Ironing can be a chore no matter who you are, but it’s particularly burdensome for the elderly or people with hand or wrist issues. Many steam irons weigh over 1.5 kilograms. If you suffer from arthritis or other joint problems, the bulk of a heavy iron can be nearly impossible to handle.
You don’t have to settle for wrinkled clothes on account of your sore hands, though. Instead, it may be time to upgrade to a new, lightweight iron model. You’ll find it much easier to glide the iron across your clothes when the unit clocks in at just over 1 kilogram.
As an added bonus, a new steam iron may come with a host of fancy features that your bulky old iron didn’t have. Thanks to modern iron technology and lightweight construction, you can have crisp shirts and neat trousers without sacrificing your joints in the name of household chores.
1. Most Versatile Steam Iron: Tower CeraGlide 2-in-1 Cord or Cordless Steam Iron
Corded irons are pretty much the industry standard. While it can be a pain to keep the cord out of the way while you’re sliding your iron back and forth across a garment, you might just assume that this is the way things are. Not so with the Tower CeraGlide, however! This versatile two-in-one unit can be used in corded or cordless modes.
If you want to use the iron while it’s plugged in, you can. You’ll get the strongest steam output when the cord is connected.
For those times when cordless operation would be easier, the main unit lifts off of the charging base. This can give you greater freedom of movement, especially when you need to steam a high curtain or navigate a tricky portion of a long dress. Once the iron starts to cool down again, you can set it back on the base for a quick recharge.
The iron takes only 30 seconds to heat up. Once it’s hot, you can count on 120 grams per minute of steam output. If you need an extra burst of crease-busting power, there’s a steam shot feature that increases the output to 150 grams per minute.
The CeraGlide has several other features to simplify your ironing tasks. First of all, maneuvering it is easy since the iron weighs only 1.2 kilograms. Also, the soleplate features nonstick ceramic so that it will glide easily across all sorts of fabrics.
You can use this model for traditional ironing on an ironing board, or you can hold it vertically to steam draperies and other hanging materials. For normal ironing, you can vary the steam output by sliding a simple lever back and forth. During vertical ironing or other times when you need a burst of steam power, a quick press of a button will do the trick.
To protect your garments, the iron offers a temperature dial. Plus, there’s an anti-drip feature, so you won’t end up with water droplets splashed across your slacks. The iron’s self-cleaning capability and its built-in anti-calc function will help to reduce the chances of ending up with rust or limescale stains on your clothes.
2. Best All-around Iron: Philips PowerLife Steam Iron
Philips is a big name in the iron market, so it may come as no surprise that the PowerLife steam iron is packed with dependable features and offered at a middle-of-the-line price. This isn’t the cheapest steam iron that you’ll find on store shelves, but it’s also not priced so high that it appeals only to garment-care professionals.
First of all, for ease of use, this steam iron weighs just 1.255 kilograms. The handle features a textured surface that will provide a solid grip and feel comfortable in your hand. If you have arthritis or another issue that limits your fine-motor movements, you’ll appreciate that this unit has large, easy-to-use controls. They include a toggle switch for adjusting the steam setting, a dial for controlling the temperature and buttons for activating various features.
The iron has a smooth, sleek soleplate that effortlessly glides across fabric. The soleplate features a nonstick coating and is scratch-resistant. Because of its protective coating, it may last four times longer than a standard nonstick soleplate.
The Philips PowerLife works in both standard and vertical modes. You can count on 45 grams per minute of steam output during normal use. When you engage the steam boost, you’ll receive 170 grams of steam per minute so you can tackle tough creases.
The iron connects to a power source with a 3-meter cord that’s been thoroughly safety tested. As another safety feature, the unit automatically shuts off when left unattended.
The tank holds 320 milliliters of water. This allows the unit to produce ample steam, and there’s also a built-in sprayer, so you can spritz areas that need a bit of extra attention. Don’t worry, though — the iron has anti-drip protection so you won’t end up with water drops where you don’t want them.
To help keep the water supply and the iron’s components in great shape, this model comes with a calc-clean slider. You can use standard tap water to fill the tank without worrying that calcium buildup will reduce the iron’s lifespan.
3. Lightest Steam Iron: Russell Hobbs Supreme Steam Traditional Iron
If weight is your primary consideration when it comes to your next iron purchase, then the Russell Hobbs Supreme Steam model might be your top contender. It weighs a mere 1.12 kilograms. The lightest iron on this list, it’s over 25% less bulky than many popular steam irons on the market today.
You won’t be giving up features just to have an easy-to-handle iron, though. You can count on the Supreme Steam for excellent performance and a variety of settings.
For one thing, this iron will be easy on your hands. Both the handle and the temperature dial feature a soft coating that provides grip and cushion.
