Irons are divided into two primary categories: Handheld Irons and Pressure Irons.
Handheld irons are, by far, the most common. You can find them at places like Target for as little as $15. These irons get the job done and are relatively inexpensive. However, as with all things, there is a wide disparity in quality.
Limited water capacity
Limited steam flow
Pressure Irons are for those serious about ironing
Large water capacity
Continuous steam flow
Robust build quality
Heavier Sole Plates
Large footprint - requires more room to store
Steam takes several minutes to generate
When selecting an iron, there are a few questions to ask yourself:
How often do I iron?
Answer: Occasionally. A handheld iron may be the best choice.
Answer: Often. Consider a Pressure Iron
How much do I iron?
Answer: Only a few pieces. A handheld iron may be the best choice.
Answer: Many different pieces. The additional steam capacity of a Pressure Iron would be beneficial.
Do I use my iron for steaming?
Answer: No. A handheld iron may be the best choice.
Answer: Yes. The additional steam capacity of a Pressure Iron would be beneficial.
And of course, budget is always a factor. Purchase the best iron you can afford within your budget. Also, you are better off trading up on your iron than on your ironing board.
Kirby Allison considered several different iron brands before finally selecting Reliable Corporation as the sole provider of irons and ironing boards for The Hanger Project. Kirby now personally uses the C81 Up-Air & Vacuum Ironing Board and the J490A Pressure Iron. He irons regularly and enjoys pressing his own shirts between wears.