Want the best steam generator iron? Quick, simple guide!
Top 4 Picks
Firstly, a quick reference table for the top four products which are unanimously voted as some of the best on the market at the moment.
Pick 1 - The Tefal GV8461
The Tefal GV8461 is extremely popular at the moment. Having been on the market for a number of years now, the fact that it is still as popular as the day it was released is a testament to its quality. If you’ve been browsing online for irons before visiting this website, you may have noticed that it is rated as a “best seller” online and for good reason.
120g continuous steam, 260g boost and 6 bars of pressure, above industry average
Retractable cord, anti-calc collector, eco setting, lock system, autoclean soleplate
Mid priced, excellent value compared to similar priced competitors
The Tefal GV8461 should give you great performance and last for many years to come. It is one of the most powerful irons on the market with a whopping 6 bars of pressure and a 260g boost. It boasts an attractive design and a wealth of quality features which we have come to expect from Tefal
The Tefal GV8461 is an excellent quality model. At 6 bars of pressure and 120g of continuous steam, you’re looking at one of the more powerful options on the market at the moment at what is still a very affordable price in comparison to its competitors. The 260g boost is again one of the best on the market, you’re probably not going to beat this model in terms of performance for a cheaper price.
A great feature is the Autoclean soleplate, a unique feature in Tefal irons which works by turning the dirt into steam (seriously!). Not only does this feature save a lot of time if you’re regularly on the go and ironing in a hurry, but it also means it is protected against damage which may result from a build up of dirt. It means you’re not going to be left with any dirty marks on your clothes from an uncleaned soleplate.
The unit will heat up quickly within the space of 2 minutes and the 1.8l water tank means you won’t run out of water quickly (you can do ironing continuously for 3 hours without having to fill it up), but if you do you can refill your water tank continuously without having to switch it off. The anti-calc collector in the water tank means the water tank remains limescale free which is great if you live in an area of hard water.
The unit shines when it comes to safety features with an auto off function which will shut the unit off if left unattended, or if the soleplate is left face down for 30 seconds. The retractable cord and lock in base ensures that the unit can be transported easily and safely. An eco setting will also save you 20% on your electricity costs.
Ultimately the reviews on this product are generally really positive. Many of its users have applauded the design of the model, both in its aesthetic appearance and the ergonomic ease of use. Both the features and the performance of the model are a hit with reviewers who feel that the features make the process of ironing more convenient and the power makes ironing out tough creases much easier.
The only bad thing about this product that I have seen mentioned consistently in the reviews is the noise that the unit makes. Many reviewers found that the unit was noisy when in use, in particular when the boost was being utilised. I think that this is going to be unavoidable for most irons though to be honest, and shouldn’t be something you should be basing your buying decision on.
Pick 2 - Morphy Richards 330013
Morphy Richards manufacture some excellent irons and their 330013 Power Steam Elite model is no different. Again, this model is very highly rated across a number of retailers for its affordable price and its high performance specifications.
160g continuous output and 5 bars of pressure, but unfortunately no boost
Anti-scale, auto shut off, variable setting
Affordable considering the quality. Again not the cheapest.
All in all the Morphy Richards 330013 Power Steam Elite is a highly rated model which will get the job done convincingly for a good price. This model is probably the next level up from the cheapest irons on the market so if you’re looking to balance quality and price this is a good option.
Morphy Richards has been producing excellent irons now for a number of years, and the 330013 Power Steam Elite is another highly rated model. You may be familiar with its predecessor, the 42221 power steam elite which was popular for an extended period of time and also was highly rated. The 330013 Power Steam Elite is the newer version packed with excellent specs and features.
The main improvement made by Morphy Richards with this model is they boosted the bar pressure from 4.5 to 5, and while maintaining the continuous steam output of 160g, they have produced a product which is really powerful for the money you pay.
This model has a large 1.7l capacity water tank which allows for continuous refills and long periods of ironing time before a refill is required.
There also are a few safety and convenience features built in. The auto off feature means that the unit switches off automatically when left unattended to prevent burning. There is also an anti-calc cartridge free limescale management system which lights up when it recognises that your water tank needs to be descaled. The base of the unit also acts as a cord wrap around with a clip to keep everything in place for added safety when transporting it.
Most of the reviews on this model left by customers are positive, and the main benefits that they focus on are the performance of the unit. The pressure and output is comparable to some of the higher spec models on the market, but the price is definitely on the lower end of the scale. I think it would be difficult to find a better bang for your buck than this product.
