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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why The Exorbitant Price Tag?
I love the Panasonic 360° Quick Iron, but don't understand its steep price. The high cost makes this model one of the most expensive irons out there, even more expensive than many steam iron stations or upright steamers. Perhaps Panasonic thought a few features were worth the cost.

Multi-directional abilities (thanks to a double-headed soleplate) are a...
Published 18 months ago by ladyfingers

versus
52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to like this iron, but it's expensive and I like it less with time. (UPDATED)
UPDATE (more things I'm uncomfortable with as I use it more, see end)

I used a Rowenta for about 15 years and finally the burst-of-steam stopped working so I replaced it. And it works fine except that you really have to keep the water level topped up for the steam to work, which defeats the purpose of a large water tank. And it's impossible to see the...
Published 19 months ago by Dave


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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why The Exorbitant Price Tag?, January 7, 2013
By 
This review is from: Panasonic NI-W950A Multi-Directional Iron w/Alumite Soleplate (Misc.)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I love the Panasonic 360° Quick Iron, but don't understand its steep price. The high cost makes this model one of the most expensive irons out there, even more expensive than many steam iron stations or upright steamers. Perhaps Panasonic thought a few features were worth the cost.

Multi-directional abilities (thanks to a double-headed soleplate) are a featured selling point, but what's so unique about that? I can iron in all directions with any iron, and certainly don't need two pointed ends to do it, just a human arm that twists and turns. As a matter of fact, I have tried using the bottom point of the soleplate while ironing cuffed pants. The two projected arms that serve as its standing base keep getting in the way, creating unwanted ironing lines. Enclosed literature touts "360° Quick." The iron does effortlessly glide over clothes, but my ironing time has not diminished one bit.

The soleplate itself is top-quality, and here may be where it outperforms less expensive models. The 360° Quick soleplate is composed of anodized aluminum (alumite), the same stuff used to make car engines. This helps make the iron soleplate sturdier and scratch-proof. For its high cost, I hope the iron lasts a long time, but to be quite honest, scratching has never been a problem for me. I have been ironing clothes for nearly fifty years, and still have a variety of irons used throughout those years. None have scratched soleplates, and that was never the reason I stopped using them.

There are many features I do appreciate. Iron safety tops the list. This iron stands up very well (securely) because of evenly distributed body weight and a centrally-located, 360° swivel cord. I like the feel of the iron while in use, and really like its extra long cord. The 360° Quick iron puts out a lot of steam, thanks to over a hundred steam vents (almost twice as many as cheaper models), and clothes have never looked crisper. It irons all fabric types well. Because of the violet color, filling up the water tank is a little tricky. Instead, I just rely on the maximum line found on the included water cup which accurately reflects the maximum line of the iron's water tank. I have not had any leakage issues because the iron has an anti-drip system, which unlike cheaper models, really seems to work.

After that, its many other features can be found on other less expensive models: 3-way shut-off, vertical steam, self-cleaning and an anti-calc (scale build-up) system. Maybe as time passes Panasonic will come to their senses and lower the price, making this very nice appliance more affordable and more likely to be bought. There's no reason an iron should cost over $200.
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to like this iron, but it's expensive and I like it less with time. (UPDATED), December 29, 2012
By 
Dave "Dave" (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Panasonic NI-W950A Multi-Directional Iron w/Alumite Soleplate (Misc.)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
UPDATE (more things I'm uncomfortable with as I use it more, see end)

I used a Rowenta for about 15 years and finally the burst-of-steam stopped working so I replaced it. And it works fine except that you really have to keep the water level topped up for the steam to work, which defeats the purpose of a large water tank. And it's impossible to see the level.

Why mention that? Because while this one doesn't have as large a tank, it's also very hard to tell what the water level is. But other than that, I think the iron works great - while you are actually ironing! The steam is strong and while it must cover less area (since the bottom is shaped like a long narrow very pointed oval rather than a triangle) it's easy to move and get into places and that shape works well for me. (To be fair, I don't iron big flat things like table cloths, I do lots of shirts, and the maneuverability is more important to me, and hence I like the shape. I don't think I would were I doing large items.)

