Inconsistent performance, leaks and a complete loss of steam are the most common steam iron problems, according to our latest survey. If you're due a steam iron upgrade, investing in a top-rated brand could save you some money and stress over time.
Knowing which brands develop the most faults and how long a model can be expected to last is vital when you're buying a new household appliance. That's why, this year, we've asked 6,997 Which? Connect panel members and 3,003 members of the public to tell us whether they're happy with their steam iron and whether they've experienced any problems with it.
Our survey data takes into account the reported fault rates of currently owned products, aged seven years old or less, and when the problems occurred.
We've got data on the biggest ironing brands – including Beko, Bosch, Morphy Richards, Phillips, Tefal and more – so we can tell you which brand to choose and which to avoid.
The table below summarises this year’s results. Brands are ranked by their customer score, which relates to whether customers would recommend the brand to a friend.
The 'proportion faulty' is the percentage that experienced a fault, and the 'proportion repaired or replaced' is the percentage of irons that were fixed or thrown away due to the fault.
|Brand||Customer score||Proportion faulty in first seven years||Proportion repaired or replaced due to fault|
As you can see in our table, there's a big difference between the best and worst steam irons in both the satisfaction score reported by customers and the proportion of appliances that developed faults.
|Proportion faulty in first seven years||20%||36%|
|Proportion repaired or replaced due to a fault||12%||13%|
The lifespan of steam irons can vary greatly due to factors such as how often they're used and cleaned, as well as things out of your control like shoddy manufacturing. However, you can give your iron the best chance at a long and productive life by paying attention to what brand you buy from.
As you can see in the table below, there's a big difference between how reliable the best and worst brands are. Our survey found that the some of the least reliable brands are over four times more fault-prone than the most reliable.
|Proportion repaired or replaced due to a fault|
|Average for all steam irons||3%|
We've pulled together our fault data, customer insight and their average performance in our independent steam iron tests to give you an in-depth look at each brand.
If you're not yet a member, to get instant access to the following steam iron brand verdicts: Argos (Steamworks), Asda, Beko, Bosch, Braun, Breville, Hoover, John Lewis, Morphy Richards, Philips, Rowenta, Russell Hobbs and Tefal.
Already know which steam iron brand you want? Use these links to go straight to our reviews and find your ideal model for each brand.
While the average steam iron might last you over a decade, our survey reveals recurring faults that can cause them to stop working sooner than expected.
According to Which? Connect panel members, the three most common faults that led to them replacing their steam iron were:
If your iron is leaking, there could be a hole in the water tank. This might be caused by filling the tank with a corrosive formula, such as vinegar (for cleaning) or scented disinfectant (to make your clothes smell nice), which eats away at the iron's internal parts. To avoid this, never fill the tank with anything other than water, unless the instruction manual states otherwise.
Inconsistent performance could be caused by a range of problems, but the most likely cause is limescale build-up.
If limescale builds up, it can clog the iron's steam ducts, which stops it producing as much steam – so you might find yourself putting more effort into tackling creases, but getting worse results.
If your iron turns on but it doesn't produce any steam, again, limescale is probably to blame.
To prevent a build-up, remember to regularly clean your iron – most newer models have a self-clean function (but you'll still need to initiate it yourself) – and replace the anti-scale cartridge, if necessary.
Search Which? Trusted Traders to find a Which?-approved trader in your area.
Which? has a wealth of information on Britain's favourite brands. Every year we ask Which? members to tell us about the home appliances they own – from how likely they would be to recommend a brand, to how reliable the products are once they get them home.
This year, 10,000 survey participants told us about over 20,000 products, including 5,490 steam irons. We calculate a brand's customer score, fault rate and proportion replaced or repaired based on the results of our annual survey.
Our surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best steam irons to buy.