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Home & garden.

11 August 2021

Which steam iron brands to buy in 2021

Our unique survey data reveals which brands, including Morphy Richards, Philips and Russell Hobbs, develop the fewest faults over time – and which ones make customers happy
JP
Joseph Perry
Man ironing chequered shirt

Inconsistent performance, a complete loss of steam and leaks are the most common steam iron problems according to our survey of 5,090 owners in the UK.

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 each year we ask thousands of Which? Connect panel members to tell us whether they're pleased with their iron, or if they've experienced problems.

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 – Bosch, Braun, Breville, John Lewis, Morphy Richards, Philips, Rowenta, Russell Hobbs and Tefal – so we can tell you which brand to choose and which to avoid.

Ironing brands rated

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.

Only logged-in Which? members can view which brands members are most satisfied with in the table below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

* Viewing this on mobile? Scroll right to see the whole table.

Brand
Customer score
Satisfaction rating
Customer loyalty
% faulty
Average test score
79%
23%
3%
66%
79%
n/a
3%
58%
78%
36%
3%
71%
76%
64%
4%
69%
75%
45%
4%
72%
73%
13%
3%
66%
71%
29%
3%
56%
70%
29%
3%
60%
68%
13%
2%
73%
  • Table notes Results based on a survey of 5,090 Which? Connect panel members who own a steam iron conducted in April 2021. Table last updated 21 July 2021.
  • Customer score is based on brand satisfaction and whether customers would recommend the brand to a friend.
  • Customer loyalty is based on how many owners stuck with the same brand when buying their current steam iron, compared with their previous model.
  • Percentage faulty is based on the number of models that had to be replaced due to a fault.
  • Average test score is based on results of models tested by Which? and available to buy as of July 2021 (excluding similar models).

Best vs worst ironing brands

As the chart below reveals, there's a clear difference between the brand with the highest (79%) and lowest (68%) customer score. There are also big gaps between average test scores and the proportion of faulty models.

How long will my steam iron last?

The average steam iron will last 11 years. This is based on the experiences of Which? Connect panel members who told us how long they kept their previous appliance before replacing it due to a fault.

The chart below shows how long six of the most popular ironing brands last.

Only logged-in Which? members can see which popular ironing brands last the longest. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Verdict: ironing brands in depth

We've pulled together our survey data and independent test results, as well as some insight from our ironing experts, to give you an in-depth look at each brand.

Only logged-in Which? members can see our unique test scores and customer satisfaction survey results. 

If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access to our in-depth verdicts on the following brands, listed here in alphabetical order:

  • Bosh steam irons verdict
  • Braun steam irons verdict
  • Breville steam irons verdict
  • John Lewis steam irons verdict
  • Morphy Richards steam irons verdict
  • Philips steam irons verdict
  • Rowenta steam irons verdict
  • Russell Hobbs steam irons verdict
  • Tefal steam irons verdict

The three most common steam iron faults

Steam iron repair

While the average steam iron lasts 11 years, 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:

1. Inconsistent performance (21%)

Inconsistent performance could be caused by a range of problems, but the most likely cause is limescale build-up. As it builds up, it clogs the steam ducts, which stops your iron producing as much steam – so you might find yourself putting more effort into tackling creases, but getting worse results. See below for tips on avoiding limescale.

2. Complete loss of steam (18%)

If your iron turns on but it doesn't produce any steam, 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. 

If your iron is beyond repair, make sure you check out our steam iron reviews before buying your next one. We give each model we test a star rating for how well it resists limescale. 

3. Leaks (17%)

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 instructions manual states otherwise.

Read eight things you really shouldn't clean with vinegar for more advice.

How we calculate the best and worst ironing brands

We have a wealth of information of Britain's favourite ironing brands. 

Each year, we ask Which? Connect panel members to tell us about their household appliances; from how likely they would be to recommend a brand to a friend to how long a product lasted before it needed to be replaced.

This year, more than 12,000 survey participants told us about almost 40,000 products, including 5,090 steam irons.

Our survey results, combined with our independent testing data, mean we can give you an unrivalled insight into which brand you should opt for.

Head to our steam iron reviews

Know which steam iron brand you want? Use the links below to go straight to our reviews and find your ideal model.