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Is a cheap steam generator iron worth it?

Or would a similar-priced iron do a better job?

Blue and white steam generator iron ironing towel

Thinking of buying a cheap steam generator iron and wondering whether it’s worth it? 

We’ve scrutinised the latest models to hit the high street, from brands such as Bosch and Philips, as well as low-cost options from Tesco and Morphy Richards.

Prices ranged from £68 to £340, but we ignore the price tag and rate each model purely on its merits.

One topped our most recent results, with a score of 87%. Find out which is the latest Best steam generator.

Cheap steam generators

A good steam generator should pump out plenty of steam but, from past experience, we know that paying more doesn’t always guarantee a better generator.

Pricier models do tend to have a few more features but these may not be important to you. That said, the cheapest generator we’ve just tested, the Tesco IRSG24016 (£68), still has plenty of useful extras, including a removable water tank, anti-calc system and automatic safety shut-off.

Pay a bit more for your generator, and you could choose one with a one-temperature-fits-all setting, such as the Morphy Richards 333005 (£100). The soleplate doesn’t need to be as hot because there’s enough steam to relax the fabric and remove creases at a lower temperature – so the same setting can be used for all ironable fabrics. This saves time, as you won’t have to check the care labels and sort your ironing into separate piles.

Cheap steam generator or steam iron?

Some of the irons we’ve just reviewed cost around the same price as a low-cost generator, so what’s the best option for your budget?

If you generally iron a few items at a time, you’ll probably be better off with an iron, but if you prefer to get a whole heap done in one go, a generator could save you time, as you won’t have to keep stopping to refill the water tank.

Or you could go for the Philips GC3583/20 iron (£80) we’ve just reviewed. It has a larger water tank than most irons and will keep steaming for around 15 minutes. But it’s heavier than most generator irons (which have the tank in the base unit, not the iron), which could be a disadvantage if your arms tend to ache when ironing.

The Bosch TDA70EYGB (£79) iron has a one-temperature-fits-all setting, which our cheap generator doesn’t have. So this could be a deciding factor if some of your favourite clothes have ended up with scorch marks in the past.

Latest steam iron and generator reviews

Not seen anything you fancy above? Below are the rest of the irons and steam generators we’ve just tested. Follow the links to read the full reviews:

Steam irons

Steam generators

Prices correct as of 8 May 2017.

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