Quilting goes hand in hand with sewing, however, it requires additional equipment. For an experienced quilter, the only thing more important than the sewing machine is the iron. Finding the best iron for quilting is not as simple as it may seem. These devices come in all shapes and sizes and the price tags do not always reflect their quality. Furthermore, quilting requires specialized clothes irons that have certain features that most models lack, such as highly accurate temperature controls, and ceramic soles with advanced gliding capabilities.
In other words, you will have to know what to look for and make an informed decision. Getting a quality iron isn’t particularly cheap and you will have to focus on getting a product that fits the way you work and the types of fabric that you use. Also, there is no generally accepted formula for finding the right device. It all depends on your preference and on the amount of money that you are prepared to spend.
Below you will find everything that you need to know to buy an iron that will make your quilting work easier and more enjoyable. We have also looked at the most popular models on the market to find the best quilting iron for beginners and intermediate quilters. Please keep in mind that although we have selected only the ones that are worth their price and come with features that are essential to a quilters iron, you will still have to go through them and decide which one fits you best.
As a general tip, if you are not prepared to make a purchase, or are not sure what product would work best for you, it is always a good idea to go to the official websites of the manufacturers such as Rowenta and leave your name, email and other required information to subscribe to their newsletters.
Know the difference between irons designed for quilting and ones that you can use for sewing
Sewing Irons – These usually have wider temperature control because they must be used with a wide variety of fabrics, both natural as well as synthetic. They also have a pointed soleplate tip that can be used for precision work;
Quilting Irons – Quilting normally uses very thick and heavy types of fabric, which means that you need an iron that can get as hot as possible. Quilting irons should be as large as possible, to cover more area. In terms of weight, heavier models are preferable because they do not need to be manually pressed down on the quilt to do their job.
The Best Steam Irons On The Market
We have looked at the most popular products that are commercially available to help you find the best iron for quilting projects. These are easy to use, they have accurate heat settings, and should last for a long time without requiring any type of reparations. Furthermore, their features are designed for both ironings as well as quilting, making them useful in a wide variety of scenarios.
#1. PurSteam Professional Grade Steam Iron – An advanced quilting iron that has a stainless steel soleplate
PurSteam is known for manufacturing extremely powerful irons while maintaining a small price tag, and this model is no exception. The 1700W device can reach maximum temperature in a single minute and evenly distributes the heat across the surface of the sole. However, one of the best features of this model is the fact that it comes with a self-cleaning system that automatically cleans the soleplate without requiring any additional tools.
- Heats up fast – The iron can reach maximum temperature in around one minute;
- Axially aligned steam holes – The iron can release a large amount of steam with the press of a button;
- Automatic shut-off feature – The device will automatically shut down when it detects that it isn’t used anymore or if it falls on its side;
- No retractable cord – Retractable cord systems have pretty much become the norm for mid-range products such as this one;
What makes it different?
This iron is great for individuals who are on a budget but do not want to give up any of the safety features of more advanced models. The device does not have a ceramic soleplate, but the stainless steel one works just as great.
#2. Rowenta DW5080 Steam Iron – A durable iron that comes with an anti-calcium system
The Rowenta DW5080 is a bit more expensive than other similar models, but it comes with advanced features that prolong its lifespan and also protect the fabrics from high heat. An integrated anti-calcium filtration system allows you to fill the tank with tap water without worrying that it will damage the steam pump or the soleplate. Furthermore, the device also comes with an anti-drip system that prevents water from dripping directly onto the fabric. This having been said, the feature that we loved the most is the steam system which consists of 400 channels that are evenly distributed across the stainless steel soleplate.
As for safety, the DW5080 iron from Rowenta automatically cuts off power if it detects that it has been left in an upright position for more than 8 minutes, or on its side for 30 seconds.
