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May 16

Purchased: A lovely new Iron

I would have died if someone said that in three years’ time that I’d want an iron for my birthday.  I would have thought them crazy and chastised them on the new role of women today and how we don’t want appliances to keep us in our pre-dated gender roles.

But here I am…. buying my own iron for my own (belated) birthday gift, and a lovely new ironing board cover to boot.

From *then* till now, ironing is no longer a chore but a necessary step that enables me to create lovely garments; it’s an essential tool for any sewer and it comes second (dare I say first) to my sewing machine.

When I first started sewing regularly, I was using a cheap $15 iron from target that my dad had bought me in my college years.  I didn’t own an iron or an ironing board and he thought it necessary that I own one…. since he was crashing at my place on a business trip/s and had no iron to use for his own clothes.

I don’t even remember the name of it, only that it was blue and white, and that it did a decent job with my ironing, when it wasn’t spitting out calcified junk on things in its remaining years.

Last summer I upgraded myself to a Rowenta DZ 1700 Autosteam (or the updated DW2070–> which seems to be the same model).  I was going back and forth between a Black and Decker (of some sort) and the Rowenta.  The Rowenta seemed like a *sewers* iron and it was like $30 more money than the B&D… so I assumed it was better.

I was wrong!  After a year, this iron is shutting off for no reason (after 30 seconds) and it takes all much of my patience for it to turn on again since I have to twist it to and fro for it to understand that I’m still using it.  Plus the edge of the sole plate has a rust spot on it and it’s only a matter of time that it spreads.  Great for being stainless steel!  Pfffh  Not to mention the periodic spitting of calcium steam junk on my fabric.  Again… it’s only a matter of time before it ruins something.

Almost without thinking… I saw a great review of irons(namely the B&D D2030 iron) on Madalynne’s site and I just went on amazon and bought it.  I figured if I was between these two brands in the past, the B&D one has to be at least as good…. if not better than my ailing Rowenta.  (Plus Megan and Consumer Reports likes it too).

I know I use my iron A LOT.  But seriously… I’ve only had it a year and it’s not cooperating anymore.  My first cheap-o iron lasted me at least 5 years before it stopped cooperating.  So for a Rowenta that I paid $70-$80 for should last me just as long, if not longer.  Am I right?!

To play devil’s advocate:

Yes, I’m sure there may be better Rowenta models out there that would do the job better than the one I had.  And yes… I’m sorry if I’ve offended you & you love your Rowenta and swear by it to others.

But I am done with Rowenta.  The name brand has lost all lustre for me and I’m moving on to what hopefully is a lasting relationship with a B&D.

So far… it’s much heavier than the Rowenta but it holds twice as much water.  (Yay for not filling it all the time).  The weight doesn’t bother me much since it feels like a sturdier machine and so far it’s pressed some silk charmeuse quite nicely as well as the linen dress I’m currently wearing.

But…. only time will tell if this iron makes it past the one year mark without angering me.  If that is the case, perhaps I may suck it up and buy a mega steam generating like the great K.King recommends (scroll to the comments).

Thanks for reading today’s iron rant.  What kind of iron are you gals using?  Do you have a love/hate relationship with your iron too?

  1. Jolien / May 16 2013

    I’m no ironing expert, but I do remember my mom only using preboiled water (often leftovers from the water cooker) for her iron and always emptying it after use. I must admit that I don’t do that either, but now you’re talking about spitting calcium… Perhaps I should?

    Or, maybe I’m about to say something really stupid, but should you use vinegar on an iron as well? I can imagine, especially when you leave the water in…

    I only took out my $10 iron as well for sewing reasons, hehe… Bf is complaining all the time I don’t iron his shirts…

  2. Andrea / May 16 2013

    I am right there with you! I originally started my adult life with an ancient hand-me-down iron that I can’t even remember the brand. It was old when I got and lasted me nearly 10 years, including several as a professional dressmaker. For my 30th birthday, I received a high-end Rowenta. It was awful! It spilled water every time I picked it up, all over my ironing board, carpet and clothing and ruined more than one silk garment. It also had problems with the heating element. It was either not hot enough for a good press or so hot it burned everything it touched. Since the professionals on tv and in magazines all used them, I assumed the problem was me. Then, one day, I plugged it in and sparks flew out. I immediately got in my car, drove to Target and bought a $20 B&D that has faithfully served me for nearly 10 years. B&D, I am yours forever!

