Yet another iron bites the dust…

I’m done with my Rowenta Pro Iron Steam Station (see this post). It works, but the reservoir has an unpredictable leak. When it leaks, it’s more like a flood and that does not mix well with the wood floor below.

Additionally, the Steam Station is slow to heat up (a minor annoyance). Once it is hot, it really puts out the heat. That’s good, except when it’s hot outside which is half the year where I live. When the iron is on, the studio gets uncomfortably warm. And did I mention that this this is big and awkward to store?

I went shopping for a smaller, cheap, reliable iron and got a Black and Decker, model ICR05X. At least it was cheap because it started spitting and leaking water out of the steam holes almost immediately. I am just about disgusted with irons and, if I didn’t have to have one, I would give up.

Luckily, in my last Consumer Reports magazine, there was a short review of irons. Some of the higher-rated irons were light, which they must have considered a plus.


After careful consideration, I bought a Panasonic NI-W950A.



The sole plate is pointed in front and back, which I somehow missed when I was shopping. How I missed that I do not know because the photo is huge on the box.


I’ve been using it for about a week and so far, so good. The pointy back is fine—I neither hate it nor love it. The iron gets hot fast, it steams pretty well. It’s heavy, which I view as a plus. I like the way the base of the cord swivels out of the way. It is stable when ‘standing’—more so than most irons.

It has an auto shut off, which I like, and it heats up quickly when moved. Honestly, if there is a year of good ironing from this iron I will be happy. If it doesn’t last, I’m going to consider a classic iron from the Vermont Country Store.

I still wish I had the space (and was willing to spend what it costs) for a Laura Star ironing system. Sigh.

26 thoughts on “Yet another iron bites the dust…

  1. I went through my ironing challenges about 3 years ago and finally came across the Sunbeam Turbomaster. There’s a couple of different models. It’s quite economical – a good solid weight (there is one model that’s quite heavy), heats up quickly, doesn’t leak, gets nice and hot and steams adequately but maybe not quite as steamy as I’d like sometime. But I can live with that. Best of all, for me, it turns off but not too quickly. In the upright positiion it will turn itself off after 15 minutes. I find this such an improvement over the 7 or 8 minute shut offs of the others. I have 2 of them (long story) – one from Target and one from Costco. Under $30.00. I hope the Panasonic works out but if you need more info on the Sunbeams I’m happy to look up model nos. etc.


  2. I have been using the T Fal which I love. The ceramic sole plate is wonderful and it’s reasonably priced. Probably the only downside is the fact that it’s not super heavy.


  3. I have rheumatoid arthritis and it has affected my fingers most of all. That makes it difficult to do so many things, but a heavy iron is one thing I just can’t manage. I bought the Oliso Pro and I absolutely love it. I don’t have to set it up when I finish with it and that makes a big difference in the pain in my hands at the end of the day. I know it’s expensive, but for me, it is worth every penny. It also has plenty of steam and heat and irons beautifully. I have read that the heat an iron puts out is more important to good ironing than the weight of the iron, anyway. I LOVE my Oliso!!


  4. Like you I have had the iron adventure. I am using a Black and Decker from 10 years or more. My husband had to fix the plug but it does great. Rowenta was my favorite but lasted only 6 months for the last two. I found a Shark I liked at Walmart but the electronics lasted about two days, when I took it back the replacement did the same thing, so I thought it was a bad batch from the factory and will try it again in a few months. Keep us informed on your iron….we all need a reliable one! I gave my daughter a Reliable Iron, she loves it, me not so much.


  5. I wondered about the Oliso; it’s been on my “to buy” list for later this year/next year since my current iron is working fine for now and it’s expensive, so I have to save up for it. So I’m glad to hear it works well. Here’s a link to for the interested.

    I have a Rowenta currently; works fine so far (don’t have the bit water thing on the floor – just the water in the iron). I’ve loved Black and Decker in the past…


  6. I have gone through many irons as well from Rowenta to whatever HEB has in stock. I love the cheaper ones, because it doesn’t hurt your pocketbook so bad when you have to toss it.


  7. I don’t think Rowenta irons deserve their good press. I have had several Rowenta travel irons for pressing at classes or by my sewing table. They all leaked…they all would up in the trash!!