- Anti-calcium filter – Any type of water can be used with the Rowenta quilting iron;
- Great steaming system – A large number of steam holes is perfect for opening seams and pressing them without having to moisten the fabric beforehand;
- Well-designed safety system – The Rowenta DW5080 has among the best safety systems around;
- Starts dripping water after a few months – The anti-drip system of the Rowenta DW5080 is inefficient;
What makes it different?
The DW5080 from Rowenta has a steam system that is great for quilting, especially if you work with very thick fabric. Its 400 steam holes ensure that a large quantity of steam is released in an instant and that it is evenly spread across the surface of the soleplate. Although the model does not come with a self-cleaning function, the fact that it has an anti-calcium filtration feature prevents degradation over time.
#3. Beautural 1800-Watt Steam Iron – A powerful steam iron that comes with an LCD display and a ceramic-coated soleplate
This 1800-Watt iron from Beautural is perfect for preparing the fabric for sewing and quilting, as well as for pressing thick fabrics. The model comes with 9 preset modes that control the heat settings to iron and press various materials. With a power of 1800 Watts, the device heats up fast and can generate temperatures that are high enough to press multi-layered seams.
What we like most about this model is the fact that it features a double ceramic soleplate which is more durable than steel and is highly resistant to scratches. The advanced soleplate enables the device to evenly heat the fabric underneath, while the built-in temperature settings ensure that you will never burn the materials that you are working on.
- Powerful – The iron can reach higher temperatures than other similar products;
- Shuts down in 8 minutes – The device automatically shuts off when it detects that it has been left upright for 8 minutes;
- Great soleplate – The double-layered ceramic soleplate distributes the heat evenly while also protecting the fabric;
- Heavy – This model is heavier than other steam irons, which means that you won’t have to press down as hard when going over quilting seams;
- Heavy power consumer – The steam iron draws a lot of power from the home grid, which means that using it at the same time as another heavy consumer such as a microwave oven may blow a fuse;
What makes it different?
Beautural test all of their products before sending them to their clients, ensuring that you always get a fully-functioning product. As far as features are concerned, this is one of the more advanced models on the market. The best thing about the iron is its ceramic-coated soleplate that will not burn fabrics provided that you also use the correct temperature and steam setting. Overall, the built-in systems of this smart iron make it great for quilters who do not yet know what temperatures to use for various fabrics.
#4. Black +Decker Digital Advantage Professional Steam Iron – A professional quilting iron that has a high steam rate
The Digital Advantage Professional model from Black+Decker is a smart iron that comes with variable temperature and steam controls that are easy to use and make quilting simple. Although it only has a stainless steel soleplate, it is scratch-resistant and extremely easy to clean. Furthermore, the model comes with moisture control buttons that enable the user to decide how much water is sprayed on the fabric.
- Great steam feature – The customizable steam feature allows the user to decide exactly how much steam is released when pressing the fabric. Furthermore, the Black and Decker model can be increased so that it will release a burst of steam that can
- Great customizability – The ability to customize everything from the amount of steam that is released when pressing clothes to the exact temperature makes the smart iron great for quilting projects;
- Self-cleaning system – The device comes with a self-cleaning feature that uses a burst of steam to clean the soleplate;
- Difficult to see if full – The black plastic of the steam iron makes it difficult to see the water level;
What makes it different?
Many consider this model to be the best iron for quilting because it has one of the best steam systems of all the Black & Decker products. It can be a fairly useful quilting iron if you need an iron that offers a lot of flexibility and power. The main downside is that it only has a stainless steel soleplate, which is not the best in terms of heat distribution.
#5. Steamfast SF-717 Mini Steam Iron – A small steam iron that’s portable and easy to use
Every quilter should also have a small, portable iron that can be used as a backup. The SF-717 isn’t meant for steam ironing, but it can get you out of a bind if your main pressing iron malfunctions. This having been said, there isn’t a lot that Steamfast managed to integrate into this small iron. The device has 420 Watts of power, which may not seem like much, but it can heat the non-stick soleplate in well under a minute.
