We Put 30 of the Best Steam Irons to the Test—But These 8 Are Actually Worth Buying

We loved the Rowenta Digital Display Iron for how effortlessly it removes wrinkles from a variety of fabric types.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best irons
Dera Burreson

Whether you're headed to a wedding, picking out clothes for work, or you simply didn't get your laundry hung up in time, having an iron that effectively erases wrinkles can keep your clothes looking crisp and clean while helping you make a great first impression.

The best steam irons heat up quickly, offer multiple settings to accommodate a variety of materials, and are easy to maneuver. Added features like auto-shutoff settings, anti-drip soleplates, and retractable plugin cords are also helpful.

We put some of the best steam irons to the test to determine which ones are actually worth buying. Our expert home testers purchased and used 30 different steam irons in our lab in Des Moines, Iowa, putting each one through its paces on materials like cotton, linen, and satin.

In addition to testing the iron's functionality, we noted its design (Is it too big? Too heavy? Does the handle get hot when in use?) and portability to choose our favorites.

Our top pick for the best overall iron is the Rowenta Digital Display Steam Iron because of how effortlessly it removed wrinkles and deep creases from satin, linen, and cotton material. We also loved the Rowenta iron's angled tip, which allows for greater maneuverability.

Best Overall: Rowenta DW9280 Digital Display Steam Iron

4.3
Rowenta DW9280 Steam Force 1800-Watt Professional Digital LED Display Iron with Stainless Steel Soleplate, 400-Hole, Blue
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

Why You Should Get It: The angular tip of this steam iron is great for removing wrinkles from shirt sleeves and other tight crevices.

Keep in Mind: This iron is heavier than other models we tested.

If you use an iron regularly on a variety of material types, it's important to find one that has a range of heat settings, effective steam capabilities for extra-tricky crinkles, and more. We loved the versatility of the Rowenta Digital Display steam iron, which removed wrinkles from linen, cotton, and satin in just a couple of passes.

Our testers found this iron performed best on cotton, removing deep creases with and without steam in just one pass. However, it also works great on linen and satin (the iron doesn't have specific heat settings for satin, so we used the nylon setting), removing wrinkles in a couple of swipes. The iron is super intuitive to use, with a ready light, an easy-to-read water fill line, and a digital display that shows what fabric setting you're on.

The stainless steel soleplate has over 400 steam holes, allowing the steam to smooth creases without the iron sticking. Its motion-sensing detector turns on the steam setting as you move the iron back and forth, then shuts it off once you place the iron upright again so that you don't waste water or have to fiddle with the settings in between passes.

We found the Rowenta iron's angular tip to be extremely helpful in removing wrinkles in clothing, since you can easily target sleeves, collars, and folds in the fabric without creating creases in the process. Its added safety features like auto-shutoff and an anti-drip system keep you from accidentally leaving the iron on all day or getting water droplets on laundry when moving the iron.

This iron weighs nearly 4 pounds, which is slightly heavier than many of the other models we tested, and its cord is a little short. While we found these to be minor inconveniences compared with all of the iron's benefits, someone who has a long reach from their ironing board to the nearest outlet may be annoyed by the clunkiness.

Price at time of publish: $200

Product Details:

  • Weight: 3.85 pounds
  • Water Tank Size: 11.8 ounces
  • Wattage: 1800 watts
  • Soleplate Material: Stainless steel
  • Safety Features: Anti-drip, automatic shutoff
  • Cord Length: 7 feet

Related: The 10 Best Bath Towels for Plushness, Absorbency, and Durability, According to Testing

Rowenta SteamForce Iron
Dera Burreson

Best Budget: BLACK+DECKER IR1010 Light 'N Easy Compact Steam Iron

BLACK+DECKER IR1010 Light 'N Easy Compact Steam Iron

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: During our tests, this steam iron removed wrinkles and deep creases from satin and cotton in one pass.

Keep in Mind: There's no way to tell when this iron has reached the desired temperature.

