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Irons jargon buster

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Irons jargon buster

Below is your quick reference guide to irons.


Controls dripping water from steam vents, and so helps to prevent spilling and leaking.


Built in anti-scale function that automatically helps to prevent and remove limescale, saving you the money of buying any anti-scale products.

Auto-shut off

Ensures your iron is automatically switched off when not used for a set period of time, when it is knocked over, or when it's left unattended.


The amount of water that an iron can hold in its hand unit or base unit. The amount of water determines how long you can iron for before you need to refill. Steam generators, as the water is held in a separate base unit, can hold much more water than a steam iron.

Continuous fill There is no need to switch off the iron and reheat when refilling the water, simply refill the tank as you go.
Cord length A longer cord length will give you more manoeuvrability, making ironing more flexible and comfortable. This is usually measured in metres.

The best soleplates distribute steam and heat evenly. A good-quality soleplate is essential for effective ironing to make sure the iron can glide easily over fabrics. Also, the material of the soleplate is important to the durability of the iron.

Aluminium soleplate This basic soleplate conducts heat well, but is hard to clean and scratches easily. It is not non-stick, and may become 'sticky' after time, possibly causing wrinkles on clothes as you iron.
Ceramic soleplates The highest-quality soleplates. They have a durable, non-stick surface, and effectively distribute steam and heat. They offer an extremely smooth gliding action over fabrics.
Non-stick coated soleplate Easy to use as the surface glides easily over fabrics. This helps to prevent any pulls or wrinkles as you are ironing. They are easier to clean and are typically more durable and scratch resistant.

Stainless steel soleplate

Distributes heat evenly and glides well. However, this type of soleplate easily scratches if care is not taken over areas such as buttons and zips.

Steam output Higher steam output ensures better crease removal. Therefore, steam output improves results and shortens ironing time. This is measured in grams produced per minute. So, the higher the grams per minute, the higher the steam output will be. Pressurised steam generators can release steam up to a pressure of 5 bar (units of pressure). The higher the bar, the greater the pressure output.
Steam shot The iron is able to trigger a burst of steam through its plate directly on to fabric. This helps you to tackle even the most stubborn creases, and makes it easier and faster to iron thicker fabrics. Measured in grams produced per minute, the higher the grams per minute, the higher the steam shot output.
Vertical steam Allows you to use the iron very much like a steamer, to steam out wrinkles on hanging garments. It is ideal for removing creases from curtains and coats, and excellent for delicate fabrics such as silk.
Wattage Higher wattage reduces heat-up time and increases performance.


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