Lifehacker Tests A $599 Iron

Ironing is unlikely to be your favourite chore, but just how much better will it get if you spend $599 on the equipment? Lifehacker gets steamy and tests the Philips PerfectCare GC9240.

To put this in context: I think ironing is tedious and pointless. Prior to this round of testing, the last time I actually ironed a shirt was in February. So no ironing solution is actually likely to persuade me to part with any extra money. But each to their own: if it makes you feel better to have wrinkle-free clothes or you find the actual experience relaxing, then get steamy to your heart's content. I know people who iron sheets, and I struggle to understand why, but I also insist on having all the coat hangers in my wardrobe facing the same direction. People have quirks.

All that said, I was so utterly astonished by the idea that anyone would want to spend $599 on an iron that I figured I need to try it out and see how well it worked. The big selling point for the PerfectCare is that because it generates steam separately in a heated compartment sent down a cloth-covered pipe direct to the iron (rather than just in small bursts from inside the iron), it can be used on any kind of fabric without requiring you to constantly adjust the temperature. You can also use it to vertically steam garments like dresses, which can be easier and more effective than trying to use a standard ironing board.

First, the good points: the iron does heat up impressively quickly. Even with the water tank completely full, it was ready to use within a couple of minutes. (Cheaper steam generator designs can often take 10 minutes or more, which makes quickly ironing work clothes in the morning a challenge.)

Second: it really does work on a wide range of fabrics without requiring adjustment. I used it on business shirts and T-shirts and Hawaiian shirts in lurid polyester, and it handled them all equally well and with less effort than a standard iron. I even tried it on a tea-towel, to get into "sheet ironing" mode, and it worked fine for that too. (I swear I will never iron a tea-towel again.) I even steamed a dress in vertical mode, which seemed easy and reasonably efficient.

Because I'm not an ironing enthusiast, I asked Sarah, who edits our sibling beauty site BellaSugar, to also give it a whirl. Sarah irons regularly and likes to be well turned out, so I figured she would be a more discerning tester. She wasn't particularly happy with the midget IKEA ironing board which we keep in Lifehacker HQ for this kind of project, but as far as the iron itself went, she was also quite pleased with the result.

That said, there are some clear downsides. The first is the bulk of the unit: it takes up much more room than a regular iron. While you could probably fit it on the end of a full-size ironing board, that restricts the area available for larger garments. It also means you'll need plenty of laundry space to keep it when not in use.

The second is that the unit is, to put it bluntly, noisy and smelling. It makes regular grunting noises while reloading with steam, and after I'd used it for a couple of shirts, the entire office smelt somewhat steamy and plastic-like. Those aren't earth-shattering problems, but given how people made remarks along the lines of "For $599, it needs to actually do the ironing and give me a massage", they're worth pointing out.

If you iron a lot and have dedicated space to do it (such as a large laundry), those objections wouldn't necessarily amount to much. I'm still not quite persuaded that I'd want to part with anything like that amount of money, but as an iron, it does perform well.


Comments

    Ok, first it's obvious that the writer is not well versed with ironing! After 12 years in the military I've ironed a few things! The size of it from the looks of the pic looks fairly standard, the grunting noises are normal foe a steam iron, and the smell is simply the preservative oil burning off, the smell will disappear soon! As for the price, if it's any good then hopefully it will come down with enough purchasers. Personally, a cheap hundred dollar or less iron will do a similar job!

      I think what the writer is talking about concerning the size is the seperate steam unit connected to the iron, not the iron it's self. If you look carefully in the photos you'll see that the iron is connected to a reasonably large unit on the table top. I've certainly never seen an iron connected to something like that before!

      standard size iron? Maybe the hand unit is but the hulking mass of plastic the long tube connects to is not (thats the huge black and white thing in the pic), I for one don't have enough space to store that on my ironing board as well as iron most of my shirts, I would also need to buy a large ironing board if I were to get this thing

        You're right, didn't really take notice of that as I was just concntrating on the iron itself, so yeah that is a problem. Sorry Alex!

      haha mate we are stuck with a $40 115v one in the mess on our ship. Barely does the trick but sorts out your ceremonials good enough!

