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Sunbeam Steam Master Review

Low price and a convenient retractable cord help to make up for mediocre steam output
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Sunbeam Steam Master Review
Credit: Sunbeam
Price:  $40 List
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Manufacturer:   Sunbeam
By Michelle Powell and Hayley Thomas  ⋅  Apr 21, 2022
  • Ironing Performance - 35% 6.0
  • Steam Output - 25% 5.0
  • Ease of Use - 25% 6.0
  • Heating - 15% 9.0

Our Verdict

Across the board, the Sunbeam Steam Master performed at or just slightly below average in our testing. It is one of the most inexpensive models we've tested and would be a reasonable investment for those that don't demand much from their iron — someone that just needs a simple appliance to iron a few standard garments a week or less. If you're looking for something more precise and powerful for advanced sewing projects, there are much better options available. This steam iron is a decent option if you just need something for occasional use and don't want to spend much.
High heat
Poor steam output
Not very maneuverable
Generally cheap performance
Editor's Note: We updated this review for the Sunbeam Steam Master on April 21, 2022, with additional information about value and suggestions for other comparable products.

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Steam Master is a budget-friendly option for those whose main priority is the price and who don't demand much from their iron. Read on to see if the cut in cost is worth the cut in performance.

Performance Comparison

sunbeam steam master - this steam iron is an inexpensive option for those who care more...
This steam iron is an inexpensive option for those who care more about budget than performance.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ironing Performance

The Steam Master offers a below-average performance here, but we didn't expect much more than we got for such an inexpensive model. It lost some points in wrinkle reduction performance as well as glide. This iron starts to steam at higher temperature settings but leaves lots of drips and some calcium deposits on cotton and linen. We also noticed that it struggles with gliding on linen and silk. The silk setting is also not very effective and leaves lots of water dribbles. This ruined some of our garments as the dribbles remained visible even after they dried. Other models in our steam iron review struggle with polyester, but the Steam Master does surprisingly well here. It is very effective with no additional steam necessary, although many water droplets were left behind during our polyester testing as well.

sunbeam steam master - this steam iron leaves water spots left and right.
This steam iron leaves water spots left and right.
Credit: Laura Casner

The shape of the Steam Master makes it difficult to reach deeper narrow sections, and the burst of steam does not really burst at all while the water spray emits everything from a stream to fine mist to large leaky water droplets. Overall, this budget steam iron performs like a budget device.

sunbeam steam master - it may be difficult the get into all the nooks and crannies, but...
It may be difficult the get into all the nooks and crannies, but with a little patience, it can be done.
Credit: Laura Casner

Steam Output

The name Steam Master may be a bit of a misnomer here - “Steam Apprentice” would be a more appropriate name. Performance was well below average for this model in our steam output test.

The Steam Master produced a measly 20 grams per minute of steam during our testing. This is one of the lowest outputs we measured. Additionally, the soleplate has the fewest number of steam holes of any of the tested models. There are 7, and they are placed around the perimeter of the soleplate. Consequently, pressing the burst-of-steam button produces a lackluster puff. If your clothes tend to sprout stubborn wrinkles, you would be better served looking for a model with a bit more power.

sunbeam steam master - despite numerous steam holes the steam master was only an average...
Despite numerous steam holes the Steam Master was only an average performer in our steam output testing.
Credit: Katherine Elliott

Ease of Use

This is an interesting metric for the Steam Master, as the overall score it receives is nothing to write home about, but some of the ease-of-use features it does offer are great. We love the retractable cord. Storing the entire cord within the appliance makes for a quick and hassle-free cleanup, and at just three pounds, this model is highly portable, which we also appreciate.

sunbeam steam master - we really liked the steam master's retractable cord.
We really liked the Steam Master's retractable cord.
Credit: Katherine Elliott

The handle is not the most ergonomic. It is an oval shape that tapers out at the top, becoming too wide to hold. This design sends your hand further back on the handle and impedes maneuverability. Even if your hand is big enough to wrap around the thicker part of the handle, you will find that the controls are in your way.

The soleplate shape is functional and fairly standard but doesn't give you the ability to be precise like most of the more expensive models. A dial on the front of the handle lets you select the ironing temperature based on fabric type. Two buttons on top of the handle let you emit a burst of steam or shoot a misting spray out of the front of the iron. These buttons could be easier to press while your hand is on the handle, but they aren't terribly awkward either. As for filling up the Steam Master, we appreciate that the lid slides completely out of the way and offers a large hole — but you must have decent aim because there's nothing to funnel water, so spillage is imminent.

sunbeam steam master - we generally liked the steam master's controls, but did not enjoy...
We generally liked the Steam Master's controls, but did not enjoy filling its water tank.
Credit: Katherine Elliott


This is where the Steam Master truly shines. Although, we're not sure it matters, considering how poorly it performs in other metrics. After five minutes, this steam iron hit a whopping average of 359 degrees Fahrenheit. This is one of the hottest irons we tested. Unfortunately, like many others in our test suite, the soleplate seems to have a rather inconsistent spread of heat. During our testing, we found that the coolest spot on the iron was 73 degrees cooler than the hottest.

sunbeam steam master - the steam master heats up efficiently, but inconsistently.
The Steam Master heats up efficiently, but inconsistently.
Credit: Laura Casner

Should You Buy the Sunbeam Steam Master?

The Sunbeam Steam Master is a very inexpensive iron, and, to a large degree, it feels like one. It will certainly get the job done, but you can find better performance at a slightly higher price point.

What Other Steam Iron Should You Consider?

The Steam Master is nothing if not budget-friendly. That being said, the cheapest option is often not a valuable one. You can easily gain a better value for just a few dollars more by buying a steam iron like the award-winning Black+Decker D3030 Allure. If you often need an iron while on the go, the Sunbeam Hot-2-Trot is a less expensive and, in many ways, directly comparable steam iron in a more compact package.

Michelle Powell and Hayley Thomas