If you’re on this website, I guess you’re looking for a steam generator iron. Perhaps you’ve heard of steam generator irons and know how great they are, but when you look at the different features and specifications available, you’re left scratching your head and not sure about what is important? I’ve added this page to my website to give what I hope to be a simple overview of what the most important features are and how they will impact you and your ironing.
Steam Output – why is it important?
I have covered steam output on its own separate page here, but to give you a brief couple of sentences, higher steam output means that the fabric of your garments is relaxed easier, leading to easier ironing. You can get steam generator irons which range in the amount of continuous steam output and boosted steam output, but obviously the higher these outputs, the better performance you will get out of the iron. How tangible is the difference between less powerful and more powerful models, and is it worth the price to pay for higher performance? Read the steam output article for more information on this.
Again, the water tank on your steam generator iron is a very important feature, as it will determine the length of time you can continuously iron for which is especially important if you have a large family or work professionally with irons.
Firstly, a large water tank capacity means that you don’t have to worry about refilling your ironing while you are in mid flow, there is nothing worse than getting into the rhythm of doing something and then having to stop or take a break for whatever reason which can break your focus and make it harder to get back into it. Many of the steam generator irons have large capacities over 1 litre which dwarf the amount of water you can fit in a steam iron. This means it is not uncommon for you to be able to iron continuously for over 2 hours based on the much larger water tank capacity, and most manufacturers will give you an idea of what amount of time you can iron for continuously with their product.
Something else you should consider when it comes to the water tank is whether you can refill the water tank as you go. Whereas some irons need to be turned off and you have to wait for them to cool down before you can refill them, there are many where you can top up the water with a jug as you’re ironing which makes things much more convenient.
Many of the steam generator irons being designed these days have really smart safety features which are really handy, especially if you have kids (or maybe you’re just clumsy like me!). The main safety feature which I see being added to most steam generator irons these days is the auto-off function. The auto off is incredibly smart as it ensures that you’re not going to damage your clothes, or even worse burn down the house by accidentally leaving your iron on.
Another great safety feature that many irons have is a carry lock. Some of the more heavy duty steam generator irons are incredibly heavy and difficult to carry around, especially if you’re elderly or not particularly strong, so a carry lock can be important to make sure you don’t damage your iron, your possessions, or worse injure anyone in the path of a falling iron!
You’ll also notice that as steam generator iron technology gets better and better, and the market matures, a lot of the companies which have models on offer tend to have their own unique features. For example, Philips do their OptimalTEMP technology which is supposed to automatically detect what fabric is being ironed and set your iron to the optimal temperature to prevent burning, Tefal have their auto clean soleplate to make the process of cleaning your iron completely hands off, and Morphy Richards have their diamond soleplate to make their iron soleplates more durable. As the market continues to mature I can only imagine there will be more and more unique features being designed for irons. I think it’s always worthwhile to have a level of scepticism about whether some of these features going to benefit you, and to check out reviews here and over the net to form an opinion on what will be your best option.
Other practical considerations
Some other practical considerations I would say are important to look at are the size and weight of your iron. I have already touched on how the weight of your iron can be a problem if you are elderly for example and carry locks can help prevent accidents because of this, but if the iron is too heavy for you to lift, it doesn’t matter whether it has a carry lock or not since you’re not going to be able to move it. I always recommend checking out the weight and dimensions of any iron you buy to make sure it is practical for usage and storage.