The 6 Best Quilting Irons For 2018
The Chinese were the first to use hot metal to press cloth until it was smooth.
No one is sure exactly when they began using a metal pan filled with hot coals to press cloth, but that method of ironing was the only way to get Chinese cloth to lay flat thousands of years ago.
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Flatirons were the handiwork of European blacksmiths during the Middle Ages.
Some of the old Middle Eastern irons were stone, and French irons were terracotta and earthenware. The Italians liked to use soapstone irons.
Using a flatiron in the 19th century took a little practice. The metal handles on the heavy flatirons were hot, so women used a thick rag to hold them and get the job done. By the 1870s, flatirons had cool wood handles.
Irons of different sizes were used to press different types of materials back then. And, as time went on, iron handles became more sophisticated, as did the irons.
Wealthy families with servants used two irons when their clothes needed ironing. While one iron was in use, the other sat on a stove to heat. Some of those stoves had slots for several irons.
But what about quilting irons?
The quilting irons at the beginning of the 20th century were still bulky, heavy and dirty, but all that changed when electric irons came on the scene.
Irons had to be clean, sand-papered, and polished in order to do the job by the 1950s, and that hasn’t changed.
But using the right quilting iron today can be a touchy subject (no pun intended).
Some iron brands create an instant feeling of love or hate depending on how they perform. Other not-so-lovable irons can drip, or they can be too finicky to use on certain quilting projects.
Quilters like to recommend iron brands to their friends, but what works for a friend may be the iron that came from hell for you. Irons are like automobiles: every quilter has a favorite manufacturer.
A good iron is a quilter’s best friend, and like all best friends, you need to treat it with love and respect. Quilters know to protect their irons from any elements which might make ironing a frustrating experience.
That may sound a little dramatic, but it's true; you need a quality quilting iron with all the right features. Without a quality iron, even the best creations can fall short of your expectations.
Why You Need A Quality Quilting Iron
This is the age of stealth-looking irons. Some folks might refer to them as “George Jetson” irons because they have that space-age, do-anything kind of look.
These irons are up for any task, but not all of them live up to their space-age look.
You did all the hard work. You’ve sewn your blocks and basted your tops. Then you artfully quilted your creation.
Once you pull your quilt out of the dryer, while it is still warm and wrinkled, the feeling of accomplishment sets in. It’s time to make your creation a true work of art, so you reach for your iron to put on the finishing touches.
You need an iron with all the bells and whistles to do what you need it to do. The right iron features will make your quilts look like show quality pieces.
The Top Features In Quality Quilting Irons
- Power: You need an iron with at least 1500 watts of power; irons with 1600 to 1800 watts are better.
- Steam Holes: An iron with 300 steam holes may be better than an iron with 24 steam holes, but that is a hot debate in some quilting circles.
- Soleplate Shape: The tapered soleplate seems to be the way to go for some quilters, while others use irons with the U-shaped soleplate.
- Heating Speed: Irons that can heat-up in 24 seconds are great, but irons that heat-up in 55 seconds works just as well for many quilters.
- Soleplate Material: Stainless is the way to go, but ceramic and aluminum soleplates can do the job too.
- Maximum Temperature: The maximum temperature varies, but most irons reach 150 to 190 degrees. There are even some irons that can reach 500 degrees.
- Soleplate Length: The best soleplate length is 9.25 inches. Some soleplates can be as long as 9.63 inches.
- Water Chamber and Adjustable Steam: The built-in water chamber should be at least 8 to 12 ounces to do an entire regular-size quilt. And, it should have an adjustable steam setting. Plus, vertical steam and steam burst features are also good to have.
- Scratch-Resistant Soleplate: A quality quilting iron should have an open soleplate and be scratch-resistant. It should also have an anti-calcium system and anti-scale system.
- Cord Length: A 12-foot cord may work for some quilters, but a 9- or 10-foot cord is good too.
Other key features include an 8-minute upright automatic shut-off, a 30-second horizontal automatic shut-off, a self-cleaning feature, an ergonomic soft-grip handle, plus an easy-to-fill transparent reservoir with a cover. A swivel cord, digital display, and 5-year warranty are also quality quilting iron features.
Here Is Our List Of The Best Quilting Irons For 2018
The Rowenta DW5080 Focus is an ergonomic German-made iron with easy-to-read controls and a sharp precision tip. The Water tank even has graduation lines for precise water level readings.
Here are the other features of the Rowenta DW5080 Focus:
- This 1700-watt steam iron has a smooth-gliding stainless steel soleplate and a precision tip for hard-to-reach areas.
- The patented MicroSteam 400-hole design provides thorough steam distribution.
- The clearly marked thermostat knob gives auto steam, a burst of steam for stubborn wrinkles, and vertical steam for hanging items.
- The 10-ounce water tank has a level indicator and uses tap water.
- The 3-way automatic safety shut-off and the anti-calcium system, plus the self-clean system, provides optimal performance every time.
The Pro TG1600 is the only iron that lifts itself thanks to patented iTouch technology. Just touch the handle and the iron lowers, ready to go to work.
