Best iron for quilting under $50.

monicatxMay 6, 2012

Hi, Fellow quilter;

I love my current Sunbeam Steam Master iron but it is many years old. Don't know how long it can survive. What is everyone using now? I cannot afford more than $50.

When I have researched the Rowenta there are many postings that it leaks easily. My daughter had one a few years ago, and after two weeks it leaked so she threw it away as she did not save the box.

Please let me know what you are using.



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I use the cheapest one with auto-off that Wal-mart has. The one I'm using now has lasted 6 years and is still going strong.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 9:12PM
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I bought the second cheapest Sunbeam from Target, and it's been going strong for 3 or 4 years now. I have no doubt it will last until I knock it off the ironing board onto the concrete floor.

Rowenta irons are over-rated in my opinion - DH bought me one and it started leaking within a month.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:36PM
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I have 2 Rowentas, an Oliso, a Sunbeam, an electronic GE and a vintage travel iron.

Rowentas and the Oliso, despite all being over 100 dollars all leak. I've been using the vintage travel iron lately... it's small enough to fit on the small table by the sewing machine and it has a really sharp point... plus since it's old it was well built and the handle is really sturdy for hard pressing. I don't use steam when pressing pieces and seams and pieces, only when ironing clothes, so the leaking isn't an issue for me. I used steam in a quilting class and the colors in my batiks ran and I don't always pre-wash....

The vintage iron is great, but it doesn't have auto off, so that can be scary! The best part was that it was 2 bucks at an Episcopal church rummage sale and was in brand new condition with the original box... that's much less than 50 bucks :o)

What might be a better alternative is to take a plastic spray bottle and lightly mist the pieces and then just not put water in the iron.

Here is a link that might be useful: My iron

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:44PM
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It would be nice to find a decent iron--I am back to using my Sharp which I hate because it doesn't keep it's temp. without me continually resetting it. I loved my old GE but it finally died. I have had 2 Rowenta's and I liked them both but they didn't last long considering the price.
I had 2 Black and Deckers---bad luck with both. I keep looking at the ones I see in Hotel's and Sunbeam seems be their choice. If you find one you like let us know. I want one too. lol

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:38PM
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I use an old vintage iron I got at a thrift shop. It does not have steam so there are no holes in the plate. I am the auto shutoff and I manage just fine. I also have a travel iron, no steam, that I can use for classes and it works well. I don't like steam irons as they are all incontinent and I just use a spray bottle instead.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 12:04AM
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Another vintage no holes iron user here....bought at the thrift shop for $5 and it stays by my machine. I use larger irons for pressing fabric and the completed water in my irons.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 8:59AM
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I currently have a Sunbeam (higher end one) and am not overly thrilled with it. It doesn't like to start the steam, then it doesn't want to stop. If you go up to the 2nd or 3rd steam setting it spits hot water.

I've had a pretty expensive ConAir iron that acted the same way (the reason I got the Sunbeam).

I'd really like to find a good steam iron that steams when you want and doesn't dribble hot water.

Maybe I'll go back to the dry iron and spray bottle system.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 10:40AM
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I have a Black and Decker(cheap)that DH said was old and ugly so I bought a Rowenta and it lasted close to one year, I was not happy!

Went to the garage and pulled out my old ugly B&D and 3 years later it is still going strong. I like steam sometimes but I use a ton of starch, so it's not a biggie, but the auto turnoff is.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 10:52AM
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No water in my iron either. I have a spray bottle close by if I need it. Mine has auto shut off, but I also have it plugged into the outlet that's controlled by a switch at the door so when I leave the sewing room and turn off the lights, I know everything is shut down.

I would love to get one with no holes in the plate. I tried one of those small travel iron sized things but hate it because of the cord placement - it's very awkward to use.

According to Consumer Reports, most of the low priced irons perform about the same. The big differences have to do with steam features, like leaking and 'ease of filling'. Since I use my quilting iron dry, I think I could get by with the cheapest iron I could find.

Has anyone used the cordless kind? I was thinking about that but not sure it's worth $50, about twice the amount for a low-priced corded model. My sewing space is pretty cramped so the cordless one seems like it would be convenient.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 11:29AM
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Kate you have to pop the cordless one into a large base every few seconds to keep it hot, so if you don't have a lot of room, it wouldn't work well. It doesn't have batteries, it just heats the sole plate when you have it the base and you iron with the residual heat until it cools too much to be effective and pop it back in to heat up again....

