We have a clothes iron buying guide to help you out if you are shopping for a unit for your home. There are tips on buying a steam iron in that guide while here, we intend to review features that are commonly found in this small appliance. Some features could be important to you while others you might be able to live without. It all depends on your situation and preferences and different people will have different needs. So, an iron that will work for one may not necessarily be the best choice for another.
Generally, the higher the wattage, the quicker and hotter the iron gets. For example, the Hamilton Beach 14210R is a 1200-watt iron and you have to allow at least 2 minutes for the iron to reach the desired temperature. On the other hand, the T Fal FV4495 Ultraglide could heat up in half the time but it is a 1725-watt unit.
Naturally, a more powerful iron also tends to be more expensive but it should give a better ironing experience overall with the higher heat output.
Soleplates should not snag or stick to the fabric. The nonstick ones could be smooth and slick when new but there is always the risk of the coating peeling as the iron goes over zippers and buttons. Polished stainless steel ones are still best for crisp results and some could be coated with platinum (like the Rowenta DW9080 Stadium), and other elements for even stronger nonstick and scratch-resistant properties.
Apart from the material, the shape of the soleplate can also differ from one model to the next. Nowadays, with better research and technology, some irons have rounded soleplate bottoms and even double tips such as the Panasonic NI-W810CS Multi-Directional iron, for minimizing wrinkles as the appliance is pushed back and forth across the fabric.