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Best steam irons 2020: Top steam irons under $100

Best steam irons 2020: Top steam irons under $100
(Image credit: Getty)

Find the best steam irons on the market in this guide, complete with our recommendations for which steam iron is best for clothes, professionals, and for sewing projects. 

Steam irons are great for making your clothes look smarter, getting creases out of shirts, and for pressing your sewing projects to create a professional finish. Some premier irons cost well over $100, but in this guide, we’ve found some fantastic value steam irons, many of which are under $50, and all are under $100. 

Before you buy a new steam iron, take note of the things that will really make a difference when it comes to ironing. A lightweight iron is nearly always preferable to a heavy one as it will be easier to maneuver and will prevent your wrist from aching if you’ve got quite a few items to iron at once. 

Next up, look at how many steam holes each iron has. Steam irons for travel will likely have the least amount of steam holes, but that’s normally down to them being much smaller than a standard-sized iron. In this guide, the Rowenta DW5080 Steam Iron has a huge 400 steam holes and will provide even steaming of your items. 

For safety, consider irons that have an automatic shut-off function in case you forget to turn off your iron or leave it unattended for a period of time. In addition, adjustable settings will be really important if you’re going to be ironing different types of garments. Steam boost and water mist buttons will also be essential if you’re ironing heavily creased items. 

Finally, if you’re looking for the best steam iron for travel, check out the SteamFast SF-750 Mini Steam Iron, which is lightweight and comes with a travel bag.

For other laundry essentials, head to our guides on the best front load washers or the best dryers. To find the best steam iron for you, see our best picks below.


1.  T-fal FV4495: Best steam iron overall  

T-fal FV4495 Steam Iron

(Image credit: Amazon)

T-fal FV4495 Steam Iron

The T-fal FV4495 iron provides some serious heat.

Water capacity: 9 fl oz | Weight: 3.15 lbs | Watts: 1,700 | Steam holes: 64

Very hot
Automatic shut-off 
 Lacks a digital display  
 Relatively short warranty  

Some fabrics require intense heat to get them looking smooth and crease-free, and the T-fal FV4495 is perfect for those. It uses 1,725 watts to reach up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the hottest iron we tested.

This iron is ideal for steam touchups or working with unyielding fabrics. It has 64 steam holes and an easy-to-use dial to control steam intensity. If the iron is on but unused for eight minutes, or if it’s on and tipped down on its face for 30 seconds, it automatically shuts off. These safety features make this powerful iron nearly foolproof.

It has a good set of convenience features to go along with its strong safety features. The soleplate is scratch resistant and nonstick. It also has the longest cord of any iron we tested. Construction is solid, but this iron still only weighs 2.5 pounds so your arm shouldn’t get too tired, even if you have a big ironing pile to get through.

The self-cleaning function helps keep this iron working at its best, too. The FV4495 has a helpful light that lets you know when it has reached its target temperature. Keep in mind that it does have a relatively short warranty. That’s a little surprising since it is above average for price, though not by a lot. Still, we would expect more coverage with a pricier product.


2. Black + Decker IR1010 Light ‘N Easy Iron: Best cheap iron 

Black + Decker IR1010 Light ‘N Easy Iron

(Image credit: Amazon)

Black + Decker IR1010 Light ‘N Easy Iron

The Black + Decker IR1010 Light ‘N Easy Iron provides plenty of heat and is budget-friendly too.

Water capacity: 10.8 fl oz | Weight: 2.35 lbs | Watts: 1,200 | Steam holes: Unknown

 Budget  
 Auto shut-off 
 Awkward to fill up  
 Not as many steam holes 

The Black + Decker IR1010 Light ‘N Easy Iron is a budget iron that still has all the basic features you need in an iron. You can expect a non-stick slide plate and SmartSteam Technology - a feature that automatically selects how much steam to use based on the heat setting you’re using. 

As with most irons, you can also expect automatic shut-off, anti-drip, and a spray mist button. The Black + Decker IR1010 Light ‘N Easy Iron is a little awkward to fill up though, and its cap over the water hole can shut when you’re trying to add water.

The Black + Decker IR1010 Light ‘N Easy Iron does come with a two-year warranty, which, considering the price is under $30, is pretty good. What’s more, the cord on this iron can be easily wrapped about the base, so that you don’t have to bother with detangling each time you use it. 

