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11 Best Steam Irons of 2022

These top-rated appliances will keep clothes pressed nice and neat.

best steam irons

We updated this guide in December 2021 to ensure all products tested and vetted by the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab were in stock and available, with updated prices.


When you want that pressed-from-the-dry-cleaner look, you need a powerful steam iron to get your dresses, shirts and pants crisp and wrinkle-free. Sure, garment steamers can get the job done, but it's the heat and weight of a steam iron (plus the support provided by your ironing board) that assure you get the super smooth results you crave.

Thankfully, today's irons are making this once onerous job easier and quicker to do. Top models heat up quickly and have electronic controls to more accurately hold precise and safe temperature to prevent burning and scorching. They steam without dripping and are easier to use with large, see-through and removable water tanks and retractable cords.

What is the best steam iron?

These are the top recommended steam irons from Good Housekeeping Institute tests:

    What to look for when buying an iron

    • Ensure the iron is the right size for you. For safer ironing, find one that's comfortable to hold. Check clothing iron and steamer weights in the store to make sure it’s not too heavy. If you want to cover more surface area in a single pass, check for a soleplate that isn’t too small. More holes in the soleplate don't necessarily mean more steam. Do you do a lot of ironing in one session? A larger water tank may come in handy, especially one that's see-through.
    • Look for top-performing features. Although it's difficult to pin down steam output, generally, we found that the best performing irons are usually at 1700 to 1800 watts. For frequent fills, a removable water tank comes in handy. Most irons today automatically shut down when tipped or knocked over, so we prefer those that turn off quickly when tipped in any direction, not just on the soleplate. Our Lab experts say a retractable cord helps with storage and an iron with bright digital controls makes it easier to see.
    • Buy based on your material and ironing needs. If you iron a lot of linen, heavy cottons or denim, make sure your iron comes with a steam burst and spray feature. If you’re looking to expand beyond clothing, check for a vertical steam feature to smooth out drapes, bed skirts or whatever else you need to iron. Crisp creases and well-pressed dress shirts are harder to achieve with steamers. However, steam ironing stations are good for quilters and people who like the steam feature for large batches of clothing.

      How we test the best irons

      In the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab's most recent evaluation of irons, we dedicated a minimum of 10 hours of testing for each iron. For the 15 irons we tested here, we wrinkled, pressed and graded 90 fabric swatches on top of nearly 400 performance and ease of use evaluations, we spent more than 150 hours testing over a hot board to evaluate 15 irons.

      When we test irons, we grade 14 aspects, including the amount and rate of steam they produce, the temperatures of the bottom soleplate at various settings, the temperature swings (highs and lows) at each setting and how hot the handle and body get for safety. We time how long the irons take to heat up and we weigh how heavy they are. We assess how easy the controls and sprays are to use, how easy the water tank is to fill and how likely the iron is to tip over if placed on a wobbly board.

      Finally, we wrinkle and ball up cotton, linen, wool, nylon and other synthetic fabrics and allow the creases to set overnight. The next day, each swatch is ironed on the appropriate setting and we rate it on a scale of one to five for its smooth appearance using the standard guides that are part of the Textiles industry testing methods. Based on all these factors, these are the best clothing irons you can buy:

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      Best Overall Steam Iron
      Electronic Retractable Iron
      CHI Steam

      • Great steam
      • Soft grip handle
      • Retractable cord
      • Large buttons

      You may be familiar with the CHI brand from its hair styling tools, and, thankfully, what CHI has done for hair they are now doing for what you wear. This CHI model not only smoothed tough-to-iron fabrics like linen and heavy cotton superbly, but it also had the most powerful steam burst of any iron in our test.

      It's comfortable to hold and use and once you've turned the fabric selection dial, the illuminated display makes it easy to see that you've made the right choice. The water chamber is large and easy to fill, and the retractable cord means it takes up less storage space. We found the scratch-resistant ceramic soleplate especially easy to glide across fabrics. This iron is such a lab favorite that whenever someone comes in to borrow an iron, we hide this one away!

