Best Budget Irons 2023

Irons to help you get the most from your game but that won’t break the bank

Best Budget Irons 2022
(Image credit: Future)

Best Budget Irons

Usually golf irons can be quite expensive because a set of irons is one of the most costly equipment purchases in the game, not just because they take up the most spots in the bag, but also because in modern golf they are constructed with cutting-edge materials and technology.

If you’re new to golf, if you only play infrequently, or are simply keen to get value for your money, then splashing out hundreds, even thousands a set of the best golf irons might not seem justifiable. Fear not, there are cheap golf irons out there that offer high levels of performance, without the premium price tag.

If you’re looking for value from your irons then you need to check out our run down on the best budget irons on the market. We also recommend taking a look at some of our other guides on irons too so help your search. For example if you want to hit it further then take a look at the best distance irons (opens in new tab) on the market. Or if you need as much forgiveness as possible, we have created guides on the most forgiving irons (opens in new tab), as well as the best game improvement irons (opens in new tab). If you're looking for a package set, check out our best golf clubs sets guide.

inesis 500 irons

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Inesis 500 Irons

Reasons to buy

+
Low price
+
Strong flight

Reasons to avoid

-
Unique look will put some off

The best budget irons not only have to be good value, but they also have to offer performance that further enhances the appeal of the irons too. These Inesis irons has been designed for higher handicap golfers to offer great forgiveness and distance. The ultra slim face gives good ball speed and power while the perimeter weighting means even off-centre hits get good flight and distance.

Inesis have come up with an interesting way for you to find the right irons for you without having to do the traditional custom fit. Within the Inesis iron range you have 6 different setups to choose from and the first thing you need to do is figure out your hand to floor measurement which will give you an idea on the length of golf clubs you need.

The second thing you do is you select the iron set you want based on your swing speed. After you have been through this process via the Decathlon website, you will get a set that is slightly more tailored towards you. In testing we found these irons easy to flight and with a good feel at impact. There is plenty of forgiveness on offer, packed into a package that has a unique look too.

Wilson Launch Pad 2022 Iron Review

(Image credit: Future)

Reasons to buy

+
Confidence inspiring looks
+
Easy to launch and swing faster
+
Effective in reducing the impact of heavy strikes

Reasons to avoid

-
Wide soles limit ball striking progression
-
Will look too chunky for some

The 2022 Launch Pad irons are hollow like a metalwood for speed and boast maximum forgiveness through the turf thanks to the wide sole, helping achieve smaller and shallower divots and rescue a heavy contact by keeping the leading edge up. The back wall of the iron has been thinned out to move more weight lower in the head for added launch. 

It's an ideal iron for the beginner and high handicapper that is inconsistent with where they contact the ground and ball. Gets the ball in the air easily, with good distance and a solid, powerful feel. For the golfer that wants an iron that is easy to hit, the Launch Pad delivers. It’s a great starting option for those new to the game that can then progress into something more traditional in design once their ability has improved.

- Read our full Wilson Launch Pad 2022 Iron review

Tour Edge Exotics C722 Iron Review

(Image credit: Scott Kramer)

Reasons to buy

+
Clean, classic look in the playing position
+
Exceptional ball speed numbers

Reasons to avoid

-
Loft configuration could create gapping issues

Tour Edge’s goal with the C722 was to create an iron that would appeal from a look and feel standpoint to even the most discerning player while still providing incredible speed, launch, and forgiveness. And that goal has been realized. The C722 irons feature compact blade lengths, medium toplines, and minimal offset, an aesthetics package that inspires confidence that working the ball and controlling trajectory won’t be an issue.

While the C722s look great at address, they stand out in terms of the game-improvement performance attributes they also offer. Their hollow-body design provides extreme perimeter weighting to create a larger sweet spot and it combines with a maraging steel clubface to produce high launch and impressive ball speed numbers. Ball speed is also protected on mis-hits with the  C722s thanks to Tour Edge’s Diamond Face VFT technology, which breaks the clubface into small diamond-shaped sections of variable thickness to optimize results from heel to toe.

Read our full Tour Edge Exotics C722 iron review

Cobra Air-X Irons Review

(Image credit: Future)

Reasons to buy

+
Feel effortless to swing
+
Premium looks

Reasons to avoid

-
Not available in One Length

The lightweight Cobra Air-X irons are ideal for golfers with dwindling strength levels and cash levels. A lighter clubhead design yields 2 grams in weight-savings, while a 6-gram lighter 41g standard size grip with a lighter and softer rubber compound improves feel, making these irons seem easy to hit, adding to the enjoyment factor. 

