Glossary: Irons

Irons Glossary

Anti-Drip System
Emits steam at low temperatures without spitting or dripping. Particularly useful for delicate fabrics.  

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 8 minutes in the upright position, and after 30 seconds resting on the soleplate.

Bar Pressure
The higher the bar pressure the more effective the iron is. The pressured steam removes creases more easily and quickly.

Cable Tidy
A cable tidy, compartment or clip is useful for storing your iron neatly. It will also lessen the possibility of damaging the wires if you can keep the cable kink-free.

Continual Fill
Continual fill allows you to refill the water tank without having to wait for it to cool down.

Cordless Irons
Cordless models are a great option, and one you should consider if you’re looking for even more flexibility.

Dry Iron
A dry iron is the most basic type of iron and also the cheapest. It doesn’t require any water, simply plug it in and switch it on, select the temperature and you’re ready to go.

A setting on the iron that removes scale and residue, making the iron more efficient.

Soleplate Type
There are 4 types of soleplates to consider when buying an iron.


1. Aluminium – basic standard soleplate
2. Coated Non-stick – basic, easy glide.
3. Stainless steel – durable, scratch resistant distributes heat evenly, reducing your ironing time.
4. Ceramic – durable, non-stick surface, distributes heat well, easy glide superior soleplate.

Steam Generator Iron
They apply a constant flow of high-pressurised steam at an intense controllable rate. Steam generators have separate water tanks, which make the actual iron lighter to hold and easier to manoeuvre.

Steam Iron
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. Usually, the higher the wattage of an iron, the more steam it produces and the easier ironing is.

Steam Rate (grams/minute)
The higher the rate, the better the steam penetration on fabrics.

Steam Shot
This provides an additional burst of steam at a higher vapour rate. Most steam irons have one located, within thumb's reach, at the front of the handle.

Spray Function
This pumps out water-mist to make crease-removal easy on very dry fabric.

Variable Steam
For varying steam output. Heavy fabrics like denim need more steam to remove creases than lighter fabrics like silk.

Vertical Steam
The iron is used in an upright position and has no direct contact with the fabric. By using high volumes of pressurised steam, clothes can be freshened up while still on the hanger. Ideal for getting out creases on your suits and curtains.

Water Tank
Most steam generator models come equipped with a large enough water tankfor about 90 minutes of continuous ironing.

The higher the wattage, the more powerful the appliance.