      Best Value Steam Iron
      Vitessa Iron
      Black + Decker
      Black + Decker
      Now 20% off

      • Great wrinkle removal
      • Retractable cord
      • Well-priced

      • Takes a bit longer than others to heat up

      Even with a small price tag, the Black + Decker Vitessa ICR2020 tied for first place in our wrinkle removal tests. We love that it has six different temperature settings, allowing for a more customized ironing experience, while its nonstick soleplate gives a smooth glide that rarely snags the edges of fabric. Storing this steam iron is as simple as pushing a button thanks to the retractable cord. It took a little longer than others to heat up, but once it picks up steam, it’s hard to put down. Combined with an easy-to-fill water tank, long cord and attachments, it's a powerhouse budget iron.

      Fastest Heating Steam Iron
      ExtremeSteam Pro Iron
      Conair
      Conair

      • Heats up quickly
      • Stable when upright

      • Iron can drip if the water tank is over-filled

      The Conair ExtremeSteam Pro GI300 Iron has a heat-up time of fewer than 60 seconds, even at the max heat setting. It also had top scores in our steam-producing tests, so you can count on it to get your clothes wrinkle-free. This iron has rubber feet to help keep it stable and make it less likely to tip over. The transparent water tank helps you see exactly how much water is in the reservoir. (Tip: Avoid drips by only filling it up to the max line.)

      Turbo and regular steam options make it a cinch to smooth heavier materials quickly without leaving lighter fabrics too damp. Its built-in creaser might even eliminate your need for an iron! Just like an iron, the metal plate on a steamer takes a while to cool down so if you’re storing it in a bag or small space, make sure you give it some time.

      Best Cordless Steam Iron
      Versa Glide Cordless/Corded Iron
      Sunbeam
      Sunbeam

      • Can be used corded or cordless
      • Lightweight
      • Steams well vertically

      • Takes 30 minutes to automatically shut off, longer than others

      Use the Sunbeam Versa Glide to get out those pesky wrinkles without the hassle of the cord or use it with the cord for longer periods of steam and heat without placing it back on the base. The 1,500-watt steam iron offers up to 60 seconds of continuous heat and steam in cordless mode and quickly reheats in 25 seconds when placed back on its base. Its LED indicator tells you when the iron is losing heat in cordless mode, so you can get it back to its base to reheat. The base actually attaches to the rear of the iron.

      It isn’t bulky and it's still very light relative to other irons we tested, even with the base attached. Plus, it’s one of the best deals around, especially for a 2-in-1 product! The vertical steam function is very strong, and all of the controls were intuitive and easy to use.

      Most Popular Steam Iron on Amazon
      Steammaster Steam Iron
      Sunbeam
      Sunbeam

      • Retractable cord
      • Well-priced

      • Small fabric selector dial

      Amazon reviewers loved this Sunbeam iron for its price and performance and Sunbeam irons and steamers have done well in our previous GH Cleaning Lab tests. This inexpensive iron has high-end features like an 8-foot retractable cord (making it super convenient when putting it away!), a 3-way (side, flat, and upright) auto shut-off for safety and vertical steam. Weighing in at about 3 pounds, it's a comfy, average weight for regular ironing use.

      One reviewer said "Being a professional seamstress, I use an iron daily. This is the best iron I have ever used!! I have had about 10 irons during my years of sewing professionally and this one is the best iron I have purchased, hands down!!!"

      Best Travel Steam Iron
      Ovo Portable Steam Iron
      Reliable
      Reliable
      Now 11% off

      • Super small and lightweight
      • Great for travel

      • Best for small areas and light touch-ups

      Good things do come in small packages: The palm-size Ovo will smooth out wrinkles at home and on the road. It's the tiniest iron we've seen, but it’s the perfect size for touch-ups. And at only 1.6 pounds, this iron is lightweight and easy to use.

      Its ceramic-coated soleplate offers smooth gliding on your clothing. Shaped like an egg, you can find a steady, ergonomic grip. Plus, the steam is continuous. We love the storage bag that’s also a resting pad. If you can use a computer mouse, you can use the Ovo!

