How much would you be prepared to pay for crease-free clothes and quick, easy ironing? £50? That’s around the right amount to get a great iron, but are any of us ironing that much any more?
I can think of many uses for £50, and none of them involve forking out on what I consider to be a non-essential household chore. But then, I happily avoid ironing at all costs with hardly any impact on my day-to-day life.
And that’s because I can. I don’t have to be suited and booted for work, and I’m prepared to sacrifice crease-free style when I buy clothes. And while I can appreciate there’s nothing quite like slipping between crisply-ironed sheets, if it’s at the cost of man-handling the duvet cover around the ironing board I’ll choose to line-dry bedding every time.
But if I had to iron 232 shirts a year – roughly the number a five-shirts-a-week suit wearer transitions through their ironing pile every 12 months – I suspect I would have to face up to my ironing aversion.
Ironing avoidance tactics
When I think about it, I’ve evolved a trick or two to make my iron-free life possible. I select a lower spin speed on my washing machine so clothes are left a little wetter. Then time spent shaking out creases in damp washing and pulling fabrics taut on the airer works wonders for smooth (ish) dry clothes.
Adrian Porter, our laundry researcher, has given up on the pressed shirt. He too reduces the spin-speed, gives shirts a 10 minute tumble-dry, then puts them straight on the hanger. A quick once-over the areas that are prone to creasing (like the collar) with an iron and the finished article is perfectly acceptable.
Cheap vs pricey irons
Still, I must admit that I do own an iron, and in some ways I wouldn’t be without one. It’s essential for those unavoidable occasions when I have to dress smartly, for example. But I know that when it finally gives up the ghost, I’ll want to spend as little as possible on its replacement.
Cheap irons do exist – we test a lot of them at Which?. But they’re not always up to scratch. Common failings are they just don’t generate enough steam to tackle stubborn creases. Or they start off OK, but steam levels soon tail off as they clog up with limescale.
On the flip side, more expensive irons (in the £60 – £100 price bracket) generally do noticeably better in our tests. The best of them steam powerfully and glide smoothly across fabrics, making it quicker and easier to blitz through the laundry pile.
It looks like I’ll face the eternal price vs quality dilemma when I’m next shopping for an iron. The outcome will be heavily influenced by my aversion to ironing. But that’s just me – how much would you be prepared to spend on a new iron? And if you have any tips and tricks to avoid or minimise ironing, I’m all ears.
How much would you pay for a new iron?
£25-49 (51%, 522 Votes)
Less than £25 (23%, 235 Votes)
£50-99 (18%, 184 Votes)
More than £100 (9%, 89 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,030