Steam Iron Performance (continued)
Ease of Use.Generally speaking, irons are uncomplicated appliances. Indeed, the basic, no-frills, "old-school" styling and features of the Black & Decker F67E Classic account for much of its appeal.
For our top picks, these are minor issues that don't deter most users. In fact, consumers say the models on our list of favorites make ironing less of a chore and one that's completed in record time. They tell of ironing a man's shirt 20% faster with the Panasonic NI-S300TR and a chiffon blouse in less than 60 seconds with the Black & Decker F67E Classic. Best iron reviews extol the virtues of the T-Fal Ultraglide, noting that the cord doesn't get in your way, the water tank is easy to fill, the iron feels solid and is stable when resting on its heel. Consumers like the heft of the aluminum housing on the Black & Decker F67E Classic, according to steam iron reviews on the Macy's website, and the general ease of handling. Reviews of the best irons say the Panasonic NI-S300TR doesn't require frequent refilling and the curved titanium soleplate with its sharp point makes quick work of creases and pleats. And the T-Fal Prima FV3056 wins points for its evenly distributed weight, wide heel that keeps it from wobbling while resting on the board, and a cord that's lefty-friendly.
Iron Durability.Irons take an amazing amount of abuse. Steam iron reviews refer to their being knocked over by 20-pound cats, flying out of RV cabinets, tugged at by children, toppling off the ironing board, and so on. Users seem perfectly willing to take the fall for their iron's demise due to such mishaps, but they get cranky when an iron -- even a cheap iron -- gives out in a matter of months, let alone days.
Our top picks seem to suffer few problems with durability. The Black & Decker F67E Classic benefits from its all-metal construction, say consumers, many of whom tell of having used one for years and buying a new model when the old finally gave out. The reasonably-priced T-Fal Ultraglide FV4379 holds up better than bottom-of-the-line models, assert steam irons reviews, although a few note some leaking and say the steam can be erratic at times. We found a few scattered comments about leaking with the T-Fal Prima FV3056 and Panasonic NI-S300TR, with a couple reporting early flame-out of the latter but also accounts of having used this model for several years. Compared to the other irons we researched, build quality issues afflict the Shark Rapido G1468; users report issues like a short in the cord, flaking chrome, inaccurate timing on the auto-shutoff, stuck steam buttons, and units that quit in a matter of weeks. The Smartek ST2000 also takes a few hits for its flimsy construction and design.