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12 best steam irons that will make light work of your laundry pile

Tackle stubborn creases and power through your clothes with one of these tried and tested appliances

Most irons have self-cleaning systems and anti-calc functions to stop limescale being a problem ( iStock/ The Independent )

Ironing doesn’t top many people’s favourite activities. But if you get the right one, it can make a big difference to how quickly and effectively you can get through your laundry pile.

First, decide if you want a steam generator iron or a more traditional steam iron. The former pumps out continual steam, but they are big and clunky and usually more expensive. And if you get the right steam iron, it can be just as good.

Features to consider are weight (some people find a heavy one difficult to use) and the soleplate (ideally thin, tapered and scratch-resistant). 

You should be able to see when the water level is running low and it should be easy to fill up the tank. 

Most irons have self-cleaning systems and anti-calc functions to stop limescale being a problem – make sure these work well, especially if you live in an area with hard water. 

The cord should be long enough to reach the premium ironing spot in the house and ideally, there will be an auto-shutoff. 

If you’re always running late, check how quickly it heats up and if you like ironing curtains or hanging clothes, consider a vertical steam feature. 

We took all these, and more, into consideration when testing but, most importantly, we assessed how quickly it got our ironing – including those tricky linens and denims – out of the way so we could get on with more exciting things.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent

Philips performer plus GC4526/87 steam iron: £60, Amazon

Weight: 1.57kg
Tank capacity: 300ml
Cord length: 2.5m
Steam output: 50g/min
Power: 2600W

This transforms crumpled clothes into super-smooth fabrics that stay crease-free even when you’ve hung them up, all without the need for any real elbow grease or (importantly) the need to go over the same spot again. You don’t even have to use the boost button very often, if at all. There’s no need to worry about limescale either, as the filter is effective and it’s easy to see when it needs filling up with water. It’s on the heavy side, but because it does its job so quickly, you notice it less.

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Tefal FV9830 ultimate pure steam iron: £129.99, Amazon

Weight: 1.45kg
Tank capacity: 350ml​
Cord length: 3m
Steam output: 55g/min
Power: 3000w

The USP here is the microfilter that means you never have to risk your iron spitting on your clothes. We found it lived up to the hype, with remarkable resistance to limescale compared with other irons. It’s a joy to use too – heating up quickly and providing masses of steam. Even linens and really creased jeans only need a single light glide from this robust soleplate. There’s a long lead too, with a clip so it stores away neatly when not in use. But it’s expensive and on the heavy side. Also, be warned that the descaling process – which you’re supposed to do once a month – isn’t the easiest of jobs.

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Russell Hobbs 23972 pearl glide steam iron: £27, Amazon

Weight: 1.5kg
Tank capacity: 315ml​
Cord length: 2m
Steam output: 150g/min
Power: 2600W

An iron is not usually the most glamorous of household items, yet the pink pearl and glittery tones give this one an unusually glitzy finish. And the pearl theme doesn’t stop there, with the ceramic soleplate itself containing real pearl – apparently making it glide more easily. There could well be something to these claims as ours soared across clothes smoothly, with only the toughest of fabrics needing a second going over. It’s relatively lightweight, it heats up quickly and, unlike many irons, the water level is easy to read. This iron boasts good resistance to limescale too. But it doesn’t have quite the steaminess of some of the other irons we tried and it lacks an auto-shutoff.

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Hoover TIF2601 airflow steam iron: £57.01, Amazon

Weight: 2.04kg
Tank capacity: 350ml
Cord length: 2.5m
Steam output: 45g/min
Power: 2600W

The stand-out feature with this great-value iron is a fan that provides a cooling breeze around your hand – an inspired invention for those who are prone to getting hot and sweaty from all the steam involved in ironing. Other advantages include impressive limescale resistance and the durable, scratch-resistant soleplate that won’t be ruined by rogue zips. But the fan does add to the overall weight and you have to press a bit harder than with some, especially when it comes to more stubborn crinkles.

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Wilko steam iron: £10, Wilko

Weight: 1.23kg
Tank capacity: 300ml​
Cord length: 2.15m
Steam output: 16g/min
Power: 2200W

For students and those on a tight budget, this is well worth considering. It heats up quickly and has a large water tank and good limescale resistance – and all for a mere tenner. It doesn’t compromise on features such as vertical steaming, steam boost, anti-drip feature and even automatic steam adjustment. The water tank level indicator is handy and they even throw in a beaker. Storage isn’t a problem either as you can roll up the cord around the handle. But you’ll need more elbow grease than usual and watch out for those buttons and zips as the soleplate easily scratches. It’s on the thick side too, so doesn’t reach easily under buttons.

