I just asked Siri*, “How do most people relax?” She rattled off a list of activities including, “nosh on chocolate,” “rub your feet over a golf ball,” “count backward,” “meditate” and “drip cold water on your wrists.”
Siri completely missed my favorite way to relax. I iron (not to be confused with I pump iron, which I do not).
No really. There’s something soothing and instantly gratifying about a good steam iron with a heft of heat and steam gliding back and forth over wrinkled fabric.
That’s why I was excited to get another request, this time from Marianne, “I need a new iron. I’ve searched the Internet trying to find the best steam iron for the best price and all I get is terribly confused! Any suggestions?”
I kind of jumped for joy at that question because yes, I do have suggestions—three to be exact, based on these criteria: steaming rate, ironing quality, features, and price.
Here they are—my current** top three steam irons:
This is hands down, my choice for the Best Inexpensive steam iron on the market today. This 1700-watt Rowenta micro steam iron with stainless steel soleplate has 400 steam holes which produce a good heft of steam, and a well-sized reservoir. Uses tap water (no need to use distilled water), and has a burst-of-steam feature.
The self-clean system works well, provided you use it often, which you should. And it has a 3-way auto shut-off that’s pretty cool along with an anti-drip feature, non-stick soleplate, and extra-long 8 ft. cord, which is centered cord making it ideal for either right- or left-handed operation. For the money, this is a really great option.
Best Better Quality
This beautiful 1750-watt Rowenta steam iron is my choice for Best Inexpensive Quality. It heats up fast, has 400 micro-steam holes with a burst-of-steam feature and a high capacity reservoir; uses tap water, has 3-way auto-off and centered cord.
The 10-ounce water reservoir is exceptionally large for a steam iron. The anti-calc cleaning system is good, and when used as directed, will increase the lifetime of the iron. I can’t say enough good things about this iron. It’s a beautiful thing. If this fits your budget, this is the better option.
Best steam iron station
This 1800-watt Rowent Steam Iron Station is more than a steam iron so it gets my Best Inexpensive Semi-Pro rating. This iron produces amazing amounts of consistent heat and steam thanks to 400 micro holes that are well distributed.
For the average home ironer, this is overkill. But for the serious person who needs a quality piece of machinery that will get the work done fast and efficiently, this may be a wise investment and the last iron you’ll ever buy.
I’ve owned both the Rowenta and Reliable Maven steam stations but have come back to this Rowenta station, which has been greatly improved over much earlier models. Using this steam station is the closest I’ve come to experiencing ironing perfection. It uses tap water, has a simple-to-use anti-calc feature and an eco setting to save energy. Bonus: It’s purple!
There you go, Marianne. I hope that clears away the confusion and helps you make a confident decision.
*the voice-activated app for iPhone
**Steam iron manufacturers frequently introduce new models, not unlike car manufacturers. My recommendations may change from time to time. Gotta’ keep up.
First published: 10-15-18; Updated 9-28-19
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