You might be a stickler for clothes maintenance who knows that certain fabrics need to be laundered and pressed a certain way, or you might just be wanting to save on hefty dry cleaning bills. Whatever your reasons for buying a steam iron, there are certain things to keep in mind.

Steam irons do help a mighty lot in removing stubborn creases, but as is the case with helpful appliances, their efficiency depends on the quality of their make and features. At the same time, unless you’re planning on a little side hustle, shelling out big bucks for something that, at the end of the day only presses clothes, is a bit far out. The best steam irons should be able to provide value within an affordable price range.

However, needs tend to vary with people, so you should choose your steam iron keeping in mind what use it will be put to frequently, and not how swanky the model looks or fancy the features are. Or else, you’ll end up paying more money on features you’re probably never going to use.

Here are some basic things to look for when buying a steam iron:

  • Even with all the features, any steam iron should be well balanced, with a handle designed for comfortable holding.
  • The more the steam holes on the soleplate, the more amount of steam your iron would release, thereby ensuring better ironing.
  • Things like a high capacity water tank, and a long cord will make the ironing process more convenient.
  • The best steam irons will also have self-cleaning features so they will be as easy to maintain as they are to use.
  • Extra features include things like vertical steaming, scratch resistant soleplates as well as portability which make them easy to travel with.
  • Safety features are important as well, especially if you have children in the house (or simply happen to be careless yourself).

Based on the requirements stated above, we have complied a list of the best steam irons available in the market that are also incredibly value for money and diverse in the nature of their use:

Best steam irons: A detailed review

Rowenta DW5080 Focus 1700 Watt Micro Steam Iron Stainless Steel Soleplate with Auto Off, 400 Hole, Brown

Rowenta hardly needs an introduction when it comes to home appliances, and more so for linen care. These German-engineered steam irons claim to deliver “perfect ironing results” through “power, performance and precision”. And going by their popularity, it is hard to contest that claim. There are various models that cater to the different needs of output and budget.

The Rowenta DW5080 Focus falls right in the middle of their vast range of affordable steam irons and the higher end professional grade steam stations that are expensively priced. Technically therefore, you could derive the word “average” from that logic, but this steam iron is anything but. In fact, if we had to straight up ask you to buy one iron for all your needs, it would be this (unless you are a Black+ Decker loyalist in which case, keep reading :).

The Rowenta DW5080 Focus provides near-professional functions, within a reasonable price range for that kind of quality. It has been the go to iron for many professional and hobbyist seamstresses for years.

Powerful enough at 1700 watts, which helps the iron heat up in a minute or less, it has 400 steam holes which facilitate for powerful steam output. The water tank capacity is 10 ounces which is also fairly large for continuous ironing for a longer period of time. The slight inconvenience is that it gets difficult to check the water level because of the dark color of the plastic body, but unless you are using the steam burst feature frequently, you shouldn’t be running out of water in one sitting.

Pros

  • Right balance of professional grade performance and reasonable pricing.
  • All the features you ever wanted in your dream steam iron like steam burst, vertical steaming, self-clean and auto shut for safety.
  • The combination of 1700 watt power and 400 holes makes ironing faster.
  • The soleplate has a pointed tip design which makes it easy to get around the collar and buttons.
  • This particular model is German-made as opposed to some other cheaper Chinese models from Rowenta, so the quality is far more superior to others.
  • The thermostat knob comes with different settings you can play around with depending on your needs, making this an overall versatile steam iron.

Cons

  • It doesn’t have the anti-calcium system as in some of its more expensive models, which means it won’t be much help preventing calcium buildup, thus affecting both performance and long term maintenance.

Rowenta DW8080 Pro Master 1700 Watt Micro Steam Iron Stainless Steel Soleplate with Auto Off, 400 Hole, Blue

This iron is, as the price explains, a slightly upgraded version of the Rowenta DW5080 Focus, while still not being exorbitantly priced. Nevertheless, the features are fit for professional level ironing. The steam capacity is powerful by virtue of its 1700 watt power and 400 steam holes, so it gets even the stubborn creases at the first attempt, in comparison to the multiple slides you would need with other irons.