A deep undercut cavity, low profile shape and greater lofts throughout the set help with launch and flight while weight positioned low and wide increases stability and forgiveness on off-center hits. There’s also heel-biased weighting that provides additional draw bias for golfers that struggle with a slice. Certainly an iron to try if you’re looking to upgrade without breaking the bank.

- Read our full Cobra Air-X irons review

Ram EZ3 irons

(Image credit: Ram)

Ram EZ3 Irons

Reasons to buy

+
Forgiving off center
+
Hybrid included

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of shelf appeal

The Ram Golf EZ3 irons are built for the golfer that wants a playable set that won't put a big hole in the bank account. They prioritise distance and forgiveness through the oversize design but should also be consistent in the performance they deliver. The cavity back design helps generate fast ball speeds while the high MOI creates what is effectively a larger sweetspot, so your poor swings are not punished too severely. 

The set includes six irons; 5-6-7-8-9 plus a pitching wedge. As a bonus, you also get a #4 hybrid included at no extra charge. A hybrid combines the ease of use of a wood and the accuracy of an iron, replacing the harder to hit long irons with a club you'll grow to like and depend on for lots of different shots, perhaps even chip and runs from just off the green.

Cleveland Launcher XL iron

(Image credit: Future)
Easy-to-hit irons for inconsistent golfers on a budget

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to launch
+
Explosive feel off the face

Reasons to avoid

-
Very long from heel to toe

The Launcher XL irons are an ideal iron set for players seeking forgiveness and accuracy in one complete iron set. They feature hollow body long irons for distance and forgiveness, while cavity back short irons focus on precision when attacking the pin.

MainFrame technology faces are optimised with Artificial Intelligence to guarantee shots all over the face maintain distance and precision, while Action Mass CB, with a counterbalance weight in the grip end, helps players get on the correct swing plane while increasing head speed for distance. To improve turf interaction, a V-Shaped Sole helps maintain speed and power through the ground for a cleaner strike, while loft specific grooves help pull the best performance out of every club.

- Read our full Cleveland Launcher XL iron review

wilson d9 iron, distance iron, forgiving golf iron, game improvement iron

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Reasons to buy

+
Suited to wide range of players
+
Explosive distance

Reasons to avoid

-
Lightweight feel may take a bit of time getting used to

Given the performance on offer from such a great-looking iron, we feel it is only right to include the Wilson D9s in this guide. In testing we found the D9 to offer huge distance and forgiveness thanks to the Power Hole technology which helps keep ball speed high across the face whilst the thin face and large sweet spot aids forgiveness.

In fact, the D9 was one of the longest irons we tested at the time and even now will produce more carry distance than most. Importantly, the irons offer up a clean, traditional look at address, and they inspire confidence too with the generous topline width and wide sole.

Benross Aero X Iron

(Image credit: Benross)

Benross Aero X Irons

Reasons to buy

+
Confidence-inspiring topline
+
Good value for money

Reasons to avoid

-
Not easy to shape the ball

Higher launch angles and ball speed mean golfers can swing with confidence with the Aero X irons knowing they haven't had to fork out on their life savings for it. They feature 431 Stainless Steel with Heat Treated Faces for added spring at the point of impact, while optimum CG positioning through the set ensures trajectories remain consistent.

Premium components like KBS Max steel shafts and Lamkin Crossline grips come as standard, enhancing the bang for your buck, while the irons are specifically fitted with a low kick point shafts to further increase launch angle and carry distance. Offering great value for money, these are a great iron for beginners too.

best budget irons

Rife RX5 Irons

Reasons to buy

+
Easy launching
+
Oversize head

Reasons to avoid

-
Thick topline won’t be to all tastes

With a premium chrome finish, these oversize irons have been designed to offer good levels of forgiveness and power. They have a wide, undercut sole design for good turf interaction and are constructed from 431 stainless steel.

Positioning of weight low in the head means the centre of gravity is shifted in such a way to deliver a powerful, high launch and a strong ball flight. These are unquestionably one of the best budget irons out there and will suit starter golfers and those looking to make improvements in their game.

best budget irons

Fazer XR2 Irons

Reasons to buy

+
Forgiving
+
Easy launch

Reasons to avoid

-
Not best for feel

The Fazer XR2 irons offer good levels of forgiveness for beginner and improving golfers. With a wide, undercut sole design positions the weight low in the clubhead to help get the ball up and flying, while the oversized head inspires confidence at address. They may not be the most workable clubs on the market, but they generate good distance and a consistent ball flight.

