Have you ever heard of the phrase “Bigger is better”? In some instances, that may be the case, but when used in reference to, let’s say, selecting a clothing iron, it’s an unfortunate misconception.
If you’re in the market for a new iron and are gravitating towards a larger one, you may want to reconsider your options. Are you curious as to whether small irons can do as much as bigger irons?
Read our ironing sizing guide to find out!
Clothing irons were created in the 18th century and have since evolved to the ones we know today. The image that probably comes to mind is a heavy appliance that comes with a handle, a solid metal base, and a separate ironing board on which the ironing occurs.
The purpose of these devices is to remove wrinkles and creases from clothing using heat and pressure. When the device is heated enough, it glides over the material, causing the ties between the long molecular chains of the fibers to loosen. In this process, the fiber stretches, and when it cools down, it takes on a new, wrinkle-free shape.
The heat from the iron’s base works in conjunction with its weight and pressure to smooth out the wrinkles. That being said, newer models have taken on smaller sizes or various designs that deviate from the original. For example, mini irons (also known as travel irons) have gained a lot of popularity recently.
You would think that a smaller device wouldn’t be able to have as great of an effect on the clothes since it likely wouldn’t be as wide or heavy. As you read onwards, you’ll learn that that’s not necessarily true.
Benefits of Small Irons
So can small irons do as much as bigger irons? The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no.
Bigger irons usually come with larger soleplates, which means that they can cover a larger surface area; that is, it covers more of the material at once. As a result, it can smooth out wrinkles very quickly. Large irons also tend to weigh more, which means it requires less additional pressure from you to get the job done since the weight does it for you.
If you’re looking at a steam iron specifically, the bigger ones also come with larger water tanks. The benefit to this is that they require less refilling than the smaller ones. Factor in the iron’s substantial weight, and you can reduce the amount of pressure you have to exert when ironing clothes.
All of this may sound great, but there is a downside to every benefit, which small irons may make up for. Small irons may not be able to do all the same things as big irons, but that doesn't necessarily mean they do less or that they aren’t effective in removing wrinkles.
Here, we highlight some of the benefits to small irons that large irons simply can’t do.
If you’re someone who travels a lot for vacation or for business, you’re likely no stranger to the excessive wrinkles your clothes get after being compressed in a suitcase. Making a good first impression is key wherever you go, and wrinkles are sure to get in the way of that.
Unfortunately, if you own a larger, more traditional iron, you have to depart without it on your trips. The device would take up so much space in your suitcase, and the weight would be too much to handle (not to mention, there’s no way you can fit an ironing board in there). Some hotels have their own ironing sets in the rooms, but you really don’t want to take any chances as these irons are often not high-quality or well-maintained.
This is where small irons can come in and provide a service that large ones can’t. One of the biggest perks of owning a small iron is that many are portable! For example, The Nori Press is only 14 inches in length, which is a very similar size to a hair straightener.
At a lightweight 1.4 pounds, this on-the-go device would serve you well, especially for midday wrinkle emergencies. Not to mention, the lightweight form of such products means you don’t have to struggle to pick up or lug around a heavy iron in the morning or at the end of a long day.
As we had mentioned before, the heaviness of larger irons increases the pressure on the clothing, resulting in the removal of wrinkles. The large soleplates that come with them mean that you can cover more surface area at once.
Of course, small irons lack this same weight and coverage and therefore don’t produce the same outcome as larger irons.
But what small irons lack in weight and size they make up for in precision to detail. They can cover a smaller surface area at a time with their soleplates, and therefore can focus in on that area more effectively. You might think this would result in a longer ironing time, however that’s not always the case.
With large irons, a common issue that people have is that they can’t seem to get rid of stubborn wrinkles no matter how many times they go over the material. So even though small irons take their time, they are able to get wrinkles out, often more efficiently (and probably faster) than larger irons.
On top of that, ironing over the material several times sometimes does more harm than good. Larger irons hold a lot of heat and weight, and therefore you can run the risk of scorching your clothes. By focusing on one small area at a time and taking precautionary steps, you’ll have fewer wrinkles in no time and therefore don’t have to keep going over it and risking damage.
Similarly, people recommend spraying water on the material to help in the de-wrinkling process. With small irons, you can spray water or our Facial Fabric onto one given area and go over it specifically, rather than dampening the entire material and ironing it without that same attention to detail.
Another benefit to small irons is that they come with certain structures and features that make detailed work possible.
For example, The Nori Press comes with elongated arms to reach across the material, as well as a pointed tip for those hard-to-reach places. So if you’re ironing, let’s say, a button-down shirt, these features can help you work around the buttons well and efficiently—something that a large iron couldn’t provide.
Less Of A Hassle
Ultimately, smaller devices mean less of a hassle. There’s a lot that’s required of you when using a large iron; you have to make space in the room for the ironing board, lug the heavy and hot iron up and out, and spend some time gliding it over your clothes several times all while ensuring that it remains at a safe temperature for your clothes. Not to mention, it takes up so much space in your closet to store all of it.
Small irons take up very little space and require much less setup. In fact, it often only requires you to plug it in, press a button, and gently push it up and down your clothes! The Nori Press has an eight feet long cord for easy maneuvering, and since it's so compact and easy to use, you could even iron while multitasking (talk about a timesaver).
Large irons tend to have more traditional features, which are very limited. There’s much more variety with small irons, and they have features that can make your life so much easier. Our iron has six fabric-specific settings, which greatly contrasts the basic temperature dials that large, traditional irons have.
Similarly, ours comes with built-in tilt sensors to ensure automatic shut off after ten minutes of no movement. So if you forget to turn it off or aren’t feeling up to doing so right away, you don’t have to get up and unplug it as you would with a large iron.
Two Sides In Half The Time
Since The Nori Press is shaped like a hair straightener, it provides you with something that can save you so much more time than a large iron ever could: simultaneous ironing. That is, the two aluminum plates of the iron can be clamping down on either side of the clothing fabric, thus ironing both at the same time!
Rather than pulling out a large iron and spending a lot of time ironing one side at a time, you can kill two birds with one stone. Just a few glides with the device, and your clothes are ready to go before you know it.
Small but Mighty
For more reasons than one, small irons can do just as much and so much more than bigger irons. Downsizing your products is the best space-saving time management hack out there, and you definitely won’t regret doing so after seeing your fresh, wrinkle-free clothes—courtesy of your small iron.
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