Personal Market Research :: Irons

I know that irons can be a bit of a hot button topic among sewists.  Everyone seems to have their favorite –

I don’t.

When Joe and I were first married, I had a Rowenta iron, which clunked out early on due to a power malfunction.  Joe fixed it, then it started leaving rust marks on items when water was used in the tank.  Finally, we just had to toss it.


Pictured :  Oliso, Reliable, Rowenta, Panasonic

After that, we picked up a cheap Sunbeam model at Costco, and it works, even still.   I will say though, it’s not as hot as I would like it to be.   I just checked the wattage is 1200, and on the low side for irons.   And so, I am thinking it’s time to consider an upgrade!

What is your favorite iron?

Any best practice advice?

My best practice –

Never leave water in the tank, if any water is used.  After the Rowenta mess, I decided that was the best case scenario!  Maybe this is what has caused my love of starch?  That’s another post though!

I’d really love to chat with all of you about this, thanks for your insight, in advance!


Also today is the one month mark before the Sewing Summit!  If you have considered registering you should today and you could win a hotel room for your weekend in Salt Lake!

Blessings ~ Amy

By |2017-02-06T09:18:31-06:00September 7th, 2011|sewing, The Sewing Summit|36 Comments


  1. Becky M September 7, 2011 at 6:16 am - Reply

    I actually use an old iron that I had before I became a quilter. It’s a black and decker from Sears and I LOVE it. It gets super hot, steams nicely, turns off after about 45 mins (key for forgetful me). Simple – effective.

  2. Jean September 7, 2011 at 6:21 am - Reply

    I love my “orinch” (orange) Reliable Velocity. It is a lean, mean steam machine! Plus it heats up really quick. My Rowenta worked, but the moment I tried the velocity it was love at first sight. What I llike most about it is I can get steam at lower temps. Yesiree…

    I love it for when I block my quilts.

    My tip? Pressing means just that– pressing the iron on the surface to be pressed. Ironing is the back and forth motion.

  3. Tabatha September 7, 2011 at 6:24 am - Reply

    I have the Reliable Digital Velocity V100 and I love it. It gets super hot and produces generous amounts of steam. FYI, I use R/O water in my iron, never tap water.

    My only complaint is that if you fill it to the line marked on the tank, it will leak, fill it to 1/4″ below the line and you’re golden, it’ll never leak.

    Good luck on your iron hunt!

  4. Amy, a redeemed sheep September 7, 2011 at 6:34 am - Reply

    My favorite iron is an old General Electric travel iron I picked up at a thrift store. It gets super hot and presses so nicely. =)

  5. Michele September 7, 2011 at 6:35 am - Reply

    I went through this dilema last year when my very old basic Black and Decker died. A quilter can’t quilt without a good iron. I read reviews all over the place, tried 3-4 options and returned every one and ended up getting a Rowenta Pro Master. It gets super duper hot and I haven’t had any problems with it so far. Yes I empty the water when I’m done using it as per the instructions. I wasn’t thrilled spending so much for an iron but after trying so many in various price ranges I bit the bullet and got the Rowenta and havn’t been sorry since. The one big thing I read all over was to get a Rowenta that is made in Germany not the ones in China. The Germany made ones are the better ones (and of course more expensive) than the China made ones and for me the price difference isn’t so much when I considered the amount of years that I’ll use it and not having problems with it that just make me angry. Good luck.

  6. Suzanne September 7, 2011 at 6:41 am - Reply

    We are rowenta fans! I love their steam action.

  7. Megan September 7, 2011 at 6:52 am - Reply

    I’m using a Rowenta right now. We’ve had it a couple of years now, and it works really well. I’m psycho about NOT putting water in the tank, though. It drives the husband crazy when he goes to iron his shirts. We keep two spray bottles next to the ironing board – one that just has water (for ironing clothes) and another with a diluted starch solution (for pressing fabric).

  8. Kim September 7, 2011 at 6:52 am - Reply

    I have a Maytag cordless iron which I picked up about 6 years ago. I really like that it is cordless…can’t even remember what it’s like to fumble with a cord now. Steams good, but I’m not sure it gets hot as I would like it to.

  9. Sara September 7, 2011 at 6:57 am - Reply

    I share the same Sunbeam brand with you Amy. I will have to see if mine is 1200 watts too. Last night I pushed the switch all the way up to the linen setting and it seems to be working a lot better. Previously I always had it on Cotton. That and I cleaned it a week ago.

    irons are definitely an interesting topic! Thanks for doing this post.

  10. Sharon September 7, 2011 at 7:00 am - Reply

    I have an Oliso, that rises up when you aren’t using it. It actually rises up when you take your hand off the handle. For me, its great.

