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Steam irons are a generally quick and efficient way to remove wrinkles from clothes, using steam in combination with heat to smooth out stubborn creases, leaving your garments looking crisp and polished. The best models are typically high-watt with nonstick soleplates and have some type of anti-drip feature. This ensures they will generate a significant amount of heat and won't stick to clothing.
If you’re looking for a new iron, here are some of the best models on the market.
Best Overall: Rowenta DW5080 1700-Watt Micro Steam Iron Stainless Steel Soleplate
One of the best steam irons you can buy is the Rowenta 1700-Watt Micro Steam Iron. This model features a 10-ounce water tank and a stainless steel soleplate with more than 400 steam holes, and it generates an impressive 1700 watts of power.
The microsteam soleplate on this iron provides superior steam distribution thanks to its many holes, and the high-precision tip lets you target pleats and get in between buttons, making ironing easier. The iron itself has an anti-drip design that prevents spitting and leaking, and it also features an anti-calcium system that prevents mineral buildup, which can compromise the lifespan of the iron.
Additionally, the iron is equipped with important safety features, such as quick automatic shutoff if it’s left horizontal or tipped over. Ultimately, this steam iron delivers amazing results, cutting through wrinkles quickly with its powerful steam.
"The ergonomic thermostat knob has easy-to-read settings and the crystal water tank is marked with graduation lines for precise measurements. While the anti-drip lid is designed to prevent leaks at low temperatures, we found that a few rogue water droplets made their way onto the fabric if the iron was set to a higher heat—Michelle Konstantinovsky, Product Tester
Runner Up, Best Overall: T-fal FV4495 Ultraglide Easycord Steam Iron Ceramic Scratch Resistant Non-Stick Soleplate
Shopping for an iron can be a daunting task. Another top-quality steam iron that comes at an unbeatable price is the T-fal Ultraglide Easycord Steam Iron. This product sports a nonstick, scratch-resistant soleplate with a lifetime warranty, and it generates over 1700 watts of power to give you powerful bursts of steam. Wrinkles don’t stand a chance!
This T-fal Steam Iron has a large number of microholes for better steam distribution, and the “ultraglide” ceramic soleplate lets you push it across any fabric with ease to smooth out wrinkles. The cord on this iron is a whopping 12 feet long, and there’s an extra-large water inlet that allows for easy filling of the 9-ounce water tank. The iron is equipped with anti-scale and anti-drip features, and there’s a 3-way auto-shut off.
"Weighing a few ounces less than other high-end irons, the T-fal FV4495 Ultraglide Steam Iron still feels substantial enough to hold down fabrics while gliding smoothly and easily. The soleplate tip, however, doesn’t offer the same precision point of other models, so it was more challenging for us to access hard-to-reach spots like pleats."—Michelle Konstantinovsky, Product Tester
Best High-End: Rowenta DW9280 Digital Display Steam Iron
If you want the best of the best when it comes to steam irons, you need the Rowenta Digital Display Steam Iron, a high-end model that does practically everything besides folding your clothes for you! This iron produces an impressive 1,800 watts of power, allowing it to blast wrinkles from just about any material, including curtains and blankets.
The Rowenta Digital Display Steam Iron has 400 steam holes on its stainless steel soleplate, as well as an 11-ounce water tank. It produces 30 percent more steam than comparable products, and you’ll love the LED digital display, which lets you select settings for linen, cotton, wool, silk, and more. The iron includes a smart steam motion sensor that automatically turns off the steam when the iron stops moving, helping to save water and electricity, and you can even use it to steam things vertically, so you never have to deal with wrinkly curtains again! And, of course, this high-end steam iron has anti-drip and anti-calcium technology, as well as an automatic shut-off.
"The iron’s precision tip did make it easier to work wrinkles out of hard-to-reach and stubborn areas like seams, pleats, collars, and between buttons. But again, users primarily seeking a basic iron for everyday use may not be swayed by the perk given the attached price tag."—Michelle Konstantinovsky, Product Tester
Best Budget: Sunbeam Steammaster Steam Iron
Some steam irons have surprisingly high price tags, but you don’t have to drain your wallet to get a high-quality product. The Sunbeam Steammaster is a highly regarded steam iron that comes at an affordable price, and while it may not have the sheer power of other models, it comes with several convenient features you’re sure to love.
