There’s nothing worse than a crumpled shirt or sheet: it makes you look scruffy and unkempt. Yet, ironing can be a real bore unless you invest in one of our best irons. With the right choice, you can make ironing faster, easier anad get perfectly smooth results on even the most creased of materials.
We’ve reviewed many irons, and we can happily recommend five of them. Two stand out. The Bosch Ultimate Steam Generator is the best iron we’ve tested. It’s a steam generator model, pumping out a constant stream of high-pressure steam. For lighter loads, the Bosch TDA7060GB is the best value, traditional model.
How we pick the best irons
All of our irons are reviewed and tested under the same conditions, so we can compare each model and tell you which ones are the best. When testing, we time how long the iron takes to warm up and get ready for ironing. We measure ease of use, weight and settings, letting us tell which irons are the best to use.
Performance is key with an iron, so we test each model on a variety of different items, examining how well the iron managed to get creases out. Of utmost importance to us was how quickly creases were removed: the faster the better, with good irons quickly eradicating creases with one pass; poor irons take multiple passes and, even then, may leave creases behind.
We’ve picked out a range of irons. Basic traditional models start at around £35 and are suitable for light loads. Steam generator irons are more expensive (typically £100 upwards), but are better for heavier loads. With a steam generator, the water tank is separate from the iron, generating more, higher-pressure steam than with a traditional iron. And, the lighter head makes ironing more comfortable and easier.
Bosch Ultimate Steam Generator
- Superb steam
- Great looking
- Smart temperature setting
- Doesn’t balance well on heel
- More powerful than you need
The Bosch Ultimate Steam Generator is pretty much unique: a steam generator with the wow factor. However, as you might expect for such a nicely designed, top-performing iron, it isn’t cheap.
If you can afford the outlay, this iron won’t disappoint. As well as looking nice, the design has been well thought out for both right- and left-handed users, and controls are well placed, with lots of options for both steam and temperature.
It wasn’t the quickest to heat up, but it didn’t exactly keep us waiting either. And once at temperature, the amount of steam it’s capable of producing ensure the Bosch outperforms every other steam generator in this roundup.
The 400g/min steam shot offers an extra powerful steam boost, but it’s rarely needed – even its eco mode is sufficient for most ironing jobs.
If it’s within your budget and your ironing pile is mountainous, this high-end Bosch steam generator is the one to beat.
- Powerful steam
- Touch-sensitive shut-off
- Universal i-Temp setting
- Boring looking
- No anti-calc collector
The Bosch TDA7060GB is a powerful steam iron, with some clever features that set it apart from the competition. If you don’t have the space, or the need, for a steam generator iron, this is the iron to consider. Build quality feels very good and the design is superb, with the usual controls just where you’d want them.
Its feature set includes an automatic i-Temp setting that works effectively with all fabric types and a SensorSecure touch-sensitive handle that only switches on the heat when gripped.
Both of these features, plus 50g/min of constant steam and a powerful 200g/min steam shot, make the Bosch a very impressive performer. It will iron both sides of many garments at the same time, powering through a basket of ironing in no time.
It isn’t the most beautiful of irons, and its price tag still leans towards the pricey – but in terms of pure ironing capability, the Bosch is a powerful workhorse and undisputedly the best steam iron we’ve tested.
- Unusual design
- Small and agile
- Traffic light indicators
- Unusual design
- Mediocre steam performance
- No cord clip
The AEG DB6120-U might not be the most powerful iron we’ve tested, but it’s small, lightweight and easy-to-use, with some neat design details to top it off.
For example, there’s a handy traffic light system that will shine red then green to tell you when the iron is at temperature, and we like this model’s simple, well-placed steam and water buttons.
There are a decent number of features, too, including an anti-calc function for flushing out limescale deposits and an auto-off function that will turn the iron off if it’s been standing vertically for eight minutes (or 30 seconds horizontal). It will beep before it does, to provide a warning, in the event that you’ve simply become distracted.
Ironing performance is mediocre. It doesn’t offer as powerful a steam performance as some irons, so you’ll have to work a little harder than you would with a more powerful model. This AEG will get the job done though, and the groove above the soleplate makes easy work of ironing around buttons and under collars.
