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Best Travel Irons

By: Amy Livingston on November 13, 2017

Travel irons are compact enough to slip into a suitcase

Travel irons may not be a necessity -- after all, many hotels put an iron and ironing board in even the tiniest room closet -- but they have their uses. Some travelers don't trust hotel irons, and some people prefer these small, lightweight irons for crafts such as sewing and quilting. A travel iron can even be an inexpensive alternative to a full-sized iron for people who very seldom use one and just want something simple for quick touch-ups.

Regardless of your reasons for choosing a travel iron, the Sunbeam Hot-2-Trot Travel Iron GCSBTR-100-000 (Est. $6) is likely to fit your needs. This compact 800-watt iron measures just 3.4 by 3.1 by 6.5 inches and weighs a mere 1.1 pounds, yet it has all the basic features you need in a steam iron. The heat level is adjustable, steam can be switched on or off, a shot-of-steam button blasts wrinkles, and an indicator light tells you when the iron is up to temperature. The iron also has a special perk that's useful for travelers: A dual-voltage converter allows it to switch between the 120-volt power used in the United States and the 240 volts used in many foreign countries. Sunbeam backs the iron with a 1-year limited warranty.

The Sunbeam Hot-2-Trot has over 1,650 reviews at Amazon, Walmart, and Bed Bath and Beyond, with overall ratings of around 4.2 stars out of 5. Owners say this iron packs quite a punch for its small size, both in heat and in steam power. It heats up fast, and it's very light and maneuverable.

Like many irons, the Sunbeam is not immune from durability complaints. Some users say the iron broke down completely within a year, while others complain that the nonstick coating on the soleplate started to wear off shortly after they bought the iron – often damaging their clothes in the process. We also saw several reports that the steam function isn't reliable and the water reservoir tends to leak, especially when the iron is cold. Finally, many users wish that the heat settings on the dial indicated which type of fabric each setting would work for, instead of just reading "min" and "max." But overall, owners consider this an affordable, no-frills iron that gets the job done.

The only other travel iron we found good reviews for is the Steamfast SF-717 Travel Steam Iron (Est. $25). This tiny iron is even smaller than the Sunbeam – 2.9 by 3.1 by 5.3 inches and under 1 pound in weight. Like the Sunbeam, it has adjustable heat, a burst of steam button, and dual voltage. It also comes with a carrying bag for travel.

The Steamfast iron has around 1,400 reviews at Amazon, with an overall rating of 4.3 stars out of 5. It's particularly popular with quilters, who say its compact size makes it ideal for pressing seams and convenient for toting to classes. Users say the Steamfast gets very hot – almost too hot, according to some owners – and produces a good amount of steam. Quilters also like the fact that it does not have an auto shutoff feature, so it stays hot in between pressing blocks. However, we also saw several reports that it leaks or spits, and like the Sunbeam, it has quite a few complaints about reliability.

Travelers sometimes say they don't need an iron when they travel, and they don't like having to hassle with hauling out the hotel's iron and ironing board. Rather, they need a method for steaming suitcase wrinkles out of their clothes as quickly and easily as possible. For those weary (but wrinkled) wanderers, a handheld travel steamer could be a better choice than an iron. To find one, check out our separate report on garment steamers.

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