I was prompted to write this review when my iron broke this morning. I have a big pile of ironing to do and when I plugged in my iron it did not get warm. It's probably the heating element or something like that but it looks like I need to buy myself a new iron. The iron in which has broke was indeed a Breville Diva IR21. I have had the iron for about 2 years and in my opinion I think it should have lasted longer before it broke.
When my last iron broke I turned to the Argos to buy another one and I chose the Breville Diva for one reason, it was pink (unlike the purple one above). I love the colour pink and will find any excuse to buy pink. I know it's a silly reason to buy an iron but there's only me that does any ironing in our house and to be honest what factors do you look for when buying an iron? Surely an iron just irons. I cannot remember how much it cost maybe about £40.
I do lots of ironing, with 3 children and a husband there are five of us in our house. I usually iron every day if possible because I can't bear it when it builds up and there's loads to do. Maybe that's why it's broke because I use it so much.
The Breville Diva Iron is like any other iron. There is a dial in which you can set the heat depending on what kind of fabric you're ironing. There is a button for steam and one to spray water, there is also a min. and max. setting for the steam. There is a hole where you need to put the water in and on the side of the iron there is a maximum marker for the water level.
On the side of the iron in small writing there are the features of the iron:
Easy Fill - I would agree the iron is easy to fill
Anti-Scale - When I bought it I remember it said that there was no need to de-scale but this is totally wrong. I have had to de-scale the iron loads of times. The steam holes always seem to be getting blocked up and it can be a pain because the iron does not do a good job.
Anti-Drip - It does sometimes seem to drip.
Vertical Steam - ?
Self-Clean - This is also mis-leading because the iron often needs cleaning and the plate can often get quite dirty.
I've never really thought I had a bad iron but after writing this I'm realising maybe it has not been that good. Another thing which I really hate is that the cord is really long and it has just got tangled and twisted, it always gets caught on something when I'm ironing. Maybe this is my fault because of how I've wrapped it up but the cord really has lots of knots in.
Overall I suppose the Breville Diva Iron is just average. It has done an awful lot of ironing over the last 2 years but it has just broken and I have had to de-scale it lots over the years. I don't think it is an iron I would recommend and when I go and buy another iron I don't think I will be buying another one of these (no matter what coloue it is).
When my other half and I moved in together we bought an iron as one of the first purchases, as wearing a shirt for work every day it was important we had one to send him off looking smart. I thought that price would make a bit of a difference so when I spotted a sixty quid iron on offer for thirty I snapped it up. How gullible am I for falling for the charms of a half price iron. The answer to that question is, very! That iron after two years was terrible. It was good in the beginning I must admit but the settings meant nothing any more, as I needed it on linens for everything! USELESS!
So it had to be replaced and I was taking no prisoners while making my choice this time!
I sat and looked on the websites of Currys, Argos and ebay. I compared different models until I was feeling rather knowledgeable about irons and what functions, wattage and other functions the model I wanted should have and a reasonable price to expect them all for.
Then I looked through what was on offer and managed to get it down to a choice of three irons. In the end I picked out this Breville model. It has the specifications I was after and was really good value at the same time. At just £24.99 I couldn't find a reason to go for the other options that were slightly dearer but had less of the 'wants' on my list.
I bought it from Argos but I am sure it can be bought from other stores (Currys, Dixons and Comet do not show this on their websites) I have now been using it for about three months and I am pleased with my choice.
It came really well packaged within the box, there was no way it could have been damaged whilst within all the packaging. Loads of polystyrene to keep it cosy!
The user manual is really well written and tells you everything you need to know. I must admit that I didn't read it before I started to use the iron and still haven't but I have had a flick through it. Is that a good thing, probably not but it does show how simple to use this iron is!
I will go through each feature as I go and that way I shouldn't manage to miss anything out.
It is a rather powerful 2400 watts, which is rather high for an iron in this price range that means that it is excellent value. To be honest how much difference the wattage makes is not really that clear to me, I would think it would hardly even be noticeable but I could of course be wrong. I have never had/used a low wattage iron to compare to.
