At Ironing Lab we dedicate ourselves to helping you make ironing easier, faster and more fun with the best advice, cleaning tips, and gear reviews. We buy and test the very best steam irons for power, steam output, build quality, comfort, ease of operation and even leaking…. all this while keeping value for money and affordability in mind.
Best Steam Iron for Clothing and Home Use 2020
The best steam iron for clothes needs to be powerful and easy to operate with high steam output, quality design and much more! We’ll cover everything in the article below.
But if you’re not in the mood to read and just want the results, then, without a doubt…
Our absolute winner is the Rowenta Steamforce
It has incredible steam output and heats up in seconds with very high-quality design and comfortable feel in your hand. If you want an excellent iron that can do everything you need with minimal effort, this is the perfect choice!
Need more options? We’ve tested some noteworthy competitors too… Here are our most popular, top-rated clothing irons.
1. Rowenta Steamforce DW9280 – Best Choice Steam Iron
The Rowenta Steam Force 9280 is one of the most impressive irons I’ve ever used. It has incredible steam output thanks to the built-in steam generator. The anti-drip stainless steel soleplate has a “precision tip” design which helps you iron tight corners. The large electronic heat setting display on the side makes it incredibly simple to monitor the temperature at a quick glance. A smart motion sensor turns off the steam when the iron stops moving, saving electricity and reducing the number of tank refills needed. Overall, it’s the best quality iron with the highest steam output and the most comfortable feel. Full Review
- 65 grams per min variable (regular) steam output
- 210 grams per min burst
- Combined steam and temperature dial
- Steam saving motion sensor
- LED temperature display
- Large 12-ounce water tank
- Highest 1800 watts, so it heats up in seconds (Same as Oliso)
- Best high-pressure steam iron
- A little pricey
2. Oliso Pro Smart Steam Iron with Scorch Guards
Whether it’s for quilting or everyday use, Oliso owns the ironing market with their superior quality and great customer service. The Oliso iron has smart features that are new to the ironing game. Scorch guards lift the soleplate from the ironing surface as soon as you release your grip from the iTouch handle. This helps avoid burns and reducing the number of times you even have to lift your iron. It has the same incredible power as the Rowenta Steamforce but the larger 12.7 oz water tank is the biggest on our list of irons.
- Scorch guards preventing accidental burns
- Highest 1800 watts
- Large 12.7 ounce water tank (Larger than Steamforce)
- 30 minute auto shut-off if left standing
- Scorch guards take getting used to, some people end up deactivate the feature
3. Rowenta Focus DW5080 – Great Value Steam Iron
This is an incredible steam iron. It has all the features of its big brother except the steam output is less and there’s no temperature display on the side. However, you’ll be getting an ultra-reliable iron with that unbeatable Rowenta craftsmanship at a good price. Full Review
- Excellent build and value for money
- Super easy home iron and comfortable to use
- 35 grams per min variable steam output
- 100 grams per min burst
- No digital temperature display
4. Black & Decker – Good Budget Iron with Digital Display
This is a fantastic price for a budget clothes iron that includes an LCD display, audible ready alert and performs well for such a competitively priced laundry iron. It doesn’t have that top-notch feel that you get from the Rowenta’s, but if budget’s a concern, this is the best of the cheaper irons we’ve tested. Full Review
- Good budget option for home use
- Audible alerts when ready
- LED temperature display
- Large 12 ounce water capacity
- Fair build
- Fair steam production
5. Chi Steam Iron with Titanium Infused Ceramic Soleplate
This sleek-looking newcomer has a unique Titanium-Infused Ceramic Soleplate. The Chi brand first gained popularity in the hair industry before launching the Chi steam iron. It’s a durable, well-made iron with excellent steam distribution from its 300 hole soleplate. It also has a 30-minute auto shut-off, a big plus for ironers and sewers who don’t want the iron to power down during short pauses.
