Pulling your outfit or uniform out of the wardrobe and seeing that it's all creased is not a great start to the morning, but the piles of ironing can quickly pile up if you have a big family. Most of us probably don't enjoy ironing, and there are ways to reduce the amount we have to do. Anti-crease and easy-wear fabrics have made the job a bit easier, plus some tumble dryers even have anti-crease features. You can shake and lay your clothes flat on a heated airer to prevent creasing.

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But some things just don't look smart without a proper press. Steaming clothes can be a quick and easier option, but there are some occasions when that just doesn't cut it and you have to get out the ironing board and start ironing. If you're going to be using a lot of steam then it might be a good idea to purchase a dehumidifier to stop your house growing mould or damp.

To help you find the best iron for these times, we analysed all the different features and occasions where you may need to use an iron, whether that's for travel, ironing 1 or 2 shirts or ironing a whole load.

We also asked our Top Testers Club which iron they use and recommend so you can find the best iron for your needs.

For more household products, take a look at our top pick of cordless vacuum cleaners and our in-depth comparison of Shark vs Dyson.

Best irons at a glance

  • Best energy efficient iron: Tefal Smart Protect Plus Steam Iron, £79.99
  • Best budget iron: Wilko Steam Iron, £8
  • Best cordless iron: Morphy Richards EasyCharge Power+ Cordless Steam Iron, £69
  • Best travel iron: Duronic Mini Steam Iron Si2, £24.99
  • Best budget cordless iron: Tower Ceraglide Cord Cordless 2-in-1 Steam Iron, £30
  • Best self-cleaning iron: Morphy Richards Auto-Clean Power Steam Elite Steam Generator Iron, £189
  • Best iron for protecting clothes: Philips Perfect Care 6000 Series Steam Generator Iron, £249.99
  • Best lightweight iron: Russell Hobbs Blue Light and Easy Steam Iron, £18
  • Best compact steam generator iron: Phillips Perfect Care Compact Steam Generator Iron, £196.99
  • Best for style: Russell Hobbs Steam Powered Pearl Steak Generator Iron, £99

What to consider when buying an iron

Type – There are 2 main types of irons, steam irons and steam generator irons. Steam irons are much more compact as you fill the iron with water and the steam in generated inside the iron. With a steam generator you get a base as well as the iron. You fill the base with the water (meaning it has a much larger capacity) and this base generates the steam.

Weight – As expected, a steam generator iron is going to be much heavier as a whole unit as this includes the base. However, as for the weight of the actual iron, these can sometimes be lighter as you don't need to fill a reservoir inside with water. It's important that your iron isn't too heavy for you as you need to be able to swiftly glide it and you may also need to transport it around the house quite often.

Power – Most irons offer around 2,400W of power. However, there are some options which either have much lower wattage, like travel irons and some budget irons. If you're going to be ironing tough materials and doing lots of ironing, then it is a good idea to get a more powerful iron. However, if it's just for occasional ironing a lower power one will be just fine.

Reservoir capacity – Again, this really depends on how much ironing you do. If you have piles to get through then you may want a steam generator with a much larger capacity to stop you having to keep filling up your iron. But, for an odd shirt here or there, a small capacity will be fine.

Steam output – For removing the toughest creases you need a strong steam output. Steam generators usually have a larger steam output, both continuous and shot.

Intelligent features – Modern irons often have additional features such as self-cleaning, automatic shut off, and a vertical steaming feature. One of the best intelligent features an iron can have is OptimalTemperature technology, this is where it adapts to iron at just 1 temperature – this should mean that even if you leave the iron face down on your clothes it shouldn't overheat and burn through.

Ease of cleaning – Irons aren't too difficult to keep clean, some even have reminders to descale them or a self-cleaning feature. But if you have hard water which is prone to creating limescale then this important feature you need to look out for. You can also use distilled water in your iron instead of tap water.

Storage – You may need to be able to store your iron away. It's much easier to find space for a steam iron than a steam generator due to the large base that accompanies it. If you don't have much space then a steam iron may be the way to go. Consider where you're going to store it before opting for the larger steam generator option.

Our pick of the best irons for crease-free clothing

1. Tefal Smart Protect Plus Steam Iron, £79.99

– Best for energy efficiency

Tefal Smart Protect Plus Steam Iron

Type: Steam iron | Weight: 1.29kg | Power: 2800W | Reservoir Capacity: 270ml

With energy prices rising, energy efficient products are likely at the forefront of your mind. If you want an energy efficient iron then this Tefal one is ideal. It has an energy-saving mode with can save up to 20% energy and an automatic shut-off function. The iron will turn off if left unattended after 8 minutes on heel or 30 seconds if left on soleplate.

