Before buying an iron think about how much you want to spend, how often you use it, how likely you are to keep on top of the regular maintenance and how creased your clothes often are before being ironed.
Most of us spend about three hours every week ironing, but if you have a particularly busy household, it could be even more. Having the best iron for your needs can not only cut through the pile of clothes quicker but will mean less effort on your behalf.
You can generally get a standard steam iron for as little as £10, but these may not be the most ideal for use a few times a week or to tackle large piles of very creased materials.
The price of irons ranges wildly and can go up to over £200. As expected, those at the higher end of the price scale are often a lot more advanced and ‘better’ at their job, but depending on the factors mentioned above, you may not even need such a fancy appliance.
The higher the steam shot rate, the better the crease removal. Many irons also have a boost function, to help you target and tackle the most stubborn of creases.
If your clothes generally don’t need much ironing, such as if you have a tumble dryer, you won’t necessarily need the iron with the highest steam rate.
Water capacity means how much the water tank will hold. Higher capacity means you will have to refill the tank less often, causing less disruption to your chore. Most irons hold the water in the appliance and are refilled using a dedicated ironing jug.
Many steam generator irons have a separate water tank, making the iron lighter to use. They also have much larger capacities because of this.
The sole plate is the metallic base of the iron which glides over your materials. Having a good quality sole plate is vital to help you push the iron over your clothes.
Most which we featured are ceramic, which is the top option as it is easiest to maintain with a durable, non-stick surface. They also distribute heat and steam the best.
Aluminium and stainless-steel plates are lighter than ceramic options but are easily scratched on surfaces such as zips and poppers. They are also often not non-stick, so can cause wrinkles on your clothes as you iron or even mark or burn them.
The latter two materials are often found on travel irons and cheaper models, which makes them lightweight.
Self Cleaning Irons
There are a lot of self-cleaning irons on the market, which makes the iron easier to maintain from limescale build-up.
How exactly they clean differs though – some will expel old water and limescale through the vents in the form of steam when a certain setting is selected, and others have particular tools to target the limescale in particular, such as cartridges or spoons.
It could be worth using dedicated ironing water as opposed to regular tap water, especially if you live in a hard water area. These offer limescale protection (and often smell pretty great too).
Keeping on top of maintenance will prolong the life of your iron and cause fewer breakdowns, so it is best to look for one which suits your lifestyle.