If you are asking this question, then fair play, as you have probably done your research and understand the problems associated with hard water areas in the UK.
Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland are fortunate enough in most cases to have either soft water or soft to medium water.
Many locations in England though have hard water areas. I have listed those at the bottom of this article if you are not sure where those are. That type of water does create problems for some electrical appliances.
I appreciate that some of you may be in a hurry and will not have time to read this full article.
If that is the case then the iron that we would recommend for hard water areas is the Russell Hobbs Supreme Steam Traditional Iron 23060 model.
This is an affordable iron, that gets an 82% buyer satisfaction rating, and includes a self cleaning mode that prevents the build up of scale. We have reviewed that in greater detail below.
Why Does Hard Water Matter for Steam Iron Use?
I have done a detailed article on the problems caused by hard water for steam irons which you can read by clicking here. If you don't have the time to do that right now, then I have summarised that information just below.
Hardness is simply a measure of the amount of calcium and magnesium salt that is present in water. Hard water contains a lot of calcium, and when that evaporates inside the water tank of a steam iron, it causes limescale.
Over time that can build into a hard white crust and will eventually damage the component parts of an iron. It can also block the small holes in the sole plate of the iron.
Picking the Best Iron for Hard Water
All manufacturers recommend using a 50/50 mix of distilled water and ordinary tap water in your iron. That helps a lot with reducing the build up of limescale.
Distilled water is not too expensive and can be bought at most supermarkets.
Personally I buy my distilled water online and get it delivered to the door so as I don't have to carry it around. So that would be my first recommendation.
For the iron itself it is ideal to get one with some type of automatic descaling built into it. This is usually done in one of two ways. The iron will use a filter to prevent the build up of limescale and the other method is to have a descaling system.
A simpler method is to have an iron that self cleans. Like the one I recommended at the start of this article, self cleaning irons are a good choice as they help prevent the build up of scale, and only take a couple of minutes to do this process.
I avoid the filter systems for a few reasons:
- They can be expensive enough to buy
- Over time it can also be hard to find somewhere either online or in Retail stores that stocks them
- It is a hassle to change them
Therefore I think it is better to go with some type of automatic descaling system, or for an iron that has what is called a calcium collector. They can be more expensive options though.
Likewise going for a self-cleaning option is also a good solution and self-cleaning irons are usually cheaper than those with filters or collectors.
Paying the Price for Hard Water
Its is mainly the price, and how long the iron will last that most buyers final decision comes down to. It is I believe a bit of a conundrum.
One thing is certain that if you live in a hard water area, limescale will happen and over time, that familiar white crust will start to appear in the water tank of your iron.
It will also display itself in the small holes on the sole plate and eventually start to block those up.
Some buyers therefore just buy a cheaper steam iron and are willing to replace it when it eventually gets clogged up. Cheap irons cost around £15-30 and buyers of these would rather get a cheap one and replace it when it stops being useful.
The general consensus seems to be that they can last for anything between 9 months to a year. Now of course that time period will depend on how much it is used and on how often it is used.
Other buyers prefer to purchase a more expensive iron with some type of descaling system. These will cost a bit more and the typical price is around £35-50. Regular cleaning of this type of iron with a calcium collector in place will greatly extend the life of the iron.
The average lifetime of these irons is anything between 2-5 years. Again it will depend on the amount of use and how often the iron is used.
The reason we recommend this particular iron is because it should be affordable for most people.
It sells really well, comes from a very well known and respected brand, and has a self-cleaning function.
In addition to this it produces 40 grams of continuous steam and 110 gram boost shot for tougher creases.
It can also be used for vertical steaming, and has an easy to fill 300 ml tank. To finish off it has a soft touch handle and dial.
This iron also heats up very quickly. It has a high quality non-stick stainless steel sole plate, that ensures a smooth glide.
It also has a spray function helps you get to grips with those stubborn creases in one go. For hard water areas though the self-clean function helps to protect the iron from scale damage – this will prolong the performance and life of your iron.
The hardness of the water supply is mainly governed by the geology and landscape of the area from where your water source comes from. If that area is from a low land lake or ground water source, it is likely that you live in a hard water area.