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zuwena | Posted in General Discussion on

My old reliable iron died recently and I am in a quandry about where to go next.  Nancy’s notions is advertising an Oliso, the iron with feet and the magic handle that allows one to keep it in a horizontal position.   Anyone out there with experience with this iron?  Any proven advantages, disadvantages?  Anyone with a recommendation for it?

All observations and assistance welcomed and appreciated.

Thanks in advance.  Z


  1. meg | | #1

    I recently attended Vermont's state-wide quilt guild meeting and one of the vendors had a snazzy iron which interested me. I don't know the name of the iron, however it had feet which lifted the iron off the surface of the board, and when your hand got near enough to the handle it sank back down to the board. This vendor was selling it for $99. When my current iron needs to be replaced, I'll seriously consider this one. I figure that this vendor used it to demonstrate another product's benefits (a curved stitching foot for drunkard's path type quilt block) and wouldn't be using an iron which wouldn't stand up to serious use.

    1. damascusannie | | #2

      Meg, I think you saw an Oliso, too. If you google it, there is a nice website and video showing it in action. A couple of things that I noticed:Plusses:
      1) LOTS of steam holes and they were designed so that they don't look like they would catch the corners of your fabric when pressing. This is a nuisance for quilters who use steam irons and one reason why I use an old fashioned iron without steam for quilting.
      2) Large water reservoir and a nicely positioned opening for filling it--no more water all over the ironing board!
      3) I know it's obvious but that automatic up and down so you don't have to lift the iron is definitely a plus for anyone who has arm or wrist problems. It really is an amazing feature.
      4) 60-day money back guarantee
      5) Competively priced at about $100-120, depending on where you get it. A quick search for Rowentas showed them selling for $100-135, depending on the store and the model. Negatives:
      1) The diameter of the handle looked big to me. I have small hands and short fingers and it just looked like it would be ungainly.
      2) I like to see a sharper tip and edges on my irons. I don't understand why modern iron designers have rounded the tips so much. A sharp tip allows the iron to lift the edge of the fabric for flipping when pressing blocks and I think it gives me a crisper seam.
      3) Automatic shut-off after 8 minutes without use: Yep, to me this is a negative because I'm a quilter. I tend to cut and sew for 20-30 minutes then take everything to the ironing board for pressing. It's a pain in the neck to have to reheat the iron every time I need to press. (BTW--my iron and the light over my big board are plugged into a strip with a switch; if the light's on, the iron's on. I shut off the switch every time I leave the room, even if I'm only going to be gone for a minute or two.)
      4) I am concerned about the longevity of the automatic lifting system if used as heavily as I would. I do more pressing in an hour than the average person does in a month and I think that would be true for most of us here. BUT--I just went into the FAQs and you can override the automatic lift, which would certainly help. The great thing about the override is that it will automatically work anyway if the iron is left for over 30 seconds without moving.
      5) Only a 60-day money back guarantee. Again, with as much pressing as I do, I'd like to see at least a 1-year guarantee. I don't want to find out that I'm going to have to buy a new iron every six-ten months because I've burned out the lifting motor. If that's the case, I'll stick to my old $5-10 vintage irons.

      1. KharminJ | | #3

        Thanks for mentioning those negatives, Annie - I was wondering if I was completely off-the-wall for not wanting the auto-shutoff "feature"! Along that line - Does anybody know of a good place to find "energy-use" figures for various irons? May seem like a contradiction in terms - "energy-efficient, non-shutoff", but that's one USP(unique selling point) that would please me greatly. Another is, as Annie mentioned, a fairly sharp point and crisp edges on the iron. And some heft - not really Heavy, but with that satisfying solidness that let's you "let the iron do the work" (as I was taught) rather than have to push down on it all the time. BTW, I am not impressed with the Rowenta models that we carry at Jo-Ann - for the size and shape issues, mostly, as I've never actually used any of them. (And they don't accept any coupons for them, either, so price is also an issue.)Checking out the Oliso site next...


        1. damascusannie | | #4

          Irons in general are very high energy users as was made clear when we were building our house. For the first six month we ran the house from a gas generator. We have an LP water heater, dryer and stove, so those appliances draw very little electricity. Interestingly the refridgerator and freezer seemed fairly easy on the generator, too, but fire up an iron or the air popper and we could hear the engine start to lug as it had to generate more power. This is because the heating elements in the air popper and the iron work by resistance. An easy way to explain this in layman's terms is that the current is slowed down, to create the electrical version of friction, which turns into heat. So, they are going to draw down a lot of power.