My last iron had a coated sole plate, which I thought was very good. This has a stainless steel soleplate, it glides over fabric so well! It does make ironing slightly easier than my last iron from this point of view. It is almost as reflective as a mirror. There are lots of vents on the soleplate to vent the steam, a total of 46 (I did not count the amount on my last iron to compare this to.) It measures (soleplate only) 12cms (just under 5inches) at the widest point by 23cms (9inches)
This model has a large water tank that can hold 400mls of water, which is rather impressive. It means that when you have lots of ironing to do you don't need to keep filling up with water, which makes it a little easier as when you are in the swing of it or in a hurry you don't want to keep filling up do you. To fill with water or top it up when you are running low there is a sliding piece of plastic concealing a hole in which to tip it with the small water jug they provide. It is nothing amazing but it does make filling easier as it (the jug) has a small hole to tip the water through and a hole on the top to fill the jug through so you are less likely to spill any water while filling your iron.
This model weighs in at 1.5kg. That is about average for this price range. Cheaper irons can weigh less and more expensive ones a little more. There are of course arguments for why you may want a lighter or heavier iron. If like me you have a bad back a lighter model is easier to use and carry but a heavier one actually can make ironing easier as the weight helps to get out creases. I wouldn't want an iron that is any heavier than this one and would probably be better off with a slightly lighter one but this isn't that heavy to be fair. I don't think its weight can be classed as a bad point against it though.
This iron has a nice long 3 meter cord which actually makes doing the ironing far easier as you do not have to worry about getting tangled up or not being able to reach at any time. I am glad I looked for an iron with a longer cord as it really does make a difference the last iron only had a two meter cord and the next iron will have a long cord again! It really does make life easier.
You can set at varying degrees the amount of constant steam or of course have it set to off. At its maximum it will give out 30grams of steam this is a real help in getting creases out from difficult fabrics such as linen. I have some linen trousers that are a complete nightmare to iron! Or at least they were! With the steam output on full they are easy now. 30g seems to be roughly average for most makes and models available now.
This model has a shot of steam function where it shoots out a really powerful 80 gram shot of steam that can very nearly lift the iron off the ironing board. I nearly had a heart attack the first time I tried using this! I was just so shocked by it as it was so unexpected that it would be so violent! Any stubborn creases don't have a chance of staying put once you press the button to unleash its power! It really does help!
This is meant to mean there are no drips and I can vouch for this I have never noticed any water dripping from my iron. I have not had an iron that does drip so I don't know how valuable this is in an iron anyway.
Yes it has one, bet you didn't see that coming! It is rather a strong spray and it is all too easy to soak the article you are ironing slightly more than you wanted to. It is easily dried with the iron on it but one of the slightly less positive features of this model. A more gentle spray would be far better.
This iron is meant to be self-cleaning. I have as yet not noticed any build up in the vents at all. There are at times small amounts of lime scale left on the article of clothing I am pressing if I am using the constant or shots of steam. It is easy enough to just wipe away and in my opinion is better than it building up in the iron itself.
It is purple and white with a black handle. No I did not buy it because of the colours but oddly enough it does in fact match our vacuum too!
The water tank is see through purple. The fact it is see through means that it is easy to tell how much water there is left inside so that you don't allow it to run dry at any time. Makes life a lot easier as you would expect.
The heat control as with almost all irons is a twistable disk underneath the handle. It is easy enough to use and see with the normal settings of minimum, synthetics, silk, wool, cottons, linen and maximum.
When the iron is on there is a constant light on visible in the handle. The light it lets out is orange. This means you can always tell the iron is on so therefore hot and not to touch the soleplate, a good safety feature if you ask me. The handle itself is not shaped in any easy grip shape but loses no comfort for being left straight edged. It is not too thick or thin and is easy to hold.
There is also an orange light that comes on under the temperature control dial to show when it is heating up.
It heats up very quickly which cuts down on waiting time. That I like! Hanging around waiting for the iron to heat up is just annoying!
The cord can be wrapped around the base of the iron (the base when it is standing on end) without any problems. There is a small plastic clip to keep it in place. This makes it nice and easy to prevent any knots and makes it easy enough to store.
The sole plate needs to be cleaned more often than our last iron. The stainless steel can get marks on it that need scrubbing off and as it is an electrical item you cant mess about with water or soak it. This isn't a problem just needs a regular wipe over.