If you want an iron that efficiently rids your clothes of wrinkles without having to splurge on an expensive appliance, this option from Black+Decker is a great choice. Though it has many of the same features as the pricier irons we tested, the Light 'N Easy iron is a lot less expensive while still acting as a time-saving solution to wrinkly fabric.

When testing, our experts found that the Light 'N Easy iron worked best on satin and cotton, removing wrinkles in just one pass. Deeper creases took a few tries to remove, though the process was still relatively effortless. Even on linen, our testers found that the iron could get rid of wrinkles easily (though deep creases were still slightly visible).

You'll be able to change the temperature settings using a dial on the iron's handle, which corresponds to a chart printed below the handle. This allows you to adjust the temperature according to the material you're working with, making it easy to iron a whole load of laundry at once.

We also loved how large this steam iron's water tank is, meaning you don't have to add more water during a long ironing session. The steam feature automatically adjusts the amount of steam it produces based on the setting you select, allowing for the right combination of heat and moisture. Plus, its automatic shutoff feature—which turns off the machine eight minutes after use when upright and after 30 seconds when facedown or on its side—provides added peace of mind.

Given its low price point, we weren't surprised to find that the Light 'N Easy iron feels a bit cheap compared to other models. There's no way to tell if the iron has reached its desired temperature, which we found frustrating, and deciphering some of the symbols on the iron was a challenge for our testers.

Price at time of publish: $25

Product Details:

  • Weight: 2.45 pounds
  • Water Tank Size: Not Listed
  • Wattage: 1200 watts
  • Soleplate Material: Stainless steel
  • Safety Features: Anti-drip, automatic shutoff
  • Cord Length: Not LIsted
Black + Decker Light 'N Easy Compact Steam 1200 Iron with Burst of Steam Technology
Dera Burreson

Best Splurge: Rowenta DG8624U1 Perfect Steam Pro Station

blue and black iron

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This iron's detachable water tank holds up to 37 ounces of water and filters out calcium to prevent buildup on your iron.

Keep in Mind: There's no indicator to tell you when the iron has reached the desired temperature.

If doing the laundry frequently includes ironing wrinkles out of clothing, tablecloths, or other fabrics, the Rowenta Perfect Pro iron is a great investment. While it's more expensive than other models, we found it to be exceptionally capable of cutting through deep wrinkles on multiple fabric types.

The most notable feature on the Perfect Pro iron is its extra-large water tank, which doubles as a docking station when you're not using the iron. If you tend to spend a large chunk of time ironing, the 37-ounce water tank allows you to keep working longer (up to 90 minutes) without having to stop and refill.

Plus, the separate tank keeps the iron itself quite lightweight and easy to use while offering powerful steam capabilities.

During testing, our experts found that this steam iron was quite versatile; it performed well on linen, cotton, and satin napkins with similar effectiveness. While it took a few passes across each fabric to flatten the wrinkles, we found it to be a pretty quick and easy job.

Similar to other Rowenta irons, the Perfect Pro has over 400 holes across the face of the soleplate, allowing for even steam distribution and even more precision when removing wrinkles. The iron automatically adjusts how much steam it outputs based on the temperature and fabric setting you've selected, better protecting the fabric from damage. We also liked this iron's extra-long cord (11.5 feet), which makes it easy to steam curtains.

When testing the Perfect Pro, our experts were slightly overwhelmed by the number of features this iron offers. In order to fully understand its capabilities and get the most out of the iron, you'll have to watch tutorials online, since the directions don't offer much insight into how to use the product.

For all its high-tech features (such as manual steam controls, extra-powerful steam distribution, and a long-lasting steel soleplate), our testers were disappointed to find that this iron doesn't have a ready light indicator. There's no way to tell when the iron has reached the right temperature and is ready for use.

