My Thoughts on Irons

My Thoughts on Irons

A very sad thing happened earlier today when I was almost finished piecing a quilt top: my iron died.

Since I have been quilting for a while, of course I have a backup. But of course my sewing room looks like it has been ransacked and I can't find it which made me think back on all of the irons I have used over the years and what I look for when buying a new iron.

Most Important Feature: Heat. 

I like a very, very hot iron and that is the feature that is most important to me. I just ignore those settings on the dial and turn the iron all the way up. I have found it helps my seams to sit flatter, especially those bulky HST seams. 

Other Important Features

  • Weight. When you are quilting, you do a lot of rotation with your wrist and using an iron that isn't too heavy is important. There are irons that can be set down flat and they lift themselves up. Without naming specific brands, I will say that these can be convenient, but they are expensive and the mechanism that lifts themselves up tends to break. They also have a tendency to die after a few years (like mine did). If you absolutely need something that will be easier on your wrist, I think this is a worthwhile purchase but otherwise it is not worth the cost.
  • Auto off feature. Most irons have some sort of timer that turns them off. I always try to remember to unplug my iron when I am done using it, but I am not always successful so this feature is important. However, I don't like it if the iron turns off too quickly.
  • Smooth plate. I do not like irons that catch on my seams when pressing. This was an issue with my most recent iron and it drove me crazy. I just want a nice, flat seam.

I have used everything from a $20 iron up to a $200 iron and I think spending between $50-100 will get you the most bang for your buck. The iron that I just ordered is this Chi Iron. I previously had the version with the non-retractable cord and loved it, but I had been trying out a different iron for the past little while until it failed on me. 

The Chi iron is hot, reasonably priced, and easy to use. Do you have a favorite iron? I would love more recommendations.

Comments 18

Marlaine on

I’m a leftie and struggle with irons whose cords come out on the right side. Gets in my way all the time. I’m happy with my Rowenta with a central, rotating cord. It’s leftie-friendly, stays hot, and has a smooth plate. That said, I’m casually searching for the perfect “unicorn” iron with a longer auto shut-off timer (my Rowenta is 8 minutes) and a totally flat plate, no steam, like old irons. I piece my quilts with a dry iron and even find I don’t need steam for the occasional napkin or clothes quick-press. I’m over steam.

Carmen on

I love my vintage irons. I love a heavy iron and no auto shut off.

Kelly on

I adore my Panasonic cordless. It is so much easier on my wrist because I don’t have to wrangle a cord. I’ve had it for four years and it’s still going strong.

Marie on

I have owned 5 Olisos and they have all leaked leaving rust stains on my work. I have emptied the water chamber after each use however those rust bound water particles still resided inside. I took one of the “expired”
irons apart to see what was happening on the inside and it was completely encased in rust…..I have used tap water, distilled water and tap water left open over 24 hrs to no avail.
In frustration, I purchased the Chi from Costco several months ago committing to never filling it with water. It was great!! I then played with adding a small amount of water to the reservoir and the steam created was
so powerful! I emptied the chamber after use and headed over to my computer to purchase a second
Chi! They are fabulous!!

Wendy on

I agree with you, and have done the same. My full sized oliso was sputtering water drops, and not getting very hot. Back to an inexpensive standard iron, and it’s working fabulously! I still use my original little oliso for travel and mini block work, but otherwise, couldn’t agree with you more! Press on!

Kathleen on

I use a Black and Decker compact iron. The biggest issue for me is weight because of muscle weakness. This iron weighs only 2lbs and on the highest cotton setting works great for pressing seams. I don’t use water in it for steam. I prefer to spray fabric with water.

Marianne on

I use a Rival iron I get at Walmart for $15. It has no fancy anything, I wish it got a bit hotter but I tend to scorch my fabric when the iron gets super hot. I’ve had this present iron for 5 years, I have same iron as backup in my closet. I hate it when they suddenly die and you are without.

Liz on

I love the Omaiga I bought 2years ago. I guess I’m a little unusual because I like a weighty iron. I want it to do the work instead of me. It does have the temp dial under the handle, but I set it once and that’s where it stays, so not a big deal. I tried one with a digital temp gauge but after 2 that didn’t hold a steady temperature I requested a refund. So far so good with the Omaiga and I only paid $40. I will have to look into the cordless version!

Rosemary on

I have used my German made Rowenta for years and, knock on wood, still going strong.

Barbara on

I really would like a reasonably priced cordless iron that gets hot, I do longarm quilting.Whem im pressing a large quilt the cord is a nightmare getting tangled in the quilt that is hanging off ironing board. Not only that but the cord is a trip hazard. Any suggestions

Sandi on

Love my chia

Billie Sowers on

I have a cordless Omaiga. The base plugs in and heats up. It gets very hot. Take off base to iron then back on when done. Takes some getting use to, to put iron directly on connector. Not a big deal. A little heavy but not hurting me. Shuts off after 30 minutes of no movement. When I am done though I always unplug the base. Takes distilled water. Cost around $50.00 So far so good. I do agree, the heat controls should be up top not hidden under handle. Who thinks of these things anyway, not someone who irons very much, that’s for sure.

Marcia on

My Oliso was still under warranty when it died so I got another one, but that said it’s very heavy. When this one dies I will go back to rowenta I still have my first Rowena iron I bought 23 years ago. It’s lighter and heats great. The water tank started leaking that’s why o got the other iron.

Linda on

I too have gone through many irons in a variety of brands. My favorite to date is by far the Chi. I have the retractable cord model.
I have to agree that the Oliso and Rowenta are not worth the money since they don’t last long enough to justify the price.
I love the weight of the Chi, how fast it heats up, and that it stays on for 30 minutes. It gives a warning so you can do a quick set down and up to keep it on. If you miss that, it reheats very quickly.
I also use it at the hottest setting!

Beth on

Irons are so important and they come in many combinations of features. The type that pushes itself off the board when you stop ironing makes me nervous. That is will well and good, but if you go to a retreat and they don’t have that iron and you forget to tip the other brand iron up, you will burn the ironing board fabric.
I am constantly curious about a good iron to buy. I will not ever buy another Rowenta. For retreats and at my cabin I have older thrift store irons that do not turn themselves off. It is hard to argue with $3 or $3.50 price tags.
Thank you for the Chi recommendation. The other 21st century brand I was looking at cost over $150.

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