    Ironing sucks - but if this iron made it 5% less sucky, would that be worth a few apples...?

    Maybe.

    What if it made ironing just that little bit less sucky for someone who loves you, such that you could easily convince them to iron for you all the time?

    Now that would be worth the money!

    They should make a self ironing washing machine. You put in your clothes and it washes them, Dries them and irons them too.

    Now I will be willing to pay a 1000 bucks for that.

      Actually back in the day, before Computers and colour TV, they had washing machines with a wringer roller deal! If you were careful I think you could put the clothes in and wring them flat!! #]

      If you hang your shirts on coat hangers then hang the coat hangers on the clothes line your shirts don't need ironing, except maybe the cuffs and collars. Makes it alot easier.

      Want a proper life hack? put your wrinkled shirts in the dryer for 5 minutes, then take out. walah. no/minimal wrinkles.

    $600 iron? No thanks.

      Don't knock it until you try it. A proper steam iron will take half the time to do all your garments, with double the effectiveness.

      I suggest Laura Star + a proper ironing board.

        My mother used to have a Laura Star, but it came with its own board. It was fairly well designed - one leg (?) of the board was the steam tank, and the board had a contraption on the end that held the iron itself and slid away underneath. It folded up to not much bigger than a normal board.

        It was bloody fantastic, but I can't say I have a spare thousand plus dollars lying around to get one for myself!

    I haven't ironed a thing for 5 years. If you remove clothes from the washing machine and hang to dry right away, they don't get wrinkles. Business shirts, pants, etc. No need to iron

      Don't know what washing machine you're using, but if it does that then I want one too! Mines a front loader and the only time I get wrinkle free, is If I put it in the dryer and hang it up straight away!

        I have recently gone from a top loading machine to a front loader and have noticed a LOT more wrinkles in my clothes & sheets etc. I used to just wash my clothes then hang them up wrinkle free (almost), I try that now and it does not work at all.

          That's because it spins a hell of a lot faster, so that the clothes are compressed more to get most of the water out!

            Yeah true Ecky, recently got a new frontloader and it has ultra high spin (like 1100). Kills the clothes, nearly compresses them to their base molecules! Even 800 I think is wrinkling them more than the old machine. May try lower.

            Also, +1 to the commenter with the tip of chucking them in the dryer for a few mins. In a pinch, this works great. You can eat breakfast or whatever while they're de-wrinkling.

      Same Anthony, works a treat! Either Hang up your clothes straight away on hangers and/or buy clothes that dont require ironing.

      You must be one of those guys in my office with the crushed shirts who thinks by putting his shirt on the line straight away it is wrinkle free!

      The only way a business shirt can look decent is with an iron unless you get those non iron ones which arent as comfortable as their is a lot of synthetics in them.

      Hanging up to dry straight away only works if you have a top loader washing machine.

        No, no it does not.

        I have nice cotton business shirts, and anything other then ironing makes them look like they were stored in a jar before wearing.

    I'm all for spending a few coins on an iron. $150 is my limit for the RRP, even better if I can get it on a 30-50% off sale.

    You need to spend in the $50-100 mark to get a good surface, strong reliable even heat & the ever important safety cutoff.

    Ironing business shirts every day, it's worth the cost to me - but I can't see myself spending $600 on one.

    I bought myself a LauraStar iron about 10 years ago - cost over $1,000 at the time, and the newer (better) models retail around $1,400 upwards (cheaper if just get the iron and not integrated board).

    Anyway I love it - gets my family's ironing done quickly and easily.

    My wife thinks its great too (ie. husband irons).

      Another Laura Star customer! I've got one, fantastic! I hate it when i have to use "normal cheap" irons.

    We have one similar...
    Phillips GC8460. ($300 on special)
    It is much better than a "normal" iron.

    I'm a stay at home dad. I do everything around the home except ironing, because I am just not good at it. But this iron means I can if I have too.