As for the disadvantages of the product, many have remarked that it is large and heavy which makes it difficult to carry around. If you would consider yourself frail or unable to carry heavy objects, it might be wise to take a look at the size and weight to see whether carrying the unit will be manageable for you, but I think this is an issue you will probably have with a lot of irons due to the nature of the product. I can’t help but feel that this model doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as it’s competitors though. For example, with the Tefal model reviewed above, there is a lock in system for locking the iron onto the base unit during transportation. This would be especially handy for this model considering the reviews about the size and weight.
Another disadvantage of this model I have seen on a number of occasions is to do with the anti-calc system. One review states that the limescale management light went on to say that it needed to be descaled after just 5 uses which may be a problem, especially in areas of hard water (please see my guide on the right hand menu bar for information about the water in your area). If you do live in a hard water area, filtering the water before putting it into your water tank might be a good idea to avoid high maintenance.
There was also one user who reported that the limescale management system electronics were faulty and caused the product to stop working but this single review seems to just be a one off problem.
Pick 3 - Philips GC8643/30
The Philips GC8643/30 is one of the more “premium” ironing options on the market at the moment. You’ll tend to find that Philips cater most of their options towards the upper end of the market, and for that reason you will find that their irons are packed with impressive features.
120g continuous output, 320g boost and 6 bars of pressure are all well above the industry average
OptimalTEMP technology, T-ionic glide soleplate, carry lock, auto-off, easy de-calc, eco-mode
Towards the higher end of the price range, but not the most expensive model out there by any means
If you’re willing to pay a slightly higher price for a high quality product, then this may be the model for you. The unique features that Philips have packed into this model are not only ingenious, but they are extremely useful in a practical sense and I am convinced that they will make your ironing loads easier.
The Philips GC8643/30 is impressive in both its features and its technical specifications. This is a product that you will not pay the cheapest price for in comparison to some of the other irons I’ve reviewed on this website, but if you have the budget for a more expensive model like this one, I think it is definitely worth considering.
One of the most impressive features of this model is the OptimalTEMP technology. Developed by Philips and unique to their irons, the smart chip inside the iron will detect the fabric that is being ironed and automatically set the appropriate temperature. If you’re like me, you might get sick of checking clothing labels all of the time and then adjusting your iron to the temperature on the label, so why not buy a model which will automatically set itself at the correct temperature for you? No more worries about burning your clothes.
The product also has a durable scratch resistant soleplate which not only protects the longevity of your product, but it prevents your clothes from potentially being damaged or ripped as a result of scratches on the soleplate.
The model is packed with safety and convenience features similar to some of the other models I have reviewed such as a carry lock, auto-off and eco mode. There is also an easy de-calc process, the iron cleans itself and all you need to do is empty the de-calc outlet every 10 minutes to dispose of limescale.
The model is also very powerful on top of all of these great features, the continuous output and bar pressure measures up to some of the best irons on the market today, and the boost is also one of the most powerful on the market.
The reviews on this product are really positive in general. One of the great things to read about is the fact that the OptimalTEMP technology actually works really well. With a lot of things like this, you may be forgiven to think that it sounds gimmicky and that it might not work as well as advertised, but there are plenty of positive reviews saying that it works perfectly. Again most of the reviews with this product applaud the performance and the power that it produces.
I have not really noticed any bad reviews of this product as of yet, it is quite a new model after-all, but some of the positive reviews on the site mention that the unit is quite big and bulky. This seems to be a common theme among all irons though, and you should not allow this to put you off buying the model as you will end up with a bulky base unit either way. Another disadvantage I have seen mentioned is that the water tank is not detachable, but this is not so much a problem as you can easily fill the base unit up with a water jug.
Pick 4 - Morphy Richards 42244
The Morphy Richards 42244 is now quite old, and has now been discontinued in favour of newer models. I have included this as a pick because I have had feedback to confirm that visitors to my website are still finding this is a great option for them, mostly because of the extremely competitive price.
100g continuous output
Diamond soleplate, continuous refill, detachable water tank
Towards the lower end of the market but still very respectable in terms of performance
If you’re looking for a very low cost solution to your ironing needs, this is the product for you. It’s not going to give you the best performance, nor the most features, but if you’re stepping up from a regular steam iron to a steam generator iron for the first time or if perhaps you have no need for a super high performing model you should definitely consider this one.
The Morphy Richards 42244 is not the most comprehensive or powerful unit on the market, but the features and quality that are packed into the model are well worth the price it is available for at the moment.
The model has a diamond soleplate which is incredibly durable, protecting the longevity of your product.