  3. Ginger / May 16 2013

    Do you use distilled water? By definition, distilled water has no minerals or other things in it, nothing but H2O to turn to steam, so it won’t leave calcium behind. My mother and I learned of the importance of using distilled water, and now we never use tap water or anything else in the iron.

  4. Maddie / May 16 2013

    Eeek! I am so glad that my review helped you.

    I’m surprised that you had a scathing review of Rowenta. You seem like you’re the only one that is condemning it. That’s not a bad thing though – maybe there was one good review of the brand and everyone jumped on the bandwagon and supported it. You go girl for going with your instinct. If the $20 cheap-oh iron lasted longer than the Rowenta – that says a lot about the quality of Rowenta.

    • Liz / May 16 2013

      Thanks Maddie! Your post pushed me into getting a new iron, as my Rowenta was declining. I think with any brand, each model they come out with will have issues and I think I may have just gotten a *poor*model of a Rowenta. I just had higher expectations from them is all… Perhaps in time I’ll lessen my feelings towards them. :)

  5. Lauren / May 16 2013

    Hahaha I got my Big Girl Iron for my birthday, too! And it was a Rowenta… that I’m still using :) I’m sorry you had trouble with the brand; I’ve heard stories from both sides claiming awesome and sucky. Mine is just starting to leak/spit water, but I’ve had it for a good 5-6 years so I guess that’s not too bad. I’d like one of those gravity feed irons eventually! Just gotta save my money and wait for the Rowenta to die…

  6. KM / May 16 2013

    I agree with Ginger; try using only distilled water. I actually have that iron and I was too lazy at first to buy distilled water and I got that calcified junk when I used tap water. Once I started using distilled water I didn’t have any problems. I’ve had this iron for probably 5 years and it is pretty good. However about a year ago it started leaking a bit when I would spray water, which really annoyed me. Now I use a regular spray bottle when I need it, but this also means I don’t get to use the steam function.

    • Liz / May 16 2013

      Hey there KM & Jolien & Ginger! :)

      I’m a mega dork and read the instruction manual before I use any new appliance, and on the instructions for the Rowenta (and the B&D) they specifically say NOT to use distilled water on the iron. They only want you using regular tap water and not even softened water. Being in the city, I have lake Michigan water and assumed it was great to use.

      But I hear ya… I could have been a rebel and bought distilled water to try it out. But it just never seemed right since they warned me against using it. :|

      The other thing I did was iron maintenance; I got the Rowenta Cleaning kit and always gave it a proper scrubbing with Q-tips and everything, when needed. But all to no avail…. it still liked to spit at me and turn off mid use.

      Thanks for the great comments, keep them coming!

      • Ginger / May 16 2013

        How interesting! Did the manual say anything about why tap water is best?

      • KM / May 18 2013

        Really?! Very interesting. I actually threw out manual soon after I bought it. I remembered having to search online for the manual to find instructions for cleaning. It’s possible the tap water in my area is “hard”. After finishing the cleaning cycle I would sometimes scrape out the junk with a pin. Hopefully you won’t have any problems using tap water; I always hate having to buy distilled water.

  7. Lauria / May 16 2013

    I used an amazing professional Rowenta when I was at work. LOVED it. It steamed, it ironed quickly. It made me happy.

    But you do have to clean it once and awhile. Have you used a sole-plate cleaner? That would take care of the calcification or spots that might come out.

  8. New Ribena / May 16 2013

    I’ve been using Rowenta irons for the last 16 years and I find that the quality is declining. We are on our third and two are still operational. We do not use distilled water but I notice that DH uses bottled drinking water – (he irons EVERY single day) and the iron is still doing fine. For Christmas he got me a Reliable steam generator iron and so far I love it (it only takes distilled water).

