Wednesday, June 5, 2013

the Iron Report

Since my Panasonic iron went kaput earlier this year, I have been testing the Velocity V50 iron, given to me by Reliable at my request.    Now that I've spent a good amount of time using the new iron, I'm ready to give a report.   First the detailed pros and cons.  Then, below, I'll give my summary and conclusions.

Oh, yes, this is serious.  This is about irons, people.  Irons! 

The Iron Report

Panasonic NI-C78SR

Pros
* Cheaper ($45 at Amazon)
* Detachable Refill Tank
* Retractable Cord
* Did not spit until neared end of life (about 2 years)
* Friendly Teal color
* Auto shut off engages after 10 minutes of inactivity.  This seems like a reasonable and positive safety feature.   It reheats quite quickly if you simply move it.

Cons
* Constant steam release when steam is "on" means you'll fill the water tank often, maybe every other day if you sew daily
* Lighter weight (when considering water weight, due to smaller water tank)
* Less steam strength make for slightly less crisp pressing (though I was satisfied)

The Iron Report

Reliable Velocity V50

Pros
* Heavier weight (when considering water weight, due to large water tank)
* More abundant steam make for highly effective pressing
* Large water tank (about twice the capacity of the Panasonic) and easily accessible manual steam release mean you won't refill the water often, maybe once a week if you sew daily
* Can deactivate auto shut off so iron remains on indefinitely
* Tangy Orange color

Cons
* More expensive ($99 at Amazon)
* No detachable water tank, but does come with water refill jug you'll need to keep near bye
* No retractable cord
* When steam is activated, the iron emits a pumping sound
* Spits when steam is activated.  After it is deactivated, the iron releases a large cloud of steam, which can be dangerous.  It's enough steam to dampen a near bye wall.
* Auto shut off engages after 8 minutes of inactivity.  You must push buttons to get it started again, which makes this auto shut off more inconvenient.  It also seems to take longer to heat up.  Basically, I don't choose to use this auto shut off, I deactivate it; whereas, I found the Panasonic auto shut off to be a positive feature.


So... what do I think?   If I was shopping for a new iron right now, I'd buy the Panasonic.  My main reasons:  it's about half price, it doesn't spit or release clouds of dangerous steam, and I like the way it's auto shut off works.  Definitely saves electricity! 

Here's what I've learned: irons don't like water.  The manuals say you are supposed to empty the water tank after every use.  I don't.  I sew almost every day, randomly throughout the day, and use steam often. My iron is plugged in behind my scrap drawer system so the cord is out of the way.  I'm definitely not going to unplug it and empty it of water at the end of every day, just to refill it in the morning.

Leaving water in an iron is known to shorten it's life expectancy.  Although I hate to be wasteful, I feel like this is an area in which I'll compromise for convenience.  So, I expect to have to buy a new iron every 2-3 years.  Given that, the price difference matters!  When I found several other things I liked better about the Panasonic, my mind was made up.

By the way, many of you clever readers, simply use a spray bottle instead of steam from an iron.  You mist the fabric and then iron with a dry iron.  This solution saves the iron at minimal inconvenience (as compared with emptying the tank or refilling a tank often... though you might want to buy a big spray bottle!).  I might try that someday!  Thanks so much for sharing.

I hope this review has been helpful!

xo,

Rachel

23 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review. I need a new iron. Do you only use distilled water in your iron?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I use regular drinking water, which is from our well. I think the anti-calc technology of today's irons makes distilled water unnecessary?

      Delete
  2. My $25.00 iron is still going strong. I will keep your review in mind for when it goes kaput. It has auto shutoff but comes back on fairly quickly when you move it. I like that feature since I sometimes forget to turn off the iron.

    ReplyDelete
  3. i tried the spray bottle route when i bought my new iron in the hopes of prolonging its life but it just doesn't work as well as the built-in system. don't ask me to explain the science of why, but i wasn't happy with the results. i too am just resigning myself to buying a relatively inexpensive iron every few years. it's not the worst thing. better an iron than buying a new sewing machine that often.

