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Steam Iron Recommendations

jpatton21 | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

My wonderful 20+ year-old Sunbeam steam iron finally died and I’m having trouble finding another iron that works as well as it did to replace it.

I bought a Rowenta Powerglide a year ago, and am not happy with it. My major complaint is that it won’t get hot enough to press wrinkles out of linen and cotton and it seems to be getting cooler and cooler at its top heat setting all the time. It also dribbles, and within one year’s time the auto shut-off started to malfunction. Even when the auto shut-off was working, it was a nuisance – as soon as I had sewn a few seams and was ready to iron them, the iron would inevitably have turned itself off and I would have to wait for it to reheat.

Can anyone suggest a steam iron that will successfully press damask linen tablecloths and 100% cotton clothing – that does NOT have auto shut-off?



  1. lin327 | | #1

    Instead of buying a houshold iron, buy one designed for professionals.  The water chamber is separate from the main iron.  It's the heating of the water that cracks the chamber and causes the iron to leak.  This can also short out the thermostat.  Sometimes the results of water leaks can be electric shock.  Most houshold irons can't take the heavy use demanded of them in the sewing room.  Some sewing machine dealers carry professional ironing systems.  In the small ads at the back of Threads I've seen ads for them.  I got mine when a tailor retired.  There are also tailoring supply places on the web.  I hope that helps.

    1. jpatton21 | | #4

      Thanks Lin,

      I've also been thinking about trying a steam generator - sounds like the same thing. Are there any you particularly recommend?


      1. lin327 | | #5

        I haven't looked at new ones.  I bought mine from a tailor and his was from a no longer in business company in New York.  A proffesional aquaintance uses an Elna Pro (I think)  and another got a pro system  from Singer.  Neither of them complain about pressing, so I guess that's good.

        1. jpatton21 | | #6

          I'm looking at the Black and Decker Steam Generator. Have you heard anything about it?

          1. Guest | | #9

            Joyce, I boutght that steam generator and it was a disaster. It leaked and wouldn't turn off. I returned it and went all out with a Rowenta Steam Generator Iron. It was a hefty price ($199.) but I am thrilled with it.

            It takes longer to heat up than a regular iron but it is ligtweight, produces lots of heat and steam and being able to set it down on the base rather than on end has the added benefit of not adding alot of heat to the surrounding area.

            I'll never go back to a regular iron again.

          2. jpatton21 | | #12

            Diane, where did you get your Rowenta steam generator? I liked ths way the Black and Decker steam generator ironed linen, but the handle burned my hand before I finished one tablecloth. Has that been a problem with your Rowenta? Otherwise, I was impressed with the constant steam feature. It was wonderful. Does your Rowenta have that? It doesn't have auto shut-off does it? I hate that! Thanks for the information.


          3. Guest | | #13

            I bought the Rowenta at Hancock Fabrics. I have had it for a month and there is no leak and yes it is underpressure and can be used steam or dry. And no, it has no automatic shut off.

            I am very very pleased with mine. The handle can get warm but not scalding. Don't think I'll ever go back to the regular type iron again.

          4. jpatton21 | | #20

            Thanks Diane. I wish we had a Hancock Fabrics out here (Colorado). I miss my old one in Illinois. I'll try to find one on line.

          5. Guest | | #21

            Does Cloth world still exist? You can buy one online too. I think Bed Bath and Beyond sell them for a reasonable price. Nancy's Notions sells them but charge almost $90 more than I spent.

          6. jpatton21 | | #24

            We just got a little Bed, Bath and Beyond store in town, but all they had were the ordinary auto shut-off Rowentas. I think I'm stuck with mail order or online. Thanks.

  2. Crish | | #2

    I have used a Rowenta Professional for 10 years - more than satisfied!

    Have you checked out Sussman?  A number of friends use them for professional dressmaking.

    1. jpatton21 | | #3

      Thanks Crish. I have been thinking about trying a steam generator. Have you heard anything about them?