    • Liz / May 16 2013

      Oooh a steam generator! Sounds so fancy. Perhaps when I get an actual sewing room I will do a mega upgrade of my iron… but until then I’m hoping my B&D works like a beast. :)

  9. annette tirette / May 16 2013

    Haha I asked my mother for an iron for my 24th birthday (the old one shut down our electricity as soon as I tried to use the steam function… Not so good) and at first she didn’t want to give me one because ‘that’s not a nice present!’

    • Liz / May 16 2013

      heh Good tools make it much easier for us to have fun creating things, no?! It does seem like a funny gift, but that’s what I bought for myself as a birthday gift (along with a few pairs of shoes of course….) heh

  10. Kelly / May 16 2013

    I got a nice iron for Christmas a couple years ago :) I have a Reliable, and the instruction manual actually does say to use distilled water. Have fun with your new tool!

  11. Staci / May 16 2013

    I purchased the exact same B&D from Amazon a little over a year ago. Its still pressing and steaming like a champ and I’ve used nothing but city water in it. The only thing that has gone south on mine is the backlight on the display. It burned out (?) about a month ago but you can still see the numbers. Its a bit harder to see at night but just a small nuisance is all.

    Hope you’re does as well for you!

    • Liz / May 16 2013

      Thanks for the heads’ up Staci! I can deal with the backlight going out, as long as it keeps working like a champ. One thing I did read about the B&D is that the cap that opens/closes for the water does have a tendency to break off… but again that’s not a deal breaker for me.

  12. Rachel W. / May 16 2013

    Oh no, what rotten iron luck! If your ill fortune persists and *this* iron dies, I would put in a vote for some sort of steam generator. Then again, it’s not my money! :)

    I won a free Rowenta steam station in 2010, and it completely ruined other irons for me. Going back to using a regular iron after that feels like being forced to write in jumbo crayon after typing on a computer, haha. It’s had two years of hard use (costumer here, working every day with lots of wrinkly linen!) and it’s still working beautifully. I ought to be saving now, because I know that when it dies I’ll want to replace it with something just as good (or better– oh man, those Reliable boiler irons!!).

    • Liz / May 16 2013

      A steam station! That sounds so awesome and high tech; I love your analogy. I’ve never actually seen a mega steaming iron, what about it makes it more precise than a regular iron?

  13. Sue / May 16 2013

    OOh! I got this very same iron as a Valentines’ Day gift from my boyfriend. It’s AWESOME!

    • Liz / May 16 2013

      Ooh that’s promising. Thanks Sue!

  14. VickiKate / May 16 2013

    I have a steam generator iron and I love it! The iron bit you press with is light-ish but the steam, man there is a lot and it gets hot too, really really hot! Presses beautifully! I also only use distilled water in it as it was an investment and i want it to last. I hope this one lasts longer for you…

  15. Natalie / May 16 2013

    Hi-

    I’m in the market for a new iron, so I think I’ll get the one you’ve just purchased. I’m so glad you posted this! I had a nice Rowenta and it died after a year. Just died one day. So I replaced it with a GE cheapie and it worked well until one day when it fell off of the ironing board. That is how I learned to take the iron off of the ironing board before moving it. Sad day. Replaced it with a Shark Rapido that died after one year. Sigh. I went to Wal-Mart, picked up the display irons to see which one was lightweight enough for me and came home with a Hamiton Beach iron. It’s lasted two years but is starting to drip all over and it seems to only work on a high temp. I think irons are just a mixed bag and most of them aren’t really designed for constant use, the way a sewist uses an iron. I just plan on replacing mine every two or so years.

  16. Mika / May 16 2013

    I hate my iron, but it’s still functioning well enough, so I can’t justify getting a new one just yet. Your new one is the same one I’ve had my eye on after seeing all of the great reviews – I hope it’s as good as it sounds!