But the problem is that this is an expensive iron and I think that while the 'innards' may be very well made, that for most people it's not going to be a pleasure to use. Here's why:

I have one major issue, one "you'd better be careful" issue, and a minor one:

Minor: There are only 3 steam settings, and as luck would have it, neither is exactly what I'd like. On the other hand, it's very easy to flick from the almost-none to the middle setting, with it being fiddly, so what's not a big deal.

The "you'd better be careful" issue is that the water refill cap feels as though I'm going to break it off quickly. This is a common complaint about irons these days, and it won't happen if you are very very careful. But who wants to have to be that careful.

The major issue is that it's just too easy to turn it over, and seems top-heavy. On a hard solid surface it's no problem, but on an ironing board it's just too easy to knock it over. And because I'm a very tall guy (6'4") I long ago bought a tall heavy expensive Brabatia board, which is much sturdier and wider than the run of the mill ironing board, so in general it's more stable. I wouldn't trust this on a regular ironing board.

So I honestly have no idea how much stars to give it. While I'm holding it in my hand ironing, it's fine - it's heavy, but I like that. But when I'm ironing I'm constantly setting it down to move the thing I'm ironing around, and then it's vulnerable.

Also, and this is niggly, but this thing is way too expensive for this: There is an ugly, shiny silver on the side of the plastic part that is the kind of sticker you're expected to pull off when you buy it. But no - this thing was obviously meant to stay on as it leaves a lot of gunk. This just isn't OK for an iron that costs over $200. I feel as though Panasonic was going for novelty and didn't know when to stop.

PS: You know what the looks on this remind me of? If you're old enough to remember the Jetsons, a cartoon about life in the future, this looks like an iron from that cartoon: it's purple and silver plastic.

I suspect Amazon will have a lot of returns on this.

UPDATE: I confess I like this iron less as I continue to use it, though my feelings are a bit mixed:

1) Maybe I'm just getting used to it, but I don't find it as unstable as I did when I was first using it. I don't mean that it's any more stable than it was, but I've adjusted to it.

2) I don't know what the soleplate is made of, but I don't like it. These non-stainless-steel plates are always supposed to glide easier, but I've got some all cotton shirts that it seems to want to drag on. It's not damaging but it's annoying.

3) BIGGEST THING: This is a 1700-watt iron which is about what my old (and not old Rowentas) are. But this just doesn't seem to get as hot (and yes, I've got it turned all the way up), and it seems to struggle to stay hot. At first I thought it was my imagination, but not any more. With my near-same-wattage Rowenta, if I touch the fabric where I've just run the iron, it is hot and uncomfortable to touch. With this one it feels warm, but nothing more.

4) The water tank isn't especially big and I find that a full one will do maybe 4 shirts. And the little hole into which you have to pour the water has no allowance for your not getting it exactly right. They provide a plastic water cup with a very sharp spout. The irony is that while the sharp spout is essential to get the water in the hole, the water cup is tall and thin and the very last shape I'd put on an ironing board.
Maybe I have a slightly defective model.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not crappy (unlike every other iron I've owned), January 23, 2013
This review is from: Panasonic NI-W950A Multi-Directional Iron w/Alumite Soleplate (Misc.)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Everybody needs a $200 iron. Okay, honestly, almost nobody needs a $200 iron. Unless you iron a lot. And if you do, having a very versatile iron suddenly seems like a really great time saver. If I could have afforded this when I was in the Army (which I couldn't), I would have bought one, because I can see how useful it would have been. When you are ironing a dress uniform and you want to get every wrinkle out of every crack, you quickly discover the limits of a cheap iron. You learn the limits of one that doesn't steam evenly. You learn the limits of one that corrodes and suddenly won't slide well. You learn to hate an iron that drips on the uniform that you need to put on in five seconds for inspection.

They should issue these irons with your M-16.

