February 18, 2012


Once again I'm thinking about a new iron. Quilters do spend a great deal of time ironing. So, irons are important. Most irons don't last long at my house. And few meet my expectations. My absolute favorite irons are Rowentas and once upon a time I had a Bernina ISO 80 iron that I really liked. I've sort of given up on new Rowenta irons as they last about a year, and are expensive. However, I'm still drawn to Rowenta irons because of the ratio of heat & steam they produce and no one makes a soleplate like Rowenta either.

Presently (after my last Rowenta lasted 4 months) I have this older Reliable iron I bought on eBay. It makes a lot of "steam"----but, not equal to the heat it produces. So, I have to iron back and forth many times with the steam setting turned off after I have ironed with it on in order to rid the fabric of the dampness the steam has produced. In other words, the wrinkles are gone, but the fabric is soaked with steam! I've noticed "steam" is news with a lot of products nowadays. Washers, dryers, home humidifiers, curling irons, pressure cookers, bagged steamer veggies and of course---irons.
This is an older Reliable iron (pun intended). that does  have auto off, but not the option to stay on longer like the newer model Reliable irons. So, consequently it stays on about 3 mins. in the upright position and then turns off. This feature can drive you bonkers if you are pressing quilt blocks, pressing and cutting, or have to spend any time walking from the ironing table, to the cutting table and etc.

Then there is my Panasonic iron. It has the opposite features of the Reliable iron in that it does not make a lot of steam. However, it also does not get very hot either. It's cordless which adds another element to what is good or bad about this iron. In order to keep it hot enough for pressing fabrics I have to place in the base frequently as it starts cooling down almost immediately while your ironing. I can iron about 3 mins. and the soleplate is starting to cool down already. It's a neat looking iron. Very compact, nice weight, and it comes with it's own carrying case. I don't know why, but the fact that it has a carrying case fascinates people when they see it. Even me, which is probably why I bought it. A novel advertising ploy by Panasonic I'm sure. However, I've never known a quilter who puts their iron away on a regular basis.
Isn't it cute in it's turquoise plastic carrying case!

In my arsenal of irons there is this one.  My absolute favorite small iron!

 A small white portable Rowenta. It has endured the test of time as it's been near my sewing machine and pressed countless seams, embroideries, quilt blocks and bindings over the years. Perfect heat setting! (still)  It will make a just the right amount of steam for a short time if you fill the small built in water compartment.  The stainless steel soleplate is small scale compared to the larger irons which does not make it ideal for pressing yardage. Rowenta does not make or sell this small white model any longer. Instead they replaced it with this model.

The Small Purple Portable Rowenta Iron.

I keep this one in my tote bag to take to retreat, take to mini group and classes. In my opinion it does not compare to the small original white Rowenta. The handle is not as comfortable, and compared side by side, the newer model does not get as hot either. Somewhat of a disappointment, but for a small portable, it's o.k. So, if you come across the smaller white portable Rowenta, grab it up.

I am looking for a new iron, but haven't found that perfect one ---yet. I wish I could find a large Rowenta, like my small white Rowenta. Now wouldn't that be great!

EDIT:  Recommendations accepted: Things I Like: A heavy iron.  I would rather the iron pressed the fabric than my arm or shoulder! Very hot stainless steel soleplate. Steam. I like steam, but the iron must be hot enough to dry out the steam from the fabric as I iron. Auto shut off preferred, with a lengthy time before it shuts off.  My memory is not as good as it used to be, and I will forget to turn off the iron once in awhile and dash back home or from wherever I am to reassure myself I turned it off!  Please give model or number if you have a great iron!


Linda in TX said...

I think all quilters have an iron fixation. I certainly do! Two years ago I purchased the same Reliable iron you have and then bought (for $50 more) the other Reliable iron that you can make stay on. I used them each for about a month and put them up on the shelf. (anybody want 'em?) They are heavy, not steam reliable, don't get hot enough and are VERY heavy. Then I found the Proctor Silex Durable Iron (with Teflon plate) for $6 at WalMart. Since I think cheap irons may be the way to go, I bought one. 24 hours later I went back to WalMart and bought them all (14 of 'em). I've given some away and used up one (in 2 years) and now they're up to $10. I buy 1 or 2 whenever I see them. The one I'm using now I've used daily for 8 months - steams like thunder, gets hot, not heavy, and DOESN'T turn itself off. I can't recommend it enough! It's great! And cheap! And WORKS!

Linda in TX said...

AND ........ it doesn't spit or boil over all itself!!!!!

Karen said...

I had the same luck with the Rowneta. I recently purchased a Shark. Never had used one before. I found it online at target. I love it.

Diane Perin said...

I feel your pain! My most reliable iron is a Black and Decker (from Longs) that was cheap but it's heavy and has good steam and it doesn't shut off by itself (which I find annoying when I'm sewing over an afternoon.) Good luck!

Purple Pam said...

Have you tried an Oliso? My friend has one. When I go to her house to sew, I keep forgeting not to set it upright. It has little supports that pop the iron up so you need not set it upright. It has lots of steam and is very hot. I am not sure if it is steamy and hot enough for you, but it is worth a look at.

Barbara said...

I like my T-Fal iron. It has a more pointy front-end. I can't give you the model number because it's old enough that it isn't available anymore. I was told by a Bernina technician that the old Bernina irons were made by T-Fal.