How to Choose an Iron
The top performers in our review are the Rowenta DW2070, the Gold Award winner; the T-fal FV4495, the Silver Award winner; and the Shark Ultimate Professional, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a product to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 products.
Irons keep your wardrobe looking sharp for work, interviews, parties and other important events. They are also a critical part of the process if you are sewing, making a quilt or doing any other type of fabric-based project. A quality iron doesn't have to break the bank, but a few extra dollars can get you an iron that has massive performance power and a variety of features that work well for many projects and fabric types. When looking for an iron, it is important to consider your usage level in order to invest in an iron with the right amount of function for you.
The right iron, especially when used in combination with a quality washer or dryer, gives your fabric a clean, professional look. In order to achieve this, it is important to pay attention to the various fabric and temperature options, and to use the appropriate setting for each different kind of fabric you work with. The wrong temperature can result in scorched delicate fabrics or in tougher fabrics not being affected at all, wasting your time and potentially money. To learn more, check out our articles about irons and their features.
Note what kind of steam settings and capacity an iron has, as steam can get your clothes looking nice with less wear and tear on them. This two-in-one feature helps you save money and gives you added performance. If you only need a light touch-up on a suit or drapes, look for an iron with vertical steam capacity, as it can easily shoot out bursts of steam, making your garments wrinkle-free.
Irons: What We Tested, What We Found
In our testing process, we tested each iron's steaming, ironing and safety capacities. We tested them on a variety of everyday fabrics and even some nicer fabrics, and looked for effective iron passes. For steaming, we noted whether they could remove wrinkles vertically. We also checked to see when each iron engaged its timed safety shut-off feature. Below are some important things to keep in mind as you consider which iron is best for your garments and fabric.
Performance: High Wattage & Steam to the Rescue
If you find an iron with a high wattage, you may suddenly find yourself doing less work when it comes to ironing clothes. More power means more efficient ironing, a higher steam capacity and less work for you per garment. An iron with a large number of steam holes can also produce fuller steam bursts. Additionally, adjustable steam gauges let you have control over how much steam you use at a time, if any. If you plan on using a lot of steam, you will want to look for units that have short steam regeneration times between bursts.
There are multiple kinds of soleplate shapes as well, the most common of which are the standard U shape or a tapered shape, which makes it easy to iron around buttons, collars and other tricky areas. It is also important to have irons with nonstick soleplates that stay clean or are at least easy to clean. Look for a self-cleaning function, as well as anti-calcification and anti-scale systems, all of which work to reduce and remove impurities from the inner soleplate area of your iron.
Ease of Use: Let Convenient & Easy Work for You
A good iron has a long cord, allowing you more freedom of movement as you iron, which is especially important if you are doing a sewing or quilting project. It should also have additional helpful features, such as a temperature alert to let you know when the iron is ready to use, and, for digital irons, an intuitive interface that is easy to figure out and adjust.
It is important to find the right balance of weight, size and usability. While it is true that a slightly heavier iron lends itself well to smooth passes over fabric, an iron that is too heavy or bulky is difficult to use, especially if you have a lot to iron. Whether you just need to touch up a dress with a steamer or do your whole family's ironing, your iron should be comfortable to hold. Look for an iron with an ergonomic grip so your hand and arm won't get as tired as you work. A great iron has all of its buttons and dials within easy reach of the handle so you don't have to strain yourself.
An iron with a water reservoir of at least 8.5 ounces, like the Black & Decker D2030, lets you keep ironing for longer between refills. And when you do go to refill your iron, it shouldn't be yet another chore. A quality iron is easy to fill, with wide water ports, a transparent reservoir and accurately marked fill lines.
Safety: Don't Get Burned
It can be easy to forget you have an iron plugged in if you get an unexpected phone call or are watching a gripping TV show while ironing your favorite T-shirt, but most modern irons have you covered. Make sure you consider irons with safety features, such as automatic shut-off. Most irons are programmed to shut off in about 8 to 15 minutes if left unused in the upright position, or in 30 seconds if left tipped over or face down. This feature can prevent you from having a burnt garment or worse damage.
Warranty & Support: Irons Should Work as Hard as You Do
You need a clothing iron that can stand up to everyday use. Even if you don't use it that often, you should still look for one that comes with a manufacturer's warranty in case of damage. Some irons come backed by a comprehensive five-year warranty, while others only offer a short one.
It is also important to be able to contact the company's customer service department in case there is ever an issue or you have a question about the product. Additionally, the company should be easy to get ahold of, and it should not drag you through a chaotic automated phone system or make you fill out a detailed online help form.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We obtained the units in our comparison through retail purchase. The manufacturers had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
Irons: Our Verdict and Recommendations
Three irons – the Rowenta DW2070, the T-fal FV4495 and the Shark Ultimate Professional – rose above the rest in our comparison, mostly because of their outstanding performance, ease of use and safety features. These are the factors we weighed most heavily in our rankings.
The best irons, typically priced between $25 and $50, have powerful steam capacities and a ton of convenience features. The Rowenta DW2070 edges out the other two because of its ability to eradicate wrinkles and steam effectively and safely. Additionally, the Panasonic NI-E250TR is a great option for those on a budget. As you choose an iron, it is important to focus on features that help performance, such as a high quantity of steam holes, self-cleaning functions and wattage.