The best Steam Generators (irons with a separate water tank) or “Ironing Stations” as they are sometimes called, make ironing several times easier! In fact, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would still choose a traditional iron.
Our absolute winner is the Rowenta Pro Steam
Steam generators can hold more water and are much lighter since you don’t move around the entire water tank with each stroke. By separating the water tank from the iron, the following is achieved:
- The weight is drastically reduced making it much easier to iron
- The water capacity is increased 3 times, for less re-filling and more steam
- Leaking is practically eliminated
Automatic anti-calc units are also usually located in the water tank unit, reducing the weight even further. You’ll even find fewer buttons and dials, making it a smoother, simpler user experience.
An extra benefit is that you have the perfect place to rest the iron when it’s hot by simply placing it back onto the water tank unit.
1. Rowenta Pro Steam – Best Overall
Our absolute winner! The Rowenta Perfect Pro generates 7.4 bars of pressure that creates a steam output of 430-gram steam bursts. Additionally, it has an eco-mode which reduces power usage and steam output for when you need less steam force. It’s ideal for professional use as it has no auto shut-off feature so you can iron for as long as you need without unscheduled pauses. It has the exceptional quality we expect from Rowenta.
- 37 Ounce water capacity
- 400 Steam holes
- Energy-saving settings
- A little pricey for what you get
2. Reliable Maven – Easiest to Use & Great Value
The Reliable Maven has excellent value for money and still gets the job done. It has lower power (1500 watts, compared to the usual 1700+ watts) but this small difference shouldn’t have a noticeable effect on your ironing process. The heating time is a very adequate 15-20 seconds. Be sure to check out the 1.5 liter model if you need even more water capacity!
- Very well priced!
- Easy to clean built-in anti-scale cartridge
- Ready in under 30 seconds
- Digital Temp Mode Display
- Ceramic Soleplate
- Similarly tapered soleplate as Rowenta for precision ironing
- 1500 watts
3. Rowenta Steamforce (with Built-in Steam Generator)
The stand-alone Rowenta SteamForce may look like a regular steam iron but it actually houses a powerful steam generator that easily compares with the dual unit ironing stations on this list.
It has the best steam output, highest power (heats up FAST), excellent build quality, look proof design, fantastic soleplate with well distributed holes and tapering nose for tight corners and overall excllent value for money.
If you want a steam generator but space is an issue, this is a perfect choice.
- Excllent Steam Output!
- Very Powerful (Ready in Seconds)
- Quality Design
- Leak Proof Technology
- 5 Heat Setting LED Display
- Large 11.8 ounce water capacity
- Built in water tank is smaller than the dual-unit models.
4. Laurastar Lift – Luxury Steam Generator Iron
Laurastar is the ultimate name in home steam generator irons. Their products are designed to make light work of any ironing load while their Dry Microfine Steam (DMS) penetrates deep into the fabric for very impressive results.
Their hygienic steam system eradicates dust mites, bacteria, and viruses, with extensive testing done around the elimination of the Coronavirus. As they are sometimes not available at Amazon, you can buy them directly from Laurastar themselves.
- Absolute pinnacle of steam generators
- Dry microfine steam system
- Removable water tank
- Very Quiet
- Quite pricey
Steam Generator Iron Buying Guide
What is an Ironing Station / Steam Generator
It’s an iron with a separate water tank on the side. The machine also uses a pump to generate steam pressure so the steam power is much stronger and more effective at removing creases. The larger tank means the iron itself is lighter and you only have to refill the water tank after ah hour or more of ironing.
If you are upgrading from a conventional steam iron to a steam-generating iron station, here are the top features you should consider when choosing the right product. And if you’re still not convinced after reading this article, check out our best steam irons review to see how the two compare.
Largest Water Capacity
The larger the water capacity of your steam generator iron, the longer your ironing session will last and the sooner you’ll be done with your ironing.
A detachable water canister makes refilling a lot easier as you can simply carry it over to the kitchen or bathroom sink to fill.
Best Cheap Steam Iron Choice
Steam generators are usually much more expensive than normal irons. Thankfully there are some on this list that offer incredible value and may just be worth the upgrade in price.
Bar Pressure and Continuous High Power Steam Generation
Bar pressure is another key feature when comparing one product to the next. The higher the bar rating, the higher the steam pressure the machine will generate.
It’s the constant flow of high-pressure steam that makes ironing faster and more effective as it easily penetrates thick layers and deep creases.
At the press of a button, you should have uninterrupted, high-powered steam vaporizing your ironing pile in record time. This superior steam output brings a high standard of steam ironing to your home or business.
All steam iron generators have the option to use the iron for dry ironing too.
Even Steam Distribution
Select a steam iron generator with a soleplate that evenly distributes steam over the fabric as you are ironing. An even steam application means all areas under the surface of the iron are steam treated. This results in the efficient removal of wrinkles and lines in your garments.
The even and powerful steam production makes it very effective for vertical steaming of drapes, curtains, and hanging garments.
Stainless Steel Soleplate & Precision Tip
Stainless Steel soleplates have unparalleled glide over fabrics and should anything stick or burn on its surface, it is easy to clean. A narrowing our pointed precision tip allows you better maneuverability around clothing details.
Stainless Steel soleplates are preferable when compared to coated ironing plates as these can become damaged if burnt or scorched and cleaning often results in the coating being damaged. This can ultimately cause snagging on fabrics and also creates an uneven heat on the iron and the risk of further scorching.
