What can be so complicated about choosing the right steam iron? Nevertheless, even in such seemingly quite trivial matter, there are some details which are more than worth our attention:
The ability of the iron to quickly warm up, the fabric to be smoothed and generate the required amount of steam depends on its wattage.
On average, modern irons have wattage of around 1700-2300 watts, and those with the best power performance use around 2400-2750 watts.
The soleplate of an iron can be made of aluminum or stainless steel and can also have a ceramic (smooth glide), titanium (non-stick surface) or even palladium coating (self-cleaning).
Moreover, the quality of ironing also depends on the number, size and arrangement of the steam holes and the availability (or absence) of special guiding channels.
It is very desirable that the “nose” of the iron should have additional holes for the steam supply for hard-to-reach areas of the ironed clothes.
- Water reservoir
As a rule, the water tank of a modern iron has a capacity of about 300 ml, still some models have even 425 ml water reservoirs.
A system of water filling can be either conventional or rapid (with a tight water fill-hole cover).
- Constant steam
Simplicity and speed of ironing with medium and high temperatures of heating the soleplate largely depend on the amount of constant steam.
Most modern models of irons produce 20 to 35 g of steam per minute, while the advanced models are able to generate up to 50 g per minute.
- Steam burst
The average power of steam burst in most modern models of irons reaches 100 to 150 g per minute, with the maximum of 200 g per minute.
- Vertical steam
In the vertical steam mode the steam has a higher density and strength, due to which it reaches its target with almost no dispersion.
The vertical steam mode allows you to care about things made of delicate fabric without direct contact of the soleplate with its surface. For example, it is used to steam and remove wrinkles from clothes on hangers, coats, jackets or garments, including curtains and draperies.
- Variable steam gauge
This gauge adjusts the amount of steam released and can be located not only on top, but also at the bottom of the iron handle, which is quite convenient.
It also should be mentioned, that only few advanced models allow you to adjust the temperature of the emitted steam individually for specific types of clothes.
- Steam ionization
The ionization function makes it possible to generate finer steam particles, which due to their size and flow pressure can easily penetrate deep into the fabric fibers.
- Anti-drip function
The anti-drip function prevents leakage of water on the fabric while ironing, when the temperature of the soleplate is still not sufficient for its instant evaporation. This function is necessary, because the presence of water on the fabric may both impede the gliding movement of the iron and do harm to the fabric.
- Anti-calcium system
Not all models of household irons have a protection against sediment buildup. The anti-calcium system can be serviced or service-free.
Irons without such protection may be equipped with a self-cleaning system.
- Temperature control
The operating temperature of the iron may be controlled by a classic thermostat controller, push-button switch or even a touch control system with a display.
The most advanced models control the temperature use and have an automatic shut-down system that operates either as a timer or responds to the touch of your hand.
In the first option, the timer turns the iron off automatically, if it is not used for a preset period of time (8 to 15 minutes). Also the iron turns off automatically if left on with its soleplate down without movement within 30 seconds.
In the second option, the iron turns on only when you touch its handle and turns off as soon as you remove your hand from the iron handle (the wattage of such irons is around 2400 to 2750 watts).
This basic feature mists clothes with a fine water spray and is typical for most modern steam irons.
The iron handle can be made not only of plastic but also with the use of latex or rubberized elements which make it easier to grip.
- Power cord
The cord length of household models varies from 1. 5 to 3 meters. The longer the cord, the more free movement while ironing it allows.
It is desirable that the iron should be equipped with a cord swivel. This mechanism helps with handling the iron and protects the cord against premature wear.