For our readers, we selected the list of the main criteria that should be followed when choosing an iron, and tried to explain the significance of each of them – without unnecessary details, but without unnecessary complications
I would like to emphasize that today's publication is devoted exclusively to irons, and only to them. Functionality and the possibilities of other home appliances for ironing and / or "adjacent" applications such as steamers, steam generators, steam stations, smart ironing boards and the like, will be devoted to our other materials.
The first parameter by which an iron is judged is the sole. It happens, basically, of two types: aluminum or stainless steel. Both have their own merits and demerits. Aluminum soles quickly heat up and cool down, but they are easily damaged – which, in turn, will affect clothing in the form of the same scratches. The stainless steel is distinguished by its strength, high weight and durability, but it loses aluminum in the rate of heating. Manufacturers of irons constantly experiment with various additional coatings to obtain the ideal result.
For example, Philips makes the soles of irons made of multi-layer anodized aluminum with special heat treatment, resulting in the sole becoming stronger and better gliding over the fabric. Braun covers the sole with sapphire powder, Moulinex uses chrome plated coatings for greater resistance to corrosion, and Tefal generally uses cermets in general.
Many manufacturers use ceramic spraying or enamel for both aluminum and stainless steel soles. In the latter case, the iron gets all the advantages of steel soles with the ease and thermal conductivity of aluminum. Irons with ceramic enamel on the sole for avoiding confusion are called "ceramic", but what is not entirely true, but understandable. Such soles are used by Tefal, Bosch and a number of other manufacturers.
The average power of a household iron is 1700-2200 W. There is a simple rule: the more powerful the model, the faster the iron reaches the required temperature, the more effective the vaporization, and the faster the temperature is restored after the release of steam.
Of course, there are models of less power – for example, 800-watt, not to mention the road "low-power" options, but at home in regular mode they are usually not used. Many of them usually have a folding or "half-handle" handle.
When choosing a road iron, it makes sense to make sure that it has a vertical steaming function (for example, inexpensive models from Rowenta) – on the road this will come in handy in the absence of an ironing board.
As for such an unquestionably important function as steaming, which helps to better smooth things, its importance can not be overestimated. Steam should be necessary, without it it will be very inconvenient – it seems, is no longer questioned.
The most important characteristic of steam is the rate of its release, which is measured in grams per minute (g / min). Here everything is very simple: the more powerful the iron, the greater the rate of steam emission. With variable steam supply, its intensity is regulated in the range from 15-30 g / min, with the enhanced one – from 35 to 50 g / min, and in case of turbo mode (function, which is in some irons) the steam emission can reach 60 g / min
We should not forget about the function of steam impact, which consists in the short-term release of steam (in a number of models it can reach 100 g / min) and helps to cope with especially naughty folds. Add here for the collection the function of vertical steaming, which will help smooth out curtains or refresh soft furniture in textile upholstery.
Finally, be sure to pay attention to the location of the holes in the soleplate of the iron: they should be evenly distributed throughout the surface, and not just at the spout. And if there are holes for steam only on the upper part of the sole, such an iron should not be taken: it will not work out smoothly.
The water poured into the iron can be a conventional tap, filtered and supplied especially for irons. In this case, the hole for pouring can be placed on the top, in the back of the iron (for example, in some models from Tefal) or in a completely removable compartment (like some Panasonic irons)
To prevent the formation of scale, you can, of course, use special water, but in fact you can get by using ordinary filtered water, and it is best to drain it from the iron after each ironing. You can not drain, but if you pour ordinary water, not even filtered, then once your snow-white blouse will try on itself all the spots that will appear due to the formed scale.
But this is not a verdict: the protection against scale can save things. It can be of various types: inside can be removable protective rods, or a cartridge with a mechanical filter for water purification. If the iron has a self-cleaning system, it will simply be filled to the top, heated to the maximum and using steam to get rid of the scale.
Another problem related to the steam can happen when ironing delicate things. If you need a little power in the process, and the water does not have time to evaporate and flows out of the holes in the sole, it makes sense to take an iron with an anti-drip system (or simply a "drop-stop") – in this way, things will be perfectly protected. Physically, this is realized by means of a special valve that blocks the water supply in case the temperature falls below a certain threshold.
By the way, do not forget to check the availability of a convenient sprinkler in the spout of the iron being purchased: it will do you good service when the steam no longer manages; for example, in the case of tight jeans. Innovations are also here: for example, Moulinex produces models with two spouts for sprinkling, and some members of the Braun family can also sprinkle steam.
Wireless irons have existed for a long time, but it is not always expedient to use them. Their principle of work can be compared with the old models of our great-grandmothers, and the main drawback is that the iron cools quickly when ironing, and it will have to be put on the stand quite often: on average, it takes 8 seconds to heat up and 12 seconds afterwards it can be ironed. However, some new Tefal irons already offer four-second heating with 25-second ironing.
As for the cord itself, it is highly desirable that it be long enough, with a cloth braid and ball attachment, to avoid accidental fusion and premature rewind.
In addition to wireless function, a number of modern irons have no less useful additional features. For example, an auto-shutdown, which can already be found in mid-price irons (Bosch has this function even in low-cost models): if there is no movement, the iron turns off after 30 seconds, and if you forgot to turn it off, it turns itself off after 8 minutes.
Braun irons can boast a special nozzle, which prevents the appearance of stains when ironing delicate fabrics. Some Philips irons are equipped with heat-resistant covers that are worn on the sole and allow you to immediately remove the device into the cabinet without risking to burn yourself.
In addition to conventional irons, there are so-called irons with a steam generator, but they are needed for very large families where one needs to iron a lot and often, and this is a separate topic for the story. Everything that is really worth knowing about ordinary irons, we told you.
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