Has your old steam iron lost its oomph? Choose a new model from our free electric iron guide.
After about 10 years of reliable service, our old Philips steam iron was just about ready for retirement. Finding a replacement was a particularly tough research task because so many modern steam irons seem prone to early faults and failures.
Here are the 7 best steam irons that made it on to our shortlist. As always, the model that we chose offered the best balance of economy, technical features and performance.
Five signs that it’s time to replace your old steam iron
When you’re regularly using a mains powered electrical item, safety is the most important consideration. Electric steam irons are notorious for kinked cables, and it’s easy to understand why cable condition is critical on a hand-held electrical appliance. Along with safety considerations, here’s a list of five signs that your electric steam iron may be ready for replacement.
- A kinked, twisted, frayed or melted cable. These faults can lead to an electrical failure, blown fuse or risk of electric shock.
- Physical damage to your steam iron’s plastic shell or water tank. Again, this is a critical safety factor to avoid an electrical short cicuit or shock.
- A faded temperature dial. If you can’t see the temperature setting you risk burning those delicate items.
- A badly stained plate. Over time, your steam iron’s sole plate can become stained by melted fabric. Eventually, these stains can become too difficult to remove with sole plate cleaners.
- Low steam production. Even with the regular use of de-scalers, a gradual build-up of limescale can dramatically reduce your iron’s steam efficiency.
What to look for when you buy a new steam iron
Basically, there are two types of hand-held steam irons designed for use with a traditional ironing board. At the lower end of the price range you’ll find electric steam irons with a built-in water tank. These range in price from about £10 to £130. For more demanding ironing, you may prefer to invest £70 to £350 in an electric steam generator iron. These models feature a separate, high-volume water tank.
In these reviews, we’ve focused on low to mid-priced, standard steam irons capable of whizzing through the laundry for a family of four. Our key features include a large on-board water tank, consistent heat and steam power, along with better than average reliability.
We were also keen to note the weight and feel of each iron. Ironing can be a monotonous task, so we were looking for steam irons with comfy handling, and just enough weight to breeze effortlessly through a pile of creased jeans and tops.
Be kind to your local independent retailers
Even though we’re providing handy links to Amazon and other online retailers, please don’t forget your local independent shops when you’re buying irons and other electrical goods. It’s sad to see so many local shops closing down due to competition from online stores and the supermarket giants. Remember to shop local if you can afford to spare a few more £’s to keep your local businesses on the high street!
Comfigrip Traditional Steam Iron 303118 by Morphy Richards
Morphy Richards Comfigrip Steam Iron features:
- Traditionally styled 2800W steam iron
- Large, 400ml water tank capacity
- Pearl finish ceramic sole plate
- 30 x Constant + 7 Turbo steam ports
- 50g/min standard steam with 190g/min boost feature
- Anti-scale, water spray & vertical steam capability
- Affordable price tag
Morphy Richards is a well-known brand name with a reputation for quality and reliability. With no fancy functions, the unique feature of this 303118 Traditional Steam Iron is its BIG 400ml water tank. The extra tank capacity means that you’ll spend less time topping-up the water level.
Buyers report being happy with the swishy feel of the iron’s pearl-finish sole plate. With a water-filled weight of 1.9kg, this is quite a chunky appliance. Personally, I prefer a substantial iron when it comes to tackling denim and heavy cotton. This model also sports a Morphy Richards ‘Comfigrip’ handle. Again, this a traditional design feature with a familiar feel and a well-placed Turbo steam trigger.
One of the main buyer gripes about this iron is the 2 metre power cable length. If you iron close to a power socket, this shouldn’t be an issue. In terms of power, a maximum output of 2800 Watts places the 303118 Steam Iron slightly behind some of the competition. Even so, this model offers a speedy warm-up and consumes slightly less electricity units than some of its competitors.
Click here for more details and buyer reviews (Amazon).
Powersteam Ultra Vertical Steam Iron from Russell Hobbs
Russell Hobbs 20630 Steam Iron Features:
- High-output, Powersteam Ultra 3100W steam iron
- On-board 350ml water tank with spray function
- Self cleaning with an anti-scale cartridge
- Smooth ceramic sole plate
- Steam: 45g/min + 210g/min boost button
- Provides vertical steam for curtains
- Auto switch-off if knocked over
The auto switch-off feature built into this Russel Hobbs Power Steam Ultra Iron is great for anyone (like me) who often forgets to unplug after an ironing session. A special sensor switches the iron off if it’s knocked over or left unattended.
