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Last Updated: December 21, 2019

Best Irons for Sewing

PREMIUM CHOICE

CHI Steam Iron
4.8/5

EDITOR'S PICK

IIMII model IM51
4.7/5

BUDGET CHOICE

black & decker IR1350S
4.6/5

Narrowing down the best iron for sewing can be a challenge. Once you begin looking into the nuances of mini irons, steam irons, smart irons, etc, it can quickly become overwhelming. At the end of the day, you just want a reliable iron that will serve your sewing purposes without a fuss and not cost you an arm and a leg. 

In my article Best Iron for Quilting, we discussed some of the best options for quilting irons as well as the performance aspects I looked for when reviewing those irons. I discuss some of the  performance aspects I considered (and suggest you do too!) when searching for the best iron for sewing in the Buyer’s Guide after the reviews.

Product Quick Compare

CHI Steam Iron

Chi Steam iron 13102

4.8/5

4.8 / 5

Shark model GI468

Shark Steam Iron

4/5

4 / 5

black & decker IR1350S

BLACK & DECKER Professional Steam Iron

4.6/5

4.6 / 5

STEAMFAST

Steamfast Mini Travel Steam Iron

4.5/5

4.5 / 5

IIMII model IM51

IIMII Mini Travel Steam Iron

4.7/5

4.7 / 5

CHI Steam Iron

1. CHI STEAM IRON 13102

Best machine for all-around use and professional level needs
Our Rating: 4.8 / 5
Brand: CHI
Watts: 1700
Model: 13102

As mentioned in another article of mine, I had a very positive experience with this iron and rated it as my top choice as a quilting iron. For this review, I wanted to look at the irons in this article from a sewer’s perspective to give you the most accurate rating possible.

As an iron for sewing, I thought the Chi Steam Iron performed well while adding some really nice modern features. As before, I was really enticed by the illuminated temperature control panel. Although listed above as an unnecessary feature, the illuminated temperature control panel made our temperature settings really easy to read and where other brands have failed when it comes to digital control features like this one, Chi has made a highly functional and useful modern feature. It was truly a joy to work with.

I also want to praise the 400 steam holes included on the ceramic soleplate as they provided a high performing and consistent steam. I liked that the additional ports for steam to travel through covered more fabric at once, and covered the fabric evenly. Although nothing special otherwise, the ceramic soleplate glided smoothly, as expected.

What I didn’t like was the short retractable cord- while irons come with varying cord lengths, I felt 8in was overall too short and out of the other irons we will cover in this review, it has one of the shortest cords available. Another aspect I didn’t like for this iron, is that after much extended use, I noticed the ceramic began rubbing off in some areas. While again, this only occurred after heavy, extended use, it’s still notable.

What I liked

  • An illuminated temperature control panel allowed for us to easily see what we were doing even in dim lighting.
  • Ceramic soleplate, for a smooth glide when applying the soleplate to fabrics.
  • 400 steam holes that provided a professional and consistent steam experience.
  • No water leaking, which made us very comfortable when using this iron.
  • A 2 year limited warranty put our mind at ease since most irons only offer a 1 year warranty.

What I didn't like

  • After extended use the ceramic is rubbing off in some areas on the soleplate.
  • Short retractable cord
  • A little heavy

Editor's Rating: 4.8 / 5

4.8/5
Shark model GI468

2. Shark Steam Iron

Best machine for beginners needing a full sized iron
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Brand: Shark
Watts: 1500
Model: GI468

Shark has been a strong brand for household equipment and I was very excited to try out this SharkNinja Iron. However, I was extremely disappointed.

While this iron had some features I really enjoyed, such as being lightweight, its stainless steel soleplate and option for vertical streaming, the two issues I found with this iron outweighed them greatly. But first a little more good- this iron had great steam setting features and one thing I really love is the intelligent controls that indicate both the selected temperature and the actual temperature. I’m one of those impatient types so being able to see the actual temperature of the iron while I waited for it to heat up was useful plus, it allowed me better control for more sensitive fabrics.

Now, the bad. This iron took a lot of time to heat up. And again, I may just be too impatient but compared to other irons I was just left feeling like the Shark Steam Iron was overly slow and a time waste- especially if the safety turn off activated and I had to reheat the iron. The biggest annoyance however with this iron, was that it seems to have issues with standing upright. I think the issue is caused by the base being too small for the soleplate but I’m not certain. I do know, that is was very distracting while sewing to have to keep double checking the iron when I would try to place it down between use and then worrying about it falling.

