hotukdeals' Guide to the Best Iron deals and Cheap Ironing Boards
Clothes irons are a modern essential. Easy to overlook, but an instrumental part of most lifestyles, these everyday devices keep our work clothes and school uniforms in perfect condition, render bedding fit for guest rooms, and allow us to look our best, whatever the occasion. But how can you find an iron that meets your needs?
The world of irons isn't monolithic, and buyers will have a few choices to make if they want to find a model that gets the best results. If your old model is letting you down, and you want to upgrade your laundry to the next level, read on. This hotukdeals buyer's guide will help iron buyers find the best iron deals and cheap ironing boards, so read on!
A Brief History of the Iron
Where would we be without the iron? It's not something most of us think about much, but these home appliances have changed the way we live as much as television or electric lighting.
In the past, people still aspired to remove creases and make their shirts or dresses look as attractive as possible. But they didn't have the luxury of electricity or artificially generated steam. To press their clothes required manual pressure, applied via specially heated iron blocks (hence the word “iron”), and burns were a common hazard. When mechanical irons entered the picture, a huge weight was lifted from those who iron. Now, the same or better results could be achieved without backbreaking effort and risky techniques.
The first hand iron was invented in 1882 by an American named Henry Seeley. But Seeley didn't capitalise on his innovation, and in any case, engineers struggled for decades to achieve a reliable way to heat iron sole plates. By the 1920s, this had more or less been achieved, and New Yorkers began buying electric steam iron models in large numbers. By the post-war era, brands like Bosch and Morphy Richards were selling home irons in their millions, and today you'll struggle to find a home without one.
What Should I Look for When Buying an Iron?
When you browse the hotukdeals irons listings, there's definitely a risk of information overload. Iron makers and retailers tend to include a range of details with their product listings, and choosing the perfect option can be tricky. So here are some criteria to keep at the front of your mind as you explore the cheap irons available to buy.
Cord Length – Longer cords are always handy for roaming around ironing boards, and generally having as much freedom as possible.
Weight – If you're tackling a large pile of shirts, the last thing you want is to give up due to fatigue after 10 minutes of ironing. Good irons balance power and functionality with lightweight construction, making them easy to use for long periods.
Steam Output – For steam irons, this is an important measure. Usually expressed in g/minute (grams per minute), it dictates how powerful your steam iron will be. Anything from 45-60g/minute is a good standard. Below that, and you may feel that your iron is a tiny bit underpowered, requiring more pass-overs to get the same results.
Power – Irons don't need to be power hogs to achieve impressive results. In fact, the best keep wattage to a minimum – relative to their pressing ability. Underpowered models are often less effective, it's true, but don't assume a 4,000W beast will be better. Anything between 2,400 and 3,000W will usually be fine.
Tank Capacity – If you're choosing a steam iron, this is key. Generally speaking, the larger the tank, the better, so long is it doesn't a) result in a huge weight gain or b) make the iron unbalanced and hard to use. Look for models with 250-350ml capacities, or less for travel irons where lighter workloads are to be expected.
Sole Plate – The sole plate is probably an iron's most important component. After all, it's where the magic happens, delivering heat and steam to garments and pressing them into shape. Ideally. Plates should be scratch resistant and made from durable stainless steel. However, you may also see versions with non-stick ceramic sole plates, which supposedly provide a smoother “glide”.
Heating Time – Good irons manage to be both powerful and quick to use. If you can, inquire about how long it takes for your preferred model to reach 100% heat. Anything over 5 minutes is too long, and many models are much quicker than that. You'll appreciate the extra speed when you are in a hurry and need to lick a work shirt into shape.
Smart Functionality – Modern irons can often be connected to “smart home” systems like Hive or Amazon Echo, enabling users to turn them off remotely. That can be a handy feature for people who are worried about accidentally leaving their iron on full power, or who want to heat it up from the comfort of their bed.
Extra Features – These core attributes are usually accompanied by other features that will appeal to some buyers. For instance, top of the line irons come with extra limescale resistance (handy in areas with hard water). Most will come with a “steam shot” feature as well, which injects a dose of super-heated steam when required.
