When the dryer doesn’t cut it, a steam iron is key for crisp, fresh-looking clothes. This compact laundry room appliance brings the reviving power of steam to refresh clothing and remove even the most deep-set wrinkles. Steam irons are a great tool for lovers of linen (a notoriously wrinkly fabric) and business people who desire a wrinkle-free look.
After weeks of testing and ironing work, the PurSteam Professional Grade 1700W Steam Iron(available at Amazon) emerged as the best iron. This wrinkle-busting steam iron is easy to use, with a large water tank to handle all of your laundry needs. For a steam iron with all the bells and whistles, the Rowenta Steamforce DW9280(available at Amazon) is a luxurious way to remove deep creases with powerful steam. But there are plenty of great steam irons to choose from.
Here are the best steam irons we tested ranked, in order:
PurSteam Professional Grade 1700W Steam Iron
Rowenta Steamforce DW9280
Maytag M1400 Smartfill Digital Iron
Rowenta Professional DW5280
Reliable Maven 140IS 1.5 Liter Iron Station
Singer Steam Iron
Electrolux Professional Steam Iron
Chi Steam Iron
Black + Decker D3030
Sunbeam Classic 1200 Watt
Nori Steam Iron
Steamfast SF-727 Travel Mini
PurSteam Professional Grade 1700W Steam Iron
Weight: 2.2 pounds Auto Shut-off: Yes
The PurSteam Professional Grade 1700W Steam Iron is the best steam iron you can buy. Like a pair of skates on ice, our top pick smoothly slides across fabrics. With a large, easy-to-fill water tank, you can iron much of your family's wardrobe in one fell swoop. The iron excels at removing wrinkles, giving your clothes a fresh look and feel.
The Pursteam’s 14-ounce water tank is one of the biggest of any iron we tested and pops open to comfortably angle under the sink for fill-up. The steam iron comes with a small plastic cup to help fill the iron, but it was easy to fill without it. Despite the large water tank, the steam function didn’t leak, which is a common fault among other clothing irons we tested.
It quickly removes fine wrinkles with little to no effort. The water and steam buttons are near the handle for easy adjustment while ironing, and the anti-drip feature keeps water from leaking out of the stainless steel soleplate. We love how easy the controls are to read; we quickly found the right temperature settings for our fabrics. Note that while some temperature dials have an arrow to mark where to set the temperature, this iron has a raised bump.
For the best steam iron that removes wrinkles easily and quickly, the PurSteam is the one you want.
The Rowenta Steamforce heats up quickly, is easy to use, and removes wrinkles fast. It's more expensive than most steam irons, but it does its job well, earning a top spot as our Best Upgrade pick.
The iron seamlessly glides over clothing, removing deep wrinkles and creases with powerful steam. It never snagged on any of our fabrics, so we’d feel comfortable using it on delicate materials.
It’s heavier than others in our guide, which has its pros and cons. The heavy design helps the iron glide smoothly and easily, but it can be quite the workout if you're doing anything more than a handful of dress shirts.
The Rowenta DW9280 can also be awkward to fill in the sink. It’s not a dealbreaker, but the water tank must be at just the right angle to avoid making a big wet mess, and it’s hard to see the water line to know when to stop. It’s also more expensive than many other steam irons in our guide, but if you have the money, the Rowenta Steamforce DW9280 offers a luxurious ironing experience.
The Maytag M1400 impressively heats to its highest temperature in just 30 seconds, one of the fastest of any steam iron we tested. It excels at smoothing most of the wrinkles on cotton and linen fabrics.
The 7-ounce water tank is on the small side for steam iron and was somewhat hard to fill, as it required angling it precisely under the faucet so it wouldn’t overflow.
It took us about 17 minutes to iron a cotton dress shirt and linen tablecloth and by the end, we’d run the water tank dry. (Ironing more than two items would have required frequent refilling of the water tank.)
Another gripe we have is the awkward placement of the control button, which is located at the top of the handgrip. Each time we used the iron, we bumped the button, accidentally changing the setting. The digital display indicated heat settings through a pictograph system, which we found easy to read.