Price at time of publish: $329

Product Details:

  • Weight: .95 pounds
  • Water Tank Size: 37 ounces
  • Wattage: 1800 watts
  • Soleplate Material: Stainless steel
  • Safety Features: Anti-drip, automatic shutoff, safety lock
  • Cord Length: 11.5 feet

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Rowenta DG8624U1 Perfect Pro Station 1800 Watt Iron
Dera Burreson
Cyber Monday Steal

Best Steam: BLACK + DECKER ICR2020 Vitessa Advanced Steam Iron with Retractable Cord

4.3
BLACK+DECKER Vitessa Advanced Steam Iron with Retractable Cord

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: Our testers found the steam mode on this iron to be especially effective, removing wrinkles in a single pass on linen and cotton.

Keep in Mind: When dry ironing with this model, we found it took a few tries to get rid of wrinkles.

For fabric that's particularly wrinkled, the best way to target unwanted creases is to add heat and moisture, which softens the wrinkles and helps reverse the process that created them in the first place. The Black+Decker Vitessa steam iron is exceptional at just that; our testers found this iron to be particularly powerful at flattening creases on multiple types of fabric.

While many other irons we tested took at least a few swipes to get rid of deep creases, we found that this Black+Decker option made wrinkles disappear from cotton and linen in a single pass across the material when using the steam setting.

The vertical steam button is clearly marked at the top of the handle, making it easy to remove wrinkles from clothing, curtains, and more without taking them off the hanger or even touching the fabric. You also have the option to use the misting feature on this iron, which distributes a quick puff of water droplets to the fabric for tackling set-in wrinkles.

The Black+Decker steam iron also stood out to our testers because of its other perks, like the retractable power cord for easy storage, the anti-drip feature that eliminates water leaking out of the soleplate, and the automatic shutoff for added peace of mind.

Though our experts loved the steam settings on this iron, the dry iron settings weren't anything special. It took a few attempts to get rid of wrinkles on cotton, satin, and linen fabrics alike, but the process was still relatively quick and easy. If you prefer to use the dry setting to iron your clothes, this one certainly does the trick, but other irons we tested yielded better results.

Price at time of publish: $35

Product Details:

  • Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Water Tank Size: 10.8 ounces
  • Wattage: 1200 watts
  • Soleplate Material: Nonstick
  • Safety Features: Anti-drip, automatic shutoff
  • Cord Length: 8 feet
BLACK+DECKER Vitessa Advanced Steam Iron
Dera Burreson

Best for Travel: Conair EZ Press 800 Watt Handheld Steam Iron

Conair EZ Press 800 Watt Handheld Steam Iron

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This iron is super lightweight and easy to pack when traveling.

Keep in Mind: The small soleplate on this iron makes it less equipped for big ironing jobs.

We've all been there—you're unpacking clothes after a long day of traveling, and you find that the only nice outfit you brought on the trip is covered in wrinkles. Rather than putting your trust in the cheap hotel iron (or showing up to an important event all wrinkly), the Conair EZ Press iron is the ideal travel companion to get rid of unwanted creases.

Weighing 1 pound and small in size for convenient packing, the Conair iron tucks away easily in a suitcase while removing wrinkles just as easily as its more expensive counterparts. You'll be able to use the steam setting (though our testers found the water tank to be quite small) or use it as a dry iron, and its varying temperature settings allow you to work on multiple fabric types.

While testing, our experts were pleasantly surprised to find that the Conair iron removed wrinkles from our satin, linen, and cotton napkins with minimal effort in just a few passes. While we had a bit of trouble getting the deepest creases out of linen, they eventually disappeared after several attempts.

The temperature dial under the handle makes it easy to raise or lower the temperature to work on different fabrics, and we liked that the ready light indicates when the iron is heated to the correct temperature so we didn't accidentally burn low-temperature fabrics.

This iron also has a vertical steam option for getting wrinkles out of hanging clothes, making it incredibly versatile when you're away from home.

