Steam – it penetrates fabric, removes wrinkles, and defines creases. A steam iron is a self-contained, steam generating unit. There’s no messing about with damp laundry, or misting fabric with a spray bottle – just steam on demand. Read on for our top five best steam irons, and a helpful buying guide to set you up with the perfect iron.
1. Philips GC5039/30 Azur Elite Steam Iron
You might know Philips for their electric shavers and toothbrushes, but the company -a world-leader in appliances and personal care products – makes excellent steam irons, too. Their Azur Elite is a slick-looking, high-power steam iron with smart technology that makes pressing clothes a breeze.
Philips Azur Elite Key Features
- No temperature adjustment required
- OptimalTEMP technology prevents burns
- DynamiQ steam mode automatically controls steam
- Up to 50% more steam penetration for quick crease removal
- Powerful, 3000W heater reaches peak temperature quickly
- Improved limescale collection maximizes performance
- Best Steam Iron Overall 2021
Philips GC5039/30 Azur Elite Steam Iron Review
Automatically Controls Temperature – No Worries About Burns
You’ll notice that there’s no temperature dial on the Philips Azur Elite steam iron. That’s because heat is automatically controlled by OptimalTEMP technology, combining a steady, low soleplate temperature and high pressure steam. In fact, Philips guarantees that the Azur Elite will never cause burns to any ironable fabric. Easy and worry-free? Sign us up!
Smart Steam Iron for Outstanding Results
Another piece of advanced technology found in the Azur Elite is the DynamiQ Motion Steam Sensor. It knows how fast you’re ironing, and when the iron is not in motion.
It doesn’t know when you’re sleeping, or when you’re awake—and it doesn’t know if you’ve been bad or good… but if you’d like to have an Azur Elite for Christmas, well, be good, for goodness sake. Moving back on topic, DynamiQ technology releases the right amount of steam—more as you move slowly over heavy creases, and less as you pick up speed. Stop ironing, and the steam stops, too. Fantastic.
Extra Steam Modes for More Control
DynamiQ technology is great—but when you want to take matters into your own hands, you can. Use the Max Mode’s continuous steam to tackle serious creases, iron extra-thick fabrics with IONIC mode, or switch the steam off completely.
Strong and Smooth
A soleplate is the business end of the iron – the hot, metal plate that makes contact with clothing, applying heat, pressure and steam. The Azur Elite uses Philips’ best soleplate, the SteamGlide Advanced. Made from stainless steel, it’s twice as hard as aluminium, and glides easily, thanks to a titanium layer and 6-level coating.
Limescale Resistant Steam Iron
Calcium deposits wreak havoc on steam irons. When calcium – also referred to as calc and limescale – builds up, steam release and ironing performance suffer. The Azur Elite’s Quick Calc release system collects and breaks up calc – up to five times better than previous generations of Azur irons. Emptying the calc container is fast, taking only about 15 seconds.
Philips Azur Elite Pros & Cons
- Automatic temperature control
- Beautiful design
- Philips top of the line steam iron
- Smart steam release
- Additional steam modes
- Glides smoothly
- Heats up fast
- No limescale Buildup
- Quite weighty
- Steam can be excessive
- Water tank depletes quickly
- Not cheap, but expected from a premium iron
2. Tefal FV9788 Ultimate Anti Scale Steam Iron
Like Philips, Tefal—a brand most associated with kitchen appliances—makes a wide variety of products, including the FV9788 Ultimate Anti-Scale Steam Iron. Though lacking some of the bells and whistles found on costlier irons, the Ultimate Anti-Scale is still a solid performer that offers great manual temperature control.
