Our pick of the best steam irons for a pain-free ironing experience
Whether you love or loathe doing the weekly ironing, you can make the job a little easier with the best steam iron for the job. Investing wisely now could help you speed through the piles of t-shirts and trousers. That’s because steam irons help to quickly and gently flatten out deep creases without having to go over the same spot again and again. This is ideal for particularly stubborn items, as well as more delicate pieces of clothing, which can’t handle a lot of heat.
Read on and we’ll explain everything you need to know, helping you to wade through the overwhelming number of steam irons out there. Our buying guide will answer all the essential questions you might have, and our short reviews will explain all the pros and cons of each steam iron we recommend. If you just want to quickly grab a replacement for a broken stream iron, then you’ll find quick buying links for all our favourites in the at-a-glance list below.
How to choose the best steam iron
Should I spend the extra on a steam generator iron instead?
The answer depends on what you’re looking for. Compared to a steam generator, a steam iron is cheaper and less bulky, so if you’re planning to iron small amounts of clothing or lack the necessary storage space, it’s by far the best option. Despite appearances, steam irons put out a huge amount of steam so that it won’t impact how effective it is. If you have more than £100 to spare and need the largest steam output, however, you should think about paying for a steam generator that has a much bigger water tank and requires refilling far less frequently.
How much should I spend on a steam iron?
You don’t need to spend a fortune on a good iron, but it’s worth spending a little bit more if you tend to iron in bigger batches or only use it once a week. For example, vertical steam (allowing you to iron clothes as they hang) is a fantastic bonus option that would only set you back a further £20 to £25, and an auto-clean function could save you a lot of hassle down the line.
What features should I look for in a steam iron?
As you might expect from a steam iron, the steam output is a key feature. Steam helps to get rid of creases and deeper wrinkles, as well as just generally making ironing easier. The average output for sequential steam is 30g/min, although some models go up to 120g/min.
If you live in a hard water area, anti-calc and anti-scale features are a big plus, and many irons also have automatic cleaning systems. All this helps to prevent drips onto your clothes and, more importantly, prevents limescale build-up in your iron. It’s also worth considering the size of the water tank since the smaller it is, the more you’ll need to refill it. If you often need to do a lot of ironing in one go, look for a tank capacity of at least 300ml.
Soleplates are almost inevitably ceramic on modern irons and a larger plate will mean faster ironing. Of course, the bigger the plate, the larger and heavier the iron will be, so do consider this if weight is likely to be an issue for you.
How we test steam irons
At Expert Reviews, we know that the best way to review a product is through hands-on testing. To test steam irons, we use them on a variety of fabrics at different settings to see how well they deal with creases. We also use all of the available steam settings, as well as testing the iron without steam, to see what difference this makes to speed and efficiency. Finally, we test the irons for weight, smoothness of the soleplate, and how simple the controls are to use.
READ NEXT: The best clothes steamers to buy
The best steam irons you can buy in 2024
1. Tefal Ultimate Pure FV9845 Steam Iron: Best for hard water areas
Price when reviewed: £116 | Check price at Amazon
Of all the irons we tested, the Tefal Ultimate Pure had the smoothest glide across all kinds of fabric. The iron has a hefty ‘Durilium air glide autoclean’ soleplate that gets hot quickly and produces steam instantly, making it easy to remove even stubborn creases from your clothes.
As well as the usual steam settings, there’s also a turbo steam button located under the handle for an extra burst. It also has a MicroScale filter, which helps to reduce limescale stains on your clothes by filtering out limescale particles – making it one of the better choices on the market if you live in a hard water area.
Although it’s one of the lighter irons on our list, the Tefal Ultimate Pure is large, with an equally large soleplate. This means it gets through ironing quickly but also makes it a little more unwieldy than other irons. At 3100W, this is a powerful, high-quality iron that makes it easy to speed through your ironing pile.
Key details – Weight: 1.45kg; Continuous steam: 60g/min; Steam shot: 260g/min; Soleplate: Ceramic; Tank capacity: 350ml; Wattage: 3,100W
2. Tefal Easygliss Eco FV5782 Steam Iron: Best eco steam iron
Price when reviewed: £65 | Check price at Amazon
Tefal’s Easygliss Eco iron uses up to 30% less energy in Eco mode compared to the iron’s Max mode. It’s also made from up to 35% recycled materials and is 88% recyclable itself, even the box is made from 93% recycled fabrics and is 100% recyclable. If you’re looking for a more sustainable steam iron, this Tefal is the obvious choice. On top of its eco credentials, it’s also a powerful iron with 2800W and 50g/min of steam, plus there’s a 260g boost for when you need extra steam.
We really liked the feel of this iron. It’s substantial in the hand without feeling too heavy, and it has a smooth action from the large soleplate. It also has a solid stand built right in, meaning you can put it down at any point with no fear of it falling over, and the big dial in the middle makes it easy to control the temperature. The cord is a little on the short side and the water tank isn’t as large as some, but this is an excellent iron with some powerful steam.
Key details – Weight: 1.57kg; Continuous steam: 50g/min; Steam shot: 260g/min; Soleplate: Ceramic; Tank capacity: 270ml; Wattage: 2,800W
3. JML Phoenix Gold Steam Iron: Best budget steam iron
Price when reviewed: £56 | Check price at Amazon
When we say ‘budget’, this is still a £56 iron. However, it is cheaper than many of the options on the market while still performing at a high level. JML’s cordless iron was our best buy in our pick of the best cordless irons, so how does the corded version compare?
