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Product Review: Tefal Steam Generator Iron

My Poppet : your weekly dose of crafty inspiration: Product Review: Tefal Steam Generator Iron

My Poppet : your weekly dose of crafty inspiration

Monday, 30 April 2012

Product Review: Tefal Steam Generator Iron

Product Talk by Nuffnang

Guess who did a little dance when she was offered to review the new Tefal Steam Generator Iron? As a crafter and sewer, an iron is my most important piece of kit after my sewing machine, so I couldn't turn down the  chance to give these fancy steam generators a try. In the interest of full disclosure, I was not paid for this review but did get to keep the product. All opinions are my own.

Product: Tefal Steam Generator Pro Express
Even though I do (occasionally) iron clothes, I've reviewed the iron from a crafter's perspective.
How does the Steam Generator differ from a normal iron? I'm glad you asked!
It has a base station that holds a reservoir of 1.8L of water which pumps high pressure steam through a cable to the iron. I've always just had a conventional iron so was really dying to give this a try.

My first impression was at how big the whole unit was. It's BIG. I needed to tidy my sewing space and rearrange to find a spot for it.

The unit was too big to sit on my rickety ironing board (which I picked up off the side of the road and have set up permanently), so I have set it up on the bench behind the ironing board. When I'm working I have the iron sitting on the board, and then return it to the base unit when the sewing session is over. The steam cable is really long so one could easily have the base unit set up in a cupboard or a table.
The No.1 feature that I look for in an iron is AUTO Shut off. I'm notorious for forgetting to tum my iron off, and was really pleased that the unit turns itself off when its been unused for a while and when the water runs out. It also has an ECO setting which is a power conservation mode.

When I'm sewing I leave my iron on the whole time, as I press seams as I go. Usually I find it so frustrating constantly refilling the water tank, but the Tefal has a 1.8L tank which lasts for ages with plenty of steam. The tank is removable and can be refilled when the iron is on, so no waiting for things to cool down.
And wow, talk about powerful steam pressure! One button gives you a big burst (as pictured in this animation), another, a more gentle constant release more suited to pressing seams and such.
But how does it iron you ask? It's brilliant. Seriously. I mean for the price you would almost expect it to do the ironing for you. But really the steam makes such a difference, you only need to go over things once and you are done.
My Mother-in-law was visiting and she wanted to have a try. She was especially impressed how light the hand unit was (because the water is held elsewhere I suppose) and how just one stroke of the iron did the job. So it's Mother-in-Law Approved!
-No need to constantly refill the water tank.
-Auto Shut off
-Iron locks into base when not in use.
-Retractable cord (like a vacuum cleaner) means no messy cables.
-Light hand unit that can be kept on ironing board.
-Powerful steam which does a brilliant job.
-Anti scale system which hopefully means no brown spitting on final pressing of a special made to order garment (don't you hate that!!)
-Temp adjustable for delicate fabrics

-Large size of unit. Would ideally need to be set up semi permanently, or at least in an accessible cupboard. Stable surface required.
-Steam is mega hot and powerful, so steam burns are a real possibility. Fabric is still very hot to touch just after ironing. This may be a problem with small fiddly projects.
-Price. At around $300-500 this is a real investment piece of craft equipment which is not affordable for everyone.

So in summary, I'm really pleased with the Tefal Steam Generator and won't be going back to my old iron. I think its a great product that will be a real asset to my sewing. I'm not sure if I could personally justify paying several hundreds of dollars for an iron just for ironing clothes (although it would make that job SO much quicker and easier), but if you look at it as an investment (like a good sewing machine), I think the price is justifiable.

Thank you to Tefal and Nuffnang for the opportunity to review this product.