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Breville VIN393 auto ceramic steam iron: £29.96, Amazon

Weight: 1.4kg
Tank capacity: 250ml
Cord length: 2m
Steam output: 40g/min
Power: 2400W

You won’t have much trouble locating this in your cupboard, thanks to its bright green soleplate. And you won’t be disappointed with its performance either, as it’s ready to go within just 30 seconds and coasts over crumples with its scratch-resistant soleplate. It doesn’t get clogged up with limescale and unlike with many irons, the water level is easy to see. We love the non-slip handle and it feels lightweight. The cord isn’t all that long, though, and can get in the way while ironing. The soleplate is too thick to reach under buttons too.

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The Funky Iron Company steam iron: £49.99, Amazon

Weight: 1.3kg
Tank capacity: 450ml​
Cord length: 3m
Steam output: 50g/min
Power: 2600W

We love the vintage, retro look of this iron – and you even get a choice of colours (turquoise being our favourite). Practically, it heats up quickly and has a good length cord and decent sized water tank, as well as safety features like auto-cut off. We found the highest temperature and steam trigger necessary for blitzing creases, but it’s surprisingly easy to hold in the button even when you’re slaving away over mammoth laundry piles. It’s on the heavy side, though, and we’d like to have been able to wrap the cord around the base when not in use. And – you guessed it – the water tank level is hard to see.

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John Lewis & Partners power steam iron: £25, John Lewis & Partners

Weight: 1.5kg
Tank capacity: 350ml
Cord length: 1.9m
Steam output: 50g/min
Power: 2400W

We love the easy-to-reach function buttons on the top of the handle of this iron, and its whizzy LED digital display (which will also remind you when it needs cleaning). It tackles large amounts of wrinkled laundry easily and it doesn’t clog up with limescale. The vertical steam function works well – suits came up a treat. But yet again, it isn’t easy to see the water level and for really entrenched creases, we think other irons are superior. 

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Bosch TDA3021GB steam iron: £49.99, John Lewis & Partners

Weight: 1.391kg
Tank capacity: 320ml​
Cord length: 3m
Steam output: 40g/min
Power: 2800W

This is a good mid-range iron that heats up quickly and makes light work of laundry piles, even the screwed up garments that live at the bottom of your laundry basket because you just can’t face them. The thin-ish soleplate and precision tip mean the likes of buttons and pleats are relatively easy to tackle and the water tank is easy to fill, with a good anti-calc system. The handle is ergonomic, the iron is well balanced and it’s not too heavy either, although we don’t like the way the cable comes out of the top as it can get in the way.

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Rowenta DW9230 steamforce iron: £109.99, Amazon

Weight: 1.6kg
Tank capacity: 300ml​
Cord length: 2.5m
Steam output: 50g/min
Power: 2750W

We baulked at the price-tag too – it almost stopped us including it in our round-up. But it is a sound investment for anyone prone to remembering that a shirt needs a good going over when you’re already late for dinner, as it heats up in 30 seconds and the steam boost is particularly powerful, while the single temperature setting means no mucking about with dials. The soleplate is thin and tapered enough to reach into the tightest spots and the hand is ergonomically shaped. But it’s on the heavy side and it’s hard to see the water level in the tank – a regular grumble, we know.

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Beko SPA713P hybrid steam iron: £40, Amazon

Weight: 1.8kg
Tank capacity: 350ml​
Cord length: 2.5m
Steam output: 60g/min
Power: 3100W

This iron copes with most fabrics, with the added bonus that there’s no temperature dial to fiddle with as it works it all out for you automatically. It’s quick to heat up – handy if you’re the kind of person that realises your shirt needs ironing when you’re already supposed to be out of the door – and produces plenty of steam so you can get the job done quickly. Also in its favour is the scratch-proof soleplate and it’s great for hard water areas as it keeps limescale at bay. Our niggles are not unique to this iron – it’s quite heavy, the water level is tricky to see and you’ll need a bit more elbow grease for harder fabrics (although the steam shot button helps). But none were deal breakers for us with this mid-priced iron that also does a grand job of vertical steaming.

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Morphy Richards Comfigrip 303127 steam iron: £89.99, Morphy Richards

Weight: 1.7kg
Tank capacity: 400ml
Cord length: 2m
Steam output: 70g/min
Power: 2800W

If you live in a hard water area, this iron isn’t for you, as is scales up quickly and the self-clean process isn’t great. But it’s a fantastic purchase for those in softer water areas as the steam, which the manufacturer attributes to the tri-zone base plate with three areas – one for regular steam, one for steam boost and one without steam vents to dry up moisture – sails through your ironing pile. The water level is hard to see, though, and the cord is on the shorter side.

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The verdict: steam irons

The Philips performer plus GC4526/87 comes very close to ticking all boxes in our wishlist and is a great all-rounder without breaking the bank. But if you’ve got deep pockets, the Rowenta DW9230 Steamforce is a dream to use.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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