Steam irons are great if you have smaller loads, or if you are an ‘iron as you go’ kind of ironer. The impact of an irons steaming power depends on how well it can generate and manage heat - and this is largely determined through its engineering, design and wattage. Normally, the higher the wattage, the greater the heat generated.
Steam generator irons
Steam generator irons produce a higher volume of steam making them more effective at crease removal. Because the steam is produced by a separate generator the iron element of the appliance is lighter and easier to use than conventional steam irons. These devices are invaluable for anyone who processes a lot of laundry, cutting ironing time in half as the higher steam pressure generated means both sides of garments are ironed at the same time.
Vertical steam: Vertical steam allows you to use the iron very much like a steamer, this is useful for removing creases from hanging garments such as suits and dresses, especially those made from delicate fabrics, or for ironing hanging curtains. Ensure you hold the iron a few centimetres from the garment in order to avoid burning.
Variable steam: Some irons have an integral steam control system which constantly regulates steam output to the ideal level, automatically adjusting steam generation to most fabrics.
Burst of steam: A steam-burst feature provides additional, instantaneous power on demand, smoothing out difficult creases or for creating sharp creases on trousers. Such a surge (or 'boost') of steam is expressed in grams per minute, and tend to range from 20g per minute to up to about 70g/min in steam irons, increasing to up to 150g per minute on steam generators.
Continuous steam output: A continuous steam facility makes ironing easier and more effective owing to the continuous impact it makes on 'taming' textile fibres.
Different Types of Soleplates
Aluminium: Good conductor of heat, but scratches easily and can be hard to clean
Non-stick: Glides better, although still prone to scratches
Stainless steel: Good movement and hard-wearing
Palladium: Moves across fabric better than aluminium, but scratches easily
Ceramic: Smooth action, easy to clean and durable