While finishing up the last bits of work on my Castles on the Horizon Quilt
for Moda Bake Shop, my Rowenta Pro Master Iron stopped working. Completely. When I plugged it in, it wouldn't turn on at all. Nada. Zilch. It was finished. Not good!
I tried to figure out just how long I've had this iron but I can't remember. I do remember that we were still in the old house when my trusty old Black and Decker iron died and we've been in this new house for 3 1/2 years so I've had this iron for at least that long. But considering that I paid about $100 for it, it didn't last nearly as long as it should have for that price.
Thankfully I had a backup all ready and waiting, the Rowenta Effective Comfort iron that I won at MQX East last spring, so I pulled it out of the closet and plugged it in. Here you can see the size difference between the two irons.
I'll admit that I don't love this iron so far. It doesn't seem to get as hot, although it states that it is 1600 watts (the Pro Master was 1700 watts) and it is definitely a lighter weight. The few times that I have used it, I remembered to empty the water right afterwards but the one time that I didn't it spit all over the place the next time I turned it on. The Pro Master's water reservoir lid was able to prop up so the chamber was able to dry out between uses but the Effective Comfort's reservoir does not.
When people say that there is a difference between the Rowenta's that are made in Germany and the ones that are made in China, they are right. The Effective Control is just less impressive, less metal and more plastic. I don't have high hopes for its longevity and am researching options for a better long term solution. Once I find one, this one will get returned to the closet to be my backup.
So what iron to you use and would you recommend it? I've considered the Oliso irons but the lowest price one gets mixed reviews plus it has an 8 minute automatic shut off. I hate that. And it is hard to swallow the much higher price for the other Oliso models. I really want an automatic shut off that is at least 15-30 minutes and once it does shut itself off, I want it to heat back up lightening fast. I'm willing to deal with using distilled water, but the ability to use just plain tap water would be wonderful (thankfully I don't have hard water here).
Bed, Bath and Beyond does carry this Rowenta Eco Intelligence Iron ($119) and it got 4.5 stars from 38 reviewers plus it doesn't cost almost $200 so I'm considering it. Better yet I can get it on Amazon for about $87. Good Housekeeping's review gave it a A- but says that the sole plate struggles to maintain heat and I can't seem to find anywhere where it actually states how long the auto shut off kicks in at but I'm betting it is 8 minutes like most other irons. My Pro Master was the same and while that wasn't the horrible, it wasn't great either. Two out of the 3 other irons that GH lists as their best picks aren't available any longer.
Reading the reviews on Amazon gets confusing. Many of the less expensive irons get 4+ stars but I'm really hesitant to try that route again. The last time I had to replace my iron, I tried quite a few cheaper irons with horrible results and that is when I tired my first Rowenta. Quilters do use irons differently than the average person so our needs are a bit different so I guess I'll keep searching a bit more before I make my final decision. I'm willing to spend more money for an iron if it gets me one that is reliable and will do the job but also won't kick the bucket after a couple of years.
It stinks that I have to do this research again and I really wish that irons weren't just another throw away appliance. Why can't a company make a good iron that works well and will last but doesn't make us empty our wallets to be able to afford it? I'm sure the iron manufacturers aren't listening but I can't help but wish for that anyway.
Update: I do appreciate everyone's thoughts so far and I'm still researching options. For every strong contender I seem to find, there are plenty of negative reviews too. I really would prefer to be able to buy locally in case I have to return it but two of the contenders, including the Rowenta pictured above, aren't even available to me locally. The search continues!