Product Type: Tobi in Homeware
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Tobi Portable Wrinkle Remover
Member Name: luigi0778
Tobi Portable Wrinkle Remover
Date: 08/06/10, updated on 08/06/10 (126 review reads)
Advantages: Quick setup, removes creases effortlessly, ease of use
Disadvantages: flimsy base, cheap feel to it, short hose, expensive
I remember laughing at this product when first seeing it being advertised on one of those shopping channels, it just looked so flimsy, so rubbish, the claims seemed to be far fetched, and the price at over £80 was just in my opinion, plain ridicolous (and no I don't normally make a habit out of watching shopping channels, other than for the humour).
However 'lo and behold', a few weeks later I noticed while visiting a cousin, that she had in fact purchased one of these idiotic units, and to my horror, was very much in love with it. I didn't understand why, until she explained that she "irons" all her husbands work shirts for the week in around 8 minutes. That is around 6 shirts in 8 minutes. Now when I think of the pain, in setting up the ironing board, waiting for the iron to heat, messing around in arranging the shirt on the board, then faffing around to do the buttons and collar, I couldn't do anything other than take the bait.
A few mouse clicks later, and one from Amazon for around £50 was purchased. As the price is just a little over the cost of a decent Iron, it didn't seem to bad.
Ok this looked like a cheap, nasty product on the TV shopping channel, and when it arrives, it does indeed look and feel quite cheap, and frankly a poorly assembled thing. The extendable pole that holds the head unit and hose, (and you hang the clothes from), is particularly poor.
So if you are looking for German build quality, or Italian stlying, this probably isn't the product for you.
So I am thinking, wow I have just spent £50 on what is essentially a strangely shaped, kettle with a hosepipe attached to it. In reality however, I am being unfair, this unit is portable so it has to be lightweight, and consequently feel flimsy, the design although not pretty is functional, as is the base unit. Which although is rather flimsy, can do the job.
So far as the poorly assembled bit, I have to say that too is unfounded, as my unit is now years old and is still going strong despite daily usage.
Setting it up
Actually not alot to it, just a case of attaching a few hoses and clipping a few bits together, extending the telescopic tubes which form the base holder, and this is ALL pretty much idiot proof. I will however add a word of caution!! There is a valve at the rear of the unit, which is for emptying the contents of the chamber (draining the water). It doesn't say on the unit, thats what it does, but that is what it is for so DO MAKE SURE you close that off firmly before trying to use it. It probably does say this in the instructions, being bein a man, those were flung in the bin.
In case your wondering what happens if you don't seal that valve off, well think of puddles of water on the floor, and you will be about right!
Probably unsurprisingly, given it was the main reason for my purchase, the first thing I used this for was ironing shirts. Now I will be honest here, I did call up my cousin and shout at her "This is crap", which it was in my hands. That was until I learned that you have to pull the material slightly taut, after which the wrinkles, creases, and whatevers vanish instantly, as if being botoxed. And from discovering that simple piece of advice, I haven't looked back.
The water is easily added via the removable water tank, and surprisingly given the design, it doesn't leak. People who report leaks, probably have not tightened the valve (I mentioned) at the rear of the unit. It is also gets steamy and ready for use in under 2 minutes, probably quicker. It really is fast.
Shirts can indeed be ironed in less than a couple of minutes, creases just with a simple pass of the head unit, simply vanish. Far from being a one trick pony though, this unit can do anything, even (with the correct manipulation) put creases into trousers, and iron fiddly little t-shirts etc. It can handle delicates, and pass over sequins (not that I own such items), or appliques, no problem at all, and without damaging surfaces.
Clothing aside, with the addition of the "carry straps" you can unleash this thing, and precauriously "iron" immovable objects like curtains, duvet covers can be ironed after putting them on the bed. Even the mattress itself can be freshened up, and dust mites (if such things exist) wiped out by blasting with the hot steam.
Testimony to this, is that I have to say I have not used a traditional iron, or opened an ironing board for years. The Tobi is just simlpy pushed on its wheeled based to the side of the wadrobe. And because it is so fast, you don't need to iron your clothes before putting them away, I just blast them before I wear them, saves SOO much time.
Ok this isn't perfect, you will notice I used the word "precarious" when talking about going mobile, thats because it is rather unwieldly when being used. You are suddenly aware that your carrying water and electricity in rather close proximity to each other. Although it is undoubtedly safe, it doesn't feel it. Also the hose is a little short, just a few more inches would be nice to reach tops of curtains etc.
Another flaw, which I mentioned is the base, it just feels to flimsy. When you hang anything more substantial than a shirt it does feel like its going to topple over. There are ways around this, you can hang the garment on a door handle and work from there, or even just hold it. I have to ADD, do NOT be tempted to try to steam a garment while wearing it, don't ask why I advise you not too. Ouch!
Lastly, the hose is slightly too short, but then again that can be said for alot of things we make do with.
If like me you absolutely hate ironing, I strongly recommend you invest in one of these, I also strongly recommend you perservere with it, at first you will hate it, and blame this stupid review for recommending it.
Do however perservere, you will get the hang of it, and it will save you ages in messing around with boring old irons, and boards. And save you dry cleaning costs, if all you want to do is freshen something up.
Another word of advice, is do not purchase the unit from 'Thames' directly, or from the TV, there are better deals on the web, from places like Amazon, or even ebay. I wouldn't advise paying more than £50, but at that price it is well worth it!
Summary: The age of steam has arrived (again)!