As the ‘Powersteam’ model name suggests, this is an iron that produces high steam volume. At the maximum setting, this iron produces 45g/min of continuous steam. Like most other modern steam irons, this model also produces a powerful ‘steam shot’ at the push of a button.
This is a steam iron with sleek lines and a sophisticated look. You may feel that the the black and grey finish is a little more masculine than some other models. I guess that the designers were aiming to appeal to folks that like to have all of their household appliances in complemetary colours. This high-power steam iron is a perfect match for a Russell Hobbs kettle.
Click here to check-out more than 1600 Amazon buyer reviews rating this popular appliance.
Beautural 2400W LCD Steam Iron
Beautural LCD Steam Iron Features:
- 2400W steam iron with LCD display screen
- Features 9 push-button dry/steam ironing presets
- Double ceramic sole plate for even heat distribution
- Steam boost, spray & self cleaning features
- Auto power-off tilt and idle safety system
If you’re looking for a low-price steam iron with high-tech features, this Beautural LCD Steam Iron could be the one for you. A nifty push-button allows you to toggle through 9 pre-set ironing modes. With 5 ‘dry’ ironing temperatures and 4 steam-iron settings, it’s easy to choose the perfect mode for most fabrics.
As well as showing your chosen fabric, a bar display on the LCD gives an indication of the sole plate temperature. The iron also bleeps when it reaches your chosen temperature setting. This is a neat and innovative feature.
The overall design of the Beautural steam iron is pretty traditional. The only thing that might put buyers off is a the weight factor. The special, dual sole plate means that this model weighs-in at 1.6kg with the tank filled to its 340ml capacity.
Even though the manufacturer seems to be new to the western appliance market, this LCD steam iron gets a lot of five-star reviews from Amazon buyers. Beautural irons are steam-tested before delivery, so you may find moisture in the water tank. To flush the steam channels, we recommend that you iron a few test items on a high setting. This hot tip applies for any new steam iron!
Click here to view Amazon product details and a video of this LCD steam iron in action.
Russell Hobbs Easy Store Pro 23780 Tidy Steam Iron
Russell Hobbs Easy Store Pro Tidy Steam Iron features:
- 2400W steam iron with on-board plug & cable storage
- Simple, no fuss power & steam dials
- Grey ceramic sole plate
- Steam: 45g/min regular use + 145g/min boost
- 330ml water tank + anti-drip & self cleaning features
- Long, 2.5m cable, burn warning & ‘ready to iron’ light
As well as having a long, 2.5m cable, this low cost Russell Hobbs Easy Store Electric Iron also comes with a special cable wrap and power plug storage system. If you’re a de-clutter fan, you’re going to love the way the power plug slots discreetly into the back of this steam iron for kink-free cable storage.
When it comes to performance, the Easy Store Pro is pretty good value for money. This iron generates 45g/min of steam in regular mode, with a 145g steam shot for extra oomph. The controls are simple to understand, and you’ll probably opt to leave the steam dial on it’s highest setting anyway. Along with a ‘ready’ light, Russell Hobbs have also built in a warning beeper to let you know that you’ve left the iron flat on your ironing board.
With a price tag around £25, the Easy Store Pro Iron comes with a pretty unremarkable sole-plate. This keeps the weight down to about 1.6kg when filled with water. Most Amazon reviewers report being pleased with the sole plate’s ironing performance. They also seemed pleased with the weight and the feel of the soft grip material around the handle.
As with other steam irons in this price range, some buyers were peeved to discover moisture left over from factory QA testing, when unpacking their new Easy Store Steam Irons.
Click here to check out the latest available colour options for this ultra-tidy, Russell Hobbs Easy Store Steam Iron.
