Banishing the creases in your clothes can be easy with the right steam iron, but knowing which one will give you the best performance is hard. Unless someone has reviewed all the best ones and given you a nice little round-up of them all that is – no need to thank us, just read on.

Steam irons are designed to fill in the gap between large, expensive steam generator irons and non-steam irons, providing an affordable but efficient iron for home use. If you don’t currently use steam while you are ironing you will be surprised how much easier it is to get rid of creases when you do and just generally how much quicker ironing is.

All the manufacturers have different ways of trying to get the same effect, which means there is a lot of variation in performance, whether that is generating enough steam or having troublesome drips falling on your clothes while you are ironing. There are also models specifically designed to work well in hard water areas, preventing limescale and extending the lifetime of the iron.

If you need an iron that packs a bit more punch, check out our guide to the best steam generator irons.

Philips GC4526/87 Azur Performer Plus – Best hard water steam iron

Philips GC4521/87 steam iron

This version of Philips’ Azur Performer Plus not only performs excellently, but it also has a great anti-calc system for preventing limescale build-up so is a great choice if you live in a hard water area.

Steam performance is good, providing 50g of steam, which can then be boosted up to 210g for dealing with the deepest creases. The ‘drip stop system” does a good job of minimising drips at the lower temperatures – which can be a particular frustration when ironing delicates.

This latest version adds another 500cm to the power cord making it 2.5m long, addressing an issue with the previous model.

Read our full Philips GC4526/87 Azur Performer Plus review.

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Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra Iron 20630 – Superb all-rounder

Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra ironIt may deliver a little less steam than the Phillips, but this model from Russell Hobbs is still a serious steam iron. 45g of continuous steam and a steam shot of 210g means it is more than enough for most jobs and with 3100W of power it heats up and is ready to use in moments.

The ceramic baseplate performs very well and includes notches in the nose so you can easily iron around buttons and a rounded base so you can move the iron in any direction without bunching up your garment.

For this level of features you might expect to pay a pretty penny for this iron, but it is pleasingly available for a mid-range price. Other features include a 3m long power cable, drip stop system, auto-off and a self-clean system.

Read our full Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra review.

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Tefal Ultimate Anti-Calc FV9630 – Another good hard water iron

Tefal FV9630 steam iron

Another steam iron with a decent anti-calc system, the Tefal FV9630 collects the limescale in a drawer at the bottom of the iron which you can then empty into the bin. In fact, there’s very little to choose from between the FV9630 and the Philips GC4521/87, they both produce the same amount of steam in regular use and on boost mode, as well as including a drip stop system for lower temperatures.

The things that set the Tefal over the Philips is the longer power cord (3m compared with 2.5m), slightly larger water tank and the ability to shoot steam when held vertically, although it is also a fair bit heavier – so if you’re after something lightweight the Philips would be a better choice.

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JML Phoenix Gold – Best for steam output

JML Phoenix Gold iron

Working differently from the average steam iron, the Phoenix Gold has a built-in steam generator and is capable of providing a non-stop stream of steam. This is great for quickly powering through a big pile of laundry, although the nature of the iron means you have to quickly switch the steam setting on and off, which you will either quickly get used to or find increasingly annoying.

The other issue is that as it shoots out so much steam you will have to regularly refill the water tank, although at least that means you know it’s performing well. It also is able to carry on producing steam when held vertically, so if ideal for steaming curtains or hanging clothes.

For pure steam output it lags behind the others on our list, but as all of it is channeled through the nose of the iron you can easily focus a huge amount of steam in one area.

Read our full Phoenix Gold Iron review.

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Morphy Richards Turbosteam Iron – Best cheap no-nonsense iron

Morphy Richards TurbosteamWhen it comes to steam output the Turbosteam can’t compete with some of the others on this list with only a paltry 35g per minute, but like the Phoenix Gold its secret is squeezing all of this output into the tip of the iron. This means as long as you are leading with the tip of the iron you shouldn’t see a lot of reduction in performance, as well as making it very easy to focus your attention on particularly stubborn creases. It also has the upside that you don’t have to constantly refill the tank as it uses less water.

Combined with a non-drip system the Turbosteam is a great balance between performance and price, currently one of the cheaper models on our list.

Read our full Morphy Richards Turbosteam iron review.

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See also: Best Ironing Boards

Best Steam Irons Summary Table

 PriceSteam output (g)Steam shot (g)Water tank (ml)WattageHard waterVertical steamingPower cord (m)
Philips Azur Performer PlusLatest price502103002600YY2.5
Russell Hobbs PowersteamLatest price452103503100NY3
Tefal Ultimate Anti-CalcLatest price502003502600YY3
JML Phoenix GoldLatest price24.5N/A3802200YY2.4
Morphy Richards TurbosteamLatest price351204002000YY1.5