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I debated forever before deciding to finally purchase a mini-iron.
Were they any good? Did I really need one? How often was I really planning to sew or quilt things I couldn’t use my normal iron for?
After I finally splurged on two of the coolest mini-irons out there (in my opinion), I have ZERO regrets. I no longer have to lug the big iron out when ironing small, quick projects, and I can get to tiny seams without problems.
If you’re intrigued about the idea of a miniature iron, here’s an overview of some of the best mini irons for sewing, quilting, and crafting. Plus, more in-depth information about the two I own!
What are mini-irons, and what are they used for?
A mini-iron is quite simply an iron that is significantly smaller than a standard iron.
It stores easily, travels well, and makes pressing with precision in small spaces so much simpler!
While it’s not “necessary” to have a small iron, I now use my Steamfast mini-iron more often than I do my regular iron! I love how lightweight it is and how easy it is to get to small spaces.
The one time I do get out my big iron, though, is when getting wrinkles out of fabric before starting to sew. That takes forever and a day with a miniature iron.
The Best Mini-Irons for Sewing, Quilting, and Crafting
There are many, many different types of small irons if you’re interested in adding one to your craft room. Here are some of my favorite options!
1. Steamfast Mini-Iron
- Dimensions: 3.1″ H x 3″ W x 5.2″ D
- Heat-up time: 15 seconds
- Water capacity: 1.4 oz
- Cord length: 7.5 feet
I’ve had my Steamfast 717 miniature iron for several years now, and it’s the coolest thing. It’s great for pressing quilt blocks, making appliques, putting on hem tape, and pretty much anything but making quick work of ironing huge yardages of fabric.
Besides being tiny and weighing less than a pound, it fits great in my hand. It stores efficiently, and the cord wraps well around the handle.
The green temperature dial on the base of the iron controls the temperature. To truly understand the temperature settings, though, I actually had to read the instructions! I didn’t think the icons were very intuitive.
Now, this thing gets hot at MAX temperature. I have to be careful not to scorch my fabrics or melt my threads! However, because it gets so hot, this mini-iron does work surprisingly well for setting Perler beads for my daughters.
The Steamfast mini-iron also steams really well (be careful where you place your fingers!) And, the non-stick soleplate makes the iron compatible with most fabrics.
It removes fabric wrinkles like a boss, and, used in conjunction with my wool ironing mat and wooden tailor board, I get incredibly sharp folds.
- Small and efficient
- Variable temperature
- Gets nice and hot really fast, so not a whole lot of forethought needed
- Option to turn steam on and off
- It leaks if you store it soleplate down without turning off the steam (depress the button).
- The cord sometimes flips over the iron if it’s twisted.
- I don’t think it’s going to last forever like some higher-quality full-sized irons.
**It seems like the Steamfast SF-717 and SF-727 are being replaced by the SF-710 on Amazon but can still be found at Walmart for now.**
Steamfast also makes a medium-size cordless iron, which I also own and rate as one of the best cordless irons for quilting.
2. Clover Mini-Iron II
- Sole-plate dimensions: 7/8″ x 1 3/8″
- Weight: 3.2 oz
- Steam: None
- Cord length: 8 ft
Isn’t this the cutest little tiny iron you’ve ever seen? The soleplate is only slightly larger than a quarter!
The original mini-iron simply comes with a tiny soleplate. The Mini Iron II, however, has 5 total compatible iron tips. These are awesome!
These tips include:
- Small iron tip (standard tip)
- Large iron tip (maybe 2-3x larger)
- Slim tip (long and skinny)
- Ball tip (this can shape fabrics, for instance!)
- Hot knife tip (just so-so, in my opinion)
When I started sewing doll clothes and clothes for my daughter’s Barbie dolls, some of the specialty tips for the Clover iron came in VERY helpful! Especially the slimline tip, which fits right into the small pants legs and armholes to flatten the seams.
I love to use my embroidery machine to sew quilting blocks. (It makes PERFECT blocks, unlike me. Check out some free embroidery quilting designs if you want to investigate!)
After each piece of fabric is sewn with its right side to the stabilizer, I fold the fabric back and press it onto a fusible stabilizer using the mini-iron. So awesome!
There are three heat settings (Low-Med-High), and the iron does get very hot.
- Absolutely awesome for doll clothes and super small spaces
- The smallest soleplate you’ll find on any iron
- Tons of possible uses
- Be careful how you hold it. It’s easy to pick up on the wrong place and burn yourself badly!
- Takes longer to heat up
- The hot knife isn’t as functional as my husband’s dedicated hot knife.
- Not meant for more than micro-projects (Imagine how long it would take if using it as a clothing iron!)
