Why is it that electrical products always seem to fail at the most inconvenient time? I fired up the venerable Philips iron and commenced, what I thought would be a two hour marathon. Five minutes in however the once reliable iron faded to a whimper. Were these wrinkles deceiving me? No steam was one thing, but no heat? Perhaps it was just a momentary glitch, a power cut? Nope. It WAS the iron. It had flattened its final shirt, died an honourable death and was destined for the electrical junkyard. RIP 2006-2012 not a bad innings I suppose.
My first port of call was Amazon. Gone are the days of heading into town traipsing around electrical retailers for hours upon end only to find no one stocks the model you are after. No, its all online elbow grease these days.
The Philips model I had been using for the past few years cost around £50 and bearing in mind they don’t last forever I thought I’d go “budget” this time (there is a recession on you know?). I typed in “iron” and up popped a good selection. What caught my attention was the price, I mean iron. No, I mean price. A sub £20 (I think it was about £16.99 at the time) 2400W steam iron from Russell Hobbs. It had this catchy wording on the box “Switched on Style”. After all we all like to look stylish while ironing right? Anyway it looked pretty decent had plenty of knobs, buttons and sliders so I hit “BUY NOW”.
Did I want next day delivery? No not today. Maybe if it was something more dynamically bloke-ish like a man-watch, now that’d be a different story (and no ladies it wasn’t an excuse to delay the ironing honest), I always use Amazon’s Super Saver delivery for stuff like this. It duly arrived within 5 days and I was impressed. It’s a substantial bit of kit weighing in at 1.2kg, and physically much larger than I imagined (for the price) and seemingly well constructed. The cord length (the bane of most ironers) measures up at 2m which is 6ft 5in. In reality all irons would benefit from 10ft plus. Lets face it, a regular ironing board is close to 5ft long, (so we need 5ft purely to get to the end of the board. The user (or ironer) needs a degree of flexibility and physical movement to operate (so add 3ft for that). And bearing in mind household wall sockets are never close to where “we” iron. So add another 3ft. Practically speaking we need 11ft to comfortably use the device without an extension lead!
So it’s an instant gripe, but this isn’t just with this particular model its ALL irons in my experience. Do they actually test these things or ask anyone that actually irons? Anyway, I have to use an extension lead to add the additional length required, otherwise it‘d be dangerous and/or pull the plug out of the wall.
The box contents include the iron (model 15081, blue trim), a water container and an 8 sided user manual (instruction leaflet – PDF download at bottom of review). Neatly and safely packed, it arrived in perfect condition.
This iron is equipped with a ceramic soleplate. I usually go for a mirror polished stainless steel soleplate, but at this price point I wasn’t going to complain. Maybe its just me but there is an element of resistance when the iron moves over fabric (particularly cotton). It’s a personal “feel” thing – its not that it doesn’t glide, it does, its more it just feels “draggy” at times. I also find that it picks up deposits more readily and the fluffy stuff that gets stuck to the plate adds to the resistance.
The onboard tank holds 350ml of water for steam operations – so what do you get to fill it? A 100ml container, so be prepared to endlessly top up the reservoir especially at high steam settings. Dry ironing is also available (just flick the steam control lever fully forward). The steam shot/spray buttons are where they should be (at the front of the soft-ish handle) and these work well and require little effort to squirt.
Talking of which this iron has a few tricks up its sleeves (pun intended). Not only can it steam conventionally, but also vertically so you can spruce up your curtains, furnishings and clothing while on hangers. A very useful feature.
Operation is simple. A regular temperature dial is used. This doesn’t have the obligatory cool, wool, synthetic, cotton markings just simple “dots” (1 for cool, 2 for warm, 3 for hot), a steam icon (when steam is available to use) and a “max” symbol, so a degree of experimentation is required to hit the fabric sweet spot. Ordinarily for a cotton shirt I’d set an iron to max (with full steam) and that would work fine. With the “15081” I tried this and the 350ml tank evaporated in the space of one and a half shirts! With that in mind lower the temperature dial and set the steam lever to half way to save refilling.
I read somewhere that a user said this iron gets too hot! I was mildly amused at this comment. Surely that is exactly what you want right… a HOT iron? Can an iron seriously get too hot? Well, I thought not, but I now understand where they were coming from. By the way it gets hot very quickly too.
Ergonomically, its comfortable to use and not too heavy or cumbersome for extended sessions. As mentioned I’m a “bloke” so rest assured I would be the first to moan if it didn’t meet my expectations.
Additional features include a self clean system (unfortunately a manual process) and anti drip/anti scale. The latter is very welcome. I got pretty sick of the old iron spewing orange water and scaley sh*t over our nice clean laundry!
Summing up here… for the price it’s a no brainer. Despite being in the “el cheapo“ bracket it doesn‘t look or perform badly at all. It gets hot and it irons clothes – what more could you ask for?
- Ceramic soleplate
- Dry / Steam/ Spray & burst
- Powerful vertical steam
- Self cleaning function
- Easy fill 350ml water tank
- Cord storage
- Variable steam
- Vertical steam
- Soft touch handle & dial
- 2m cord
- 35g continuous steam
- 95g shot of steam
- 2400 watts
- Product dimensions (H x L x W) 160mm x 305mm x 124mm
- Product weight 1.2kg