Have you ever had an iron that leaks? I am sure leaky irons are the bane of any quilter’s existence. I learned this the hard way when I was sewing my first mini quilt. Everything was fine until I was making a final press with my old iron. But the iron started dripping water onto the fabric. And somehow the drops made spots on the newly made quilt. I couldn’t take the spots out of white fabric. I was so disappointed in my iron.
I decided then and there that I needed to find a good iron for quilting that wouldn’t drip water when in steam mode. After doing some research, I found the perfect iron (or better say a few great irons) and I haven’t had any issues with water spots since.
What Makes An Iron Rank As The Best Iron For Quilting?
There are many qualities that a good iron should have in order to be suitable for quilting and sewing. First and foremost, it should not leak. A leaky iron can ruin fabric and cause permanent stains.
The best iron for quilting and sewing projects needs to be able to handle a variety of jobs. In fact, you may need to have a couple of irons, to ensure you have the best tools at hand to give you seamless results every time.
Based on your individual needs, your best iron for quilting should be able to deliver all or most of the following characteristics:
- Varied temperatures so that it can be used on a variety of fabrics without damaging them but also high enough temperature for cotton and linen (I had some irons that were not hot enough)
- Both dry heat and steam
- A comfortable grip
- Easy to maneuver, so that you can use it for long periods of time without fatigue
- Sufficient weight to lighten your load bearing pressure
- An easy plate surface, preferably non-stick, that glides easily over fabric
- A precision tip for points and narrow seams
- Auto shut-off (this is optional though as some quilters prefer no auto shut-off)
- Budget-friendly price point and
- Adequate surface area for the project
✅ Related tutorial: Basic Sewing Tools: Iron Buying Guide
What Are Some Problems To Look For When Choosing An Iron?
I have read lots of reviews on Amazon and I see that irons marketed as quilting and sewing irons tend to have some common problems, and customers are not shy about sharing bad experiences when things go wrong! You have to be careful and look at the percentages though.
If an iron has a 4.9/5 rating and only one or two people had a bad experience, it could be that one bad product slipped through quality control or that one person didn’t follow directions. However, look for these issues that could signal the product is not a good choice.
- Irons that leak – messes to clean up and wasted time
- Temperature controls that do not work – damage to delicate fabric
- Limited water reservoir – too much time spent refilling the water storage tray
- Unbalanced design – easily tips over when not in use, safety hazard
- No precision tip
- No compatible wattage available
- Temperature control awkward to use
OK. Now, let’s look at the top ten best irons for quilting gathered from my personal experience and customer reviews. I will start with gravity feed irons.
Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you order a product through one of my links. I only recommend products I believe in and use myself.
Best Steam Iron For Quilting
If you’re looking for the best steam iron for quilting, look no further than a gravity feed iron.
Gravity feed irons are unique in that they have a large external water reservoir (as opposed to a regular steam iron). This design allows gravity to do its work and slowly feed water into the soleplate as needed.
There are a few reasons why gravity feed irons are the best choice for quilting. Because they have a higher water capacity, gravity feed irons will produce more steam than other types of irons – and as any quilter knows, more steam equals less ironing time. You can quickly and easily remove wrinkles from fabric.
You can iron continuously without having to stop and refill the water tank as the reservoir is quite big. Gravity-feed irons usually don’t leak like standard irons.
They tend to be more durable than traditional irons since they don’t require as much maintenance.
Gravity feed iron is great for those who need to iron large quantities of fabric or who need to iron for long periods of time. Most of these irons have no auto-shutoff.
Gravity feed irons are also typically lighter in weight than other types of irons, which makes them easier to maneuver around fabric.
These irons are perfect for any quilter who wants professional results without any fuss.
However, gravity feed irons can often look outdated compared to other models on the market, so it’s important to decide whether looks or performance is more important to you.
Be sure to check out my top three picks for the best gravity feed irons on the market.
Best dry iron for quilting
Before discussing the best dry iron for quilting, let's talk about why you might want a dry iron rather than a steam iron in your quilting room.
