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Published Apr. 10, 2022

While garment steamers are becoming increasingly popular, they can’t compete with irons when it comes to pressing heavy fabrics and creating sharp creases. Irons also come in handy for crafting projects like quilting and clothes-making. If you’ve been using the same iron for years, it might be time for an upgrade. Today’s irons heat up quickly and are designed to be easy and comfortable to use. Shopping for an iron online, however, can quickly become overwhelming. 

We’ll break down what to look for when shopping for the best steam iron for your home, and discuss the key considerations to keep in mind as you shop. Read on for  our curated picks of the best steam irons on the market.

How We Picked the Best Steam Irons

While it’s easy to assume that all steam irons offer similar performance, a number of factors affect their functionality. Several years of experience covering home goods and small appliances as well as extensive product research went into choosing our final curated selection. We reviewed over 25 irons and weighed a number of practical considerations before making our recommendations. Some of the factors we took into account were:

Power Capacity: The highest-quality steam irons feature power capacities of at least 1200 watts so we only considered models which met that criteria. 

Additional features: We gave priority to irons with added features and functionality — like multiple vertical steam functions, automatic shutoff, and water filters — to ensure our recommendations were as versatile as possible. 

Warranty: We only included irons with a warranty of at least one year to ensure the manufacturer had faith in their product. 

The Best Steam Irons: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Mueller Professional Grade Steam Iron

Mueller Austria

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Why It Made The Cut: The performance of this Mueller iron is top-notch, and it also comes with several desirable features that aren’t found on many competing models. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 3.96 pounds
  • Power Capacity: 1,500 watts
  • Water Capacity: N/A

Pros:

  • Features automatic shutoff
  • Retractable cord
  • Includes vertical steam function
  • Built-in water filter

Cons:

  • May be too heavy for some users

This steam iron from Mueller features a range of added features that make it our top pick. A vertical steam function allows users to smooth wrinkles from hanging garments as well as curtains and drapes. The water heats up quickly, and the iron is ready to use less than a minute after it’s powered on. The stainless steel soleplate allows the iron to move seamlessly over fabrics of varying textures. 

A built-in water filter removes calcium deposits and other hard water components, ensuring the water sprays evenly. The 8-foot power cord is retractable, making for easy and tidy storage when the iron is not in use. As an added safety feature, this model shuts off automatically after a set period of time. When positioned horizontally, it powers off after 30 seconds, and when positioned vertically it shuts down after 8 minutes. As soon as the iron is moved, it powers on again. On top of all of these features, this model also includes a one-year warranty. 

Best Value: BLACK+DECKER Steam Iron

BLACK+DECKER

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Why It Made The Cut: Many affordable irons sacrifice quality and performance in order to enable a lower price, but this model can stand up to its much pricier counterparts. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Power Capacity: 1,200 watts
  • Water Capacity: N/A

Pros:

  • Variable temperature and steam control
  • Push-button mister
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Low power capacity

Variable steam and temperature controls allow users to customize the iron’s performance to best suit the garment they’re working with. The non-stick soleplate ensures that the iron glides smoothly over clothes. A mister is available at the push of a button, and the additional liquid helps to smooth away stubborn wrinkles. 

Weighing just one pound, this iron is incredibly lightweight, making it ideal for travel, and for older users or those with mobility constraints. A pivot cord is designed to stay out of the way while you work. Despite its affordable price, this model is covered by a one-year warranty, ensuring buyers can replace it if it fails to perform. One downside is that this model has a relatively low power capacity of 1,200 watts, meaning it may not be ideal for ironing heavier garments. 

Best Upgrade Pick: Rowenta DW9280 Steam Iron

Rowenta

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Why It Made The Cut: The Rowenta DW9280 Steam Iron boasts a high power capacity and is heavy enough to create perfect creases for crafters and quilters. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 3.85 pounds
  • Power Capacity: 1800 watts
  • Water Capacity: 10.8 ounces

Pros:

  • Large water reservoir
  • 400 steam holes
  • High power capacity
  • Heavy weight

Cons:

  • High price
  • 7-foot power cord

It’s possible to get a high-quality iron for under $100, but there are some features that are only available in pricier models. This pick from Rowenta, for example, is much heavier than other popular irons at 3.85 pounds, and features a stainless steel soleplate with a non-stick coating. This upgraded construction makes it the ideal tool for creating sharp creases in heavy fabrics. Four hundred steam holes in the plate allow for even steam distribution. While the average person may not need such a high-end iron, it does come in handy for crafting — particularly for quilters and sewers. 

It uses an integrated electronic steam pump that emits strong bursts of steam for impressive results. It features a larger than average 10.8-ounce water tank that’s easy to fill. One downside is that the power cord only measures seven feet in length, which is slightly shorter than is desirable. A one-year warranty is in place to ensure customer satisfaction. 

Best Cordless: Panasonic NI-L70SR Cordless Steam/Dry Iron

Panasonic

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Why It Made The Cut: This cordless steam iron features a 1500-watt power capacity and a vertical steam function that allows it to double as a cordless fabric steamer.