Despite being a well-made iron that didn’t wobble on the ironing board, the DW5280 only got out 50% of the wrinkles in our tests. Its heavy-duty design tracks smoothly across fabric and its setting buttons are easy to reach while in use.
However, its steam isn’t nearly as powerful as our top pick’s. The plumes of steam this iron released were on the smaller side, and we had to press the steam button more often than with other irons to get sufficient steam for ironing out wrinkles.
This iron was also difficult to angle under the sink faucet, and the tint of the water tank made it tough to see when it was full.
Reliable Maven’s steam iron is one of the bulkiest we tested. Instead of a built-in water tank, this iron is tethered to a base that doubles as a 54-ounce tank. Even with its large design, the station fits on our ironing board, and it feels sturdy sitting there during use. While other irons rest on their back heel, the dedicated base means there’s less risk of burning your ironing board or clothes when the iron isn’t in use.
There’s no water spray feature, though we didn’t miss that feature during testing. The amount of steam power alone thoroughly removed the wrinkles in the cotton shirt and linen tablecloth.
If you’re doing a lot of ironing, this iron will help you run through your whole closet quickly and efficiently. You can position it on an ironing board, but it will take up a lot of space, so we recommend placing it on a table nearby.
We love the look of this iron’s bright turquoise color and vintage design. The 12-foot power cord is one of the longest of any iron we tested, making it easy to move the iron freely around the ironing board without pulling the cord taut.
Unfortunately, the Singer Steam Iron fell short at removing wrinkles during our fabric tests. After seven minutes of ironing with our top-performing irons, they had already removed most of the wrinkles, but the Singer had only removed about half.
Additional concerns: The settings button is awkwardly positioned on the handle and is easy to bump. The hole to the water tank is narrow and requires a specific angle to be filled, which is burdensome to fill up.
The Electrolux Professional Steam Iron has a sleek, modern look to it, but good looks aren’t everything. This steam iron underperformed in our tests, particularly struggling to remove wrinkles from the cotton dress shirt. The ceramic plates on this iron didn’t travel as smoothly across the crevices of the shirt as the stainless steel plates of other irons did.
This iron is easy to fill up. Despite the narrow entrance to the water tank, it filled smoothly without major spillage. However, when we bumped into the ironing board with the iron resting on it, it fell over quickly, making it a tippy option that’s best to avoid if you’re accident-prone.
The Chi Steam Iron has one of the longest cords, making it a great choice if you live in a home with fewer electrical outlets. It’s also one of the easiest to fill and the controls are clear and easy to use.
Unfortunately, the iron fell over quickly during topple tests, causing the water tank lid to pop open and creating a wet mess to clean up. Using the steam function also caused water droplets to leak from the plate, soaking the fabric. The ceramic-coated soleplate didn’t travel as smoothly as stainless-steel-plated irons did. It stumbled on the fabric, creating creases that needed another pass to smooth out.
The Black and Decker D3030 steam iron stood out for its innovative water tank design. It has the best opening, creating a little pocket so water easily pours into the tank without any spillage. Unfortunately, its controls lack clear markers and are difficult to read.
The plates are made from stainless steel, which should last you plenty of years. The smooth steel plate superbly pressed out the creases in a wrinkled dress shirt. However, the iron caught on the fabric several times, and required a bit of skill to avoid making more wrinkles.
The D3030 is steadier than other irons when resting on its heel, so it can withstand a few accidental bumps of the ironing board without tipping over right away.
The Sunbeam Classic steam iron has some of the most clear controls out of all the irons we tested. You can select your temperature by choosing the fabric you’re working with. It heats up 25 degrees higher than most other steam irons, leaving fabrics like cotton dress shirts flat and crisp.
On the downside, the iron's auto shut-off feature takes 60 seconds before it kicks on—almost double the time of most others we tested. Between the very high heat settings and the extra-long shut-off time, the iron left prominent scorch marks after only 30 seconds in our burn tests. You can expect freshly pressed laundry from this extra-hot iron, just make sure to use it with care.
The Nori Steam Iron's sleek design resembles a hair straightener than a steam iron. This unique iron has two aluminum panels that clamp around fabric to smooth out wrinkles in pant legs or shirt collars.
