Ironing is a chore at the best of times. Making sure you have the right iron for your needs goes a long way to making the job quicker and easier, something we would all like! Irons vary widely in price, and can come with a baffling array of features. Here’s a quick guide of what to look out for when purchasing a new iron.
This is the classic iron most of us will be familiar with. The iron has a hot metal plate that heats up, with vents for releasing steam onto our clothes. The steam disperses into the woven fibres of the fabric, separating them and ironing out creases. The iron itself has a small water tank, which it uses to create the steam. These irons are ideal for households with smaller laundry loads and less frequent ironing.
Steam generator irons have a separate water tank from the iron itself, and produce far more steam than traditional steam irons. Because the water is stored separately, the actual iron is lighter to hold and use, making it perfect for those who have to do a lot of ironing. Because the water tank is large, you’ll need to make sure you have a sturdy ironing board that can hold it safely. Steam generator irons also come in two types - non-pressurised and pressurised - depending on how powerful you need your iron to be.
Limescale can build up quickly inside irons, hampering steam output and reducing their performance. Many irons now come with a built in limescale filter, which will keep your iron running for longer, giving you more for your money.
This is measured in grams per minute (g/min) and the higher this number, the more powerful the iron. The more steam your iron can produce, the more effective it will be at removing creases.
This is the main part of your iron that has contact with your fabric. They can be made from a few different materials, each of which will affect the price and performance:
These are great value and heat up very quickly, but they can scratch very easily around buttons and zips.
These are a durable option, that distribute heat well and glide over the fabric.
Ceramic plates are long lasting, high quality soleplates for your iron. They are durable, distribute heat well and don’t scratch easily.
This is a great safety feature, especially if you have pets or children. Depending on the model, the iron will switch off after a period of non-use, so if you do forget to switch it off, you won’t have to worry about burnt little hands or holes in your carpet.
Vertical Steams allow you to iron curtains or hanging fabrics, instead of needing the fabric to be on a horizontal surface.
Travel Irons are naturally smaller and less powerful than household irons, and are handy for trips away where you’ll need to iron light fabrics.
Trouser Presses were once the mainstay of hotel rooms, and are quick and efficient ways to get your trousers looking crisp and good as new. They can be large and bulky, however.