It really is very easy to use and my other half and I soon figured it all out and have had no problems getting to grips with the features at all.
When I first started using it it left off a strange smell. Only the first few times. I guess it needed to burn off dust or something along those lines. It has now stopped, it did after four or five uses. I expected this and I think most irons do that anyway. It did not impair it's performance in any way though.
Over all I am very pleased with this purchase. It is a great iron and I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a good iron. It does the job and actually makes the job a little easier not that I am ever likely to enjoy the chore that is ironing! The features are great and I don't see what else an iron could possibly have to offer. For the price this really is great quality and has more and better functions than a lot that cost more.
If I needed another iron I would go for this model all over again but that said, was I to need a new iron now it would be because this had broken and so would not be my choice as it had let me down! You know what I mean though.
It is great value, does the job, has good features, makes the ironing easier than some other irons and even looks good! What more can I possibly say about it!
I highly recommend you at least consider this iron as a possibility.
Breville may well be known for their toasters but this shouldn't put you off of this make. They really have done a good job of going over to making irons.
***** OVER A YEAR ON*****
We are still rather pleased with this iron but use is certainly showing now. Sometimes there is a build up of limescale which covers the item you are pressing at the time and that can be a pain, when the item is wet the limesale wont just brush off and the item then needs washing again!
I have had to use wirewool on a couple of buildups on the soleplate where I just couldn't get them off, that was a real pain!
The wire in the corn had popped through the fabric casing in one place, only a tiny bit but enough to annoy me, there is no reason why it should have apart from the fact that the cord now has permanent kinks in from being wrapped around the iron as they advise!
Overall I would still recommend it! To start with I would have given it five stars but now it is getting four, to me it should still be great after fifteen months of use or so.
Oh if only everything in life was as reliable as an iron. For eight years I had a Hinari iron, bought from Argos which had a very basic feature and no water tank gauge and when it finally died I moved onto a Philips iron which had exactly what I was looking for albeit a coated non stick sole plate. The soleplate never got scratched but I did worry when using it that perhaps one day it would get scratched around the studs and fasteners on my various clothing. At 1400 watts it matched the rivals at the time but the tank was too small to cope with one use of constant steam.
With the steady influx of cordless irons and steam generator tanks, the features and specifications of traditional corded irons have drastically improved over the last couple of years, a fact which is present across the internet and at high street outlets where it is now possible (and finally) to buy a reasonably priced iron which has all the basic features including a high wattage of power but doesnt have to be the best premium brand around. I am of course talking about Rowenta, one of the best brands who produce the best irons in the world but they are always reassuringly expensive.
Experience has taught me one thing however; that non stick plates on irons aren't always the best and reliable way to go. Whereas I have found non stick soleplates to be easy at flattening almost all fabrics, and has an extra gliding factor, once it gets scratched, just like Stainless steel plates and ceramic, it is scratched forever and the heat doesnt always travel well on the whole soleplate either. But additionally, like non stick frying pans in time, the backing starts to peel away which leaves an iron which can only half the job it was designed to do fully and all uniform heat lessens on the main plate.
I've found that stainless steel however has a slightly different property and its one I'm starting to realise why manufacturers tend to brand stainless steel on irons which are usually tagged as "Professional." Put simply - stainless steel soleplates do tend to last longer.
** Nars Quick Skip Product Review Spec: **
Stainless Steel Soleplate; very easy to clean and scratch free.
Vertical steam option.
30gsm/minimum steam output and 80gsm minimum shot of steam
Anti drip stop feature
Water spray function button
3 metre cord complete with cord clip
Self cleaning function no pins to remove.
Permanent anti scale valve no pins to remove.
1.5kg weight not too light and not too heavy.
380ml water tank it actually does last longer than most!
Purple and white colour. (A year on it still looks new)
2400 watts; it heats and cools down quickly additionally and that maximum heat leaves towels roasting!
Water fill bottle supplied.
