Can’t you use just any iron for your sewing and quilting projects?
While you can use any iron for your quilting projects, having an iron catered to your needs will be of great help to you. Using an iron differently than planned will just reduce efficiency while increasing the cost of your electric and water bills. So, it is best if you get an iron which meets your requirements.
What makes an iron best for sewing and quilting?
Generally, it’s better for sewing irons to have a wider temperature control. This is because we use a wide variety of fabrics from acrylic to cotton. For sewing, it’s also good if the soleplate has a precision tip so that it can reach those pesky nooks and crannies.
Often, when quilting, we use tough fabrics so having an iron that can reach high temperatures is preferable. The soleplate of the iron, instead of being precise, can be big so that it can cover more area on the quilt. And, as for the weight, you can use heavy irons so that you don’t have to apply as much pressure when ironing.
The power of an iron is essentially the iron’s performance. It measures how well the iron produces and manages heat. The power of an iron is expressed in Watts. An iron that has a higher watt gets hotter and can reach the highest temperature faster than one with a lower watt. If a 1200 Watt iron can reach its highest temperature in 2 minutes, a 2400 Watt iron can reach its highest temperature much faster. Apart from that, an iron with a higher watt also means that it generates more heat.
The soleplate is the metal plate that is underneath the iron. It reduces friction between the iron and the clothes and helps protect the fabric. Soleplates should be durable, be able to distribute steam evenly and glide over fabrics easily. The type of soleplate used is different for each iron. There are numerous materials to choose from for each soleplate such as stainless steel, anodized aluminum, titanium, ceramic and nonstick. Most high-quality soleplates are often non-stick because they are durable and smooth, however, they are prone to scratching, especially over zippers and buttons. Remember that soleplates need your attention and regular cleaning, so check out some helpful tips and tricks on maintaining your iron.
Steam output of an iron describes the way it emits its steam. Ideally, you want an iron that releases a consistent and strong flow of steam. There are several types of steam output functions such as vertical steam, variable steam, burst of steam and continuous stream. Vertical steam output option is for hanging clothes that are made out of delicate materials like suits and gowns. Variable steam output automatically adjusts its steam output depending upon the type of fabric.
The burst of steam function delivers a shot of steam directly onto the fabric while the continuous stream function slowly and continuously delivers puffs of steam. The best iron will allow you to adjust and control your steam output efficiently.
Water tank capacity
The water tank capacity of an iron is the amount of water that it can contain in its reservoir or base unit. The water reservoir should be free of leaks and should also be able to hold a lot of water. If the water tank capacity of an iron is high, then you will have to spend less time refilling the tank and the steam output will also be more constant. So, an iron with a greater water tank capacity is generally preferred over one with less. It would be better if you could get a transparent water tank as that would make monitoring the water level very easy.
The weight of an iron is an important factor to consider. Most irons weigh between 2 to 4 pounds. While we usually opt for light and portable items, you will notice that when it comes to irons, it is better to go for the heavier option. If the iron is heavy, then you will have to exert more power when you press your clothes. This means that you won’t have to go back and press again; doing it once will get the job done well. Overall, you will personally also have to apply less pressure. But, keep in mind that they can be more difficult to use. On the other hand, however, an iron’s weight determines its ease of use and convenience.
So, light irons are portable, easy to maneuver around creases and glide more smoothly. If you will be doing a lot of pressing, we recommend going for the heavier options as they will be more durable.
Price and warranty
The price and warranty depend upon the type of iron being considered. Most irons have a one-year warranty period but it could be less or even more with certain companies. The best irons for quilting and sewing start at a price of about $50 and go up to $200.