One thing that we like about this quilting iron is the fact that the handle is designed as a mushroom, enabling the user to really push down on it. Another good design decision for this type of product is the fact that you can find all the controls in the same place, on the upper side of the handle. This makes changing the temperature on the fly easy.
- Good as a backup – The SF-717 is small, but it is useful if you need a backup for your current iron or if you want more control when working with certain types of fabric;
- Affordable – The price of the iron is well under that of a cheap iron that is designed for quilting;
- Long cord – The 7.5-foot cord is more than enough for any workroom;
- Made primarily for sewing and regular ironing – The SF-717 isn’t really for a quilter, It can do everything that you may need from an iron, but it lacks the power required to get you through a large project;
- Small water tank – The iron can only hold 1.4 ounces of water, which means that you will have to refill it regularly if you need to constantly use the steam system;
What makes it different?
This model is not necessarily one of the best irons for quilting, but it is useful to have as a backup or for detail work. Furthermore, it is unlikely that you will be able to find a good, portable model that is this affordable. It may not have a large water tank like regular models or a lot of quality-of-life features such as itouch technology or customizable temperature profiles, but it will get the job done. The device has only 420 Watts of power, but the small surface area of its soleplate can heat up in under 60 seconds.
#6. Chi Steam 13101 Professional Grade Steam Iron – A quality iron that has a titanium-infused ceramic soleplate
The 13101 is a good choice for quilters who work with thick fabrics and need a very powerful iron that can generate a lot of heat. When compared with other steam irons on the market, the 13101’s water tank isn’t too large, being able to hold 10 ounces of water, but it should be enough for most projects. The model has 400 steam channels and 1700 Watts of power, which is enough for any type of quilting project.
One of the main features that we like about the 13101 is the fact that unlike other similar products designed for quilting, it features a titanium-infused soleplate. Most products in this price range only have a stainless steel one that is easy to scratch and needs constant cleaning.
- Very durable – The titanium-infused ceramic soleplate is almost scratchproof and will not chip or break if you accidentally drop the iron on the floor;
- Long cord – The 10-ft power cable is great if you do not want to use an extension cord;
- Fabric guide – The temperature of the iron can be set according to the type of fabric that you are working with;
- Relatively small water tank – The water tank tends is somewhat small when considering how much steam this iron can release at once;
What makes it different?
This is one of the best steam irons around, especially for those who need a sleek product that can heat up fast and has accurate temperature controls. If you are looking for a good iron that is easy to clean and is easy to use then you may want to consider taking a closer look at the 13101.
#7. Panasonic Contoured L70SRW Cordless Iron – An advanced iron that includes a power base and a storage case
Panasonic is a world leader in terms of electronics and this includes products such as the L70SRW iron. The device is not necessarily designed for quilters, but it includes features that make it useful for sewing, quilting, and everything in between. The 1500-Watt iron is completely cordless and must be set on its power base to reach the desired temperature, however, once it heats up it will stay this way for up to 10 minutes.
We liked the fact that the L70SRW has a detachable water tank, which can be refilled without having to hold the entire device in an awkward position. Furthermore, the power base is not as bulky as that of other models and can easily fit on an ironing board.
- Stays hot for a long time – The iron will maintain its temperature for up to 10 minutes, which means that you will not have to recharge it often between pressings;
- Enough power for quilters – The iron is designed for sewing projects, but it has the same amount of power as products designed for quilters;
- Detachable water tank – The tank must be completely removed to refill it which helps prevent water spills;
- Touch controls – The temperature and steam settings are controlled using a touch panel that is easy to reach;
- No indicator light – The iron does not have an indicator light to inform you must return it to the power base to recharge. This can make it impractical for quilters who want to know the exact temperature of their iron;
What makes it different?
The fact that it is cordless makes this iron a good choice for quilters who do not have enough room to do a lot of cable management in their workroom. The base will fit on any ironing board and has a retractable power cable that can be easily stored away when you finish the project. It is also important to mention that the price tag is relatively small when considering the fact that you’re getting a good 1500-Watt iron that has an electronic temperature and steam controls and a detachable tank.