Anti-Calc Cleaning Feature
An anti-calcium or anti-scale system will help prolong the life of your iron. With a steam generator iron, especially one that’s used frequently, this buildup is inevitable so this added feature is an excellent benefit.
Mineral buildup in a steam iron is generally the cause of iron aging and its eventual breakdown. There are ways to avoid this by cleaning your iron as the user manual recommends or by using distilled water.
Safety Auto-Off System
If you’re concerned that you may forget your iron on or it’s at risk of falling, invest in a machine that will offer you peace of mind. Should the iron accidentally fall or be left on, it will automatically switch off to avoid any risk of overheating or even fire. This is a key feature in homes with children where curious fingers tug and pull at almost anything.
A carry lock is also helpful to avoid the iron falling from its base when moving it around or storing it away.
Quilters and sewers prefer a steam iron that does not power down and can be left on for extended periods. In this case, the safety shutoff is not missed.
Consider the weight of the actual iron. If you plan to iron for longer periods, wielding a heavy iron will tire you faster. The length of the power cord, as well as the steam hose, should be long enough to allow you to move freely without snagging.
The angled resting position on the base unit also makes it so easy to place the iron down comfortably. You’ll find this a lot gentler on your wrist.
The ironing board you use should be large and stable enough to accommodate the machine. If can even be placed out the way on a linen rack.
Quick Heating Time
Most machines reach full heat and are steam ready in about 30 seconds to 1 minute. This is due to the higher power output of steam generators over traditional irons.
Customer Support and Warranty
A manufacturer’s warranty ensures you have support should you face any issues with your product. Replacement parts should be readily available so you can maintain your machine and keep it in perfect working order. Make sure you pick a product that will have parts ready when you need it.
Why Buy a Steam Generator Iron Over a Traditional Iron?
Yes, you’ll be spending more when investing in a steam generator iron, but don’t make the mistake of comparing these machines to a traditional iron.
Here are the benefits of choosing a steam generator iron over a conventional steam iron for business and home use.
- They have the added benefit of increasing the time you are able to iron before having to top up the water tank. An average iron holds about 10 ounces of water there a steam generator iron hold 40-60 ounces.
- Well suited for large ironing loads.
- Pressurized steam produces a much more powerful steam cloud which removes wrinkles faster.
- Steam generator irons are more effective at vertical steaming because of the higher steam output.
- The fact that the water is stored in the base and not the iron itself makes sliding the iron around light work.
(On average, the handle and soleplate weigh less than 2 pounds.)
- It is safe and sturdy resting on its base compared to standard irons that need to balance on their heel.
- Saves you money. It does a great job on drapes and can be used to refresh-up garments that you’d ordinarily have to dry clean.
For a more detailed look into the benefits, check out our in-depth comparison Steam Generator Iron vs Steam Iron where we compare two Rowenta products back to back.
Tips for Using Your Pressurized Steaming Iron
Use a Suitable Ironing Board
- Ensure you have a sturdy, large ironing board or surface that can handle the weight of your machine.
- Your ironing board cover should ideally be breathable or perforated to allow for the steam to pass through the fabric of your garment.
Enjoy Effective Vertical Steam Functionality
- This function can be used to steam hanging garments and drapes. Set the steam iron to its maximum heat setting.
- With one hand, gently pull on the garment to straighten the fabric while applying steam bursts with the other. The steam softens fabric fibers, thus removing wrinkles. Ensure the pressurized steam does not come in direct contact with your skin as it’s hot enough to cause a burn.
Use the Correct Water
- Most steam generator irons are designed to use ordinary tap water. If you know the water in your area to be hard or high in minerals, you can dilute it with distilled water.
- If you use water softeners, read the user manual of your specific machine to ensure it is suitable. Some softeners contain chemicals or salt which can cause your iron to rust. This can age your machine and even damage the clothing by causing brown spots and stains.
Avoid Scratching the Soleplate
- When you are done working with your iron, always place it back in its base or on its heel. Avoid scratching it by ironing over metal zippers of buttons.
- If you accidentally scorch or burn a material that sticks to the base of the iron, clean it as the manufacturer recommends.
- Never use an abrasive detergent or scrubbing brush as this could damage the plate and could cause the steam ducts to be clogged.
- Scratches may snag delicate fabrics and result in the soleplate having to be replaced.
- Most iron cleaners will require you to clean the soleplate while it is hot. After it has cooled, clean off any remaining cleaning products with a damp cloth. Check out this link for how to clean an iron.
Higher Steam Output Helps Prevent Fabric Shine
- You are less likely to create shine with a steam generator iron because the improved steam production handles wrinkles fast and reduces the amount of time you expose clothing to the hot soleplate.
- For delicate fabrics, use a clean dishcloth as a barrier between the garment and the iron. The ironing cloth will take the brunt of the heat but it will also allow the steam to penetrate through to the clothing.
- Start with a lower temperature setting if you’re concerned you may scorch or burn a fabric you haven’t worked with before.
- When ironing a mixed pile of laundry, iron delicate items first when your iron is not at its hottest.
- Iron darker garments inside-out. Darker fabrics tend to shine much easier.
Check out this link for a detailed look into why it occurs and how to stop ironing shine.
Keep Your Machine Clean
- Use the machine’s Anti-Scale feature as an indication of when it needs to be cleaned.
- Remove the limescale rod from the element as indicated in your user manual and rinse.
- Rinse the boiler every 10 uses or so to avoid hard water or mineral buildup. In areas with particularly hard water, you may need to do this more often.
- Wipe down the machine’s plastic parts using a damp cloth.