      Best Smart Steam Iron
      Velocity 230IR Steam Iron
      Reliable

      • Steams by touching the handle
      • Has a steam generator inside to produce more steam

      • Pricey
      • Heavier than some

      A unique steam sensor in the Reliable Velocity 230IR's handle makes this iron fun (and easy!) to use. It uses touch sensor technology to release steam as soon as you grasp the handle. It's a great choice for all skill levels. We tested its younger sister, the 200IR, which is virtually identical to this model and found it comfortable to hold and its steam production very powerful.

      There's even an option to override the automatic shut-off feature, so you can steam away on longer projects if you need to without constantly having to move or readjust the iron to restart it. The Reliable's anodized aluminum (think cookware!) soleplate glides smoothly over fabrics and is also very easy to wipe clean. It uses 1,800 watts, a bit more powerful than other steam irons on this list.

      Best Steam Iron for Beginners
      Steam Care One Smart Temperature Iron
      Rowenta

      • Easy to use
      • No fabric settings to fuss with
      • Large buttons

      • Eight-foot cord is shorter than some

      With no temperature dial, the Rowenta Steam Care Steam Iron DW3180 is designed to iron all fabrics at optimal heat. With its internal multi-layer design, it’s able to produce super-hot steam without making the soleplate hotter, so fabrics are less likely to scorch. All you do is adjust the steam to your liking and you’re ready to go.

      Best in de-wrinkling linen and earning the highest average score for wrinkle removal, it was rated the second-highest in our Lab performance tests. The transparent water tank also makes it easy to see when you're in need of a refill, and the fine-mist spray feature is perfect for those wrinkles that just won't budge.

      Best Steam Iron for Professionals
      Perfect Steam Station
      Rowenta
      Rowenta

      • Produces more and longer lasting steam than a traditional iron
      • Great for quilters and sewers

      • Takes up space on the ironing board
      • Difficult to store

      If you iron in batches or do a lot of sewing or quilting, a steam station might be for you. With no automatic shutoff and a huge water tank, it's perfect for nonstop use. The Rowenta Perfect Steam Station DG8520 delivered powerful steam blasts and smoothed fabrics from silk to heavy cotton.

      The base of the station is large, so before you invest in this type of iron, make sure you’ve got a place to store it. Still, it's lightweight and offers easy-to-navigate controls, plus it makes maneuvering around buttons and folds painless. Also, it has an eco-mode, allowing you to reduce its energy consumption by up to 20%.

      Best Ironing System
      FashionMaster Ironing System
      Miele
      Miele
      Now 16% off

      • Includes an iron and garment steamer
      • Board inflates and draws in air for more professional ironing results
      • Folds and moves on wheels

      • Takes up storage space
      • Pricey
      • Heavy

      Make an investment in Miele’s new ironing system and save big by skipping the dry cleaner for items that need just a refresh. The all-in-one station delivers high-quality results with powerful steam that helps smooth everything from blouses to jackets.

      With the Miele, you have an ironing board, a steamer, and an iron all rolled into one. The board itself has an air inflation (for gentle pressing of delicates) and suction function (for tougher jobs) – with an automatic on/off function. All pieces store neatly inside and with its super large water tank, it really can take care of all your ironing needs. Our Cleaning Lab appreciated how it all folds and can be wheeled away for storage.

      Best Handheld Steam Iron
      Turbo ExtremeSteam Steam & Iron 2-in-1
      Conair
      Conair
      Now 31% off

      • Easy to move around
      • Moves horizontally and vertically without dripping
      • Reasonably priced

      Quickly and easily banish wrinkles with this Good Housekeeping Seal star and 2021 Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Awards winner. The steamer's added ironing soleplate works toward extra smoothing. Two steam options – turbo and regular – made it easier to smooth out heavier options. Its wide plate doubles as an iron, both dry or with steam. Slender and lightweight, it's both easy to maneuver and easy to control.

      It comes with a 3-in-1 attachment that includes a silicone band for pulling fabric taut, a delicate fabric spacer and a brush to loosen fibers. It scored the highest overall out of six handheld garment steamers we tested. Our Lab experts found this steamer powerful and drip-free. In fact, we restored a wrinkled duvet cover without having to remove it from the bed.

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