** Prices (from 2007 onwards) **
Breville price at Argos: £24-95 (4108867)
Breville price at Currys: £19-99
My EBay price at £16-49 including P&P charges
** Why Choose Breville? **
My mum has a Morphy Richards iron which Comet & Argos both sold for £20-00 and whilst it has a metal soleplate it doesn't have half of the features that this Breville model has. Armed with the info of needs I set out to EBay and found a seller who could supply me with a new Breville iron at around £17-00 as opposed to £25-00 high street retail price. Now as far as I'm concerned, that's a bargain - and the iron isn't even reconditioned and the postage and packaging costs were also tied in - on the other hand, I couldn't find a Philips iron which has a stainless steel plate at the price of £18; yes whilst my old Philips iron is now in the hands of a best friend who rather took to its extremely well designed controls and general ease of use, I don't miss it for its smaller water tank and less powerful wattage.
The most important aspects I was looking for in an iron are:
Vertical steam pressing availability
Why? Because I like to steam my suits and coats whenever they are hung to get rid of general odours. Curtains can be refreshed too with the use of an iron that can press with a steam shot as opposed to using a steam cleaner. Steam shot facilities also allows clothing to be steamed with a drier appearance and feel than using a steam cleaner with the same function - which leaves clothing and general fabrics wetter and more prone to damp and mould forming.
Anti Drip Feature.
My old Philips iron never had this feature and as such I welcome it. There is nothing worse than lifting the iron after it's been filled with water and it starts dripping all over clothes which are waiting to be ironed and the ironing board is soaked through. Or when the iron is put into a high temperature and impatiently asked to steam before the water gets a chance to heat up. The water doesn't even drip when its in vertical mode which is ideal for me. In addition, the Breville's valve stops water from shooting out from the plate when the temperature is increased or decreased quickly in one ironing session.
** The Look & The Design **
Breville's IR21 carries the tag "Diva," which has now been launched into a series of Breville irons accentuated with fancy decals and bright vibrant colours; yet more same again designs to confuse the consumer then! Whichever way I look at it though, despite the model's name the design on this iron isn't anything new to anyone who has ever owned a Morphy Richards, Rowenta or Philips iron. The design feels remarkably familiar, right down to the two buttons on the top of the iron after the handle, which allows steam spray mist and another button for steam shot.
Colouring wise, the iron is in a deep mauve purple which to some eyes could well be overly feminine. This isn't the most lurid coloured household item I have had - that cheap Hinari Lifestyle iron for example was coloured in a vomit lime green colour complete with a dark green acrylic strip to show up the water tank level; but I could never see it for all that the iron was supposed to be fashionably duo-tone.
The graphics between my old blue and white Phillips and Breville are similar; clearly written, easy to understand, although it does help to look at Breville's user manual which is also well written, easy to explain and easy to read thanks to large wording and good photographic evidence as to points on the iron itself. Some of the plastic on the iron has a smooth finish on it, but the plastic in general feels okay but not overly well made which is a slight downside.
Here however there has been some attention paid to the rubberised handle on the Breville, it defies logic to where you put your hand and you can use the iron on both hands if you are left or right handed. The power cord sprouts out at the rear of the handle and features a hinge to allow the cord to be pushed up or down depending on use. It is quite a big iron though, so it's not the most ideal if you are looking for a compact iron to push up and down on clothing. A total of 3 metres is sufficient mains cord length for me from plug to the board, and for using it, stretching across from the start to the entire length of the ironing board is a boon where other irons are limited for reach.
** The Controls **
3 controls literally control the quick shot aspects on the iron where steam is concerned. You have three variations of steam available through a dial type control knob and 2 further push down buttons, one to control steam shot and another for spray of water, which is handy for dark clothing when shine is apparent as well as applying extra gliding for more precious fabrics. Unlike my old Philips which had an open water spout, the Breville has a funky slide up slide down door which allows access to the water spout. My mum's Morphy Richards has a hole with a threaded hat which comes undone easily but can be pesky and difficult to put back in.
The previous Diva model had 2000 watts and a smaller 250ml water tank and given my tasks where my Philips model had the same tank capacity, I can testify that I had to keep filling it up with water for more steam. Here this task is lessened with the bigger 380ml tank (I find it lasts for 5 shirts but this is with MY use rather than trustworthy info), but like the Philips, tipping the iron upside down and to an angle will release all the water in the tank after use if any water is remaining. I have always emptied my iron after use as it keeps the tank and internals better protection for longevity and use.
