Distinct from common household models, a professional steam iron is not a commercial product, but it does feature a more durable, feature-rich design. Professional steam irons are used in households both to save time and to provide a more effective, more efficient means of removing wrinkles and making nice creases on clothing and other materials. Relying upon super-heated steam instead of fine sprays or mists of hot water, pro steam irons are easy to use and deliver immediate results. Equipped with numerous features, professional-grade steam irons are produced by Reliable, Rowenta and Shark as well as other appliance manufacturers at prices ranging from around $50 to $300. High-end dry steam irons can cost upwards of $1,300.
Using a pro-grade steam iron is very similar to that of a standard household iron. The water reservoir should be filled with no more water than what is recommended by the manufacturer. Once activated, the internal heating element works quickly to generate steam, indicating when it is ready to go. When the steam is ready, a steam-release button emits the vapor. Steam should be released onto fabric at a distance of a few inches. Follow this up with a few passes of the iron to apply the necessary pressure to the steamed material, shaping it accordingly.
Professional Steam Iron Design
A professional steam iron is well built and easy to use. The soleplate attached to the iron is typically constructed out of either heavy-duty die-cast aluminum or non-corroding stainless steel. Professional models may feature nearly 3 dozen separate steaming chambers which has the beneficial effect of limiting condensation within the iron itself. The soleplate's nonstick surface won't damage clothing as it presses and shapes it. Professional steam irons have a long, durable power cord and a high-wattage heating element. Select units such as the Reliable i700 may be compatible with optional steam boilers to provide additional dry steam power.
Professional steam irons have a bigger water reservoir tank than less-comprehensive irons. Their greater capacity can, with some models, provide up to 90 minutes of continuous steaming, ideal when there's a lot of work to be done. The heating element readies the appliance quickly, perfect for rushed mornings. Irons themselves feature an ergonomic handle, typically coated in cork or a rubberized material, and a convenient hand trigger for releasing the steam. It is not necessary to use distilled water; tap water is suitable.
Horizontal or Vertical Steaming
The beauty of a professional steam iron is that an operator can work with material hanging vertically just as effectively as with that laid out horizontally atop an ironing board. With pants, drapes and other long, potentially cumbersome items, half of the hassle of using a standard iron involves positioning the material squarely on a board and constantly moving it to reach each patch of fabric. Vertical steaming ability is what separates basic irons from the best professional models. For more impressive results, consider a dry pressurized steamer. These high-end devices use highly-pressurized steam to thoroughly penetrate fabric and deliver impressive results, only they typically require a 220-volt connection.