controls, clustered into a kind of control centre on the rear of the base. The eco and max settings were the ones we used most, and we loved having the ability to quickly dial down the steam power when ironing delicate irons while knowing we had an impressive 130g/min steam output to call upon when faced with the deepest of creases. The 1.8l reservoir was surprisingly easy to remove, too.
The verdict: Steam irons
Braun’s SI5008BL 2600W steam iron is a steam-powered success story – it instantly smoothed the creases other irons failed to reach but was tactile, lightweight and easy to programme. We’ve always been sceptical about steam generators, but the Morphy Richards intellitemp steampro steam generator was the one that changed our minds. It’s powerful, easy to manoeuvre and has a sturdiness that suggests it will slash its way through the deepest ironing piles for years on end. Beko’s steam generator iron steamxtra is a brilliant option for anyone in the market for a steam generator-style iron but who doesn’t want to spend a fortune. The steamxtra proved you don’t have to, and its compact design means it takes up less space than the average steam generator iron, too.
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