Dry Iron vs. Steam Iron: Which Is Better?

Ironing has become a daily necessity for most people. You might not realize it, but you iron your clothes every day! So, which iron is better?

Is steam iron better than dry iron?

Steam iron is the best purchase as it is versatile, lightweight, and highly efficient. Steam iron works better with stubborn wrinkles. Moreover, it has steam options and auto safety features. Whereas, the performance of dry iron is not satisfactory. It can’t remove tough wrinkles effectively.

Sounds fun! Then, read the whole article for a better understanding.

Let’s go!

Ironing clothes on the iron table

Dry Iron vs. Steam Iron

The performance of steam irons is far better than dry irons. They have so many useful features to process fabrics smoothly. So, removing wrinkles with steam irons is super easy. They work fast and are safe to use. Even, your kid can use it too. Moreover, they have anti-drip, anti-scale, and auto-shut-off options.

Most importantly, you can use them for vertical steaming. So, say goodbye to your ironing boards. Just steam towards garments by hanging them with hangers. 

In contrast, dry irons don’t have such useful options. They are slow and can’t work better on stubborn wrinkles. Sadly, they don’t have steam options too.

So, steam irons are always better than dry irons. 

Are you curious to know more? Then, take a look at the pros, cons, and features of both irons. 

Dry iron

Dry iron is still a popular choice among users because of its simple design. As the name suggests, it utilizes its soleplate to offer you a wrinkle-free dress.

Ironing Clothes with Dry Iron
Ironing Clothes with Dry Iron

Features of Dry Iron

Dry iron has the following features

  • No water tank.
  • Has a solid soleplate.
  • Power may be as high as 1500 watts. 
  • The ironing quality is average.

Pros and Cons of dry iron

Steam irons perform better than dry irons.

Like every product, dry iron has some pros and cons. Just take a look.


  • Lightweight and energy-saving.
  • Suitable for ironing Polyester, Nylon, and Acrylic.
  • The cleaning process is easy.
  • Easy to operate.
  • Inexpensive and lasts longer.


  • Steam feature is unavailable.
  • Time-consuming.
  • No extra features.
  • Poor performance on Velvet, Cotton, and Linen.
  • Can’t remove stubborn wrinkles.
  • Fabric becomes rough after ironing.

Steam iron

Steam iron works better on all fabrics.

Steam iron uses steam holes and steam blasts to process clothes. The design of this iron is somewhat different from dry iron. It has advanced features like steam vents, steam blast, water tank, and vertical steaming. Interestingly, it comes up with a dual option, which allows you to use it as a dry iron too.

Ironing Clothes with Steam Iron
Ironing Clothes with Steam Iron

Features of steam iron

  • A great number of additional features.
  • Not time time-consuming.
  • Power may be as high as 2750 watts.
  • Better performance.

Pros and Cons of Steam iron

Steam iron has some positive and negative aspects too. Check out-


  • Allows vertical ironing.
  • Versatile.
  • Have safety features.
  • It has built-in anti-calc, anti-drip, and self-clean features.
  • Works better with stubborn wrinkles.
  • The fabric stays smooth after ironing.


  • Somewhat heavy.
  • The design is a little bit complex.
  • Consumes more power.
  • Leave marks on garments at high temperatures.
  • The cleaning process is complex.

Difference Between Dry Iron And Steam Iron

Water Tank

The most significant difference between these two irons lies in the design. Meanwhile, you may know that a water tank isn’t available in dry iron. Steam iron uses a water tank to generate steam.

However, this feature is not free from pitfalls. Users complain that their steam iron leaks water at lower temperatures. As a result, modern-day steam iron comes with an anti-drip feature.

However, if you want to avoid the leaking problem totally, buy a dry iron. Now!

The Soleplate

The Soleplate of the irons ensures smooth movement over garments.

Dry irons come with solid soleplates, which allow iron to warm clothes. In contrast, the soleplate of a steam iron contains steam holes. These holes throw steam over your dresses to remove wrinkles. Isn’t it amazing?

