I bought this iron in desperation as I have ruined 3 irons in 1 year most likely due to our hard water and because I have ironed motifs on T shirts with an iron temperature was too hot! I decided to buy this iron online from Amazon for £19.99 (free delivery) because I thought buying a more expensive iron would be wasted on me. Much to my surprise the iron has an anti-scale system that prevents the iron from clogging up with lime scale and so far nothing has stuck to the bottom of the iron. The cable swivels around for when you want to iron those awkward shaped bits of clothing. This is an iron with a 2 metre long cable which allows you to plug it into the kitchen worktop sockets and still have enough room to iron without the cable running out of length on your board. I tend to only use a very hot or very cool iron but there are plenty of temperature settings for those of you that can be bothered to read the clothing labels. I store my Iron in the pantry out of the way but it is a nice funky looking purple and white colour if you had to have it on display.
Like any sane person, I hate the pure waste of time known as ironing. For around twenty years of my adult life I avoided it by learning how to hang things well, buying clothes in material that doesn't really need to be ironed, and, occasionally, the use of one small travel iron. When it became clear that the travel iron wasn't cutting it a couple of years ago after several 'big occasion' invites, a spare iron was 'borrowed' from my mother-in-law. Time brings change however and thus in early September I was forced to confront my ironing aversion due to the fact that my daughter was starting school. The day before she went I had cause to lament my lack of ironing prowess when I ironed a limescale mark onto her brand new, now not-so-white school polo shirt, then made things worse by attempting to iron a name label into her school bag which promptly burnt and turned the iron bright red. So, iron in the bin, and a trip to Argos on the itinerary, (luckily we needed to go shopping anyway as my daughter had had a perfectly timed growth spurt which had rendered her new school shoes unwearable). I abandoned my usual Argos-in-a-hurry policy of buy-the-second-cheapest, when I saw this Swan SI3030N Ceramic Sole Steam Iron, on an alleged half price offer of £19.99. The fact that it was highlighted in bright red as being 'Great Value' probably helped. With the thought that this might hopefully be the only iron I ever buy I even had a cursory glance at things like steam and soleplate rating, although I wasn't really sure how much of a difference any of it makes. Anyway, iron bought and best hoped for.
*What Do You Get?
Swan are an old British company so it's to be hoped they know what they are doing when it comes to irons. It's just an iron, there's no base, the only other thing in the box is a little water measure jug. To look at - it has a purple and white colour scheme, which is good, because I like purple. Sizewise it's not particularly heavy at 1.5 kg. I measure the the ceramic plate at 23.5 centimetres high and 11.5cm at it's widest. It's a little bulky, but then irons are, I've kept hold of the box to store it in. It has a 3 meter cord which is more than adequate for my purposes. The water tank holds 350ml which seems a decent amount, more than I need for my ironing pile anyway, and this has a flip-up click-in cover. It's guaranteed for two years from the date of purchase, if proof of original purchase is kept.
It has the standard temperature dial, next to which is a self-clean button. There's a spray button and a steam shot function - this is a blast of steam which pretty much lifts the iron off the board when using it, and is meant to be used at maximum temperature for stubborn creases. It's rather a loud action which will make anyone in the area jump, and possibly run out of the room screaming, (as in my 4 year old). As well as being used to scare children, the steam shot can be used vertically to aid the removal of creases from hung garments and curtains. There's a steam dial on the handle which is used to control the amount of steam you wish to use. It has a high steam output, (Argos rate it at 6 on a scale of 1-6), which is meant to make it more effective. The soleplate is rated 4 out of 5 on the Argos site, which is to do with how easily it glides over fabrics.
Before the first use you are meant to iron a damp cloth on maximum temperature for a few minutes, this removes any packaging residue on the soleplate. This first use may also produce a slight odour, apparently from preserving oils used in manufacture, but this disappears after first use.
When you switch it on, (at the plug), the indicator light comes on to let you know it's switched on, the light switches off once the designated temperature is reached, it makes a clicking noise as it goes off too. The steam dial should be left in the dry position until the iron has heated up, then turned to the desired steam output level before ironing. The anti-drip function means that if you are ironing for a long time, the iron will automatically reduce the steam output in order to prevent water coming out of the soleplate.
I have only used this iron on my daughter's school uniform and as she has only been at school since early September it's safe to say it hasn't had a great deal of use yet. So far I have found it simple to use. It heats up quickly and gets the creases out adequately. I generally use light pressure and keep it moving quite quickly. It moves easily across material and is versatile enough to get in and out of fiddly bits such as in between buttons, but sometimes an item needs a few irons before the creases come out properly. I usually iron clothes inside out, I have noticed it can produce a slight sheen on some materials but this appears to be only an immediate and non-lasting effect. I wouldn't say it produces magical results, but it does the job I ask of it without much effort. If I was the type who wanted to spend time getting clothes absolutely army perfect I see no reason why this iron couldn't do the job.
I haven't used the self clean function yet, the instructions tell me that what you do do is fill it with water, set the temperature to max and connect to the power supply. Once the light is off hold it over the sink and press the self clean button so that boiling water, steam and limescale flakes come out of the iron. It's recommended that this be done regularly, especially for people in a hard water area. It's also recommended that purified or bottled water be used for a longer product life.
*Full Product Information (courtesy of Argos website):
Steam output 60g/min.
Shot of steam 100g/min.
Capacity of water tank 350ml.
3m power cord.
Temperature ready indicator.
Water level indicator.
I'm quite satisfied with my Swan SI3030N. So far it has done all I have requested of it without any issues. I will pop back and update this review if any problems arise or just to give a progress report a few months down the line, (anyone interested is welcome to give me a nudge if you see this and I haven't yet updated). Now all I need is an ironing board.....
Short name: Swan SI3030N