Top steam iron brands for 2019
By Georgia Wilson
Our experts reveal the best, worst and most reliable steam iron brands on the market.
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 iron owners on models from Bosch, Philips, Tefal and others. Read on to find out what iron users really think about the brands they've bought.
Plus, our expert lab results reveal which brands score the best in our tough tests. Buy an iron from a low-scoring brand and you risk taking home a product that struggles, even at high temperatures.
Just want to know which iron you should buy? We reveal our best steam irons.
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.
We have ratings for all the major steam iron brands, including Phillips, Bosch, Morphy Richards, Breville and Russell Hobbs. The table below shows you how the big-name brands compare.
The most reliable steam iron brands
The reliability ratings in the table above are based on feedback gathered from more than 2,000 Which? members 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 one of the highest average test scores, too.
What makes a great steam iron?
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
- 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.
Our steam iron reviews will help you find the best model for your budget.
Are steam irons generally reliable?
Irons are notoriously unreliable. 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 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.
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.
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.