Time to say goodbye to steam generator irons.

After a long run of good versions the last, the 8430, ended the story.  After 4 months of effort, I was never able to adjust the ratio between tap and distilled water to reliably produce steam. I know the last entry said this iron hadn’t spit after 1 month, but that didn’t last. Not only did it start hissing and spitting but at times a black tar like substance would ooze from the steam vents. It was never possible to steam an entire man’s shirt. I found myself cursing this $300 machine as I pulled out the old 98cent sprayer to add humidity to the ironing project. The 8430 is a colossal failure. Please don’t spend your money on it.

So after 4 months I decide I need to buy a new iron. I chose:

The Reliable Velocity 50 (V50).  Why?  I did not want to try another steam generator built for the home market.  Those babies are too expensive. They run between $200 and $500 and have a very short life span. (Granted two died at my hands). The professional models (not the ones named professional but the models designed for commercial laundries) are not within my budget. I seriously considered the gravity fed iron. I hesitated because I’ve been told that they cannot equal the steam produced by a steam generator.  The death-nail, however, was the realization that I would have to hang the water container at ceiling level. What happens when I have to refill?  A ladder? A 6+ decades old lady running up and down a ladder?  Seriously??

I reviewed comments made at Stitcher Guild. To a man, er woman, every Reliable owner gave their Reliable V-model a thumbs up.  Oddly Amazon could not ship the most recommended iron to me. However they were more than happy to send the V50.

I’ve had it now for 2 weeks and I’m super pleased. The iron has an internal construction so that steam is produced as and when  needed. The steam generating irons produce and hold steam in their boilers. Where the steam generator can only deliver as much steam as it has stored at the time you push the button, the V50, not relying on a holding area, pumps out new steam continuously–until you drain the water reserve dry. (Ask me how I know.)  Also steam is “turned on” with the push of a button and stays on until you push the button again. Totally unlike the Rowenta steam generator which required a continual push and release motion (hello carpal tunel.)

Most of the time I have the V50 set on 2 dots. Occasionally I set it on 1.  Max and 3 dots produce way too much steam for my normal use. When  I need more steam, I hover the iron longer over that area. When I first unwrapped and plugged in the V50 I assumed that when more steam was needed, I would turn up the dial.  Instead, I just hover in one spot a few extra seconds. Those few extra hovering seconds, take less time that selecting a higher number of dots and waiting for the iron to be ready.

I also found myself automatically turning off the steam when not needed. Again an autonomous action on my part. No thought involved, I just start turning the steam off whenever I set the V50 on its end. Which, BTW setting the V50 on its end is a wonderful feature.  After 6 years of using steam generators, I thought I had completely wiped out that habit. Nope, returns in a flash.

I do find that I unconsciously change the iron upwards from 2 dots.  Several people have mentioned this issue.  The way the iron is designed my hand seems to slip upward. I can tell immediately because the steam quits as the iron stops to heat to the new setting. I’m looking for a tactile cue that will keep my hand from slipping. So far, I’m wrapping masking tape around the handle. That helps but hasn’t completely stopped me from accidentally changing the heat setting.

Thanks to everyone who mentioned there was a way to turn off the auto-shut off. Yes, wish I didn’t have to shut it off every time I turn the iron on. But being able to turn off the auto-shut-off, is an acceptable compromise.

I don’t think there’s anything else I would change. This iron really fills my needs. In fact, had I purchased this iron first, I would never had purchased the steam generators. Never. There is plenty of steam; plenty of heat. I might wish for more steaming time but I think that means a bigger water reservoir.  A bigger water reservoir will result in a heavier iron. Nope. Think I’ll keep the water tank the same.