Steam Iron Reviews, News & Best Buys
Tuesday 10th December 2013
Looking for a new steam iron or steam generator iron? With so many different models and features it can be quite a task - and that's before you start price comparing to find the best deal!
Well, help is at hand - we've got news and reviews of the best steam irons and best steam generator irons on the market for 2013, and tracked down all the latest deals from the UK's top retailers.
Which steam iron is the best?We have strict criteria for including products on this site including performance, value for money, features and user feedback. There are many similar irons out there (even from the same manufacturer) so we only include those that meet our criteria.
Latest News, Offers and Best Buys
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New and Updated
Buying an Ironing Board
One thing that helps get the ironing over and done with quickly is a decent ironing board. Trivia note: some manufacturers call theirs 'ironing tables'.
There are many different sizes available depending on your needs and budget so here is our top buying advice plus we look at some of the best boards on the market right now.
Philips Special Edition
An Iron of Many Colours
Philips has taken it's popular GC4860/02 steam iron and let its designers loose with the colouring kit!
In place of the delicate blue casing, the GC4860/25 model features bright pink, purple and turquoise with a splash of white too!
It also comes with an equally colourful storage box which is heat resistant too - so you can put the iron away straight after use.
Sub £100 Steam Generator
New Entry Level from Tefal
Tefal has finally caught up with other brands and launched a sub-£100 steam generator iron, the "GV5225 Easy Pressing".
It's quite basic in terms of specification, there isn't any kind of anti-calc system and there isn't even a see-through water tank.
It does retain the smooth ceramic soleplate of the bigger Tefal models and the smaller 1 litre water tank does mean the unit is less bulky than them too.
Shock Survey Findings!
14% of UK Households Iron Their Underwear!
Yes, 14% of UK households actually bother to iron their underwear (and 3% said it was none of our business when we asked!)
This is just one fun fact from our UK Ironing Survey we ran back in May. Thank you to all who responded, and congratulations to Mrs A.C. of Yorkshire who won a Spa day for 2!
Click below to see the full survey results.
New Steam Generator Range
Tefal Goes Automatic (Almost)
Philips introduced their innovative PerfectCare range of steam generators last year. Innovative because there are no user controls, the iron manages the heat and steam settings automatically.
Although it does sound a bit gimmicky, it's a system that does actually work and there has been good user feedback.
Now Tefal have decided they want to get into this area and have launched two new models, the GV8930 and the even more powerful GV8930. They are not quite totally automatic like the Philips though - there are 3 settings: normal, max and min.
Both are very powerful, premium irons that will make short work of even the biggest laundry basket.
Biggest Water Tank Around!
New Morphy Richards 42223
If you are annoyed by constantly having to refill your iron with water, then this could be the one for you.
It's 2 litre water tank is pretty much the biggest on the market and even using the top rate of steam (an impressive 180g/minute) it'll take quite a while before a top-up is required.
There's a ceramic soleplate, easy push-button controls and a rather fetching purple and black colour scheme! Good value at around £130.
Red Is The New Black!
Stylish New Model from Bosch
The new TDS3770 from Bosch can certainly turn heads with it's glossy red and black finish and 'Edition Rosso' branding!
It's essentially a TDS3760 (usually in Bosch's trademark black) that has been jazzed up a bit with some flashy red highlighting.
Otherwise it has the same great spec - 5.5 bar of steam pressure, a decent sized 1.4 litre water tank and a range-topping 3100 watts of power which really cuts down on the heating up times.
If you are looking for a powerful steam generator iron that you won't be embarrassed to be seen using, this could be it!
Short of Space?
New Tefal Compact Generator
New from Tefal is the Compact GV7340 which replaces earlier Compact models. Despite the name it still manages to pack in 5 bar pressure and has a generous 1.6 litre water tank - that's more than some full sized models!
Dimensions are: 29cm high, 24cm wide and 37cm deep which isn't a lot smaller than most other units. It is well priced though especially for the spec so we think it's still worth a look.
Top 5 Under £50
Cheap Steam Irons - 2013 Round-Up
Looking for a decent, cheap steam iron for under £50? Here are our top 5 irons for 2013 all of which have a high specification including a ceramic soleplate and are from recognised brand names.
While it's possible to find some really cheap irons, if you want one that offers good performance and will last longer than a few months it's worth spending that bit more - but as we show, it needn't be too much more.
Must Read New Article!
Steam Generator Irons Round-Up
Here is the first in a new series of our in-depth features in which we look at 5 of the best steam generators on the market at the moment. We've picked a wide selection of the top rated models - it's a must read if you are looking for a steam generator now!
Water for Steam Irons
Water is just water isn't it? Well, actually no.