It's a powerful iron with continuous steam as well as a vertical steaming feature which can be really useful for smoothing out suits or dresses. It's easy to use too, with a one temperature setting so you don't have to worry about constantly changing the temperature as you iron different things.

The soleplate is durable and scratch-resistant so should easily glide along your clothes and last you a long time.

Pros: Energy efficient setting, automatic shut-off, powerful, vertical steaming feature, one temperature setting, long-lasting soleplate
Cons: One of the more expensive steam iron options

Available from: Currys and Amazon

2. Wilko Steam Iron, £8

– Best budget buy

Wilko Steam Iron

Type: Steam iron | Weight: 1.1kg |Power: 1200W | Reservoir Capacity: 160ml

If you don't iron very much and just want an affordable iron with none of the fancy extras then this will do you just fine. It may not last you as long as a higher quality iron with more features but it does a great job for the price.

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Parent tester Natasha has this iron and was really impressed with it, "Believe it or not, I have a cheap Wilko one, and out of all the irons I've owned, most of them expensive, this is by far the best! It's as light as a feather."

The iron has a non-stick sole plate, and has dry, spray, burst of steam and vertical steam functions. There's also an indicator lamp and adjustable temperature control so you can alter the settings for different garments.

The water cup included is handy for filling the iron with water too.

Pros: Affordable, multiple steam options, temperature control, lightweight
Cons: Small capacity, low power

Available from: Wilko

3. Morphy Richards EasyCharge Power+ Cordless Steam Iron, £69

– Best cordless iron

Morphy Richards EasyCharge Power+ Cordless Steam Iron

Type: Cordless steam iron| Weight: 1.39kg| Power: 2400W | Reservoir Capacity: 35ml | Steam rate: 35g/min | Steam shot: 130g/min

If you're sick of the cord getting in the way then it may be time to invest in a cordless iron. This Morphy Richards cordless iron has an easy charge base which flashes red to let you know when the iron needs to return back to its base for reheating. While it's heating up, the base will turn solid red, switching to green when it's ready to use.

It has a quick reheat time so you won't be waiting around for it to heat back up and the 360 docking station makes it easy and effortless for you to put the iron back on to charge in any direction.

So you can iron everything, including delicates, it has steam and temperature controls which you can adjust accordingly. It also has anti-scale technology to prevent the build up of limescale.

Pros: Cordless, easy and quick to reheat, 360 docking station, temperature and steam controls, anti-scale technology
Cons: Small capacity, lower steam rate

Available from: John Lewis, Amazon and Very

4. Duronic Mini Steam Iron Si2, £24.99

– Best for travel

Duronic Mini Steam Iron Si2

Type: Travel steam iron| Weight: 0.495kg | Power: 375W | Reservoir Capacity: 50ml

A travel iron is always handy when you have a special occasion and don't want a crumpled dress or shirt to ruin your look. This is obviously not the best option for ironing at home as it is very low powered compared to the rest on the list. However, being just 495g, it will easily fit in your luggage without taking up too much of your weight allowance.

It has a little bag to keep the iron safe while you travel and an easy-pour measuring cup to fill your iron. For silk, chiffon, lace and other delicate fabrics you can use the brush attachment to protect your garments.

The design is clever too, the cable is central meaning it's easy for both left-handed and right-handed people to use and the steam burst button is right at the front where you can naturally press it whilst ironing.

Pros: Great for travel, small and light, comes with a bag and cup, ambidextrous, easy to use, brush for delicate fabrics
Cons: Low power for normal use, small capacity

Available from: Amazon

5. Tower Ceraglide Cord Cordless 2-in-1 Steam Iron, £30

– Best budget cordless iron

Tower Ceraglide Cord Cordless 2-in-1 Steam Iron

Type: Cordless steam iron | Weight: 1.2kg | Power: 2400W | Reservoir Capacity: 360ml

This cordless iron is super affordable and gives you the option to use it cordless or corded. For a cordless iron it's really powerful with a 2400W output. The iron heats up in less than 30 seconds and provides a high constant steam output and steam shot to help you get rid of the toughest creases.

Parent tester Kay loves how easy it is to use compared to previous irons. "It is very lightweight compared to our huge steam one this is a breeze. The iron can be used cordless or attached to the cord by a simple click of a button. It has a great water tank so no need to fill it up all the time. Also, it heats up extremely quickly, for the price point, I'm very happy!"

The soleplate is ceramic and multi-layered so glides effortlessly over garments. A water cup is included to fill the iron and it has an anti-calc function to prevent limescale. Its anti-drip function stops the iron dripping water onto your freshly washed and dried clothes.