Overall, this iron was extremely promising but I feel like there are better options out there, even for the cheaper price point. I was just not blown away when comparing the Shark Steam Iron to other irons used for this review. While I know Shark was presented as one of the best steam irons 2018 by a number of online reviewers, this year it could not live up to the hype as fas I’m concerned.

What I liked

  • Lightweight.
  • Stainless Steel Soleplate : Provides superior glide and heat retention for better results.
  • Powerful Vertical and Horizontal Steam.
  • Intelligent controls maintain and indicate actual and selected temperature.
  • Three way auto shut-off for safety.

What I didn't like

  • Iron does not heat up fast.
  • Iron sometimes has issues with standing upright due to small base

Editor's Rating: 4 / 5

4/5
black & decker IR1350S

3. BLACK & DECKER Professional Steam Iron

Best machine for beginners needing a full sized iron
Our Rating: 4.6 / 5
Brand: Black & Decker
Watts: 1500
Model: IR1350S

Black&Decker is a a reliable brand for a reason- they produce solid quality. This was a favorite of mine in my last article, because I felt it offered a truly professional steam and within a reasonable budget. While I have no problems with splurging on expensive items when they perform well, I don’t think “more expensive” always means “better”.

As noted in my Best Iron for Quilting article, this iron had some really cool features to consider. A nice feature that I love and found was really useful was the auto-clean option, that helped keep mineral deposits from building up. I thought this was a very thoughtful add-on by the Black&Decker design team. My absolute favorite feature was the 360 degree pivoting cord. This allowed for so much freedom when ironing and especially for sewing when I find myself sometimes just needing to iron a small, hard to reach section of fabric. Although, with only 1500 watts of power, it was not as powerful as the Chi Steam Iron, I thought the watts provided were satisfactory to take care of my everyday needs and the iron became hot quickly.

While inexpensive, I found this iron to have a lot of power with some nice additional features to make everyday use easier. For users, I did notice some slight leaking when using it but it was so slight, that I don’t believe this one flaw was severe enough to effect performance.

What I liked

  • A stainless steel soleplate is both durable and scratch resistant for ironing.
  • A 360 degree pivoting cord provided a lot of freedom in movement.
  • An auto clean system made cleaning the iron easy.
  • Three way auto shut-off for safety.

What I didn't like

  • We noticed some slight leaking occasionally.

Editor's Rating: 4.6 / 5

4.6/5
STEAMFAST

4. Steamfast Mini Travel Steam Iron

Best machine for beginner travelers
Our Rating: 4.5 / 5
Brand: Steamfast
Watts: 420
Model: SF - 717

Everyone is different, but I love mini irons- when you find a good one, they are so handy to have, not just for travel purposes but for sewing as well. The smaller size can save space in your sewing room, as well as provide a nice lightweight option for those quick ironing needs.

While not the most advanced in regards to settings, this mini travel stream iron provides a consistent, solid quality. Sometimes, it’s the simplest solution that works best. About the size of the palm of your hand, this little iron did well for both dry and steam ironing. It was honestly a joy to use and surprised me in our Best Iron for Quilting article, that this tied as my second choice.

Another plus for this Steamfast Mini Travel Steam Iron was how fast it got hot- which made quick ironing super convenient. Although you may not travel often, I also thought the duel voltage feature was awesome to have. Like most mini travel irons, this iron has a small water tank which was disappointing but expected due to the size. I was really surprised at how much power the iron seemed to possess despite its size and only 420 watts available.

Some downsides I noticed, was that the lightweight nature of the iron meant I had to add a little more pressure than usual on particularly tough wrinkles. I didn’t find this to be big deal or annoyance but thought I should mention it since it’s a risk when using smaller, lighter irons. I also noticed that after prolonged use, the handle could become a little hot or warm to the touch.

What I liked

  • Heats up fast for quick use.
  • A non-stick press plate gave us a smooth gliding experience.
  • Compact and lightweight, this mini iron is perfect for travel.
  • Duel voltage- 100 and 240 watts.

What I didn't like

  • The handle sometimes became too warm or hot.

Editor's Rating: 4.5 / 5

4.5/5
IIMII model IM51

5. IIMII Mini Travel Steam Iron

Best machine for travel and sewing quick needs
Our Rating: 4.7 / 5
Brand: IIMII
Watts: 560
Model: IM51

I decided to review a second mini iron option as I was curious as to if the features I enjoyed with the Steamfast Mini Travel Steam Iron was the quality of the iron itself or features pertaining to it’s size. Even when purchasing a more heavy duty ironing option, I still love the idea of keeping a mini option around. Doing so has increased my sewing productivity since I don’t have to worry about long heat times when needing to iron fabric for quick purposes.

