The best irons are an essential purchase for any household, banishing creases and smartening up clothes whenever you need them. We’ve gathered together top picks for use at home or for when you’re traveling, so you can always have one of these ultra helpful devices with you when you’re sorting through your clothes.
As well as being great for quick outfit spruce ups, the best irons are known for being excellent counterparts to the best sewing machines, making a sewist’s life much easier through steaming. Even in more general use, the more steam that an iron can output, the better it will perform, so look out for models with a large water capacity and a generous design to allow steam out.
Of course, due to the high temperatures, it’s important that the best irons have a number of safety features in order to avoid accidents. Crucially, this includes shut-off mechanisms to prevent scorching clothes. It’s also important to look out for the cord length of different irons, the heat settings each model has available, and how manageable it is to use.
The best irons come at a range of different prices, with models available from $30 to up to $100. Whichever one you choose, you’ll be sure to reap the benefits of their steaming abilities. For more laundry essentials, check out our guide to the best front load washers and the best dryers.
1. T-fal FV4495: Best steam iron overall
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.