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!
* 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.
* 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)
Reliable Velocity V50
* 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
* 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!