Cleveland launcher xl halo iron

(Image credit: Future)
A hybrid iron designed for clean turf interaction with accuracy and power

Reasons to buy

+
Easy launch
+
Option of a shorter spec for greater accuracy
+
Feels effortless to swing fast

Reasons to avoid

-
Not all will like the chunky looks

Cleveland's Launcher XL Halo irons are said to help develop a better, consistent strike. Gliderails on the long irons deliver excellent turf interaction, while the mid-to-short irons feature V-Shaped Soles to cut through the turf more effectively for cleaner contact. Meanwhile, a new 8g weight placed inside the end of every grip delivers better balance, control, and a smoother swing without extra effort to help square up to the ball at impact.  

If precision is what is desired above all else, Cleveland is offering a new Accuracy Build, a custom configuration that is half an inch shorter without counterbalancing to focus on maximum control. Much like the Wilson Launch Pad, this iron is noticeably easy to swing fast and each good distance and accuracy. Plus, it comes in less expensive than many other leading models. 

- Read our full Cleveland Launcher XL Halo iron review

best budget irons

Wilson Deep Red MAXX Irons

Reasons to buy

+
Good distance
+
Strong launch

Reasons to avoid

-
Won’t suit better players

These irons from Wilson have been engineered to offer maximum distance and forgiveness. With oversized head, wide soles and a low centre of gravity – the Wilson Deep Red MAXX Irons are extremely forgiving and will help improving players who struggle for consistency. Constructed from 431 stainless steel, they offer a powerful feel and launch. They’re long, even on off-centre strikes.

Yonex Ezone Elite 3.0 iron

(Image credit: Future)

Yonex Ezone Elite 3.0 Iron

Reasons to buy

+
Very forgiving
+
Excellent graphite shaft technology

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a brand with a big reputation in golf

These irons will strongly appeal to the golfer on a budget seeking to swing with less power but without losing distance as a result. Yonex produces its own graphite shafts to match the performance of the head and our testing of this iron in particular showed that you can maintain or even increase distance while being able to control dispersion.

The Ezone Elite 3.0 irons also feature a double undercut cavity which helps shift the  weight of the iron further back from the face, lowering the centre of gravity to promote a high ball flight. They certainly get the ball up easily and keep it there. Yonex might not be a mainstream brand but this is a particular area in which it excels so do not discount them on name alone.

How we test

All golf irons goes through a thorough and comprehensive testing process at Golf Monthly. Before testing, the Golf Monthly team will usually attend product launches and meet with the manufacturers' R&D experts to understand the new technology. Usually, when it comes to hitting the clubs, we use an indoor simulator at Foresight Sports so we can hit in a controlled environment using premium balls and a quality, reputable launch monitor.

We then look to test the clubs outside and this usually takes place at West Hill Golf Club (opens in new tab) or Burghley Park Golf Club because of the excellent practice facilities and golf course. When it comes to actual reviews, we should say that no company can buy a good review because our testers tell it how they see it.

How to choose budget irons

There are some questions to ask yourself when looking for the best budget irons along with some other key considerations you need to think about before making a purchase.

What level are you? Game improvement irons tend to have larger heads, more offset and are designed to help players who struggle with strike and distance. They tend to have large cavities and different pieces of technology to help in this regard. As such if you are a senior player who values greater feel and workability then we recommend looking elsewhere - at the best golf blade irons (opens in new tab) or best compact mid-handicap irons (opens in new tab) for example. 

Feel/sound - This is a subjective factor but how a club feels in your hands is important. Do you want it to feel really powerful off the face, or retain some level of workability and control? Additionally how do you like your irons to sound at impact? Clicky or more muted? The best way of finding out what you like and what suits your game is testing them out for yourself or getting a thorough custom-fitting, both of which we would always recommend.

Looks - How do you want your irons to look? As we are sure you agree, many of the models above look very different from one another not only in the bag but at address and on the rack. Therefore this factor is all about finding a model you like the look of, and has a look that gives you confidence.

Price - This is also an important factor to consider. Most of the models above come in at different price points so there will be a model for everyone. Before finally pulling the trigger on your purchase, be aware of how much you can or want to spend, and adjust accordingly.

FAQs

What are the best golf irons money can buy?

Generally with golf clubs you get what you pay for although some less expensive irons, like the ones featured in this guide, will perform admirably - especially if you don't take your game too seriously. In terms of value for money, we think the Wilson Launch Pad 2022, Tour Edge Exotics C722 and Cleveland Launcher XL irons offer some of the best on the market right now.

Joel Tadman
Technical Editor

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.


One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 87 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.3.


Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9° 

Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: TaylorMade P770, 4-7 iron, TaylorMade P7MC 8-PW 

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 50°, 54° and a Titleist Vokey SM9 60° lob wedge 

Putter: Evnroll ER2V 

Ball: 2021 Titleist Pro V1x

With contributions from