FULL STEAM AHEAD
Anyone who wears business or formal attire regularly — not to mention crafters, costume designers, sewers, and quilters — knows the importance of a top-notch iron. But there's no reason to pay top price to give your garments a crisp, finished look. Cheapism.com has identified several cheap steam irons for $50 or less that earn high marks from expert testers and user reviewers alike. We've also included a cheap travel iron and a few pricier picks for those seeking the convenience of a cordless model, or willing to splurge on a ritzier Rowenta iron. Finally, there's our choice for the best cheap clothes steamer, which can also be used to clean carpeting and furniture, freshen draperies, and even sanitize surfaces.
To inform our research, Cheapism consulted professional product tests and user reviews on sites including Good Housekeeping, Consumer Reports, TopTenReviews, The Spruce, Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, manufacturers' web pages, and others.
The best steam irons can be used with or without steam, produce plenty of moisture when needed, glide easily over material, remove wrinkles from all kinds of fabrics, and set seams and creases with ease. Other features we looked for include a broad soleplate with lots of vents to distribute steam evenly, a precision tip to snuggle up around buttons and into tight spaces, a self-cleaning function to avoid mineral buildup, and a no-drip design (although the latter is rarely failsafe). Nearly all irons have an auto-shutoff feature that shuts them down within 30 to 60 seconds if they tip or are left flat. But upright shutoff times vary from eight to 15 minutes, a potential safety concern for parents of curious young children.
Prices and availability may vary.