- Unique titanium infused ceramic soleplate
- Easy and precise steam adjustment settings
- Comfortable texture grip handle
- 30 minute auto shut-off
- Soleplate has less glide compared to stainless steel
- Watertank is a bit tricky to fill
6. Beautural 1800 Watt Double Layer Ceramic Soleplate
The Beautural is a high powered 1800 watt steam iron with a unique double-layer and ceramic coated soleplate, This ensures even heat distribution while ironing. It has a conveniently located temperature button on the side of the iron so you can adjust the settings with one hand, and without having to stop ironing. Additionally, it’s LCD screen makes it so easy to check heat settings at a glance and it’s incredibly well priced for its impressive performance.
- Double layer ceramic soleplate
- Excellent value for money
- High steam output – 40g/min
- Comfortable wide grip handle
- Audible alerts
- Short 6 foot cord length
- Water hole difficult to fill
7. Panasonic Multi-Directional Cordless Iron with Carry-case
This is a good fit for quilting and sewing classes as well as home use. We also love the benefits of a carry case and a cordless iron… it’s a welcome convenience if you need something portable. The tapered front and back of the soleplate make ironing in any direction possible without even lifting your iron. The cordless freedom makes ironing a pleasure and its super easy to rest the iron in its base between uses. Full Review
- Cordless freedom and convenience
- Multi-directional ironing
- Portable for classes, sewing retreats, and even mobile homes & camping
- Heat resistant carry case means you can pack it away even when hot
- Double-sided detailing soleplate
- Small 4 ounce water capacity
8. Rowenta Steam Generator Iron with 47 Ounce Water Tank
The 1800 watt Rowenta DG8520 is an eco-friendly energy saver with a powerful 80 grams per minute steam output. The 5 bars of pressure that create the impressive steam force, make it ideal for ironing all fabrics as well as vertical steaming drapes and furniture. It has a large 47 ounce water tank and heats up in 3 minutes with no auto shut off features to interrupt your ironing sessions.
- High steam output for effective ironing
- Eco-friendly and energy saving
- No Auto shut-off
- Can be a bit noisy
9. Rowenta First Class Travel Companion
The Rowenta First Class offers high performance for such a compact appliance. This is ideal for students, young bachelors who don’t do much ironing. If you travel, it’s also the perfect size to simply throw in your travel bag, plus its dual voltage capabilities mean you can use it anywhere in the world. Full Review
- Perfect for people who only iron occasionally
- Dual-voltage capabilities for travel
- Compact, flat-folding handle & storage pouch
- Vertical steaming capabilities
- Small water capacity
- Ideal for ironing only a few items at a time
10. T-fal Ultraglide with Ceramic Soleplate Iron
I didn’t love the ceramic soleplate, it claims to make ironing “faster” but we didn’t feel the difference. The 12 foot power cord could be helpful to some compared to the average 8 feet of the others in this review. Full Review
- Fair build and value for money
- 35 grams per min variable steam output
- 100 grams per min burst
- No Digital Temperature display
11. Sunbeam Steammaster with Retractable Cord
The Sunbeam Steam Master lightweight and has a retractable cord which I thought would be cool, but it feels weak and low quality when you work with it so it doesn’t get my vote. My recommendation would be to spend a little more and to get better value for your money. Full Review
- Retractable cord
- No digital temperature display
- Poor build quality
Full Review Video
Every year, we round up the most popular irons and run them through some real-world tests. Check out the video for an in-depth look at the results.
Check Out Our Other Reviews
Not every iron works perfectly in each situation. What about Quilting, Travel or Commercial Use? That’s why we spend hours on each iron, testing it for different uses. Check out our articles below for the top performers in each category.