    ReplyDelete
  4. thanks for the review as well, I know I tend to never put enough stock in an iron and usually get the cheapest :(

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hm. I've had the same $20 iron for well over a decade and it works just as good as the day I bought it. I always keep water stored in it too. Of course, now it will probably act up since I'm talking about it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have a Panasonic cordless iron that you would have to pry from my cold stiff fingers... I LOVE my iron. I don't keep or use water in it. It's about 7 years old. It heats up FAST and gets very hot and is just a wonderful iron. It too works just as well as it did the day I bought it. The nice thing about cordless irons (besides not having a cord) is that they sit in a base and that base can be on a table without fear of melting it and can be right next to me while I sew. So handy to not have to jump up to iron one little seam open.
    When it dies, I will buy another Panasonic cordless iron. I am left handed and corded irons make me crazy!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Rachel...If you have a Dollar Tree in your area they sell several different size spray bottles for a $1 a piece! I love my spray bottles!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I HAVE to have the auto-shut off kind of iron. I could have any manner of "reminders" on my wrists, a broom at throat level across the sewing room door and I would STILL forget to turn off the friggin' iron. My iron (whatever the heck brand it is) is still going strong after at least 5 years. I sew at least a couple hours every day and the steam has gotten a bit anemic, but it's still there. I dread thinking about having to replace it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have the Reliable Velocity that you reviewed and the instructions say to use distilled water. I do most of the time (occasionally I run out and will run one refill of tap water, no probs so far). That sucker REALLY puts out the steam, though, and you WILL burn yourself on the steam if you're not careful! I'd love to know how to deactivate the auto-off, that must have been in the instructions which I am sure I threw out as soon as I opened the box!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To deactivate auto shut off, hold down the on/off button on the handle until all lights flash. You'll have to hold it down for like 10 seconds, but it'll happen!

      Delete
  10. Very helpful. THe thing is even if we are using a working iron currently, it will fail at some point. So it is always good to collect info. I recently had the same issue and I purchased the B&D digital advantage at 40ish. I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I like the reviews. Im still use the super cheap(leftover from my sisters roomate 10yo) Sunbeam but without steam. One thing I would point out is how dangerous it is to leave any heat producing appliance plugged in all the time-toasters/ovens, curling irons, and irons. They are one of the major causes of fires in homes. I solved the easy plugin problem by using a short cord 3 plug power strip (ikea)hanging on the wall behind my sewing desk. I can easy unplug my iron and not have to worry about fire.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have a cheap retractable cord iron that I bought at Walmart for around $20. I think it's a Black and Decker. I really love it. I've used others that were far more expensive and have burned myself severely on the steam. I always question whether to put in the extra money when making such a purchase. I'm so glad I didn't with the iron. It has lasted me around 4 years so far. Thanks for the great review.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Still love my Velocity!! I love being able to bypass the auto shut off. I like that I can use it at a cooler temperature because of the amount of steam. Mine doesn't spit or drip water.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love my auto off! Thanks for your honesty and integrity! I really appreciate hearing what you think, even when you've been given it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love your non-biased opinion! That teal colour rocks my boat too, although if they made one that was both teal and orange I'd be even more excited! I will be on the lookout for Panasonic brands from now on... Have you bought stock yet? ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Still a fan of the Velocity ~ the auto shut off is the best part of this iron so I'll make do with the noise. Plus it's orange! So far I haven't had any trouble with it, no drips or spits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing that, Elsa. I was thinking that mine might be unusual with the spitting.

      Delete
  17. Thanks for the great review. I've come to pretty much the same conclusions - irons don't like water, I'm not emptying mine, I don't find spraying with a spray bottle as effective as using steam and I'm just going to have to replace mine more often than I'd like.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I love iron research. I didn't know about not leaving water in the iron! Water has been in my Rowenta for 10 years and even after a few drops onto the hardwood floor, that sucker is working its magic. I am sorry that you go through irons so quickly. I will mourn when mine calls it a day.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on both. It will definitely give me much to think about the next time I have to shop for a new one, hopefully a long way away. I do like my Rowenta but I know that if I don't empty the water each night, it will definitely spit at me the next time I use it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks for the review, it's very helpful!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails