Canstar Blue’s clothes iron review has seen Tefal, Sunbeam, Philips, Kambrook, Big W and Kmart compared on their effectiveness, design, durability, ease of use, features, weight & size, value for money and overall customer satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
When it comes to the list of chores that people generally don’t want to do, doing the ironing is right up there. While not the most exhausting job around the home, it can be time-consuming, particularly if you have to iron other people’s clothes as well! Add in an iron that doesn’t work properly and it can quickly leave you feeling a little hot under the collar! Finding a good clothes iron can be equally frustrating, as shoppers have no shortage of brands and models to choose from. While they’ll all promise to take care of any creases and wrinkles you have, finding one that best fits your ironing workload, preferences and budget is not easy. But when you do, you’ll be able to ‘let off some steam’ (sorry, more ironing puns to come).
To help you find the best clothes iron for you, Canstar Blue produces an annual review, asking hundreds of Australian consumers to tell us about their experiences with the iron they own and use. The idea is to give you a high-level guide to the best-rated brands before you head to the appliance store. So, let’s iron out the results and see which brand has won this year.
While six major brands received the minimum sample size to be included in this year’s review, only one scored five stars for overall customer satisfaction – Tefal. In fact, Tefal almost achieved a clean sweep of five-star results, having also earned top marks for effectiveness, design, durability, features, ease of use, and weight & size. It got a respectable four-star review on value for money.
The six brands included in our latest clothes irons review were rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
Sunbeam and last year’s winner, Philips, scored four stars for overall satisfaction, while Kambrook, Big W and Kmart were left with three stars apiece. However, Sunbeam, Kambrook and Kmart each achieved a five-star rating in at least one category, giving shoppers plenty to think about. Now let’s get a glimpse of what each brand offers before we dive into what to consider when buying a new clothes iron.
A well-known household brand, Tefal offers a wide variety of clothes irons, including cordless models and models suitable for dry-cleaning businesses. Tefal’s irons are available for purchase at homeware and electronics stores, as well as online, with Tefal providing a list of retailers on its website.
Tefal’s introductory model – the Comfort Glide – comes with a Durilium soleplate for easy cleaning, along with a vertical steam function and anti-drip design for easier use. Other models include the UltraGliss range, which includes features such as an auto shut-off function for additional safety and a comfort handle for those long ironing sessions in front of the TV.
Tefal’s cordless model – the Freemove – includes a charging base, as well as an easy fill water system and integrated anti-drip system to ensure you’re not left with a mess. The Freemove can operate for up to 20 seconds off the base, and charges in just four seconds, making it a handy option for those prone to getting caught up in the cord.
Tefal’s Professional range primarily comes in the form of its ‘Turbo’ models, with 2400W of power to take care of tough creases. Including a Durilium ‘AirGlide Autoclean’ soleplate for maximum steam distribution and easy cleaning, the Turbo range additionally includes multiple steam modes, plus a comfort handle for when you have plenty of shirts to iron.
Tefal’s clothes iron range includes:
Tefal was rated five stars for overall satisfaction and all other categories except value for money where it got four stars.
A staple in the small appliance market, Sunbeam offers one of the more affordable clothes iron ranges, generally priced between $40 and $150 at all major electronics and homeware stores. Sunbeam’s range primarily focuses on the ProSteam and Verve models, with a number of others additionally available for purchase.
The ProSteam range includes the Glide, Auto Off, Power, Swift and Travel models, each available with either a 12 or 24-month warranty. The Glide model weighs in at only 1.37kg thanks to its aluminium soleplate – apparently making it easy to manoeuvre, while the other ProSteam models come with either ceramic or EasyGlide plates. Sunbeam also has a travel clothes iron for those who need to look good on the go, weighing in at under 1kg and able to be packed away in your luggage.
The Verve range similarly offers plenty of models to pick from, each with Sunbeam’s patented dual steam chambers to optimise the steam pressure for a smoother iron. Features such as a drip stop, fine mist spray and cord storage are available on all Verve models, with the more expensive MaxGlide and Extreme Steam stepping it up through a Resilium soleplate, as well as safety auto-off and cord storage clips for easier use.
Sunbeam’s clothes iron range features:
Scoring fairly consistently across the board, Sunbeam was rated four stars in all areas except weight & size where it received an outstanding five-star review.
Dutch electronics company Philips offers a number of stylish-looking clothes irons for Aussie shoppers to choose from, regardless of how big your budget is. Starting from just $50 is the ‘EasySpeed’ range, which includes features such as a non-stick plate and 2.5m cord, making it a handy option for those not looking for the top of the line.
If you’re after something with a bit more to it, Philips has the ‘PowerLife’ range, which includes auto safety off, a larger water tank capacity and extra stability in the heel rest. This range offers 2400W of power to iron out tough creases.
The top of the line PerfectCare range, meanwhile, will set you back close to $200 depending on which retailer you visit, but comes with features such as a larger steam boost for stubborn wrinkles, as well as a drip stop and built-in cleaning slider. One step up, you’ll find the Philips PerfectCare Elite Plus range, which features steam generating irons claimed to iron clothes with no temperature settings – simply using the power of steam. However, these cost anywhere from $350 all the way up to $700, depending on the model.