- Patented limescale collector prolongs performance
- Durilium soleplate for smooth, low-effort ironing
- Automatic controls emit the correct amount of steam
- Powers off after inactivity for added safety
- 230 g/minute steam boost for smoothing even tough creases
- 3000 watts of power for fast results
- 350 ml water tank
Tefal FV988 Ultimate Anti-Scale Steam Iron Overview
Steady Steam for Consistent Results
With the Tefal FV988, there’s no need to set adjust the steam level – it’s continuously emitted at at a rate of 55g/min – suitable for most ironing tasks. If you encounter a particularly stubborn crease, or want to use the iron vertically, simply activate the Steam Boost feature, and power wrinkles away with a 230g steam blast. Temperature is adjusted by means of an ergonomically shaped, rotating slider switch – a nice touch for those who prefer to choose their own heat setting.
Durilium Technology Steams Evenly and Glides Smoothly
The soleplate on the Tefal FV988 features Durilium technology that combines optimally arranged steam holes on the tip, sides and center for even steam distribution, and a patented, ceramic coating that glides smoothly over fabric, letting you iron faster and with less pressure.
Large Water Tank & Anti-Drip Design for Extended, Mess-Free Operation
Have a big pile of clothes to iron? You’ll appreciate the Tefal FV988’s large-capacity, 350 ml water tank. It’s not quite the same as the massive tank found on the best steam generator iron, but it means more ironing with less refilling – and an anti-drip design helps prevent water from leaking out the soleplate and dampening garments.
Easy Limescale Removal Keeps Iron Performing At Its Best
At least 13 million homes in the UK are serviced by hard water, whose abundance of calcium makes itself known in the form of limescale deposits that build up in kettles, on showerheads, and of course, in steam irons. Unchecked, hard water can damage an iron, and stain clothes. Fortunately, the Tefal FV988 features a limescale collector—a patented, removable plug that collects mineral deposits. Just pop it out of the iron, and dump the limescale in the bin.
Tefal FV988 Ultimate Pros & Cons
- Modestly priced
- Manual temperature control
- Steam boost button
- Even steam distribution
- Durilium technology
- Large water tank
- Auto-off feature
- On the heavy side
- Spray button oddly positioned
- Tank is large, but could still be larger
3. Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100 W Vertical Steam Iron
Russel Hobbs is famous for their kettles – and it’s not such a far leap from the water kettle to the steam iron. Take, for example, the Powersteam Ultra, a self-cleaning, 3100 watt vertical iron that somehow costs less than several inexpensive meals. Let’s look at how this economical steam iron stacks up.
Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra Key Features
- 45g/minute continuous steam is suitable for most fabrics
- 210g steam shot to release tenacious creases
- 15% faster heat-up time than previous Russel Hobbs irons
- Improved ceramic soleplate design glides 50% better than before
- Self-cleaning to prolong performance
- Automatic off function for extra safety
- 350 ml water tank
Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra Overview
Get Up and Let Some Steam Off
Ever try ironing curtains? It can be done, but is at best an awkward process. If only there were a way to steam and freshen window coverings without removing them. Oh, wait – there is! Just lift the Russell Hobbs Powersteam upright and let the vertical steam function work its magic.
Jets of steam are forced through dozens of evenly distributed holes, removing wrinkles from curtains and drapes. It’s great for upholstery, too. Steam output is variable, and the special, vertically capable design prevents steam from concentrating around the wide, bottom portion of the plate.
De-Crease Your Creases
Clothing, put away damp, can develop particularly firm, stubborn creases that ironing alone doesn’t remove. The old method was to keep a spray bottle on hand and mist the fabric before pressing. It worked—but it’s a bit inconvenient, and a bottle not only takes up valuable space, but is easily knocked over. The Russell Hobbs Powersteam provides a better solution: an integrated sprayer, controlled by a handle-mounted button.
Keeping it Clean
Like our other most-recommended steam irons, the Powersteam features anti-limescale technology to combat the damaging effects of mineral buildup. Just fill the iron, set it down and turn it on high. When the temperature peaks, hold the iron over a sink or bowl, and press the Self Clean button to release sediment trapped by the anti-scale cartridge.
Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra Pros & Cons
- Very affordable
- Vertical steaming
- Spray function
- Manual control
- Finish could be tougher
- Some other irons glide better
- Large and heavy
- No cord holder
4. Morphy Richards 303125 Turbosteam Pro
A modest step up in price from the Russell Hobbs Powersteam, Morphy Richard’s mid-range offering—the Turbosteam Pro—promises precisely controlled temperatures, vertical steaming, a balanced soleplate design, and an extra-large water tank that lets you iron longer. Let’s take a closer look!
Morphy Richards Turbosteam Pro Key Features
- Accurate temperature settings match garment care labels
- Turbo Boost helps you get great results fast
- Tri-Zone Soleplate puts steam and pressure where it’s needed
- Extra-large, 400 ml water tank means fewer refills
- Long, 3-metre power cord to reach every part of the board
- Auto shut-off provides extra safety and energy savings
Morphy Richards 303125 Turbosteam Pro Overview
Three Zones of Steam Keep Wrinkles at Bay
The Turbosteam Pro’s soleplate features a unique, three-zone steam hole design. The first zone – confined to the tip of the plate – provides a powerful, 200g turbo-boosted steam shot to release tough creases in tight spaces. Placing this zone where it is was a good call – its position concentrates pressure in a small area, and allows for more accurate ironing. Zone 2, at the edges of the soleplate, comprises dozens of holes that release steam at a continuous 55g/min over a large area. And Zone 3 – the pressing plate – is devoid of steam holes, to remove moisture and press out any remaining creases.
Put Some Glide in Your Stride
Critical to the functioning of any iron is the soleplate. Not only must it release enough steam and sufficiently transfer heat—it has to glide. Friction is the enemy. A sticky soleplate will cause as many wrinkles as it removes, and increase the risk of burning your clothes. That’s why Morphy Richards coats the plate on the Turbosteam Pro with pearl ceramic—a special coating that combines ceramic with crushed pearls to reduce resistance.
Self-Cleaning, Anti-Scale Features to Keep Your Iron Happy
The Morphy Richards Turbosteam Pro fights limescale with a self-cleaning function that flushes the water tank, and an integrated, anti-scale filtration pouch. Removing scale is as easy as holding the iron over a sink and releasing water through the soleplate.
Powers Off for Peace of Mind
It’s easy to get distracted—but a moment of inattention while ironing can waste electricity, ruin your clothes, or worse. To help prevent such mishaps, an auto-shutoff feature cuts power to the Turbosteam Pro after being left on the soleplate for one minute, and after 8 minutes standing upright on the heel.
No Slip, No Drip
An iron, like any tool, should be comfortable in-hand. The handle on Morphy Richards’ Turbosteam Pro is ergonomically shaped, and covered in a soft-grip material that reduces pressure points and fatigue. Additionally, the steam trigger is placed so it’s easy to reach with your index finger. Less strain, less pain.
Large Tank, Long Cord
At 400 ml, the Turbosteam Pro’s water tank is larger than most, allowing extended ironing without refilling. And the extra-long power cord, at 3 metres in length, lets you easily reach the end of the ironing board – no more stretching or unplugging. It’s great for ironing large items like bedding, too.
Pros & Cons
- Moderately priced
- 3-zone soleplate
- Pearl ceramic coating
- Holds more water
- Cord provides extra reach
- Weighs a bit much
- Could get hotter
- Occasionally wonky thermostat
5. Breville VIN401 DiamondXpress Steam Iron
Breville has gotten out of the kitchen, where their sleek, shiny toaster ovens and espresso machines grace countertops, and into the laundry room, with the DiamondXpress Steam Iron. Unquestionably the blingiest iron we’ve ever seen, this sparkly, rose gold-accented beauty promises smooth performance at a price that’s hard to resist.
Breville DiamondXpress Steam Iron Key Features
- Ultra-wide, diamond-ceramic soleplate for all-direction ironing
- Saves you time—removes tough creases with 200g steam shot
- Channels steam exactly where it needs to go
- Precision soleplate tip for detail work and extra pressure
- Extra-large, 400 ml water tank means less refilling
- Automatic shutoff feature for extra safety
- Anti-scale technology prevents limescale buildup
- Long, 3-metre power cord
Breville VIN401 DiamondXpress Steam Iron Overview
An Iron for The Directionally Challenged
Some irons work best in only one or two directions—pushing, pulling, or even worse, side to side. That’s no way to press clothes, which is why Breville designed the DiamondXpress with an extra-wide, multidirectional soleplate that moves easily in any direction. The result? Better ironing in less time. What’s more, the plate is coated in premium ceramic, reinforced with real, powdered diamonds that add durability and reduce friction.