While the steam is automatically adjusted by this iron, there isn’t an additional steam boosting button, which for some stubborn creases may be a real drawback. 


3. Rowenta DW5080 Steam Iron: Best steam iron for precision 

Rowenta DW5080 Steam Iron

(Image credit: Amazon)

Rowenta DW5080 Steam Iron

The Rowenta DW5080 Steam Iron has a precision tip which makes it fantastic for ironing shirts.

Water capacity: 10 fl oz | Weight: 3.5 lbs | Watts: 1,700 | Steam holes: 400

 Precision tip 
 400 micro steam holes  
 Expensive 
 No digital display   

The Rowenta DW5080 Steam Iron is one of the more pricey irons in our roundup, but for the money you can expect a powerful iron with 400 micro steam holes - the highest number of steam holes we came across. This iron has been designed to work with tap water, and its stainless steel soleplate will glide smoothly across your clothes. 

It may sound simple but the shape of this iron is one of its key selling points. Having a pointed tip means you can reach into tight corners if you’re ironing shirts or collars, and you can get a crisp finish on quilts and sewing projects too. 

The warranty on the Rowenta DW5080 Steam Iron is only for one year, which is shorter than others and disappointing considering this iron is more than double the price of some other irons in our guide that have warranties that are longer. It also doesn’t have a digital display or retractable cord that some other more expensive models offer. If these aspects aren’t that important to you though, the impressive amount of steam holes make this iron a solid choice. 


4. SteamFast SF-750 Mini Steam Iron: Best steam iron for travel 

SteamFast SF-750 Mini Steam Iron

(Image credit: Amazon)

SteamFast SF-750 Mini Steam Iron

The SteamFast SF-750 Mini Steam Iron is ideal if you’re on the go or on vacation.

Water capacity: 2 fl oz | Weight: 1.32 lbs | Watts: 1,000 | Steam holes: 5

 Portable 
 Lightweight  
 Not self-cleaning  
 Small amount of steam holes  

The SteamFast SF-750 Mini Steam Iron is designed to be used when you need to iron away from home or when you’re on vacation. 

This mini steam iron takes three minutes to heat up and doesn’t feature your normal handle on top, which makes it feel a little strange to hold. The SteamFast does come with a travel bag though, and a measuring cup. 

Weighing just 1.32 lbs, this travel steam iron is super light and it still has a useful steam burst option for getting rid of creases that need a bit more attention. The SteamFast SF-750 Mini Steam Iron is lacking a self-cleaning function though and it does only offer five steam holes, however, this iron has been designed for traveling and has a relatively low price tag too. 


5. Black + Decker Allure Pro D3030 Steam Iron: Best steam iron for professionals  

Black + Decker Allure Pro D3030 Steam Iron

(Image credit: Amazon)

Black + Decker Allure Pro D3030 Steam Iron

The Black + Decker Allure Pro D3030 Steam Iron has a handy vertical steam option.

Water capacity: 4 fl oz | Weight: 3.89 lbs | Watts: 1,600 | Steam holes: 20 +

 Vertical steam option 
 Comfortable handle  
 Not many steam holes  
 Hard to see the water levels  

The Black + Decker Allure Pro D3030 Steam Iron is a quality model that features an auto-clean system and multiple temperature options. You can also use this steam iron for clothing that’s on a hanger or hanging curtains due to its handy vertical steam setting. 

There is both a steam button and a water spray so that you can take on tougher areas. Compared to some other leading models, the Black + Decker Allure Pro D3030 Steam Iron can produce an impressive amount of steam which means you’ll be able to get through your ironing pile much faster. 

An auto shut-off makes the Black + Decker Allure Pro D3030 Steam Iron a good choice. At 3.89 lbs, this steam iron is one of the heaviest we reviewed, which could be a real set back if you’re looking for something that’s super lightweight.


How much does a steam iron cost?

We tested irons that cost between $20 and $80 and come with large water reservoirs, responsive steam settings, and quite a bit of power. There are irons available for closer to $20, but they usually have fewer features and don’t work as well on delicate fabrics.

Performance

If you find a steam iron with 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

The best irons feature a long cord, providing 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 the 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.
 
Safety

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 eight 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.