But what makes it superior in quality is its make. In case of other cheaper models of Rowenta steam irons, a lot of customers have reported dripping from the soleplates and bottom after just a few months of usage. And the fact that Rowenta has been outsourcing manufacturing of some of those models to factories in China as a cost-cutting method might be blamed for it. In contrast, the German-made Rowenta DW8080 Pro Master is a much higher quality product that doesn’t register a case of sputtering or dripping.

As an upgraded version of the previous Rowenta model discussed, this has a higher water tank capacity at 12.7 ounces and a more powerful steam burst capacity at 150 gram/min. You’ll need only the medium setting for even the most difficult of wrinkles on linen and cotton. Or you could use the high setting if you’re in a rush and need to get ironing done in a jiffy.

The takeaway for this iron is that it doesn’t just flaunt a series of features. It really does perform accordingly. Like the self-cleaning feature actually fully cleans the iron off of debris instead of just letting some weak steam out. If you are borderline OCD about grooming and don’t mind shelling out a few extra bucks for neatly pressed clothes, or if you are a seamstress working out of your home, this is an ideal steam iron for you.

Pros

  • Superior build: scratch resistant, polished stainless steel soleplate with full metal shield.
  • This German-made model is higher on quality with its anti-drip mechanisms and longer shelf life, which can’t be said about the cheaper products.
  • The “micro” steam holes are small and smooth enough to not get stuck on fabric while ironing.
  • Powerful steam capacity and the ability to heat really fast produces much quicker results.
  • 7 foot long cord with 360 degree pivoting ability helps with convenient ironing.
  • Heat distribution is even and doesn’t produce heat spots, as should be the case in professional grade irons.

Cons

  • All these features come at the expense of slightly heavier weight. Although, not too heavy if you’d rather have top quality ironing results and believe that heavier irons do a better job.
  • Alongside the weight, the design of the handle, which is placed towards the back of the iron, makes the maneuvering somewhat inconvenient.
  • The price is a bit on the higher side if you just want a simple steam iron.

Steamfast SF 717 Home and Away Mini Steam Iron

The Steamfast SF 717 is proof that irons need not be big, heavy or pricey to do a good job of ironing. This is a mini steam iron aptly named “Home and Away” that is convenient for travels because not every place has star-rated laundering facilities. This is especially true of professional seamstresses for whom an iron is a work tool more than anything else. Or maybe you live in a really small studio apartment with even smaller closet space and storage for bigger irons is an issue.

Yet, for all its size constraints, it does a pretty efficient job of removing kinks from clothes really fast. The advantage of smaller steam irons is that they have a smaller water tank, making it possible for them to heat up fast. At 420 watt, it is also pretty powerful for a portable iron and has dual voltage usage facility that makes it further convenient for travels.

The other advantage of a mini iron is that they are much lighter to handle so it is easier to steer around and reach corners and collars. However, it justifies its price for a mini iron with its powerful performance and works not just on lighter creases, but also on quilts and seams. In fact, owing to its smaller build, it is more convenient to use it on seams than the larger, heavier irons. The cord too is pretty long for a mini steam iron so it really is like using a regular steam iron but with a lighter weight and a lower price point.

As if to drive home its travel-friendly feature, the Steamfast SF 717 comes with its own travel bag and plastic measuring cup. Convenient indeed!

Pros

  • Travel-friendly steam iron that doesn’t skimp on quality performance.
  • Heats up in a few seconds and so the ironing experience is almost always fast.
  • The soleplate is non-stick so it glides smoothly on fabric and also prevents heat spots.
  • Variable temperature settings between 140 0F and 428 0F make usage even more convenient.

Cons

  • It is difficult to use this iron as a regular substitute for a big iron, because pressing many clothes at once with this tiny iron can get tiring.
  • Owing to its small size again, the water tank capacity is much smaller compared to regular size irons so steam won’t last very long.
  • It doesn’t have an auto shut system, which is a drawback with respect to safety, but appealing to some users because of the convenience of uninterrupted use.

