Ironing is no fun, lets be honest about this, but if you’re going to do it then the right iron can help you get through the pile faster, get better results and avoid ruining clothes.
A basic iron just heats up a flat metal plate, the heat helps remove creases from your clothes. There’s really not much to an iron like this, the only things to look for are the power rating - more power is good - and the material the sole plate is made from.
Stainless Steel Soleplates - The basic material for a sole plate, scratches easily which can make it glide less well. Watch out on zips and rivets.
Aluminium Soleplates - Aluminium conducts heat very well indeed, so an aluminium soleplate will heat up quickly and evenly. Aluminium also scratches easily and doesn’t glide as well as steel.
Teflon Coated Soleplates - The same stuff they put on non stick pans, teflon is extremely low friction so it glides over fabrics, it also repels dirt and grease so it’s easy to keep clean.
Ceramic Soleplates - These are the top end of the market, durable, easy to clean and super smooth glide.
One last feature to watch out for is auto shut off, if you knock the iron over, leave it unattended or leave it on for more than a certain period it will switch off, reducing the chances of accidents.
Steam irons use steam to soften and relax the fibres in fabrics and help creases drop out faster. A couple of features you’ll want are non drip and continuous filling. Non drip steam irons won’t drip water on your clothes which can leave marks, especially on dark fabrics and continuous filling just means you can add more water without having to switch it off and wait for it to cool down first.
Steam irons have different capacities, an iron that holds more water will need filling up less so if you often have a pile of ironing to do a larger capacity may be useful.
If you’re serious about your ironing, a steam generator may be what you are looking for, steam is generated in a separate unit and piped to the iron. This gives you a huge capacity and a much higher volume of steam, all of which means creases disappear faster and you spend less time ironing.
Most steam generators are non-pressurised, but the big boys drive steam to the iron at up to 5 bar. High pressure steam gets right down inside the fabrics fast so even thick, difficult to iron fabrics get smooth in seconds.