It is also really easy to use, it heats up quickly within the space of 2 minutes and has a number of different settings which are designed to be optimal for different types of fabric. In terms of power, the model has a continuous output of 100g per minute which is by no means the highest on the market, but is more than acceptable for most peoples needs. The water tank on the base unit is also large and allows for a lengthy amount of ironing time. The model has an anti-calc cartridge to mitigate the build up of limescale.
Ultimately I think this model should be one of your main considerations if you are on a tight budget. The product was brought out a few years ago now so there are much newer models by Morphy Richards such as the 30013 which is my second top pick, therefore you are not getting the most up to date ironing technology, or the most powerful model, but this doesn't mean the quality of the product is not good. At the lower end of the price range you’re going to have to compromise on features and quality, and I think that this model does a great job of reaching a satisfying compromise. Many may think that they are better off going with a high spec regular iron for this price which is likely to be more affordable than a high spec model but I would disagree with that sentiment as I think that the benefits of the steam generator irons outweigh those of the regular irons.
As far as disadvantages go, a few users have stated that the iron base unit is bulky, and also that the water tank is poorly made and can crack easily when not handled with care. Again, you can’t expect the highest quality product at this price level, but I think that this model is excellent value for money and will not let you down.
The key to making ironing easy and sometimes even (dare I say it?) enjoyable is to have a steam generator iron. If you’re not familiar with the benefits, let me remind you:
Quicker to produce steam and do the ironing than traditional irons
High output can cut your ironing time in half
Irons with separate tanks hold up to four times as much water as regular irons
Less trips to the sink to refill
Water is held in a separate tank
Easier to hold and use due to lighter, less bulkier iron
High pressure steam
Steam penetrates the garments and makes ironing out stubborn wrinkles effortless
Russell Hobbs also have a really great section of their website where they describe the benefits of the steam generator iron in comparison to regular irons, and there is some great information in this yahoo answer on the topic.
Ok, so you understand WHY you want one, but now you’re looking at all of the options wondering what is the best? There are lots of different options ranging in cost from as low as £30 to as high as £300 (yikes) with an average price of around £150. With pricing, it really all comes down to features, and the more you pay, the more you get. One of your first questions in all of this is probably how much you should pay for your iron? In my view, the pricing can be split into three groups:
Low Range (up to £75)
There are a few low budget options starting from as little as £29.99 which are available but I would exercise caution when going this low with cost. Having scoured online for a decent low budget product, my advice would just be to avoid the super cheap models. The reviews tend to suggest that, while some may be able to get by with a cheaper product, the quality and performance of the product just doesn’t come close to matching their more expensive counterparts.
This price range, in my opinion, is going to give you the best bang for your buck. If the thought of spending a ton of money makes your stomach turn, but you’d still like the features and functionality of a top quality model then this is an excellent price point to aim for. In all honesty, unless you spend a ton of time ironing for a big family you don’t need a more expensive model, but it is important to note that you will DEFINITELY miss out on some of the extra functionality and features discussed in the features section below.
Your top range is the creme de la creme, the best out there. I saw a great review of one of the Philips models on amazon calling it the “Porche of steam Irons” and this is a pretty decent description of what you’re going to get with any product in this price range. At the end of the day, some things you will just benefit from paying more for, and with a top quality product where you will definitely notice the difference due to how often you will use it. A higher quality unit will work better, last longer, and could even save you money if you buy a budget option which breaks down quicker.
Worth paying extra money for the best performing product, but something available for everyone’s budget. I’m old fashioned, and when I saw that irons could cost as much as £300, I could not for the life of me understand why UNTIL I bought one.
You have a number of different options to consider when it comes to features.
Automatic Shut Off
It can it cost you a lot of money, but it could also be very dangerous to leave something turned on accidentally. We’ve all done it, so you’re not alone. I saw a cute little doormat the other day which simply said “turn your straighteners off” and thought it was a funny sentiment, but on a serious note, the automatic shut off features which some irons have are completely invaluable and will save you in this sort of situation.
Water Tank Features
Capacity is super important. As mentioned earlier in this buyers guide, one of the main benefits of these irons is that they hold more water in the external tank and need to be refilled less than a regular iron. If you go through about a million t-shirts a week ironing for your whole family like I do, the last thing you want to be doing is running back and forth to the sink to fill up your water tank. It’s also great if you can get a product which has a detachable steam generator so that you don’t need to carry the full (sometimes heavy) unit to the kitchen to refill.
Bar Pressure and Steam Output
A greater bar pressure and steam output would indicate a higher pressure of steam and more steam which basically equates to less time spent ironing and the best handling of tougher creases. Steam essentially relaxes the fabrics of the clothes you’re ironing and makes your job a whole lot easier. Do not underestimate this feature.