Because of its smaller size, the Conair iron is best suited for quick ironing jobs, and our testers found that it was pretty time consuming to use when working with a larger piece of material, like a tablecloth. We also found its water tank to be quite small and difficult to refill, with the removable cap leaking slightly when tipped on its side.

However, it's a great all-around choice when you're in a pinch and you need a quick and lightweight solution for travel-induced wrinkles.

Price at time of publish: $30

Product Details:

  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Water Tank Size: Not listed
  • Wattage: 800 watts
  • Soleplate Material: Stainless steel
  • Safety Features: None
  • Cord Length: 8 feet
Conair EZ Press 800 Watt Handheld Steam Iron
Dera Burreson

Best for Dry Ironing: Sunbeam Steam Master Steam Iron

silver, blue, and black steam iron

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This iron had great versatility across linen, cotton, and satin materials when dry ironing.

Keep in Mind: This iron's temperature fluctuates slightly when used for longer periods of time.

Dry ironing is a great way to make your clothes or fabric extra crisp, but finding a trustworthy iron that won't scorch your clothes or melt the tag can be a challenge. The Sunbeam Steam Master Steam Iron was the most effective dry iron we tested, removing wrinkles and deep creases on satin and cotton in just one swipe (though it needed a little more elbow grease to get rid of wrinkles on linen fabric).

When you want a burst of steam, our testers were impressed with this iron's steam capabilities—it flattened wrinkles in one to two attempts. Built-in settings for variable steam and spray mist mode allow you to target deep wrinkles more easily, too. The retractable power cord makes it super simple to put the iron away when not in use, and you won't have to worry about fussing with a too-long cord while you work.

Our testers noted how lightweight this iron felt when using, making it a lot easier than other models to use for long periods of time. All of the iron's settings are pretty self-explanatory, so you won't have to dig out the instructions every time you want to switch between steam and dry ironing. Plus, the temperature dial has specific markers for linen, cotton, wool, and synthetic materials to ensure nothing melts or sticks to the soleplate.

During testing, our experts noticed that the temperature of the iron's soleplate tended to decrease slightly after using it for a few minutes. We had to bump up the temperature a bit higher than the dial markings indicated after a while to maintain the correct heat levels.

Price at time of publish: $36

Product Details:

  • Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Water Tank Size: Not listed
  • Wattage: 1400 watts
  • Soleplate Material: Non-stick soleplate
  • Safety Features: Anti-drip, automatic shutoff
  • Cord Length: 8 feet
BHG Sunbeam Steammaster Steam Iron 1400 Watt
Dera Burreson

Best for Sewing: Panasonic NI-L70SR Cordless 1500W Steam/Dry Iron

4.4
Panasonic NI-L70SR Cordless 1500W Steam/Dry Iron

Courtesy of Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This iron is cordless for added maneuverability and no bulky cord getting in your way.

Keep in Mind: This iron only maintains its heat by regularly docking it as you work.

When working with a large piece of material—whether that's a tablecloth or a bolt of fabric for a sewing project—it's important to find an iron that is lightweight and easy to maneuver. This can help save you time and frustration as you work across a large surface area, which is why we loved the Panasonic NI-L70SR Cordless Steam/Dry Iron.

Our testers found that the sleek stainless steel soleplate glides easily across fabric, and the varied temperature settings allowed it to pass our tests on cotton and satin with flying colors. On our dry ironing tests, the iron got rid of wrinkles and deep creases in just one pass, and none of the fabric stuck to the soleplate or melted in the process.

The steam setting proved to be almost as effective on cotton and linen, removing wrinkles and creases with a few extra passes across the fabric. We loved how easy it was to maneuver into tight corners of the fabric without having to untangle a bulky cord.

The Panasonic cordless iron is also super intuitive to use; settings are clearly labeled and our testers were able to effortlessly switch between features without digging out the user manual. The anti-drip feature prevents large droplets of water from seeping into your fabric, and the iron's automatic shutoff ensures that you don't leave a hot iron out for long periods of time.

