A Steam Generator Iron is a professional asset you can utilize in your home or a commercial environment. More powerful than a regular iron, the best steam generator iron produces an adjustable amount of steam that can be used to press cotton and dry-clean only garments. Steam generator irons look similar to a regular clothes irons but are equipped with a robust platform or base, allowing for specific adjustment to suit a variety of steaming and pressing needs. The internal pump system and powerful heating element are specifically designed to produce a maximum amount of steam. A steam generator iron is ideal for fabrics that are easily wrinkled or mussed, including stiff cotton and denim, or for delicate dry-clean only garments. It is a valuable asset for any wardrobe, saving time and money that would be otherwise dedicated to out-service dry cleaners. They are also well known for cutting ironing times in half due to the significant amount of steam the units produce.
Steam generator irons also called continuous steam irons, use a traditional-looking ironing unit connected to a water tank and steam generator by an external tube and pump system. The powerful pumping action is attached to a superior heating element, producing an impressive output of steam for pressing clothes. The platform containing the water tank and steam generator usually has a place where the ironing unit can be propped for storage purposes.
The steam tank holds enough water to produce approximately 90 minutes of continuous steam but can vary depending on the brand and model. They also have different water requirements though more brands are geared toward domestic use and can utilize traditional tap water. Otherwise, a mixture of distilled and tap water is often used to fill the reservoir. Look to the manual for further information on what type of water the steam generator iron will use.
The ironing unit is often lighter than traditional irons, making for a more convenient experience that requires little exertion or force upon the garments being pressed or steamed. The ironing surface is usually plated with steel, ceramic, or a Teflon-coat, making for easy maintenance and periodic cleaning.
The performance of a steam generator iron is measured in steam output, or in grams per minute (g/min.) This may measure between 70 to 140 g/min – the higher the steam production, the quicker ironing is completed. A steam output of more than 120 g/min is satisfactory for most families. Along with generated steam, the bar rating of steam pressure determines how well the steam will penetrate clothing without leaving them damp. Look for a score of above 3.5 but 4.5 and above will dramatically decrease the time spent ironing because only one side of the garment needs to be ironed. Note that pressurized units are the only ones with a bar rating – non-pressurised units will have none.
Steam generator irons vary, some offering unique features and advantages over others. Many have practical purposes, directly related to making the task of steaming large projects, such as draperies, easier and less time-consuming. A locking mechanism is an example of one of these features, allowing the user to continue a large project without having to hold the button down manually throughout. Many models also feature a thermostat and a steam shut-off, allowing the iron to be used as a dry iron as well. The versatility of these units can mean savings in the long-term because of its use in a variety of different projects. Features such as a low-water indicator light or the ability to refill while in use are two other high-end additions making them more convenient for the average user.
As mentioned before, some steam generator irons have specific water requirements or will indicate that they have some kind of anti-scale or anti-calcium feature, preventing a build-up of minerals from tap water usage. This feature helps prolong the life of your iron.
Safety features are especially important when considering a steam generator iron. Because they produce a significant amount of steam, they also produce a lot of heat. It is important to ensure the model incorporates an auto shut-off feature, turning the iron off when not in use.
Considering the primary purpose for the steam generator iron will help determine what features are required in a particular model. For families that will utilize the iron in a lot of drapery cleaning, it will be important to ensure the model allows for vertical cleaning, which can also dry-clean clothes still on hangers. For difficult to press or finicky fabrics, a steam turbo boost feature will help reduce ironing times and may further improve performance with these kinds of materials.
Just as many different models and brands produce the steam generator irons, there are also different types, namely pressurized or non-pressurised models. This is one of the most important decisions regarding the purchase of a steam generator iron as it determines how the steam is produced and applied to clothing.
A non-pressurised system will produce similar quantities of steam but do not have a forceful application of the steam into clothing. Conversely, a pressurized system will apply a large amount of steam with air pressure, allowing deeper penetration into clothing and fabrics. This makes for a more powerful unit.
However, choosing a non-pressurised and pressurized unit is mostly based on personal preference. Both will demonstrate superior performance over conventional irons and reduce ironing time. The pressurized system may produce the same result in a shorter period of time and can be an important consideration if there are large quantities of clothing to be ironed, such as with a large family or a commercial application. But a bigger factor may be budget, as pressurized units typically cost more than their non-pressurised counterparts. Weighing the potential benefits with the added cost will be a primary factor the decision-making.
Choosing to incorporate a steam generator iron is the first step toward improving efficiency in home steaming and ironing tasks, allowing for increased performance in a fraction of the time.