** In Use **
Because this iron has a great steam shot capability, the Breville took less than a minute of warm up time to reach a very high temperature, and despite the rotary heat control, a further twist allowed the iron to reach its optimum temperature within seconds. A bright orange LED light comes on set underneath the handle when the temperature is uniform, but I go by instinct and the sheer heat that the Breville gives off despite its slow to respond LED indicator. There are two LEDs here but they both do the same thing, just in case you dont see the UFO style line lighting up alongside the rim of the iron.
Having used non stick irons for the majority of my life, I've actually found that the stainless steel sole plate on this iron glides just as well. That's not to say that non stick doesn't glide, but it feels different in use against 100% cotton shirts and various fabrics which have a 50/50 in percentage of mixed fibres. The weight of the iron is also comparable to my old Philips iron despite the use of metal on the soleplate and design thought has been given before the body of the iron and the start of the soleplate to get between buttons and zips on fabrics.
Like most irons then the Breville Diva has a well laid out rotary control dial which gives a good indication of the fabrics it can iron according to set temperatures. A neon light comes on and off to show when the iron is reducing in temperature but what I like about the Diva is that the cooling down time is faster than my Philips iron, despite having twice the heating element. My mum was so impressed with it that she tried to take it off me and swap it for her old Morphy Richards Turbosteam.
Like the Philips then, the Breville has a cleaning feature located internally but unlike Philips, the Breville simply shoots out all the impurities in water when it is pre-selected. This is a lot easier because there have been times when I nearly lost the "pin" on the Philips which would have rendered the iron useless without the control knob where the pin is located. This iron has a coating internally which self seals itself against impurities, and luckily aside from use recently for pressing shirts and clothing at a local theatrical company where the tap water was quite scaly, our own home tap water is quite clear and untainted.
** Steaming with the Diva **
As a steam shot and steam iron generally the Breville excels, managing to warm up quickly, adjust to the temperature set by the control dial which also shows fabrics by lettering and name, get through around 6-7 shirts before having to be refilled again and generally frees up a lot of time. I was initially scared at first by the sheer force the Breville can spill out steam, particularly on the spot steam shots where needed.
** Having a Drink with the Diva **
Filling this iron however is easy if you apply a slow trickle on your tap. The water bottle which is graduated is easy to use too but lets face it, unless it's clippable to your iron board or iron, a water bottle is probably the first thing you lose when you buy an iron in general. Here filling the iron is quite simple and I found a way in time to fill from a tap without over spilling or over filling. You can see the water as it fills the tank but thanks to that dark mauve purple colour, it can be hard to see at times in poor light.
As a dry iron, where the Breville has to be pre-selected and with the steam valve shut off, the heat that this iron gives off is extremely hot but the handle and main body of the iron is suitably insulated and it does a similar job to its main steam equipped function.
I find that the Diva copes with all kinds of fabrics provided that you adjust the heat control with each fabric. A guide to temperatures is located on the base of the iron incase you don't know although the temperature dial uses the internationally recognised acronyms when it comes to fabric types too.
** Downsides with the Diva **
I can't stand the colour. There are other higher priced Breville models which would probably have suited me better and my heart set Rowenta model had no colour at all but great user features and a high wattage (and a much higher price), which this Breville copies on all but price..and that colour!! I'd have preferred to have the same colour as my old Philips iron but you can't have everything!
The user manual states that this is approximately 1.5kg in weight but I feel it is actually lighter than this. It is quite a big iron but it is easy to store with a suitable heel at the bottom to which the mains cord can be wrapped around the bottom of the iron and a clip on the cord ensures the plug can be stored out of the way from the soleplate. So although I feel it is lighter than the manual suggests the Diva is in no way a compact iron; it is designed as a home use iron only.
** Conclusion **
This Breville iron is quite a shocker in the sense that it brings to the table features that you would normally associate on professional irons with a professional price tag. The build quality on the iron is quite tough, it is extremely powerful and long lasting and it feels relatively easy to use. However the days are beckoning where the user is being tempted by cordless offerings but this iron still has a relatively big tank all the same. For many this Diva iron belies its price for the features that it offers and surprisingly for its toaster derived brand name reputation, this is one iron that is worthy of considering despite having a long 3 metre permanently attached cord. Many thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.
Short name: Breville IR21