The only downside to this iron was its effectiveness on linen fabric; our experts noted that dry ironing failed to remove wrinkles on linen, even with multiple tries. It's also important to note that this iron only stays hot if you dock it frequently, so you'll want to place it on the docking station when you're not actively ironing.

We did like this case if you're traveling to another location to sew with friends or take classes, however. The handle makes carrying easy, and the case protects your iron against accidental bumps.

Price at time of publish: $85

Product Details:

  • Weight: 5 pound
  • Water Tank Size: 5 ounces
  • Wattage: 1500 watts
  • Soleplate Material: Stainless steel
  • Safety Features: Anti-drip, automatic shutoff
  • Cord Length: The base's cord length is not listed
Panasonic NI-L70SR Cordless 1500W Steam/Dry Iron
Dera Burreson
Cyber Monday Steal

Best Digital: BEAUTURAL 1800-Watt Steam Iron with Digital LCD Screen

4.9
Beautural 1800-watt steam iron with blue LCD screen

Courtesy of Amazon

Why You Should Get It: The LCD display makes it easy to see the settings and temperature while ironing.

Keep in Mind: Testers found that the steam setting doesn't remove wrinkles on cotton fabric.

This easy-to-use iron takes the guesswork out of selecting a temperature when you're ironing on different fabrics. Its digital display at the top of the handle clearly shows what fabric setting you're on as well as the steam level and mode number. These preset modes align with the general fabric heat recommendations, ensuring that you don't accidentally ruin your clothes while ironing.

Unlike many of the models we tested, it's super easy to tell when the Beautural iron is on and has reached the proper temperature. The LCD display tells you what fabric setting and steam level you're using, and the screen momentarily turns red once you've turned the iron off to provide reassurance that it's powering down.

Our testers found that the Beautural iron is extremely effective when dry ironing—it removed wrinkles from cotton fabric in just one swipe, and it only required one or two more passes on linen and satin. When we turned on the steam setting, our testers were able to lift wrinkles out of linen in one pass, but the steam was pretty ineffective on cotton. If you plan to iron cotton with this appliance, you'll want to turn off the steam.

We also liked the ergonomic handle grips, which made this Beautural iron extra comfortable to hold and easy to maneuver across the ironing board. The ceramic soleplate is designed to resist scratches, and its double-layer design helps to ensure the entire plate heats evenly and doesn't burn delicate clothing. Plus, the auto shutoff feature protects you if you forget to turn off the iron once you're done working.

Price at time of publish: $45

Product Details:

  • Weight: 3.18 pounds
  • Water Tank Size: 11.5 ounces
  • Wattage: 1800 watts
  • Soleplate Material: Ceramic
  • Safety Features: Automatic shutoff
BEAUTURAL 1800-Watt Steam Iron
Dera Burreson

The Bottom Line

Whether you constantly find yourself ironing wrinkles out of laundry, tablecloths, and more or you only need an iron occasionally, finding a steam iron that effectively removes wrinkles without damaging fabric is a top priority. Our winner for the best overall steam iron is the Rowenta DW9280 Steamforce Digital Display Steam Iron, which erased wrinkles from cotton, linen, and satin fabric in one to two swipes.

Our Testing Process

To determine our list of the best irons, we gathered a team of home experts in our lab in Des Moines, Iowa, and had them put 30 different steam irons through extensive testing. Our testers prepared satin, linen, and cotton napkins several days in advance, wetting the napkins, balling them up, and then securing them with rubber bands to create deep wrinkles and creases in the fabrics.

During our two-day test, we ran each iron across the wrinkled material in both dry and steam modes, making note of its effectiveness, the number of passes it took to remove wrinkles, and any changes we noticed to the fabric itself.

In addition to checking the effectiveness of the irons in getting rid of creases, we also took note of the design, portability, ease of use, and any safety features advertised.

