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Irons buying guide
Iron out the creases, with Sainsbury's
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Sainsbury's has a great range of irons designed to make light work of even the largest pile of laundry.

What are my options?
What is a soleplate?
What other features are there?
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 What are my options?

Steam irons: more effective in removing creases, as the steam opens up the weave in the fabrics, while the weight and shape of the soleplate flattens and smoothes. The higher the wattage, the more steam produced and the easier ironing is.

Steam irons take water from a built-in water tank, heat it, and jet it out as steam. Transparent tanks are useful for keeping an eye on water levels, while detachable tanks let you refill without turning off the machine.

Steam is expressed in grams per minute, on a domestic steam iron this would typically range from 30-90grms per minute. The more steam, the easier it is to remove creases. Other features include: 

   Features to look for in steam irons 
   Vertical steamfor use on hanging garments, upholstered furniture and curtains
   Variable steamfor varying steam output. Heavy fabrics like denim need more steam to remove creases than lighter fabrics, like silk
   Steam burst/shotfor an extra burst of steam to help remove stubborn creases
   Spraythis water mist makes it easier to remove creases from very dry fabric

Steam iron generators: these are home versions of professional steam irons. They are similar to ordinary steam irons but have a separate steam generator attached via a hose.

The generator produces huge amounts of steam, usually around 2200W, and can halve ironing time as higher steam pressure means both sides of the fabric are pressed at the same time.

 What is a soleplate?

The soleplate is the metal underside of an iron, where heat is distributed. The material and design of a soleplate will affect an iron’s overall performance. There are four soleplate types: 

   Four types of soleplate 
   Aluminiumefficient and effective, the aluminium core spreads heat quickly and evenly, but it's sometimes liable to stick
   Coatedthe soleplate is coated with a non-stick finish to help it glide smoothly over clothes
   Polished stainless steelamong the smoothest, producing the least friction and making ironing easier. Steel can be scratched by zippers or the rivets in jeans
   Ceramicvery smooth, with the added bonus of allowing starch to be easily removed.

 What other features are there?

Anti-drip systems: emit steam at low temperatures without spitting or dripping. Particularly useful for delicate fabrics.  

Anti-scale: most steam irons have this feature and so, can be used with tap rather than distilled water. Cleaning systems and anti-calcium functions are designed to prevent calcium damaging the iron. Some irons feature a changeable anti-calcium cartridge or force calcium out of the vents with a burst of steam.

Auto shut-off: some irons automatically switch themselves off after eight minutes in the upright position, and after 30 seconds resting on the soleplate.

Dimples and steam holes: the more of these on a soleplate, the better performance.

Narrow tip: this gets the soleplate into tight spaces, like between buttons and pleats.

Vertical steam: for hung clothes or curtains. For many steam irons this simply means repeatedly pressing the shot of steam button.