In the ideal world, we would test ironing our clothes and soft furnishings while shopping for an iron. But when we can’t, this is where you will learn about soleplates, the common materials used to make them, and their advantages and disadvantages so you can confidently decide which is the right soleplate for you.
The soleplate is the part of the iron that comes in contact with clothes and fabrics when ironing. The soleplate’s material affects how well the iron glides over fabrics and how effectively it removes creases.
Generally, a good soleplate is non-stick and doesn’t cause the fabric to snag when pressing. It should also retain and distribute heat evenly, and be scratch-resistant, durable, and easy to clean. Add on minimum maintenance to those characteristics and you have an excellent soleplate.
Pros & Cons of common materials
Let’s look at some common materials of soleplates and their pros and cons.
Stainless steel and aluminium are popular materials because of their durability and affordability. Ceramic is often preferred for its smooth gliding ability and even heat distribution, however, it is quite fragile.
Below we look at the different materials in detail and how their characteristics affect ironing.
Stainless Steel Soleplates
Pros – Stainless steel soleplates are good conductors of heat and have even heat distribution, they glide easily over fabrics which makes ironing smooth. They are known to be durable and are easy to clean and maintain.
Cons – At high temperatures, glue from fabric will stick to the soleplate and may melt lightweight fabrics.
Pros - Aluminium soleplates heat up quickly and make removing creases easy, it is also lightweight and affordable hence a popular material used in irons.
Cons – After regular use, the plates can become sticky from burnt lint that is stuck on the soleplate. If left uncleaned, it will leave marks on the fabrics you iron and reduce the glideability when ironing.
- Surface scratches will form from ironing over hard objects eg. zippers and buttons reducing the glideability and heat distribution.
Pros – Aluminium or plastic plates with a ceramic coating glide smoother than aluminium and stainless-steel soleplates. Being fabric-friendly, ceramic doesn’t scorch fabrics at high temperatures, it irons smoothly over all fabric types and eliminates static from fabrics.
Cons - It is prone to chipping and peeling and requires extra care to protect the soleplate from damage and extend the service life of your iron.
Braun’s entry-level steam iron - Texstyle 3 has a Super ceramic soleplate that irons easily without snagging and distributes heat evenly so ironing is gentle and easy.
The triangular-shaped precision zone at the tip of the iron allows the toughest wrinkles from hard-to-reach areas like collars and seams to be easily removed.
But if you have a bigger budget and want to experience superb glideability - being able to iron backwards over buttons and zips without slowing down, check out the latest Braun irons which have an EloxalPlus soleplate.
Texstyle 7 Pro Steam iron
Carestyle 7 Steam generator iron
Compact Carestyle Steam generator iron
Why should I buy an Eloxal soleplate iron?
Eloxal is a strengthened form of common materials like aluminum, stainless steel, and ceramics which as we shared above are not perfect.
To tackle those issues, Braun invented the Eloxal coated sole plate to improve glideability, scratch-resistance, and prevent the coating from peeling off.
What is Eloxal?
Eloxal stands for “oxidized aluminium electrolyte”, it is valued for its resistance to damage, excellent thermal conductivity, lightweight, and reasonably priced aluminium.
Continually improving, Braun’s iron soles plates have upgraded from earlier models that were made from superior aluminium to super ceramic then Eloxal, and now EloxalPlus.
Let’s discover what makes the EloxalPlus soleplate the choice soleplate for your iron.
Great scratch-resistance means longer service life of your iron as a scratched plate will affect the steam performance and smoothness of gliding.
2x harder than stainless steel – The electrolyte treatment strengthens the aluminium sole plate enabling it to withstand high temperatures and not deform, it also makes it corrosion-resistant such that it does not rust.
Lightweight aluminium combined with steam performance makes ironing less of a workout and leaves you more energy for the things that matter.
Braun’s EloxalPlus soleplate and the world’s first Freeglide 3D technology soleplate
The EloxalPlus coating not only enables extraordinary gliding to accelerate the ironing process, but our patented upward-curving design inspired by snowboard mechanics also makes ironing as smooth as skating on ice.
Ironing over difficult areas like buttons, pockets, and zippers will no longer slow you down. With the Freeglide 3D technology, you will glide over buttons, pockets, and zips backward in one smooth motion. No more having to constantly adjust the fabric to avoid new wrinkles so you finish ironing quicker.
The soleplate’s material affects how well the iron glides over fabrics and how effectively it removes creases. Other factors of soleplates that affect the iron’s performance are 1. The distribution of holes across the soleplate and 2. The shape of the soleplate.
Distribution of holes on the soleplate
The position and number of holes determine the steam distribution when ironing. Of course, the greater the steam distribution, the faster creases will be removed. A soleplate with holes distributed across the plate will enable faster ironing as more steam is expelled and you don’t have to press over and over to smooth the fabrics.
Braun’s irons have steam-hole zones distributed across the soleplate - top, middle, and sides to help distribute steam and heat evenly for fast and effective removal of creases so you can clear your ironing pile and achieve excellent results fast.
The shape of the soleplate
Most irons have a sharp tip at one end of the sole plate. Having a precise tip makes it easy to get into corners and tight spaces and for a targeted boost of steam when needed like in the Texstyle 7 Pro and Carestyle 7 Steam generator iron. The triangularly shaped zone in the precision tip is where the shot of extra steam is released when you need to remove a particularly difficult crease.
For superb glideability and 360-degree gliding backward over buttons, pockets, and zippers, the Braun EloxalPlus soleplates do not fail to make ironing easier and more efficient, while delivering excellent results. The scratch-resistance property of the soleplate enables your iron to serve you longer, giving you maximum bang for your buck and many hours of happy ironing.
Discover our latest best-rated steam iron - Texstyle 7 Pro
Explore our award-winning and ultimate steam machine - Carestyle 7 Steam generator iron