Top steam iron brands for 2017
By Tom Morgan
Choose the best steam iron for you, as our experts reveal the best, worst and most reliable brands on the market.
Ironing can feel like a thankless task, but choose the right steam iron and you'll find it becomes a quick and easy job. Our team of experts has tested the most popular irons on the market to find out which brands are the best at shifting creases, to help you power through to the bottom of your ironing pile. Plus, we've quizzed our members on their own experiences.
To uncover the most reliable steam iron brand, we've received feedback from thousands of readers on models from Bosch, Philips, Tefal and others. Read on to find out what our members think about the brands they've bought. Plus, our expert lab results reveal the best performers on the market. Buy an iron from a low-scoring brand, and you risk taking home a product that struggles even at high temperatures.
Below, you'll find out which steam iron brand tops our reader satisfaction survey, along with information on the most common reported faults. To find out how our experts score individual steam irons, visit our steam iron reviews page.
How we find the best and most reliable steam iron brands
We've compiled an at-a-glance expert overview of how the various iron brands compare, including average test scores and our exclusive Which? reliability ratings.
For each brand, our table reveals:
- Average test score - find out which brands consistently release new steam irons that impress our lab experts.
- How reliable it is - we uncover the brands making irons that are likely to let you down.
- How owners rate it - steam iron owners reveal whether or not they'd recommend a brand to a friend.
- Our overall verdict - our testing data gives each brand a final score.
The table below offers a quick preview of how the big-name brands compare.
Only logged-in Which? members can see which brands came out on top in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, sign up for a £1 trial to get instant access.
|Steam iron brands rated|
|Brand||Average test score achieved in our tests||How reliable this brand's irons are||How owners rate this brand||Our overall verdict|
|76%||67%||Customer favourite: This brand takes the top spot for customer satisfaction in our survey. With a great average score, the brand has shown impressive consistency, and that hasn't gone unnoticed. In fact, of the members that told us they own a three-year-old steam iron from this maker, only 15% reported faults. Our experts have been impressed, too, with many of this brand's steam irons earning Best Buy status.|
|70%||65%||This brand specialises in making affordable steam irons that are easy to use. Although only a handful of these irons are Best Buys, the brand has never released a Don't Buy model. Members score the brand reasonably well, and it outperforms many of its competitors when it comes to average test score. In our survey, 80% of members said they had no existing issues with their steam iron from this brand.|
|58%||61%||This brand hasn't produced any dreaded Don't Buys, but none of its irons are good enough to be Best Buys either. Test scores are fairly average, which means most owners would rather stick with an iron from a rival brand. Short-term reliability is good, though. In our most recent member survey, only 5% of one-year-old irons from this brand had been let down by a fault.|
|65%||60%||Best for reliability: Although this brand doesn't get the highest customer score, it's still the most reliable around, according to our own expert research. Remarkably, our survey found that of the members that own a three-year-old steam iron from this maker, only 3% said their product was faulty. One of our cheapest Best Buy steam irons is made by this brand, and it's only £33.|
|71%||60%||These steam irons perform well in our test lab, and all of the company's Best Buy cost less than £100. Of the members in our survey that own a steam iron from this brand, 78% said their product was fault-free - not bad at all.|
|57%||55%||Lowest average score: Of the big-name brands included in our survey, this brand is rated bottom when it comes to average test score. Only one of the brand's steam irons was deemed good enough by our experts to be a Best Buy. This year's tested models have failed to ace our lab tests, too, let down by a lack of steam and ease-of-use issues. In our member survey, just over a quarter (26%) of members said their steam iron from this brand was suffering with one or more faults.|
|71%||50%||Worst for reliability: The results of our survey suggest this steam iron brand is one of the least reliable. Even with a small sample size of 34, 29% of members that gave feedback reported a fault with their iron. Our expert lab testing has identified that the most common faults with this brand's steam irons are water leaks and/or limescale. Although our recent survey doesn't paint a fantastic picture of this brand, the most recent of its steam irons that we tested is actually a proven Best Buy, and it's delightfully easy to use.|
Reliability ratings and Customer scores are based on feedback from more than 2,000 Which? members who own an iron, surveyed in May 2017.
Table last updated in July 2017.
How to choose the best steam iron
The reliability ratings in the table above are based on feedback gathered from more than 2,000 members who took part in our survey and told us all about their experiences with their irons. The fewer problems reported by owners, the higher the reliability score. Customer score relates to how happy participants were with their chosen brand of steam iron and whether they'd recommend it to a friend.
As you’ll see from our table, the most reliable brand isn’t the brand that gets the highest customer satisfaction rating. In fact, it’s the second most reliable brand that gets the highest customer score and garners the highest level of brand loyalty.
That might sound odd – after all, only 5% of owners from the most reliable brand told us they’d experienced a fault, compared with 17% for the second most reliable brand. And who doesn’t want a long-lasting iron? But that’s because irons from the most reliable brand often don’t stand out in terms of their performance. There’s one great-value Best Buy from that brand on our website at the moment, whereas the second most reliable brand consistently brings out models that smooth out creases easily and stand up well against limescale. It has the highest average test score of all the iron brands.
A great steam iron should steam strongly, smooth out creases and leave you with a neat and tidy laundry pile in no time. Steam levels shouldn't tail off due to limescale build-up and, if they do dip a little bit, cleaning should restore the iron's full power. The soleplate should have a tapered nose for slipping under buttons and into hard-to-reach places, but shouldn't be so delicate that you can damage it by scratching it against a zip. The iron shouldn't be a hassle to fill, empty or clean, and the power cord should be long and flexible enough for you not to have to stand right next to the electrical socket. Ultimately, you should be happy to recommend the brand you've bought to others. Our reviews take a whole range of factors into consideration, to ensure we only recommend the very best models and brands.
Are steam irons generally reliable?
Irons are notoriously unreliable, and we've heard from many of you troubled by limescale leakages, scratched soleplates, steam running out, elements not working or irons just giving up the ghost entirely. As part of our survey, we asked you whether you felt you'd got value for money from your appliances - and irons as a category didn't do terribly well in this regard.
Looking at all the brands, nearly 20% of irons developed a fault within six years, compared with only 5% of stand mixers, for example. Opinions are split as to whether that's surprising. The greatest percentage of you (34%) would expect an iron to last five years without developing a fault. But 20% of you expect an iron go fault-free for a decade.
Either way, do make sure you're taking care of your iron. A bit of love and attention can reduce the chances of your iron clogging up with limescale - and eventually running out of steam - or getting a sticky soleplate. You should descale regularly, following the manufacturer's instructions, avoid ironing over zips and wipe down the soleplate carefully.
Common steam iron problems
As part of our recent survey, we asked members which common steam iron problems were proving a real pain. While some members reported minor issues with leaking water, others were hit with broken heat controls and completely unresponsive irons.
Of those that reported a fault with their steam iron, the issues that topped the list in this year's survey were:
- 45% - steam iron leaked water or limescale
- 20% - complete failure
- 11% - problems with soleplate (eg scratched)
Reduce the likelihood of your iron going wrong by descaling regularly, wiping the soleplate down and avoiding ironing over zips to prevent scratches.