3 September 2013 by Shantha Kumari
The feeling of fine fresh smelling steam ironed clothes on your back is well worth the effort in ironing them. Ironing is a tedious chore for everyone, but if the ironing equipment is efficient and good, it will make the job so much easier. To guide you to choose the best iron for the job we have listed out the things to consider when buying them:
Steam Iron - Most popular and efficient of all the irons. It uses steam to penetrate deep into the fabric and smoothens the wrinkles using the heat supplied.
Dry Iron - Regular irons which does not support steam technology and uses only heat for ironing.
Corded and Cordless - Majority of the irons available in the market are corded but cordless irons are also available. These models come with a base plate that heats the iron to the correct temperature, leaving you cord free to iron where ever you want. But a concern when using the cordless irons is that they must be recharged regularly to reheat.
Travel irons - Useful when travelling, are handy for craft projects and quilting due to lightweight, fast heat-up time and ergonomic design.
The major feature is the steam technology used. Most of the steam irons have water capacity of 5-7 oz which is sufficient for one time ironing session. With the variable or adjustable steam settings you can control the amount of steam required depending on the type of fabric you are ironing. For delicate clothes such as linen, satin etc a low setting, high settings for tough fabrics such as jeans, overalls etc,and dry settings when no steam is used.
Other features related to steam irons are the vertical steam surge (allows the iron to be used vertically as a steamer for items like drapes or curtains), burst-of-steam feature (allows a quick burst of extra steam into fabric), Spray mist feature, Anti-drip system (prevents water spotting on the irons)
The soleplate present in the top rated irons is the next point to consider when buying. There are different types of soleplates used in the irons. The latest is the ceramic soleplates, but the non stick soleplates are the most preferred as they are the easiest to clean and maintain. The soleplates have a number of steam holes laid out in an uniform pattern, through which steam is ejected. Although stainless steel and aluminum soleplates transfer heat quickly, they need more cleaning to remove built-up starch and residue.
Design and Control Features:
The best irons available right now are stylish, lightweight and ergonomically designed. They have the three way auto shut off which works when the iron falls forward onto the soleplate, tips onto its side or is left unattended after a certain number of minutes. The temp control with either digital or dial settings is used to maintain accurate temperature. Some of the irons have an indicator light that lets you know when the desired temperature has been reached when used with lowered settings.
Other design aspects seen in the best irons are topple resistant with wider bases to keep it steady when placed vertical, self cleaning (to clear clogs and residue on the soleplates ), retractable cord, wide and larger water refill tank, mist/spray nozzle so you can dampen fabric.
Ease of use - This includes a number of factors such as how easy it is to set, fill, and empty the iron, to see water levels and markings and indicator lights. Other factors include leaking and how well the iron steamed at low settings etc.
The top rated irons are from Black & Decker, Rowenta, Reliable, Panasonic,T-fal, etc which manufacture the iron in all vibrant colors. The power consumption of the irons is between 1200 W to 1800 W depending on the model. A majority of budget irons are available at the most affordable price range of under $30. The mid range between $50 -$100 is where the most competition is with all the above mentioned features included. There are some high end irons which includes extra bells and whistles such as titanium, anodized aluminum soleplates, shock proof, see through water tanks etc
All the above covered features should act as a buying guide for the best irons. Take a look at the products listed below to make an informed choice.