If you need to buy a new iron, you may think there is little to consider beyond the price. But these days, there are a host of factors to take into account, from limescale filters to separate water tanks.
The cost of irons can vary from less than £20 to more than £200 for the very best models. So what do you need to think about before you make your choice?
These are the most common type of irons, and they create steam to help remove creases from clothes.
There can be a large degree of variation when it comes to the steam function and how it is controlled, however. Some have a button which produces a burst of steam for particularly stubborn creases; others regulate steam emission based on the type of fabric that is being ironed.
Alternatively, an iron may have continuous steam output.
Irons come with an array of additional features that make them easier to use or more efficient.
Limescale filters are worthwhile to stop your iron clogging up, especially if you live in a hard water area.
The thinner and more tapered the soleplate is, the easier it should be to iron into awkward areas.
Some irons also come with an auto-shut-off feature which turns the iron off if it hasn’t been used for a certain amount of time.
Steam generator irons
This type of iron pumps out considerably more steam, and at higher pressure, than a standard iron.
As a result, clothes can be ironed much more quickly and efficiently – the consensus is that steam generator irons cut ironing time more or less in half.
Steam generators use much more water and come with a separate water tank that pipes the steam to the iron – so while they take up more storage space overall, the bit you actually iron with is typically lighter than a normal steam iron.
Steam generators can be pressurised or non-pressurised: the former are more powerful and will help you iron more speedily, but they are also more expensive. In general, expect to pay around £100 for a steam generator – although prices can go well above £200 for the very best models.
Some steam generators come with anti-limescale cartridges that prevent blockages, but which need to be replaced every so often.
When you’re buying, compare the size of the water tanks: if you do a large amount of ironing in a single sitting, a larger tank means you are less likely to have to refill it halfway through.