Check out our ultimate guide to the very best irons on the market, from game improvement clubs to players' irons
Best Golf Irons
Getting the best golf irons to suit your game could make all the difference to your on-course performance. Good iron play will give you scoring opportunities and the potential to knock strokes off your handicap.
Alternatively if you have a slightly lower handicap then the best compact mid-handicap irons might give you a variety of models to consider because they give a blend of consistency and feel.
Whatever style you’re looking for, you want to feel comfortable and confident with the irons you choose. A set of irons is one of the most expensive purchases in golf and it can be a minefield trying to make the right decision. We are here to help.
Here we’re looking at the best of the best – what we consider to be the best golf irons currently on the market.
Best Golf Irons – Best Golf Iron Sets
Mizuno JPX921 Forged Irons
+ Thin face and fast ball speeds
+ High spin provides stopping power
– Not as easily workable as some may want
The JPX921 Forged iron integrates the power of Chromoly into a full body Forged iron for the very first time. Initially applied in Mizuno’s Hot Metal irons – Chromoly has made the cross over to Mizuno’s forgings with excellent results. Testing shows the fastest ball speeds Mizuno has ever produced from a fully Forged iron.
Grain Flow Forged HD in Mizuno’s legendary facility in Hiroshima Japan, the JPX921 Forged irons offer an identifiable and unsurpassed Mizuno feel.
Despite this, the JPX921 Forged irons offer a sleeker, compact profile – a shorter blade length throughout, a beveled leading edge and reduced offset. The feel is that of a traditional forged iron as the JPX921 Forged gets noticeably sleeker through the set and is undoubtedly one of the best Mizuno irons our right now.
Cobra Radspeed Irons
Best All-Round Value
+ Strong flight with low spin
+ Increased distance versus old King Speedzone
– Not everyone will like look of the carbon fibre topline
The Radspeed irons from Cobra are a fantastic upgrade on last year’s King Speedzone iron and the subtle improvements have made a marked difference to this excellent game improvement offering.
Cobra has kept the lofts on the Radspeed the same but during our testing we found the 7 iron went five yards further on average.
What has changed however is the look of this club at address and it is much more appealing to the eye. The sole shape is smaller – playing narrower and with a little less camber – which means you can’t see the back of the sole at address. The carbon fibre effect on the top line has been made a little darker, which also tricks the eye into thinking this is a thinner club that it really is.
The Radspeed has a soft feel to it too, thanks to the 3D printed medallion sitting behind the face, but still offers plenty of zing off the face that provides that excellent overall distance. With Cobra Connect grips as standard and a One Length option available, the Radspeed irons offer some of the best pound for pound performance and best golf irons market.
TaylorMade SIM2 Max Irons
Best For Distance
+ Good distance and forgiveness
+ Nice soft sound at impact
– Minor performance differences over the last model
One of the best TaylorMade irons the brand makes, the SIM2 Max is the smaller of the brand’s two game-improvement irons for 2021.
The SIM2 Max does what all good cavity back irons should do: go far and offer forgiveness. While it performs similarly to last year’s SIM Max, it still does a very good job at offering distance and forgiveness, all in a good looking iron head.
Aesthetically, this has created a much more pleasing look from the back and the subtle carbon fibre details have created a hollow cavity back effect from the future.
From address, the SIM2 Max has a generous sole width with a confidence inspiring amount of offset and a thick topline. This is ideal for the higher handicap golfer who needs a bit of extra help from the club.
Wilson Staff D9 Irons
Best For Power
+ Supreme distance with good ball flight
+ Aesthetically appealing and competitively priced
– Lightweight feel takes some getting used to
The Wilson Staff D9 irons offer a clean, classic look with top distance performance in a competitively-priced package.
The D9 has a lightweight feel, ideal for those with a moderate to slow swing speed as it is easy to swing this club fast. This also contributes to a high launch, which we found surprising considering the strong loft on the 7-iron.
The D in D9 stands for distance and this club certainly delivers on that front too.
When we tested the 7-iron we were finding it carried consistently over the 190 yard mark which was a considerable distance more than the other game-improvement, distance irons launched this year. Competitively priced and clearly the longest club on the market in 2021, the D9 is as close to the perfect game improvement iron as you can find.
Callaway Apex Pro Irons
Best For Low Handicappers
+ Good workability
+ Aesthetically appealing
– Not as forgiving as Apex or Apex DCB
We love how these irons look, striking a great balance between a modern, technology-packed iron and a classic looking blade-like club. Behind the ball, it is quite compact from heel-to-toe with a lovely rounded shape that Callaway is famous for. The topline is thin, but not too thin so as it is intimidating, meaning these irons appeal to a wide range of handicappers, not just those in single figures.
Striking these irons, the ball gets up into the air nice and easy – thanks to the more traditional lofts – but this doesn’t mean these irons don’t go far. The generous loft on the 7-iron inspires plenty of confidence at address despite the relatively thin top line and compact head.
Indeed if you are after distance, there are some great distance options in the Apex 21 family. It is the control, flight and playability that makes the Apex Pro stand out and it is a great iron for the ball striking golfer who is after style and feel from a classy iron head. It’s one of the best golf irons 2021 has to offer and one of the best Callaway irons.
Ping G425 Irons
Best For Forgiveness
+ Classy, neutral styling
+ High ball flight with good distance
– Limited gains over G410
Ping irons that don the ‘G’ moniker are known for being a forgiving distance iron that is well built and stylish.
The Ping G425 delivers on all these fronts and has a classy and understated look compared to the bolder red colours featured on the G410. Of course the look is completely subjective, but we think this new design gives the G425 an altogether more premium look. The overall size of the blade is slightly smaller than the G410 too, creating a slightly more compact look at address, but the shape has pretty much stayed the same.
Off the face, the G425 feels fast, making a nice loud sound without being too clicky. It is very stable off the face too, with toe and heel strikes maintaining a strong line through the air. The strong descent angle through most of the set also means it’s nice and easy to control these irons when approaching greens.
Arccos sensors are now embedded in the grips throughout the G425 family and the premium shot tracking technology is another way these irons can directly improve your game.
Titleist T200 Irons
Best Versatile Titleist Iron
+ Distance in a compact package
+ Good forgiveness across the face
– Won’t suit those looking for maximum feel and workability
The T200 from Titleist got a revamp in 2021 especially in terms of aesthetics.
It has been made sleeker and given a smaller profile overall, specifically the blade length has been shortened and offset reduced. This is to make it match, or look aesthetically similar to the new T100.
The cavity on the back of the head has then been enclosed by a polymer cap which gives it a cleaner look and. gives the appearance of a hollow head.
Because of the aesthetic blending with other models, and the overall performance of this iron, it will definitely suit those who want to mix their iron sets, perhaps opting for the T200 in the longer irons and T100 in the shorter ones.
Overall we felt it is a great looking distance iron in a players iron package, which makes it very appealing to golfers who want an iron that isn’t too chunky, but still offers good distance.
The T200 is a distance iron that looks like a players club, which makes it very appealing for the club golfer that doesn’t want to give up yardage, but also wants an iron that isn’t too clunky and looks great in the bag.
TaylorMade P770 Irons
As Seen On Tour
+ Stunning looking from all angles
+ Traditional lofts with no loss in distance
– Only aimed at mid-low handicappers
The TaylorMade P770 irons sit at the distance end of its P-Series irons that were released last year and will appeal to the ball striking golfer who is after distance and a bit of added forgiveness in a compact head.
Aesthetically, they are very similar to the popular P790 iron but with a slightly weaker loft to appeal to those who want control over all-out distance. It feels fairly lively off the face and when we tested it we found distances over the 170 yard mark easy to achieve with the 7-iron.
This club launches nice and high too despite the lower spin when compared to the sister P7MB and P7MC irons. With those irons in mind, there is a lot of scope to mix and match with these irons if you are a good ball striker. The more forgiving and stronger P770s would be very useful in the longer irons and then the more bladed P7MBs can be used for control and playability below the 7-iron.
