The 10 Best Steam Irons For Clothes

Updated May 23, 2018 by Quincy Miller

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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Look, we get it: no one enjoys this chore. Still, the irons on this list can take some of the drudgery out of the task, thanks to their ergonomic handles, powerful blasts of steam, and an assortment of other bells and whistles. You'll be able to walk around in crisp, freshly-pressed clothes all the time, without having to spend your entire weekend slaving over your board. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best steam iron for clothes on Amazon.

10. Singer Expert Finish

The Singer Expert Finish boasts nine different temperature and fabric settings, so you're sure to find one that works with whatever garment you're touching up. The 360° swivel gives you an incredible range of motion, so you can get the job done even in cramped spaces.
  • audible temperature alerts
  • bright digital display panel
  • releases unreliable amount of steam
Brand Singer
Model EF.04
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Maytag M400

The Maytag M400 heats up in less than one minute and, once warmed, generates steam every three seconds, for consistent smoothing and shaping as you work. The preset garment temperature dial allows users to get just the right heat for each fabric type.
  • can be used on hanging clothes
  • self-cleaning button
  • difficult to fill
Brand Maytag
Model M400
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Sunbeam Hot-2-Trot

The Sunbeam Hot-2-Trot is a compact travel model that can be used just about anywhere, so long as you have access to an outlet and a minute or two of free time. It heats up quickly and comes in at a great low price that anybody can afford.
  • runs on 110v or 220v
  • weighs just one-and-a-half pounds
  • tends to rust over time
Brand Sunbeam
Model GCSBTR-100-000
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Black & Decker D2030

The Black & Decker D2030 features a backlit, mini LCD monitor that makes it easy to see your temperature and steam settings at a glance. The stainless steel soleplate will never rust or discolor your clothes in any way and doesn't catch on loose threads.
  • variable steam control dial
  • motion-sensing smart shutoff
  • extremely heavy
Model D2030
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Panasonic NI-WL600

The cordless Panasonic NI-WL600 features a sturdy base that provides convenient storage for the unit in addition to recharging it. A detachable four-ounce water tank with an anti-drip system makes refilling it quick and easy, so you can get right back to ironing.
  • precise temperature control
  • auto shutoff function for safety
  • not hot enough for thick fabrics
Brand Panasonic
Model NI-WL600
Weight 5.1 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

5. Rowenta DW5080 Focus

The precision tip on the Rowenta DW5080 Focus makes it possible to navigate around buttons and into tight spaces, such as collars. It boasts an auto-steam system that adjusts the amount of vapor based on the temperature of its stainless steel plate.
  • large 10oz tank
  • cleans itself automatically
  • begins to leak over time
Brand Rowenta
Model 1110030632
Weight 4.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

4. Silver Star ES-300

Pros — or anyone who has to do seemingly endless amounts of pressing — will love the Silver Star ES-300. It has a gigantic separate tank, so you won't need to constantly stop working to refill it, and it keeps up a steady stream of steam with no spitting.
  • ideal for fashion professionals
  • weight helps smooth wrinkles
  • heats up quickly
Brand Silver Star
Model Silver star ES-300
Weight 8.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Panasonic NI-L70SR

The Panasonic NI-L70SR offers cordless convenience, allowing you to maneuver it as needed without the worry of getting tangled up. It has multiple modes of operation, including spray mist, vertical steaming, and jet steam to tackle any type of wrinkle or crease.
  • heat-resistant protective case
  • cool mist button
  • anti-clogging vents
Brand Panasonic
Model NI-L70SRW
Weight 6.1 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Rowenta DG8520

With 1,800W of power, the Rowenta DG8520 is ideal for large amounts of ironing and can handle even the toughest wrinkles. It belongs behind the counter at a professional dry cleaning shop, but those who just want to get their housework done quicker will also appreciate it.
  • releases consistent steam
  • high precision tip
  • removable water reservoir
Brand Rowenta
Model 1830005299
Weight 15.8 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Chi 13102

The sleek Chi 13102 sports an electronic temperature control, making it incredibly user-friendly. With over 400 steam holes, it delivers a powerful blast of heat with every stroke, leaving clothes immaculate and reducing the amount of time you spend hunched over the board.
  • titanium-infused soleplate
  • convenient retractable cord
  • comfy textured grip
Brand CHI Steam
Model 13102
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

How A Steam Iron Works

Steam irons use heat, steam, and force to stretch out the molecules in a fabric and remove wrinkles. They differ from dry irons, which don’t distribute steam and instead are meant for fabric that is ideally already damp. Depending on the toughness of the material, and the severity of the wrinkles, one can apply more or less steam as needed. The weight of the iron along with the user's applied pressure work in sync with the produced steam, to smooth out the material efficiently.