Well, dry irons are usually lighter than steam irons. They have fewer features. No water tank, for example. Also, the plate is typically smooth, no holes or sharp edges to snag delicate clothes, because you don't need escape holes for steam.
Dry irons are suitable for most fabrics, but especially for low-heat and moisture-unfriendly fabrics. Think – silk, wool and some rayon blends.
Dry irons are excellent for quilting, too. Remember, that Gravity feed irons are not only steam, they are also dry. Without water, you still have an excellent iron.
Best Mini Iron For Quilting
While regular irons are essential during the fabric prep and finishing stages of quilting, having a mini iron around is perfect during the piecing phase of your quilting projects.
✅ Related tutorial: Mini Irons For Sewing And Quilting
One of the biggest advantages of having a mini iron around while piecing is that it’s much more convenient – you can use them right at your sewing machine, which means less time spent walking back and forth between your ironing board and your machine.
Being able to press the seams right after stitching them will save you a lot of time and hassle in the long run.
This is especially true when you are putting together tiny little scraps or matching points. You can use a smaller tip to get the job done.
It is also lightweight and easy to maneuver. And because they are so small, you can easily store them away when you’re not using them.
Plus, packing an overnight bag with a mini iron and a few squares is undoubtedly lighter than taking a full-sized Rowenta Steam Iron along.
Here’s what you need to know about both.
Rated 4.6/5 stars, the Dritz Mighty Travel Iron is easy to hold. Its 5 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 3 ergonomic shape is perfect for people with arthritis. 260W-420W US. I recommend this mini iron as the best small iron for quilting and the best mini iron for traveling because it is a value-priced iron that has a lot of features with very few issues.
- Don’t leak
- Heats up quickly
- Priced right
- Excellent steam
- Gets super hot
- No auto shut off
- Have to refill water often, like, very often
This mini iron has an unusual shape as you can see. It’s so easy to use. And, like all minis, you do not have to get the ironing board out, so you can iron out those small seams quicker and easier than getting the larger iron out. Plus, it has a digital control panel.
✅ Related tutorial: Wool Pressing Mat: How to Use, Pros and Cons, Best Brands, Sizes
- Ergonomic handle
- Multiple heat settings
- Rapidly heats up
- Adjustable head
- No steam
- Expensive (but often on sale)
- Extremely small
Best Cordless Iron For Quilting
Cordless irons are becoming increasingly popular so I bought one and decided to test it.
A cordless iron is exactly what it sounds like—an iron that doesn’t have a cord. But it still has a base for charging and the base has a cord and needs to be plugged in.
Cordless irons are designed for portability, so they’re usually smaller and lighter than standard irons. They are easier to maneuver than a standard iron. This makes them ideal for getting into tight spaces or getting around obstacles. You don’t have to worry about the cord getting tangled or someone tripping over it.
Having a portable combination steam/dry iron like the Panasonic NI-L70SR Cordless is a fantastic addition to any quilting room.
I have one of these and I absolutely love it. The stainless-steel soleplate is super smooth and heats quickly. And, touch-bottom controls make it easy to switch from dry to steam, as well as increase or decrease temperature almost effortlessly.
The Panasonic NIL70SR is definitely in the running for an award as the best cordless iron for pressing quilting blocks, in my opinion.
- No cord ironing
- Don’t leak
- Automatic shut off
- Comes with a portable case
- 1500W (120 V charger base)
- Moderately priced
- Does not maintain consistent heat for long periods
- Smaller than corded models
- The base still needs to be plugged in
✅ Related tutorial: Pressing tools I use for sewing
Best Small Iron For Quilting
When it comes to quilting, a small iron can be a very handy tool. It’s great for getting into small spaces and corners, and for pressing small fabric shapes. A small iron is much easier to maneuver than a large iron, making it simpler to achieve precise results. Small irons are also lightweight and won’t tire your arm out as much as a large iron.
