Who should get this:
Nothing I’ve tried — using a Best Steam Irons UK, putting stuff in the tub, or pulling laundry out of the dryer— fights heavy cracks like iron. Iron is the most effective tool for cutting knots, for making sharp pliers, and for sewing and carving. If you hate iron, though, and most of your clothes and linens just get lightly rumpled, choose a steamer instead; here are our favorite steamers.
How we picked and tested:
I’ve been researching irons for Wirecutter since 2015, and I’ve been a heavy iron user for years as a quilter. I’ve also read hundreds of iron owner reviews on Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Walmart, and other major retailer sites, and I’ve tested review pages like The Strategist and Good Housekeeping for their recommendations, noting how they relate to my own research experience. These are the qualities I’ve found that make the best irons:
Strong steam bursts: the amount of steam blown out of the iron soleplate affects how quickly you can press an object, particularly with heavier fabrics. I’m searching for strong bursts and clear steam clouds while ironing— the bigger the puff, the better the iron. I’m still looking for irons that strike a good balance between a lot of steam and a water tank that doesn’t need to be refilled constantly.
Enough wattage: every iron that we suggest has at least 1,500 watts, which is enough to get the job done. During research, I found that low-watt irons do not produce enough heat and steam to battle hard wrinkles. Higher-priced, more powerful irons— like the Rowenta SteamForce, which has 1,800 watts — produce larger steam clouds and speed up the task.
Comfort: An iron that is too heavy, or one that has an uncomfortable handle, makes the work harder on your arms and hands. Some heft can be good for pulling wrinkles out of cloth, but having the right weight mix, ergonomic handle, and strong steam makes ironing much easier.
Strong warranty and attentive customer service: checking the irons for this guide has been especially challenging as too many of them –including the top performers –have issues with reliability. We’ve been reporting on irons since 2013, and almost every year, after long-term research and reader reviews, we’ve updated our choices.The best irons we’ve been trying to work perfectly, but we just can’t guarantee that they’ll last a long time. If the iron fails, it seems to happen within two years of purchase (based on my experience and all the reviews I’ve read), and that’s the standard length of the warranty I’ve seen. And if you have to repair your iron under warranty, you’re going to need good customer service to make the process as painless.
Long rope: a rope that is at least 8 feet long gives you more stability to work along the entire length of the ironing board and makes the iron easier to use if you’re tall. A long cord is also useful if your electrical outlets are not conveniently located.
Upon reviewing models based on the above parameters, reading the owner feedback, and combing our own reader comments, I created a list of 16 irons in 2019. We narrowed the list to 13 for review, including the retesting of our three current choices (I brought in brand-new samples), new-to-us irons, and a few options that we reviewed and rejected years ago. (These were the versions suggested by other magazines, including The Strategist and Good Housekeeping — I wanted to give them a fresh look.)