This unit can put out up to 40 grams per minute of continuous steam. The burst feature increases the output to 110 grams per minute. Of course, for your delicate fabrics, there’s the option to turn off the steam too.
When you use this unit to press your clothes on an ironing board, you’ll appreciate the stainless steel soleplate. While it may not feature the latest in ceramic soleplate technology, you won’t have to worry about the stainless steel getting scratched or scuffed.
You can use this iron in a vertical position as well. When you use it in that fashion, the steam that emanates from the many small holes in the soleplate will help smooth your hanging fabrics.
Like many of the pricier irons on the market, the Supreme Steam offers anti-drip protection so that the 300-milliliter water tank won’t leak onto your garments. The iron also has a self-cleaning option to keep the tank and other components from becoming bogged down with limescale.
One thing to note with this iron is that the cord is only 2 meters long. Some other models feature cords that are about 50% longer, so you may want to evaluate whether 2 meters is sufficient for your needs before settling on a purchase. If you’re able to position your ironing board close to a power outlet, you might find that the Supreme Steam’s 2-meter cord is plenty long.
4. Easiest to Clean: Bosch Sensixx’x DA30 Steam Iron
Many irons on the market today come with some sort of self-cleaning or anti-calc feature. The Bosch Sensixx’x takes it to the next level with triple the stay-clean benefits. Bosch refers to this technology as 3AntiCalc.
For step one of this system, there’s a self-clean filter that keeps buildup from reducing the iron’s steam production. In addition, the iron has an anti-calc cartridge that collects limescale deposits. Finally, there’s a Calc’n Clean setting that you can use to perform an occasional deep clean. That will force any lingering deposits out of the unit.
For easy ironing, this unit weighs 1.47 kilograms. That’s a little heavier than some of the irons on this list, but don’t let it scare you away. This model’s soleplate arrangement makes it a great choice for people with arthritic hands. For one thing, it’s coated in Bosch’s CeraniumGlissée material.
Also, the steam holes are arranged in three phases. These create zones of the soleplate that are dedicated to dampening, drying and de-wrinkling the fabric. They work together to help you smooth your garments with less effort. Whether you move the iron forward, backward or side to side, you can achieve fantastic results.
In addition, your hand may appreciate the handle design. It features a soft-feel grip as well as a thumb rest.
You can count on the iron’s DripStop technology to keep water off of your clothes. It functions at both high and low temperatures. Of course, if you need an extra splash of water, there’s a sprayer to accomplish that job with precision.
This iron produces 30 grams per minute of continuous steam. You’ll get 100 grams per minute when you activate the burst feature. That can be helpful when using this unit for vertical steaming.
There’s a 3-meter cord, so you’ll be able to reach far with this iron. That’s useful when caring for garments on an ironing board, but it can be even more beneficial when you’re trying to steam high curtains.
Finally, the Supreme Steam has a 300-milliliter water tank, which you can quickly fill from the top. While it’s a minor drawback, it’s worth noting that the tank markings can be tricky to read in low light.
5. Strongest Steam Boost: Tefal Ultimate Pure Steam Iron
For those who love high steam output but aren’t interested in the heft of a steam generator iron, the Tefal Ultimate Pure Steam may be the option to choose. This iron’s continuous steam output is rated at 55 grams per minute. When you press the boost button, the unit will produce a whopping 240 grams per minute. Even the toughest creases may melt away in the face of that sort of steam power.
In addition to major steam power, this iron also has a high-tech soleplate for a smooth, easy glide. It features Tefal’s Durilium Airglide technology. According to Tefal, this upgraded version slides 33% more easily than previous Durilium models.
The active steam holes go all the way to the tip of the iron. In fact, there are quite a few holes concentrated there, forming a Power Zone. You’ll appreciate this when angling the nose around buttons or collars.
You don’t have to guess how much steam to use with this iron. Rather, it puts out the correct amount based on how high the temperature is set.
This iron weighs 1.45 kilograms. As another benefit for sore hands, the handle has a comfort-grip coating.
The Ultimate Pure Steam provides convenience in a few different ways. For one thing, there’s a 3-meter cord, so you’ll have a wide range of motion. Like many other irons, you can use this one in vertical mode, and there’s a sprayer for distributing extra water as needed.
The water tank holds 350 milliliters so you won’t have to refill it too frequently. A MicroScale filter traps tiny calc particles, so you can count on always having clean, pure steam. The filter slides out of the back of the unit for quick cleaning.
Safety is paramount with this steam iron. If you set it on the ironing board with the soleplate facing down, the unit will automatically shut itself off after just 30 seconds of inactivity. The auto shut-off will kick in after eight minutes in the upright position.