Most helpful critical review
63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
I really wanted to like this iron, but it's expensive and I like it less with time. (UPDATED)
on December 29, 2012
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.