Many people are unsure about exactly what water they should use in their steam iron or steam generator iron and there seems to be much conflicting advice online.
Read our new article on the subject - use the right water and follow your iron's cleaning procedures to prolong the life of your iron and keep it in tip-top condition.
Oh yes, and check out our cool water animation too!
Worth Watching: A Video Explainer from Philips
Philips PerfectCare - Look No Settings!
Last year Philips launched their revolutionary PerfectCare range of steam generators that are fully automatic - there are no steam or heat settings for the user to worry about, you just have move the iron over your garment and the iron does the rest!
Update: The range now starts at an affordable £150 for the GC9220 which still has a remarkably high specification (decent steam output and big water tank). Great value, and good feedback from users too.
This 2 minute video from Philips clearly shows exactly how the system works:
Philips Makes It Easy
Last year Philips launched their range of PerfectCare steam generators that had no user settings - the iron was fully automatic and set the steam and heat as needed - whatever material was being ironed.
Well now Philips have put this technology into a standard steam iron. This model has no dials or buttons so you just have to move the iron!
It doesn't skimp on performance either with 2800 watts of power and up to 200g of steam on tap. Unusually for a hand held iron, it uses pressurised steam so it can really flatten those creases.
Currently exclusively available at John Lewis, we think it is worth a look if you really need the power of a steam generator and don't have the space for such a bulky item.
Ready for Take Off!
Cordless Comeback! (Part 2)
Looks like 2013 could be the year that cordless irons make a comeback. This new one from Tefal follows on from Philips recently launched model (see below)
Forget any previous experiences you may have had with underpowered cordless irons that only lasted a few seconds before needing a recharge.
Like the Philips, this unit is as powerful as an equivalent corded iron and can deliver up to 170g of steam via a handy trigger under the handle. Currently available from John Lewis, it will appeal to people who find the cord always getting in the way of the ironing.
How to Clean a Steam Iron
One of the worst nightmares about ironing is when you get brown or white deposits being spat out of the iron onto your freshly cleaned garments, often causing an unsightly stain.
This short (3 min) video from Bosch clearly explains how to go about cleaning your steam iron or steam generator iron and get rid of those pesky 'bits'!
Large Water Tank - Small Price!
Morphy Richards Best Value Steam Generator
A recent new model from Morphy Richards, the 42221 is priced at just over £100 but has a few features that you might not expect at this low price, which has not surprisingly made it a popular buy at the moment.
First, the water tank is extremely generous at 1.7 litres. This really cuts down on the amount of refilling you'll need to do especially over extended ironing sessions.
It also delivers steam at up to 160g per minute, which although is only at 4.5 bar pressure, is still plenty to tackle even thick fabrics. There is a handy auto-off safety feature which is something else not normally found in this price range.
There's some excellent user feedback from Amazon users and at just over £100 including delivery, it makes a very strong case for itself! as a steam generator iron best buy for 2012!
Cordless irons have been rather conspicuous by their absence in recent years especially from the bigger manufacturers. However Philips have now rectified this with their brand new cordless Azur model.
Although it's cordless, the clever base is in two parts - the iron rest and the cordless charging base. Clever because the cordless base can be attached to the iron turning it into a regular corded one so you get maximum flexibility.
Spec wise the continuous steam output tops out at 30g per minute, which is a little below average these days, though there is a beefy 160g steam shot which should suffice for even quite thick fabrics. The ceramic soleplate is anodilium coated making it ultra scratchproof.
If you are constantly annoyed by the flex of your current iron, this could be the answer! Available now from Amazon and John Lewis.
Updated Range Launched
New Steam Generator Irons From Tefal
Tefal has just released updates to two of it's top steam generator iron models. As well as some upgraded steam outputs, they also deliver pressure at an amazing 5.5 bar with the GV8461 at 6 bar. Also present is a new eco mode which uses 20% less energy. Currently available at a bit of a premium to their replacements, which you might still find available at some retailers.
A replacement for the GV8431, this new model retains the clever anti-calc system of it's predecessor and has the same steam output of 120g (now delivered at the upgraded rate of 5.5 bar) and now also gains the turbo mode of a 240g steam shot which the GV8430 lacked.
Top Steam Generators from John Lewis
John Lewis is one of Britain's favourite retailers with unrivalled in-store customer service, but did you know that you can buy a wide range of goods on their website with helpful extras such as free delivery on orders over £50 plus click and collect (buy online collect instore - including some Waitrose stores) on many lines.
Here are three popular steam generator irons currently available now from John Lewis at great prices:
This great new model from Bosch comes with a 1.4 litre water tank and an eco mode to save water and power and a handy auto shut off feature.
