When it comes to sewing and quilting projects, a regular iron might not suffice for specific needs. Steam pressure is just one attribute that needs to be considered, and quality is a priority. After putting in all the hard work sewing and creating a one-off piece, an iron for sewing needs to have the capability to create enough pressure for long periods without negatively impacting the garment.
Because of this, and the other benefits, we have created a list of the best irons for sewing. Not only is each one going to make life a lot easier for a sewer, but there is something for every budget. Read on to make sure you end up with a product that can answer the demands of every sewing project.
- Editor’s Choice
Rowenta DW5080 1700-Watt Micro Steam Iron (Amazon) – Review
- Best With LCD Display
BLACK+DECKER Digital Advantage Professional Steam Iron, D2530 (Amazon) – Review
- Best Budget
Shark Steam Iron, Original Version, Red (Amazon) – Review
- Best For Travel
Steamfast SF-717 Mini Steam Iron with Dual Voltage (Amazon) – Review
- Best Value
Sunbeam Steammaster Steam Iron | 1400 Watt (Amazon) – Review
- Best Large Steam Plate
BLACK+DECKER Professional Steam Iron with Extra Large Soleplate, Purple, IR1350S (Amazon) – Review
Editor’s Choice: Rowenta DW5080 1700-Watt Micro Steam Iron
One of the most popular steam irons on the market, and ideal for a sewing project, this is a reasonably priced product from a reputable brand. Rowenta has created this 1,700-watt micro iron to be convenient thanks to its size, but it still packs a punch. There is a precision tip on the soleplate and it is made from stainless steel so it glides over each area with ease.
Its steam distribution is what makes it ideal for sewing projects. Capable of pushing out 35 gallons of steam a minute, its 400 steam holes work hard and the steam pressure helps to remove wrinkles easily. The thermostat knob is simple, so changing between fabrics is easy and for the safety, of the user, there is a 3-way shut off system. It boasts a 10 oz water tank and it is made in Germany which is always a good sign when it comes to household goods.
- 1,700 watts
- 400 steam holes for even distribution
- Stainless steel soleplate has a precision tip
- Made in Germany
- 3-way shut off system
Best With LCD Display: BLACK+DECKER Digital Advantage Professional Steam Iron, D2530
From the reputable brand that is Black + Decker comes this advanced steam iron, ideal for sewing projects. Its high steam rate can be tailored to different fabrics and the LCD screen makes it easy to switch between temperatures and settings. It also features a heavy-duty stainless steel footplate that removes wrinkles with ease.
There are plenty of steam and temperature controls to choose from and each one can be customized to the user’s needs. Its 3 way shut off system is intelligent, turning off after 30 seconds of being left on its side or footplate unattended, and if left on the heel plate. for 8 minutes. For the perfect amount of steam on different fabrics, this is a great option.
- LCD screen for switching between settings
- Lots of temperature and steam options
- 3-way shut off system
- Great value
- Controls take a little getting used to
Best Budget: Shark Steam Iron, Original Version, Red
For a price that is hard to find fault with, this is the ideal steam iron for sewing on a budget. The footplate measures 8.5 inches and is made from stainless steel and has holes for an even distribution of steam. The 1,500 watts of power are sufficient for working out creases fast and the 260 ml trank is on the generous side.
The anti-drip feature is a neat addition as it stops it from spoiling garments of making them difficult to iron properly. Because of the multiple settings, it is fine to iron most fabrics, and even upholstery and drapes since it can be used vertically without having to remove them. It glides over most materials seamlessly and at the price, it is hard to better.
- Great value
- 1,500 watts
- 8.5-inch footplate made from stainless steel
- Lots of steam settings
- Not as advanced as other steam irons
Best For Travel: Steamfast SF-717 Mini Steam Iron with Dual Voltage
This miniature steam iron for sewing is perfect for projects on the go and is easy to take from place to place. This is partly because it comes with a travel bag and is conveniently sized. A lot of people like the fact that it only takes 15 seconds to heat up and is ready to use in no time, but the 1.4 oz tank is bigger than it looks like it might be capable of holding.
With 420 watts of power, it isn’t designed for large jobs, but for convenience, this is evident in the non-slip handle and 7.5 ft power cord. There is an interchangeable voltage of 100 and 240 watts so it can be used in a variety of countries. To top it off, the one-touch steam control and 3 temperature settings ensure there are plenty of ways to use it for sewing projects on the go.
- Ideal for travel
- Heats up in 15 seconds
- Interchangeable voltage
- Comes with a travel bag
- 420 watts might not be enough for some projects
Best Value: Sunbeam Steammaster Steam Iron | 1400 Watt
Another budget-friendly steam iron for sewing, with 1,400 watts, it is not the most powerful on our list, but it still has plenty to offer. For large projects, this is a sensible purchase since it has a big footplate and sizeable water tank that helps to create plenty of steam. There is also a steam shot feature that pushes out a burst of steam to help work out tough creases quickly.
