Most modern irons are safe and effective at removing wrinkles from a wide array of fabrics. The steam from an iron is used to remove the wrinkles faster than an iron without steam. Some models of steam irons have unique features such as vertical steam which allow you to steam hanging clothing and curtains. The basic features such as automatic clean, surge protection and auto shutoff are standard on most inexpensive irons today.
Decide if you like a heavier iron or a lighter iron. Know that weight has not shown to alter the effectiveness of the steam iron. Choose the weight of steam iron that you will be most comfortable holding.
Take the iron out of the package before buying it. Test the size and shape of the iron in your hand to be sure you like how it feels to hold it. Test the buttons to be sure they are easy to twist or press.
Ensure the iron is consistent with the industry standard for modern irons by making sure that features such as auto shut off, varying fabric settings, and steam shut off are present. Know that most irons are equipped with these features, so finding one that does not may reflect on the quality of the iron.
Choose a steam iron with a transparent water reserve. It is convenient to know exactly how much water is in the reserve while you are ironing. Try to find a steam iron with a removable water reserve, because this is the easiest and safest way to refill your steam iron with water.
Choose an iron with a retractable cord. Do not sacrifice quality in an iron for a retractable cord, but if you can find a good iron with this feature it is convenient. Test the retraction before you buy the iron to be sure the action is smooth and solid feeling.
Choose an iron with a "burst of steam" option. Know that this feature comes in handy frequently when a high steam output is needed. Use the "burst of steam" option for fabrics such as heavy tapestries or light delicate fabrics.
Choose between a non-stick soleplate or a basic soleplate. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a non-stick soleplate which is easier to clean, but tends to scratch easier on zippers. Know that the non-stick soleplate has not shown to make for more effective ironing.
Choose an iron with a vertical steam option, and you can use your iron to take wrinkles out of hanging clothes and some curtains.