If you’re heading down to Lidl this weekend, keep an eye out in the middle aisle for a bargain cordless iron. The Silvercrest steam iron costs just £15, but will it get the creases out of your clothes?
Our lab tests have proved you don’t always need to spend a fortune to get a powerful steam iron. We’ve unearthed a handful of Best Buys in the £30-£40 range, but we’ve also found plenty of cheap models that you should actively avoid.
As part of Lidl’s Laundry & Cleaning event, the budget supermarket is also selling a cut-price Philips steam generator (full details if you scroll) plus an own-brand garment steamer for less than a tenner.
But can a nifty handheld garment steamer produce the same results as a full-size steam iron? We take a look at how the features compare to help you make the right choice.
Take a look at our best steam irons to see which models performed well in our independent lab tests.
Lidl Silvercrest cordless steam iron: is it a good deal?
Looking at its tech specs, the Silvercrest steam iron seems like incredibly good value for money, especially considering it’s a cordless steam iron.
Multiple steam settings
You can use this iron for both steam and dry ironing, plus it comes with a separate spray function. You can also use it as a vertical steamer, which is handy for getting the creases out of hanging garments, upholstery or curtains.
The variable continuous steam setting means it’s constantly pumping out generous amounts of steam to blast away stubborn creases, and the ceramic soleplate helps it to glide over fabrics without sticking or snagging.
We have discovered in our lab tests, however, that a high steam output doesn’t necessarily lead to good results. It’s more to do with how resistant to limescale an iron is – as this will help it to maintain its steaminess.
No-drip system and self-clean functions
The integrated no-drip system is designed to protect your clothes from those annoying water marks that can damage the fabric over time.
This iron also comes with a built-in self-clean function that aims to prevent limescale from building up and blocking the steam holes, meaning it shouldn’t lose too much steaminess no matter how often you use it.
However, our independent lab tests have uncovered a series of irons with self-clean functions that are almost totally ineffective, so there’s no guarantee that this one will work as it should.
Easy to refill and store
The box includes a handy water refill beaker so you shouldn’t encounter any spillage issues when you go to fill up the 350ml water tank. The average water tank size for a traditional steam iron is usually around 300ml, based on our tests. So Lidl’s offering is certainly at the more generous end of the spectrum.
You can use the base for resting the iron or leaving it to heat up, plus it slots in nicely to make it easier to store – which is especially useful if you’re limited on cupboard space.
Choosing the best iron for you
When choosing a new steam iron, make sure you look for the following features:
- Self-cleaning system – This should get rid of any limescale that has built up inside the iron, helping it maintain its steaminess for longer.
- Thin, tapered soleplate – The thinner the soleplate, the easier it is to slide under buttons and into tight pleats. Thicker soleplates tend to snag on buttons and zips.
- Auto shut-off – This turns off your iron if it detects you’ve not been using it for a while, saving you the worry of remembering whether or not you turned it off before leaving the house.
- Comfortable handle – The best iron handles are soft and smooth, and not too wide. Some more uncomfortable handles can begin to rub if you’ve been ironing for a while.
- Easy-to-fill water tank – Keep an eye out for a wide filler hole and clear maximum fill markings to avoid annoying spillages.
Alternatively, just use our steam iron reviews to quickly find a great model within your budget.
If you’re not sure whether to opt for a traditional steam iron or a (slightly more expensive) steam generator, take a look at our guide on how to buy the best steam iron.
Garment steamers vs traditional steam irons
Lidl is also selling a Silvercrest steam brush for £9.99 as part of its Laundry & Cleaning promotion, which could be ideal for those who don’t generally do a lot of ironing.
Lidl’s bargain garment steamer heats up and is ready to use in just 60 seconds, and comes with a non-stick soleplate, adjustable temperature settings, detachable brush attachment and a practical hanging loop.
It’s unlikely to work well as a total replacement, though, as its small size means it just can’t cover anywhere near the same surface area as a traditional iron.
Garment steamers are, however, a great way of freshening up clothing like shirts when they’re not ready to be washed and just have a few light creases.
They’re also great for removing creases from upholstery and curtains without having to take them down and drape them over your ironing board.
We’ve tried out seven different garment steamers, including two uprights and a steamer and iron combined. See garment steamers compared to find out whether one is right for you.
Philips PerfectCare steam generator iron
Another item you may find in Lidl’s middle aisle from Thursday 9 January (if you’re lucky enough) is the Philips PerfectCare steam generator iron, costing £89.
Lidl claims this steam generator is £127 at full price. But having taken a look around, we can’t seem to find it in stock anywhere. That being said, almost every Philips steam generator we’ve tested has cost at least £100, so it’s highly likely you’re paying well under the odds.
Steam generator irons are generally better-suited to people who iron fairly frequently as they produce more steam and generally get the job done quicker.
The Philips PerfectCare steam iron on sale at Lidl comes with:
- OptimalTemp technology – This allows you to iron several different types of fabric without adjusting the temperature.
- Scratch-resistant soleplate – Glides easily across clothing without sticking or snagging and leaving damaging marks.
- Descaling reminder and container – Helps you to keep your steam iron in the best possible condition and maintain high levels of steaminess.
- 1.3-litre water tank – So you won’t find yourself running back and forth to the sink every five minutes.
- Carry lock – This will allow you to carry the iron around and store it without the risk of accidentally touching the hot soleplate.
We reveal the best steam generator irons to buy in 2020.