Pretty much everything electrical is going cordless in these times. The traditional electric corded steam iron now has a cordless option, and many buyers in the UK are making the move. If you are interested in exploring whether a cordless steam iron is the right choice for you, then I recommend reading my extensive buying guide below. I know that will at least help you make your mind up.
How do cordless steam irons work?
Cordless steam irons do not work the same as other cordless products which use a battery that can be recharged. It's really important to understand this. The iron sits on a charger that is plugged into the UK's main electrical supply. The image above of the Morphy Richards 303250 model is a typical example.
When charged up, the soleplate becomes hot and steam can be produced.
You can then lift the iron off and use it cord free for about 20-30 seconds. Then you have to return it to the charger for about 5-15 seconds before using it again for another 20-30 seconds.
Some users who have made the change from a regular steam iron to a cordless steam iron initially find this process slightly irritating. Once they get used to it, then they really like using the iron. It takes a little practise, and once you develop your own technique, then that makes a huge difference.
The Key Features
Power and Wattage
The wattage is usually shown as something like 2400W. This power rating determines how quickly the iron soleplate will heat up and also how fast the steam is produced. It also determines how much heat the soleplate will hold when being used cordless.
Most cordless irons have a wattage of between 2400-2800 watts. The higher the wattage the more expensive to run off your electricity bill.
For almost every cordless steam iron on the UK market today, the heat up time from cold is 25-30 seconds. The recharge time varies between 5-15 seconds, to allow the iron to heat up again to the temperature where steam can be produced.
Cordless and Corded
Some models, like the Swan 2 in 1 shown above allow you to use the iron as a cordless one or as a traditional corded one. It's worth knowing that not that many models do. If that's somethin important for you, then always check that it is an option on the model you pick.
Most people are buying a cordless one to get rid of the electrical lead, but some people may prefer to have it as a fall back.
The soleplates on cordless steam irons are exactly the same as a traditional steam iron. Soleplates can be made of Anodised Aluminium, Titanium, stainless steel or ceramic. The most popular choice is ceramic closely followed by stainless steel.
Manufacturers have greatly improved soleplates over the years so as they no longer snag clothes. You will often see them refer to this as "glide." The small steam holes on the bottom of the soleplate allows the steam to get through to the clothes underneath the plate.
Water Tank Capacity
The water tank capacity on cordless steam irons are exactly the same as a traditional steam iron. A typical water tank capacity for any standard steam iron is around 300-400 ml. A tank of this size lasts for around 20 minutes before it needs to be filled again. The larger the water tank the heavier the iron will be too hold.
Steam and Steam Boosts (Shots/Bursts)
This is probably the most important feature to fully understand when it comes to buying any iron. It is steam that makes your ironing easier and faster. Steam helps quickly deal with wrinkles and reduces the number of passes you have to make on a garment. Steam production happens when the water in the tank gets boiled when the iron is heating up.
On all steam irons, including cordless models, there are two steam features to understand:
- Continuous steam or constant steam is measured in grams per minute (g/min). This is the level of steam that comes out of your iron when you are ironing. This varies between 30-40g/min on most irons
- The steam shot (burst or boost) is a more shot of powerful steam that helps deal with the tough creases or stubborn creases. This is normally used by pushing a button on the iron. This varies between 130-210 g/min depending on the model you own
The water is added to the tank via a small hole which is then sealed closed using a lid. This lid should seal tightly and most irons have a rubber seal to do this. If you lookin the image to the left, you can see the small white rubber ring, that is the seal. When the flap is closed, this helps make the seal.
You can then see in the second image the iron being turned upside down and water should not come out. More importantly though, irons get moved around a lot, so this seal does a really important job, to stop water dripping on to the garments being ironed.
Manufacturers call this an anti-drip feature.
Top Tip: - It is a good idea to clean around the seal and the flap about once a month to avoid any dirt blocking the seal.
Auto Clean Feature
Some models of cordless iron such as the Morphy Richards EasyCHARGE Cordless Iron have a self-clean feature. Please not not all models have this feature. This feature works by filling the iron with water, turning off the steam function, and heating up the iron as normal.
You then take the iron to the sink, as it's cordless, and push a button and hold it down. This forces steam out through the holes in the soleplate and cleans those out. That helps keep your iron in good working order, and also helps prevent the build up of limescale. That's especially important if you live in a "hard water" area of the UK.
This is an important safety feature on any steam iron. When ironing it is all too easy to get distracted with something like looking after the kids, answering a phone call etc. You don't want your iron staying on as it could overheat and potentially start a fire.
Most good quality irons have a safety feature known as auto cut-off. This feature will switch the iron off after a period of minutes. Usually this varies between 8-10 minutes depending on the brand and model of the iron.
Which Brands Sell Cordless Steam Irons in the UK?
Well known household brands like Tower, Morphy Richards, Tefal, Russell Hobbs etc do make good quality irons. You will also find brands such as Beldray, Breville, G-Maxx, Geepas, JML, Minky, Panasonic, Pifco, Salter and Swan.
Ideally, what you want is a good local UK customer service team who can be contacted. Most of the brands shown above do have that.
Manufacturer Guarantees UK
Good well known household brands like Tower, Morphy Richards, Tefal, Russell Hobbs etc do make good quality irons.
Most of these brands offer a 1 year guarantee, which you can extend by 1 or 2 years when you register your new steam iron online at the manufacturer website.
How much do they cost and where to buy?
As you can imagine the prices vary depending on which brand and which model you buy. On average expect to pay between £25-£40. Initially when these were first released they were more expensive than a traditional iron, but they more in line with those prices.
In the UK, you can buy cordless steam irons online at stores like Amazon UK and eBay. You can also buy these in Currys, John Lewis, Argos and other local stores. You can also buy directly from the manufacturer's websites.
JML Cordless Steam Iron
Tower T22008 CeraGlide
This is not a huge buying decision for most people. Some people do like to have a choice to match their decor. Most cordless steam iron models will offer you a few colour choices. Blue, grey and purple appear to be the most popular choices. If colour is important for you, then always check that before ordering as the colour usually has a separate item/model number.
Cordless Steam Irons FAQ
Q. Is a cordless steam iron worth the money?
A. There is not a big price differential between a steam iron that is corded or cordless. The price should not be the real buying decision. The key benefits of a cordless steam iron is being able to use your iron without an annoying electrical lead being attached. The key downside is having to take the time and patience to let the iron charge properly when doing the actual ironing. So, yes a cordless steam iron is worth the money once you get used to how they work and slightly adapting your ironing technique.
Q. How long does a cordless steam iron take to heat up?
A. From cold to initial heat up time takes between 20-30 seconds. After the initial heat up, the iron soleplate starts to cool down, usually after 20-25 seconds of ironing. That is when you have to recharge, and the recharge time is typically between 5-15 seconds.
Q. Does a cordless steam iron use electric?
A. Yes a cordless iron does use electricity. Inside every iron is a boiler which needs to get heated up to turn water into steam. This is typically a 2400 watt boiler. When the iron is sitting on the charging base it is using electricity. When lifted off the base it isn't. A cordless steam iron will use less electricity than a standard corded one.