Best Steam Generator Iron
Steam generator irons are essentially super-powerful steam irons. Their power really can make light work of heavy ironing and, even if you think nothing can make ironing fun, they can certainly make it a whole lot less painful. Here is a brief guide to what you need to know about them.
Quick Jump To The List
Steam generator irons are different from clothes steamers
Although both steam generator irons and clothes steamers work on the same principle (as, indeed, do regular steam irons), they implement it very differently and that makes a big difference. Steam generator irons are intended for proper ironing. They will deal with the toughest of creases and can produce those neat creases which look so good on tailored clothing. Clothes steamers, by contrast, are intended to freshen up garments on their hangers after an iron has already done the hard work.
Steam generator irons are different from steam cleaners
Steam generator irons are intended for use on fabric which is already clean and odour-free. They may be able to remove light stains and odours from clothes, at least some of the time, but their main purpose is to remove creases not to clean.
The basics of using a steam generator iron
The basics of using a steam generator iron are essentially the same as using a regular steam iron, however, for the sake of clarity and safety, we’ll cover them quickly.
Only fill your steam generator iron to within the levels indicated
Always stay within the minimum and maximum water levels shown on the water tank. Letting your steam generator iron run dry can damage the heating element and overfilling it creates the risk of “spluttering”, which could result in scalds.
Always allow the steam generator iron time to heat up completely before use
This is really important, because using the steam generator iron before it is ready can cause it to splutter. Even if you escape scalds, you may wind up with water marks on your clothes. Most steam generator irons will have some kind of indicator light to show you when they’re ready but if not you can test your steam generator iron on a kitchen towel.
Watch your hands when you are using your steam generator iron
We’re sorry if this sounds like a “caution, this knife is sharp”, kind of point, but we felt we had to put it in. Steam is what you get when you heat water to boiling point. That’s hot. Scalds hurt. Let’s move on.
Let the steam do the work
The whole point of using a steam generator iron is to have the power of the steam do the hard work for you. Let it. Resist any temptation to try to add “elbow grease” as well. You may actually end up damaging your fabric if you do.
Empty and dry your water tank after each use
This is as much as a safety issue as an issue of taking care of your steam generator iron. It will also give you the opportunity to give it a quick clean and to see if further cleaning is required.
Taking care of your steam generator iron
We know we keep saying this, but if you have any limescale at all in your area, we strongly recommend using water which has been distilled or at least filtered, even if your steam generator iron has an anti-limescale function. You can actually make distilled water at home, which is very affordable and good for the environment. You can certainly filter water at home.
You can also buy white distilled vinegar to give your steam generator iron an occasional deep clean (or a regular one if you have serious issues with limescale). To do this, fill the water tank with white distilled vinegar instead of water, let it heat up completely and then release the steam until the tank has reached its minimum level and empty it. Refill the tank with regular distilled/filtered water and repeat the process. Then either dry the tank thoroughly and store the steam generator iron or just get on with your next batch of ironing.
Points to consider when buying a steam generator iron
Here is what we suggest you keep in mind when looking at steam generator irons.
Comfort in the hand
This may seem like an odd point to bring up first, but we think it’s really important. Even though steam generator irons can slash the amount of time you spend on ironing, you’re still going to be using them a lot, so they need to be comfortable in the hand.
Quality of the soleplate
Similar comments apply here. The soleplate doesn’t really do any actual work, but it does transport the steam across the fabric and ideally you want it to do so with minimum effort on your part and zero damage to the fabric you are steaming. One of the defining features of a good-quality steam generator iron is a good-quality soleplate.
There is a connection between wattage and power, so the higher the wattage of the steam generator iron, the more power it can be expected to have.
Pressure is measured in Bars and, similarly to the above, a higher level of pressure means more power to blast away those tough creases.
For practical purposes, the single, most important piece of information is the continuous steam pressure, which is usually measured in grams per minute. It’s also handy to know whether or not the steam generator iron supports other steam functions, such as vertical steam, steam boost and eco mode.
Ability to adjust the temperature
Hotter temperatures can help blast out tough creases on robust fabrics, but they can ruin delicate fabrics. That being so, it’s very useful to be able to adjust the temperature on a steam generator iron.