Panasonic NI L70SR Cordless Iron, Curved Stainless Steel Soleplate, White/Clear Green

We all know the inconvenience of cords getting in the way while ironing clothes. The Panasonic NI L70SR solves that problem with its cordless feature. It comes with a charging base that has an automatic retractable cord affixed to it. All you have to do is place the iron on the base and wait until it gets heated. Then you detach it from the base and use until the iron cools. And then repeat the process over.

Although a cordless iron, it doesn’t skimp on the heating ability. At 1600 watt, it is as powerful as any other steam iron with continuous electric source. The heat and steam settings are adjustable and there is also a cool spray mist option. The soleplate is a curved stainless steel design with circular indentations that are there to trap air between the soleplate and the fabric for smoother glide. Stainless steel soleplates are better than Teflon coated ones in that they don’t leave residue from the Teflon on the fabric.

One significant difference is the inclusion of a detachable water tank. With attached water tanks, the process of filing water often gets messy with extra water dripping all over the iron in case you overfill the tank in a hurry. Because of its lighter color, it is also much easier to check the water levels without having to repeatedly open the tank. And then there are all the important features present like the steam burst and vertical steaming, and the self-cleaning and anti-calcium mechanisms.

The USP of this steam iron though, is the cordless feature that is great for ironing without the hassles of a cord too short or long cords that get tangled around the ironing table or come between the fabric and soleplate. However the obvious downside is that you’re missing the continuous source of heat, and if there’s a large pile of clothes to be ironed, or you need to iron as you sew, it could get inconvenient reheating the iron repeatedly. Having said that, it is possible to work your way around it; the iron gets heated quite fast between folding the clothes and keeping them away.

Pros

  • The best option in cordless steam irons; it stays heated for up to 3 minutes after charging once, and reheats within a few seconds too.
  • Auto shut feature inclusion adds to the safety aspect of this iron.
  • Good quality build for an iron that is also very convenient to use.
  • Adjustable heat and steam settings offer variety of uses.
  • All major features like steam burst, vertical steam, self-cleaning and anti-calcium included.
  • Detachable water tank makes filling easier.

Cons

  • The natural cons of cordless steam irons feature here too. Though it stays heated for up to 3 minutes, it is not enough for particularly stubborn wrinkles and needs multiple glides.

Rowenta DW2070 Effective Comfort 1600 Watt Steam Iron Stainless Steel Soleplate with Auto Off, 300 Hole, Blue

If you want the benefits of the expertise and engineering of Rowenta, but within a tighter budget, the Rowenta DW2070 could be a good pick. It is powerful enough at 1600 watt, so it does the job almost as fast as other higher end steam irons. The 300 count of steam holes too is not very less than the pricier Rowenta irons. It is large enough at 11 inches, but is quite light weight. Also, the iron has this slightly forward leaning design, and the handle is placed in a forward leaning angle too, so it is all the more convenient to steer around and doesn’t need much pressure applied. It finishes off nicely into a pointed “precision tip” that, coupled with the forward bent design, gets around buttons and collars more effectively.

Judging by how much you need to pay for good quality irons for all your diverse needs, we think Rowenta has done a decent job with this model, packing in all of the necessary features that are required for those aforementioned needs within a lower price point. So you get a scratch resistant stainless steel soleplate, steam burst, variable heat and steam settings as well as anti-calcium, self-cleaning and three way auto shut safety mechanisms.

That said, the caveat is that when you pack so many diverse features into one inexpensive gadget, the quality is bound to be affected. This iron is not one of the most reliable irons out there and you need to adjust according to its limitations. For example, it does sputter and it does get mineral residue from water and fabric accumulated on its soleplate after prolonged use. You need to be careful with how you use it to get the most out of this iron. To prevent sputtering, use clean drinking water or distilled water if you have hard water in your area.