It sits lower down on our list because the water tank is small (1 ounce). You'll need to refill the tank more frequently than others in our guide, which can be difficult as the tank is narrow. (A funnel can help.)
It isn't ideal to use as an everyday iron, but it is a nice supplement to your ironing routine as it can tackle smaller sections and areas that a larger steam iron can't. The Nori is a great compact option for a travel iron that easily stores in your luggage or carry-on bag. It's also a handy alternative to a full-size iron for storing in small spaces like under bathroom counters or in dorm rooms.
The Steamfast SF-727 Travel Mini. This small but mighty iron is quite tippy. It is unstable when resting on the heel and doesn’t have auto shut-off, which is a major safety concern if left unattended. It could easily fall from the ironing board and scorch your floors.
Being so compact in size, it was also difficult to fill, as the opening to the water tank was so small. For such a small iron, the cord is large and bulky, making it difficult to move around compared to others in our guide.
However, its small size helped it get into the nooks and crannies of a dress shirt to get hard-to-reach wrinkles between buttons or on the back pleats. This is a great candidate to bring on trips, since it is small enough to fit in a carry-on without occupying too much space.
I’m Samantha Mangino, a staff writer for the Home team at Reviewed. I write about appliances and home décor, even covering how to iron your clothes without an iron. The last time I used an iron daily was in high school, when I thought it was important to have my graphic tees pressed before heading to homeroom. I’ve had occasional iron mishaps, including one too many burns to the ironing board, so I feel passionate about finding the best steam iron.
We put these steam irons through multiple rounds of testing, including ironing our own clothing and linens. We tested the minimum and maximum temperatures of each steam iron, and how quickly each heats up. We also looked at usability features like the ease of filling the water tank and how smoothly it glides across fabric. We also considered other features like electrical cord length, stability, and tank size.
For the third round of testing, we brought in two wrinkly culprits: a cotton dress shirt and a linen tablecloth. After washing, we let each item air dry to help them become as wrinkly as possible.
What You Should Know About Buying Steam Irons
Most steam irons have a triangular shape and a water tank for creating steam. Most also feature a water spray feature which squirts water on fabric to help release wrinkles. Factors to consider when purchasing include weight, the amount of water they can hold, and their effectiveness at removing wrinkles.
Most irons also feature an automatic shut-off safety feature that will kick in after about 30 seconds facedown with no movement, or in a matter of minutes while resting on its heel untouched.
Use the Right Heat Setting for Your Fabric
Steam irons feature different heat settings, often named by the fabric type they’re suited for. Polyester and nylon blends will be a low setting, around 250°F, while cotton and linen are often the hottest temperature, around 450°F. The controls are typically set through a dial, while digital versions usually have buttons.
There are some slight differences in the designs you’ll encounter. The flat, heated surface of the iron is called the soleplate. You’ll usually find either stainless steel or ceramic soleplates. During testing, our top two performers had stainless steel plates.
How to Use a Steamer on an Iron
The controls for most steam irons sit near the handle, making it easy to adjust the settings while you’re using it. This is also where you can control the iron’s steam distribution to flow continuously (or not at all).
Using the steam button will dampen and heat clothes without requiring pressure from the iron. You can use this feature over an ironing board, or you can hold your iron vertically to steam delicate fabrics while they’re hanging up.
Is a Steamer Better Than a Steam Iron?
A clothes steamer is another popular option for releasing wrinkles from your wardrobe. Clothes steamers are often gentler on fabrics, as they don’t apply direct heat. Instead, the hot steam gets into textiles to release wrinkles. This makes it a better choice for delicate fabrics like silk and polyester, which can burn easily.
However, the direct heat of a steam iron can achieve a sleek, ironed press, especially on fabrics like cotton and linen. The pressure of a steam iron is also essential if you want sharp creases on your garments.
Samantha Mangino is a Boston-based writer covering the home section of Reviewed. She began her career in restaurants before breaking into editorial. In her free time, you’ll find her swimming in the nearest body of water or reading on her back porch.
She received her Bachelors in Journalism from Emerson College.
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