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Cheap vs Expensive Steam Irons and How to Choose


Buying a new steam iron seems straightforward until you start browsing the vast selection. There are several big well-known brands such as Philips, Tefal, and Morphy Richards in on the ironing game – It turns out that steam irons are available at nearly every price point. Will a budget model meet your needs, or would you be better off upgrading to a more expensive, top-of-the-line model?

Let’s find out…

Cheap Steam Irons

Even if you’re on a tight budget, you don’t need to write off the idea of purchasing an iron. Entry-level steam irons are often quite affordable.

Cheap models are capable of basic functions. They have soleplates that heat up, water reservoirs for producing steam, and narrow noses for navigating around collars and between buttons.

Despite the low price tag, you may get a few other nice features as well. These may include a nonstick coating on the soleplate or a button for boosting the steam output.

Top Reasons to Buy a Cheap Steam Iron (Pros)

You might opt for an inexpensive model of steam iron if:

  • Budget-friendliness is your primary concern. Entry-level models can be found for well under £100.
  • You don’t iron frequently. If you iron only a couple of shirts each month, then a basic model might meet your needs just fine.
  • Simplicity is important to you. Often, cheaper irons have fewer features, which also means they have fewer knobs and buttons with which to contend. You might find operation intuitive, so you won’t have to spend much time studying the owner’s manual.
  • You’d prefer portability. Cheap irons are typically small and lightweight. That can be handy if you want to tote your unit from one room to another or pack it in your suitcase when traveling.

Drawbacks to a Cheap Iron (Cons)

Of course, inexpensive models aren’t right for everyone. Think twice before buying a low-cost iron if:

  • You want to save time and effort on frequent ironing. Low-end irons don’t usually have the high-powered steam capabilities of more expensive models. You may have to work harder to get each shirt in freshly pressed condition. That can quickly become tedious if you do a great deal of ironing.
  • Easy maintenance is important to you. Cheaper irons are often more prone to calc buildup that requires manual cleaning of the water reservoir and soleplate and may shorten a unit’s lifespan.

Related: Steam Generator Iron and Steam Iron Comparison

Expensive Steam Irons

The more you’re willing to pay for an iron, the more power you’re likely to get. You may also benefit from advanced features that help you de-wrinkle your clothes in a snap.

Some models are fancier versions of standard steam irons. They look the same as the low-end models, but they produce more steam, use more advanced technology or have more specialized features.

Other expensive models fall into a different class: steam generator irons. Instead of having an integrated water tank, these irons are connected to external reservoirs. As a result, they’re able to produce significantly more steam than most standard irons. These are top-of-the-line models for those who really want the best of the best.

Top Reasons to Buy an Expensive Steam Iron (Pros)

Your ironing needs may make you the perfect candidate for an expensive iron. For example:

  • You do a lot of ironing. The more you iron, the more you’ll appreciate the benefits that a fancy model has to offer.
  • The more time you can save, the better. More expensive irons usually put out more steam to help you cut through wrinkles with just one pass of the soleplate. You may be able to tackle a large pile of garments in a short amount of time.
  • Easy maintenance will simplify your life. Many expensive irons offer self-cleaning features that collect calc deposits for you.
  • You want the latest in iron technology. Some of the irons on the market today are capable of sensing the correct steam or temperature level for the material you’re smoothing. You don’t have to be a tech whiz to take advantage of those intuitive features.

Drawbacks to an Expensive Iron (Cons)

Of course, you may have good reasons not to drop a large amount of money on a household appliance. Your rationale might include:

  • Wearing a crisply pressed shirt every day isn’t a top priority. If you’re not concerned about a few wrinkles here and there, then you might not find an expensive iron worth your investment.
  • More technology may present more opportunities for things to go wrong. As long as they don’t become clogged or rusty, simple irons usually keep working for a long time. With a more complicated machine, you run the risk of one small component causing the whole thing to fail.

Cheap vs. Expensive Steam Irons: Which Should You Buy?

For infrequent ironing, a cheap unit will likely produce results that are good enough for your needs.

Of course, you won’t get the high-end bells and whistles that come with more expensive models. Whether that’s a dealbreaker is up to you — your preferences, your ironing style and your pocketbook.

Just be aware that the more you spend, the more crease-busting power you’re going to get. For the crispest corners and smoothest panels, consider upgrading to a more expensive iron.