From every angle this is a stunning golf club and will look like the part sat in your bag while giving you great performance and feel when striking the ball. Without a doubt, one of the best golf irons for mid-low handicappers.
Ben Hogan PTx Pro Irons
Best Value Forged Iron
+ Good distance and launch
+ Classic looking iron head
– Not as forgiving as some may want
The Ben Hogan PTx Pro irons have been designed to combine distance and forgiveness while still retaining a traditional look and more forged feel. Without a doubt, if you are after a more classic looking iron, the Ben Hogan Icon model is hard to ignore.
As for the PTx Pro, they strike a fairly compact pose at address. The topline is noticeably thicker than the Icon model and there is certainly more offset, but it is still a fairly traditional and appealing iron to look at.
The PTx Pro has a very traditional 7-iron loft at 34° which makes it very easy to launch and gives it plenty of stopping power when approaching a green. When testing the PTx Pro, we found we could regularly carry the 7-iron over the 170 yard mark, which is an impressive amount of distance for a club with a healthy amount of loft.
It certainly felt hot off the face too, which might not suit all, but there is plenty of scope to mix this set with the equally impressive Icon irons.
Srixon ZX5 Irons
Muscleback Looks With Forgiveness
+ Good distance and consistency
+ Soft feel and offers impressive stability
– Not as forgiving as some mid handicap irons
As used by Tour stars Shane Lowry, Srixon’s ZX5 irons look like a pure muscle-back with a pleasantly thin topline and slight offset which inspires confidence at address.
In our testing we put it up against the ZX7 and we were pleasantly surprised in that it produced good distance even with off-centre hits. We would say this is likely due to the additional mass behind the impact location which not only helps with forgiveness but also shot-shaping and versatility.
Overall, the ZX5 produced a high, straight and stable ball flight. We felt they would not only suit higher handicap players but also those who want to mix the more forgiving ZX5 irons, with the ZX7’s to create a good combo set.
Honma TR20 P Irons
Best Distance Iron For Lower Handicappers
+ Good blend of power and workability
+ Classic looks
– Premium price tag
The Honma TR20 P irons are a player’s distance iron with game improvement playability.
They feature a forged S35C steel body with an L-cup face for increased ball speeds and a tungsten weighted pocket cavity to create speed-enhancing forgiveness on off centre strikes.
The irons also feature a low centre of gravity and high MOI to achieve high launch and longer carries.
We found the TR20 P Irons to deliver an impressive blend of distance and workability that should suit the mid handicap player looking to have a little more control without sacrificing power and forgiveness.
Titleist T400 Irons
Best Premium Forgiving Iron
+ Max distance in Titleist iron range
+ Most forgiving iron in Titleist range
– Hybrid-like design won’t please all tastes
The Titleist T400 iron has been designed to be the most forgiving and longest iron in Titleist’s popular T series, some of the best golf irons on the market.
It has the strongest lofts in the Titleist range, but the launch is not compromised with a strong, high ball flight produced.
The split sole design delivers smooth turf interaction, while super-thin face and hollow head are fortified by high-density tungsten weighting making this a powerful and supremely forgiving iron.
The set is progressive with blade lengths, sole widths and hosel lengths decreasing towards the shorter irons.
Overall, we think the T400 is one of the best golf irons that could really help higher handicappers get the most from their games.
Wilson Staff D7 Forged Irons
Forged But Forgiving
+ Good consistent carries
+ Soft and solid feel at impact
– Lacks the wow factor looks of some mid handicap irons
Forged from soft 8620 Carbon steel and featuring a new club head design, Wilson’s D7 Forged irons have a thinner topline and minimal offset.
A Urethane filled Power Chamber inside the head has been introduced alongside the Power Hole Technology which allows the face to flex while reducing vibration for a more solid and consistent feel at impact.
With a narrower sole, it flights the ball considerably lower but with more spin – hovering just over the 6,000rpm mark – to keep it airborne and enhance the stopping power as well as control of the flight.