Therefore, ensure that the holes of the soleplate are not blocked. If these holes do not function properly, iron will take longer to work. So, clean your iron now! 

Spraying Mist

Steam iron comes with a spray mist option. It is always easy to iron wet clothes. Always moist your clothes before ironing as it will-

  • Protect the surface of garments.
  • Ensure smooth gliding of soleplate.
  • Remove wrinkles easily.
  • Ensures easy ironing.
  • Never leave marks on clothes.

On the other hand, if you use a dry iron, you have to use spray bottles. During my school days, I loved to do that. It still works today. However, it requires more time. 


Steam iron allows you to use it as a dry iron too. However, you have to follow some rules to utilize this feature.

Firstly, you need to set the “Stem Control” knob to “Nil.” Keep the water tank empty. After that, you can utilize the dual option.

However, dry iron never serves as a steam iron. Hence, if you are a fan of extra features like me, Steam Iron will be the best buy.

Number of Features

The design of a dry iron is pretty basic. It doesn’t have too many features.

In contrast, steam iron offers you many options like LED Display, Self-cleaning, Anti-Calc, and Anti-Drip. LED display lets you understand the current setting within a second.

Therefore, use steam irons to iron garments quickly. So, you can spend sweet moments with your family. Oh! never forget to follow safety rules. Most importantly, keep your kids away while ironing.

Cord Length

Interestingly, cord types also vary between dry and steam iron. You can purchase dry irons with different cord lengths. 

However, you can’t find dry irons with retractable or swivel cords. So, if you have a spacing problem in your studio flat, buy steam irons. They help you to organize cords easily.

Feature Comparison Table

I have prepared a comparison table to help you understand their features. Take a look-

FeatureDry IronSteam Iron
SoleplateSolidSolid with tiny holes
Spraying MistUnavailableAvailable
Steam HolesNoYes
TimeRequire more timeNot time-consuming
Vertical SteamingNoYes
ComfortableLess comfortableMore comfortable
Water tankUnavailableAvailable
PowerRequire less wattRequire more watt
Performance on WrinklesNot satisfactorySatisfactory

Special Treatment of Fabrics

You’re probably not so careful with your wrinkled clothes. But, it’s important to iron clothes properly to keep them smooth.

Therefore, check out the following table to understand which iron is perfect for which fabric.

Dry ironSteam iron
Acetate Muslin
Acrylic Calico
Silk,Wool(cashmere, flannel) Chintz

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose an iron?

If you want to buy an iron, follow the tips below to make the best purchase.

  • First of all, identify your needs. Remember, you can use steam irons as dry irons, but not the other way around.
  • Fix your budget. Steam iron always offers you advanced features. Therefore,  price of steam irons is higher than dry irons. Keep it in mind when buying an iron. However, sometimes you can get powerful iron at a low price.
  • Try to pick a comfortable and well-balanced iron.
  • Check out whether your iron has an auto-turn-off option or not. This feature is so handy. So, never forget this.
  • Search for iron with lots of steam holes. It lets steam iron work smoothly and removes wrinkles from your dress within a few minutes.
  • Find irons with high Wattage. The higher the Wattage, the better the performance.
  • If possible, buy irons with retractable cords as it makes the storage simple.
  • Don’t forget to check the weight.
  • Look out for a big soleplate as it will make your job faster.

Can steam iron be used without water?

Yes, you can use steam iron without water. However, in this case, your steam iron will function as a dry iron. 

  • Select the dry-iron setting on your iron by moving the arrow key to the ‘Dry’ option.
  • Or, if your steam iron has a steam turn-off switch, move the dial to the ‘Off’ position. 
  • If your steam iron doesn’t have this function, keep the water tank empty.

To understand this function properly, read the manual of your iron. Remember, don’t expect this incredible steaming feature with dry irons. Only steam irons allow you to steam dresses. If you need a more powerful steam feature, use a garment steamer.

How to solve the leaking water problem of irons?

Iron may leak water for several reasons. Please check the following steps to solve your problem. 

