Product Reviews

These irons really sizzle

From removing wrinkles to steaming delicate fabrics, some models stood out

CR Best Buy Rowenta DG-5030, $130. CR Best Buy Rowenta DG-5030, $130.
Consumer Reports / August 7, 2011

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Any iron can handle shirts and slacks damp from the dryer. But eight models tested by Consumer Reports deliver enough steam to remove wrinkles from dry cotton and linen. They can handle wool, synthetics, and delicate fabrics such as silk. Each delivered consistent steam when required, stayed at the set temperature, and was easy - and even fun - to use.

The Kenmore 80598, $75, a CR Best Buy, has an extra-long cord, digital display, and stainless soleplate. Consumer Reports’ tests didn’t find that one soleplate material consistently performed better than others. Think irons with nonstick soleplates glide better? The tests found they generally scored lower overall than models with other materials.

The Singer Expert Finish EF, $60, a CR Best Buy, and the DeLonghi Easy Turbo Steam Professional FXN18AG, $100, also performed at a very high level. The Singer is the lightest iron of the bunch. The Rowenta Focus DZ5080, $75, another CR Best Buy, was among the quickest at removing wrinkles in the tests. All of these irons, including the Rowenta Pro Master DW8080, $90, and the Rowenta Steamium DW9080, $125, can be used vertically to steam hanging garments and curtains. They all let you adjust the amount of steam delivered and have spray and burst-of-steam features.

The Reliable IronMaven J420, $250, and the Rowenta DG-5030, $130, a CR Best Buy, have separate, large water tanks, so you’re unlikely to run out of steam. But these steam ironing systems are big, and you’ll need either a holder for the ironing board or a table to place them on. They also take up to 11 minutes to heat and won’t automatically turn off if you leave the iron unattended. You can’t adjust the amount of steam on the Reliable IronMaven.

The Sunbeam Turbo Steam GCSBCS-100, $30, and the DeLonghi FXG175AT, $80, didn’t make Consumer Reports’ Select Ratings, but they were as good as the best models at ironing fabrics. The GE I-Flash Digital 169233, $37, stood out only for its flashing lights in dazzling colors that tell you the temperature setting. Its steam output was lower than most, and it didn’t offer lower temperatures needed for some delicate garments.

Winning infomercial gadgets Saggy arms? Bloated belly? No time to cook a decent meal? Check out the latest crop of infomercial gadgets hawked on late-night TV and you’re sure to find a fast fix.

Here are two that performed well in laboratory tests done by ShopSmart, the shopping magazine from the publishers of Consumer Reports:

Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004: $60

Why it’s hot: This multipurpose kitchen helper really does turn out nicely chopped veggies and yummy frozen drinks, and it was great at crushing ice and pureeing soup. Plus it was relatively quiet and simple to use. Interchangeable blades and containers can be easily switched from food chopper to blender mode. The Ninja is Consumer Reports’ top-rated chopper. The secret is its multilevel blade system.

Where to get it:

Flavorwave Oven Turbo: $119.85

Why it’s hot: As the ads promise, it cooks faster and uses less energy than a regular electric oven. And like Mr. T in the infomercial, testers were won over by the perfectly browned and juicy meats it turned out, especially the roasted chickens. No defrosting or preheating needed.

A few bummers: It didn’t do a great job roasting veggies and didn’t crisp frozen pizza crust. Also, it’s a space hog. Don’t bother with this gadget if you already own a fast-cooking convection oven.

Where to get it:

Consumer Reports writes columns, reviews, and ratings on cars, appliances, electronics, and other consumer goods. Previous stories can be found at

CR Best Buy Rowenta DG-5030, $130