Pros

  • Quite powerful and feature-packed for a budget steam iron.
  • Steam capacity is good owing to the combination of 1600 watt power and 300 steam holes.
  • Lots of features for a budget iron: scratch resistant soleplate, variable heat and steam settings, self-cleaning, anti-calcium and three way auto shut systems.
  • The forward leaning design with a pointy tip along with a comfortable handle makes it easy to steer.

Cons

  • Since this is a lower end model from Rowenta, and possibly manufactured outside of Germany, the overall quality is compromised a bit.

Sunbeam Hot 2 Trot 800 Watt Compact Non Stick Soleplate Travel Iron, GCSBTR 100 000

We’re big believers in value for money products, and if it is possible to get good results and get a great deal as well, it is definitely going to be a part of our list. This inexpensive steam iron makes it to the list of best steam irons solely because it makes all the basic requirements of a steam iron available at such a throwaway price. So if you’ve traveled to a place without an iron and need one, it doesn’t burn a huge hole in your pocket to order one instantly. You can have a regular steam iron at home and still keep this for your travels.

The quality of the build is not extremely shabby either and won’t fall apart after a few uses just because the price is low. At 7.9 x 3.6 x 4 inches of dimension, it is the right size of a mini steam iron that fits perfectly in the palm of your hand and the compact design helps with that too. It has a non-stick soleplate which is not as good as the high end scratch resistant soleplates but it does the job of quickly ironing a few clothes. The power is 800 watt and produces decent steam to serve the purpose of a regular steam iron, but it will probably not be able to take care of the stubborn wrinkles on linen and cotton.

It has a light indicator too, and depending on what you prefer your steam iron to do, can be either a good thing or bad. The light indicator on this iron shows you when it is being heated, not when it is on. So the moment your iron is heated to its full capacity, the indicator shuts off. On the other hand, in some other irons (like some Rowenta ones), the indicator stays on for as long as the iron is connected to the power source.

To conclude, it is a pretty effective steam iron for your basic ironing needs while being extremely affordable, but you shouldn’t expect extraordinary results from it.

Pros

  • The price! It is inexpensive enough to buy when there’s an urgent need.
  • It is a mini iron and therefore convenient to travel with.
  • Gives you all basic steam ironing functions at a very low price.
  • Easy to handle.

Cons

  • Obviously not the most efficient iron around and lacks in performance.
  • Steam capacity and spray strength are not very powerful.

Sunbeam Steam Master GCSBSP 201 FFP 1400 Watt Large Anti Drip Non Stick Stainless steel Soleplate Iron with Variable Steam Control and 8′ Retractable Cord, Chrome/Teal

Sunbeam is a reputable name in the business of steam irons and their Steam Master model is a popular buy. What we like about it is that at a much lower price point, the iron provides some of the most crucial features required for steam ironing, while the other fancier features that are not included are not something you’d frequently use anyway.

The most important feature, the fairly large water tank measuring about 5.7 ounces (a regular cup size) helps provide steam for a much longer time, as well as produce decently powerful steam bursts. The other advantage of a large water tank is that it minimizes the risk of overfilling of the tank, which in most cases, is the cause of dripping.

Even with this price, the makers have managed to keep the iron quite powerful at 1400 watt, which helps emit powerful steam bursts. There are 15 macro-sized steam holes in this iron, a count much lesser than the 300 and 400 steam holes in Rowenta irons, but that is where the difference in prices comes in. Nevertheless, the results of adequate amount of steam and its even distribution ensure that the end job of ironing is done well.

The Sunbeam Steam Master has an 8 foot long retractable cord. The length of the cord is more than what you should need with an iron, but the retractable cord might be a questionable choice, especially if you are habituated with the swivel cords. However, if you have been vacuuming long enough, you might be already used to handling retractable cords, and the experience with one attached to an iron is not much different than that.

Pros

  • It is a very reasonably priced regular size steam iron that lives up to its role of steam ironing very well.
  • The water tank is quite large for a steam iron of this price range.
  • Variable temperature settings allow for safe ironing of finer fabrics like silk and chiffon as well as thicker fabrics like tweed, rayon, etc.

Cons

  • The retractable cord might be difficult to handle for those used to swivel cords.