A high-quality soleplate is durable and glides over your clothes really easily, whereas a low-quality soleplate may get damaged easily and become scratched and uneven on the bottom which can make your job more difficult.
Limescale build up can be a big problem, but many of these irons have features built into the water tank to prevent limescale build up like filters and collecting devices.
The most important features tend to be the bar pressure and steam output. The higher these numbers are, the better the performance of the iron.
The table below includes a small summary of the main features which you will want to look for in your iron. Arranged by price from lowest at the top to highest at the bottom, we can see that generally the lower priced irons tend to lack features such as automatic shut-off and anti-drip which some may find useful.
You’ll also notice that the higher priced iron models tend to excel in areas such as steam boost, bar pressure and water capacity, the benefits of which are listed below in the features section.
As for how much steam boost and steam bar pressure etc. you need in your iron; personally, that is not something I can answer for you. All I would say is that the higher the performance in each of these areas, the easier your experience of ironing will be. If you're a student or maybe just a single person living in a flat, it might not make sense to spend £300 on an iron when the features of a more budget iron or even a non steam generator may be adequate. Likewise, if you live in a house with lots of children, you may find a life changing difference in the more expensive irons.
Should you go for expensive or cheap?
I want to make this as quick and as easy for you as possible. Should you be so inclined, on the sidebar you can see some of the in-depth reviews that I've written on some of these iron models, although that info is incredibly comprehensive and not always necessary.
I really don't want to bore you with the minute details of each steam generator, therefore just below, I've written a couple of summaries on my top 5 iron picks, including the advantages and disadvantages to going the premium or budget route, and also my top three features for each iron.
Again, I've skipped all of the boring tech specs in this section, but the best place you can find more info on all of that is either in my in-depth review of each iron or on Amazon.
Hold enough power for a family of any size and will keep time spent ironing to a minimum
Have many features such as auto turn off and anti drip that budget steam generator options don't tend to have
Are much more powerful in output and pressure bar levels
Generally will be adequate or even surpassing the needs of singles and small families
If you find that steam generator irons don't benefit you as much as you'd thought you've not invested too much
Tefal GV8461 Pro Express Autoclean (Click here for full review)
High 6 bar pressure with 260g steam boost
Iron heats up and produces steam in just 2 mins and the steam generator can be refilled without turning off for quick and continuous ironing
Ultra safe with an auto off function and a lock system which allows you to carry the iron and steam generator safely with one hand
Tefal GV9461 Protect Autoclean (Click here for full review)
High 6 bar pressure with 260g steam boost
Steam generator has a corrosion free boiler ensuring your iron lasts longer
Protective hood which ensures that your iron gets the best safety money can buy and lasts longer
Philips GC8638/20 PerfectCare Aqua (Click here for full review)
OptimalTEMP technology - no settings required, the built in smart chip works out the optimal temperature for the fabric you are ironing and sets it for you
Extend your product life by five times by simply replacing the cartridge when the indicator light flashes. You can continue using your PerfectCare Pure for up to half an hour with the old cartridge inside, but the defence feature will switch off your steam function to protect your iron from scale.
T-ionicGlide is Philips' premium soleplate design delivering a standard in glide and scratch resistance.
Morphy Richards Jet Steam 42244 (Click here for full review)
Diamond soleplate build with incredible durability and ability to last
Quick heat up - iron is ready to use in less than 2 minutes
Easy to maintain as it uses a replaceable antiscale cartridge
Philips GC7619/20 PerfectCare Pure (Click here for full review)
Compact size – 40% smaller and lighter than other steam generator irons for easy storage
OptimalTEMP technology - no settings required, the built in smart chip works out the optimal temperature for the fabric you are ironing and sets it for you
T-ionicGlide is Philips' premium soleplate design delivering a standard in glide and scratch resistance. The coating gives this iron 25 per cent better glide for effortless ironing on all fabrics.
All in all, I strongly believe that all of the above irons are great models and would be an excellent choice for almost anyone. I think the question of which iron you should choose is an important one which you shouldn't overlook and is going to largely depend on your personal circumstances.
As a busy mum, I can't tell you how many times my steam generator iron has made my life so much easier. When you come home after a long and strenuous day at work, the last thing I feel like doing is the ironing, but I chose a powerful model to ease the stress and make the ironing as enjoyable as possible.
If I was a single person who was living on my own, I may not need as much 'firepower' as I have at the moment, but I'm really happy with the choice I made in spending a lot of money, and I think if your circumstances warrant it, the more you spend the better the ironing experience you will have!