The Pressing Question
Which iron works best?
This is the iron that serious ironers—the Ironistas, if you will—breathlessly recommend. "Have you tried a Rowenta?" they cry. "Oh, you simply must!"
I have to admit, it's a top-notch iron. Steamwise, it can't be beat. It has 400 tiny holes in the soleplate; most irons have only 15 or 20. It produces a burst of steam powerful enough to terrify my dog. And its tapered tip makes ironing around buttons a snap. I fully understand why iron snobs love Rowenta.
Like the Reliable, though, the Rowenta is a weighty beast. And the temperature dial is under the handle and therefore hard to access. (Several of the irons put their controls there. Why? Put it on top where I can see it!) Still, I don't think you can go wrong with Rowenta, as long as you don't mind dropping 130 bucks on an iron.
Ease of Use: 5
The Feel Factor: 7
Full Steam Ahead: 10
T-Fal Aquaspeed, $69.95
The T-Fal is not without a few T-Flaws. Like the Rowenta, the T-Fal's controls are under the handle and they're not as intuitive and elegant as, for instance, the Oliso or the Black & Decker.
But the T-Fal's water tank can be filled in five seconds. My mother-in-law points out that when doing a lot of ironing, this is a real advantage. And its odd-looking but sturdy base makes it more stable than some of the other irons.
What's absolutely killer about the T-Fal, though, and the reason it's our overall winner, is how it moves over the fabric. The soleplate is coated with enamel and it glides like a dream, better than any of the other irons. Most wrinkles are gone in one pass. When you use it after using a lesser iron, the difference is dramatic.
My mother-in-law's verdict: "Oh, yeah. I love this one."
Love? I don't know. But I certainly like-like the T-Fal. It almost makes ironing kind of, slightly, semi-enjoyable. Almost.
Ease of Use: 6
The Feel Factor: 8
Full Steam Ahead: 9
Tom Bartlett is a writer in Mount Rainier, Md.