BLACK+DECKER Classic Steam Iron, F67E

Most professional seamstresses and quilters who know something about irons and their variations are divided broadly into two groups of loyalists: the ones who prefer Rowenta and the others who prefer Black + Decker. For most professionals, it’s either of the two. The Classic Steam Iron is, as the name suggests, an ideal option for those who do not like to mess with classic timelessness.

The difference is visible in the design of this 1100 watt steam iron, which is quite retro in look with its boxy, thick front, as opposed to the more forward tilting designs in modern irons. Then there is the swivel cord that is perfect for those who face difficulties handling the modern retractable cords.

But the star attraction is the heavier weight which harks back to the simplicity of functions in irons back in the days, where a heavier iron was deemed more effective in its job of removing creases. The general consensus: the heavier the iron, the better the ironing. Some people do not subscribe to this school of thought though, as arthritis and just general discomfort are cited as reasons for buying the more lighter-weighted irons.

Having said that, this iron is definitely a more modernized version of the classic iron design, as it boasts all essential modern features that are required for a safe and hassle-free ironing experience. The soleplate is non-stick aluminum and it has an anti-drip mechanism. Then there is the “intuitive temperature dial” that helps change the temperature settings according to the fabric type. There is an auto shut feature and a dedicated “off” switch for added safety. So it kind of balances the best of both worlds by providing modern features integrated into the classic engineering. Plus, the price is reasonable too, and for people who feel exasperated at the thought of having to shell out big bucks for numerous extra features they are never going to use, this is a perfect pick.

Pros

  • Simple classic design that does a good job of ironing without the hassle of too many features.
  • Slightly heavier than other irons of this size which is effective in removing wrinkles better.
  • All essential functions, like a non-stick soleplate, variable steam options and automatic shutoff, intact without being too much.
  • Seven temperature settings available that changes temperature based on fabric type.

Cons

  • It doesn’t come with the self-cleaning feature and the burst of steam is weaker than in other similarly priced steam irons listed here.

BLACK+DECKER Digital Advantage Professional Steam Iron, LCD Screen, Gray, D2030

Black and Decker is a trusted name among brands that deal with home appliances and they have used their American manufacturing legacy to create everything from workshop and power tools to batteries to home appliances. Their Digital Advantage steam iron is a notch up from other steam irons in this range by virtue of the digital LCD screen that displays the temperature settings and readings, so that it is even more convenient to handle a feature-laden iron. This function is especially essential in steam irons that have variable temperature and steam control settings; with an LCD display, it gets easier to handle all those detailed settings.

The BLACK+DECKER Digital Advantage steam iron has a stainless steel soleplate, which is both durable as well as smooth enough to glide over fabrics without getting caught up. It is also an overall heavier weighted iron and those that subscribe to the “heavy irons press better and therefore are better” school of thought, will like that about this iron. However, those who have problems lifting heavier objects for a prolonged time will face some inconveniences with it. Although, the thing we like about this iron is that even though on the heavier side, its design is compact and has a comfortable grip handle that makes it easier to maneuver; it more than makes up for the weight discomfort.

It is a powerful steam iron at 1500 watt and has a steady steam burst function. It also has a large water tank to support the steam function, so you don’t have the hassle of repeatedly refilling the tank. The anti-drip mechanism too, is supported by the high capacity water tank which prevents overfilling and spilling. The gray color of the plastic though, is too dark to allow monitoring of water levels in the tank, so that creates some issues.

It has all the other necessary features like the self-cleaning and safe auto shut systems; so all in all, this iron serves its purpose well and provides a great deal for its price.

Pros

  • The digital LCD screen definitely makes for an easier management of temperature settings.
  • Advantage of a slightly heavier iron for those who like heavy irons for proper pressing.
  • Large water tank with marked levels for more efficient usage.
  • All major functions like a stainless steel soleplate, variable steam and temperature settings, steam burst and auto shut system available at a very reasonable price.

