Clothes Iron Buying Guide

A household staple, clothes irons have been widely used for decades. These useful small appliances use a combination of heat, steam, and weight to smooth out clothing and help them look crisp and fresh. This guide will help you find the right iron that will keep your clothing looking polished.

Types of Clothes Irons

Clothes irons perform many functions to help make your clothing look its best. Two types of irons exist, including:

Traditional Steam Clothes Iron

Steam clothes irons are simple-looking devices with a metal plate on the bottom and a handle on the top. Many models have a built-in reservoir for water. A vast improvement on old-fashioned irons, steam irons are powered by electricity, allowing the user to heat the iron within minutes.

The steam iron is perfect for basic laundry needs, such as ironing dress shirts, skirts, or pants. These irons are available in many sizes, from compact handheld steamers to professional-grade models with large water tanks. If you have a large amount of clothing that must be ironed, you may wish to consider one of the more heavy-duty options.

Most steam irons are very affordable, making them a great choice for the budget-conscious buyer. Steam irons are available in a variety of styles and colors and are sold by dozens of well-known brands.

Steam Press Clothes Iron

If you find yourself constantly waiting in line at the dry cleaner, you may want to consider purchasing a steam press iron. These appliances go a step further than traditional steam irons, providing a flat space for pressing delicate items, such as hand-sewn, clothing, professional suits, or linens.

Like the traditional iron, the steam press iron is easy to use. The user simply opens the lid of the press, places their clothing on the hot plate, then closes the lid to flatten and smooth the garment. When done properly, the steam press will smooth wrinkles while helping the clothing retain its original shape.

These irons are available for commercial or residential use, with residential varieties being smaller and more compact. Still, they do require ample space, making them harder to store than traditional irons.

While more expensive than traditional steam irons, steam presses have the advantage of cutting your ironing time in half. You'll also save trips to the dry cleaners. If you wish to invest in an ironing machine or have a delicate or professional wardrobe, the steam press may be right for you.

Pay Attention to

A great clothes iron can make all the difference when it comes to having a clean and polished wardrobe. Here are some factors to consider during your search:

Automatic shutoff

An important safety feature, irons with an automatic shutoff feature help guard against injuries or can even prevent a fire if the iron is left unattended. This is an essential feature to look for in a steam iron or press.

Cord options

Many traditional irons are available in cordless options, which use batteries to heat the iron's plate. While it allows for more fluid movement while ironing, you'll always have to be sure to have batteries on hand, as these appliances are notorious for their short battery life. There are also retractable cord irons that make storage easy.

Ease of cleaning

Both traditional and press irons can become grimy over time, with minerals from clothing building up on the surface. Many steam irons have self-cleaning features, which prevents the appliance from becoming clogged.

Non-stick plates

Steam irons with non-stick plates allow the iron to move easily over the fabric. While not all users will require this feature, it can be important for those wishing to iron delicate fabrics.


Steam clothes irons and presses are available in many price ranges, from budget-friendly to high-end. Steam presses typically are much more expensive than traditional steam irons.

Water reservoir

There are two key features to look for in an iron's reservoir, which include transparency and removability. Transparency allows you to easily see how much water is left in the appliance, while removable reservoirs make refilling the iron a snap.

Top Brands and Product Lines

Steam clothes irons and presses are available from many popular names in household appliances. These brands include:

Black + Decker

An affordable brand for household appliances, Black + Decker offers simple steam irons with non-stick plates and temperature control settings.


Geared toward the high-end customer, Rowenta features a steam iron line made with the company's patented stainless steel plate.


A popular budget-friendly brand, Sunbeam's line of steam irons features an array of colors, retractable cords, and non-stick iron plates.


Well known for its line of sewing machines, Singer offers high-end steam presses with a host of features, including aluminum press plates and automatic shutoff.


Made with brushed stainless steel, tabletop steam presses from Steamfast allow the user to press his or her clothing while comfortably seated.