The Steammaster generates 1,400 watts of power and sports a stainless steel nonstick soleplate and an 8-foot retractable cord for easy storage. In addition to standard steam, this model has dual spray mist, “shot of steam,” and vertical steam options, which make ideal for a variety of tasks, from ironing tough wrinkles to steaming your favorite dress pants. It has an anti-drip system that prevents water leakage, as well as a 3-way motion smart automatic shut-off for safety. With all these features, you can’t beat this product as a budget option.
"We ironed fabrics made of cotton, polyester, and silk with excellent results...We also used this iron for thicker fabrics such as cotton towels, pillowcases, and table linens. We noticed that the highest setting with steam was not quite enough to get rid of the wrinkles we had in our table linens."—Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best for Sewing: Singer Expert Finish Iron 1700W Anti-Drip
If you’re a sewer or quilter, you likely need a heavy duty steam iron to help bring your creations to fruition. Singer’s Expert Finish 1700-Watt Anti-Drip Steam Iron would made a great addition to your sewing setup, providing both steady weight and a good amount of power.
This steam iron delivers 1,700 watts of power to its brushed stainless steel soleplate, which features an open tip to allow you to get into pleats and under buttons. There’s an LED display with nine temperature settings, as well as a 360-degree swivel cord. The anti-drip design prevents annoying water spots, and you can play around with the steam burst and vertical steam features, as well.
Best Cordless: Panasonic Contoured Stainless Steel Soleplate
Tired of being limited by the power cord on your iron? Then you’ll love the Panasonic Cordless Iron. Generating an impressive 1,600 watts of power, you can charge it up on the included heat-resistant base and carrying case. The iron itself has an ergonomic design featuring a stainless steel soleplate and anti-drip system. You can choose from three heat settings, as well as adjustable steam, spray mist, and vertical steam options. Plus, the design of the iron and case is surprisingly cute—always an added bonus.
Best with Retractable Cord: BLACK+DECKER Vitessa Advanced Steam Iron with Retractable Cord
It’s a lot easier to store your iron if the power cord retracts back into the unit, which is why the BLACK+DECKER Vitessa Advanced Steam Iron is such a popular product. The spring-loaded cord on this iron unwinds easily and retracts back into the base, making it compact and convenient.
In addition to its retractable cord, this iron has a nonstick soleplate and SmartSteam technology that optimizes the steam output based on your chosen fabric setting. It has a 3-way auto-shutoff for safety, as well as settings for a burst of steam and spray mist. You can even use it for vertical steaming! This is one solid iron that comes at a great price, and of course, the retractable cord is a convenient feature.
Best for Travel: Steamfast Mini Steam Iron with Dual Voltage
If you’re always on the go, you can’t really bring a full-size steam iron along on your travels. Luckily, the Steamfast Mini Travel Steam Iron is small enough to slip into your suitcase, so you’ll never have to show up to a meeting with wrinkled pants again!
While this miniature steam iron only delivers 420 watts of power, it heats up in just 15 seconds and boasts three temperature settings. It has a nonstick soleplate and four steam holes, as well as one-touch steam control. Arguably one of the most convenient aspects of this little iron is the dual voltage—it can be used with either 100 or 240-volt outlets, meaning it's the perfect product to bring if you’re traveling to Europe. The Steamfast Mini may be small, but it is mighty and gets impressively hot, allowing it to quickly remove wrinkles.
For a sleek looking iron that gets the job done, we recommend the Rowenta DW5080 Focus Steam Iron. It features a 10-ounce water tank and a stainless steel soleplate with more than 400 steam holes to help it glide over the clothing. The T-fal FV4495 Ultraglide Steam Iron is a close runner up, though, and it has a more affordable price tag.
What to Look for in a Steam Iron
Water tank capacity
The capacity of an iron’s water tank will determine how much steam the iron can release. A smaller water tank — which typically holds about 7 ounces — needs to be refilled more frequently. A larger tank (10 or more ounces) offers more continuous steam time but will be heavier.
Being able to glide your iron across garments easily is key to getting the best performance without scorching your clothing. A stainless steel soleplate is a common choice for its smooth surface, but some irons feature ceramic-coated soleplates that make it even easier to skim across clothing — though they are more susceptible to chipping or peeling. Lightweight titanium soleplates are also available on some models and offer excellent heat distribution.
For maximum effectiveness, you’ll want an iron with a high level of steam output (which is often measured in grams per minute). Some models offer more than 200 grams of steam per minute, while others produce a less generous 35 grams per minute. One other thing to consider is whether the iron is capable of vertical steaming since that can be convenient for hanging garments or drapes.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a Rhode Island-based lifestyle writer who has contributed to The Spruce since 2017. When researching picks to include in this article, she read dozens of reviews from our testers and third-party sources.