- Best Iron for Quilting and Sewing
- Best Mini Travel Iron
- Best Steam Generator Iron
- Best Rowenta Steam Iron
- Best Cheap Iron Under $50
- Best Heavy Duty Industrial Iron
- Best Cordless Steam Iron
- Best Stainless Steel Iron
- Best Ironing Boards
Best Iron to Buy for Clothing – What to Consider
|Product||Rowenta Steamforce||Rowenta Focus||Black+Decker||T-fal Ultraglide||Sunbeam Steammaster|
|Model||DW 9280||DW5080||D2530||FV4495||Series 2|
|Key Feature||Highest Steam & Quality||High Quality||Digital Display||Ceramic Soleplate||Retractable Cord|
|Weight||3.85 lb||3.4 lb||3.9 lb||3 lb||2.9 lb|
|Variable Steam||65g/min||35g/min||25g/min – TBC||35g/min||21g/min – TBC|
|Steam Burst||210g/min||100g/min||Not confirmed||100g/min||Not confirmed|
|Soleplate||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Ceramic Coated||Stainless Steel|
|Water Volume||12 Ounces||10 Ounces||12 Ounces||9 Ounces||8 Ounces|
|Auto Shut-off||8 minutes||8 minutes||10 minutes||8 minutes||15 minutes|
|Time to Hot||0.45 seconds||1.40 minutes||1.16 minutes||1.19 minutes||2 minutes plus|
|Power||1800 watts||1700 watts||1500 watts||1725 watts||1400 watts|
|Cord Length||8 feet||8 feet||8 feet||12 feet||8 feet|
|Warranty||1 Year||1 Year||2 Years||TBC||3 Years|
Steam Output of the Best Ironing Machines
Steam output is the most important feature to look for in a steam iron. You should consider both the regular steam while ironing and the steam burst that’s designed to target more stubborn creases.
The more powerful the steam, the more effective the ironing process is resulting in the test being done much faster. The average steam output is around 35 grams per minute and steam bursts are around 100 grams per minute.
This is where the Rowenta Steamforce 9280 out-steams the rest. Its steam burst produces double that of the average steam iron because of its built-in steam generator and makes it the best high-pressure steam iron on our list.
• Can you Vertical Steaming with a Laundry Iron? All the irons above can be used for vertical steaming which is ideal for steaming curtains, drapes, and even furniture. Although not what they’re primarily designed for, the vertical steam force can be highly effective. The appliances with the higher steam outputs perform more efficiently here.
High Wattage for Improved Heating Speed and Power
The higher the wattage of your electric iron, the quicker it heats up. Should the automatic shut-off power the iron down, interrupting your session, a more powerful iron will heat back up in seconds. Steam output is also improved on the more powerful machines.
Variable Heat and Steam Settings
While all modern steam irons allow you to adjust the temperature of your iron, you should also have the option of steam and/or dry ironing. All the irons above include this feature.
Leakproof Irons and Anti-Drip Design
The irons we bought and tested performed excellently and did not leak when used correctly. Most leaking issues come from overfilling. Where we picked up issues, the problem was due to the iron not being hot enough and the steam setting set too high.
The Sunbeam Steammaster was the most likely to leak when stored flat. As a rule, all ironing should be stored empty and in an upright position unless their design dictates otherwise. Why does an iron leak?
Water Type and De-Scaling Options
The above irons use tap water which is super convenient because it’s easy to come by. However, in hard water areas, it is advisable to dilute your water with 50% distilled water. Click here to learn more about hard-water what water to use.
A de-calc system allows you to rid the appliance of the “limescale” buildup and this ensures it continues to work as it should. The above irons are all equipped with calc-cleaning systems.
• Stainless Steel or Ceramic Coated: Stainless steel is so much less maintenance and easier to clean. A non-scratch stainless steel soleplate offers excellent glide that is hard to top, however.
In the past, coated soleplates were prone to aging and were particularly hard to clean, but with developments in recent years, they perform well and improve heat distribution over the surface of the soleplate.
• Size: Larger coverage means you get more ironing done in a single stroke. This is also ideal for larger items like bedsheets and pillowcases.
• Shape: The tip of the soleplate should narrow to a point to make precision work like ironing collars, pleats, and spaces between buttons effortless.
• Steam Holes: The 400 steam holes on the bottom of the Rowenta also creates an even distribution of steam through the holes and into the fabric.
Steam Iron Ergonomics
How easy and comfortable an iron is you use is vital to ensure ironing is not unnecessarily taxing. We’ve looked at several aspects that impact on the user.
• Temperature Displays: LED display panels are a great way to check your heat settings at a quick glance when working on different fabrics. This is a great feature to help avoid accidentally scorching fabrics when switching between polyester, wool, or cotton. The Rowenta 9280, BLACK+DECKER and the Beautural are our favorites for this reason.
