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Whether you want to smooth out your curtains, press your bed sheets, or spruce up your clothes, a good iron is a laundry room essential. The most versatile option is a steam iron, which can also work as a dry iron (but not the other way around.) The best irons heat up quickly, have adjustable temperature and steam settings, and work on a variety of fabrics. But with the number of irons there are to choose from on the market today, you may not know where to begin.
The best irons get the job done in less time.
While irons soleplates can be made of a variety of materials, aim for ceramic or stainless steel, which will move over your garments more easily. Consider the iron cord, too—a swivel feature prevents the cord from interfering with your ironing, while a retractable cord makes storage simple and compact. No matter what features you choose, if possible, choose a heavier iron—it’ll more easily press whatever you’re ironing—and one that’s easy to hold and glide.
Here are some of the best irons for a variety of uses, according to customer ratings and reviews:
With its powerful steam output, the Rowenta can smooth out stubborn wrinkles on thick garments. Its stainless soleplate is easy to move over any material, and thanks to its 400 steam holes, it distributes steam evenly as you glide. For added safety, it turns off automatically after being left untouched for eight minutes vertically or 30 seconds face down or on its side.
“I absolutely love this iron. It just glides across the clothing and with one pass, the wrinkles are gone,” writes one Amazon reviewer. “I love the steam burst, great for the tops of pants. My only regret, I wish I would have ordered it sooner!”
A cost-effective alternative to the Rowenta, the CHI also has more than 400 steam holes, resulting in even steam distribution. The titanium-infused ceramic soleplate heats quickly and glides smoothly over any material—and because the temperature settings include a fabric guide, you won’t risk damaging your clothes with too much heat.
Along with the powerful steam output, reviewers also appreciate that the tip of the soleplate is pointed, which makes it easier to press tight corners. “Overall, this seems to be a very nice quality iron,” writes one customer. “I would definitely recommend this product to others.”
The Panasonic, which has almost 4,000 Amazon ratings and a 4.5-star average, makes everyday ironing hassle-free—just charge it, choose your temp, and wait a minute for it to heat up. The cordless feature prevents snags, but to keep the iron at your desired temperature, you’ll have to re-heat it on the base. You can also use the Panasonic as a vertical steamer, and it comes with its own carrying case for storage or travel.
According to customers, it rivals corded options with its stainless soleplate and steam power, but it’s not as heavy because it’s portable. “It heats up quickly and steams well….and very light,” writes one reviewer. “It just glides along with little effort on my part. And I can’t tell you how much I love NOT fighting an electrical cord.”
Don’t be fooled by the price: The Sunbeam is beloved by reviewers and customers alike. Along with the eight-foot retractable cord, the Sunbeam has a stainless soleplate, plus 1400 watts of pressing power and variable steam control that make it easy to effectively remove wrinkles from any material. According to customers, it heats fast, and it’s just as heavy as more expensive options.
“This iron has some heft to it, making pressing extremely easy,” writes one reviewer. “The surface of the iron is so smooth and just glides so easily over the fabric. This iron also has some amazing steam power.”
Whether you’re traveling or low on storage, the Steamfast Mini is a solid pick. It heats in under a minute and glides easily with its non-stick soleplate. The iron has three heat settings, ideal for quick touchups, and while it only holds 1.4 ounces of water, reviewers say it generates plenty of steam for everyday ironing jobs.
“I CAN NOT- CANNOT, say enough great things about this little iron. It comes with the iron, a little bag to put it in, and the cup to fill the reservoir so you don’t make a mess,” says one enthusiastic reviewer. “The cord wraps around it so you don’t have cord all over the place and it’s perfect for travel, on the go, or for everyday use!!”
The Reliable Velocity, our pick for best smart steam iron, automatically produces steam when you place your hand around the handle. It also has an auto setting that’s safe to use on all fabrics or you can upgrade to turbo if you’re dealing with heavier materials. Its nonstick soleplate results in an ultra-smooth glide, and it won’t stick or leak because it turns water into steam before it reaches the soleplate.
“Right out of the box I was impressed with this iron and it did not disappoint. It is heavy (lightweight irons are wimps) and really pumps out the steam,” writes a five-star reviewer. “What I love about it: it signals when it is ready to steam or auto shut off, it is easy to fill and see the max water line and you can override the auto shut off.”
The Maytag M400 is a cost-effective option, but that’s only one reason customers love it. Its stainless steel soleplate reaches max temperature in less than a minute, and it only takes three seconds to regenerate steam, resulting in a quick and convenient ironing process. The Maytag is also versatile thanks to its precision thermostat with six fabric settings—plus, you can use it as a vertical steamer on clothes or curtains.
One happy reviewer says it checks all the boxes: “The Maytag is a dream—excellent temperature control, steady steam, easy to fill, and lightweight enough that my wrist doesn’t hurt even after a couple of hours at the ironing board. Highly recommend!”