We Like: Great Bosch build quality and stylish design makes a great overall package.
This venerable Philips isn't the most powerful but has proved itself to be a great performer with excellent user feedback. Now well under £100!
We Like: An ideal entry level model for smaller loads or first timers!
Topping off the Philips range, the Champagne gold GC9520 has 6 bar of pressure and a generous 1.5 litre water tank with a one minute anti scale.
We Like: Free ironing board offer when bought from John Lewis.
Award Winners Again
Bosch: Best Home Appliance Brand 2013
Bosch have come out on top again as Best Home Appliance Brand in the prestigious Which Awards for 2013. Furthermore, it's 5620gb steam iron was the most popular iron in the UK last year, and Bosch nearly always gets good steam generator iron reviews.
The German appliance manufacturer has a wide range of appliances from white goods to vacuum cleaners and food preparation products. Bosch has a reputation for quality and reliability, yet many of their products are competitively priced.
Quiet Running plus a Free Ironing Board!
Philips Perfect Care Silence
Philips new addition to it's top-of-the-range Perfect Care line is this GC9540 model in a rather fetching gold and white colour scheme.
As well as packing 6 bar pressure (one of only a few steam generators to offer this much) and a massive 290g steam shot it also claims to be much quieter than a normal steam generator, though we've not been able to verify this yet.
It also shares the OptiTemp technology of the other Perfect Care models which basically means the iron will automatically adjust to the fabric type you are ironing and set the correct heat and steam - so no fiddling around with different settings.
It also has an improved anti-calc system which means there is no rinsing out required as is usual with most other generators.
The Ultimate Steam Generator?
New Top of Range from Bosch
With Tefal and Philips both recently launching new top of the range super powerful steam generators, Bosch may have been feeling a bit left out.
Well, now they've rectified that with their new TDS4570GB model, also rather grandly dubbed the Ultimate Steam Generator and so the battle of the top-end steam generators of 2012 begins!
It has an impressive 6 bar of steam pressure which makes it the most powerful currently available. It can output a continuous 130g of steam and has a massive 250g steam shot, all fed from a 1.3 litre water tank. Naturally there is auto-off, eco mode and an advanced anti-scale system.
Now available from a few retailers such as John Lewis.
Tefal FV4488 Steam Iron
More news from Tefal, and we are seeing a lot of good feedback about the FV4488, a mid range iron.
It features their UltraGlide ceramic soleplate, highly regarded as a smooth glider which is what you'd probably expect from the company that innovated non-stick coatings!
The water tank is a little on the small side and the steam shot only goes up to 100g but this model does have an auto off safety feature - not common at this price. A 3 metre power cord is also very useful.
Easy to Fill - No more Spills!
Russell Hobbs Easy Fill Steam Iron
Called 'Heather' owing to it's bright purple colour scheme, the 17877 features Russell Hobb's unique EasyFill system which has a wide funnel located in the base. So much easier than the usual small filling hole and one of the best steam iron features we've seen recently.
Not only is the illuminated water tank easy to fill, but at 0.4 litres it is also one of the largest capacity tanks in a standard steam iron meaning plenty of steam before a fill-up is required.
The cord, generous at 3 metres, wraps fully around the base which is handy, and the soleplate is made from ceramic so it glides smoothly over any fabric. Good value and ideal for fuss-free ironing!
Help Us to Help You
Your Steam Iron Reviews
We're building up quite a knowledge base of steam iron reviews here, but we can always do with more details and feedback!
If you have experience, good or bad, of a steam iron or steam generator iron featured on this site then why not let us know? you will find a link to a comments form on each of our iron reviews pages. You can even upload a photo if you want!
Just jot down a few pros and cons as you see them and we'll include your comments along with your name so you'll get full credit. The more information we can provide about each product will make it so much easier for new purchasers seeking the best steam iron for their needs.
New Steam Generator Irons
Philips Starts A Revolution!
Imagine a top of the range steam iron that doesn't require any fiddling with temperature settings or fabric types, and yet can allow you to be ironing cotton one minute, and cashmere the next!
Philips have been working with fabric specialists for the last 3 years to create a steam iron that can perfectly iron any fabric type without burning and without having to change anything! The resultant time savings can therefore be quite dramatic. With a 1.5 litre water tank, Philips claim almost 2 hours of steam generation.
This range of steam generator irons will be of particular interest to to people that often have to iron many mixed fabric types and who simply have a lot of ironing to get through - up to 240grams of steam will power through those creases!