#8. Black+Decker D3030 Allure – A professional iron designed for quilters and tailors
The D3030 Allure is a perfect iron for any quilter since it has a lot of power and can generate a large quantity of steam. This not only makes it useful for pressing thicker fabrics such as denim but also means that you will be able to work faster.
From a structural point of view, the device has a stainless steel soleplate a non-slip grip, and a durable water tank. Furthermore, the power cable is oriented upwards, so the D3030 will have a lot of stability when upright and will not fall off if the ironing board wobbles.
- Durable soleplate – The soleplate of the iron is made from stainless steel and will glide smoothly on any fabric;
- Dynamic steam feature – The iron can generate a lot of steam and even create a steam burst when needed, which is useful for quilters who always press their seams;
- Self-cleaning system – With the press of a button, the iron will generate a large quantity of steam that will automatically clean the soleplate;
- Independent controls – The D3030 iron has independent controls for temperature and steam, which is ideal for quilters who like complete control over their equipment;
Tends to spit – The steam channels may also release droplets of water on occasion;
What makes it different?
We like that the D3030 iron has a relatively low price when compared to other similar models, and it has functions that a quilter will find useful, but it is far from the best product out there. Overall, the D3030 iron is a good choice if you like to have a lot of control over the temperature and steam functions.
#9. Oliso M2 Pro Mini Project – A small iron that can generate a lot of heat
The M2 Pro from Oliso may be small, but it has 1000 Watts of power and will easily generate enough heat for most quilters. As with most products of this type, the device has a relatively small tank, but it makes up for this by featuring an extremely durable diamond coated ceramic soleplate, which can be used for any type of material.
This having been said, the price reflects the power of the iron, making the Oliso M2 one of the more expensive mini designs around, especially when considering the fact that it does not come with the patented itouch technology of other products from Oliso. If you tend to work with very thick materials it is best to use this one as a backup.
- A lot of power – The Oliso M2 Pro Iron offers a lot of power for a product this small;
- Solemate technology – The Solemate technology enables the Oliso M2 Pro iron to detect when it has been left face down on the fabric and adjust its temperature so that it won’t burn it;
- Temperature selector – The iron offers temperature presets for different types of materials;
- Diamon coated ceramic soleplate – The advanced soleplate of the Oliso iron ensures that the heat is evenly distributed and maintained at a constant level;
- Not powerful enough – The iron does not have enough power to press multi-layered seams;
- Relatively expensive – The price of the iron is similar to that of a larger, more powerful product
What makes it different?
The 1000 Watts that it offers makes the Oliso M2 Pro the best choice for a quilter who needs a small portable iron that packs a punch. Unfortunately, the iron is too small to support the itouch technology that Oliso is known for, but the build quality is good and the features that it does include are extremely useful.
#10. Clover MCI-900 Iron – A small iron that is designed specifically for a quilter
The MCI-900 is not your regular iron as far as design is concerned. This mini product is essentially a handle that is attached to a small angled head that is perfect for tight spaces and seams. It is important to mention that the iron also includes a metallic stand that can be used to store it when not actively using it.
An experienced quilter will be able to use the device effectively, but regular individuals will find that it has only been designed for specific purposes.
- Ideal for seams – The iron works best when used to press seams and can even handle several layers at once;
- Affordable – The price of the product is lower than that of a mini product, making it an affordable companion to a regular iron;
- Low usability – The MCI-900 iron is only useful in specific situations;
What makes it different?
The MCI-900 has a low price and is specifically designed for quilters. While it is among the best products around for straightening seams, its usability is limited by the surface area of its head.
Buying Guide – What to look for when you’re getting a new quilting iron
It takes quite a bit of knowledge to find the best irons for quilting and every detail is important when looking for a model that you will use daily. Luckily, the basics are easy to understand and keep in mind when shopping for one of these devices. Here are the main things that you need to keep in mind to get a great product:
Quilting irons usually weigh between 2 and 4 pounds, however, you may also find smaller models are great for traveling.
