The custom of pressing clothes with heat has been around for thousands of years. Though many consider it a tedious task, using a good iron can make a difference to the speed of ironing and treatment of your clothing. We try out a few to see if price and features make a big difference.
Irons with a bit of weight to them require less pressure to get the wrinkles out.
Look for a temperature dial that includes fabric settings to remove the guesswork.
An iron with a stainless steel or a non-stick coated soleplate (like Durilium) is tops for durability, but careful with zippers, buttons and pins that may scratch the coating.
“Vertical steam” means the iron can produce steam when it’s held upright. This is handy for steaming delicate fabrics that de-wrinkle best while hanging (like chiffon, silk, or velvet), or for ironing curtains while they hang on the rod.
The more holes on the bottom of the iron, the more steam you get and the better pressing. (If you can’t get much steam from your iron, trying ironing your clothes while they’re still damp.)
Look for a pivoting cord to avoid tangles and keep the cord from getting in your way while you work. If not a pivoting cord, get one mounted in the center for both left-handed and right-handed ironers.
Most irons have an automatic shut-off feature. Some have a 3-way shut-off in case the iron is left in a horizontal position or knocked onto its side.
For stubborn creases, some irons have a spray feature so you can lightly dampen the fabric.
An anti-drip feature keeps water from dripping onto your clothes.
- “Vertical steam” means the iron can produce steam when it’s held upright. This is handy for steaming delicate fabrics that de-wrinkle best while hanging (like chiffon, silk, or velvet), or for ironing curtains while they hang on the rod.
- Avoid Teflon: if you get something stuck on it, it’s impossible to get off! Less expensive aluminum soleplates don’t fare much better. They can corrode and become sticky over time.
We held an ironing marathon with some experts in the upholstery and hotel business to test these irons:
- Rowenta (stainless steel soleplate, vertical steam, auto shut-off): $199.99
- T-Fal (ultra-glide soleplate, 3-way auto shut-off, anti-drip): $79.99
- Black & Decker (horizontal and vertical steam, 360° pivot cord): $54.99
- Procter Silex (aluminum soleplate): $22.99
Our guest ironers really appreciated the added features of the Rowenta iron. The price for the average person, however, was a turn-off.
The T-Fal had similar features to the Rowenta, with the exception of the vertical steam.
OUR TOP PICK
If you need to do a lot of ironing, don’t cheap out on an iron or your clothes will pay the price. You might as well get the job done properly with a good quality iron like the T-Fal.