Whether you travel by train, plane or automobile, wrinkled clothes are an inevitable part of the journey. Regardless if you’re traveling for work or pleasure, unpacking your luggage will reveal clothes that don’t look like they should. For how simple and easy creased clothing is to fix… at any stage of your trip… this problem shouldn’t even feature.
A mini travel iron takes up less space than your average shoe and will add little more than a pound of weight to your luggage. When you arrive at your destination, it can be hot and steaming in seconds. Wrinkled clothes don’t need to detract from your Instagram worthy holiday memories.
Unless you’re going for that “I slept in these clothes” look, this tiny little appliance makes a big impact on how you look, as well as the impression you leave behind. We’ve reviewed 5 of the top performers for you to choose from, here are our findings.
1. Rowenta First Class DA1560 Folding Travel Iron
It’s not the cheapest, but its the most powerful of all the travel irons we’ve tested. It’s ideal for taking with on your next overseas adventure or if you just need to iron the occasional work shirt at home. From personal experience, Rowenta is a brand name to trust. Yes, you may spend a little more initially, but, you won’t risk wasting time or money on an underperforming appliance. Full Review
- Highest 1000 watts performance
- Great Quality
- Dual-voltage switch
- Flat folding handle & carry bag
- Slightly more expensive
2. Steamfast Small Mini Travel
The Steamfast holds the title of the smallest iron in the world. This is the perfect travel iron for holiday travel, business travel, quilting getaways, and sewing classes. It’s super light, super small and so well priced. Plus, it packs a steam punch that will expertly remove any imperfections. Full Review
- Lightest steam iron in the world
- Dual voltage capabilities
- Heats up in 15 seconds
- Medium Quality
3. Sunbeam Hot-to-Trot with Dual Voltage
You won’t find a cheaper dual voltage travel iron! If you only need to use a travel iron occasionally and don’t want to spend much, this lightweight mini iron will do the trick. Full Review
- Cheapest travel steam iron we’ve tested
- Dual voltage capabilities
- Not ideal for vertical steaming
- Average build quality
4. Panasonic Cordless Option for Sewing Retreats
This is not a traditional “travel iron”! Its larger than the traditional travel iron that you’d simply pop into your travel bag. This iron is ideal for portable use like in RV’s and for sewing retreats, but… its also perfect for use at home. If you never want to bother with a cord getting in the way, this cordless Panasonic is just the iron for you, and, I love that you can pack it away in its casing while it’s still hot. Full Review
- Excellent value for money
- Cordless ironing with a retractable power cord in the base
- Removable water tank
- Heat resistant carry case
- Perfect for RV’s & caravaning
- Ideal for sewing retreats
- Not ideal for overseas travel
- No Dual Voltage
5. Hamilton Beach Steam Iron
The Hamilton Beach iron is the ideal appliance for loyal brand lovers. It’s not the best travel iron if you compare it to the competition, but it’s basic, reliable and will get the job done. If you only need the occasional burst of steam to freshen up a garment or two while on the move, this little machine will deliver. Full Review
- Collapsable handle & carry bag
- Includes a fabric brush attachment
- Great for small crafting projects
- Not ideal for quilting or extended periods of use
Travel Iron Review – Buyers Guide
Highest Power Output
Our top performer, the Rowenta First Class has a voltage of 1000 watts which gives it its superior steam output, and the 200 hole soleplate ensures it distributes steam evenly across the clothing or fabric you are ironing. This powerful little wrinkle remover even earned itself a spot on the best steam irons for clothing.
Panasonic is 1500 watts but is not a traditional travel iron. Although it has been designed for optimum portability and ideally suits sewing retreats and classes, it is not a “throw-in-the-bag” mini travel iron and falls into a class of its own.
Most Compact Mini Iron
Small, lightweight mini irons mean you can always take this convenient appliance with you, even for short overnight stays. Steaming ironing clothes is so quick and effortless with an appliance only just bigger than your hand. They also help you to get more than a day’s wear our of some clothing. A quick steam will freshen up garments and even removes faint odors.
The Steamfast mini travel currently holds the title of world’s smallest iron, and after checking the facts, we can confirm this claim.
Not only is it tiny, but it’s also as light as a few feathers, 1 pound to be exact. It’s so teeny tiny yet delivers impressively in both heating speed and steaming capability. It is super comfortable to operate making it the winner not only in this review but as a favorite choice on Amazon too.
All the travel irons listed above can be packed in your carry on luggage too. The TSA Rules confirm that as long as you don’t attempt to use in during the flight, you have their approval.
Best Cheap Steam Iron Choice
The Sunbeam is a near-impossible price to beat. If budget is a factor in picking out your travel iron, then this option will be the lightest on your pocket.
Dual Voltage Performers
All of the above reviewed mini travel irons are dual voltage so book that overseas holiday. Yay! Only the Cordless Panasonic does not qualify in this category.