Tower CeraGlide Cordless 2400W Steam Iron
Tower CeraGlide Cord / Cordless Steam Iron features:
- A 2400W steam iron that can be used with or without the cord
- 30 second re-heat time in cordless mode
- Traditional setting dials, spray & steam boost buttons
- 150g/min power boost feature
- Smooth-running ceramic sole-plate
- 360ml water tank + self cleaning, anti-drip & anti-limescale features
- Small, lightweight charging stand can be locked onto iron
Most buyers use this Tower CeraGlide Cord / Cordless Steam Iron with the fancy charging base connected directly to the iron. Whenever you want to use your CeraGlide in ‘cordless’ mode, you simply unlock the switch on the charging unit. This allows the mains-powered charger to be fully detached.
Don’t get the idea that you’ll be able to steam through your laundry on a single charge. Electric irons need a tremendous amount of power to produce the heat and steam needed for ironing clothes. While Tower’s CeraGlide Cordless Iron may hold enough charge to do a few light items on low power, steam-ironing a single pair of denim jeans is about as much as this iron can manage. That’s why so many buyers use this dual mode steam iron in regular, mains-power mode.
Even so, if you’re involved with needlecraft, regular hemming or curtain work, this CeraGlide Cordless Steam Iron could be great for doing small tasks away from the ironing board. It’s a neat solution for any quick job where a trailing cable might be an inconvenience.
If you feel the need to go all-out cordless, the Morphy Richards easyCharge 360 Cordless Steam Iron offers a similar specification with a well-known brand name. This cordless electric iron has a completely separate charging stand like an elecric kettle. It’s almost double the price of the Tower model, Click here to see if it’s worth it.
Bosch Power III Steam Iron (2800W)
Bosch Power III 2800 Watt Steam Iron features:
- 2800W steam iron for high-power ironing
- Traditional dial & buttons in the usual places
- Smooth Ceranium Glissee (ceramic) sole plate
- 320ml water tank with 3 way anti-calc cleaning
- Sensor Secure warning & auto switch-off systems
- Anti drip + 40g standard & 170g/min steam shot features
This Bosch Power III Sensixx Steam Iron is a big, powerful laundry-buster with a souped-up anti-limescale feature. Despite the high power and a large, 320ml water tank, the Power III iron doesn’t feel uncomfortable or heavy to use.
So what’s so good about this Sensixx 3 AntiCalc system? After a little research, I couldn’t find anything particulary innovative about this feature. Basically, you press the AntiCalc ‘clean’ button near the temperature dial to pass a steam boost through the calcite collection system. All of the grimy limescale gets ejected through the steam holes in the sole plate. Similar systems are featured on many steam irons.
The Bosch Power III Steam Iron is a little more expensive than most of the other appliances in this review. A lot of Amazon buyers seem generally happy with their purchase, but there are a significant few who’ve had problems with this item. There’s a 2 year guarantee on this steam iron, so replacement should be no problem for this high-profile manufacturer.
Tefal Ultraglide FV4040 Steam Iron (2400W)
Tefal Ultraglide 2400 Watt Steam Iron features:
- 2400W steam iron with a built-in heel stand and cable wrap
- Usual steam, spray, and dial configuration
- Lightweight, high precision, Durilium sole plate
- 300ml water tank with anti-calc limescale collector
- Flasher warning and auto switch-off features
- Standard 40g and turbo 170g/min steam boost features
This Tefal FV4040 Ultraglide Iron is a light, nimble, crease-buster that generates a surprising amount of steam. With a pretty average power rating and moderate, 300ml water tank, the nice feature with this model is the pointy sole plate.
Rather than buying a new appliance, we were given this low-cost Tefal steam iron by a friend. For him, the iron just didn’t pack enough weight to de-crease his wash. My wife and I both prefer this lightweight (around 1.8kg filled) model for our everyday jeans, T shirts and tops etc. I find that the pointy Durilium sole plate runs smoothly over all fabrics and is easy to probe into tucks and corners. The sole plate is packed with steam ports, so this model has more than enough oomph for our ironing needs.
My main gripe with the Tefal Ultraglide Steam Iron is that it tends to dribble if you forget to flip the steam switch into the Stop position before filling. I know that this is a common problem with a lot of steam irons. For less than £40, we think that this four-and-a-half star performer is a very attractive insvestment. Click here to check it out on Amazon.
I hope that this review makes selection of your new steam iron a little easier – thanks for reading!
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