  11. Heidi September 7, 2011 at 7:04 am - Reply

    I have two Rowentas right now. Rowenta Pro Master and my much older model “Inox”. Their steam is the best. But that is a no-no for pressing seams, right? But, it is always tempting.

    I keep the old one for pressing seams because it is my NO water iron. The other is for pressing those horrible wrinkles for washing or if I need crisp hems for window tx or clothes. Oh..and ironing all of our laundry ;)!

    Good luck with the shopping!!!

  12. Ann Marie September 7, 2011 at 7:36 am - Reply

    I had a rowenta, but it leaked, and only steamed when it wanted too. Since I use it 4 days a week I am not going to empty and refill it everytime. If it can’t hold water all the time forget it. Right now I am using a $5 iron that the steam button is broke off of, but it gets hot so it will due until I too can find me a new iron. It won’t be a rowenta, heard too many bad things about those.

  13. Melinda September 7, 2011 at 7:47 am - Reply

    I was thinking of asking for a new iron for my birthday. Mine also does the rust thing, which has ruined a few pieces of fabric. It’s an old Black & Decker and needs replacing.

  14. Barbara September 7, 2011 at 8:55 am - Reply

    I have an Oliso now and when it works it is wonderful, but it doesn’t get hot quickly and the automatic off comes on too fast when I am not using it for a couple of minutes I love that you can leave it horizontal with the feet but the red light comes on too soon. I had a Shark once and really loved it. I too am thinking about asking for a new iron for my birthday which is the 13th. How sad wew ask for appliances……

  15. Amy H September 7, 2011 at 9:01 am - Reply

    I love my yellow Oliso! I would never ever ever use anything other than Oliso!

  16. jan September 7, 2011 at 9:04 am - Reply

    I bought a Rowenta when I started quilting a few years ago–all the quilters I knew had one. It leaked and I recently asked my new quilter friends what they recommended and no one had a solid recommendation. I’ll read these comments with interest and look forward to seeing what you buy. Some company out there has to have a quality iron.

  17. Jennifer September 7, 2011 at 9:04 am - Reply

    I just don’t think there is a perfect iron out there. I had a cheaper Rowenta for 6 years. It did great, until the cord shorted out and it wouldn’t go on. I promptly went and bought another Rowenta at Costco and had it 16 months before it started leaking water for no reason. Costco replaced it, and within 2 months the control knob on the replacement popped off. I was right in the middle of finishing a quilt and didn’t want to think about “looking” for something else so I took it back and Costco gave me a second replacement. If this third one has any problems, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I like the heavy feel of the Rowentas and the steam. Good luck and let us know what you choose.

  18. Audrie September 7, 2011 at 9:17 am - Reply

    I had a Rowenta that was gifted to me as a house-warming present, and I loved it but it died after 2 yrs. I’ve been using a relatively cheap iron by GE. I love that you can hit a button and turn it off without unplugging, and it’s been great. Till I dropped it on the floor the other day. Whoops. So I’m now debating what to get… do I replace it with the same iron or do I look elsewhere? Curious to what your readers have to say!

  19. Tove Leggett September 7, 2011 at 10:30 am - Reply

    My my had one of the rowenta too, it stunk! I have had several over the years, but I have to say I am quite happy with my current iron, it is a nice even weight, and not to light. I HATE a light iron. I like some weight to them. It’s a Black and deck, digital advantage D2000. Its been with me for about 5 years now and it work at well today as it did when I got itand it gets super hot love it!!!!! Even has auto shut off.

  20. Queenie September 7, 2011 at 11:12 am - Reply

    I’m an industrial iron kind of gal… As for home irons I have a trusty Black and Decker I’ve had for years that’s a little work horse.
    Ironing tip: 1) Only use distilled or purified water in any iron. It will extend the life of the iron. 2) Keep a tube of ironing clearner goo on hand and use it anytime you accidently melt something or have (starch or sizing)build-up on the plate of iron.

  21. Jen September 7, 2011 at 11:19 am - Reply

    I have the yellow Oliso iron and I LOVE it! There are different levels of Oliso irons and after doing my research I picked the yellow one because it is a higher wattage and has a longer auto-off time. It was expensive but definitely worth it. I press all of my seams open and noticed a huge improvement in the flatness of my seams when I got this iron. It gets super hot and is pretty heavy which helps a lot. I’m completely in love with the auto raise and lower feature — it makes me a more efficient ironer.

    A comment about the above comment: You shouldn’t use distilled water in irons. Most high-end irons come with instructions that very clearly state this and indicate that only regular tap water should be used (mine did.) People often have leakage problems when using distilled water.

  22. Alexa September 7, 2011 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    I bought a Sunbeam “turbo steam master” from Target a couple months ago. I killed my last iron using fuzable web on too-thin fabric. Nice and hot, lots of steam! I’m not an iron expert but I like it – I call her “Puff the Magic Iron.”