- Heavy irons – A heavy iron does not need to be pressed down on the fabric, but it is heavy to maneuver, especially around corners and delicate seams. The biggest issue with heavier models is the fact that you cannot use them for a long time without getting tired and may, in time, cause back pain;
- Light irons – The lighter an iron is, the more pressure you will have to apply to it to do its job, especially if you are working with stiff or thick fabrics. These are less difficult to use over long periods, but their lightweight design means that you will have to go back to certain sections of the fabric and press again;
- Travel irons – A mini iron is usually not a good choice for quilting, but it can be used for this purpose. The size of these models makes them great for detail work, but they are too light to efficiently press fabric. They also lack many of the features that larger products have, such as steam ironing and accurate temperature controls;
Temperature control features enable you to set the temperature that you want the iron to maintain. This function is invaluable when it comes to quilting since each type of fabric has a different temperature at which it starts to burn. Not having accurate temperature controls means that you will have to take the iron off the fabric more often to prevent it from burning.
The controls themselves usually resemble a wheel that is placed below the iron’s handle. They are easy to reach and should be in a position where your hand will not get close to the soleplate.
Overall, even if you find an iron that has accurate temperature controls, there is a small chance that it will start overheating after prolonged use. Do a bit of research before purchasing it and make sure that it will maintain the desired temperature even after a full hour of pressing.
The power of the iron refers to its performance and its ability to generate a high amount of heat and to maintain it while you work. This characteristic is expressed in Watts and should always be visible on the box of the device.
Generally speaking, the more Watts a model has, the hotter it will get, but this value also informs you of how fast it will reach maximum temperature. For example, a 2400 Watt iron will reach maximum temperature in well under a minute, while one that has less power may take 2 or 3 minutes and will not get as hot.
When it comes to quilting, it is better to look for an iron that is as powerful as possible. Working with thick materials such as denim requires a lot of heat and models that only have 1200 Watts may not be powerful enough.
The size of the water tank
All modern irons come with water tanks. This water can be used to moisten certain portions of the fabric, such as seams, before pressing them, or it can be turned into steam, which will help the quilt keep its shape for longer.
When it comes to quilting irons, you should always look for a model that has a higher water capacity. This way you will have to refill it less often and the added weight of the water will also make it easier to press thicker fabric. As a quality-of-life tip, try to find an iron that is easy to fill, for example, a model that has the intake valve at the front or on the top.
Steam irons can release large amounts of steam when they are pressing. This moistens the fabric and allows the heat to penetrate the quilt more easily. Almost every model that can be purchased at the moment is essentially a steam iron since this feature has become a standard in the industry.
This having been said, if you plan to work with thick materials then you should look for a model that can release a large amount of steam at high pressures. Also, keep in mind that the steam systems use the water that is stored in the tank, so if you get a steam iron that has a small tank you will have to refill it every 10-15 minutes.
Durability is very important when it comes to quilting irons because the devices are required to get very hot and to maintain the temperature for an extended time. This can damage the electronics and even melt the plastic, over time.
Look for models that are made from durable materials. The soleplate should be able to take a fall without breaking and the plastic of the case must be thick but slightly flexible so that it won’t crack if you accidentally drop the iron to the floor.
This having been said, keep in mind that models with ceramic soleplates tend to be more fragile and dropping them may cause the material to chip away.
The safety standards that are attached to these products ensure that the water will not leak and that the handle will never get hot enough to burn your hand. More advanced models may also come with features that automatically run the power off after a while or that notify you if you forget to turn them off such as the Rowenta DW 5080.
As an added safety measure, look for a quilting iron that has a large backside so that it will not fall over if you place it upright. In many cases, the best iron for quilting may be the one that is the safest to use, not necessarily the model with the most features.
Certain manufacturers may include various accessories with their products, such as iron rest pads or wall-mounted iron holders. These are not necessary but can be useful, especially if you want to quilt daily.