    My wife reckons it cuts her ironing time from 1.5 hours a week to <1 hour. So at her rate of pay the iron "paid" for its self in a couple of months.

    So... If you need ironed clothes it is probably worth it. Assuming it is even better than our one.

    I'd happy if it just prevented the occurrence of that black sticky stuff that sometimes comes out of irons.

      To get rid of that black sticky stuff, when you iron your synthetics, turn the temp down.

      The black is just burn synthetic thread.

      Problem solved.

    Got a similar philips model. Probably paid around 3-400.
    I iron 5 shirts a week minimum, and almost all are 100% cotton. Thats 200+ shirts a year, so I have probably ironed 600 shirts in that time. If you wear nice cotton shirts, then you need a good hot iron to get rid of the wrinkles.
    If you are just ironing poly-cotton belnds then there is no advantage, but 100% cotton needs grunt.
    vote +1 for more grunt. I can understand that some don't need this type of iron so it would be a waste. It is priced online for $450.

    It's only $336 (after $100 cashback) from this website:
    http://www.powerbuys.com.au/cleaning-vacuums/irons/philips-steam-iron-system-gc9240.html

    I didn't look very hard, so you be able to get it even cheaper

    geez... Imagine how much you'd all save on electricity if you didn't iron every day! If i ever need to get the creases out I use a steamer. heaps quicker and works just as good.

    1. I like how you found a lady to do your ironing ;P
    2. I reckon 50% of the ironing experience has to do with the board it self, cheap boards make it extremely annoying to iron.
    3. The more steam the better, I use a karcher steam generator with an ironing attachment, and i guess it's probably pretty similar to this. IT's the steam that is getting rid of the creases (in conduction with the pressing of the iron)
    4. I can't believe anyone can say that you can get away with not ironing your business shirts, especially if you are wearing them with a suit, I see these people everyday, and it just says to me - lazy or cheap.
    5. For the person looking for a 1000 dollar washing machine, dryer and ironing device, can you even get a good washing machine for much else than 1000 dollars?

    I bought my wife a Laurastar
    it works well

    does it work $600 well...I dunno

    I quite enjoy ironing and I get a lot of comments about how well I iron, I don't iron for the comments but I do like getting them.

    That looked like a crappy ironing board and I expect that did not help with the ironing experience.

    If I had a lot of money and a lot of space I would set up a room with a board and an iron like this.

    If there ever was a lifehack I've done all year it was buying myself a Jiffy Steamer to replace the clunky ironing board.

    Irons everything in lightning speed perfectly and much better than a conventional iron.

    So basically you are buying a $99 iron with an attached $500 steam generator?

    Why not just pay for a 'Steam Press', a steam wand (cost around $20) and a normal good iron separately.

    Well unless it can massage, and do the laundry as well. HA!

    What would be awesome would be a wireless iron, the cord is such a pain. And then when you are done, the charging dock automatically turns it off, meaning no accidental fire.

    Irons used to be cordless.
    You heat it on a fire.
    It was not a steam iron and was made of Iron (Fe)
    Don't use on delicates or they disintergrate.

    A picture of a man ironing! Be still my beating heart.

    As to the iron itself, meh, unless I was going into the irnong business, I really don't see the worth for what I iron.

    If I had a time machine, I'd go back and find the person who decided ironing was the norm and punch them. Hard.

    To all the people who say they don't iron - I dress casually in my job, but I don't think I'd get away with not ironing anything.

    Got something similar from Big W for about $100. The cord is long enough that I leave the steam generator on the floor when I use an ironing board, although that's not often as usually I just steam everything hanging up. The whole system automatically turns off when not used for awhile. Takes less than 2 minutes to heat up. Super buy!

    All I can say is checkout the Tefal range, absolutely smokes the Philips. Much more steam much less effort. We owned the the Tefal GV7150 which the kids broke, and then bought the Philips as with its higher price tag it was assumed to be better. We returned the Philips two days later to get the new Tefal model the GV7250 which now has Anti-Calc, absolutely brilliant.

    Tefal all the way.......

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