$119 for a clothes iron? You're kidding.
November 3, 2009 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Why are clothes irons so darned expensive?

It's time for a new iron at the Work to Live household, and I was shocked to find so many of them in the high two-figures range -- and up -- at my local discount retailer.

The situation at Amazon is the same. Which inspires my question: What is so unique/special/amazing about these high-priced irons? Are they worth it? And what's the difference between them and some $19.99 cheapie from wherever?

Obviously this issue has me more worked up than is warranted, but I'd love to get your take. Thanks in advance for helping our home find a good quality iron at the best price.
posted by Work to Live to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I have this iron and it is AMAZING. Here are the reasons for higher prices of Rowenta:

- 3-way auto shut-off feature turns the iron off in 8 minutes if left vertical and 30 seconds if left horizontal or tipped over on its side
- Quick, even heating
- Anti-drip system prevents spitting and leaking when temperature is set too low to produce steam
- Precise temperature control

Totally 100% worth the $80 investment after not ruining a $300 suit jacket like my old, shitty $19 Target iron did.
posted by banannafish at 9:53 AM on November 3, 2009

I love ironing. A really good iron makes a serious difference, in my opinion.

More powerful irons tend to heat up more quickly, and provide steadier, more stable heat (good for not burning your clothes). Big water tanks are good. Adjustable steam settings are nice to have. Irons with a jet of steam feature, where you can hold the iron vertically and use it as a steamer, are *really* nice. An auto-off feature is handy. And a retractable cord is the other thing worth paying for.

But honestly, a lot of it is overengineered silliness, and I agree that many irons are really overpriced. Titanium plate? LED display? What? And if you're the kind of family that just needs it for getting wrinkles out once in a while and don't need or want a lot of options for different fabrics/garment constructions, a cheapie should be just fine.
posted by peachfuzz at 9:59 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: After reading this article, I went with the T-Fal iron and it is fabulous. My mother-in-law even replaced her Rowenta with one after suffering from iron-envy during a visit here.

I think I paid about forty bucks for mine at Bed Bath And Whatever or similar. The article explains what makes it (and the other irons reviewed) so great.
posted by padraigin at 10:02 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Well, a person only buys so many irons in their lifetime. $100 is perfectly reasonable for something that a) is more or less necessary and b) will last a decade or more.

(That said, those handheld steamy vacuum cleaner dealies do look pretty neat in the infomercials. Imagine never again having to hear that unholy screech of an ironing board unfolding!)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:34 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

I paid the equivalent of about $15 for my iron, and I can't imagine how it could be easier to use. Mind you, I probably only use it twice a year.

In other words, choose your iron on the basis of how much use it will get. If you like neat creases in your socks you're obviously in a different market to those of us who only iron for weddings (and curtains).
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 10:53 AM on November 3, 2009

(That said, those handheld steamy vacuum cleaner dealies do look pretty neat in the infomercials. Imagine never again having to hear that unholy screech of an ironing board unfolding!)

Also: steamers can remove wallpaper, whether you want to or not. :P

Also also: Look, I know steam is hot but those are just cute little white puffy clouds. I'm sure that OH GOD MY THUMB THE PAIN MY HAND MODELING CAREER IS OVER.
posted by unixrat at 11:13 AM on November 3, 2009 [4 favorites]

I did a search on Consumer Reports and they really liked the Black and Decker Digital Advantage D2030 that got third in the Slate thing (I'd give you a link but it's behind a pay wall). The thing that set that one apart was durability, something that not every review tests, so I thought I would bring it up.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 11:45 AM on November 3, 2009

My iron is actually broken, the heat and steam settings cannot be changed. It hasn't really bothered me. The only "features" that I get a lot of use from are the auto-off function and the ability to spray water (as I'm told, you shouldn't be ironing dry clothing).

I also have a steamer but it doesn't replace an iron. The steamer is quicker to get wrinkles out but good luck getting iron-like results from it.
posted by meowzilla at 12:41 PM on November 3, 2009

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