I purchased my iron a few months ago from Argos, after my ageing and somewhat flimsy Russell Hobbs steam iron was knocked from its perch and hit the floor one time too many. In an ideal world, I'd have the Aero Hunk doing the laundry for me, but then in an ideal world clothes wouln't get creased up in the first place.
Naturally, I wanted to get the best possible quality for the lowest possible price (irons, not hunks) so, naturally, I went to Argos. I had set myself a limit of £35. There were several irons in this price bracket, but the Breville Super Steam stood head and shoulders above the rest . It was on special offer at £29.49, normally retailing at over £50; this was a bargain I could not afford to miss!
I often procrastinate when it comes to bargain hunting, but not this time. I quickly reserved my iron on line, collecting it the following morning before it was either discontinued, or the price went up. I needn't have worried. Currently, Argos have plenty in stock and the price is being held at £29.39 until at least Christmas Eve. Whether the regular price they quote is just marketing hype, I don't know - all I can say is, when I do the family wash nowadays, it certainly FEELS like I'm handling a £50 iron.
Without more ado, here is my lowdown on the Breville Super Steam:
Substantially sized and with a decent amount of weight under the handle, this iron is less sleek and 'Space Age' than some other manufacturers designs. Its traditional appearance - bordering on 'boring' to some eyes - may be one reason why it is so much cheaper than comparable brands. But let's face it - if your first stop for excitement is the laundry basket, then you've got a serious problem, hon. That being said, all the features you need to take the strain out of ironing are there - a comfortable, cushioned grip handle, a large reservoir that can be filled straight from the tap, and a 'button boost' for extra steam should you need it. Not that you will, very often, because the steam control works on a graduated dial system that is fully responsive to your every need. I was also impressed with the long flex (essential, in a non-cordless iron).
The soleplate is stainless steel, rather than the aluminium found in some cheaper irons, and has the added feature of being self-cleaning. Of particular note is the ingenious 'Auto shut-off' mechanism. You need never worry about leaving the iron on again!
Although the iron is heavy enough for most fabrics, it did struggle a bit with heavy weight denim. This was easily overcome by the boost button, but I'd advise anyone using this function for the first time to be careful, certainly where pets are involved. Halfway through a pair of Levi's, I pressed the button - and the Flying Scotsman steamed into my living room, all guns blazing!
Unfortunately Errol, my pet bearded dragon, was watching what I was doing. He promptly fell backwards off his log - behind which he remained for the rest of the afternoon, periodically coming out to scowl at me and, more particularly, the monster which had tried to usurp him. Perhaps he thought it was some kind of namesake! Luckily, Errol is behind glass but I did find the boost took a bit of getting used to. It was VERY powerful, and after just a couple of bursts my lounge looked and felt like the Tropical House at Kew. It does seem to shoot ahead, rather than to where it's needed, unless you tilt the iron downwards first. In the end I switched to 'spray' which was less dangerous and worked just as well. I imagine anyone standing in front of the iron when that boost is used could get a nasty burn, so just be careful where kiddies are concerned.
That being said, it's not often these days that I need to iron excessively creased fabrics, and I'd much rather have a lightweight iron with a bit of optional power, than one with a more gentle approach but which weighs half a ton!
The maximum heat output seemed a little lower than some irons I've used, but as I said the steam/spray is the most powerful and responsive I've ever used, so I didn't find this a problem. The soleplate of my irons usually end up black underneath, mainly because I'm an impatient ironer who can't be bothered to wait for the thing to cool down for more delicate fabrics.
However, the Breville VIN057 responds so quickly to temperature adjustment, that I was able to zip from linens to silks - and back up again - in the time it took to switch garments over.
More on the responsiveness factor:
When I put the iron down to make a cuppa, without switching it off, it politely informed me I had done so by means of an electronic 'bleep' (it took me ages to discover where the noise was coming from - I thought there was something wrong with the boiler!) The iron then switched itself off automatically.
However, the moment I began using it again, it jumped back to the preset heat level in just a few seconds - but only when it was pressed down on the clothes. This is an added safety factor that should win Breville an award; on more than one occasion, my previous iron was knocked to the floor because a child had barged into the board, on the way to the kitchen.
All in all, this is an excellent product for the price. And I've decided I do like that steam boost button after all. Errol will just have to learn to hiss back at it - like a real dragon would. I've found the perfect iron for my laundry needs. Now, all I need is the Aero Hunk to help me out with a few of the needs an iron won't solve - like Christmas baking, for example ...
Short name: Breville VIN057