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8 of the Best Irons for Quilting and Sewing

Picking the right iron is a hot topic for many sewists – make the best choice with our guide to the top eight irons and heat presses for quilting, patchwork, and sewing projects in 2022.

designer smoothes strips of fabrics by iron
Published: April 3, 2022 at 10:07 am
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As the old saying goes, preparation is the key to success and never is that truer than when sewing and quilt-making. Preparing your fabrics by washing and pressing them before you start working on your project is the best way to ensure it turns out exactly how you want it to, and applying heat along seams and edges is key to achieving a neat, crisp finish as you sew.

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Many stitchers make do by using their regular household irons when working on their crafts, but this isn’t always ideal, especially if it’s in another part of the house, in use when you need it, or simply isn’t up to the job. Treat yourself by buying an iron purely for your sewing and quilting makes and you’ll never have to wait for it to be free again.

We’ve put together this list of eight of our favourite irons and heat presses, each of which is ideal for use in your craft room, whether you're pressing the tiniest seams or a giant king sized quilt.

Why should I press my fabrics?

Sometimes, it’s far too tempting to skip out on pressing your fabrics before use, especially if you don’t have the equipment set up and ready to go before you start. Most of us don’t rate ironing amongst our favourite household tasks – so what difference does it make, really? The answer is, unfortunately, a lot.

Pressing your fabrics (and yes, there is a difference between ironing and pressing, more on that later) ensures that the fibres of the material sit flat and all wrinkles have been eradicated, allowing you to make accurate cuts when you’re trimming your pattern pieces. This is especially pertinent when you’re making something with lots of small elements that need to fit together precisely, such as patchwork quilts. Being off by just a few millimetres each time soon adds up and before you know it, your lovely square quilt is suddenly a rectangle – or worse.

Even after you’ve started, pressing your seams and edges as you go is an essential part of getting great results. It helps your work lay flat and will make the process of sewing and constructing your projects much easier, as well as giving them a much more polished, professional finish at the end. Take the time to properly press your items and you’ll see the difference straight away – we promise!

Pressing vs ironing: what’s the difference?

Ironing is probably what traditionally pops into your head when thinking of the action, in which you move a heated iron across your fabric in long, sweeping motions, working back and forth across the material.

Pressing involves lifting the hot iron up and placing it flat down onto the material, leaving it in place for a few seconds, then picking it up and moving it to the next point and repeating. There is no sweeping involved.

For most sewing projects, pressing is the better choice – it’s more precise, and it doesn’t pull on your fabrics or stretch them out. Plus, if you’re applying a fusible interfacing, pressing the layers in place won’t push and squish the melted adhesive around between your layers like ironing will.

Best Irons for Quilting and Sewing

1. Ansio Mini Steam Iron

ANSIO MINI quilting iron

Ideal for: Smaller spaces

This miniature steam iron from Ansio is compact, lightweight, and easy to set up, making it the ideal choice for stashing away in your craft room. The iron is ergonomically designed and includes a variety of handy functions such as a non-stick ceramic soleplate, anti-drip technology, and a sizzling high temperature of 230°c. Creases are removed quickly and easily from a wide variety of fabrics using the device’s steam release function, which hits your material with a blast of hot steam from the built-in water tank at the press of a button. A dual voltage selector also means that you can stick this iron in your suitcase and take it with you on holiday, too – and best of all, it’s under £25. Bargain!

2. Oliso Smart

OLISO SMART quilting iron

Ideal for: Serious quilters

Buy now from GUR Sewing Machines

This clever iron from Oliso caused a bit of a stir in the sewing world when it finally hit the UK market in 2020, and it’s easy to see why. This cunning device won Time Magazine's Invention of the Year when it first launched, and since then has continued to impress stitchers all over the world. It’s been specifically designed for use in quilting projects and features a range of sew-centric functions such as its patented Itouch technology, which lifts and drops the iron plate automatically in response to your touch. It also features a handy spray function for extra-stubborn wrinkles and a 5cm detailed tip, which is ideal for pressing tricky areas such as in-between buttons and along tiny hems. This is certainly one to watch for those who are serious about their sewing projects and want an iron that can match that energy.

3. Polti Vaporella 505 Pro Steam Iron

POLTI VAPORELLA 505 quilting iron

Ideal for: Heavy-duty projects

Buy now from Amazon

Polti has long been a top brand of choice for sewists around the world and the Vaporella 505 Pro Steam Generator Iron is a great option for anyone looking to add a heavy-duty iron to their sewing room set-up. Thanks to its high-pressure boiler, this iron generates a powerful jet of steam to ensure impeccable ironing on all fabrics in less time. With a thick aluminium soleplate and a sturdy cork handle, the machine feels sturdy and resilient and is built to last for years to come.

