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Sunbeam Steam Master Review

Low price and a convenient retractable cord help to make up for mediocre steam output
Sunbeam Steam Master
Credit: Sunbeam
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Price:   $40 List | $34.01 at Amazon
Pros:  High heat, inexpensive
Cons:  Poor steam output, not very maneuverable, generally cheap performance
Manufacturer:   Sunbeam
By Michelle Powell and Hayley Thomas  ⋅  Sep 22, 2021
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62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 9
  • Ironing Performance - 35% 6
  • Steam Output - 25% 5
  • Ease of Use - 25% 6
  • Heating - 15% 9

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 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. If you just need something for occasional use and don't want to spend much, this is a decent option.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Sunbeam Steam Master
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Price $40 List
$34.01 at Amazon
$50 List
$42.99 at Amazon
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$45 List
$39.99 at Amazon
$15 List
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Pros High heat, inexpensivePowerful steam burst, pointed nose for precision, budget-friendlyEfficiently reduces wrinkles, misty water spray, 400+ steam holes, retractable cordHot soleplate, mostly consistent temperatures, nice mistInexpensive, portable
Cons Poor steam output, not very maneuverable, generally cheap performanceMinimal steam output, lack of steam holes on soleplateFilling the water tank could be easierNot enough steam, can't tackle deep wrinklesLacking in power, underwhelming ironing performance
Bottom Line Low price and a convenient retractable cord help to make up for mediocre steam outputA high-performing iron equipped with a powerful steam burst and the ability to tackle most fabrics and most wrinklesAn above-average steam iron with a conveniently retractable chord and an ergonomic soleplate that can tackle most wrinklesAn average performing steam iron at a fair price whose claim to fame is its high temperature rather than its steam outputA steam iron that is perfect for travel but is too weak for regular chores at home
Rating Categories Sunbeam Steam Master Black+Decker D3030... CHI Steam Titanium Maytag M400 SpeedHeat Sunbeam Hot-2-Trot
Ironing Performance (35%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Steam Output (25%)
5.0
5.0
8.0
5.0
2.0
Ease Of Use (25%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Heating (15%)
9.0
8.0
5.0
7.0
8.0
Specs Sunbeam Steam Master Black+Decker D3030... CHI Steam Titanium Maytag M400 SpeedHeat Sunbeam Hot-2-Trot
Wattage 1400W 1600W 1700W 1500W 800W
Weight 3 lbs 1.9 lbs 2.9 lbs 3.3 lbs 1.3 lbs
Cord Length 8' 8' 8' 8' 8'
Soleplate Material Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Titanium Infused Ceramic Stainless Steel Non-Stick
Steam Output 20 g/min 22 g/min 55 g/min 23 g/min 6 g/min
Temperature After 5 Minutes of Heating 359° F 337.6° F 304° F 345.8° F 332° F

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Steam Master is a budget-friendly option for those whose main priority is 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


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 both 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. Most other irons 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.

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.

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. Needless to say, 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 models we tested. 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.

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.

We really liked the Steam Master's retractable cord.
We really liked the Steam Master's retractable cord.
Credit: Katherine Elliott

The handle, on the other hand, 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 eminent.

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

Heating


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 of the 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.

The Steam Master heats up efficiently, but inconsistently.
The Steam Master heats up efficiently, but inconsistently.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


The Steam Master is nothing if not budget-friendly. That being said, the cheapest option is often not a valuable one. For just a few dollars more, you can easily gain a better value.

Conclusion


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 much better performance can be found at only a slightly higher price.

Michelle Powell and Hayley Thomas