Other accessories you will have to buy separately, like ironing pads that prevent the fabrics from burning, and soleplate cleaner pads.
Ideally, you should always look for a quilting iron that offers great features overall. Models that have great temperature control systems, but cannot generate steam power efficiently may lead to accidents where you destroy the fabric or even harm yourself. This having been said, look for a safe iron that is safe and easy to use and that offers extremely accurate temperature controls so that it can be used on any type of fabric. If you pay attention to what product you choose you should be able to get an iron that will last for upwards of a decade.
How do you iron a fabric quilt?
In most cases, it is enough to spray the seam with water to moisten the fabric and then to slowly run the iron tip over it. This will open it up completely and press it flat, locking the seam into position. After this, turn the fabric over and let the iron sit on the back of the seam for a moment. This will complete the pressing and ensure that the seam will retain this position.
Which way do you press a quilt seam?
This depends on the pattern, but in most cases, it is better to press towards the darker side of the fabric so that the colors won’t bleed through the lighter ones. Generally speaking, the seams that are pressed toward darker fabrics face away from the other seam allowances once you sew them together and this can make the quilt less bulky.
Should quilt seams be pressed open?
This depends on your taste and the project. A large number of quilters make a habit out of pressing their seams open to reduce bulk. Doing this becomes particularly important when many seams come together or when you are working with extremely thick fabrics like flannel and denim.
The process of pressing them open is simple and can be done with any steam iron, but it will also work with a regular one.
What is the difference between ironing and pressing?
Both techniques are used for quilting, but they fulfill different tasks. Ironing means moving the iron back and forth, the same way you would when smoothening the wrinkles on your clothes before wearing them. On the other hand, pressing is much more stating and means that you have to let the iron sit on the fabric for a few moments before removing it.
The first technique is meant to straighten superficial wrinkles in the fabric while the second one delivers much more heat in a single spot and allows it to penetrate the material. The end result is largely the same, but pressing is better when you are working with thick fabric and when you want to iron seams.
What causes puckering in quilting?
Puckering appears when the layers of fabric shift and pull on the seams. This can be avoided by using a proper walking foot for your sewing machine and taking care not to force-feed too much material at once. Keep a steady pace while sewing, do not pull on the fabric and no puckering should occur.
Can I quilt without a walking foot?
Yes, however, it would be extremely difficult without one. The walking foot is the main component that transforms an ordinary sewing machine into a quilting one. All sewing machine models have a presser foot, but it is designed for very thin fabrics. A walking foot can handle the extra bulk of the thicker fabric and also works great when sewing several layers at once,
Quilling without a walking foot will lead to puckering and make sewing extremely difficult, even when working with thin fabrics.
Are steam pressers more efficient than irons?
No. Steam pressers are useful for clothes, but they are not designed to properly press the seams found in quilting. The size of iron makes it easy to properly open the seams while also pressing them, and will work with any type of fabric. Steam pressers do not offer this degree of control.
All the items that we have included in this list have been tested by both amateur quilters as well as professionals and have been chosen due to their durability and the features that they offer. This having been said, you may still make the wrong choice if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Go through the explanations for each of the main features to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each product. Furthermore, consider spending a bit more to get an iron with more quality-of-life features such as the anti-calcium filter of the Rowenta DW5080. Depending on how often you quilt, it may be better to get a product that is comfortable to use for long periods.
Generally speaking, treat the purchase of the iron as an investment. It is better to spend a bit more and get a more durable model than to get an average product that may only last a year, at most, forcing you to regularly get a new one. If you also want to get a backup iron, then a product like the Oliso M2 Pro should prove useful, however, we recommend that you first focus on getting a device that is designed for a quilter.
Go through our tips and then look at the products that we have reviewed. Finding the best iron for quilting shouldn’t be difficult as long as you look for a model that you think you will be comfortable with and that you will be able to actively use to make your job easier.