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Ironing Buying Guide

Ironing is something many of us put into the too hard basket - until that basket is full to overflowing with creased clothes. However, ironing is something that just has to be done, so use this buyer's guide to help you find an iron that will empty that basket as efficiently as possible.

Smooth & easy soleplate

The soleplate is the base of the iron, the surface that glides - well, it should glide - across the fabric you're ironing. For smooth ironing performance, look for a non-stick soleplate that is preferably scratch-resistant to ensure the iron continues to glide with ease.

A shot of steam

Your new iron should allow you to use steam to good effect. For example, an extra burst of steam to help you iron out tough wrinkles, without a squirt of water staining the fabric at the same time. Variable steam control to use on different fabrics is another desirable feature to look out for, and you can even check out vertical steam irons to manage the tough task of smoothing out curtains while they're hanging.

Drip-free for best results

Even if the soleplate glides across the fabric, the total effect can be marred by water stains. This is what happens when water leaks from inside the iron, through the soleplate, and onto the garment you're ironing. To maximise the chances of a crease-free and drip-free garment, check that the iron has drip protection.

Is it versatile?

The more fabrics an iron can handle, the better. This comes down to precise control of the soleplate temperature, from low to delicate fabrics to high for more heat-resistant fabrics, such as cotton. The more basic and cheaper models might not give you as much control over your ironing temperature, and this can cost you in the long run as the fabric is adversely affected by being ironed at the wrong temperature. Any model that allows you to make lots of temperature variations through a decent thermostat is a far better investment.

Keep it clean

A self-cleaning feature can help to eliminate scale deposits that build upon the surface of your iron. This not only protects the fabric you're ironing, but also the appliance itself.

Fussy people love a button groove

Those who are fastidious about their ironing and want to see perfect results will always insist on a button groove. This groove is located between the soleplate and the body unit of the iron, and allows the ironing surface to reach in and around buttons - this ensures a good end-result and prevents plastic buttons from melting due to prolonged contact with the soleplate.

Safety shut-off

It's not just ironing performance you should look for when selecting an iron. Auto shut-off is another important feature - ever had that nagging doubt that you've left the iron on while you're out of town? Auto shut-off alleviates that feeling. Another simple but important safety feature is a clearly visible power-on light so you, and the rest of the family, know that the iron is on and hot.

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