Specs:

  • Weight: 5 pounds (including charger)
  • Power Capacity: 1,500 watts
  • Water Capacity: 5.2 ounces

Pros:

  • Cordless operation
  • Vertical steam function
  • Anti-calcium system prevents clogged vents

Cons:

  • Low water capacity

Tired of your iron’s power cord snagging on your ironing board or getting tangled while you use it? A cordless model may be the perfect solution. This version from Panasonic has a 1500-watt power capacity but comes with a charging base so it can be used cordlessly. It features a vertical steam function, allowing for the device to be used as a cordless steamer as well as an iron. Electronic temperature control and steam control buttons provide versatility. The stainless steel soleplate features a sharp tip that’s perfect for creating flawless creases and pleats. 

A heat-resistant carrying case makes the iron easy to transport and store. The water tank is detachable, making it easy to refill, but only has a capacity of 5.2 ounces so it will need to be refilled more frequently. An anti-calcium system prevents sediment build-up, ensuring the steam vents remain clear even if you have hard water. A one-year warranty is included with purchase. 

Best Ceramic: CHI Steam Iron

CHI Steam

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Why It Made The Cut: This ceramic-plated steam iron from CHI has a high power capacity, handy temperature presets, and features 400 steam holes. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Power Capacity: 1,700 watts
  • Water Capacity: N/A

Pros:

  • High power capacity
  • Pre-set temperature settings
  • Retractable power cord

Cons:

  • Ceramic soleplate may chip

The majority of steam irons on the market are designed with stainless steel soleplates. While these perform well in most situations, ceramic plates are considered to be superior when it comes to their ability to glide smoothly over materials of varying textures. The CHI steam iron features a ceramic plate that is infused with titanium and features over 400 steam holes for a well-distributed burst of steam. Spray and blast buttons provide the user with even more control. 

The digital display features pre-set settings for different materials including linen, cotton, silk, and synthetics. The eight-foot power cord is retractable, making for easy storage, while the handle is specifically designed for comfort. 

It’s important to note that the primary disadvantage of ceramic soleplates is that they do occasionally chip over time. 

Things to Consider When Choosing a Steam Iron

With so many irons on the market, choosing the right one for your home requires careful consideration. Keep the following factors in mind while making your purchase.

Soleplate Material

Steam irons all feature a soleplate, but they can be made from several different materials. The most popular are stainless steel, ceramic, and titanium. 

  • Stainless steel sole plates glide smoothly over most materials and typically feature a non-stick coating to ensure they’re easy to maneuver.  
  • Ceramic soleplates are known for preventing scorch marks but feature a protective coating that tends to crack or chip over time. 
  • Titanium soleplates are incredibly lightweight, making them a good choice for those looking for an iron that’s comfortable to use. 

Power Capacity

A clothing iron’s power capacity is measured by wattage. Look for an iron with a wattage of 1,200 or higher. Most irons feature multiple power settings so users can choose the steam level that best suits the material they’re working with. 

Additional Features

Irons all share common functionality, but may differ when it comes to their specific features. 

  • Cord length: Look for an iron with a cord that’s no shorter than eight feet in order to ensure you can maneuver it easily. 
  • Handle: Opt for an iron with an ergonomically-designed handle that’s comfortable to use. 
  • Weight: Lightweight irons tend to be easier to use than heavier models. Heavier models, on the other hand, are able to create sharper creases and tend to remove wrinkles faster. 
  • Automatic shutoff: As an added safety feature, many irons power off automatically after a set period of time. 
  • Water tank: Removable water tanks make filling the iron easier, while larger tanks allow you to work for longer before refilling. 

FAQs

Q: What’s the difference between a steam iron and a dry iron?

A steam iron features a water tank that allows it to produce steam. A dry iron, on the other hand, relies solely on the power of a heated soleplate. 

Q: What’s better: an iron or a garment steamer?

These two devices share a similar purpose, but they differ when it comes to their functionality and performance. Irons are best for pressing and removing wrinkles from heavy materials like thick cotton and linen, whereas fabric steamers are ideal for thinner materials, like silk and polyester, that are too delicate to iron. 

Q: Which fabrics are not safe to iron?

Most commonly used fabrics are safe to iron, but there are a few exceptions. Avoid ironing any garments made from acetate, acrylic, or nylon as well as any pieces featuring beading or other embellishments. Check the fabric label for specific ironing instructions: An iron symbol with an “X” in it means the garment should not be ironed, an iron with a dot in it means it can only be ironed at low temperatures, an iron with two dots in it indicates that the fabric can handle being ironed at a medium temperature, and an iron with three dots means the garment can be ironed or steamed at a high temperature. 

Final Thoughts

Our recommendations cover a variety of types and styles of steam irons to best suit different needs. The Mueller Professional Grade Steam Iron is our top pick because of its high performance and range of additional features. Our recommended choice for those on a budget is the BLACK+DECKER Steam Iron, which offers comparable performance at an affordable price.

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