Philips PerfectCare Elite Steam Generator
This elegant Which?-awarded steam generator is just the ticket for anyone regularly faced with a Matterhorn-sized pile of laundry. The PerfectCare Elite – the most expensive model in the Philips range – is comprised of a large 1.8-litre water reservoir that continually pumps high-pressure steam (120 g/min at a whopping 6.7 bar) to a comfortable and ultra lightweight iron unit that glides over tricky cotton-rich fabrics like an air hockey puck.
But that’s not its chief USP because, unusually for an iron, the Philips has no temperature controls at all. Instead, it uses the company’s ingenious OptimalTEMP technology to control the heat of the soleplate. And that means no more ‘Oh my God I’ve just scorched your Hermés chiffon shirt’ moments. Indeed, you can leave this iron facedown on any fabric and it will not burn it. Add Philips’ effective Easy De-Calc Plus lime descaler function and you can be sure this smooth operator will remain gunk-free for years to come. Apple-like simplicity alone guarantees this cool, futuristic and extremely efficient pro model an unequivocal high five.
Lime scale can be a fiendish little upstart. Not only will it eventually clog up your iron but there’s every likelihood it will spit out a dollop of annoying brown stuff all over your shirt just as you’re about to leave for a posh dinner party. This Tefal model comes with a self-cleaning feature that doesn’t require any aftermarket spares. Simply unscrew the Anti-Calc Collector every few months and empty the calcified pellets. The Tefal is quite a weighty unit but its Ultraglide Diffusion soleplate coasts effortlessly and its 350ml water tank is large enough to reduce the need for regular trips to the tap. The plastic temperature-setting nipple feels a bit stiff and flimsy in operation but in the main this is a well designed and sturdy iron that’ll scythe through the average household’s laundry horde with steamy aplomb.
Tefal Ultimate Anti-Calc FV9630
Morphy Richards Redefine ATOMiST
Morphy Richards has thrown out the rule book and taken a whole new approach to ironing with this futuristic and undeniably great looking model. For starters, its soleplate is made not from stainless steel or ceramic but transparent thermoglass which heats up very quickly and allows you to see the creases being flattened in, er, real time.
However, the biggest difference between this iron and pretty much everything else on the market is that it doesn’t use any steam. Instead, a nozzle on the front moistens clothing with an ultra-fine mist that is activated by a trigger under the handle. This ‘vapour mist’ is said to penetrate deep into the fabric making ironing more effective. It also uses 80% less water than the average steam iron. And because the water isn’t pre heated, there’s no lime scale build up either. And we all know what lime scale spurts can do to a newly washed shirt.
So is it any good? We’d love to have said a big yes but we found it didn’t glide over fabrics anything like a steam iron and the thick tube running from the removable water tank to the iron unit kept getting in the way.
The dashing Breville costs a wee bit more than the similarly specced Morphy Richards Breeze above but then it does feature a ceramic soleplate which is more slippery than plain steel while distributing the same level of heat. This 2600-watt model sports a constant steam rating of 45g/min and an ample 170g steam shot for rebellious creases. Its soft grip handle is comfy to hold while the extra long cord is a boon for those with a power outlet some distance away. Like so many modern irons, it also comes with a self cleaning function. Finally, anyone who’s burned their finger tips testing to see whether the iron is cool enough for storage will appreciate this model’s excellent Safe-Store system. When the illuminated heat-sensitive red panel on the sidewall has finished fading, it’s time to put the iron to bed. Nice touch.
Breville Steam Advanced
Cables. What a faff. Not if you’re using this cordless model it isn’t. The rechargeable Freemove comes with a power dock that constantly boosts the battery to provide endless hours of cable-free ironing. It’s a wee bit heavier than other models on test and it’s also a little awkward having to engage the dock every time you need to put it down. Nice concept though.
Tefal Freemove FV9965
The awkwardly named Sensixx’x has a power output 3050 watts which means it heats up extremely quickly. It also features an easy-glide CeraniumGlissée soleplate and a 50 g/min continuous steam output for fuss-free pressing. The Sensixx’x is comfy in the hand, well balanced and one of the lightest irons on test. The anti-calc cleaning system is a major plus though the ample 300ml tank is too dark to see the remaining water level. A worthy contender, nonetheless.
Bosch Steam Iron Sensixx'x DA5070 EditionRosso
Rowenta is widely considered the Rolls Royce of iron manufacturers. This steam generator model’s their Silver Cloud and it comes with a price tag to match. The Silence Steam’s 1.5-litre reservoir is an ungainly beast but it delivers an industrial-strength 260g/min steam shot guaranteed to iron the wrinkles out of anything, possibly even corrugated roofing. If God wanted to flatten the Himalayas, this is what he’d use.
Rowenta Silence Steam DG 8960
This super-slippery, ceramic-plated model lights up like a Christmas tree and comes with auto cut-off and a separate 1.4-litre water reservoir-cum-dock that automatically refills the iron when it’s in the resting position; a major boon for anyone facing up to an ironing marathon. Aside from its decent head of constant steam (around 50g/min), the Breville also has a boost button that produces enough vaporous punch to blow the roof off. Top buy.
Breville 2800w ECO-TEC Digital
This Ferrari-esque steam model comes saddled with a tranche of shampoo-style jargonistic features like ‘TriZone Ionic Soleplate Technology’ – for static-free crease removal – ‘Comfigrip’ design – for, er, a comfy grip – and a ‘unique dual-steam chamber’. All you need to know is that it ticks most boxes and irons stuff with little to no fuss.
Morphy Richards Comfigrip Steam Ionic TriZone
There’s one sure-fire occasion when you really do need an iron. On holiday. Although it’s not as small as you’d expect, this travel model won’t take up much luggage space and is just the thing to rehabilitate your T-shirts which, having been thrown ad hoc into the suitcase, now resemble a pile of dish rags. Shame it doesn’t come with a set of interchangeable travel plugs, mind.
Russell Hobbs Steamglide Travel Iron
This opaque pink bulky blob only costs 20 nicker but it’s pretty much all you need if all you ever iron is a few shirts, a pair of jeans and the odd pillowcase. The Breeze is equipped with 2600 watts of oomph which means it heats up really quicky – an especially handy attribute for those in a rush. Its stainless steel soleplate is hardly the be-all and end-all of iron tech but it glides well enough when combined with the iron’s 45 grams of constant steam. And when you hit those stubborn creases around the waist and pockets of your 501s, simply press the power shot button and all is smooth and wrinkle free. The Breeze also features a self-cleaning function for the elimination of spits and drips and it comes with a surprisingly generous three-year guarantee.