Philips’ clothes iron line-up includes:
Philips rated four stars in almost every category, including overall satisfaction. It got a three-star rating for value for money.
One of the most affordable ranges available, Kambrook’s clothes irons can generally be bought for less than $50, depending on your local retailer of choice. The range begins with the SpeedSteam iron which includes 2000W output, as well as a non-stick soleplate and anti-drip system.
Other models include the Steamline model, which bumps up the power to 2400W, and includes a bigger water tank, as well as self-cleaning functionality. With its removable 180ml water tank, the Detach model is even easier to fill up at the tap without the need for a cup. Other features include variable temperature and steam controls, plus a safety auto-off function.
Another Steamline model from the brand is the Steamline Auto Advance Steam Iron, which comes with a 360ml water tank. Expect a fine mist spray and an anti-drip system. It also comes equipped with a self-clean function for easy maintenance.
Kambrook’s clothes iron range includes:
In this year’s review, Kambrook saw a bit of a mixed bag with three stars for overall satisfaction, design, durability, ease of use and features, four stars for effectiveness and value for money, plus five stars for weight & size.
Big W aims to fill your home with all the essentials you need when you’re on a tight budget. It features just one clothes iron at the time of writing. The Big W Brilliant Basics Steam Iron will only set you back $12, meaning if you’re strapped for cash, or aren’t fussed about all the bells and whistles, then it may be the ironing option for you.
Including features such as a soft touch handle, temperature control dial, and non-stick soleplate, the Brilliant Basics iron packs 2000W of power, which means it should be able to handle plenty of wrinkled clothes and fabrics. Additionally, it comes with a water spray function, self-clean function, and a steam boost function.
While rated three stars on effectiveness, durability and overall satisfaction, Big W got four stars in all remaining categories, including design, features, weight & size, ease of use and value for money.
Providing another low-price option for shoppers to choose from, Kmart offers a number of irons for less than $45, with the cheapest model setting you back just $7.50! It also offers a hand held steam cleaner and a full-sized garment steamer for all your ironing needs.
Kmart’s cheapest clothes iron still includes a non-stick soleplate with a self-cleaning function, plus a perfectly reasonable 2000W of power behind it. One step up comes the $15 steam iron, which has an automatic shut-off function for safety and a bit of extra power at 2200W.
The more expensive 2400W Digital Steam Iron includes additional features such as LCD display, anti-drip and auto shut-off for ease of use. Expect a ceramic soleplate and self-cleaning functionality. The most expensive unit is the 2400W Cordless Steam Iron, allowing you to iron without being restricted by any cords. Its recharge time is approximately 10 seconds.
Kmart’s clothes iron line-up features:
Rated three stars in the majority of categories, including effectiveness, design, durability, features and overall satisfaction, Kmart scored four stars for ease of use and weight/size, plus five stars for value for money.
Aside from the brands that received a minimum sample size to be included in this year’s ratings, there are plenty of others that may be worthy of your consideration:
With two models, ALDI Stirling offers the LCD Steam Iron, as well as the Steam Station Iron for shoppers to pick up at specific Special Buys events. The LCD model is a more traditional-looking iron, including a double ceramic coated soleplate, along with a 3m cord and LCD electronic display, with steam and temperature control, making ironing feel a bit more hi-tech.
The Steam Station is a bit more of a ‘unit’ than the LCD, including a removable 1.7L water tank, making it ideal for those who have plenty of clothes to get through. With an adjustable steam rate and cord storage, the Steam Station additionally offers 2400W of power, helping to make light work of those tough wrinkles.
Primarily known for its beauty and personal hygiene range, German manufacturer Braun has a number of steam irons available, priced between $100 and $200 depending on which model you decide to take home. Braun’s range is primarily split between the TexStyle 5 and TexStyle 7, each with several different models in the line.
The more affordable option, the TexStyle 5 range, includes features such as a scratch-resistant soleplate, ergonomic handle for increased comfort, as well as 2000W of power output. The TexStyle 7 range bumps up the steam intensity and power output, as well as including features such as auto-off for increased safety, with the TexStyle 7 Pro model including a Precision Zone for those tricky areas.
If you’re after something serious, Braun additionally offers the TexStyle 9 model, which includes a curved ‘FreeGlide’ soleplate, allowing for easy ironing arounds pockets, buttons, and other bumps. In addition to the scratch-resistant plate, the TexStyle 9 also includes the auto-off and anti-drip functions, with multiple steaming options to suit a variety of fabric types.
Russell Hobbs provides a number of models, including the Easy Store, Rapid, Smooth IQ, and Impact lines, all of which are available from local electronics and homeware retailers. The Rapid is Russell Hobbs’ introductory model, including features such as a non-stick ceramic soleplate and a 3m cord, along with self-cleaning functionality.
The Smooth IQ kicks it up a notch, offering a 3-way auto shut-off function, along with a longer cord and larger water tank for those big ironing sessions. The Smooth IQ additionally comes in a ‘Pro Iron’ and ‘Plus Iron’ model, with each featuring a tourmaline-infused soleplate for a smoother glide, while also including softening agents to cut down on friction.
