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A good steam iron is lightweight, has a large tank capacity and will help you get rid of stubborn creases without breaking a sweat. Think clothes steamer but better. But which steam iron is the right one for the job?
We spent countless hours scouring the Mumsnet forums, reading consumer reviews and perusing expert review sites to bring you real recommendations and an honest and in-depth round-up of the top steam irons on the market for 2022.
What is the best steam iron?
- Best overall steam iron: Russell Hobbs 20630 Powersteam Ultra Steam Iron
- Best budget steam iron: Breville DiamondXPress Steam Iron
- Most versatile steam iron: Tower T22008RG CeraGlide Steam Iron
- Best heavy-duty steam iron: Philips Azur Steam Iron
- Best luxury steam iron: Morphy Richards 303131 Turbosteam Pro Ionic Steam Iron
- Best digital steam iron: Beautural Steam Iron
- Best cordless steam iron: Russell Hobbs Freedom 23300 Cordless Iron
- Best eco steam iron: Rowenta Eco Intelligence DW6030 Steam Iron
- Best steam generator iron: Philips PerfectCare Elite Steam Generator Iron
How we chose the best steam irons
First, we consulted consumer watchdogs such as Which?, and took note of what they looked for in a steam iron and which brands they were recommending to their readers.
We then studied reviews of steam irons on the Mumsnet forums to find out which models parents had tried, tested and rated highly – and which irons they weren't impressed by.
Finally, we collated all that information and then looked at other online reviews to see which were the bestsellers and which received rave reviews after purchase. We then cross-referenced all that information to find the steam irons that had won the most accolades and recommendations across the board.
Here are the best steam irons to buy in 2022.
1. Best overall steam iron: Russell Hobbs 20630 Powersteam Ultra Steam Iron
Price: £32 | Buy now from Amazon
With this iron’s steam and spray functions, pressing your clothes has never been easier – even when presented with the most stubborn of creases.
The Russell Hobbs 20630 Powersteam Ultra has an improved glide from the previous model, which makes easy work of the ironing pile, as well as lots of great features such as an automatic shut-off if it’s left idle or falls over.
Equipped with a 350ml water tank, this iron can shoot out a 210g burst of steam to make quick work of denim or linen creases. It’s really quick to heat up and features useful notches for ironing around buttons.
- Self-cleaning feature
- Glides well over a variety of fabrics
- May feel a bit heavy when full
- Weight: 1.6kg
- Capacity: 0.35L
- Steam shot: 210g
- Watts: 3100
2. Best budget steam iron: Breville DiamondXPress Steam Iron
Price: £44.99 | Buy now from Amazon
With its quick heating, spacious water tank and strong steam bursts, the Breville DiamondXPress covers all the basics and has some good extras too, such as automatic shut-off, anti-scale, anti-drip and a self-clean feature.
The 400ml water tank on this iron means that you can use it for long periods without needing to refill it. The multi-directional soleplate allows for an easy glide while ironing and a three-metre cord gives you plenty of room to work. We also like the unusual rose gold and silver colourway.
- Extra-long cable
- Safety temperature strip
- The design may not appeal to all
- Weight: 1.63kg
- Capacity: 400ml
- Steam shot: 200g
- Watts: 3100
3. Most versatile steam iron: Tower T22008RG CeraGlide Steam Iron
Price: £31.58 | Buy now from Amazon
Tower T22008RG CeraGlide combines form and functionality with sleek design and powerful steaming performance. The ability to use it with or without its cord is a huge bonus.
It feels really smooth to use and powers through creases effortlessly using its precision steaming and multi-layered ceramic soleplate. It has anti-drip, anti-calcium and self cleaning functions to help it last longer.
- Heats up quickly and can be used completely cord-free
- Various steam functions
- Some customers report that it doesn't get as hot as they would expect
- Weight: 1.46kg
- Capacity: 360ml
- Steam shot: 150g
- Watts: 2400
4. Best heavy-duty steam iron: Philips Azur Steam Iron
Price: £41.99 | Buy now from Amazon
With powerful features like a 250g steam burst and SteamGlide soleplate, the Philips Azur Steam Iron makes light work of mountains of creased clothes.
This 2600W iron comes with a 300ml water tank for greater steam capacity and capability. The limescale catcher comes in handy, especially in areas with hard water, and the drip-stop feature prevents clothes from getting dripped on during ironing.
- Easy to fill and empty
- Quite bulky
- Weight: 1.57kg
- Capacity: 0.3L
- Steam shot: 250g
- Watts: 2600
5. Best luxury steam iron: Morphy Richards 303131 Turbosteam Pro Ionic Steam Iron
Price: £52.04 | Buy now from Amazon
The Morphy Richards Turbosteam Pro's pearl ceramic soleplate makes for easy ironing as it glides across most linen, using Tri-Zone technology for really effective wrinkle removal.
It also comes with dual temperature control to make ironing a variety of fabrics easier, whether you’re ironing cashmere or cotton. It also has a setting for thick fabrics, like linen curtains.
At 3100W, it has a quick heat-up time and powerful performance and a generously-sized tank means you won’t have to refill it as regularly as other irons.
- Large water tank
- Doesn’t leave heat marks
- Lacks plastic clip to fasten the cord
- Weight: 1.54kg
- Capacity: 400ml
- Steam shot: 200g
- Watts: 3100
6. Best digital steam iron: Beautural Steam Iron
Price: £39 | Buy now from Amazon
This iron offers a whopping nine preset options so you can always find the ideal temperature for the type of fabric you’re ironing. The digital display and preset options make it easy to see what you’re doing too.
The dual plate feature means you can get rid of creases fast while the ceramic plate helps the iron glide effortlessly across different types of fabric.