What to Know About Irons Before Shopping

Temperature

Whether you're working with cotton, linen, or another type of fabric, it's important to change your iron's temperature to avoid damaging the material. Many irons on the market have different settings that accommodate a variety of material types, but if you often iron one type of fabric over others, you'll want to find an iron that will safely and effectively remove wrinkles.

Water Tank Capacity

If you're purchasing an iron that has at least one steam setting, you'll want to consider the size of the water tank. If you plan to iron a lot of different items at once or you're ironing something large like a tablecloth, you'll want to find an iron that has a large enough water tank to get you through the job. This can help you avoid having to stop midway through a project to refill.

Soleplate Type

Soleplates are the flat metal piece on the face of your iron, and they're responsible for conducting heat and distributing steam evenly across fabric as you're working. Depending on the type of iron you purchase, you may find that it has either a ceramic or stainless steel soleplate.

While ceramic soleplates better protect you from accidentally burning your clothes while ironing, they also tend to wear out faster. Stainless steel soleplates last a lot longer but may stick to fabric when set at a high temperature. Depending on the material type you work with most and how long you'd like your iron to last, you'll want to keep these factors in mind.

Safety Features

Since irons conduct high levels of heat to remove wrinkles from your clothes, you'll want to consider added safety features that can prevent you or your family members from getting hurt. Many steam irons have automatic shutoff settings, which turns off the appliance after a certain amount of time. Others have anti-drip features, which prevent water from leaking out of the machine and getting near an electrical source.

Other Steam Irons We Tested

Vremi 1800 Watt Steam Iron for Clothes

Our testers really liked the display on the Vremi Steam Iron, which has a temperature dial that allows for "in between" settings and turns green once you've reached your desired temperature. It performed especially well on linen and cotton when we tested this iron, flattening wrinkles in just one pass on dry mode and needing only a couple of extra passes with the steam setting. However, our experts found that the Vremi iron wasn't as effective as competing irons at removing wrinkles from cotton.

Sunbeam Hot-2-Trot Travel Iron

The Sunbeam Hot-2-Trot Travel Iron also caught our testers' attention in the lab, and we loved how lightweight and easy to maneuver this small-but-mighty appliance is. Overall, it was surprisingly effective when dry ironing on satin, linen, and cotton, and it could erase wrinkles with minimal effort. Our testers found it to be less effective on deep creases on satin and linen material, though it worked great on cotton.

Sunbeam Classic 1200 Watt Mid-size Anti-Drip Non-Stick Soleplate Iron

Our testers found the Sunbeam Classic 1200 Watt Iron to be a great basic option for shoppers who want a no-frills appliance. We found it to be lightweight, easy to maneuver, and particularly effective at clearing wrinkles when dry ironing cotton and satin. However, it didn't work well on linen and required a lot of extra passes to remove wrinkles on both the steam and dry settings.

Your Questions, Answered

How many watts should an iron have?

The average clothes iron uses between 1,000 to 2,000 watts, which is higher than other household appliances. The higher the wattage, the more powerful the iron is (and the more careful you'll need to be in order to avoid damaging your clothes).

Is a steam iron better than a normal iron?

Steam irons and dry irons are typically a matter of preference. Though dry irons usually leave a crisper look that is hard to achieve with a steam iron, the latter is better at removing deep creases with less effort. The added moisture released through holes in the steam iron's soleplate allows you to flatten wrinkles in less time. With a dry iron, you'll need to use a spray bottle to lightly moisten the material, and you'll also need to be more careful not to burn or melt your clothes than you might with a steam iron. Most irons on the market can be used for both dry and steam ironing.

Who We Are

This article was written by Samantha Jones, an associate commerce home editor for Better Homes & Gardens. In order to write about the best irons, Samantha did several hours of research into steam irons, important features and safety concerns related to ironing, and the most popular steam irons on the market currently. She then compared this research to the detailed testing information gathered during our iron tests in Des Moines, Iowa. In addition to writing about irons, Samantha has contributed other articles to Better Homes & Gardens' portfolio about meal delivery services, the best air conditioners, and stick vacuums.

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