> Philips GC9220 PerfectCare Steam Generator Iron
> Philips GC9230 PerfectCare Steam Generator Iron
New Steam Generator Irons
Purple Is The New Black With Bosch TDS2021
It may have a new design and a bright colour scheme instead of their trademark black, but this new steam generator still has that good old Bosch build quality. It has a pretty good spec too for the price.
2400 watts of power is plenty to keep heat-up times to a minimum, while a 110g continuous steam shot should suit most fabric types and it's delivered at 5 bar pressure too. There's a 160g steam shot when you need it and an energy saving eco mode when you don't!
The Palladium coated ceramic soleplate gives a smooth glide and there's a handy anti-scale feature to keep limescale build up to a minimum. Two year warranty is standard.
New From Philips
Power On A Budget
If you are looking for a powerful steam iron that doesn't break the bank, then this recent offering from Philips could be it. The blue and grey pastel casing of the GC4850 hide what could be described as a bit of a beast!
There's 2600 watts of power allowing the iron to heat up quickly, an impressive 50 grams per minute of continuous steam and a massive 170g steam shot. With all that steam there's a good sized 0.350 litre water tank too.
There's a ceramic soleplate, a 2.5 metre power cord and a two year warranty. Priced around £40 we think it's price vs performance ratio makes it one of the best steam irons on the market at the moment.
Best Selling UK Iron Last Year
Bosch Tops The Charts
According to market research experts GfK, the Bosch TDA5620 was the most popular selling steam iron in the UK last year.
With a quick glance at its specification it is not difficult to see why. With 2750 watts on tap it's one of the most powerful and really cuts down heat up times. There's a decent 40g continuous steam output and a 120g steam shot for more stubborn creases.
Theres a long 3 metre powercord and a 2 year guarantee for peace of mind (second year by registering free on their website).
Latest Steam Iron News
New Heavyweight from Philips
Recently released by Philips into their Azur Ionic range is the GC4870. This new steam iron snubs the sleek styling of the rest of the Azur range and instead features a rather chunky design in gold and black.
This bold styling is backed up by an equally bold specification: Its 50g of continuous steam makes it one of the most powerful steam irons out there, no doubt hepled by it's high 2600 watts of power. A 170g steam shot is also very impressive and with their Ionic technology gets really deep into the fabric to banish those creases.
As you would expect, this iron has an auto-shut off safety feature and an anti-calc system to beat hard water. It tips the scales at 1.6kilos making one of the heaviest irons, but weight coupled with the high spec makes it a real contender for those with a never-ending ironing pile!
Answering the Question:
What are the Best Steam Generator Irons?
This is a question we are often asked, and the answer really does depend on your budget of course, and also the amount of ironing that you do on a regular basis.
The key things to look for when purchasing a steam generator iron are:
- Ceramic soleplate for the smoothest possible gliding
- Sufficient wattage for quick heat-up times - ideally 2400 watts or higher
- Anti scale system to prevent damaging limescale build-up
- Large water capacity - the bigger the better for power users
Read through our steam generator iron reviews to find the perfect one for your needs.
Here is a quick summary version of our exclusive steam irons buyers guide
Demystifying The Jargon
Emit low rate continuous steam, but often have higher "burst shots" for stubborn creases
A hand held iron is coupled to a separate unit with a large water tank producing higher rates of continuous steam for longer. Can halve time spent at the iron
Measured in grams per minute, continuous steam is a constant output; a steam shot is a higher, short burst
Ceramic or stainless steel are best and give smoother gliding and are more scratch resistant
In additon to the basic temperature presets, some irons can regulate temperature and steam for different fabric types
The higher the wattage the quicker the iron heats up
Longer cords (up to 3 metres) will give more flexibility when ironing larger items
Iron curtains and clothes as they hang
A safety feature that switches the iron off after a period of inactivity
Choosing The Right Iron
There are many irons on the market, but when it comes to deciding whether you need a steam iron or a steam generator, and how much steam output to go for, there are three main things to review: the size of your average ironing load, the types of fabrics and how often you use the iron.
Other factors include the length of the cable and anti-scale systems if you live in a hard water area. We recommend to try and get one with a ceramic sole plate if possible - they give the smoothest gliding.
If you don't iron on a regular basis then normal steam irons with around 30g of constant steam and a shot of around 80g should suffice.
For an average family's weekly ironing needs, consider a more heavy duty steam iron with greater constant steam. Look for one with 2400 watts or more - they heat up and stay hot, quicker. If you have a lot of thicker or crease prone fabrics then you may want to consider a steam generator.
Does your ironing pile never seem to go down, iron working overtime? You would certainly benefit from the extra muscle of a steam generator. Their large water tanks can produce huge amounts of high pressure steam for a couple of hours before a top-up is needed. You won't want to go back to using a regular steam iron ever again!