Iron Press

An iron press combines the power of steam and the force of pressure to quickly and effectively de-wrinkle garments of all types. Without wearing down the fabric, an iron press smooths, makes perfect creases and adds an attractive sheen to clothing, drapes or other materials. Iron presses differ from traditional handheld steam irons in terms of size and cost. Whereas a handheld steam iron must be run over the whole garment one small area at a time, an iron press provides a steaming surface that is up to a dozen or more times larger. This allows one to steam whole pant legs, sleeves, skirts, shirts or blouses in one go. 

Brands and Prices

Brands such as Singer, Smartek, Kalorik, Vornado, Hammacher Schlemmer and Reliable, among others, produce consumer iron presses. Prices range from approximately $150 to $500. More expensive than a handheld steam iron, a pressing unit delivers faster results, thereby saving time otherwise spent constantly repositioning a garment on an ironing board, steaming one small patch at a time. 

Iron Press Design

Iron presses come in both horizontal and vertically-configured models. Horizontal iron presses resemble an ironing board in their general shape and dimensions. The basic design of this type of iron press consists of dual steaming plates, with the top one mounted directly on the bottom plate. The bottom plate is in a fixed position attached to the stand. The top plate is attached to the handle of the press. During use, a garment is placed atop the bottom plate. The top plate is hand lowered into position, sandwiching the garment between the two, at which point the steaming commences. A control panel and water reservoir are two other primary design components. Vertically-configured iron presses stand upright and feature a built-in hanger to support a pair of pants or other garment while steaming. Otherwise, these units operate along the same lines as horizontal models. 

Safety Mechanisms

Like standard steam irons, iron presses include safety features in their design. Most importantly, an automatic shutoff circuit kills power to the iron when it is left unattended for a set period of time. The plates are lockable as well, useful when storing or transporting the appliance. While iron presses generate high temperatures, the steam won't burn fabric, preserving both garments and the iron itself. 

Performance Features

Iron presses feature a steaming area with dimensions that vary according to the unit. The width is commonly 9 to 12 inches, while the table length ranges from about 24 to 34 inches. Far larger than a handheld iron, clothing and other materials are pressed that much quicker. With temperatures of up to 410 degrees F and over 100 pounds of pressure, fabric is softened then shaped, removing the stubbornest of wrinkles and making crisp, straight seams. Control features may include a digital or LCD display panel, providing one-touch operation. Most units include variable steam and temperature control, steam burst option and programmable timer. A temperature or steam-ready indicator light is common. Steam plates are generally made from polished, non-corroding stainless steel, while models with Teflon-coated plates are available as well.