Choosing the right steam iron can save you not only from creases, but also, time, energy and money. Ever increasing ironing technology and multiple iron brands means that choosing the right appliance from the large number of steam irons on the market can be confusing.

Below is a guide to some of the features you should look out for on a steam iron and how they affect the iron’s performance.

Quality of Soleplate

The one all important factor to consider when choosing an iron is the quality of the soleplate. The easier it is for the iron to glide over your clothes the easier you’ll find ironing them! Cheap irons generally have aluminium or stainless steel soleplates. While these materials may be strong they are also very prone to being scratched and reducing the level of glide you will get. The best quality soleplates are Durilium, chrome-plated or sapphire and Anodilium if you’re going for the most expensive.  A soleplate made of a stronger material is much less likely to get scratches and last for years.

Steam Flow Rate

The steam flow rate is another important factor to take into consideration when choosing an iron. This states the rate in grams per minute that the iron produces steam. A higher rate will mean that you have a shorter time ironing out creases in different types of fabric. The average steam flow rate of an iron means that the typical iron with a 400ml tank can be used for around 30 minutes before having to be refilled. Also consider finding an iron that has a reduced heating time to match a high steam flow rate and you’ll have sped up your ironing considerably.

Anti Lime Scale

You will find that a lot of irons come complete with anti-lime scale measures as standard. This is typically a process that charges the tank to its highest temperature and blasts the heat into the steam chamber, blasting out any dirt and lime scale. It’s good to note that you shouldn’t use the iron straight after de-scaling it! The debris that was blasted out of the steam chamber will now be on the outside of the iron and will be wiped all over your clothes.

Other models of irons have an anti-lime scale cartridge within them. This stick is actually a resin that attracts and retains the lime scale and stops it clogging up the rest of the machine. Unfortunately these cartridges will need replacing every 3 to 6 months depending on the hardness of the water in your area.

While the irons may have anti-lime scale features, it’s often best to use preventative measures in order to prevent build up. Use water that has been mixed with a de-scaling solution or dilute it with some demineralised water to prolong the appliances lifespan.