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Best steam generator irons 2024: Our picks of the models we’ve tried and tested

A trio of steam generator irons

We’ve tested the best steam generator irons to help you find an option that will let you breeze through your ironing in a flash

If you spend hours chained to the ironing board, one of the best steam generator irons could transform your life. With large, separate water tanks and huge amounts of steam, these irons will power through your ironing pile at speed, freeing you up to do something more enjoyable.

There are a lot of brands and styles of iron to choose from and many seem identical on the surface. To help make things easier for you, we’ve put these irons through a variety of at-home tests to determine whether a steam generator iron is what you need, or whether you might be better off with a steam iron or cordless iron.

If you already know that you’re after a steam generator iron, you’ll find an at-a-glance list below recommending some of our top picks, followed by mini reviews of the irons we recommend. Alternatively, if you’re after more information on steam generator irons, jump down to our buying guide for all the information you’ll need.

Best steam generator iron: At a glance

Best budget steam generator ironTower T22023GLD Ceraglide (~£60)Check price at Amazon
Best for hard water areasRussell Hobbs 24420 (~£89)Check price at AO
Best for ease of usePhilips PerfectCare Elite GC9650/80 (£400)Check price at Amazon

How we test steam generator irons

To test steam generator irons we look at various factors to ascertain how well they perform. The most important factors are how well the irons remove creases and how much steam they produce. We also look for irons with a good steam “shot” to remove stubborn creases and as well as decent pressure to push out plenty of continuous steam. Finally, we consider weight, tank capacity, anti-scale functions, how easy the iron is to use and the smoothness of the soleplate.

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The best steam generator irons you can buy in 2024

1. Tefal Pro Express Vision GV9820: Best steam generator iron for steam production

Price when reviewed: £600 | Check price at John Lewis

best steam generator iron tefal

  • Great for: Speedy ironing, powerful steam, efficient cleaning system
  • Not so great for: Small holes to empty the water tank, cord doesn’t fold away completely under the iron

Tefal’s Pro Vision Express is extremely expensive but if you’ve got a big family or lots of ironing to get through, you’ll love what light work it makes of everything. This is an extraordinarily powerful iron that glides through any fabric with ease.

We particularly loved the auto steam function, meaning you don’t need to keep your finger on the trigger to generate steam. This Smart Steam system releases steam automatically when the iron is moving and stops when it’s upright. The iron produces an impressive 180g of steam a minute, with a whopping 750g/min steam shot to get rid of stubborn creases. You can also steam vertically, which we found equally efficient.

Another clever feature is the Smart LED Vision light at the tip of the iron. This comes on automatically when the iron is either horizontal or if you’re holding down the steam button for more than two seconds. The light made it easier for us to see what we were doing and made sure no creases had been missed.

The water tank is of a good size, though we did think the holes to empty it were a little small. The scale collector and anti-drip features help keep limescale out of your iron and off your clothes and the Durilium Airglide Autoclean soleplate is particularly smooth, gliding over clothes with minimal effort. The cord is of a decent length, although we do wish it would fold away completely under the iron. But this is a minor quibble with an iron that was a pleasure to use and did a spectacular job.

Key specs – Tank capacity: 1.2l; Steam output: 180g/min; Steam boost: 750g/min

2. Philips PerfectCare Elite GC9650/80: Best steam generator iron for ease of use

Price when reviewed: £400 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for: Fast heat up, smooth soleplate, innovative automatic temperature adjustment
  • Not so great for: Vertical steaming, temperature isn’t always quite hot enough

The PerfectCare Elite is efficient, but less costly than Philips’ flagship model: it comes with an identical removable 1.8 water reservoir and the same small, lightweight hand unit (0.8kg) for effortless crease obliteration. Indeed, the only difference between the two models is their respective steam outputs.

We were big fans of the company’s unique “no burn” OptimalTEMP technology. This means you can safely iron any fabric (from silk to denim) using just one temperature setting and even leave the iron face down on the ironing board, instead of putting it in its cradle. This is ground-breaking stuff for anyone who has no idea what heat setting to apply for a specific fabric.

All steam generators take a while to warm up, but this one’s quicker than most – it takes just two minutes. Its anti-calc system works brilliantly well, too. Simply turn off the iron, wait until things have cooled down a bit and carefully unscrew the rear cap of the generator unit to release any calcified water. However, we felt that the iron wasn’t great for vertical steaming, being a rather cumbersome shape to hold in place. We also found the iron erred slightly on the cooler side and that heavily creased cotton and denim took several passes to get completely smooth.

Key specs – Tank capacity: 1.8l; Steam output: 150g/min; Steam boost: 500g/min

3. Tower T22023GLD Ceraglide: Best budget steam generator iron

Price when reviewed: £60 | Check price at Amazon

best steam generator iron - Tower T22023GLD

  • Great for: Budget price, excellent steam capabilities, smooth soleplate
  • Not so great for: Not quite as solid as premium models, can splutter a little if you use continuous steam for too long

If your heart is set on a steam generator iron but you lack the budget for the more expensive irons on our list, the Tower iron could be the solution. It’s an absolute bargain in the steam generator iron world, but how does it perform?