Best Rowenta Iron for Quilting
Rowenta irons are known for their quality and performance, making them a great choice for quilters. There are a variety of Rowenta irons to choose from, each with different features to suit your needs.
Rowenta irons have a reputation for being durable and reliable, so you can be sure that your iron will last for many years. If you're looking for a high-quality steam iron, Rowenta is a great brand to consider.
Rowenta irons are some of the most popular on the market, and for good reason. They offer a variety of features that make them ideal for both everyday use and also sewing and quilting.
However, I have had mixed results with Rowenta irons. My first Rowenta iron worked well for several years, but eventually started to leak, leaving water spots on my quilts. I decided to upgrade to a newer model, but found that the water reservoir (which was dark blue) was difficult to see, making it hard to tell how much water was left. As a result, I ended up returning the iron.
But I see now that the newest model of Rowenta - Rowenta DW9280 Digital Display Steam Iron - is a very popular model.
✅ Related tutorial: Review of Singer Intelligent Steam Press model ESP26O
FAQ About The Best Irons for Quilting
If you’re looking for an affordable standard steam iron for quilting, I would recommend the BLACK+DECKER ICR16X iron. It’s less than $30 and does a great job of getting the wrinkles out of your fabric. It comes with all the features you need and expect from a well-known brand like BLACK+DECKER.
As far as mini irons for quilting, I recommend the Dritz Mighty Travel Iron. At less than $40, it is lightweight, easy to control, gets into tight spaces and efficiently smooths out those seams and wrinkles quickly. You can use it at the machine or anywhere you have access to electricity.
The best Oliso iron for now is Oliso TG1600 Pro Plus 1800 Watt SmartIron. Oliso is a popular brand for quilters. Ratings are consistently high among users. But there is sometimes a definite love/hate relationship. I had an Oliso, and it was a great iron, but it stopped working after about a year. I do a lot of ironing, so I thought that was why. After some research, this is what I found about the Oliso TG1600 Pro Plus 1800 Watt SmartIron.
There is a learning curve.
Anti-drip prevents leaks. Rapid heating, 1800 watts for powerful horizontal, vertical, and variable steam bursts. Easy to fill 12.7 oz side water tank. Practical 12ft cord with 360 swivel for convenience. Extended 30-minute auto-off, ideal for quilting and sewing.
Many people say the plate catches on their fabric until they learn how to use the “easy-glide” technology properly.
Quilters report that they like that they have several settings for steam control and heat settings, but the iron is not as heavy as they expected it to be for the price.
One quilter said, “This iron was great, until it wasn’t.” And this is my thought exactly – it was great until it stopped working. Most quilters agreed that the iron worked as described. A few found that it stopped working rather quickly, while others said it lasted many years. It leaves me to wonder if the TG1600 Pro Plus is not designed for daily workouts 24/7/365?
I think the biggest turn-off for many is the $200 price tag and the risk of having a dead iron in a few months if you are a prolific quilter.
If you have arthritis, you know how important it is to have a lightweight iron that is easy to grip and maneuver. The Black+Decker ICR2020 is a budget-friendly option that delivers plenty of steam and is lightweight and seems to be gentle on hands and wrists. SmartSteam Technology optimizes steam volume based on the temperature setting you choose which can come in handy for those tougher wrinkles. Ergonomic design is comfortable for both short and all-day ironing sessions.
The gravity feed irons listed above are all excellent options with large water reservoirs.
Another amazing iron with a large water reservoir is the Rowenta-DG8624U1. It has a 37 ounce removable water tank that provides an hour and a half of use! Plus, you have super powerful vertical and horizontal wrinkle elimination strength, so you can get your fabric prepped in no time.
Thankfully, there are dozens, maybe hundreds of irons for quilters on the market today! Make sure you look for the features that are most important to you before buying anything. That way, you are sure that you have something you know will suit your needs.
I hope this post answered your basic questions about finding the best irons for quilting projects. Did you get the answers you need to make better buying decisions? If so, follow me on Pinterest, for more tips on finding the best sewing accessories, fabrics and patterns.
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