We will explain how to quickly calculate how much it costs to use a steam iron for UK users. This is a pretty simply calculation so as you can quickly see what the running costs of your iron are. A steam iron is one of the most expensive items to run on electricity as most steam irons use a high wattage to heat the soleplate and to turn the water into steam.
Steam irons consume a lot of electricity so the faster you get your ironing done the better. That will help reduce your electricity bills.
The wattage of your steam Iron
Every steam iron has a small boiler that heats up the water in your iron and turns it into steam. The speed that is does this at depends on the actual wattage of your iron. Depending on the brand and model of your iron this can range anything between 2400 and 3100 watts.
In addition to this the soleplate of your iron also gets heated up. The rate at which the water heats and the soleplate heats are both determined by the wattage of your iron. the higher The wattage the fast the water and soleplate will heat up.
You can find that wattage on the box that the iron comes with. It will also be in the leaflet and guide inside the box. It is also written on most irons somewhere, though that varies by brand. It will look something like 3100W. If in doubt you can simply type the make and model into a search engine online and quickly find that out.
We have included an image below of the popular Russell Hobbs Powerstream Ultra iron. In this case it is shown at the front edge of the iron.
Quick understanding of UK electricity charges
Electricity charges in the UK can be complex to understand, so we have tried to make this as easy as possible. Irrespective of which supplier you use, UK homes pay a standing monthly charge, a unit rate and VAT on their electricity bill (5%).
When it comes to using any electrical appliance, including a steam iron, the one that really matters is the unit rate. This is a unit of electricity and is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh)
Understanding kilowatt hours (kWh)
This is the unit that all energy companies use to measure electricity and is what they call a standard measurement. This means a 1,000 watt use for one hour. 1000 watts = 1kW.
Many dishwashers for example have a 1000 watt rating. If that is on for one hour, then it will use 1kWh of electricity.
The rate that you are charged will vary depending on which supplier you are with and which tariff you are on. This can vary quite a lot. To make things easier to understand we have used average UK regional prices for a unit of electricity.
UK Average Unit Electricity Price by Region 2022
According to the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy data, the average UK price per kWh was 18.9p/kWh in 2021 and is expected to rise to 28p/kWh in 2022. This does vary by region in the UK depending on the amount of choice available in terms of changing suppliers.
Electricity Consumption for Steam Irons 2022
We have created a table below showing the most common wattage ratings for steam irons, and then used the average price per kWh in 2022 which is 28p/kWh. We have then shown ironing times of 15 minutes, 30 minutes and one hour using a steam iron.
Steam Iron Wattage
15 minutes ironing
30 minutes ironing
60 minutes ironing
As you can see these costs can very quickly add up. It also depends which items you iron and how long it takes you to iron each item. The average time spent ironing in most UK homes is one hour per week or 4 hours per month. On average that will work out at around £3 a month to use your steam iron at home.
As you may be aware, a combination of inflation, wholesale energy prices, price caps and the conflict in the East make energy prices very unstable in the UK and across the world. In almost all cases these are rising at unprecedented rates. The market is also quite volatile and it is expected that all energy costs will be high for the considerable future.
Regional UK Electricity Charges 2022
Electricity kWh price (pence)
North Wales & Merseyside
Energy Ratings on a Steam Iron
Energy ratings (A-G) don't really apply to steam irons. Those are used more with other electrical appliances such as fridges and washing machines. What can save you some money is if the iron has an automatic cut-off when the iron is not being used. This is primarily built as a safety feature in case you forget the iron is plugged in and get distracted. It will also help save you a little money as well.
Using your iron at home vs an Ironing Service
Some people hate ironing and use an ironing service instead. Those services may charge by the hour, by weight or per item. The average cost per hour is £15, the average cost per kilo of laundry is £6 and items vary quite a lot. A shirt for example is on average £1.50 whereas a t-shirt would be £0.60.
These services are a lot more expensive that doing it yourself at home. However, for those who hate ironing, they do save a lot of time and believe it to be a price worth paying.
Electricity consumption for a steam iron summary
Steam irons are expensive to run in terms of electricity costs. That is mainly down to the fact that they use a high wattage of electricity energy to heat the water in the boiler that converts this to steam. They also have to heat the soleplate. Most people want the iron to heat quickly so as they are not waiting around for the iron to heat up.
On average 60 minutes of ironing will cost on average £0.75. That is about £3 per month or £36 a year. Overall your energy costs will vary depending on what electricity tariff you are on, the wattage of your iron and the length of time you spend ironing.