Well, it’s not as powerful as its competitors on this list, with 80g/min of continuous steam. However, we found that it still produced plenty of steam and made light work of even heavier creases with the added steam shot. The ceramic soleplate is smooth and irons well, with a nice glide across the fabric and there’s a vertical steam option as well.

We were also impressed by how lightweight the Tower iron was to use and found the steam pressure good. However, you can’t use continuous steam for more than around 15 seconds before the iron starts to splutter a little, so do bear this in mind. The Tower doesn’t feel as solid as more expensive models; it still does an excellent job, but just won’t power through your ironing quite as quickly.

Key specs – Tank capacity: 1.2l; Steam output: 80g/min; Steam boost: 80g/min

4. Russell Hobbs 24420: Best steam generator iron for hard water areas

Price when reviewed: £89 | Check price at AO

best steam generator iron - Russell Hobbs 24420

  • Great for: Coping with hard water, lighter weight than most, long cable for ease of use
  • Not so great for: Stainless steel soleplate isn’t as smooth as a ceramic one

The Russell Hobbs 24420 steam generator iron is another reasonably priced offering that manages to deliver great results. It heats up in just 60 seconds and offers 90g/min of continuous steam, along with a steam shot for more stubborn creases.

The iron produces a good amount of steam and we found that it dealt with creases and wrinkles quickly and easily. It’s also one of the lighter steam generator irons we tested, along with the Tower, and has a long cable meaning you can even place the tank on the floor while you iron. There’s also a vertical steam function for larger items such as curtains.

If you live in a hard water area, limescale can be a real issue for your appliances. The Russell Hobbs iron has a calc cleaning system inside the filters, which helps to purify the water on its way to the tank. This helps enormously with preventing limescale build-up. Combined with the anti-scale and anti-drip features, this iron copes well with hard water and limescale build-up. Our only niggle was that we felt the stainless-steel soleplate wasn’t quite as smooth as a ceramic option.

Key specs – Tank capacity: 1.3l; Steam output: 90g/min; Steam boost: 90g/min

5. Rowenta Silence Steam DG9249: Best steam generator iron for large ironing jobs

Price when reviewed: £349 | Check price at Currys

  • Great for: Professional level ironing, powerful steam, quiet performance
  • Not so great for: Small water tank, requires some ironing ‘know-how’

If you’re after a professional-grade steam generator iron that isn’t sold at professional prices, this one’s a worthy contender. Granted, it’s not the prettiest steamer and its 1.3l water tank is quite small. You will also need to know your fabrics when using this iron, you’ll need to be able to dial the right steam selection setting on the rear of the base unit and set the right fabric type on the iron itself. But we found it easy to get to grips with and extremely quiet to use.

The Rowenta has a standard steam output of 160g/min, with a precision steam boost button on top of the iron that increases the output to 600g/min – ample for dealing with heavy linen and denim creases. Periodic descaling is performed by unscrewing a tab and pouring the limescale contents into a sink.

From a user experience point of view, the Rowenta excels. The hand unit is quite small, and it doesn’t feel too heavy, while the stainless-steel soleplate and contoured tip make light work of anything you throw at it. If you know your cotton from your synthetics, the Rowenta is a strong choice: it’s compact, light, efficient and very quiet.

Key specs – Tank capacity: 1.3l; Steam output: 160g/min; Steam boost: 600g/min

Check price at Currys

How to choose the best steam generator iron for you

What is a steam generator iron?

The standard steam iron has an internal water reservoir – usually around 300ml in capacity. However, a typical domestic iron may offer only low steam pressure and the reservoir will need regular refilling.

A steam generator is a type of iron that works on the same principle, except the water tank and heating element are stored in a separate base unit that’s connected to the iron by a length of rubber hose. The average water tank is around 1.8l in capacity, so you can do six times as much ironing before needing to visit the tap for a refill.

What’s more, a steam generator iron is also capable of punching out a much greater volume of steam than a traditional iron. Many generators can produce a constant steam volume of 120g/min, whereas even a decent traditional iron will struggle to produce more than 55g/min.

Steam boost figures are even more impressive: you might get 230g/min from an iron, while the best steam generators approach 500g/min. They’re also capable of pumping out steam at much higher pressures – on average, a whopping 6.5 bars. That’s enough to very quickly defeat even the deepest creases.

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Pros and cons of steam generator irons


  • The hand unit is lighter and easier to use because it doesn’t need to contain a water reservoir.
  • Ironing time can be cut by up to a third.
  • Large volumes of high-pressure steam.
  • The steam boost function makes light work of even the heaviest creases.
  • No need for constant water refills.
  • With some fabrics, you can get away with ironing on just one side.


  • Takes longer to warm up – sometimes up to three minutes.
  • More expensive than a traditional iron.
  • The base unit is comparatively bulky.
  • You may need a larger ironing board or one designed for a steam generator.
  • The hose from the base unit to iron can be annoying.
  • The noise of water being heated and circulated is louder than a traditional iron.
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