Which steam generator iron?
By Christina Woodger
Bosch, Philips and Tefal are some of the biggest names in the world of steam generator irons. Here, we explain what they offer.
We've tested the latest steam generators to find out which are worth investing in and our results reveal that you don't have to pay a fortune to get a great model.
You can read our Best Buy steam generator reviews to find the best one for your budget. But if you're not quite ready to buy, read on to find out more about what some of the big brands offer.
Bosch steam generator irons
Bosch has changed the style of its steam generators recently, ditching its traditional, retro design in favour of a more modern colour and feel. Its steam generators offer the latest features and deliver powerful, pressurised steam at between 4.5 and 7.2 bars of pressure.
Bosch steam generator prices start at around £120, while a premium model will set you back close to £340. Entry-level models tend to have fewer features, smaller water tanks and basic limescale-prevention features.
Premium models such as the Bosch TDS6080GB Ultimate have Bosch 'i-Temp Advanced' technology. Bosch claims this creates the perfect steam and temperature levels for all fabrics, so you don't have to turn the dial up or down to suit different items. The idea is that you can iron any clothes in any order and you won’t need to separate your ironing pile according to the thickness of the fabric. Our steam generator iron reviews reveal whether that's enough to make a Best Buy.
Philips steam generator irons
Popular brand Philips offers one of the most extensive ranges of steam generators on the market. Prices start at less than £100 for a compact, basic model, while a top-spec steam generator from its premium range will set you back up to £450.
Philips SpeedCare and FastCare steam generator irons
Models in Philips’ entry range of steam generators include the SpeedCare and FastCare, and you can pick one up for around £100-£150. These have traditional temperature settings for individual fabrics, ranging from linen to silk, and are great for first time users looking to upgrade from a steam iron for a faster, better experience.
These models have 1.2-1.5 litre water tanks, so they don’t need to be refilled as often. As the water is in the base unit, they are lighter than normal irons, and the non-stick ceramic soleplate provides a smooth glide over all fabrics. They deliver two times more powerful steam than the average Philips steam iron, which means they can get through creases faster, to cut down your ironing time. They take two minutes to heat up before the steam is ready to start ironing, and you can refill them with tap water.
Philips PerfectCare steam generator irons
PerfectCare is Philips’ range of premium, powerful steam generators, which cost between £150-£450. All models in the range produce high-pressure steam (between 5 and 8 bars) and come with Philips’ exclusive 'OptimalTEMP' technology. This uses one single temperature setting, maintained by a smart control processor inside the iron. Philips says the temperature is safe to use on all ironable materials, with a no-fabric-burns guarantee. Instead of high heat, it relies on plenty of steam for effective crease removal, so you can iron everything in your ironing pile without adjusting the settings.
PerfectCare models have detachable, 2.5-litre water tanks, more steam and safe carry locks. Philips says soleplates in this range are super smooth gliding and extra scratch resistant.
The older PerfectCare Pure steam generator irons, which required extra filters for cleaning the water, are being phased out and replaced by new PerfectCare Compact steam generators. These have a new smart calc cleaning system built into them, so there are no additional costs involved. The smart self-cleaning systems take two minutes.
Tefal steam generator irons
Tefal is one of the biggest steam iron and steam generator brands in the UK. Its steam generator range extends from basic, budget models costing less than £100 to top-spec, high-pressure generators, priced at £300. It groups its steam generators into two categories – non-pressurised and pressurised.
Tefal non-pressurised steam generators
Tefal’s non-pressurised steam generator range consists of the Pure & Simply and the Fasteo. A Pure & Simply model costs less than £100, while the Fasteo will set you back around £130 to £150.
These entry-level models include generators with up to 5.2 bars of pressure. However, they are budget models with basic features – you’ll have to wait a bit for steam to form before you can start ironing and you won’t be able to see the water level as you’re filling it up.
Tefal Effectics pressurised steam generators
The Effectics range is the cheapest pressurised steam generator from Tefal, costing around £140-£160.
These models are compact and designed for those with limited storage space, but they still offer 5 bars of high-pressure steam and a 1.4-litre water tank. They come with Tefal’s Ultraglide Diffusion Soleplate, which has engraved lines designed to help the iron glide across fabric.
Other mid-range, pressurised models include the Express collection, which has between 4.5 and 5.3 bars of steam pressure and price tags of between £130-£200.
Pricier models have limescale collectors, designed to make them easier to clean than others, and a single steam and temperature setting that means you can iron any fabric in any order.
Tefal Pro Express steam generator irons
These are Tefal’s premium models, with single steam and temperature settings and between 5.5 and 6 bars of steam pressure.
They come with Smart Technology, which includes three or five preset ironing levels. Tefal says this delivers the optimal combination of temperature and powerful steam for different materials.
This range typically costs between £180 and £300. Useful extras include large, removable water tanks, removable anti-scale collectors to prevent lime scale build up and auto shut-off safety features.
We've reviewed various Tefal Pro Express steam generator irons, including the Tefal GV8961 Pro Express Total Auto.
If you're unsure what type and style of generator you need, find out more in our guide to how to choose the best steam generator iron.