The D7 Forged is well worth considering if you’re seeking a mid handicap iron offering a soft feel in a compact package.
Mizuno MP-20 MB Irons
Best Muscleback Iron
+ Great looking iron
+ Great feel and precision
– Only for good ball strikers.
With the new MP-20 MB irons, Mizuno has focused on improving the feel through adopting a former technique of adding a layer of copper to the head underneath the brushed satin outer finish and protective nickel chrome layers.
The MP-20 is a pure muscleback iron, heavily influenced by the most revered blades of Mizuno’s past and Grain Flow Forged HD from a single billet of 1025E Pure Select mild carbon steel.
A tapered topline and cambered sole allow a fuller spread of weight to enhance vertical stability and forgiveness on strikes from high or low on the face.
A blend of satin and mirror chrome finishing has been engineered to eliminate areas of high glare in the playing position.
The MP-20 MB, with its small profile, isn’t for the faint hearted. Out of the middle, it’s arguably the best feeling iron you can buy, but you need to be precise with your ball striking to see the benefits of the distance consistency it can provide. It’s one of the best golf irons 2020 has to offer.
How we test golf irons
Our testing for golf irons is built upon a comprehensive process combined with the knowledge and expertise of the Golf Monthly test team.
As far as the specific procedure goes, before testing, the team will usually attend product launches and meet with the manufacturer’s R&D experts to understand the new technology.
When it comes to testing, we often head indoors first to try the irons in a controlled environment. This usually takes place on an indoor simulator at Foresight Sports, with premium balls and the GCQuad launch monitor.
Our outside testing normally takes place at West Hill Golf Club, a course with top-notch practice facilities.
We think it is vitally important to do both and continue to test the irons so they have been comprehensively put to the test in different conditions.
It should also be mentioned that manufacturers cannot pay for a good review and we make our conclusions from the testing and our experiences.
This is because we strive to give the best reviews possible so you can get a greater understanding of the irons themselves.
Related: How Golf Monthly Tests Products
How to choose the best golf irons
As you have seen, the market for golf irons is crowded and confusing and being sure you’re getting the most suitable iron for your game can be a minefield.
Hopefully, this piece has given you an idea of what the best options are out there right now, but here is some more advice to help you in your quest to find the best golf iron for your game in this crowded and dense marketplace.
Your Handicap And Ability
This is probably the most important first step: knowing which type of iron best suits your game. This is by no means gospel, but higher handicappers tend to use cavity back irons that offer maximum forgiveness in a larger iron head, while mid-low handicappers tend to use more bladed irons that are forged, offer more feel and control but less forgiveness.
You’ll know how good or perhaps not so good your ball striking tends to be, so make sure you invest in a set of irons that matches where your game is out now, not where you’d ideally want it to be. We have great guides that go into more detail on this, so check out our guide on the most forgiving irons if you’re a higher handicapper and our guide on the best irons for mid-handicappers.
This will be a major factor in anyone’s decision of what irons to go for. As you’ll have seen in this list, the price can vary dramatically between irons.
Typically, for a set of cavity back irons – those that provide most distance and forgiveness – you’ll be looking between £600-£700 for a set of seven irons.
This obviously can fluctuate between brands, and we’ve highlighted in this list the ones we think give the best value for money in this category.
The price jumps quite significantly when looking at the forged and bladed options – up to and above £1000 – but this is par for the course and you’ll be getting a high quality, premium product in return.
This is probably the most essential part of the iron buying process, no matter the irons you’re after or how good you are at the game.
A custom fit session will make sure you get the right flex and length of shaft, correct lie angle and correct iron head for your game, meaning you’ll finish with a set of irons that will be as suitable as possible for you out on course.
Custom fits can be a daunting process if you’re a true beginner or you aren’t that confident hitting golf balls in front of people, but they’re a vital part of the club buying process.
We recommend having a shortlist of three or four iron heads you like the look of before entering a custom fit and then whittling them down to the best for your game during the custom fit process.
Custom fits are provided by a number of golf retailers or club professionals at your local golf club.