If you're fanatical about getting the creases out of your clothes and want a superior product, our testing consistently shows that steam stations perform better than most traditional irons. They come with a hefty price tag, but you can rest assured they'll get the job done.
Now 'ironing systems' have entered the market, with an even bigger price tag. They're an all-in-one system with active ironing boards, equipped with inflation/suction systems to effortlessly iron out the wrinkles in your clothes. We put the Laurastar S6A ($2799, one of six models in the range) and Miele FashionMaster B2826 ($2199) to the test to answer the burning question: are they worth it?
Some of the extra features you'll be shelling out for in these all-in-one systems are the inflation and suction functions on the ironing board. Inflation works to create an air cushion between the garment and the board, ideal for ironing delicate fabrics. The suction function secures the garments to the board so they stay in a fixed position during ironing. Another thing that sets them apart is the textile protector plate for delicate fabrics.
Other features both have include:
- vertical steam
- steam lock
- refill during ironing
- textile protector plate for delicate fabrics
- power on, thermostat and water low lights
- cord and hose storage
- boards that can be adjusted for height, ranging from 82cm to 102cm
- automatic shut-off: if left unattended, the Laurastar will shut off after 15 minutes, the Miele after 14 minutes.
The Laurastar also has an automatic steam setting whereby the iron will automatically release steam when the iron is moved forward.
So, do they work?
Yes: they produce a lot of steam and the iron glides effortlessly across all sorts of fabrics. The Miele also has a hand-held steamer which is good for smoothing out your silk dresses or business suits.
For full details of how their performance stacks up against steam stations, check out our steam stations review, where we ran them through the same gauntlet of tests as for the stations.
Ease of use
Both are easy to use.
- Filling the water tank and checking the water level is very easy and the handles are comfortable to hold.
- You can adjust the temperature via a lever-type switch under the handle for the Laurastar and a knob under the handle for the Miele.
- Both have cord storage; the Laurastar's spring-loaded cord retraction is a little more convenient to use than the Miele's storage area at the bottom of the unit.
- Both also have a hose holder that keeps it away from the board while ironing.
- They both fold and have wheels to manoeuvre, but this doesn't necessarily make moving them around easier.
- The Miele's hand-held steamer may prove difficult to use for a long period. That’s because the hose and the bottom part of the handle become very hot, very quickly.
- Some may find the fan noise of the Laurastar irritating on its lowest setting.
- They are both quite bulky and heavy: the Laurastar weighs 19kg while the Miele weighs 30kg.
- Neither is self-cleaning or has variable steam.
- They're expensive!
There's no denying that both these ironing systems are impressive. They glide effortlessly over all types of fabric, product a lot of steam and their fan systems help to make light work out of an otherwise tedious and time-consuming job. They're also a breeze to use. If you own a lot of delicate and designer garments then these systems will help you to maintain these pieces. And if you're willing to outlay this sort of money to do this, then they're worth looking at.
Miele FashionMaster B 2826