Thursday, November 04, 2010

Some stuff has to be reinvented...

For a while I had a long list of stuff that had yet to be invented, cell phones were at the top of the list. Those are better now, they still need some work done...longer battery life for one...but that is a topic for some other time.

Over the years, I have bought several irons, they leak, they clog, they this one, that I knocked over with the ironing board...

When I bought this iron the brand had terrible reviews, I bought it because they had a really good price at Costco and I needed it in a hurry.

This time around I wanted to buy one with a huge water tank because my new studio does not have a near by water supply. Off I went to the Pattern Review forums and the Artisan's Corner forums to look around and see what people have.

There are basically three kinds of irons:

  • The common home steam iron with terrible reviews and the annoying feature of automatic shut-off. They leak after a while and the water tank is small. They have to be replaced quite often (and sooner if you drop them .....)
  • The steam generator irons that vary in price and durability. On average they hold 33 ounces of water, some have auto shut-off, some don't. The big minus of these systems, the buttons seem to be a fragile and fall off or break.If you run out of water in the middle of a project, you have to wait 10 min for the thing to cool down in order to open the tank and fill it back up.It also takes a while to heat back up. They do have a 3 year warranty which is good if you can find one locally and don't have to ship the monster back.
  • The last option, that caught my attention right away, are the gravity feed steam irons. They have a tank that holds again about 33 ounces and hangs from 3 ft above the iron in order to work....hence the name. You can fill the tank any time, they tend to cool faster than the steam generator ones but heat back up quickly. There are several brands and the price varies depending on the brand, not the quality. (I was told this by a sales person).The different brands are pretty much the same thing, branded different some cost more, some less. Humm this sounded like something I would like. Hanging the tank is really no big deal and if they work and last, why not? Well....the manufacturer warranty is only 90 days...why would that be? There are of course some people that report the irons failing after a few months.

  • Back to square one I went and ended up buying one the same brand, same store as the one I had just dropped.....this one has a 3 year warranty and I can take it back to the store if need be.

    Since the old iron was a gonner, I did a bit of exploring to see if I could find out why the irons leak and go bad so easy. I expected to find a cracked water tank...armed with a screwdriver I opened the thing. What a big surprise I had, check it out. I am not a film maker by any means and the tripod was not around, but I had to record my findings.
    I sure hope steam irons are next on the list for engineers to focus on, they have a long way to go...says me.


    Cheryl S. said...

    Interesting to see what's inside! I had to go to the thrift store to get a non-auto-shutoff iron when I was using it for quilting.

    I admit to giving up on using the steam function of irons because of all the leaks and sputtering. I just use a spray bottle with water, and spritz the fabric when I need to. I don't iron much any more, so it works well enough for as little as I use it.

    fleegle said...

    Goodness! Iron guts! Who knew?

    I have to say that I take out my iron once a year at most. I've had it about 40 years and it still works fine. It's a GE. Guess they dobn't make them anymore.

    Pru said...

    Interesting blog, Laritza. Like Fleegle I don't use my iron very much (God bless wrinkle-free shirts and sheets!) but the old rule of thumb used to be to use distilled water rather than tap water to avoid a build up of mineral deposits which clog the steam vents. I guess filtered water would do the same trick. I've had my Rowenta for about 20 years, bought it when I was making lots of little smocked clothes for the lad who is now a college senior.

    Laritza said...

    Pru: as you say, the old rule of thumb most irons are designed to use with tap water. If you call or contact the manufacturer they say the irons leak because of use of distilled water. I guess once you loose the old iron you are in for an adventure with them like me!

    Anonymous said...

    I, too, have gone through a ton of irons = always looking for the perfect one - which for me is a iron that will last more than 3 or 4 years.
    So far, I've gone through the kind that has a gravity feeder - where you hang the water container and by gravity it feeds into the iron. This iron is similar to those used in laundry facilities. This was probably the best iron because it lasted 4.5 years. The iron broke down. Then I went through 2 very expensive irons that rested on the water tank. Every now and then someone would bump into the tank and down it would go. Useless. The lasts one broke all by itself before the warranty was over. And then had the same problem within 4 months of the repair. I now use the cheapest iron I can find. I figure I am saving tons of money by not buying the best they have and so far this little iron is going on 3.5 years. Sometimes it has to do with the seal or with the heating element. All I know is that if you pay 200+ for a iron it should last more than 2 or 3 years.