Cons

  • The darker color makes it difficult to gauge the water levels in the reservoir.
  • The heavier weight can be a problem for people who prefer to work with lighter irons.

T-fal FV4495 Ultraglide Easycord Steam Iron Ceramic Scratch Resistant Non Stick Soleplate with Auto Off and Anti Drip System, 1725 Watt, Black

There are many people who have been ironing clothes for years, either as professionals or as homemakers, who believe that ceramic soleplates glide the best on fabric and therefore produce the best ironing results. The T-fal FV4495 Ultraglide was made for them. The ceramic soleplate on it is scratch resistant and nonstick and as the company claims, comes with a lifetime warranty. And it does produce the results. The glide is smooth and travels without tugging the fabric along, which can be an issue with some other irons.

It is also an overall durable iron, with good quality finish that you would usually see in the more expensive irons. At 1725 watts, it is also the most powerful iron in this list, where we are dealing with moderately priced steam irons. The steam produced is therefore extremely powerful for a budget iron and the burst of steam measures to 100 gram/min.

Feature-wise it also surpasses a lot of other irons in this range. For example, the cord is extra-long at 12 feet, which stays out of the way when ironing. And there is a dual self-cleaning system that prevents both calcium deposits and scale formation on the iron. The water tank too, is a whopping 9 ounce large which is larger than a lot of irons at this price point. The reservoir cap though can get tricky to handle and you need to apply some force to pop it open and if you’re not careful, you could spill water on your clothes or ironing board. It also has the regular anti-drip system which actually works, and a three way auto shut function.

If you want an extra powerful, feature packed steam iron, and are not particularly hung on the reputation of the Rowenta and the Black and Decker irons, this definitely does the job.

Pros

  • Very powerful: It is a 1725 watt iron producing 100 gram/min steam.
  • Well balanced and easy to steer.
  • Durable and good quality build.
  • Ceramic soleplate that glides smoothly over fabric.
  • Extra-long cord measuring 12 feet.
  • A large 9 ounce water tank plus several steam holes to facilitate strong and continuous steam burst.
  • Dual self-cleaning system preventing calcium and scale build up.

Cons

  • Relatively complicated settings and instructions, but not too difficult to figure out.
  • Certain buttons like the temperature dial and reservoir cap are placed at positions that get inconvenient to handle.

Steam Irons Buyers Guide

Besides taking note of the pros and cons of each of the 10 steam irons discussed here, there are certain other things to keep in mind when shopping for a steam iron:

Determine what use the iron will be put to. If it’s just for home use, a mid-range steam iron with a few basic functions that is also sturdily built, should serve your purpose. For professional needs, invest in a higher end model.

Check the weight of the iron with and without a full tank, and see if you can work with that. Some people believe heavier irons do a better job while others are comfortable handling a lighter one. Choose accordingly.

For irons that have lots of features, check the manufacturer’s warranty or look for extended warranty. More the number of features, more likely they are to mess up in which case, a longer warranty could be useful.

Beware of very cheap irons that promise lots of features. There is a certain minimum cost of making a good quality product with multiple functions, so if a brand makes an offer that is too good to be true, the product is likely to tank soon.

Depending on your need, choose an iron that has a reputation of providing optimum value for just a few features that you’re likely to use, instead of one that has lots of features but fails to provide quality service with most of them.

Check for authenticity of the brand. Often duplicates or used/refurbished products are sold instead of new. Send back any beaten packages or products that do not look like the ones you purchased.

Always research the product you’re about to buy. Either read reviews from authoritative sources or consult with friends or acquaintances who have had experience buying steam irons.

Conclusion

With a variety of features and functions, it can get confusing trying to pick a steam iron. But the thumb rule, as discussed earlier, is to keep in mind your needs versus the many fancy features the company tries to sell. And no matter how expensive or durable an iron is, it is also important to maintain some general rules for a longer shelf life of your iron. For example, clean your iron regularly but not too much either. To prevent dripping, don’t overfill the tank and make sure the heat setting and steam setting match. To prevent build ups on the soleplate, use clean drinking water, or distilled water if the water in your area is hard.