Automatic shut-off with motion sensors makes the Beautural Steam Iron a particularly safe option for family homes, while anti-calcium and self-cleaning features will help the iron last that little bit longer.
- Intuitive features
- Anti-calcium and self-cleaning system maintain the iron’s high performance
- Small entrance to top up the water tank
- Weight: 1.25kg
- Capacity: 0.34L
- Steam shot: Not listed
- Watts: 2400
7. Best cordless steam iron: Russell Hobbs Freedom 23300 Cordless Iron
Price: £32.55 | Buy now from Amazon
The Russell Hobbs Freedom Cordless Iron is super convenient, with a 30-second heat-up and a five-second recharge that means you never have to put the iron down for long.
It allows you to remove creases effortlessly with 40g of continuous steam and an additional 135g steam shot when you need it.
The base light indicators change colour to show when the iron is heating, ready for use and recharging.
- Clear light indicators
- Cordless use
- Has to be returned to the charging base often
- Weight: 153kg
- Capacity: 300ml
- Steam shot: 135g
- Watts: 2400
8. Best eco steam iron: Rowenta Eco Intelligence DW6030 Steam Iron
Price: £104.77 | Buy now from Amazon
This smart-looking iron in black and green uses up to 30% less energy than normal steam irons thanks to its patented Microsteam400 3De soleplate technology, which distributes steam perfectly to keep energy consumption low. A powerful steam boost is great for smoothing away creases, even on thick, heavy and dry fabrics.
The pointy tip on the soleplate is great for seams, collars and awkward corners and the anti-drip design won’t leave water splashes on your clothes. The anti-scale function means it should last just that bit longer too.
- Good eco credentials
- Three-metre cord
- Some reviews say this iron is less powerful than others
- Weight: 1.84kg
- Capacity: 300ml
- Steam shot: 180g
- Watts: 2500
9. Best steam generator iron: Philips PerfectCare Elite Steam Generator Iron
Price: £319.99 | Buy now from Amazon
Philips PerfectCare Elite Steam Generator Iron is quite an investment, but it really is the Queen of Everything when it comes to tackling an ironing pile. A steam generator iron can help you get through ironing more quickly than a regular steam iron.
The large steam generator unit separates from the iron to make it lighter to wield, but you can still get plenty of steam going to power through a huge pile of ironing. There's a sound-absorbing plate in the base so that the machine isn’t too noisy in use, and it heats up and is ready to use within two minutes.
This steam generator works magic on creases, even on really thick, heavy fabric, such as jeans, and the coated stainless steel soleplate has a lovely, smooth gliding movement. The steam boost is powerful and can also be used vertically for things like curtains.
- Detachable water tank
- The large tank lets you iron for over an hour without refilling
- Great at getting into tight corners
- Has an eco mode
- The cord is only two metres long
- Weight: 5.1kg (whole unit)
- Capacity: 1.8L
- Steam shot: 500g
- Watts: 2400
Are steam irons worth it?
Really, all irons are steam irons these days, though a new generation of steam generator irons are taking steam to a new level.
You'll likely still need a steam iron, even if you wear clothes that don’t generally need ironing. It’s a fact of life that all clothes look better when pressed and at some point you’ll have a wedding or a job interview to go to, even if you aren’t ironing work clothes as a matter of course each week.
Of course, steam irons are also handy for school uniforms, particularly when your children get to secondary school, so make sure you have an iron that your kids can eventually learn to wield themselves when they're old enough.
Are steam generator irons better than steam irons?
Steam generator irons have become much more mainstream over the last few years, with many people deciding to invest. And they are an investment, with prices going into the hundreds of pounds.
The main difference between a steam iron and a steam generator iron is that steam generators have a separate water tank. This makes quick work of ironing as much more steam is produced, and it also makes the iron itself easier to hold.
Steam generator irons are great if you iron regularly, especially if you iron lots of big items like towels and bed linen. They are more bulky than regular steam irons, however, so you need to have good storage space or not mind having them on display in your kitchen or laundry room.
An ordinary steam iron has its tank attached to the iron, so it holds less water and needs refilling more often than a steam generator iron, but a steam iron is less bulky and easier to drag around the house to wherever you want it. Steam irons are also considerably cheaper than steam generator irons.
How much should you spend on an iron?
You can buy a very basic steam iron for as little as £10, but you do get what you pay for at this end of the market. From the £30 mark, or just under, you can get some pretty decent irons that will do everything you expect and more.
How do I choose a steam iron?
There’s a huge array of steam irons at various price points, so it’s wise to have an idea of your budget before you buy.
While you’re at it, decide whether you want a steam iron or a bulkier steam generator iron, which will be partly dictated by your budget as well as how much storage space you have.
Different models will offer different features. Here are a few useful features you might want to look out for:
- The number of steam holes in the soleplate – the more holes, the more even the steam dispersal to get rid of creases
- Wattage - aim for around 1,400 watts for maximum effectiveness
- Cordless capability
- Automatic shut-off
- Anti-scale and anti-calcium technology – useful in hard-water areas
- Stainless steel soleplate - for a smooth glide over garments and fabrics
- Lightweight materials - this will make the iron easier to use
- Large capacity water tank
- Heat-up time – the higher the wattage, the faster the iron will heat up
- Easy-grip handles that are soft and comfortable to hold
- Fabric suitability – if you have lots of delicate fabrics in your wardrobe, check that the iron will be suitable for use on them
- Multiple steam release modes, e.g burst or continuous
How long do steam irons last?
How long your steam iron will last depends on how much you use it. A good steam iron should last around 10 years.
Which is the best steam iron to buy?
The best iron to buy is the Russell Hobbs 20630 Powersteam Ultra Steam Iron. This iron will suit almost any lifestyle and represents excellent value for money.
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