Now if you only iron your dress shirt for weddings and funerals, you don't need this. If you have an iron just in case you ever buy a dress shirt for a wedding or funeral, you don't need this. But if you iron occasionally and $200 isn't a lot of money to you, or if you iron a few times a week, you won't regret spending money on an iron that just works, and works well. And if you know a soldier/sailor/marine/airmen, buy them this damn iron. Because either they have a sucky iron they hate, or they are spending way too much of their meager salary on dry cleaning. I wish I could send this back in time to my poor enlisted soldier self every time I use it (which is when I iron my dress shirt, for weddings and funerals).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great performance, no complaints, other than the Max water fill indicator, April 26, 2013
By 
wlillyman (St. Louis, MO USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Panasonic NI-W950A Multi-Directional Iron w/Alumite Soleplate (Misc.)
This Panasonic NI-W950A steam iron replaces a very, very old Proctor-Silex Lightweight iron which I will not miss. So this review may be jaded because my previous steam iron was so old & so bad, compared to today's modern irons. I chose to spend as much as I did purchasing this iron because I'd saved enough to buy the best that Consumer Reports recommended, and that was this iron.

This iron performs so much better than my very old, traditional steam iron: With this iron, I rescued many silk and linen shirts that I'd given up hope of ever unwrinkling.

After reading the instructions that came with this steam iron, I tested the iron's capabilities on a shirt that I wouldn't care about damaging, and was surprised to find that I can now wear it, again. This iron's "Jet of steam" button is perfectly positioned near my thumb while using the iron, which makes it very easy to inject steam directly onto very-wrinkled parts of the fabric. It eliminated even very-tough wrinkles from my silk, linen and cotton garments without damaging the fabric. None of the garments I ironed were damaged in any way using this iron's recommended manufacturer's settings. I bought some Protective Ironing Pressing Pads to protect my garments, but with this iron, I didn't need the protective pads, at all. This iron did not damage silk or linen garments when ironed without using the protective pads.

This iron heats up very quickly, which is another welcome change from my old steam iron. The Thermostat Operating Indicator Light stays lit while the iron heats up, and goes dark when the iron is ready, which took less than two minutes from cold to ready using the hottest heat & steam setting.

This iron's soleplate is a symmetrical "sharp-edged oval" shape, allowing you to go forward and backward, which is great when ironing around & between shirt buttons. The soleplate is made of Alumite, which is apparently resistant to the crud that built up on my old iron. That old iron caused brown stains on garments and had severe drag while cruising along the fabric. This new iron also does not drip water all over the fabric while ironing the way my old one did.

The only complaint I have is that this iron's Max water fill indicator is nearly useless. I tried holding the iron upright under a bright lamp, in front of an outdoor window, and with bright natural sunlight behind me, and never could see whether the water level was near Panasonic's Max level recommendation. I finally gave up trying to look for the water's level near the Max indicator, and instead emptied out all water from the iron, and filled the iron using the included 10-oz. measuring cup, which features a clear Max-level indicator. After figuring that out, my experience with this iron was superb. This shortcoming is not enough to make me regret my purchase of this steam iron.

This iron also features a Vertical Steam option which I haven't tried, yet. It's intended to let you shoot steam at an upright garment or draperies, which is not something I'll likely do. I'm always going to iron my garments on a flat ironing table.

I highly recommend the Panasonic NI-W950A steam iron, though I haven't tried less-expensive modern steam irons to conclude whether they're as adequate as this one.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why does this cost so much?!?!, January 23, 2013
By 
This review is from: Panasonic NI-W950A Multi-Directional Iron w/Alumite Soleplate (Misc.)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've had the chance to review several irons now and welcomed the chance to try this one out. I iron at least weekly and have used Rowenta irons for many years. I like stainless soleplates since I can keep them clean with an inexpensive cleaner and there's no risk of scratching. I also like a LOT of steam vents. And I like a heavy enough iron that I don't have to push down hard to get the nice finish I want. Well, the drawbacks here:
1) You can barely tell where the water level is due to the dark purple window--MAKE IT MUCH, MUCH LIGHTER and easy to see
2) the tank is not that large and I find I need to refill quite often for adequate steam
3) the steam vents are only on the perimeter of the base instead of all over
4) call me weird, but I just don't get the "spaceship" design
5) it feels a bit top-heavy and not as comfortable as most irons
6) the thought of paying over $200 for an iron made in China is very hard to swallow--if I didn't get this free to review I would never pay that much

Bottom line, there are much better choices out there for a lot less money--keep looking and pass this by.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Was I unlucky twice?, March 28, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Panasonic NI-W950A Multi-Directional Iron w/Alumite Soleplate (Misc.)
My experience with this iron (actually, two of them) was brief. I was looking for a new one after retiring my Electrolux Perfect Glide (review here: http://www.amazon.com/review/RXGW86A22XLYT/). After a lot of research, I decided to pick up the Panasonic NI-W950A.