3. Sunbeam Hot-2-Trot Travel Steam Iron
- Dimensions: 3.6″ x 7.9″ x 4″
- Weight: 1.2 lbs
- Water capacity: 90 ml (~3 oz)
The Sunbeam mini iron has a lot going for it in addition to its small size.
For example, it has dual voltage (120V/240V), so it will work in more locations. And, like the Steamfast mini, it has the option of steam or no steam, and it also has a temperature control dial to allow use with an array of fabrics.
- Larger water reservoir
- Dual voltage
- Works horizontally or vertically, which is fun!
- Larger than other mini irons and heavier, which is why I ultimately bought the Steamfast
- Some reviewers complain it leaks
4. Dritz Petite Mini Iron
I almost purchased this iron instead of the Clover II iron above, but the draw of the additional tips swayed me to the Clover iron.
That, and the Dritz Petite Mini Iron is a little bulkier (1″x2.5″ sized soleplate), making it less likely to get into those super tiny crevices and between buttonholes.
What’s cool about the Dritz Mini Iron, though, is the head adjusts to 4 different positions! It also has digital controls, making it a little more high-tech.
There are four temperature settings, allowing for pressing a large range of fabrics. And, it heats up faster than the Clover mini iron.
Typically, it’s a similar price to the Clover I mini-iron without the extra heads.
- Safer (and more ergonomic) than the Clover II if you’re clumsy with iron handling!
- Adjust the head to different angles for better pressing.
- Not as small as Clover iron
- Lower max heat than Steamfast iron
5. Cricut Easy Press Mini
While I think a miniature iron is better for sewing and quilting, the Easy Press Mini is a great addition if you’re a crafter.
The reason I don’t love the idea of using it for sewing is it doesn’t have a steam option and is geared more toward the act of pressing rather than ironing.
There are several sizes of Cricut Easy Presses, the smallest of which is the Easy Press Mini. My sister has one and loves it! (I have a 9″x9″ Cricut Easy Press 2.)
Mini Easy Presses have 3 temperature settings and work great with craft projects like infusible ink and heat-transfer vinyl.
They’re particularly useful for accessing small, unusually-sized spaces such as the tongues of shoes and between buttons on a shirt.
They also have a more uniform heat distribution, which is why they (along with traditional heat presses) are preferred over a traditional iron in many crafting situations. If you do a lot of vinyl or infusible ink on small spaces or even appliqueing, this is a nifty heating tool to have around!
- Even-heat distribution
- Accurate temperature settings
- A great alternative to a huge heat press
- Don’t expect to be able to make an ironing motion with the Mini!
6. Conair EZ Press Hand-Held Steam Iron
- Size: 6.8″x4.3″x5.1″
- Cord Length: 8 ft
A simple small iron, the Conair EZ Press is one of the larger mini-irons for crafting here. But, it’s still significantly smaller than a regular iron!
There’s not much that sets it apart otherwise from the Steamfast besides being a different manufacturer, a bigger size, and a larger water reservoir.
If you’re not quite committed to the tiny iron lifestyle yet, though, this is a nice-sized “medium” iron!
- Easily switch from steam or dry heat
- Variable temperature dial
- Larger than some of these other miniature irons
What to Look for in a Mini-Iron
Not all miniature irons are created equal, so it’s important to check the specifications to make sure the iron’s going to meet your crafting needs.
Steam vs. No Steam
Some of these irons have space for water and can produce steam. Others do not.
I really like having the option to steam. I get MUCH better results when steam is added when pressing on my tailor board or using the board as a clapper.
However, the option to easily disable steaming is important, too, for projects that only need dry heat.
Size of Iron Body and Soleplate
If you want to fit the iron into small spaces, review the size of the iron body and its soleplate carefully. A smaller iron will fit into smaller spaces, but a larger iron can press larger amounts of fabric more quickly.
And, if you are looking for a travel iron to take on the go, a smaller iron is easier to pack and carry!
The shape of the soleplate is another consideration. For instance, a wider soleplate won’t fit into doll clothes arms, but a thin, long soleplate will do just the trick!
Temperature Variations and Heat Capacity
An iron with a variety of temperatures is better if you have a good variety of fabrics you sew or craft with. Some fabrics can tolerate high heat, and other fabrics scorch or melt.
While I own the Steamfast and Clover II mini-irons and love them, the mini-iron best suited for your sewing and crafting needs might be different. However, once you’ve purchased your first mini-iron and tried it out, I can almost guarantee you’ll love the convenience of it.
Lastly, if you’re looking to press projects perfectly, also check out my list of other pressing tools in sewing and their uses.