  • Make sure that the water tank is completely closed.
  • Never overflow the tank.
  • Check the temperature level. If the temperature is too low, iron may leak water. 
  • When you use distilled or ironing water, your iron may leak or drip water. Therefore, use tap water. However, you can use a mixture of drinking and tap water, provided that water is hard enough.
  • Always keep your water tank and steam holes clean.
  • Keep the soleplate clean.
  • Utilize the self-clean function once every month.
  • Never pour chemicals, perfumes, or other liquids into the water tank, as it may cause permanent damage and iron may leak water.

I hope that you may solve the dripping problem by following the tips mentioned above.

Do you put water in an iron?

If you use a steam iron, you need to add water to the water tank. As the name suggests, steam iron generates steam from hot water. Therefore, if there is no water in a steam iron, there will be no steam!

In contrast, you do not need to use water when you use a dry iron. Dry iron uses its soleplate to polish the fabric. 

Why does my steam iron spit out brown water?

Your iron may leak brown residual if the water quality is not up to the mark. When you constantly use hard water, you may face this horrible situation. 

However, you can quickly solve the problem. First of all, clean the water tank with vinegar and lemon solution regularly. 

If tap water is hard enough, stick with bottled water or distilled water, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation. 

Some modern-day irons have anti-scale features. So, buy those irons to solve this annoying problem.

Can you steam with an iron?

Yes, you can steam with an iron. To do this, follow the recommendations below: 

  • Firstly, make sure that your dress is clean.
  • Place your dress on a hanger.
  • Now, keep iron a few inches away from the dress and spray steam towards it. Vertical steam clothes from top to bottom.
  • Repeat the process until it removes the crease.  
  • Once steaming is complete, wait a few more minutes before trying the dress. 

How long should an iron last?

One shouldn’t expect that his iron would last almost 15-20 years. Nowadays, the majority of manufacturers offer a one-year warranty with their irons. Therefore, if your dry or steam iron works appropriately for two to three years, be happy with their service. 

Therefore, next time your iron or its temperature function doesn’t work correctly, throw it out. Then, search the internet to buy a new one. Nowadays, many renowned companies are producing irons.

What is the best soleplate for a steam iron?

The soleplate of iron matters as it keeps contact with your clothes. The most common materials of soleplate are stainless steel, ceramic, aluminum, and titanium. Now, I am presenting some features and pros and cons of each soleplate.

Stainless Steel

  • Most popular soleplate for irons.
  • Lasts longer.
  • Glides smoothly over fabrics.
  • Easier to clan.
  • Heats up quickly.
  • Scratch resistant.


  • Better performance at high temperatures.
  • The ceramic coating has worn down over the years.
  • Less smooth compared to stainless steel soleplate.
  • Distributes heat evenly.
  • Doesn’t scratch.
  • Durable and easy to clean.


  • Ensure gentle gliding over clothes.
  • Durable and good quality.
  • It even transfers heat.
  • Lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Cleaning is super easy.
  • Sometimes damage clothes.


  • Distributes heat evenly and more accurately.
  • Stick to clothes while ironing.
  • Provides a smoother ironing experience.
  • May damage clothes in the long run.
  • Costs lower.

Now, it is clear that each soleplate may be the perfect solution for a particular situation. Therefore, think twice before buying an iron as you know your needs better.

Final Thought

Now, we know the fundamental differences between dry and steam irons, their advantages and disadvantages. Not only that, we know which iron performs better on Cotton, Linen, Polyester, or Wool. Therefore, it’s the decision time. 

On the one hand, dry iron works perfectly on most fabrics. These are easy to operate and clean. But, dry iron is not versatile and doesn’t offer many options for users. Moreover, its performance isn’t so great.

In contrast, steam irons can be doubled up as dry irons. Their performance is great with so many features. But, it sometimes emits brown water or leak water.

From my viewpoint, steam iron performs better as I have been using this iron for the last three years. Overall, I am delighted with the performance of this product. 

So, buy steam iron without any hesitation.

Good luck!

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