For hanging garments it also has a vertical steam function.

Pros: Affordable, cordless or corded, powerful for a cordless iron, large capacity for a cordless iron, anti-calc and anti drip functions, high steam output, quick to heat up
Cons: When using it cordless have to return to base to heat up

Available from: Amazon, Very and Argos

6. Morphy Richards Auto-Clean Power Steam Elite Steam Generator Iron, £189

– Best for a self-cleaning iron

Morphy Richards Auto-Clean Power Steam Elite Steam Generator Iron

Type: Corded steam generator iron | Weight: 1kg (iron) 4.94kg (whole system) | Power: 2400W | Reservoir Capacity: 2.2l

This steam generator iron has a handy self-clean feature to keep your iron in top condition. The de-scale light will illuminate when you next use it and it will clean itself in 2.5 minutes, which is conveniently the time it takes the iron to heat up so you're not waiting any longer for it to clean itself.

Thanks to it's big water tank it can hold up to 2.2 litres so you wont have to keep filling it up no matter how much you're ironing. If you do need more water, the control panel will light up to alert you.

It has a very impressive steam pressure too, helping you remove creases from any fabric and reduce overall ironing time.

It's an intelligent but intuitive iron to use. It has electronic control and light-up buttons to help guide you. It's easy to see which steam setting you've selected and you can choose the exact level of steam you need.

As it has quite a big base, it doesn't look like it's the easiest to carry around but to help you out the iron locks to the base so you can carry them together without worrying about the iron falling off the base.

For safety and energy efficiency it has auto shut off too, much like the Tefal iron. It will turn off after 8 minutes if it has not been used.

Pros: Auto-clean feature, large capacity, impressive steam pressure, intelligent digital control panel, lock-on base, auto shut-off
Cons: Quite large to store and carry, expensive

Available from: John Lewis and Amazon

7. Philips Perfect Care 6000 Series Steam Generator Iron, £249.99

– Best for protecting clothes

Philips Perfect Care 6000 Series Steam Generator Iron

Type: Corded steam generator iron | Weight: 1.2kg (iron) 3.4kg (whole system) | Power: 2400W | Reservoir Capacity: 1.8l

The OptimalTemp feature on this iron is really clever. You can iron at just 1 temperature and the brand guarantees that it will never burn ironable fabric even when it's left unattended. It claims you can even leave the iron resting on your clothes or the ironing board and you won't come back to a burnt hole.

The soleplate is made of stainless steel and with a coating of titanium to ensure a long-lasting effortless glide. It also has an incredibly strong steam pressure to get out any creases.

To keep your iron in good condition, it will let you know when it's time to be descaled. For energy and safety, this iron has automatic shut-off. Much like the Morphy Richards steam generator iron, it has a large water capacity so there's no need to keep filling it up and there should be enough water for 1.5 hours of continuous use.

Similarly, it also has a lock base to make it easier to carry.

Pros: OptimalTemp to stop any burns, strong soleplate, tells you when it needs to be descaled, automatic shut off, large capacity, lock base
Cons: Quite large to store and carry, most expensive option

Available from: John Lewis, Amazon and Currys

8. Russell Hobbs Blue Light and Easy Steam Iron, £18

– Best for a lightweight iron

Russel Hobbs Blue Light and Easy Steam Iron

Type: Corded steam generator iron | Weight: 1.01kg| Power: 2200W | Reservoir Capacity: 240ml

If you want an easy to use lightweight iron then this is an ideal option. It's also a great compromise between the Wilko budget option and the slightly more expensive steam irons.

The temperature control dial at the front is handily positioned to give you a more accurate reading. For its weight, it's powerful too with good pressure continuous and shot of steam.

It also has a decent water capacity for such a lightweight iron so you won't constantly need to refill. However, it obviously is quite a bit smaller than steam generator irons.

To protect your clothes it has an anti-drip feature too.

Pros: Lightweight, affordable, accurate temperature reading, good steam pressure, good water capacity, anti-drip feature
Cons: No automatic shut-off

Available from: Argos

9. Philips Perfect Care Compact Steam Generator Iron, £196.99

– Best compact steam generator iron

Philips Perfect Care Compact Steam Generator Iron

Type: Corded steam generator iron | Weight: 1.2kg (iron) 2.95kg (whole system) | Power: 2400W | Reservoir Capacity: 1.5l

Steam generator irons are much bigger than steam irons as they have a large base. Some people would rather have a steam generator iron but just don't have the space to store it. If this is you, then this is a great solution as it's a compact version, with the unit weighing only 2.95kg.

