Friday, May 20, 2011

re-kindling an old relationship -- help!

I know that I'm not the only quilter who practices serial monogamy with respect to irons... it's just so hard to find one that isn't a drip, doesn't crack under pressure, won't break the bank, and has a little sex appeal, too!

Well, I'm about to stop messing around with losers and just go back to a very old, stodgy friend.

The last iron I sort of liked was a mid-priced Black & Decker that lasted about 2 or 3 years -- long term! -- and then something went wrong and it started spewing rusty water on my fabric.

Before that was a somewhat pricier Rowenta that cracked after a few years and just stopped working.

When the B&D failed, I bought a cheap Proctor Silex at CVS with a 25% off coupon... it's a steam iron, but it doesn't seem to put out any steam on its own -- only when you press the button. And the "cotton" setting feels more like "rayon" to me. A piece of junk, but of course I tossed the box and the receipt before I figured it out. Can you say "freecycle"?

Then last weekend I was trolling in Target and picked up this Black & Decker "Classic". How could I resist the retro look and the hefty weight of it?
It definitely steams, and it gets REALLY hot. But this is what else it does:
I have never had an iron do this before, and this one does it over and over. I don't know if it's something about the finish on the soleplate -- not very shiny -- or if it's something about the shape. But I know I can't live with it, so it's going back tomorrow morning.

And what I'm left with now is this trusty 20+ year old guy from up in the cupboard. I put him away when I started quilting 10 years ago and decided I needed an upgrade. He still gets hot and puts out steam and doesn't pleat my fabric!But, there's no automatic shut-off (I know some people hate that feature, but I don't) and worse is that the plug gets quite hot, so it makes me a little nervous to use it at all, let alone leave it plugged in any longer than I need to.

PLEASE could someone tell me about an iron that they love, that's lasted more than a year or two, and that I might love, too?

13 comments:

Not Lucy said...

i have gone through lots of struggles with irons also. When I really got into quilting again I bought a Rowenta because my sister just loved hers. I liked it pretty well but it would spit sometimes which was annoying. So when my daughter needed an iron for quilting I gave her mine and got a new better Rowenta. It lasted only a year or two. I tried one more Rowenta and it lasted less than a year before it needed to be repaired and that repair lasted less than a year again. So last year when it croaked I went to the store to buy something cheaper that I hoped would last at least as long. I ended up with a T-fal and so far I am happy with it. Don't know how long it will last but at least it was only 20-30 dollars instead of almost $100!

Libby Fife said...

I have a Rowenta purchased at Target. I have dropped it several times and it always comes back for more. It sputters on occasion (at a loss I guess) and gets steamed (my fault I am sure) and always heats up rather quickly. Not exactly an ideal partner but I have had it for probably just under two years now. Very long term in the iron world.

Joyce said...

I've seen numerous posts and comments on this subject and the consensus seems to be that there is no good iron at any price so just buy cheap ones and replace them regularly. I always look at the irons in the thrift shop and occasionally find a good one to have on hand as back up. They can send a man to the moon but they can't make a decent iron at any price. Strange.

Julie in the Barn said...

My Costco Rowenta died when it was only a toddler.....about 15 months old. I quickly went through 2 short lived but super cheap irons bought at Walmart for under $20. The second was some odd brand that lasted 4 months. I have that B&D classic like you have and it catches the fabric like yours does so it sits in the cupboard as a back-up for emergency use only. My current favorite is a B&D Quickpress model I got with American Express points. It steams well, has decent heft & auto shut-off. The soleplate is smooth. It's only 4 months old but so far so good.

Exuberant Color said...

I bought the Black and Decker classic too and it is only good for ironing large pieces of fabric. I think it is the edge of the steam holes that are catching on the edge of the piecing that causes the pleating. If you rub your hand over the soleplate you will will notice they feel kind of sharp.

I just bought a Sunbeam so we'll see how it lasts.

Vicki W said...

If you find a good one, let us know! I hate my Costco Rowenta. Someone recommended a Reliable and I may try that next.

jovaliquilts said...

I had a Black & Decker that worked fine until I dropped it, but it never got all that hot. I splurged on a Rowenta after reading some raves about it -- a huge waste of money! It doesn't get very hot, it's heavy, and has a very rounded "point." I used a Panasonic iron in the hotel and it was GREAT -- hot, nice point, glided well. I copied all the info and haven't been able to find it anywhere (maybe it's just sold to hotels?). I'm about to order another Panasonic that looks similar. We'll see.

paula, the quilter said...

I currently have two irons. The steam iron is a Panasonic NI-R73NR. The cord reel has stopped working on this, btw. The other one is a Continental Platinum. I love this iron for quilting! It is a dry iron so there are no steam holes and it has the weight of the B&D Classic. My first Continental seemed to get a bit hotter than this one, but they last for several years. I've put a link to where I purchase it.

Julie said...

Irons are an issue for me as well. I recently bought a new Sunbeam Steam Master for around $30 because I love my old one until I dropped it and he handle broke but this one just doesn't seem as hot. Whoever can invent the perfect iron would make money! I had two Rowentas and they didn't last at all.

Kim West said...

I buy new irons every six months it seems. I have bought expensive and cheap... it doesn't seem to matter. When they wear out for quilting, they are still good for "household" ironing. So they just go down the line. I replace the quilting iron, move the quilting iron to the household iron (then I still have a back-up), and then toss the old household iron. The cycle repeats itself after about six months. I have only had both break at once one time.

LC said...

In January, I bought a Rowenta ProMaster in AZ on sale at JoAnne's for a sale price, about $70-80? It get really hot, only spatters if I have the heat too high for the steam level setting, and the shape of the tip is perfect. I love it. I hope it lasts because it is the best iron I've ever had!

Cory said...

I have a Black and Decker Quick n Easy 470 with auto shut-off. It is about ten years old and I absolutely love it. I too have never found an iron that doesn't drip. That or I burn my fingers with the steam. This one does drip so I dry iron. If I want steam, I spritz the fabric with the ever present spray bottle of water or starch. Good luck on finding an iron that suits you. Take care and God bless, Cory

Janet O. said...

I have used a Black and Decker Quick N Easy 400 for so many years! Every now and then the back edge has curled up my fabric. Frustrating. I have looked at Rowentas and some friends swear by them, but I'm too cheap to spring for one. Now I'm glad I haven't.
Just last week I bought a little travel iron at a thrift store to take to a quilting class. The handle folds flat so it is great for tucking away in a bag. It has no steam holes (which I love, because I never use a steam feature anyway, I stick to the spray bottle) and it gets plenty hot. There is no auto-shut off, which could be a problem, because I am used to that. As long as I just take it to class I will be okay because I will have to unplug it to take it home, but I like it well enough to use at home and I'm not used to having to unplug my iron every time I leave a project.