Speedy warm-up time
Admittedly you can use your steam generator iron’s warm-up time to get on with other tasks, but still, you don’t want to be waiting forever, so we’re big fans of steam generator irons which heat up quickly.
Size of the water tank
The water tank in a steam generator iron is like the battery in a phone. The bigger it is, the longer the steam generator iron can work between refills.
Obviously, the importance of these will depend on where you live, but if you’re in an area which is prone to limescale, they are definitely nice to have. If you only have light to moderate limescale then they may be all that you need. Having said that, we’d still recommend using distilled and/or filtered water. If you have heavy limescale, we’d definitely suggest a belt-and-braces approach. You might even want to give your steam generator iron extra cleaning in addition to any autoclean/anti-limescale functions.
Which is the Best Steam Generator Iron – Reviews
There are actually quite a few steam generator irons on the UK market, so we’ve done the hard work for you by creating a list of what we think are the five best. We’ve picked them on the basis of comfort and usability, features and performance and, of course, value for money.
Morphy Richards 332016 Power Steam Elite
The Morphy Richards 332016 is a real workhorse of a steam generator iron. It has 2400W of power, 6.5 Bar of pressure and a continuous steam output of no less than 200g/min, which can be boosted to a mighty 310g/min. Fortunately, it also has a very generous 2.2L water tank as producing this level of steam is thirsty work. This can be refilled during use. There is also an auto-clean function to remove limescale while you work. If you live in an area with serious limescale, however, we’d still recommend using distilled and/or filtered water.
For all its power the Morphy Richards 332016 steam generator iron is still very easy to use. The controls are nicely intuitive and we particularly like the fact that the temperature dial indicates which temperature you are likely to want to use for which fabric. We’re also impressed by the pearl, ceramic soleplate which does glide smoothly over fabrics. As a final, nice, touch, there is an auto shut-off function, which turns off the steam generator iron if it detects that it hasn’t been used for 10 minutes.
The Morphy Richards 332016 steam generator iron does support vertical steaming, so you can steam garments on hangers. To be honest though, at 4.9Kg in weight, it wouldn’t be our first choice of steam generator iron if we wanted to use this function a lot. On the other hand, if you have stronger arms than us, maybe you’d be fine with this.
- Ultimate steam power delivers crease busting steam that can penetrate multiple layers cutting your ironing time in half.
- Unique Auto-clean, hassle free limescale protection to maintain the powerful steam performance.
- The greater the steam the more water you'll need, reduce how often you refill with an extra large 2.2L tank.
- The durable pearl ceramic soleplate cuts through creases effortlessly
- Powerful steam boost (310g) an extra 'boost' of steam to help tackle stubborn creases
Morphy Richards 333020 Jet Steam Generator Iron
If all that power sounds way more than you need, then you may want to look at the Morphy Richards 333020 steam generator iron. It has 2200W of power, 4.5 bar of pressure and 100g/minute of continuous steam, with a 1L water tank. This may not sound like much, and in some ways it isn’t, but it’s a lot more power than regular steam irons and if you’re a small household it may be plenty for the ironing you do.
Even though the Morphy Richards 333020 steam generator iron has entry-level specifications, there are still some very nice touches. For example, even though the water tank is relatively small, it still has an anti-limescale system and even though there’s no steam-boost function there is a water-spray function, which has much the same effect, albeit at a lower level. As a final point, even though the soleplate is a fairly basic stainless steam, it is properly non-stick and moves cleanly over fabric.
- Durable stainless steel soleplate effectively removes creases
- 100g high level steam output to help you get through your ironing pile with ease
- Large 1L detachable water tank so you spend less time refilling
- Water spray to help you tackle those extra tough creases quickly
- Replaceable anti-scale cartridge to help prolong the life of the product power cord length: 1.8m
The Philips GC960/20 steam generator iron has 2400W of power, 6.7 bars of pressure and a continuous steam output of 135g/min, which can be boosted up to 470g/min. There is also an eco mode to reduce steam and save energy. The detachable water tank holds 1.8 litres for minimal refilling and has an effective anti-limescale system, although if you live in an area with serious limescale, we’d still recommend using distilled and/or filtered water.
