Below we have listed the pros and cons of each. Both have their unique selling propositions and cater to different markets. You just need to decide which suits your needs better rather than buying based solely on the price factor.
Cheap vs Expensive Steam Irons Debate
Cheap Irons : Pros
- Price – This is the obvious reason why people would pick a Black & Decker over a Rowenta iron. If you are paying less than $20 for the former but over $100 for the latter, you can get up to 6 Black & Decker irons for a single Rowenta model. Even if the cheap irons only last you a year, you can easily replace it due to the low cost. But would the expensive irons last you 5 to 6 years? This is the risk that many people are not willing to take.
- Lightweight – Cheap irons tend to be lightweight. Light is not necessarily good to get rid of wrinkles but some people prefer it because it doesn’t take as much effort to push it. It depends on how fussy you are in terms of getting wrinkles out and setting in lines in the right spots. For a cheap and lightweight iron, the Black & Decker F210 weighs less than 2 lbs out of the box.
- Simple to use – Cheap means the iron tends to be a no-frills model. One look at the iron and you will know how to use it because the features are basic.
Cheap Irons : Cons
- Insufficient steam – This would be a common complaint for cheap models. The steam output is not adequate to give good results. On the other hand, an expensive steam generator iron like the Rowenta Pro Precision Station can pump out continuous steam up to 3 to 4 times more than a regular iron.
- Too lightweight – This could be a plus for some users but generally, you need some weight to an iron to smooth out wrinkles and creases. Otherwise, you will need to exert pressure to press down on the iron to do the job. This means your chore will be tiring, especially if you have many clothes to go through in one sitting.
- Lower soleplate quality – The extent to which an iron’s soleplate is smooth, hot and scratch-resistant depends on the material and the process used to make it. For cheap irons, the soleplate tends to be less durable with lesser heat generated. The glide may also not be as smooth as the more expensive models.
- More time spent – When all these disadvantages are added together, it just means that you will have to spend more time and possibly, effort, to get rid of wrinkles on your clothes with a cheap iron.
Expensive Irons : Pros
- Cuts down on ironing time – The expensive steam irons will tend to have plenty of steam output with a hot soleplate. This is what makes ironing easier to do as the wrinkles dissolve with the steam and heat. So, you can finish each piece of clothing faster and this will cut down on your ironing time overall.
- Makes the chore more enjoyable – Ironing is already a dreaded task for most of us. You can choose to make it worse with a cheap iron that doesn’t seem to be very effective in getting the job done or an expensive model that can get rid of wrinkles fast. In other words, an iron plus a good ironing board can make the chore less frustrating as the job can be accomplished faster and smoother with better equipment.
- More features – Energy saving, more steam holes and steam optimization are some of the features that are not available on cheap irons. The Oliso Smart Iron even has iTouch technology that doesn’t require you to lift the iron to place it vertically while you re-arrange your clothes on the ironing board. While such features are not a necessity, they are there to make the process of ironing more effective, convenient and time-saving.
- Large water tank – This applies more to the steam iron generator whereby there is a large water tank to supply steam while you are ironing. This means you don’t have to always refill your iron if you have a big pile of clothes to go through.
Expensive Irons : Cons
- Price – If price is an advantage for the cheap models, then naturally, the high cost is a drawback for high end units. To fork out $100 or more for a clothes iron does seem like an overkill for a simple and small household appliance.
- Risk of defects – Complaints are aplenty for steam irons on both ends of the scale. Somehow, once water is added into the equation, the risk of failure is high. Rusts, clogged ups, leaks and spits are common issues. If you buy the cheap steam irons and they become defective after a while, you won’t mind replacing them. But if you have spent a ton of money on an expensive model and it doesn’t last long, then it may not seem like a worthwhile investment.
- Heavy – The high end models tend to be on the heavy side. The Rowenta DW9280 Steam Force Iron weighs about 4 lbs. When you try out the feel and weight of the iron at the store, don’t forget you also need to add water into the tank which will make it much heavier. Although having a certain amount of weight to an iron is good as mentioned earlier, be mindful that it can tiring for the arm.
Is An Expensive Iron Really Necessary?
So, after going though the pros and cons of cheap vs expensive steam irons, is a high end model really necessary? The answer is obviously no. It depends on your ironing load and your fussiness on the results. If you have a big pile of clothes to iron every week, then it makes sense to spend the money to get a better iron. Even a $50 iron is better than a $20 one if you can’t afford the $100 irons. This is because the chore is more likely to get done faster. The time-saving will justify the extra cost if you have the money to spare.
The other reason to choose a better quality iron is the result that you can get. If you want your clothes to look professionally done, a high end iron can achieve that much better than a $20 model. So, if you are particularly fussy about how your clothes look, you will have to invest in a more expensive model.
Conversely, if you hardly do any ironing, then save your money and get a cheap unit. You won’t save much time with a top of the range steam iron if you only need to iron a shirt once every few weeks. Even if you have a fair bit to iron each time but can live with imperfect results, a cheap iron will also do.
The bottomline is an expensive steam iron is nice to have but not a must to get your ironing done. So, don’t get carried away and spend your hard-earned money unnecessarily.