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 11:59AM
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Kate, You might just as well get yourself a woodstove and a true iron iron and plop it on the stove to get hot. LOL Anybody remember sticking your finger in your mouth then touching the iron for a sizzle to see if the iron was hot enough???


    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 1:12PM
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I remember my mother's iron - it was electric, not stove-heated, but it weighed a ton. She was convinced, even in later life, that an iron was no good if it didn't almost take both hands to lift it. I do like one with a little heft to it, but I don't think it should require the strength of an Olympic sport!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 2:13PM
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Now I am getting discouraged. All these comments and no one has a steam iron they love. Wow, what an opportunity for a manufacturer to fill the need. Of course, they won't see our comments.

Please! Does anyone have an iron that they love?


    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 2:29PM
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I didn't make my post clear enough, then.

Mine is a steam iron. I use steam frequently. I like steam! The iron works very well indeed, and it doesn't drip or spit. It has 3 different levels of steam, plus a burst of steam. It is a marvelous iron for the price.

It is the Sunbeam SteamMaster, and it was around $30. And like I said above, I'm sure it will work for many years UNLESS I knock it onto the concrete floor.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 4:40PM
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Monica I was in the same shape that you are before going to Amazon and looking at the irons and the customer ratings for each one. I ended up buying a Black & Decker D 2030 Digital Advantage. It was rated really high so I read many of the reviews and liked what people had to say. It was $47 bucks (I too had a $50 dollar limit) and because I got free shipping and no tax it was a no brainer for me.

I am HAPPY to say this is the best iron I have owned in a very very long time. It is easy to use and I love the digital aspect of not having to turn a dial etc., for the temp I want. It tells you with a tiny beep when its ready for ironing and a tiny beep when it goes into the auto off standby mode. If you move it it automatically comes back on to where you wanted it and you can turn if off just by holding down the button. I love it!!

So maybe going on Amazon might be an option just to read reviews if nothing else. I hope this helps.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 6:46PM
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Just reading through the posts and I am now the sessions I've taken on quilting the instructors have emphasized using a dry iron ...what am I missing...when are you using steam?
( I feel like such a newbie in the quilting world...)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 7:26PM
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There really aren't any hard and fast rules for quilting.

Press to the dark side - well, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't, and sometimes I press open.

Never use steam - well, sometimes I have a block that is a bit wonky, and with a judicious application of steam I can flatten and straighten it out. And I always use steam to iron yardage, and I steam the heck out of it. I would never have just a dry iron.

The "prohibition" against steam is that you can stretch a block out of shape while pressing, but you can also do that with a dry iron. So don't stretch as you press.

Never do this, always do that - I say do what works for your particular project.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 8:07PM
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As far as steam or dry, I use steam and also a special spray starch type stuff that my favorite quilt store sells when I work on block and quilt tops. Now, I only press my fabric, not iron. (To me, ironing is when you move the iron back and forth) The piecing seems to fit better that way. The spray water bottle does not seem to work for me.

My charity quilt bee uses steam irons and when I have gone on a quilting retreat, they use steam irons also. Guess I am just used to them.

Also, I sometimes use fusable so I need a non-stick bottom on my iron as I make a mess. :)

Thanks for all the brand advice on irons.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 8:27PM
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I have had the Rowenta 1700 for a couple of years and I just love it. I have not had a problem with leakage, it is amazingly hot, and it turns itself off when not moved for bit (I forget how long exactly) but when it is wiggled a bit, it heats right back up. This iron does not rank very well on Amazon but I bought it at Kohls with a sale and 30% off. Can't remember how much it was. Maybe I just got a good one....I do have well water and use that so maybe that is why it doesn't leak, spit, spurt, or spray like my old one did.
I was simply amazed at how hot it got.....evidently the old black and decker I replaced just stopped heating and I was unaware of how "cool" it had become, all I knew was it was hard to press anything right, and thus the search for a new iron.
So at least here is one person who loves her Rowenta......

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 6:26AM
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When my son and his wife moved back to France, I "inherited" her Rowenta. I haven't used it yet because my T-Fal is working well. Maybe I will give it a rest and try the R. just to check it out.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 6:58AM
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