I wanted to love this iron and sincerely expected that I would. I pounced on the box as soon as it arrived and pulled it out immediately (making sure to read the manual before use). It *does* have good points, including great steam capabilities (both horizontally and vertically) and heating up moderately quickly. It is difficult to read the water level due to the dark color of the plastic reservoir windows, which is a nuisance, but certainly not a deal breaker.

Other reviewers here have done a fine job laying out its other details, but there is one that I haven't seen mentioned directly and it is the impetus for this review.

Before plugging the iron in, I inspected its exterior thoroughly. Everything checked out except for the soleplate, which concerned me in a few ways:
* Sliding my fingertips over the steam holes, I noticed that some of them were quite sharp. I've operated many irons over the years and I have never encountered this. Even my SO, who does absolutely no ironing, commented on the sharpness of the holes.
* Similarly, the edges of the soleplate had some patches that were quite rough. I was worried that these spots would rub against fabric and damage it.
* I don't know whether they are soldering points, but at the top and bottom of the soleplate, I could see/feel two small bulges. Not a cause for concern regarding damage, but they added to my overall impression of lower quality.

I tried to justify these things to myself, thinking, "It's an expensive iron, rated highly by Consumer Reports--surely, these things can't be that bad, right? No one else is griping about the soleplate, so either it's fine or mine is simply an anomaly."

I decided to try it out, testing on a raggedy spare towel. Upon the first few presses of the burst-of-steam button, I noticed that two small pieces of *something* had came out of the iron and landed on the towel. I am convinced that they were thin metal chads leftover from the perforation process (they were about the size of the holes). This was somewhat disturbing, but I really wanted to keep the iron, so I pressed (ha!) on.

I subsequently ironed the reverse side of some thick (but smooth) fabric. The steam output, heat, and weight helped eliminate the wrinkles easily. I liked the multi-directional shape of the soleplate; however, I was anxious about the aforementioned roughness. I soon realized that I could hear the soleplate ever-so-slightly catching in certain spots with each pass. Because the fabric was fairly sturdy, nothing was visibly snagged or damaged, but a delicate material may not have survived unscathed.

I decided to call Panasonic the next business day to (politely) ask whether they thought I may have received a defective unit. Unfortunately, I had a terrible customer service experience that resulted in them (rudely) telling me to ship it to their repair facility and that I was responsible for shipping costs in both directions. No, thank you--instead, I called Amazon, explained the situation, and they sent me a replacement free of charge.

I'm sure you've guessed how this ends by now: yep, the soleplate on the replacement was just as poor. This time, I didn't bother turning it on, so I can't be certain that any perforated metal scraps would have come out, but I had the same concerns regarding sharp steam holes and rough edges, so it was promptly returned for a refund.

The fact that not a single other reviewer has criticized this explicitly (not just on Amazon, but on other sites, too--I googled the heck out of this thing) still has me wondering whether this is a common issue. One Vine reviewer mentions not liking the soleplate material and that it sometimes drags on cotton (though isn't damaging), but that's about it. However, the likelihood that I received two identically flawed units is very slim.

Maybe I was being unnecessarily picky. Regardless, even if the soleplate wouldn't have caused any issues in the long run, the fact that I had such concerns was enough for me to give up on the model. A steam iron at this price point should be near perfect and not leave you with nagging, lingering doubts about its quality.

Although I was hesitant to go with a Rowenta in the first place due to claims of their declining quality, I now wish that I had purchased one sooner because I would have saved myself a lot of fretting. I recently bought the Rowenta DW9280 and I am extremely pleased with it so far. Also, I've called Rowenta customer service twice to ask a few questions and both representatives were agreeable and informative. I will post a review for that iron soon.

[Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in my review.]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this iron!, September 18, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Panasonic NI-W950A Multi-Directional Iron w/Alumite Soleplate (Misc.)
Love, love, love this iron!
Read some reviews on it that good and bad but ordered it anyway! It's the best iron ever. Being dark purple it is hard to see how much water you have in it but not hard to add smaller amounts of water to it. It's also a wee but heavy when filled with water but, it's worth it!
I do a lot of crafting, quilting and sewing so it's pulged in almost all day everyday. It heats very quickly.
Love it!!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes quick work, September 19, 2013
By 
B. Elaine (Kingsport, TN USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Panasonic NI-W950A Multi-Directional Iron w/Alumite Soleplate (Misc.)
I had a Rowenta and thought it was a good iron until I bought this. The multi directional makes quick work - good investment for me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works well, attractive modern design, January 19, 2013
This review is from: Panasonic NI-W950A Multi-Directional Iron w/Alumite Soleplate (Misc.)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a very modern-looking iron with a nice violet color with silvery-grey accents. The design is really remarkable and almost sexy, quite different from the stodgy German-style irons.

I don't see any advantage in the unusual boat-shaped sole plate which is supposed to allow ironing in both directions. I have a similar model from Panasonic that I have been using for some time but it hasn't altered the mechanics of ironing for me except that along a long hem such as at the top edge of a sheet it requires a bit less effort to keep the iron moving along in a straight line.

This style also places the center of gravity up higher and requires that the iron balance on three feet. Although it seems less stable and I was worried about knocking it over, that hasn't happened and there is an auto-off function that would turn it off if it did. It does tend to drop from vertical to horizontal quickly once it's picked up which puts a little strain on the wrist, as well as when lifting the iron back up to a vertical position.

It definitely is very effective as an iron. It heats up fast and puts out a good bit of steam and the plate is nice and smooth so it does iron a shirt up quickly.

The vertical steam function is very handy for steaming wrinkles out of wools and silks that don't iron well. The reservoir holds well over a cup of water and doesn't leak; a handy little cup for filling it is included.

The controls are a bit odd. I tend to get the steam and spray buttons confused or hit both at the same time. The temperature dial is a bit awkward to see and adjust at the same time because it's under the handle.

Other features I like are the cord which swivels easily and definitely tends to get in the way less frequently and the handle, which is easy to grip and much more comfortable than it appears to be.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars IRON BABY IRON UPDATE, November 4, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Panasonic NI-W950A Multi-Directional Iron w/Alumite Soleplate (Misc.)
MOST FANTASTIC IRONING EXPERIENCE. I am a seamstress and the places this iron can go is just unbelievable . Wish I could afford to gift it to my daughter.

UPDATE MAY 1 2014 TWO MONTHS AGO THE IRON STARTED TO LEAK. TOOK THE WATER OUT AND JUST USED IT AS A DRY IRON. LAST WEEK IT WILL NOT GET HOT ENOUGH TO PRESS SILKS AND SYNTHETICS . THIS WAS OUT OF AMAZONS CONTROL I CALLED PANASONIC AND THEY TOLD ME I NEEDED TO RETURN THE IRON TO THEM AND THEY WOULD MAKE THE DECISION TO REPAIR OR REPLACE. SHIPPING WOULD BE MY EXPENSE AND IT COULD TAKE 4 TO 6 WEEKS. AS PREVIOUSLY STATED I AM A SEAMSTRESS, I HAVE TO GO OUT AND PURCHASE ANOTHER IRON IMMEDIATELY, THEY WILL NOT REFUND SO I HAVE PAID A DISGUSTING HIGH PRICE FOR A BROKEN IRON THAT CAN'T BE REFUNDED AND STILL HAVE TO BUY A SECOND IRON. ALSO HAVE NOTICED THAT THEY HAVE BEEN DROPPING THE PRICE OF THIS IRON ON A STEADY BASIS. NO GOOD OR NO ONE STUPID ENOUGH TO PAY THAT KIND OF MONEY FOR AN IRON.
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