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Whoa! A Steam Iron that really Steams!
on April 30, 2012
Summary: An excellent iron that puts out a lot of steam, to take a lot of the "work" out of ironing.
EDIT (and UPDATE as of Feb 2013, additions as noted)
I'm a stay-at-home mom that irons at least 2 hours a week. Instead of our clothing running the gamut, they're at the extremes: technical fabrics (like Dri-Fit or CoolMax) or 100% cotton/linen. Hence, all the ironing. When my 10-yr Sunbeam quit putting out steam like it used to, it was time to find a new one. After reading reviews here on Amazon, I went searching for a T-fal iron. The budget is tight and was a bit hesitant to spend this kind of money at a local store (sorry, Amazon) but I'm glad I did.
This iron really, really puts out the steam. It holds a lot of water and it needs to. The angle of repose to stand up is more like 75- or 80-degrees (as opposed to my old iron's straight up 90-degree vertical) and it took some getting used to. But the triangle based that works around the "easycord" system was carefully thoughtout and is very stable (even with my 3-yr old bumping into the board and giving me a scare!). I tried every way from Sunday to make the cord system not work...and I couldn't.
My only real complaints: the dial to set the temperatures is directly under the handle and can be hard to maneuver and read. But the hottest temps for cotton is shaded yellow, and all the way to the end, so it's not a particular problem for me. I know some irons have digital readouts but I neither desired or expected one of those at this price-point. And, most of the "use" instructions are only visual, no words, so I'm having to guess a bit at what some of the "NO" icons mean. The instructions mention a "self-clean" function and an anti-scale rod...but I can't find any further information about it.
UPDATE: There is no real "off" setting (not that it really needs it) but I still think it should be a feature.
UPDATE: I've "cleaned" the anti-scale rod a few times (it only takes a turn of the rod to pull it out) but either we're in a relatively mineral-free municipal water district or my other "preservation" method (see below on spitting and cleaning) seems sufficient.
The plate was shaped nicely, glided effortlessly and the weight-balance made the back-n-forth movements a breeze. It heated up quickly (didn't put a stopwatch on it but definitely faster than what it replaced) and shut-off (or at least sounds like it did) when I left it sitting too long.
Just for grins, I did some vertical steaming on a dress that had been crinkled in the closet and that came out nicely too. It didn't produce the first drip or dribble.
UPDATE: After almost a year of weekly ironing (at least an hour at a clip), I've noticed a few spitting/dribbling incidents...after I've walked away and it has "shut itself off/into a holding pattern" and then I come back to it. I can usually avoid those instances by merely running the iron one or two times over the ironing board cover to get the steam going again and then all seems well.
I would also note, as did another reviewer, that the description here on Amazon mentions a retractable cord...which it does NOT have.
UPDATE: In an effort to minimize clogging or corrosion, I fastidiously empty the water just after I turn it off/unplug it....while it's still hot...hoping the latent heat with dry out the internal chambers so as to remain trouble-free.
All-in-all, a great purchase. I never thought the "appliance" could cut my chore time but this one did -- I wasn't having to stop to refill it and the copious amounts of steam made for mostly one-pass ironing. Great job, T-fal.
Since I've only had it a week (but definitely put it through its paces), I can't vouch for its durability but if anything changes I'll be sure to update this review.
Pros: LARGE amounts of steam, truly easyglide plate, stable base, cord never got in the way
Cons: difficult to "see" analog temperature dial, minimal instructions
One year later verdict: Still a great purchase. After reading some of the subsequent reviews about all the leaking and such, I'd have to say perhaps they got a bad version. Other than the occasion spitting, at very predictable circumstances as noted above, I've had nary an issue with this iron. I sincerely hope it continues to last.