          1. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #5

            So I would not be insane to shop yardsales for a replacement iron for the one I loved and wore out then?  I bought a new "improved" version and hate it.  It was an old style, steam iron, with NO Teflon.  It was heavy but had a nice balance the new one does not have.  I have lifted 100's it seems, but nothing seems right.  It was an old Sunbeam that has lasted me 30 yrs of hard labour.  It has had the cord replaced 3 times, but the thermostat finally blew.  It was not fancy, but It sure did the trick, and was easy on the hands.  My Mom thought I was crazy when I asked for that one for Christmas when I was 17.........Cathy

          2. damascusannie | | #7

            I've been using vintage irons for about five years now. Check the condition of the cord when purchasing one. When you use them, pay attention to how hot they get. Mine gets VERY hot, much hotter on a cotton setting than the modern irons I've used. Also, sometimes the thermostat goes bad first, so they'll just keep getting hotter and hotter--when you notice this happen, throw it away, or put it on a shelf for display, like I do in my studio. It's a good idea to keep a bit of 100% cotton muslin near your ironing board and test the heat when you go to press. I cover my big board with muslin to protect it from all the starch I use, so I just test it right on the muslin cover.

          3. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #11

            That was the problem with my old one, it got too hot!  I often see irons for sale cheap at yard sales and have been tempted.  Often the ladies say they work, they just did not like them.  I guess we are particular. 

            Thanks for the advice on the test before press!  I usually test for the heat anyhow, so that would be no problem.  And if the iron does not work out, they are always looking for old irons at where my brother works.  They use them for releasing the glue on veneers and putting on the edging on countertops.    Cathy

          4. damascusannie | | #12

            Sewing machine collectors like old irons for resealing lifted veneer, too. They basically use a damp towel and the iron to steam the veneer and "reactivate" the hide glue, then clamp the heck out of it to seal it back down. Works very well, although it usually means refinishing the top when they are done.

          5. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #13

            Exactly!  You can also repair the top of your countertops that have lifted or bubbled the same way, by using brown paper bags and an iron.  The heat from the iron will reactivate the glue that holds down the coloured part to the wood or MDF underneath, and then just weight it down with clamps or very heavy books.  Had to do that to my countertop after some waterdamage lifted it on mine.   Cathy

        2. starzoe | | #6

          Regarding the auto shut=off feature: I have a Velocity which costs near $200 and although it has some great features, the one I hate is the auto shut-off - and the beeper that goes with it. I would think that it uses more power heating up each time it is picked up. I spend a lot of time standing around waiting for the d*&&%% thing to heat up.

        3. marymary | | #8

          I have a Conair iron that is a few years old.  I checked the website and don't see mine, but they do have a couple that are similar.  They offer a "Crafter's setting".  What that meant with mine is that you can override the automatic shutoff.  But, there is a catch.  It still turns itself off if you have it horizontal for too long a time.  I can't remember exactly how long that time is, but as soon as it beeps at me I turn it upright and it is back on.  The override allows you to leave the iron on while it is upright on the ironing board.   I won't say this is my favorite iron.  I haven't found that one, yet.  But, I have been happy with this one, so far.  I did buy a small cheaper Westinghouse that does not have auto shut off.  But, it was designed so poorly that it has a hard time setting upright.  The cord was in the wrong place and it falls over too easily.  I only use that one when I am not leaving the ironing board and have a large quilt area to press.

  2. Ckbklady | | #9

    I don't know anything more about the Eliso than the TV commercial has taught me. My only comment would be to confirm the iron's weight - maybe the Nancy's Notions customer service or Eliso website can give you exact numbers? I would then find some comparably heavy item in your house (weighed on a bathroom scale) and see if you can push and pull it back and forth on an ironing board. Newer and fancier irons weigh a lot more than the good old cheapo ones of the last couple decades. I was browsing around the Rowenta iron display at a local bed and bath store a couple of months ago and was shocked at how heavy the display models were. If I were shopping for an iron online I might not think to check beforehand.

    I use a cast iron iron from the 30s which I heat on my stove. It's a "No.6", which means it's about the size of a modern travel iron and weighs about 3lbs, my limit for push-pull wrist work without strain. I have a travel-sized Rowenta for times I want steam.

    Good luck with your choice!

    :) Mary

  3. zuwena | | #10

    Thanks to All for the quick and very helpful response.  Many of the points that were made I had not thought about, having not sought an iron in more than thirty years.  I will see where they lead me and share that information if it will further the cause.  In the meantime I will make a point of getting to a few appliance stores and engage in the testing process that some of you have suggested.  Thanks again.  Z

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