Ironing is an important routine. You have few options if you always want your clothes to look crisp anytime you step out. That's why we wrote this buying guide, to help you know the different kinds of electric irons out there before you purchase one.
Dry irons do not produce steam, only heat. To use a dry iron on tough clothing, you will have to get the fabric damp first. In the absence of applying moisture, you may end up spending longer hours pressing your clothes and still get undesired results.
Traditional steam irons, like any steam iron, can be used as a dry iron or with the steam. The advantage is some sensitive materials, like silk, don't work well with steam. In most cases using steam should get ironing done faster. You just need to set the appropriate temperature and use the right amount of steam. Traditional steam irons have a water reservoir near the base of the iron. These irons release small amounts of steam when you press the steam button.
Unlike traditional steam irons, steam ironing systems can release a constant flow of steam while you press your clothes. They have bigger water reservoirs which are separate but connected to the iron via a longer cord. As a result, the iron itself is typically lighter than a similar traditional steam iron. One downside with steam ironing systems is the water reservoir may not fit on all types of ironing boards. Steam ironing systems are suitable for ironing in larger batches.
A soleplate is the metallic base of an electric iron. It can be made of several materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, alloy, ceramic, etc. Stainless steel or ceramic soleplate are usually good. Compared with stainless steel, ceramic soleplates have better nonstick features but they are more susceptible to peel after continued use over time.
On some steam irons you can set the amount of steam the iron should release. Some too have a feature called vertical steaming. With this, you can use an upright-sitting iron to remove wrinkle from hanging fabrics. Other irons with steam-burst functionality are useful when removing creases from tough material like jeans. This feature also doubles as way of cleaning the steam vents.
- Nonstick soleplate: Easier to clean - Automatic shut-off - Retractable cord - Removable water reservoir - Transparent water reservoir - Water reservoir cover - Cordless Irons - Self-cleaning steam irons
- Sort and iron your clothes from the toughest materials to the lightest - Check if tough and wrinkled fabrics are damp enough before switching the iron on - Using the steam feature on an iron comes at additional electricity consumption - Ironing wet clothes takes longer to iron - Avoid creasing your clothes before ironing them - Avoid overheating the iron for lighter fabric - Iron in bulk
- Clean the reservoir and the soleplate with a cleaning solution like white vinegar mixed with water - Empty the water reservoir immediately after use - Place the iron in storage sitting in upright position - Use a cotton swab to clean the steam vents
Dry irons are the cheapest while steam ironing systems are most expensive. The type of iron you choose should also be informed by the additional features you want and the quantity of fabric to iron.