While the Philips GC960/20 steam generator iron does have pretty decent specifications, its real major selling point is its sheer convenience. First of all, it’s super lightweight coming in at just 0.8Kg. It also heats up very quickly, being ready for use in just 2 minutes. The soleplate is T-ionicGlide ceramic. We’ve no idea what T-ionicGlide actually means but it does really glide over fabrics and, by contrast, if you happen to leave this steam generator iron face-down on fabric the OptimalTEMP technology will ensure the fabric is protected from burns.
That same OptimalTEMP technology also selects the best temperature for any fabric, thus eliminating the need for you to remember to change it when you change from one fabric type to another.
We’re very happy to see that the Philips GC960/20 supports vertical steaming as its light weight makes it perfect for steaming hanging garments. Even if you don’t want to use it for this purpose, however, it’s still a great choice for anyone susceptible to wrist strain.
- Ultra-fast ironing: The powerful steam output multi-layers and thicker fabrics
- Optimal temp: One temperature setting iron from jeans to silk no fabric burns guaranteed
- Easy fill and quick start: 1.8 L detachable water tank and quick 2 minute steam ready heat up time
- Easier ironing: Ultra-light iron 0.8 kg with Philips smooth gliding and scratch resistant soleplate and safe carry lock
Tefal GV7466 Express
Tefal have long been known for their range of regular irons, so it’s hardly a surprise that they’re now branching out into steam generator irons. The Tefal GV7466 Express has 2200W of power, 6.5 Bar of pressure and offers continuous steam output of 120g/min. For those stubborn creases, you can boost this to a maximum of 350g/min. Alternatively, you could use the Eco Mode to cut energy usage by up to 20%.
In addition to varying the level of steam output, you can also vary the temperature of the Durilium Autoclean soleplate. Being able to adjust the temperature allows you to give each fabric the treatment which best preserves it. Likewise, the Durilium Autoclean soleplate not only allows the steam generator iron to glide smoothly over the fabric without causing it any damage, but also helps to prevent your clean fabrics from being stained by a dirty soleplate.
The water tank is 1.7 litres in size, so it can get through a lot of work between refills and can be topped up at any time during your steaming session. It is protected from limescale by the removable scale collector. This may be sufficient for those who only live in moderately hard-water areas. If, however, you live in an area with really hard water, we would recommend using distilled or filtered water and seeing the scale collector as a Plan B.
- The powerful high-pressure steam of Express Anti-Calc penetrates fabricsto facilitate your ironing. The exclusive calc-collector makes -Calc steam...
- Time saving: 6, 5 bars of high-pressure steam
- Easy & efficient anti-calc solution: calc-collector will allow you to remove calc deposit from the boiler in an easy way and ensure a longer life to...
- Auto clean soleplate: perfect glide and long-lasting performance
- The large water tank can be filled at any time during the ironing session
Tower T22006 Steam Generator Iron
This steam generator iron has 2700W of power, along with 3 Bar pressure and 100g/min continuous steam output. Although these specifications are fairly moderate, the Tower T220066 still has what it takes to deal with tough fabrics like denim, especially if you can get rid of some of the post-wash creases before you start to iron them. The adjustable thermostat means it can have a gentle touch too, which is good news for people who like to wear delicate fabrics such as satin and silk. As an added bonus, the soleplate is ceramic, which helps to make it glide more easily.
There is a 1.5L water tank which allows the Tower T220066 to keep on going with minimal need for refills. What’s more, there is a range of different steaming options for different tasks. Possibly the most useful is vertical steam, which allows you to steam clothes on a hanger.
- Rapidly remove tough creases with a powerful 2700 W, three bar pressure and 100 g per minute steam output
- Durable non-stick ceramic soleplate for a smoother and easier glide
- Extra-large removable 1.5 Litre tank minimises the need for regular refills
- Vertical steam function ideal for upholstery, curtains and hanging clothes
- Adjustable thermostat allows for precise temperature control
Which is the best steam generator iron – conclusion
If you’re looking simply at headline specifications then the Morphy Richards 332016 is the clear winner, but its massive power may be more than you need. For smaller households, the Morphy Richards 333020 or the Tower T220066 may be perfectly sufficient. For medium-sized household, either the Tefal GV7466 Express or the Philips GC960/20 or the could be good options. The Tefal GV7466 Express would be best for households on the smaller side of medium and the Philips GC960/20 would be best for larger ones.