What are you paying attention to?
What can you look out for when you buy an iron? Watch the video for our buying tips.
Steam iron or steam generator?
Steam iron is a classic iron that steams. Opt for a steam iron if you don’t iron very much, your budget is limited, or if you have little storage space.
A steam generator is iron with an external water tank that is connected to the iron via a steam cord. Opt for a steam generator if you’re ironing a lot and often tackle stubborn creases. Because of the larger water tank, you don’t have to refill water as often. It also steams more powerfully. A good device quickly costs €150.
Steam quantity and steam functions
The amount of steam partly determines the ironing result. This is shown in grams per minute (g/min). Steam generators produce more steam (90 g/min on average) than steam irons (35 g/min on average) and smooth out slightly better. Compare irons and look at ironing performance at specifications.
Adjustable steam supply
For the best ironing result, you first iron with and then without steam. It is therefore useful if the steam supply can be regulated.
Additional steam functions
Some devices have additional features to tackle stubborn folds, such as a spraying function and steam blast function.
A handy water reservoir
A good water tank has ample capacity and is easy to fill.
Water reservoir capacity
The larger the reservoir, the more you can iron at once. Irons have a water tank under the handle of about 0.3 liters. Steam generators have an external water reservoir of about 1.5 litres. A larger water tank makes the iron heavier and takes up more space.
It is nice if you can easily check the water level.
You fill the water tank with a valve through an opening. See if that opens easily and how big the filling opening is. It’s useful if you can take the reservoir off. With steam generators this is sometimes possible, with irons usually not.
A good sole
Good shape iron sole
An iron sole has a good shape when it is quite wide and has a pointed, flat point. With a wide sole you iron a large piece of fabric in one movement. With a pointed, flat tip, you can iron well between buttons and in corners. Sometimes the back of the sole is rounded, allowing you to iron both forward and backward.
The material of the ironing sole
To make the sole smooth, scratch-resistant and heat-conductive, a metal is used, possibly with a coating. Coatings can vary greatly in smoothness and scratch resistance. ‘Enamel’ is generally smooth and scratch-resistant. Stainless steel is not scratch resistant and glides less well. The terms that manufacturers use often say little. Also, the designation ‘ceramic’ can mean that only a ceramic coating has been used.
Descaling and cleaning
Lime is the biggest culprit for your iron. All irons are equipped with a system against lime. It slows down to a greater or lesser extent the deposition of lime, but maintenance remains necessary.
With the descaling button, shake lime and junk out of the holes.
The anti-lime swab attracts lime from the water. Steam generators have a longer anti-lime rod. You should rinse the sticks regularly or put them in a cup of vinegar or lemon.
With anti-lime cartridges or cassettes, you prevent lime formation in the water due to the chemical action. The generator indicates when to replace the cassettes. On an annual basis, the cartridges or cassettes can cost up to €30.
When the iron is fully calcified, you can break the lime particles by using the ‘thermal shock’ function. In this process, cold water flows along a hot iron sole, causing the lime particles to crumble loose.
In addition to a convenient water tank and descaling options, there are a few features you can look out for.
The cord must be long enough and flexible. It must be able to move in different directions from the iron (tumble cord).
There are several ways to store the device easily. For example, there are compartments, brackets or strips for the cord or steam hose. In addition, some steam generators have the ability to secure the iron to the base, allowing you to move the hole on the handle.
Some irons will automatically switch off if you don’t use them for a certain amount of time. For example, if the iron is on the back, after 8 minutes or if the sole is down (after 30 seconds).
Don’t set temperature
With a standard iron, you can set the thermostat to the correct position from the washing instructions (*, **, ***, max). More and more irons do not have a thermostat. These iron at one ‘safe’ temperature. So you don’t have to sort laundry and set temperature.
Other types of steam appliances
A handsome or clothing steamer
In addition to irons and generators, there are clothing steamers. This will make your hanging clothes smooth. Read our first impression of the Philips Steam&Go or check out a piece about the Tefal clothing steamer in the video report. By the way, you can iron vertically with almost all steam irons and steam generators.
Ironing system or ironing machine
For the avid strings, there are also ironing systems in which the iron and the ironing board work together. The iron gets the steam out of a water tank in the system and the ironing board sucks the iron or blows more fragile dust airily. These models are very pricey.
From Asia, there is a closet on the market, in which you can hang your clothes to refresh. Steam is spread from below, which rises through the back-and-forth moving clothing. Read more about LG’s steam box.