All the other irons rely on a more basic light system that either flash when it’s adjusting to the right temperature or shows a solid light when it’s ready.
• Weight: The above irons are categorize as medium weight, the ideal ironing weight for easy ironing glide. They’re light enough to move around without your arm getting tired, but heavy enough so that you don’t need to apply excessive downforce to smooth out creases.
• Grip: For the average-sized hand, the grip should feel natural and allow easy access to the buttons and dials. Adjusting the settings on dials or pushing buttons was especially easy on the Rowentas which have a very solid build quality, but on the cheaper budget irons, you can pick up that dials feel a bit lose.
• Stability: The iron should safely and comfortably rest on its heel to make placing the iron down a natural movement and avoid accidents.
• Power Cord: Power cords vary between 6 and 12 feet, however, this makes little difference to the ironing experience. More importantly, is how the cord connects to the iron. Most modern steam irons use a multi-directional cord swivel which helped keep the cord out the way while ironing
• Water Capacity: A larger water tank means less topping up. The Oliso wins in this category, followed by the Rowenta Steammaster and the BLACK+DECKER who have an impressive 12-ounce water tank capacity.
Best Clothes Iron on a Budget
Our best budget buy is the Beautural 1800 Watt Double Layer Ceramic Soleplate. It’s incredibly easy to use and has all the key features of the top performers. Although it doesn’t have the high-quality finish of the Rowentas or as powerful steam output, it’s a reliable machine that will get the job done well.
A cheap iron can end up costing you more by damaging clothing and needing replacement much sooner. Where possible, invest a little more in a quality product that will last.
Best Portable Iron
We’ve also included a travel iron to the list for those of you with less traditional ironing needs. If you only iron the occasional item or need something compact for travel, then the Rowenta First class is the ideal fit. It’s about the same price as the budget irons, only a lot smaller and with dual voltage capabilities for traveling abroad.
The cordless Panasonic in its heat resistance carry-case is also a convenient travel iron for sewing classes and RV’s.
Auto Shut-Off and Safety Systems
Electric irons can be a fire hazard if left on accidentally. The above irons vary from 8 to 30 minutes. The Rowenta steam generator has no auto shut-off. This is a deliberate feature as professional ironing services and sewers often need an iron to stay hot all day and an shut-off feature reduces productivity.
If the iron falls on its side or is left face down, it will switch off after 30 seconds. All the irons, except for the Rowenta First Class mini iron include this feature.
Customer Care and Product Warranty
Most warranties are limited to manufacturer defects and this is usually something you’ll pick up in the first few times using the product. Rowenta seems to have the best warranty in relation to product quality and customer support.
If you iron regularly or professionally and experience breakdowns that need repairs and replacements every few months, a warranty might save you on parts and replacements.
How We Test the Best Machine for Ironing?
We personally test and review each and every iron in detail. If you’d like to know more about each product in the above lineup, click on the link next to the image. We cover all the features of each of the models, as well as the pros and cons of the home and professional steam irons we review.
We welcome any updates and feedback from our followers.
In Conclusion, What is Best Steam Iron for Clothes?
More than the brand and cost of the appliance, it’s about how effectively it works. Most agree that ironing is a grudging chore, but being that neatly pressed clothes are essential to looking groomed and creating a good impression, it simply needs to get done.
If you’re asking us what iron should you buy? Without a doubt, the undisputed best seller and the overall winner is the Rowenta Steamforce DW9280.
Steam output, quality, comfort, and ease of use are all first class. It’s a powerful ironing machine that stands out way above the rest. It was the top performer in all areas. Yes, it comes with a slightly higher price tag, but you are getting so much more iron for your money and this translates into way less time spent ironing.
If budget is a concern, the Rowenta DW5080 Focus is a close second. It may not have the temperature display on the side or the same steam output, but it has everything else that the Rowenta Steamforce has, only at a more affordable price.
Where to buy an iron, you ask? These are without a doubt some of the best steam irons in the world and they are all available online through Amazon and can be delivered right to your front door.