How quickly the iron warms up and the rate at which it can exhale water
vapor are two of the biggest differentiators between models, so it’s
critical that you consider these factors as you make your purchase. The
steaming rate is directly determined by the wattage of the iron. Most
low-level irons are around 1,300 watts, while higher quality irons are
in the 1,600 watt range. The speed is also affected by the rate at
which the iron can spew water vapor from its flat bottom. Lower quality
irons put out just a couple of grams of water vapor per minute, while
premium irons can exhale up to 30 grams per minute. While the steam
rate is not a metric that is publicized by iron manufacturers, it can
make the difference between finishing a fully-pressed dress shirt in 8
minutes and struggling for more 20 minutes while getting a worse result.
Ironing quality is all about consistency. It’s essential that the iron
holds its temperature evenly and that it spits out steam uniformly
throughout the ironing process. Poor-performing irons can have wild
temperature swings and can sometimes leak water abruptly from the steam
holes, leaving you with a big puddle on your favorite shirt.
Virtually all irons have the same basic features, such as: variable
steam control, temperature and fabric settings, a stainless steel
soleplate, a “surge of steam” option, a light that activates when the iron
has heated-up, motion sensitive auto-off control, and a seven foot long
cord. Premium irons, however, have a few bells and whistles that
can really enhance the user experience: digital LCD monitor/display,
back legs so that you don’t have to manually stand up the iron, cordless
or retractable cord, and extra soft/moldable grip.
Steam irons can range in price from $30 to well over $80. Surprisingly, we found that some of the lower priced models are actually superior to their higher priced competitors. Find out which steam iron is worth the price and which you stay away from.