The IIMII Mini Travel Steam Iron proved to be a more advanced travel iron option compared to the Steamfast Mini Travel Steam Iron, which might make it a better go to for a mini iron choice. This iron had a great deal of power and like it’s competitor, it got hot very quickly making it extremely convenient to use. Regular users would most likely find this iron exemplary for even every day use. While it does not offer a continuous steam option, this iron does provide a nice burst of steam with the pressing of a lever and gives you excellent control for steaming.

A seemingly common feature for travel irons, I love the duel voltage feature as it gives me the freedom to work on my sewing projects no matter where I go. Downsides for the iron were small- I noticed it was easy to accidentally overfill the water tank and cause leaking, and the overall small size fo the water tank meant it needed to be refilled often if I used it for an extended period of time.

What I liked

  • Heats up fast and extremely powerful.
  • Compact and lightweight, this mini iron is perfect for travel.
  • Duel voltage- 100~127V/220~240V.
  • Small water tank.

What I didn't like

  • Bobbin issues may be frequent and definitely frustrating
  • Repairs can be difficult to find and can cost a lot

Editor's Rating: 4.7 / 5

4.7/5

SEWERS GUIDE

We’ve put together a short buyer’s guide to make your choice easier. First…

Heat Setting

Modern fabrics and garments vary in their base material and fragility. It’s important to have an iron with at least basic heat settings for temperature control so you don’t risk damaging your fabrics or garments.

Water Tank

Having to stop what you’re doing to refill your steam iron (possibly multiple times!), can be extremely frustrating- or maybe you hate leaving unused water in your tank? Keeping in mind the size of the water tank can help you find you the perfect iron for your needs. Note that most irons do not suggest using tap water in the water tank in order to avoid mineral build up.

Sole Plates

When looking for soleplates, the best options for quilting or sewing are the stainless steel soleplate, aluminum, ceramic soleplate, and non-stick. These kinds of soleplates are easy to clean and glide smoothly on your fabrics.

Cord length

It seems silly but this can make a big difference. I noticed that he cord length for irons can vary a lot- too short of a cord is a nightmare for maneuverability and getting the job done, especially in the case of sewing and working with small materials.

Weight

Finding a lightweight quilting iron without compromising on power is essential. However, a heavier iron can provide a natural press to your fabrics saving you from having to apply too much pressure so your needs may lend you to preferring a slightly heavier iron.

Safety

This may seem like a no- brainer, but when using an iron of any kind, you want a device that performs well without risk of burning your hands, or ruining your clothes. An automatic shut-off feature can be extremely useful for preventing fires as well.

Additional Features

Additional features that are nice (but not necessary)- LCD displays are becoming popular on modern irons and while they are cool and make your settings easy to read, a normal dial gets the job done too. Vertical steaming is also an interesting feature, however, for most sewing projects, it’s completely unnecessary.

Keeping the above in mind when exploring your sewing iron options can help you find the perfect machine for your needs. Of course, some features may be more important to you than others so what I may think is the best iron for sewing, you may disagree.

How do you press seams open when quilting?

Pressing your seams open is an excellent option when you have a lot of seams coming together in one spot, creating too much bulk. We covered these steps in our Best Iron for Quilting article, but we thought this was worth a quick review. Below are step by step instructions for pressing your seams open while quilting:

  • Begin by pressing the seam flat. This will remove any clumps of fabric your quilt or sewing project may have around the seam and ensure a smooth result.
  • Once the seam has been pressed flat, gently open the seam and press the seam open with your finger tips. Avoid pulling and stretching your seam as this will create an undesirable effect.
  • To further encourage the seam to open properly, run the tip of your iron along the fabric with some steam.
  • After running your iron along the fabric with some steam, follow up by pressing the seam fully open and flat.
  • Last, press the seam from the wrong side first, then turn the fabric back around and press the seam from the right side. By pressing the seam on both sides, you strengthen the seam.

What is a smart iron?

The Oliso® Smart Iron® features Oliso’s patented iTouch® technology that lifts the iron soleplate off of the fabric when not in use. They refer to it as a “Smart Iron” for this innovative feature that sets Oliso irons apart from some other well known brands like Rowenta.

The verdict

So what’s the best Singer sewing machine out there?

There are many.

But for us, the Singer 7258 100-stitch computerized sewing machine takes the cake. It’s got the perfect blend of modernity and tradition.

A beginner could pick this thing up, learn to sew on it, and then unlock possibilities for the next 40 years. Although, every machine on this list has something to offer.