  23. Joyce Mitchell September 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    I ordered a T-Fal Ultraglide Easycord iron from the Walmart website & had it delivered to my local store. It was a best buy in Consumer Reports & I love it. Heats up fast; takes a nap went I’m not using it, but wakes up fast; produces lots of steam when I want it; and gets hot enough to press without steam. Best iron I’ve had in years.

  24. Stephanie September 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    I have a T-Fal Aquaspeed (chosen after much research and reading of user reviews 4-5 years ago) with some kind of super-duper non-stick plate: LOVE IT! Heats up fast, tons of steam if you want it, auto-shut-off for forgetful moments. Best iron I’ve ever had, puts in (or takes out) a crease in anything. When I need a new one I’ll stick with TFal. I cringed at the price when I bought it, but it was less than a Rowenta, and has been worth every penny. It’s even worth the bump I see in my electric bill when I’ve been doing a lot of quilt piecing (i.e., lots and lots of seam pressing, too) — it’s that powerful.

  25. Karen September 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    I have fortunately not had any problem with Rowenta irons, besides 1 getting plain tired. I have never thought to drain my iron between uses, but should try maybe.

  26. Lynn September 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    I have a 16 year old Black and Decker Pro Express. I got a Rowenta about 10 years ago that has become my “travel iron” because it leaks when any amount of water is put in it. It works great without water though. My advice – don’t get anything made in China. And be sure to let us know what you do get and if you like it. I’m thinking my 16 year old Black and Decker is probably not going to last much longer.

  27. Caro September 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    I have two T-Fal Ultraglide irons and they are wonderful. They have a finished sole plate, not Teflon, but some other material and they are about half the cost of a Rowenta. I finally made the switch after I went through three Rowenta’s. I have seen them at Wal Mart and Kohl’s (where I purchased mine). Good luck to you.

  28. Pétra (Creative Mom) September 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    I have the Rowenta in the picture above and it has worked out really well for me, I’ve had it for maybe 2 or 3 years. I love the steam and it get’s hot so fast. I haven’t had issues with leaving water in the tank but it doesn’t sit long when I’m sewing.

  29. Pam September 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy,
    Okay, I can write a book on what the Rowenta irons will and won’t do; whatever they do or don’t, those irons don’t seem to make it pass a year. Oh, they heat up fine, but the water leaks out at random…not good on a silk gown!! Oy! Right now the OLISO (purchased last September at the PA quilt show) is still performing at peak…still gets hot, still holds the water until you want it released and the touch mechanism still works. Right now, I put my money on the Oliso iron…just saying. Oliso irons are made for different uses; obviously the most durable one sits in my design area…lol.


  30. Sherry September 7, 2011 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy. I have been through so many irons. I’ve bought higher end ones & cheaper ones. I have no magic answer. I do wonder though, do you all use tap water or distilled water? I have noticed some of my irons ended up with a lime build up from tap water. Thanks!

  31. Allie September 7, 2011 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    I hate shopping for irons. I have a cheapy one right now, because my Black & Decker Classic [which I LOVED] wouldn’t get hot anymore. I hate the auto shut-off feature on all the new irons. It’s incredibly annoying when you’re doing fusible applique. If I ever find one that doesn’t have that feature, I’ll buy 40 of them!

    I use Best Press, I don’t use steam. Since I do a lot of fusible applique, I like to keep my iron empty.

  32. Darlene Gerber September 8, 2011 at 6:53 am - Reply

    My last two irons have been Olisio’s!! I love the auto raise and lower feature, and the out off. I scorched a project a few years back when I sneezed! I have had the industrial yellow one for not quite a year and a half, it’s starting to give me problems. But I will replace it with an identical model. Next time I need to take the time to empty the water or just make sure I use it all!! Happy Birthday to Barbara my birthday also is the 13th.

  33. TheaM September 8, 2011 at 9:10 am - Reply

    I’ve used 4 Rowenta irons, but I’m not going to buy another one! When I need a new one, I’m going for the Reliable – cause it has a separate steam heater!
    I’ve also used Black & Decker and Sunbeam – both good choices for occasional ironing, but not for daily use!

  34. […] this October!Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginI must say thank you for all your input on the iron situation this week!  I look forward to researching each of your suggestions, and finding the […]

  35. Marlene September 12, 2011 at 4:13 am - Reply

    It would be cool if they could also do the job by themselves ;)

  36. susan September 29, 2011 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    For me, the disengage pro was just too heavy and did not stay hot enough. A friend suggested I use a “early 60’s G.E. Travel iron” along the line of what stewardesses would use then. They travel well stay hot and don’t waste my time turning off and on. I use a stable steel trivet for safety and resting the iron on. It’s light weight and colapses a bit for storage. I got mine on eBay.

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