Which budget steam irons are best?
You have a big meeting or maybe an interview for the perfect job. You know exactly what you want to wear. But when you go to put it on, it’s a wrinkled mess. This is just one example of how a steam iron can make a huge difference. And you can find a quality steam iron without blowing your budget.
To get the most for your money, consider the Conair CNRGI100 ExtremeSteam Super Steam Iron. With a nonstick soleplate and an auto-shut-off feature, you can get your clothes looking neat and pressed quickly and affordably and feel more secure about safety.
What to know before you buy a budget steam iron
When you’re considering a budget steam iron, you’ll likely see them compared to a steam generator iron. There are some important reasons you should purchase a steam iron over a steam generator iron.
A steam iron features a built-in water tank. While this means you can’t iron for as long as a steam iron generator, it’s just right for the occasional ironing in small amounts. Steam irons also tend to be more affordable, compact and easy to store. They usually have a weaker steam output which can extend the time you spend at the ironing board, but a quality steam iron will be sufficient for most households.
If you plan on spending longer amounts of time ironing larger amounts of clothes you may want to consider a steam generator iron. These have a large separate water tank that you have to fill less often. With the higher steam output, a steam iron generator will quickly blast through wrinkles. However, they are a larger system that requires some dedicated space. They are also louder and take longer to heat up because of their size. In general, steam irons are the perfect option for most consumers.
When you start shopping around for your budget steam iron, look out for the following:
Soleplate material and construction
Because the soleplate is the part that actually touches your clothes, you should pay attention to the material and construction of each one. Typically, soleplates are composed of either ceramic or stainless steel.
They should have a tapered build that ends in a point at the top of the iron. This will allow you to better navigate tight areas like between buttons. Above all, you should make sure the soleplate will glide easily and not grab onto your clothes.
Although they are fairly straightforward appliances, steam irons do require some maintenance. Primarily, you will have to consider the descaling process. As you use your steam function, the water expelled will lead to limescale and calcium buildup, which can damage your clothes and lead to malfunction if left untreated.
Ideally, a steam iron should have a built-in cleaning system. Otherwise, you need to consider how much maintenance you’re willing to do.
The higher the wattage, the faster you will be able to use your steam iron. Because of the higher wattage, the soleplate heats up faster. This can be a lifesaver if you’re running late for work or an appointment. Check that the steam iron you’re considering has at least 1400-1500 watts of power. More is better.
Corded vs. cordless
Cordless steam irons are becoming more prevalent in the marketplace. There are pros and cons to both a corded and cordless steam iron. A cordless iron will allow for more maneuverability and is generally more convenient, although they are more expensive and can be less reliable. A corded steam iron, on the other hand, is more affordable and is typically a reliable option.
What to look for in a quality budget steam iron
Large inlet hole
Filling the water tank on your steam iron can be a pain if the inlet hole is too small. Before you make a purchase, look at the size of the inlet hole and assess how easily you can fill it. If it’s large enough, the task of refilling your water tank will feel like less of a messy chore.
Long power cord
The longer the power cord, the more maneuverable you’ll be as you use your steam iron. If you aren’t choosing a cordless model, this is the next best option. And with a longer cord, you’ll be less likely to trip over it.
A quality steam iron should have a steam boost function. This emits a blast of steam to work out tough wrinkles. It cuts down the work for you and makes the ironing process go faster. A good rule of thumb is your steam boost function should be measured around at least 100 grams per minute.
If you ever have that nagging feeling that you left the iron on, you need the auto-shut-off feature. Many newer models have the auto-shut-off feature, which turns off the iron after a certain amount of time. It’s a safety measure that will give you a ton of peace of mind.
No matter what you do, eventually your steam iron will have some build-up. A self-cleaning system built into your steam iron makes the task of descaling and removing that build-up much easier. This is especially useful if you live in an area with hard water.
Even steam distribution
Before you buy a steam iron, turn it over and look at the holes on the soleplate. Check that they are evenly placed. The more holes the better. The density of the holes spread out evenly on the sole plate will create even steam production, leading to a faster, easier ironing process.
How much you can expect to spend on a budget steam iron
While some steam irons can cost hundreds of dollars, you can find a quality budget steam iron between $20-$50. While these may not have all the features, they will withstand repeated use and get your clothes pressed.
Budget steam iron FAQ
Which is the best soleplate material for a budget steam iron?
A. Both stainless steel and ceramic soleplates will conduct heat very well. Aside from that, they both have their benefits. Stainless steel is known for being highly durable and typically glides more smoothly over your clothes. These tend to be easier to clean and maintain.
Ceramic soleplates, however, are great at eliminating static. They can also reach higher temperatures, making the process go much faster. That being said, you will likely notice the ceramic coating starting to wear off after some time.
What is a good wattage to look for in a budget steam iron?
A. As a minimum, look for about 1400-1500 watts. More is good, but not always necessary. As long as the steam iron has that minimum amount of wattage, you’ll have an efficient ironing session.
How heavy should the steam iron be?
A. If you stick to steam irons that weigh in around 3 pounds, you’ll be glad. This is enough weight to work out wrinkles easily, but not so much that your wrist and arm will get fatigued.
What’s the best budget steam iron to buy?
Top budget steam iron
What you need to know: With 1550 watts of power and tons of features, this is the budget steam iron that will give you the most bang for your buck.
What you’ll love: With a nano-titanium soleplate, you’ll be able to glide smoothly over even the deepest-set wrinkles. You’ll appreciate the auto-shut-off feature, too.
What you should consider: Some customers claim the longevity of this iron is lacking.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top budget steam iron for the money
What you need to know: Designed to be convenient, this steam iron works like a dream at a great price.
What you’ll love: This steam iron has a great reputation for providing even heating and steam consistently, whether it’s the first time using it or the hundredth. It also monitors the temperature to adjust the steam output automatically.
What you should consider: Some report the water tank is tricky to open.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: With a whopping 1700-watt level of power, this affordable budget steam iron packs a punch.
What you’ll love: If you live in an area with hard water, this is the iron for you. It has an anti-calcium detail that prevents build-up before it happens. It also features three auto-shut off settings.
What you should consider: This steam iron might be heavier than is comfortable for long ironing sessions.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Kasey Van Dyke writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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