  17. Ruhan / May 16 2013

    I’ve had my Black & Decker 2030 for a couple of years now, and I love it. I use city of Chicago tap water, and I’ve had no problems. The iron does a great job on my clothes, and it produced a healthy amount of steam. Love it!

  18. Tasha / May 17 2013

    Now this is funny, but I got the same iron (or practically the same) for my birthday from my mom! :D My previous iron was a Sunbeam that I was sent off to college with, and it still works but I wanted better steam control. I do love the iron but not to scare you– I may have gotten a somewhat dud and had to call B&D (who is supposedly going to send me a replacement, though they were out of stock for 6-8 weeks and that was only a few weeks ago that I called, I’ll keep you updated). It works great, except the 10-minute auto shutoff doesn’t quite. It sometimes shuts off quicker than 10 minutes, and I’ve had it shut off in the middle of ironing a few times. And it says that if you lift the iron after it’s off that it will turn back on, but I haven’t found that to actually be the case. The good news is even still, I just press the button and it comes right back on.

    Other than that (which will hopefully be rectified by B&D…), I’m *very* happy with it! The steam functionality is a dream come true. So that’s saying a lot since obviously mine has a couple of issues. lol

    • KM / May 18 2013

      Oh man, I had a cheapo Sunbeam before I upgraded to this B&D. One day I was unplugging the Sunbeam and the cord snapped off the plug part and sparks flew out! Scared the crap out of me! I probably pulled only on the cord, so don’t do that if you still use the Sunbeam! Lesson learned…..

  19. Sixties Spirit / May 21 2013

    After reading all the comments, I guess I’ve been lucky with irons – I’m 60 next week and up till a week ago had only ever owned two irons in my entire life! The first, bought when I was at uni, died on me when I had just started seeing my husband 18 years ago. I rang him to ask if I could borrow his, but as he didn’t own one (I should have guessed from the state of his shirts!) he went out and bought me one – a Philips, so the first present my husband bought me was – an iron! How romantic. I was quite upset when it finally gave up the ghost last week! I refuse to spend huge amounts on domestic appliances, so I bought the cheapest branded steam iron I could find – I doubt it will last anywhere near as long as the other two, but it’s light and quite small and does the job.

  20. Ellen / May 23 2013

    I’ve had my B&D Digital Advance iron for over 5 years, and highly recommend. (Has a good weight, burst of steam, spray). I also like the way it lets me know when it needs to be cleaned when the word “clean” pops-up on the screen. A good choice!

  21. Sara / Jan 8 2014

    Thank you for this post! I am writing this in a huff actually…I *hate* the Rowenta I have. I purchased it maaaaybe 8 months ago, and a few weeks ago it started spitting water and other crud out. Ack! So I cleaned it as directed and tested it on some muslin. All appeared to be well until just now, when I was ironing somenew fabric (rayon/cotton blend). The same dang thing happened! Arrgghhhhh. I am not even gonna troubleshoot the problem this time: I’m DONE. I am going to order the B&D you wrote about in a few minutes!

    I must say, I am VERY disappointed in the situation. I expected A LOT more from Rowenta, especially for what I paid. Thank you again for this post! (Please excuse any typos or spelling errors, I’m commenting from my phone :))

  22. Brooke / Feb 8 2016

    I know I’m coming to this post almost 3 years late, but I had to chime in and say I loathe my Rowenta as well. I bought it 8 years ago and I suppose it’s been acceptable, but it’s leaked since the first day and it’s way too hot.

    I’m curious, 2 1/2 years on, how the B&D is doing. I would like nothing more than a new iron. I keep hearing about “gravity-fed” irons, but if they’re made by Rowenta, I won’t have anything to do with them.

    • Liz / Feb 8 2016

      Hi Brooke! So I really loved this iron… but I am on to a new one. I can’t say its the fault of the iron but my old house’s bad electricity.

      It was going strong with no leaks when all of a sudden it just started beeping at me – like an alarm blaring noise. I believe the electrical circuitry got too hot and it was letting me know. Aside from this it worked like a charm and I can heartily recommend it.

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