~ by Molly
A Review of the Steamfast Home and Away Iron (Model: SF717)
Model: Home and Away Iron SF717
Controls: Dial for Temperature- low to high, does not delineate fabric type
Button for steam on/off, burst
Sole Plate: Non Stick, Aluminum
Steam: Horizontal, not recommended for vertical steam uses.
Steam Holes: 4 Across the nose of the iron
Water Tank Size: 1.4 ounces
Heat Up Time: 1 minute
Auto Off: NONE!
Tip: Slight Rounded, No Detailer
Weight: .96 lbs
Made in: China
Warranty: 1 year
Cost: $29.99 @ Quilter’s Eden!
This nice little iron is prefect for travel or quilt retreats. It claims to be the world’s smallest steam iron! It is dual voltage, so it can be used both in the States and when traveling abroad. The product comes with a travel bag and a small fill cup.
It heats up quickly (under a minute) and gets very hot. There is a red indicator light on the top of the iron. The heat light is on when it is actively heating and turns off once the heat setting is reached. When used for long periods, it is normal for the light to turn on and off as the iron maintains it heat setting.
The cord conveniently wraps around the narrow portion of the handle for easy storage or packing. The cord length is 7.5 feet, very long considering the size of the iron. The cord exits the iron toward the back and on the right side, which I found sometimes got in the way. Since the iron is so light, often the weight of the cord resulted in it being pulled around to one side when it was set down. As long as I paid attention to the location of the cord while ironing this is was not a problem. I would much rather have the longer cord that is a little heavy, than be limited by cord length!
I was very surprised at the amount of steam this little baby can put out. It only has four steam holes across the nose of the iron, but those little guys do the job. The water tank is a little small at 1.4 ounces. It would appear tank capacity was sacrificed in order to make the iron very small and easily portable. I found that I could keep the fill cup and a full water bottle beside my ironing station so I was able to refill as necessary. The water tank has a small rubber cover that is pulled out to refill and replaced for use. It stays connected to the tank via a small cord attached on the inside of the water tank.
The steam option is controlled by a spring loaded button. When the button is depressed, the steam option is off. When the button pushed a second time it is released into the up position, and the steam option is on. In the description of the iron this is called “one touch steam control.”
The amount of steam and level of temperature are controlled by the dial on the center. There is no fabric delineation for temperature, so it is up to the user to know which temperature goes with which fabric.
The iron itself fits nicely in the palm of your hand and at just under a pound is very light, making it easy to use. The downside of this is you have to apply a little more force to stubborn fabrics because the weight of the iron isn’t working to flatten the fabric. The tip of the iron is a little rounded so it may not work as well for ironing the tight spaces in a dress shirt, but for pressing seams it is perfect.
The sole plate is small, which makes it so easy to travel, but also means it does not do large projects well. If you are fusing lots of t-shirts, or ironing large pieces of fabric, then stick with the full size iron or pre-iron and pre-fuse prior to leaving for your retreat. The sole plate is considered non-stick and is made of aluminum. (The sole plate material is not listed in the specifications on the website, so I emailed the company. They very promptly responded and answered all my questions!)
There is no auto-off feature, so quilters have no need to worry about their iron going to sleep while they are piecing projects. The downside is that the lower portion of the plastic cover close to the sole plate gets pretty darn hot when the iron has been left on for long periods.
I have now been using this mini iron since December 2015 (when my regular sized iron died) and have had good results. There has been some wear to the non-stick surface, but it still glides well over my fabrics. It has done a lot of work over the past three months, since I have been using it as a substitute for a full sized iron. It is a little workhorse!
The only way I think it could be improved would is a couple changes to the sole plate. The tip is just a little bit wide; ironing seams open, especially in small blocks, could be more easily accomplished with a more pointed tip (in addition I think it would help immensely when ironing clothing). I would also upgrade the sole plate to stainless steel. Aluminum is considered the lowest level of sole plate and I have found that I am not a fan of it. Upgrading the soleplate would make it much easier to clean, and eliminate the issue of wear and tear to the nonstick surface. In my experience, eventually the ‘non-stick’ surface wears off.
I will say however, that this iron isn’t meant for the everyday wear and tear of quilting. It is meant to travel to retreat, or on vacation. I have been using it like a regular iron, so I have given it a pretty good workout, considering its intended use. The company requested a copy of my review, so maybe they will take into consideration these suggestions. Overall I am very happy with it and was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked! It is definitely worth the money I spent on it. Now I just have to find a quilt retreat to attend so it can travel with me!
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