Quickly Crushes Creases
Powerful, continuous steam will make short work of most wrinkles—and when you encounter a crease that just won’t quit, hit the steam shot button on the top of the handle. The DiamondXpress will release a 200g blast of steam that loosens fabric fibres and restores your garments to their former, unwrinkled glory.
Don’t Change the Channel
Look at the underside of the Breville DiamondXpress. You’ll find six recessed triangular grooves, each containing steam holes. These transfer channels prevent steam loss, keeping the superheated water vapor where it belongs: closer to the centre of the soleplate. And a precision tip, with a high concentration of holes, lets you apply extra pressure, or maneuver the iron around buttons, collar edges and other challenging areas.
Large and In Charge
Like the Turbosteam Pro, Breville’s DiamondXpress water tank has a generous, 400 ml capacity. That’s almost half a litre of water—enough to get through a good-size pile of laundry without refilling. With all that water passing through the iron, it’s a good thing there’s a permanent, anti-scale filter, designed to reduce limescale buildup!
Breville DiamondXpress Pros and Cons
- Soleplate is large
- Works in all directions
- Steam containment system
- Holds a lot of water
- Powerful steam shot
- Eye-catching design
- Somewhat heavy
- Small handle
- Some reliability issues
Steam Iron Buying Guide
Ironing is something we do because we have to, not because we want to. It can be slow, tedious work, and though the end result – crisp, beautifully pressed garments – is rewarding, well, the journey taken to reach that destination is at best, mundane. To make the task as pleasant as possible, you need a good ironing board – and a great steam iron.
Ready to buy a steam iron, but can’t decide which model? Keep reading—we’ll help you prioritize your needs, and guide you in the right direction.
Set a Budget
One needn’t spend a fortune—a decent steam iron can set you back as little as £30 to £40. Obviously, there’s a limit at which point quality diminishes with cost, but stick within or above a modest price range, and you’ll find something of acceptable quality, and with enough features.
Feel it in Your Sole
Where the soleplate is concerned, bigger is almost always better. Large soleplates cover more fabric, letting you iron faster, with less repositioning.
The drawback? Weight. It’s unavoidable. More volume means more mass. It’s a tradeoff many are willing to make for better, quicker results. Smooth coatings help even heavy irons glide easily, reducing required effort. If the added weight of a large soleplate is particularly concerning, opt for a smaller steam iron.
Refilling: Water-ya Gonna Do About It?
Unlike steam generators, handheld steam irons use an integral water tank. High-capacity is preferable—the more water in the tank, the less often it needs to be refilled. The only downside? Water is heavy. If you iron only small loads, or don’t mind making extra trips to the sink, a small tank may suit you well. Otherwise, consider a model that holds 350 to 400 ml.
Under normal operation, most steam irons steadily release steam at a rate of 45 to 55g/min (grams per minute). This is an industry standard, and is sufficient to remove most wrinkles. Look for an iron that puts out at least 45g/minute of continuous steam—and don’t forget the steam shot feature, which should emit a steam burst of 200g or higher, for loosening tough creases.
Simple or Smart?
Some steam irons—like the Azur Elite—use clever design and smart technology to automatically control temperature and steam output. Some people like it; others don’t. Do you want full control? Go with a manual iron. Don’t want to think? Let smart tech do it for you. It really comes down to personal preference.
If you press clothes, you need a steam iron. Even a basic model, which may lack certain features, will go a long way toward keeping your garments looking great.
With our recommendations and informative buying guide to the best steam irons, you’re able to pick the perfect iron for your home.
Last Updated: 05/01/2021