  3. LizMaynard | | #7

    I'm so sorry your Rowenta doesn't make you happy.  I guess it is a lemon and you should return it.  I'm using my 2nd Rowenta Professional,(dropped the other after 10yrs.) removable tank, NO AUTO SHUT-OFF.  That feature has never appealed to me because I want to decide when it should go off & I think that's probably the problem.  They have a web-site--ck. with them for help.  You are one of the few who have had problems. 

    1. jpatton21 | | #10

      Thanks Liz. I'll try Rowenta's web site - didn't know they had one. They might give me some sources for buying an iron like yours. All the locally available ones are auto shut-off. How long will it steam on one tank? And sorry I'm so slow getting back to you. I just got email and haven't gotten into the habit of cheking it regularly yet.



  4. cottonbets | | #8

    I am on my second, or perhaps third, Europro 8000 continuous steam iron. That about sums it up; I love getting lots of steam, but several friends and I have all had problems with this model. I think that there might be a newer model available (8005?). The handle of my current iron has just started to heat up. It is muggy June here, so I think that this "added feature" will only get more uncomfortable. I have seen a new europro (on the internet) featuring a cork handle, indicating that the heating handle might not be unique.

    I have never visited this site (Threads Forum), so hope that this info gets to you. I'd be interested in any  input you recieve about irons.  I'm ready to replace my beast, and would love to hear that there has been a recall. Thanks!


    1. jpatton21 | | #11

      Thanks for your input Betsy. I just got a Black and Decker Steam Generator and am having to send it back because in the time it took me to iron one linen tablecloth (my iron test) it scalded my hand from what appeared to be a leaky steam button. I hope this isn't a chronic problem with the high-powered steam irons.


      1. cottonbets | | #14

        Joyce, your scalding sounds more serious than my hot handle! I'm still using my europro 2000, but am on the lookout for some kind of replacement for the time when I can't tolerate the heat. Other messages within the "gatherings" postings (I'm sorry, I don't remember where I saw them) mention problems with rowenta and europro irons. They all speak positively about gravity fed steam irons. I think the prices ranged from $200 to over $1000 (is that possible? I hope that includes someone serving iced tea as I iron!). I'm really not familiar with gravity fed units, but picture something like an I.V. stand dispensing fluids at a hospital bedside, and I don't want to lose an inch more floor space in my sewing room.    Does anyone have any accurate information about this? I'm trying to stay cool in Toledo, thanks!

        1. NansiM | | #15

          Anyone familiar with the Kenmore steam generator?  Inoticed the store near me had them and the salesperson I spoke with didn't know of anyone who had one among the staff.  Any input here?

        2. VictoriaMars | | #16

          I have a gravity feed iron that I purchased about 15 years ago from a industrial sewing dealer.  I paid 225.00 cdn and it was worth every penny. I like to use an iron with some weight and a good head of steam both of which is provided by this iron. It has a bottle with the water and I hang it from a hook in the ceiling. It takes up no more room than a regular iron.


          1. cottonbets | | #17

            Thanks for the info! This sounds pretty inviting, especially the 15 year part. I really don't like discarding dead equipment. Can you suggest a particular brand?

            Thanks again, Betsy

          2. VictoriaMars | | #18

            Mine is a Sussman (Kobe ES) and it is a serious iron! I bought mine in the garment district in Toronto.

          3. cottonbets | | #25

            Thanks for the model number. I've been looking at various models at the all brands (I think!) web site. These listings do include prices, so it is a good place to start. I'm not seeing the advantage of the $400 model vs. the $200 model. Are there any features that are particularly helpful, or any that are unnecessary, on a gravity fed iron? I'd love to see a consumer report or a Threads review of options, but have not been able to find one. Thanks again for the input, everyone!

        3. jpatton21 | | #19

          Do these gravity feed irons actually have an iron head to them? I was talking to a dressmaker friend of mine who uses some sort of professional steamer with a hanging tank, but it doesn't press, it just steams upright. That works well for her, but I need an ironing option too. Is this the same thing?

          1. VictoriaMars | | #22

            *Do these gravity feed irons actually have an iron head to them?*

            Yes, they do. They are workroom workhorses. They are quite heavy and worth the money.  Here is a link: 



          2. jpatton21 | | #23

            Thank you Victoria. I'm checking it out right now.

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