  8. I have gone thru I cannot count Rowenta Irons even prior to my quilting era. I recently purchased the Panasonic 560 TR and can’t find any fault. The price is reasonable and easily replaceable. I do have the Vermont Store dry iron that I uses for certain fusible’s and love it, but occasionally like a steam iron. Carol Kohlscheen Space Coast Quilters. Titusville, Florida.


  9. I have leaking issues with Rowenta irons and was told it was because our water is hard.
    But I only buy & use bottled distilled water! Can distilled water retain minerals?


  10. I always used bottled drinking water or filtered water from the fridge and my irons never spit or leak anymore. I decided to try this one day when reading the instructions included with my newest iron and they said not to use tap water or distilled water. That said, I consider irons (and vacuum cleaners, and toasters, and blow dryers) disposable appliances because they all seem to wear out too quickly. Good luck with your new iron.


  11. Sally Collins likes the dry iron. Ricky Tims never puts water in his irons because he says they’re all “incontinent”. I read the reviews for the Vermont Store’s steam iron–not many people liked it. I’m hoping my current iron lasts forever–not my favorite thing to shop for!


  12. I have a Panasonic Cordless iron with a plastic carrying case & auto shut-off – it’s wonderful. Not too heavy, removable water reservoir & not fussy about what kind of water you refill with. Also handy to walk away from the ironing board & give a quick steam or press to something laying out in the bed or sofa or hanging on the wall or drapery rod. It’s true what they say; once you’ve gone cordless, you’ll never go back, lol. Pretty aqua color too.


  13. My husband is an electronic engineer and he told me that distilled water is very corrosive to electronic parts. My Oliso instructions said to NEVER use distilled water, only purified drinking water. I have one of the new 5-stage filtered water pitchers and I use water from that in my iron.. Our water in the Rocky Mountains is very heavily laden with minerals, so we can’t use tap water
    I am like you, Becky, in that I like steam from my iron, so I guess we’re stuck with experimenting with various water sources..


  14. Wish I had known about the Laura Star system a few years ago! At this point in time, I don’t think it would be a good investment, so I will stick with my Rowenta. The first one I had lasted about 8 years before the water tank started leaking and I have had the current one for at least 7 years. We have an RO water system in the house, so I use the water from that for the iron. So far, so good. I am pretty sure the directions that came with the iron specifically said not to use distilled water, so for a few years I would just buy bottled drinking water specially for the iron. Will be curious to find out how the Panasonic works. You didn’t say where you bought it, but I for one, would definitely not buy any type of appliance from Wal Mart. Have had trouble with every type of appliance I have bought there.


  15. I, too, rely on Consumer Reports (have been a subscriber for years) but sometimes I wonder about their reports. I’ve noticed that they don’t often have all the manufacturers listed (i.e., under “sewing machines,” Bernina is not listed). So I check CR, but I also check the feedback on if the item is sold there, general Googling, and the vendor’s website, although the vendor sites may be filtered by their marketing department to only show positive responses. I’m suspicious of that, at least. Amazon is a good, independent source, I think. Goggle turns up some surprising inputs!

    I’m learning a lot from everyone’s responses here.. so thanks to you for starting the conversation. Becky, and to all who are giving inputs!


  16. I, too, have had the iron problems. My large steam unit didn’t even last as long as some of my cheapest irons. My solution, plan on buying an iron about once a year and count myself lucky if it lasts longer. One iron’s instructions said to use only spring water , so I buy that several gallons at a time, and it seems to help. Under a dollar a jug. I’ve found the more expensive irons are not always the best. I look for plenty of steam vents, and a box that promises no leaking. I also stay at the lower end of the price range so I don’t feel so cheated when my iron dies. Always make sure you never leave your irons unattended, even for a little bit, and turn off and unplug when you are through working. I actually had one start smoking really bad as I was using it, and immediately unplugged it. I’m sure it was ready to catch fire. Only one, but it really scared me. Most of us who quilt A LOT, probably give our irons the same workout that a commercial business would.
    So maybe we shouldn’t feel so bad when they die early. I would certainly like to be able to buy the USA quality products again.


  17. I buy my irons at Goodwill or estate sales. I look for OLD ones that still have a fabric covered cord. Big, heavy, ugly, lots of steam and no leaking.


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