Banish unwanted creases and wrinkles from your holiday wardrobe with these compact travel irons
Whether it’s regular trips for work or the annual holiday with the family, creased clothes are the bane of every traveller’s existence. No matter how well you iron your garments before you leave, or how carefully you fold and stack them in your suitcase, they’re guaranteed to emerge a wrinkled mess once you arrive at your destination. That’s why there’s only one sensible course of action: invest in the best travel iron you can find.
Many of us adopt the “hang it on the door frame and hope for the best” approach, but this does nothing for serious creasing. The only thing that will get you the results you need is a good travel iron or, alternatively, one of the new breed of garment steamers, which work wonders even without an ironing board.
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How to choose the best travel iron for you?
What’s the difference between a travel iron and a garment steamer?
While irons require a board or flat surface, garment steamers are also incredibly popular – especially when it comes to travelling. This is because they give you the ability to coax the creases out of your clothes while they’re hanging up rather than requiring you to find an ironing board. The downside is that you won’t be able to create intentional creases and sharp lines in the same way you would with an iron.
Some products attempt to combine the benefits of both the iron and the steamer, and we’ve recommended some of those below.
How much do I need to spend?
The price of a good travel iron can vary, with some basic models selling for under £10 but others boasting additional features and sporting a high price to match. The most expensive entries on our list wouldn’t be out of place at home but are compact enough to take with you on a trip. More traditional travel irons, many of which require only a tiny amount of water in order to produce steam, are at the lower end of the price spectrum.
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The best travel irons you can buy in 2023
1. Steamworks ES143 Travel Iron: The best budget travel iron
Price: £13 | Buy now from Argos
A truly affordable option, the Steamworks ES143 Travel Iron weighs in at just 0.7kg so won’t add a huge amount of extra heft to your baggage, and has a lot of the same features as your main iron back home. That includes a stainless steel soleplate, 70ml water tank, spray button and variable steam function. Best of all, it takes just one minute to heat up.
Key specs – Water capacity: 70ml; Power: 1,000W; Heating time: 1 minute; Weight: 0.7kg; Cord length: 1.91m
2. John Lewis Travel Iron: The best-designed portable iron
Price: £20 | Buy now from John Lewis
When it comes to quality homeware, John Lewis is always a safe bet – and this travel iron is no exception. It’s got everything you’d expect from a portable iron: a ceramic soleplate to prevent accidental scorch marks, dry and steam ironing options and a handy travel bag bundled in. Its lightweight design incorporates a soft-grip handle that’s comfortable to hold, while its leak-free water tank has an anti-scale coating that’ll make clogging a thing of the past. What’s more, John Lewis guarantees it for two years, so you can iron away on holiday with total peace of mind.
Key specs – Water capacity: 50ml; Power: 1,000W; Heating time: ‘instant’; Weight: 0.69kg; Cord length: 1.9m
3. Duronic Mini Steam Iron: The best miniature travel iron
Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon
Small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, the 13cm-long Duronic Mini Steam Iron could be your secret weapon the next time you go away. Thanks to its unique design and the central position of the mains cable, the iron can be used left or right-handed – handy when you find yourself in a tight hotel room with less space to move around. It even comes in useful for crafting activities such as quilting and patchwork or ironing smaller items like baby clothes. With its own storage pouch, it will fit snugly into any sized luggage.
Key specs – Water capacity: 50ml; Power: 375W; Dimensions: 7.8cm x 13.5cm; Weight: 0.76kg; Cord length: 1.88m
4. EasyIron 3-in-1 handheld steam iron: The best all-in-one garment steamer
Price: £32 | Buy now from Amazon
This handy device from EasyIron can perform three functions for the price, space and weight of one, making it ideal for travel. For a quick refresh, the EasyIron can heat up to steam your clothes in 35 seconds, while its 220ml water capacity will last up to 14 minutes. If you’ve got bigger creases to contend with, just detach the bristle brush and use the ceramic hot plate for smooth and flat dry ironing. It’s also got four heat levels to choose from, helping you to avoid scorching your fabric. Although it’s larger than the other irons in our guide, we feel its multi-functional convenience is worth the trade off.
Key specs – Water capacity: 220ml; Power: 1,600W; Heating time: 35 seconds; Weight: 1kg; Cord length: 2m
5. Quest Travel Steam Iron: A classic steam iron design, but compact
Price: £15 | Buy now from Amazon
Where rivals shrink dimensions or add garment steaming features, Quest has stuck with a traditional steam iron design. It’s relatively light and compact, and its collapsible handle allows it to shrink down in size when you’re not using it. This makes it a good choice for those who prefer a bog-standard iron to use on their travels, and don’t want to compromise on crease-tackling power.
With its smaller water tank, this might be best for dry ironing (although it does have options for steam iron and steam burst), but the adjustable temperature dial provides all the usual options including “nylon”, “silk” and “cotton” to ensure you’re using the optimal setting.
Key specs – Water capacity: 50ml; Power: 1,000W; Dimensions: 9cm x 12cm x 20cm; Weight: 0.64kg; Cord length: 1.5m