Here are the other features of the Oliso Pro TG1600:
- The ITouch technology gives you scorch guard protection because the iron lifts when you’ve stopped ironing. That prevents burns, scorching, and tipping.
- The pro-press stainless steel soleplate with a thick chromium finish is durable and scratch resistance, and it gives you an unparalleled glide. The iron design is ideal for quilters and crafters.
- The auto shut-off feature automatically shuts off heat for safety after 30 minutes of standing, or after 30 seconds if knocked over.
- The 1800 watts of power allows for rapid heating, so the iron is ready to use in seconds.
- The Triple Play XtremeSteam feature gives you three steam settings: continuous, vertical burst, and horizontal burst. There are also three steam levels: low, medium, and high.
- The 2-inch tip is designed for details, such as getting between layers to create crisp pockets, pleats, and cuffs.
- The iTouch™ technology is a complete digital experience that makes ironing more efficient. The iron lifts when you take your hand off the handle, and that prevents burns, scorching, and other fire hazards.
- The extended 12-foot cord with a 360-degree pivot allows for a greater range of movement, and the 30-minute auto shut-off allows time to work while the iron stays hot.
- The side fill tank is large and can be filled as you work.
- This iron was Time Magazine’s “Best Inventions of 2006” and it is a Home Safety Council Award Winner.
The Rowenta DW6080 Eco-Intelligence is one of those stealth-looking irons that has the features you need. It looks like a small robotic creature, and it almost acts like one.
Here are the other features of the Rowenta DW6080 Eco-Intelligence:
- Thanks to 1700 watts of steam, this iron is powerful as well as good looking.
- It uses 25% less energy than standard irons.
- The eco steam system has three settings. The dry setting is for a perfect finish. The eco setting is for energy-saving steam. And the boost setting is for stubborn creases.
- This iron has a scratch-resistant, stainless steel soleplate with the precision point feature. There are 400 steam holes, so you get even distribution.
- The 3D soleplate design forces steam below the soleplate and that means less steam loss. Plus, it uses regular tap water.
- There’s a vertical steam setting for use on hanging garments. There is also an anti-drip feature, and a self-clean feature, as well as a soft-grip handle.
- The auto shut-off safety feature automatically turns off the heat after 8 minutes if left vertical, or after 30 seconds if left horizontal or tipped over.
This Singer iron has many of the same operational and safety features of other irons, plus, you save a few bucks.
Here are the other features of the Singer Expert Finish:
- This easy-to-use Singer iron has 1700 watts of power.
- The brushed stainless steel soleplate gives you an effortless glide.
- The LCD Electronic Display has nine temperature and fabric settings.
- This iron has horizontal and vertical steam plus it also has the Burst of Steam feature.
- The 3-way Smart Auto-Off is a key safety feature, and the anti-drip feature is another plus.
This space-age black, grey, and white beauty is ready for any quilting challenge. The sensor touch technology is a time-saver, as is the 360-degree swivel cord.
Here are the other features of the Reliable Velocity 200IR Compact Vapor Generator:
- The patented, continuous-steam technology really gets the job done.
- Sensor touch technology is a real time-saver.
- The hard, anodized, aluminum soleplate gives stainless steel a run for the money.
- The bypass for the 8-minute auto shut-off allows for continuous use on large projects.
- The 360º swivel cord gives you the freedom to move around.
This cordless Panasonic iron is perfect on the road as well as at home. Panasonic put important tech features into this cordless iron and that’s why we like it so much.
Here are the other features of the Panasonic NI-L70SRW Cordless:
- This 3-piece cordless steam and dry iron make ironing safer and easier.
- The sturdy charging base has an automatic retractable cord and a steam and temperature chart.
- This ergonomic iron features a stainless-steel soleplate as well as pushbutton and electronic controls.
- The automatic shut-off system, as well as anti-drip system, are great safety features.
- The Stay Clean steam vents and three heat settings, as well as an adjustable steam setting, spray mist, and jet-of-steam feature, gives you the steam you need, and there is also an option for vertical steam.
- The removable water tank is a plus, and the heat-resistant transparent carrying case keeps the iron protected.
How To Avoid Dropping Your Iron
No one likes the thought of seeing an iron hit the floor, especially when it just misses your foot.
When an iron is resting on a narrow surface, it's easier for it to fall off. The main way to stop dropping your iron is to use a wide surface. In other words, Grandma’s ironing board is off-limits.
Tips For Extending The Life Of Your Iron
- Keep your iron covered (when not in use, and cooled off) and in a safe place.
- Follow operating and safety instructions.
- Make sure the iron stays clean.
Choosing What’s Right For Your Quilting Needs
There are a lot of iron choices on the market. Picking one that will become your quilting partner takes research and a little time.
Most irons stick around for years, although you may be the kind of quilter who always wants the latest equipment.
You’re only as good as your quilting tools, so choosing an iron shouldn't be a knee-jerk decision. Doing a little online surfing, and reading reviews will give you the information you need to pick the right iron for your creative projects.