Different Types of Iron
If you keep those buying factors in mind, you'll be half-way to finding the right iron at the right price. But buyers will also need to decide which style of iron to go for, and there's a surprisingly diverse range of choices to assess. Firstly, there are two types of steam-based irons to be found at hotukdeals:
Standard Steam Irons – Steam irons use water tanks attached to the iron to create a steady supply of heated steam, which is piped through the sole plate directly onto clothing below. The combination of heat and steam suffuses the fabrics being ironed, relaxing them and making them easier to press. The downside is that water containers have to be replenished regularly, which can be inconvenient for some people. Then again, if you have relatively small ironing loads and want great results, these irons will be ideal.
Steam Generating Irons – Steam generating irons are more expensive than standard varieties. As the name suggests, they are capable of creating far more steam via larger water tanks, which are contained in separate units of what is known as an “ironing centre.” The actual iron can be detached from this centre, and tends to weigh less than standard steam iron models as a result. At the same time, steam generating irons tend to create twice as much steam, and you'll notice the difference when tackling hard-to-press jackets or trousers. The extra steam is a bonus, but comes with financial costs, while the extra size of the ironing centre can be an issue for some people. Still, if you know, you'll be working through mountains of clothing, and you value sheer precision when ironing, a steam generating model is essential. Look out for pressurised and non-pressurised varieties. Pressurised models deliver steam at pressures of up to 5 bar, and are more potent than non-pressurised options.
Why would you choose a steam generator over a standard steam version? Well, steam generators don't just reach deeper into fabrics, they are also more adaptable. With standard irons, steam is created continuously (which is also pretty inefficient from an energy perspective). With steam generators, users can flick a switch to apply steam wherever and whenever they want.
Does this mean that all standard irons are worse than steam generators? Not necessarily. While steam generators will generally be superior, and pricier, some budget versions can under-perform good standard steam models. So don't be fooled, and find a product with excellent customer feedback. Don't just shop based on cost alone.
Finding unbiased opinions about which steam iron to buy isn't always easy, but there are some places to find a reliable steam iron review. Expert Reviews tends to offer unbiased views on the latest models, covering cheap irons and deluxe models. And Which? is always a useful resource, no matter what appliances you need to buy.
On the other hand, do you even need to go down the steam route? If you want fast, affordable irons for undemanding tasks, other varieties are on offer:
Electric/Dry Irons – Not too long ago, dry irons were dominant, and steam irons seen as a luxury. Nowadays, these older versions are less common, but still have a few fans here and there. Instead of steam, these irons rely on electricity to heat sole plates. There are no perforations in the plate as with steam varieties. Instead, the plate is generally flat, which can make these models easier to glide over clothing. And they can be better when ironing items with hems and intricate stitching, which can sometimes become caught in sole plate holes. There won't be the option to disperse steam onto the surface of fabrics, but users can use standalone misters to achieve the same results. So, even if you use a bog standard dry iron, you can get good results. However, there's no doubt that these irons are inferior to steam varieties in almost every respect, with one major exception: price. If you want a bargain iron for everyday tasks, going “dry” could well fit the bill.
Presses – Don't forget bespoke trouser presses as well. Not everyone will get great value from a press, but suit-wearers often will. Models from respected brands like Corby can be had for under £150, and have room to accommodate jackets, trousers, and shirts – all without risking accidental tears, scorches, or creases that weren't part of the plan.
Travel Irons – Finally, you'll find a variety of travel irons at the hotukdeals listings. These are usually electric models (rarely steam), that are designed to be small enough to pack in luggage, but still effective for preparing shirts or blouses for travel-related activities. Choose a model with fast heating (15 seconds is good), dual voltages, and the ability to use tap water, if you opt for a steam model.
Introducing Some of the Leading Iron Brands
Before you take a look at current ironing offers, it also helps to get an idea of what the world's leading brands have to offer, as the big players all have their own strengths and weaknesses. Here are some names that crop up again and again on the hotukdeals listings:
Tefal – Tefal irons are known for their widespread use of ceramic sole plates, which delivers even steam levels across the whole of the surface area. Popular options include the Pro Express steam generator model, the anti-scale equipped Turbo Pro, and the smooth Ultraglide. And check out the brand's range of hand presses – a really useful option for business travellers.
Philips – Philips irons are prized for their speed and reliability. There are few frills here, just an efficiently designed collection of steam and steam generating irons, with options for small tasks, epic ironing binges, and travel as well.
Rowenta – Famous for its steam models with thousands of perforations on the sole plate, Rowenta is an elite brand for people who are serious about professional results. Benefiting from German engineering prowess, they are some of the most durable around, and also tend to score well on energy efficiency.