4. Singer ESP-2 Steam Press

SINGER ESP2 quilting iron

Ideal for: Large quilts

One of the most tedious parts of quilt-making is ironing the metres of fabric involved before stitching, and pressing metre upon metre of seams during (and after) construction. Cut that time in half by treating yourself to this Singer steam press, which provides almost 11 times the pressing area of a conventional iron. Simply pop your fabric (or project) on the plate, lower the lid, set the pressure and steam level and wait just a few seconds for your material to be pressed. It can cut traditional ironing times in half, which is an absolute lifesaver when working on large-scale projects.

5. Cricut EasyPress Mini

CRICUT EASYPRESS MINI quilting iron

Ideal for: Cuffs, collars and edges

Buy now from John Lewis

If you’ve only got a tiny seam to press or a collar to turn out, setting up your whole iron and ironing board can seem like a bit of a faff. Overcome the issue with this miniature heat press from Cricut, which is quick and easy to use and takes up almost no space at all. The lightweight, compact design was originally designed for vinyl heat transfers but is also ideal for pressing around curves, contours, between buttons, and in other tight spots. The compact size is also particularly handy for pressing seams while quilting, with three heat settings to allow you to achieve perfect results every time. It also features an insulated base and an auto-shut off to keep users safe.

6. Prym Mini Steam Iron

PRYM MINI quilting iron

Ideal for: Applying delicate interfacings

Buy now from Sew Essential

Being that it’s made by sewing experts Prym, we just knew that this budget-friendly miniature iron would be ideal for stitching and quilting. Its small size and multiple heat functions mean it’s particularly well-suited to working with delicate fabrics and for applying fusible interfacings to a wide variety of materials. It’s also ergonomically-shaped and sits comfortably in your hand, making it a joy to use for long periods of time. Just like the Ansio mini iron this model features a dual voltage selector, so it can be taken abroad for use on holidays, too.

7. Clover Mini Iron II

CLOVER MINI IRON quilting iron

Ideal for: Perfect patchworks

With both European and UK versions available (so make sure you purchase the correct one!) the Mini Iron II from Clover was specifically created for quilting and patchwork, with a variety of different-shaped heads and accessories available to make pressing your projects a breeze. The small, concentrated base plate of the iron directs heat exactly where it’s needed, allowing crisp seams to be pressed with very little pressure. The tool also features a thick, ergonomically-designed handle for easy use, and heats up quickly once turned on for speedy service.

8. Philips PerfectCare Elite Plus

PERFECTCARE ELITE PLUS quilting iron

Ideal for: Use all over the home

Buy now from Philips

If you’re looking to splash out on an iron that is not only perfect for sewing but can be used for your day-to-day household ironing tasks too, the Philips PerfectCare Elite Plus could be the one for you. The device’s clever OptimalTEMP tech automatically adjusts the temperature of the T-ionicGlide soleplate to match whatever it is you’re ironing, with no dials or settings needed. You can even leave it resting face down on your fabrics without the risk of burns or damage, which is music to our ears. The DynamiQ smart sensor also judges when, and how much steam to apply to your items, to once again guarantee the best results every time. Finally, the iron’s impressive 1.8 litre tank capacity gives up to two hours of continuous use – which is ideal for working those king size quilts (or the family’s laundry pile!). The PerfectCare Elite Plus might be the most expensive device on our list, but it certainly provides enough extra features to justify the higher price point.

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We hope you've found a new quilting iron to add to your craft stash. We have plenty more machine round-ups for you to check out. Head over to our best long arm quilting machines and best cutting mats to discover more useful tools.

Authors

Sophie TarrantWriter and sewing pro

Sophie is a Colchester-based writer and lifelong craft enthusiast with over 15 years' experience in the UK publishing industry. She worked on the launch of Let's Knit and Sew magazines, where she ran the sewing machine reviews section during her time as Deputy Editor. She loves dressmaking, embroidery and collecting way too much fabric and also worked for 6 years as Craft Editor for Hubert Burda Media, on titles including Your Home, Wedding, Wedding Flowers, Christmas Made Easy and HomeStyle magazine. You can follow her latest creations in needlework at @SeeSophieStitch on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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