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Small & Feature Rich--Lacking Quality
on October 21, 2012
I purchasesed this Steamfast Home and Away Iron because of the apparent bonus features: convenient cord storage, "heat resistant" storage pouch, measuring cup, and reportedly ergonomic handle. What I found was disappointing.
The convenient cord storage is a pain in the neck. It takes a significant amount of time to wrap the cord correctly Around the handle because of its length (albeit a positive feature) and the small circumference of the iron handle. There is also a problem with the cord clip--the cord is difficult to position correctly in the clip, and even then it will not stay put. Soon after finally getting it into the clip it wiggles loose and the cord begins to unwind--annoying.
The "heat resistant pouch turned out to be a simple nylon drawstring bag. In the instructions it says to cool the iron for 30 minutes before placing in the pouch and never mentions heat resistance although, in the product description on Amazon, the company touts "heat resistant" storage pouch.
Next, I found that the measuring cup is required to avoid unwanted hassle when filling the unit to use the steam feature. You must hold/place the iron in a horizontal position to fill it; however, the fill window indicators can only be read with the iron in the vertical position. So either you would have to pour in water, close the reservoir cap, sit the iron up and check the water level, adjust and repeat or use the included measuring cup. So if you want to use the steam feature without that hassle, you are forced to carry the measuring cup with you during travel and use it to fill your iron--inconvenient.
Other items worth mentioning: there are only 4 steam vents at the top of the sole plate. Competing irons have more. The sole plate coating also creates a lot of friction. It doesn't glide as smoothly and easily as one would expect over fabric. It also DOES NOT have a burst of steam feature present in other travel irons, and it has a smaller water reservoir. (Perhaps due to the body of this iron being a lot smaller than other travel irons.) Probably the most annoying thing about this iron is the temperature selection dial. It is recessed, small, and has a tiny, short raised slot that you have to try and fit your fingers around to turn--a major annoyance. (Sticking the egde of a dime into the slot makes it easy ;-) BTW, I am a woman with medium sized fingers. Finally, this travel iron simply does not have the quality appearance or feel I have come to expect from a twenty-something dollar iron. For example, cheap plastic tabs are used for the foot rest as well as the cord clip, the sole plate was not completely smooth and blemish free, and I peeped spilled glue on the rubberized collar that surrounds the handle.
Some reviewers found that the iron leaked. In the instructions there are specific detailed instructions for filling the iron, using the steam on/off button and the steam feature. I suspect most people would not read and follow all of these instructions faithfully.
The one redeeming feature about this iron is that it does heat up in about 15 seconds. I have NEVER used an iron before that heated up nearly as quickly.
Despite this, I would not recommend the Stemfast Home and Away Iron because of a lack in quality, and the presence of features that either do not work as they were intended to or are necessary only because of convoluted design elements. Conversely the Sunbeam Hot2Trot Iron is about 1/2 the price of this item, meets expectations regarding quality, holds more water, has a burst of steam button (that works very well) and glides smoothly and quickly over fabric. It also heats up comparatively fast to most other irons. The Sunbeam has an easy to reach/turn dial for temperature selection. However, A storage bag is NOT offered with this iron, but a measuring cup is not needed because the water in the see through reservoir and the fill mark are clearly visible making the iron a cinch to fill correctly and easily. One caveat: with the water reservoir filled and the steam button off, or the iron turned off, it WILL leak. This happens because the plug that sits down into the mouth of the water tank is made of hard plastic and doesn't seal completely. With the reservoir only 1/3 full the iron won't leak because the water level is lower than the fill neck. (BTW, I have no affilliation with Senbeam; I am simply a consumer who purchased one of their products.)
This review reflects my experience and opinions--your mileage may vary. ;-)