It also has a self-cleaning system that stops mineral deposits from impacting performance and the 3-way motion smart auto switch off is a useful safety feature. The 8 ft power cord is retractable which helps to keep it neat when in storage and the fabric setting dial is easy to use for switching between sewing projects.
- Great value
- Large water tank and footplate
- The self-cleaning system stops mineral deposits
- Steam burst setting
- Some people like their steam iron to get hotter
Best Large Steam Plate: BLACK+DECKER Professional Steam Iron with Extra Large Soleplate, Purple, IR1350S
Ideal for quilting or large projects, the extra-large soleplate of this steam iron is perfect for sewing. It is this heavy-duty plate that offers wide coverage to push steam and iron out wrinkles with ease. We like the self-cleaning system that removes mineral deposits that can impact performance.
There is also anti-drip technology to ensure there is no mess and a control dial to change the steam settings and temperature for new fabrics. With 3 -way auto shut off and a 10 ft cord, there is plenty to like about it for sewing projects.
- Extra-large soleplate
- 10 ft cord
- Lots of steam settings
- Other models have better steam spread
Whether it is to finish off a quilting project or another sewing related, an iron for sewing is the ideal product to ensure the finished article looks its best. However, some products just aren’t up to scratch, and having a quality steam production is one important trait to make sure the iron has before buying.
This and other attributes are included in the following buyer’s guide. It is designed to make life as a sewer easier, professional, or enthusiast.
Being able to increase and decrease the steam pressure and temperature of the iron is an important part of ensuring it is suitable for each fabric. This opens up more potential uses for the iron and it all comes down to how easy the dial is to use, as well as the number of settings.
Anyone who has owned an iron for long enough will have left theirs on when they are not using it. This is dangerous, but modern irons for sewing often have safety features to help avoid accidents. Some will switch off after 30 seconds of no use when on its side or left motionless for too long.
To offer the coverage that requires fewer pushes over the garment, the soleplate needs to be large enough to take some of the strain out of ironing out creases and wrinkles. Some brands will go for an extra-large plate to make this easier, and having plenty of steam holes is important for an even distribution of steam.
Changes in temperature can cause dripping which is one of the annoyances of using a low-quality iron for sewing. The better products counter this to ensure the water is regulated at the proper temperature. Any built-up residue deposits can cause iron to drip, which then requires extra attention and extends the time it takes to iron the material.
Unless it takes a good ten minutes to heat up (some take even longer!), then this shouldn’t be too much of a problem but keep in mind that some brands are good to go within 15 seconds of switching on. This can help you get going when you are ready, rather than being at the mercy of the iron to give you the green light.
Without the power to generate enough heat, the iron will take a long time to reach certain temperatures and lack the power to generate sufficient steam. A decent wattage tends to start at around 1,000 watts but the better products will offer more. Anything around 1,400 is a good place to start.
Water Tank Capacity
Having to refill an iron frequently can get annoying, especially when using more steam on a particularly wrinkled material or garment. This is where a large capacity comes in handy. The best irons for sewing tend to have well over 5 oz of space for plenty of water. Non-steam irons don’t have this problem.
The better the grip, the easier it will be to move the iron over a large surface. It is unlikely that the handle will start to cause hand fatigue, but a little comfort from an ergonomic shape and comfortable material always helps.
A lot will depend on the intended use as a portable iron for sewing will need to be smaller. This will result in a lower wattage and fewer settings but you are paying for the convenience. There is no need to save space for most people, so a full-size iron is best.
This relates to the mineral build-up, with some brands being capable of removing this so it does not impact the performance of the iron. Another way to counter this is with distilled water rather than tap water which can lead to the build-up of calcium.
No matter how good the iron is, if the cord isn’t long enough, it is going to make life difficult. A cord of around 8 ft and above is plentiful and any brand that has a retractable cord is even better since it is easier to keep out the way when not in use.
Most steam irons can still be used for smoothing applique pieces. Because of their small size and numerous shapes and sizes, it is always best to look for a product with a narrow tip. Most irons tend to have these anyway but they help get into awkward corners.
We like the Rowenta DW5080 1700-Watt Micro Steam Iron out of all the products we took a look at. It came out on top based on the fact that for a reasonable price, it offers 1,700 watts of power, is a convenient size, and has 400 small holes on the footplate to allow for even steam distribution. This results in 35 gallons of steam a minute, which is much better than most.
Made in Germany, it has a large 10 oz water tank and a 3-way shut off system for the user’s safety.
One of the main reasons many sewers are particular about their iron of choice is that it has so many uses. Before making any cuts, it is important to iron th material first. This improves accuracy and makes measurements true. Be mindful of the material you are using before you start to iron and if any areas are proving tricky, extra steam is usually a good idea.
The good news is that there are plenty of reputable products available for under $50. Some of the chosen products on our list above fall into this category and our top pick can also be picked up for well under $100. Just because they are well suited to sewing projects doesn’t mean they cost a lot more.