Globe trotters need an iron that can switch between the lower 100 and higher 240 volts. Depending on the rated voltage of the country you are visiting, you can simply adjust your steam iron to the correct setting and then straighten out clothing that needs a little attention.
If you use your steam iron when there is a higher power input, it may fail to work or worse, cause damage to the iron. Heating appliances like irons without a dual-voltage setting would require a voltage adaptor or convertor.
Safest Iron with Auto Shut-off
None of the 4 mini travel irons above have a safety shut off so it’s essential to remember to switch them off when they are done. They all power on then connected to a power source, so no on/off switches either.
Only the cordless Panasonic has an auto shut-off safety feature, the iron switches off after 10 minutes of inactivity. We generally expect this feature on a high-end product such as this. As the iron only powers up when on its charging plate, if it falls off its base or is left standing on its heel, it will automatically cool down.
Largest Water Capacity
This is only really a factor if you plan to use your iron for more than just a travel ironing. For a shirt or two, the small water capacity of any of the above irons will suffice, but… what if you want more?
The Hamiltons Beach travel iron leads the pack with 2.4 ounces. The amount of steam you use will ultimately determine how many times you need to refill your water reservoir. This in itself is as easy as popping open a water cap but if you have more ironing to get through, this can be a time-wasting nuisance.
For big steaming jobs from a travel-friendly iron, the Panasonic is your match. Not only does it hold 5 ounces (more than 3 times the amount of some of our mini steam irons), but when the time comes to fill the tank, it detaches from the iron and can be filled at a tap.
All the other brands, with the exception of the Steamfast, offer a 1 year limited warranty. The Steamfast includes a 2 year warranty. That along with its high performing features, value for money, and compact size make it our obvious favorite.
Cheap and low-quality irons have a reputation of only lasting a short period of time, but this should not be that case with any of the above travel irons. Should your iron fail, despite proper use and care, the manufacturers should back their products with support, repairs, and replacements.
Variable Heat and Steam Settings
Heat settings need to be adjustable to ensure different fabrics are treated with the correct temperature. The steam output should also be controlled and a steam burst feature is a great addition as it allows you to tackle tougher wrinkles with less effort.
An iron that offers both steam ironing and dry ironing offers more versatility if you plan to use it for home crafting too.
Reliable Cordless Convenience
While it would be nice to have an iron than ran on batteries, unfortunately, the level of heat required to iron clothes or produce steam requires a significantly greater amount of power. Most travel irons will have an 8 foot power cord that can easily be wrapped and stored away in a travel bag.
For this review, we did, however, include one cordless wonder. Although it is not ideal for throwing in a suitcase for holiday travel, it is the ideal sized cordless iron, with a convenient carry case. It suits camping and RV travel and is a big favorite for sewing retreats.
If you attend sewing or quilting classes, this iron is made for you. The Panasonic can be carried from place to place in its carry case regardless if the iron is hot or cold. So whenever and wherever you want to take it… you can. It also has a retractable cord that powers the base so there’s never a messy cable dropping or dragging behind.
Travel steam irons are conventionally small for easy portability, but this should not make them difficult to use. You should be able to grip the handle comfortably, fill the water tank without difficulty and adjust setting effortlessly.
Need an Iron for Sewing or Quilting?
Small travel sized irons are excellent to include in your sewing tool kit. Sometimes, a large iron can be cumbersome and heavy, especially on repetitive jobs like patchwork. The fact that most travel irons do not have an auto-shutoff, also means your iron is always hot.
The small soleplate also allows detailed precision without the chance of burning your fingers when it comes to flattening seams.
Small Irons for Home Use and Laundry
If you’re a bachelor or bachelorette, then a compact iron may be all you need. Although not what it’s been designed for, a travel iron can be used at home too. Because the soleplate is small, it goes not cover a very large surface area so cloth ironing will take longer compared to a traditional iron.
But if you’re one of those people who only iron the occasional shirt or dress when going out, then it’s a good match for you. It doesn’t take up much space, an 8 foot power cord is long enough to give you good reach, and it heats up really fast. (Sometimes faster than a traditional iron as they have a larger surface to heat.)
Word of warning: Travel irons do not have a safety-off switch, so be sure to switch it off to avoid scorches, burns or worse.
Having a travel iron in your luggage completes the experience of traveling across the planet and looking the part when you finally arrive. After you’ve used it once or twice, and saved a small fortune on the hotel’s ironing service, you won’t leave home without it.
It’s a game-changer for sure. You’ll sooner leave home without your toothbrush before leaving your steamy friend behind. Okay, maybe not everyone gets as excited about ironing as we do, but you’ve got to love the cool convenience of a tiny appliance that helps perfect the ultimate holiday photos.
What other travel essentials are you addicted to? Let us know what’s the first thing you pack when heading on a trip?