If the top of the line is more your style, the Impact iron includes a protective over-mould for longer lasting performance, with variable steaming options for tough fabrics. Also boasting enough durability for a 1.2m drop, Russell Hobbs might be worth checking out if you have a house full of butter-fingers.
Priced under $20, Target’s range of clothes irons may be a suitable option for those not looking to spend big, or who just don’t need anything fancy when it comes to doing the chores. It also offers a full-sized garment steamer for $49 RRP* as well as a handheld version for $39 RRP*.
The Target Steam Iron will cost you $12 RRP*, and includes a non-stick soleplate, a measuring water cup, as well as a self-cleaning function and variable temperature controls, meaning if you only need to iron the occasional shirt, it could be well worth it. Target’s other iron will set you back $19 RRP*. It includes additional features such as anti-calc cleaning system, as well as a ceramic soleplate for ease of use.
When it comes to buying a clothes iron, there are a few factors you might like to consider before jumping into a purchase. These include:
But before we unpack these factors in detail, here’s what our survey revealed:
Ultimately, you’ll want your clothes iron to remove creases from clothes, but if it doesn’t have enough heating power, you may be stuck ironing the same shirt for 10 minutes. The effectiveness of an iron also depends on the soleplate material. Although you may find that a non-stick soleplate is easier to maintain and clean compared with a stainless-steel soleplate, it’s important to not scratch it as this will decrease its effectiveness. Polished stainless steel, however, may also scratch and stain over time, making the iron drag.
Another element of the soleplate is the anti-drip properties. These types of system can help to reduce water marks while still providing the powerful shots of steam necessary to remove wrinkles. The button groove between the iron body and the soleplate is also important to help with the ‘glideability’ around buttons and is a fairly standard design element across all brands.
Durability will depend on the material build of the clothes iron construction, as well as the soleplate. Most irons use plastic for the construction and non-stick soleplates. A non-stick soleplate is certainly a must for easier cleaning on starch build-up. However, any regularly cleaned soleplate should glide just as easily. Higher priced models provide further technology to increase scratch resistance. A self-cleaning system aims to help remove mineral deposits from vents and maintain the longevity of the iron.
There are several key features to look out for including an auto-shut off system that cuts off power if the iron is left unattended or tipped over. You may also find this feature to be a useful energy saving tool. If you tend to iron large batches, then an iron with a large water tank is necessary so that you don’t have to refill the iron too regularly.
Other features that you may find useful include a power-on light so that you know when the soleplate is hot and a thermostat as it allows for precision control on a variety of fabrics. Additionally, a transparent reservoir helps to see how much water is remaining while a removable water tank design, allows you to refill without spilling. You may also like to consider an iron with a wraparound cord storage that clips in securely for convenience. There are also cordless irons that allow you to iron in any direction with ease but the downfall is that some struggle to maintain consistent heat before needing to recharge.
Lightweight designs allow an iron to move easily, but may require more pressure when ironing. On the other hand, a heavier iron uses less downward pressure but may not be as easily movable. Many brands boast light clothes irons, with an average iron coming in between 1 – 3kg. Opting for a lightweight model may be a consideration if you have younger children helping out with the clothes ironing chore. You may also like to look at the design of the handle and see whether it is the right fit for you, as well as if the controls are easy to see.
Ultimately, it will be your budget that goes a long way to determining your final decision on which iron to go with. What influences the cost of an iron is the wattage power that allows for a fast heat up time and maintains the temperature, plus the material build and extra features. The Australian adults we surveyed spent an average of about $63 on their clothes irons. Whether you want a standard clothes iron for occasional use or would like to invest in a high-tech iron to reduce the time you spend ironing, there are plenty of options around. As noted above, you could pick up a cheap iron for less than $10!
You would be forgiven for not giving much thought to which brand and model of clothes iron you pick up at the store, but you may be left working a lot harder on your shirts if you get the wrong one. With plenty of features such as temperature controls, water tank capacity and self-cleaning functions all available on select models, there’s certainly plenty to consider.
While Tefal was rated best for overall customer satisfaction, there were other brands that also took out top marks in different areas. So, depending on what you’re after, it’s important to do your research, to purchase the right iron for you.
Considering that one in 10 (10%) survey respondents said they are often frustrated with the performance of their iron, and 32% iron clothes for other people in their household, having the right iron can not only save you time, but plenty of effort as well. With that in mind, we hope you find our clothes iron ratings helpful!
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Content Lead, Megan Birot. She’s an expert on household appliances, health & beauty products, as well as all things grocery and shopping. When she’s not writing up our research-based ratings reports, Megan spends her time helping consumers make better purchase decisions, whether it’s at the supermarket, other retailers, or online, highlighting the best deals and flagging anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: Africa Studio/shutterstock.com, Wstockstudio/shutterstock.com, Igor Kardasov/shutterstock.com
Our latest customer satisfaction research on clothes irons saw a number of brands rated best in different areas:
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and used a clothes iron in the last 2 years (this includes irons and garment steamers) – in this case, 639 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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