Want to get through your ironing faster? A steam generator iron is a perfect solution for anyone who wants to get through their ironing as quickly as possible.
Before we get into our picks for the best steam generator irons to buy in 2021, here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right iron for your needs.
What to Consider when Buying a Steam Generator Iron
- Weight – An iron with a steam generator can often weigh several kilograms, even with an empty water tank.
- Water Tank Size – A large capacity allows you to carry on ironing without having to stop and refill every few minutes.
- Soleplate Material – An easy-glide, scratch-resistant soleplate helps to keep ironing fast and efficient.
- Bar Pressure – Higher ratings provide more powerful bursts of steam.
- Cord Length – It needs to be long enough to suit your ironing space.
Best Steam Generator Irons UK 2021
1. Philips Perfectcare Elite Steam Generator Iron
The Philips Perfectcare Elite has a large 1.8-litre water tank that provides approximately two hours of use. It heats up in around two minutes and provides a continuous steam output of 135g per minute and boost output of 470g per minute.
Optimal Heat Technology automatically adjusts the temperature to suit any type of fabric, so there’s no guesswork when it comes to the correct setting for each type of fabric. The iron can also be used in a vertical position if needed.
The T-Ionic Glide soleplate has a ceramic coating that is resistant to scratches and provides effortless manoeuvrability. An automatic shut-off system safeguards against scorching. The unit has a total weight of 5.1kg. See full details and price on Amazon.
2. Tefal GV 9071 Pro ExpressCare
The Tefal GV9071 Pro ExpressCare boasts a powerful pressure of 7.5 Bar with steam boosts of 500g per minute for an enhanced ironing performance. The 1.6-litre capacity water tank can be removed for easy refilling.
It includes a spiral-shaped scale collector that effectively filters ten times the amount of minerals from the water. Smart technology incorporates a range of touch-sensitive settings to suit every type of fabric.
The Durilium AirGlide soleplate moves easily over any material. It also efficiently distributes the steam, eliminating the build-up of fluid that often causes staining. The weight of this steam-generator is 4.72kg. See full details and price on Amazon.
3. Morphy Richards 333020 Jet Stream Generator
The compact Jet Stream has a removable water tank with a one-litre capacity. It features a super-fast boiling system that heats the water in less than two minutes. It can also be refilled even while the unit is still hot.
There is a pressurised 100g steam output and a water spray feature to effortlessly remove difficult creases. The soleplate is made of high-quality stainless steel that is long-lasting and gives a reliable, smooth performance.
A replaceable cartridge absorbs limescale from the water to prolong the life of the iron and water tank. The iron has a 1.8-metre cord and is conveniently lightweight at just 3.75kg. See full details and price on Amazon.
Steam Generator Iron Buying Guide
Steam generator irons are fast and effective compared to regular steam irons. Choosing the most suitable model depends on several distinctive features, these include:
The base unit can make a steam generator iron very heavy to manoeuvre. Some larger models can weigh up to 6KG when empty.
Anyone who finds it difficult to handle such weights should consider a lightweight version, like the Philips PerfectCare compact, which was specifically designed to be compact and lightweight.
Water Tank Size
The iron requires an adequate supply of water to convert into a constant flow of steam.
Large water tanks don’t need refilling as often, enabling you to complete larger quantities of ironing without having to stop and refill every few minutes.
For maximum efficiency, try to get an iron with at least a 1.5L water tank.
A durable, high-performance soleplate provides an effortless gliding action on any fabric. Aluminium distributes heat efficiently, but it’s a malleable metal that is susceptible to scratches.
Stainless steel is very hard-wearing and glides smoothly across any fabric. The most effective soleplate is made of ceramic, a glossy, scratch-resistant material that is extremely smooth in use and highly durable.
The pressure generated by the steam unit is measured in Bars and higher numbers indicate an increase in power.
A rating of 5 Bar should provide an effective level of pressure, but some steam generators can reach higher levels of approximately 6.5 Bar.
