Dry vs Steam Iron – The Differences
Obviously, a dry iron does not have a water tank in its design. With no water to be filled, it also means there are no leaks and spits to stain your clothes. In contrast, steam irons tend to have many complaints on water leaks that could even soak up your ironing board. Sometimes, they also spit out dark colored water onto the clothes that you are ironing. So, you save yourself the frustration from these problems when you use a dry iron instead of a steam model.
Steam Output and Steam Holes
With a steam iron, steam is generated through the steam holes on the soleplate to iron out the wrinkles and creases on your clothes. The high end Rowenta irons are famous for their generous steam output which is released through hundreds of micro steam holes on their soleplates.
But steam will not be part of the equation in a dry iron. What this means is, besides having no water tank, a dry iron will also have no steam holes in its soleplate. The soleplate will be totally flat which may be the preferred choice by people who are into sewing and other art and craft works. It is also better for doing heat transfer on shirts and other items.
Without a water tank, a dry iron will also be missing a spray mist function. Many top of the range steam irons such as the Rowenta DW9080 Steamium have a button to press to release a light spray of water onto the clothes when needed. It is convenient with all the necessary functions within the reach of your thumb as you grip the handle of the iron while ironing.
However, if you don’t have a spray mist function for your iron, you can always go back to using a spray bottle. The good old-fashion spray bottle will work just as well!
A dry iron is as basic as you can get. There is nothing complicated about it with just a dial or knob to control the heat settings. However, a steam iron can have more bells and whistles in its design. It can have a steam trigger, LED display, steam lever and spray jet. Some people like it with everything within reach. But it can also be more complicated to use as you need to change the settings for different types of garments.
Using A Steam Iron As A Dry Iron
Yes, you can use a steam iron as a dry iron. You just need to disable the steam function and leave the water tank empty. The reason you might do this is because certain types of fabrics are not suitable to be used with the steam function. For instance, silk and satin should be pressed with a dry iron.
So, why buy a dry iron when a steam one is capable of doing both? Well, it depends on what you need the iron for. Some projects may be best done with a totally flat soleplate with no steam holes as mentioned. Doing heat transfer is an example. Apart from that, if you are contented with using a spray bottle for ironing, there is also no need to invest in a $100 steam iron for a high quality model.
Should You Buy A Dry Or Steam Iron?
The dry vs steam iron debate is quite easy to resolve. If you are not bothered about the steam holes on the soleplate, get the steam iron. This is because you can always use it as a dry iron when there is a need. But if you get a dry iron, you can’t convert it into a steam iron when you need the steam for certain types of garments. Moreover, steam irons have many more models to choose from. Dry irons are pretty limited in terms of choices.
However, the disadvantages of steam irons are a higher risk of defects and the tendency to stain your clothes with leaks and spits. While you can always choose to just use it as a dry iron, then you might be asking why pay for a steam feature that you won’t use at all? Well, if you intend to just use the steam iron as a dry iron, then you don’t need to buy the top of the range models either. A $50 iron like the Black & Decker D2030 will do unless you are looking for a premium grade soleplate. Then, you will need to look at the German-made Rowenta models which are in a different league than a typical dry iron.