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Which steam press is best?

Nobody likes ironing clothes. It takes ages, you need an excessive amount of gadgets — including a special board — and the reward is tiny compared to the effort. Thankfully, there’s an alternative: steam presses. A steam press does all the things an iron does, but simpler and faster.

The best steam press is the Steamfast SF-680 Digital Steam Press With Stand. It’s simple to use and has plenty of surface area. The stand holds the press and your clothes to keep both from falling on the ground.

What to know before you buy a steam press

Surface area

Arguably the most important aspect of a steam press is its surface area. The larger the surface area, the more you can press at once and the sooner you’ll be done. 

However, with increased surface area comes increased size, weight and cost. The biggest presses can be 1 foot wide and 3 feet long or longer, with nearly equal surface areas. Weights can reach or exceed 30 pounds while costs can balloon to $500-plus. You need to balance all four when selecting a new press.

Safety features

Steam presses operate with a tremendous amount of heat. The best presses have key safety features to mitigate the risk of severe burns, especially to pets and children. The most common is an automatic-off switch that triggers after a short time of not being used, whether the press is open or closed. Locking handles are also common.

What to look for in a quality steam press

Temperature settings

The best steam presses include temperature settings selectable from knobs or digital displays. These are often named after the materials which respond best to the chosen temperature. For example, a nylon setting will use limited heat while a linen setting will use more. Presses without this setting need to have their heat manually adjusted, potentially ruining materials should you make a mistake.


Timer settings may be combined with temperature, offered separately or be exclusively offered. Like temperature settings, they can be selected by the intended fabric name or chosen manually. It won’t switch the press off once completed — only make a sharp, loud sound. Some presses without timer settings may automatically switch the heat off after up to 10 seconds to prevent damage.

Tank size

Most steam presses have water tank sizes to match their surface area. The average steam press has a roughly 10-ounce tank.

Steamless pressing

Certain materials, such as sheer fabrics, can’t be steamed. They can still be pressed should your steam press include a steamless setting. It can also be called “no-steam” or “dry.”

How much you can expect to spend on a steam press

The biggest downside to a steam press is the greatly increased cost over a standard iron — even the smallest steam press costs nearly $200. The average press costs up to $300, while the biggest cost up to $500.

Steam press FAQ

What’s the difference between a steam press and an iron?

A. There are several differences. The biggest is a steam press is effectively the iron and ironing board combined. This can save a tremendous amount of space, both in use and in storage. Irons must be swiped across your fabrics while a press simply opens and closes to steam. This requires far less pressure from your arm. Presses have huge water tanks compared to irons — as much as 10 times the size — meaning you don’t need to stop and refill midsession. Finally, the size of a press means your ironing can be accomplished much faster.

How do I use a steam press?

A. Only the beginning is similar to using an iron: fill up the water tank and allow it to come up to temperature. Once ready, open the press and place your fabric inside. Close it and keep it closed for the appropriate amount of time; you’ll find this in the owner’s manual or by using the applicable setting that matches your material. Open and either remove or readjust the item to press its remaining surface area. Rinse and repeat.

What are the best steam presses to buy?

Top steam press

Steamfast SF-680 Digital Steam Press With Stand

Steamfast SF-680 Digital Steam Press With Stand

What you need to know: This press and stand combo covers all the bases.

What you’ll love: It has a nonstick surface and heats its 10-ounce water tank in as few as three minutes. It has settings for five of the most common materials, including cotton and silk. The stand comes in black or white. There’s an option to exclude the stand.

What you should consider: The settings display isn’t as bright as it could be and the stand is a little costly for what it offers. There are rare reports of staining.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top steam press for the money

Speedypress Compact Ironing Steam Press

Speedypress Compact Ironing Steam Press

What you need to know: This mid-sized pick offers good value.

What you’ll love: It has settings for five of the most common materials. It includes an extra cover and foam underfelt, a spray bottle, a pressing cushion and a measuring cup. It has a one-year warranty. It has temperature indicator lights. It has an easy-carry handle.

What you should consider: Some consumers report an issue that sees the steam cease and requires the water to be reheated. Some consumers had issues with powder being left on fabric.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Speedypress Oversize Pressing Iron

Speedypress Oversize Pressing Iron 

What you need to know: This oversized pick is perfect for the regular steamer.

What you’ll love: It’s excellent for commercial-grade steaming. It has multiple temperature settings and a touch screen control panel. It has a seamless press option. Steam bursts can be triggered automatically or manually. It includes several accessories such as a spray bottle and tank filler.

What you should consider: This is among the most expensive presses. Some consumers had issues with uneven heating or broken heating after several months. Others had issues with uneven pressure.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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