Cord lengths are typically between two and three metres. Always consider where you will be positioned when ironing and how far your ironing board will be to the electric socket.
When measuring the distance, remember to allow some slack in the flex for improved manoeuvrability.
Continuous Steam Output
A consistent flow of steam helps to maintain an uninterrupted momentum when ironing.
To be effective, it needs to be at least 65g per minute, this shouldn’t be too hard to find, as most high-quality steam generator irons can easily produce over 100g per minute.
Powerful bursts of steam are often needed to smooth out deep creases. A typical steam burst rating can reach approximately 300g, but more powerful models like the Tefal GV9071 Pro ExpressCare can easily reach up to 500g per minute.
A major problem with any steam generator is a build-up of limescale and other mineral deposits that can quickly cause obstructions in the iron’s mechanisms. The levels can be particularly high in regions with a hard water supply.
Most manufacturers have devised systems to combat excessive scale. These can include coils or replaceable cartridges to collect the mineral deposits.
You will need check the instruction manual for your particular model to ensure you know how to descale a steam generator iron properly.
A smart sensor detects when the iron has not been moved for a certain length of time. It then activates the automatic shut-off mechanism to prevent overheating and scorching fabric.
Manual and Smart Controls
A steam generator with Smart controls has many advantages, including automatic temperature adjustment.
A sensor analyses the density and structure of the fabric and then alters the heat accordingly.
Manual settings usually include a choice of heat outputs for different fabrics, you will need to choose the appropriate setting yourself.
Transparent Water Tank
The warm, moist interior of the water tank often encourages the growth of green algae, particularly if the unit is left in the light.
A transparent or semi-transparent water tank not only shows you the level of the water, but it allows you to check for signs of algae.
Regular rinsing with a solution of diluted vinegar should help to keep the tank clear.
You can spend a considerable amount of time ironing, so a handle that is designed for maximum comfort is beneficial.
Look out for an ergonomic, soft-grip handle that is lightly-cushioned for a comfortable hold.
A regular ironing board doesn’t have a sufficient amount of strength to provide adequate support for a heavy steam generator unit.
You will need a large ironing board with a steam generator rest, these are specially designed to safely support the increased weight of the unit.
It’s usually reinforced with safety locks for additional stability, preventing the board from toppling over or collapsing.
Steam Generator Iron FAQ
How do steam generator irons work?
The water is boiled until it reaches the required temperature and it is then kept under pressure inside the tank.
When you press the steam release button, the pressurised water vapour is pushed through the holes in the soleplate.
Who needs a steam generator iron?
Anyone with a busy household to run can benefit from the extra speed and efficiency of a steam generator. It helps to make the chore of ironing much easier and faster, freeing up valuable time.
Should distilled water be used in steam generator irons?
Some people prefer to use distilled water to save having to descale their irons.
However, manufacturers have invested a great deal of time and money in designing irons with effective anti-scale systems that help to keep limescale and other mineral deposits under control.
Most manufacturers recommend using ordinary tap water rather than distilled water to prevent the tank from splitting.
What makes the water tank split?
Distilled water doesn’t contain any minerals or impurities, but its nature causes it to seek these deposits.
Surprisingly, it can take them from the tank itself. A weak spot can quickly form in the wall of the tank leading to a hairline crack that can break open due to the intense pressure of the steam.
Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, as if a split does occur, it can result in scalding hot water flooding out.
Are steam generator irons noisy?
They are, but they’re not very loud. You’ll hear the boiling mechanism heating the water and the steam usually hisses when it’s released.
An iron with a steam generator base can be quite an investment, so it is worth taking enough time to find a model that suits your requirements.
Choose a unit that has a manageable weight and if you spend a long time ironing, try to select one with a comfortable handle.
If you have to iron many different types of fabric in large, family-sized batches, it may be worth investing in an iron with automatic heat settings (like the Philips PerfectCare Elite) for fast, trouble-free results.