Breville PressXpress VIN339
- Excellent steam for the price
- Good controls, easy to fill
- No clip for power cord
- A bit heavy
- Not great with small buttons
The brightly coloured Breville PressXpress VIN339 is an elegant-looking steam iron that performs very well for its price. It has a pointy precision tip, a wide soleplate and powerful steam, which together make quick work of your ironing pile.
Controls are well positioned at your thumb: one for steam shot and one for spray. Plus, there’s a slider with which you can choose the steam level required. The grip is comfy but large, so while the curve of it feels good it isn’t great if you have tiny hands. And at 1.6kg plus with the 400ml water tank, it’s a little on the heavy side too.
The Breville PressXpress heats up quickly though, and its ceramic soleplate glides smoothly over a range of fabrics. Note that the soleplate is a touch on the thick side, so manoeuvring it around buttons isn’t as easy as it is with some other models.
Polti Vaporella Forever 670 Eco
- Great value
- Eco mode
- Surprisingly powerful steam
- Small water tank
- Annoying cord position
- Annoying cord and hose storage
The Polti Vaporella Forever 670 Eco is an affordable steam generator iron with a rather modest set of features. I isn’t the most stylish of the models here, and has a few design niggles that don’t show the same attention to detail as some of its competitors.
However, in use it does an impressive job. The 4.5-bar pressure and 110g per minute continuous steam might not sound like much on paper – nor does its 700ml water tank – but it’s the way Polti puts it all to use that just works.
Steam feels more powerful than the numbers suggest – so powerful, in fact, that it can competently iron both sides of a shirt at the same time, and speeds through everyday ironing even on its eco setting.
The steam never run out of puff either, providing a steady stream even after a few minutes. You can get better for spending more, but at this price the Polti Vaporella Forever 670 Eco offers great value for money and surprisingly effective performance.
Tefal Effectis GV6760
- Smaller than most rivals
- Smart, automatic temp. setting
- Excellent value
- No manual temp. control
- Steam gets weak after a while
- Water tank can’t be removed
The Tefal Effectis GV6760 is a compact steam generator iron. It doesn’t offer the most powerful steam in its class, but considering it’s a lot smaller than its competition, the performance impresses.
The styling is modern and the design is practical all round. Despite its smaller size, you’ll still get a large 1.5-litre water tank, and on the side, you’ll find a calc collector for easy cleaning. Note that the water tank isn’t removable, so you’ll need a jug to fill it.
There’s only one mode with the Tefal – it has a smart “any fabric” setting that’s compulsory. It’s a little unusual but it does work well, switching temperatures effectively between cotton and more delicate fabrics. We’d still like the option to choose, however.
Steam is initially impressive for such a small steam generator, but it does trail off after a while. It’s sufficient to do the job, though, and the iron glides well over a variety of fabrics. A great option if you want a steam generator iron but can’t accommodate the larger models.
Those are our top picks of the best irons. If you want to know more about choosing the right iron for you then read on.
Best irons – What type of iron do you need?
When buying a new iron, there are two main things to consider – how much ironing you do and how much you have to spend.
If you’re the iron-as-you-go type, a regular steam iron will probably suffice; if you’re always tackling a never-ending pile of clothes, a steam generator iron might be a better option. Why? A steam generator iron will allow you to whizz through a greater number of clothes in less time, thanks to a better steam output attacking stubborn creases with more oomph.
Such models are usually more expensive as a result – and they’re bulkier, too – but if your kids go through school shirts like there’s no tomorrow, you may well find it worth the extra outlay. Once you’ve decided what type of iron to go for, you can then start thinking about the specifics.
Best irons – What else should I look for?
The material from which the soleplate is made is important because it will determine how smoothly your iron glides over your clothes. Ceramic is the king here, but stainless steel isn’t a bad option either – it’s just isn’t as durable.
As for features, look out for anti-scale functionality if you live in a hard water area, as well as automatic cleaning options, and the ever-handy auto-off for when you inevitably forget to unplug it.
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