We were really impressed with the huge amounts of steam, which was consistent and easily controlled with an on/off button. There are three settings for steam on the iron and a concentrated steam zone at the front of the iron to make it easier to remove creases. It also works as a vertical steamer, although you’ll probably still need to iron the fiddlier parts of a garment flat.
The soleplate is large and smooth, and there’s even a texture brush attachment to remove any debris before ironing. Our only slight criticisms are that there’s no built-in de-calc facility – so, depending on how hard your water is, you’ll need to buy and use a descaler from time to time – and the iron is heavier than many others.
Key details – Weight: 1.9kg; Continuous steam: 48g/min; Steam shot: 10g/min; Soleplate: Ceramic; Tank capacity: 380ml; Wattage: 2,200W
4. Philips DST7020 Azur Steam Iron: Best for extended use
Price when reviewed: £54 | Check price at Amazon
The Philips DST7020 is lightweight and comfortable in the hand, making it ideal for those who have a lot of ironing to get through. The soleplate is smooth and glides well over all types of fabric and the iron itself has a sleek, attractive look.
The variable steam function allows you to adjust not only the power of the steam but also its direction and the humidity, producing good amounts of steam which, combined with the smooth soleplate, helps remove creases faster, speeding up the ironing.
The power cord is on the shorter side and a couple of our testers found it easy to knock the temperature setting underneath the handle, accidentally changing it. But overall, this is a well-made iron that we’d expect to last well and keep performing.
Key details – Weight: 1.67kg; Continuous steam: 50g/min; Steam shot: 250g/min; Soleplate: Ceramic; Tank capacity: 300ml; Wattage: 2,800W
6. Breville DiamondXpress VIN401 Steam Iron: Best for ease of use
Price when reviewed: £60 | Check price at Currys
Breville’s iron isn’t called the DiamondXpress for no reason: you’ll find actual crushed diamonds in the soleplate, which Breville says improves longevity as well as glide. The iron is light and has a slightly smaller soleplate than some of the others we tested; however, the soleplate is wide and multi-directional which makes it very easy to manoeuvre around an ironing board. It was also one of the most stable irons in a standing position and has a nice, soft handle that feels comfortable in the hand. There’s also plenty of steam produced, making it easy to remove wrinkles without too much effort.
Despite the diamonds in the soleplate – or perhaps because of them – we didn’t find the Breville quite as smooth as the Tefal Ultimate Pure, although it still ironed extremely well. The water tank is also a little tricky to fill, as you need to tilt it at an angle and avoid its opening lid, but it is quite large at 400ml. Overall, this is a very attractive iron that’s incredibly simple to use.
Key details – Weight: 1.66kg; Continuous steam: 70g/min; Steam shot: 200g/min; Soleplate: Ceramic; Tank capacity: 400ml; Wattage: 3,100W
7. Russell Hobbs 28370 Steam Genie 2-in-1: Best multipurpose steam iron
Price when reviewed: £55 | Check price at Argos
The Russell Hobbs Steam Genie is a 2-in-1 steamer and iron, with different attachments for delicates and upholstery. It heats up incredibly quickly – in just 60 seconds – and has One Temperature technology that makes it safe to use on all iron-friendly fabrics, without having to worry about accidentally knocking the temperature setting. The Steam Genie also kills bacteria as you steam and iron. It’s not as powerful as other irons on our list, thanks in part to its small size, but that makes the amount of steam it produces all the more impressive.
Anything that saves us time is a winner in the Expert Reviews office and we loved the multipurpose functions of the Steam Genie and how efficient it was for vertical steaming/ironing. It also comes with a heat-resistant bag, which is useful for resting the iron on as the long handle means it doesn’t have the most stable platform. Our biggest bugbear was that it’s not always great at getting into tricky corners, but for sheer speed and the different attachments, it’s hard to beat.
Key details – Weight: 1.21kg; Continuous steam: 20g/min; Steam shot: N/A; Soleplate: Ceramic; Tank capacity: 150ml; Wattage: 1,700W
8. Tefal Pure Pop Handheld Clothes Steamer: Best travel steam iron
Price when reviewed: £50 | Check price at Amazon
Strictly speaking, this is a steamer as opposed to a steam iron, but we’ve included it because it’s ideal to pop in your bag when you go on holiday. It’s only about as thick as a large paperback book but packs 1300W to produce huge amounts of steam for tackling creases.
We loved the reversible faceplate, which has a velvet side for steaming your clothes and a lint-removal side for getting rid of hair and fluff. The faceplate simply clicks onto the front of the steamer and forms a seal to improve the steaming capabilities.
This isn’t a machine you’d use for huge amounts of ironing as the water reservoir is tiny – it’s built into the handle and will definitely need refilling if you’re steaming multiple items – but it’s incredibly easy to fill, mainly because Tefal have had the foresight to make it removable from the main body of the steamer.
The results from this little steamer are impressive and we’d definitely recommend packing one on your next trip.
Key details – Weight: 1kg; Continuous steam: 20g/min; Steam shot: N/A; Soleplate: N/A; Tank capacity: 70ml; Wattage: 1,300W