The part of the iron that touches one’s clothing is called the soleplate, and is typically made from aluminum, steel, or ceramic. The plate also gets pre-treated with a water resistant substance to prevent rusting and oxidization. Soleplates in steam irons are crafted with small pores to ensure a uniform diffusion of water.

Water sits inside of a tank within the iron, and when it’s released through the soleplate, it immediately evaporates into steam. Most steam irons have built-in thermostats so users don’t need to select a temperature. Instead, they can choose a type of fabric on a dial or screen. The iron will set itself to the proper corresponding temperature, and beep or display a blinking light when the water inside has reached it.

Steam irons have power cords that are heat insulated in order to prevent electrocution, and that often contain a spring in order to direct the part of the cord closest to the metal plate away from it. This prevents the exterior of the cord from overheating and potentially burning the user’s hand or causing electrical failure.

Special Features To Look For

People who travel frequently for work and need to look presentable after long flights, with no time to stop at a hotel, can benefit from a portable steam iron. These are usually cordless, instead running on batteries, and are typically small enough to place in a carry-on. Models that heat up quickly are also useful for busy individuals.

As with all devices that produce heat, safety features are always important in a steam iron. Some models come with carrying cases made of thermally-stable plastics, so the iron can be safely stowed away after use, reducing the chance that someone accidentally touches it while it’s still hot. Retractable cords are convenient and also enhance safety, reducing the chance of someone tripping over an iron's cord as it is splayed out across the ground.

For larger steam jobs, one might need an iron with a large water reservoir. While some tanks only hold 10 ounces or less, larger models can contain over 30 ounces of water, allowing the user to steam several full suits or items made of tough materials without needing to refill. If a person needs this type of steamer, they should consider one that can safely sit on the floor, as these can be very heavy. For precision jobs, one should look for a model that delivers steam at predictable intervals of time, and that disperses it evenly across the entire soleplate.

When creating heat-enforced lines like pleats on trousers, a model with a sharp tip is best. If one works with delicate fabrics with specific temperature requirements, the limited materials listed on some dials won’t suffice and one may need an iron that lets them manually adjust the thermostat. An LCD screen can also be helpful if it tells information like water temperature and gives alerts when the tank needs to be refilled.

The History Of The Hot Iron

People have been combining metal and heat for centuries in order to iron clothing. In first century BCE China, people placed hot coals in metal pans and applied them to fabric. The pans were replaced in the 17th century by slabs of cast iron that were heated over a fire, and this is conceivably where the term flat iron came from. In certain parts of India, coconut shells replaced charcoals because they withstand as much heat and are readily available.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, many homes had pipes that fed natural gas or carbide gas to appliances such as light fixtures and liquid fuel irons. These peculiar devices resemble more of a cheese grater than an iron, and were sold in the United States until the end of World War II, when it was realized their combustible nature posed a dangerous threat. They were eventually replaced with electrical units, and were controlled by a thermostat that could be turned on and off as needed to maintain the appropriate temperature. The Industrial Age ushered in the use of aluminum and stainless steel on the soleplate, as well as heat resistant plastic coatings.

A man named Thomas Sears created the first steam iron. A New York drying and cleaning company marketed the commercial model in 1926, but they did not make many sales. A Chicago native named Max Skolnik received the first patent for an electric steam iron in 1934 and, in 1938, he sold the rights of his product to Steam-O-Matic Corporation. Skolnik’s model was the first one to have commercial success and led to the popularity of the electrical steam iron.

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Last updated on May 23, 2018 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.

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