Parent tester Andrea has this iron and said, "It doesn't take up much space and makes ironing so easy, especially bed sheets and shirts."

It still has the brilliant features of a steam generator iron including the large water capacity and powerful steam.

Other useful features are the automatic shut-off, and the OptimalTemp technology, similar to the larger Phillips steam generator iron.

For easy storage and transportation the iron locks to the base and there is a calc-clean container included to help clean your iron when it reminds you to do so.

The scratch-resistant soleplate should be long-lasting and glide seamlessly over all your clothes.

Pros: Compact and lightweight for a steam generator, powerful steam, large capacity, OptimalTemp technology, locks to base, reminds you when to clean, automatic shut-off, scratch-resistant soleplate
Cons: Still larger to store than a regular steam iron

Available from: Amazon and Currys

10. Russell Hobbs Steam Power Pearl Steam Generator Iron, £99

– Best for style

Russel Hobbs Steam Power Pearl Steam Generator Iron

Type: Corded steam generator iron | Weight: 0.7kg (iron) 2kg (whole system) | Power: 2600W | Reservoir Capacity: 1.3L

If your iron is out on show quite often, then you may want a good looking one. This cute pearl designed steam generator iron has a lovely design. The subtle pink is covered in a white pearl design on the handle and the cord wraps neatly to the side of the base.

The ceramic pearl-infused soleplate ensures a smooth and seamless glide that won't get caught on your clothes. It has a powerful steam unit and a large water capacity due to its base.

For a steam generator iron, it's quite light, weighing just 2kg so it shouldn't be too difficult to carry around when needed.

The iron heats up quickly too, in just 1 minute you can start ironing, great for if you're in a hurry.

Pros: Attractive, pearl infused soleplate for smooth glide, powerful steam, good capacity, lightweight, quick heat up time, affordable for a steam generator iron
Cons: Need space to store it, does not have automatic shut-off or other smart features

Available from: Very and Amazon

How did we choose our 10 of the Best?

When testing and selecting the best irons we considered steam and steam generator irons, weight, water capacity, power, steam output, affordability and intelligent features.

Our 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our independent reviews, testing undertaken during the MadeForMums Awards, and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club. Each year thousands of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.

Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don't just tell you what is best, we help you discover what is best for your family.

What's the difference between a steam iron and a steam generator iron?

The main difference between a steam iron and a steam generator iron is that with a steam iron the water tank is built into the iron, whereas with a steam generator the water tank is separate, allowing it to have a much larger capacity.

Because of this difference, it means the steam output for a steam generator is much higher than that of a steam iron.

What are the different types of irons?

We asked Lisa Williams, Executive Housekeeper at The Grand, York to tell us more about the different types of irons available and how to choose which type you should get.

Basic clothes iron – "If you're looking for something affordable this is probably for you. It's a household staple for a reason, simple to use and gets the job done. A basic clothes iron can be picked up as cheap as £20. It's effective, however, is not on par to its steam-powered competitors and will probably require a bit more elbow grease to get into the toughest creases.

Conventional steam iron – "This is a step up from the basic iron and is widely available at a slightly higher price point than a basic iron, usually around £40-£60. The difference between a basic iron and a steam one is that a steam iron comes equipped with a tank of water to let our vapour, which helps get out your creases much easier. As you're paying a bit more, you may find other useful benefits to a steam iron such as a retractable cord, but they're all different.

Vertical steam iron –"You can pick these up for quite cheap, but I'd recommend spending around £100 on a good quality one, to really get the most out of it. The vertical steam iron uses purely steam to iron out your clothes. It's an easier alternative as you don't have to apply pressure of faff around with an ironing board.

Travel iron – "These are great for on the go. They're similar to the basic clothes iron except they're way more compact and lightweight. Many hotels will offer an iron, so do check. But you're able to pick them up at around £10 so they're definitely good to have."

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Is a steam generator better than a steam iron?

Based on the differences between them, as a steam generator has a higher steam output, this does mean that they can iron our wrinkles and creases a lot quicker than a steam iron. However, there's more to it when deciding whether you want a steam generator or a steam iron as steam generators take up much more space, are heavier and also tend to be more expensive.

About our expert

Lisa Williams is the an Executive Housekeeper at The Grand, York and knows everything there is to know about laundry and cleaning.

About the author

Chloe is a Digital Reviews Writer and Coordinator for Immediate Media's Parenting team. She researches and writes articles, recommending the best products for parents, ranging from best sleep aids to best playpens. She has a First-Class Honours Psychology degree where she developed a strong interest in child development.

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