Bosch – Another big name German brand, Bosch specialises in manufacturing compact steam models that manage to deliver plenty of power, in small, conveniently sized packages. Palladium sole plates deliver smoothness, while steam shot functions allow users to direct heat where it matters the most.
Hoover – Kitted out with high-quality ceramic plates, easy-to-use handles, Hoover irons are comfortable to handle, precise, and powerful enough to refresh any garments. They aren't too expensive, either, offering a reliable option for those on a budget.
Which Iron is Better Steam or Dry?
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of how steam and dry iron models differ, but it's important to know the difference, so it's worth reiterating some of the core differences.
Steam versions use water tanks that are attached to the iron. When this water is heated, it can be passed through the iron's sole plate as steam, which infuses with the fabrics being ironed, and softens them – making it easier to iron out any creases that may have developed. As we saw earlier, steam versions can deliver greater or lesser amounts of steam, and may have extra features like sprays or “steam shots” to provide precise crease removal.
Dry iron models don't incorporate steam. Instead, they rely solely on a heated plate to impart heat to fabrics, which softens them and prepares them for crease removal via the application of pressure.
As should be obvious, steam models are quicker to use and require less effort, because the iron does most of the work. If they are well designed, they prepare fabrics to be physically pressed, and cut down the user's workload considerably.
Most people will see steam versions as superior for that reason. But remember: water tanks need to be topped up, which can be inconvenient. And poorly made steam iron models can cause additional problems. For example, if they leak droplets of water instead of a fine mist, this can make them much less efficient, and can even lead to scorching of fragile fabrics.
Dry iron models will typically be the cheapest available, which is another thing in their favour. So don't discount them entirely. If your demands aren't that exacting, and you prize convenience and price above quality, they might do the job just fine.
Bosch Irons: How Do I Refill My Steam Iron With Water?
How to Choose a Good Ironing Board
Before we end, it's important to say a word for the good old ironing board. Having a suitable surface for ironing is just as essential as having an efficient iron – perhaps more so in some situations. After all, who wants to risk their wooden table tops with super-heated irons? So what makes a good ironing board?
Several factors come into play when making a selection. Firstly, good ironing boards have to be easily adaptable when it comes to height. Too many are cumbersome and physically difficult to customise. Good ones have simple settings for height that smoothly slot into place.
Secondly, size matters. Not everyone needs an 18-inch wide board, but these whoppers will be useful for people who iron large garments like jackets and shirts regularly. Just remember, large boards need to be stored when not in use, and in smaller homes, this can be a little problematic.
Thirdly, choose a board with thick, well-insulated padding. Poor boards come with 4mm padding that will wear away in a year or two. Good designs double that thickness, and use materials that are built to last. Picking a specifically non-stick cover also makes sense, as it will result in a far smoother ironing experience.
Finally, it's best to choose a board with an iron holder appended onto the end. This handy accessory provides a place to rest your iron when not in use, and safely tucks away heated elements so that you are unlikely to burn yourself accidentally. Without it, you'll constantly be struggling to juggle garments and your iron.
How and When to Purchase a New Iron
Now that you've chosen between deluxe steam generating models and budget dry irons, it's time to make a purchase. But don't just follow the crowd down to Argos or Amazon to pick the first product you see. Instead, zero in on precisely the right model from the brands we've discussed, and find ways to purchase it for a bargain price.
hotukdeals offers the ideal way to do so. Our iron listings feature all of the UK's favourite home equipment brands, including Hoover, Rowenta, and Tefal. And we also provide the latest deals from major retailers like Argos, Tesco, AO.com, Amazon, and John Lewis. It couldn't be easier to scroll down current listings and cross-reference various product descriptions to find models with the right capacity, power rating, weight, or cord length. So have a look around and make a selection that meets your requirements.
If you're aiming for a high-end device and want to make even bigger savings, it could also be worth waiting for Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday, which falls just before Christmas. Both see plenty of iron deals, as well as ironing board discounts. So timing your purchase can be a great money-saving tactic.
Make Buying Appliances Smoother than Ever at the hotukdeals Iron Listings
If your iron has given up the ghost and you feel the need to upgrade, now is a great time to do so. There are some incredible irons on the market at the moment, offering professional-quality cleaning capabilities for home use – and often at very affordable prices. Whether you want a travel iron or a deluxe steam generating model, you'll find what you need at the hotukdeals iron listings.