T-Fal Ultraglide Turbo Steam Iron

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T-Fal Ultraglide Turbo Steam Iron: Ultraglide? Isnít that a Harley Davidson?

Aug 14, 2004 (Updated Aug 14, 2004)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:It really does ultraglide, you can drop it 6 feet

Cons:touchy auto shut-off can be annoying

The Bottom Line: I don't like to iron, but I like the Ultraglide when I have to do it.


One thing that I’ve noticed lately, I’ve had a few products that have turbo in the name. My first pair of ice skates were Bauer Turbos, my Rad Turbo Super LX Eyeguard for racquetball, my car has a turbo . . . and in at least two of those items the adjective makes some sense. But this is an iron. Ultraglide is a nice term to use in the description of an iron, but you throw turbo in there and it sounds like a new racing bike from Harley.

On Ironing
Let’s get right to the point. I hate to iron. I did my fair share back in my single days. Once I had adequately impressed the woman of my dreams and trapped her into the vows of matrimony, ironing somehow lost most of its importance. I now go out of my way to buy items that read “Wrinkle Free” or “No Wrinkles” on the label. Once in a while something that has passed my personal standard of wearability will fall short of my wife’s higher inspection and she will sigh, “Take that off and let me iron it.” I love her more for not making me do it.

Sometimes there is an item that is even too wrinkled to wear by my admittedly low standards. My usual thought is to toss such a garment back in the wash and make sure that it gets hung up right out of the dryer before wrinketude sets in. On the rarest of occasions there is nothing else that I can wear save the wrinkled shirt or pants. This is when I break down and iron something myself. It happens a few times a year, and thanks, that is plenty.

The old iron
Being a not so constant user of the iron, I didn’t really think we needed a new iron to replace the old piece of junk that we had. My wife constantly bemoaned the very existence of the old Black and Decker iron. Heck it was better than the 30-year-old iron with the cloth cord that I was using before we got married. This one even had an automatic shut off! I figured it must be pretty nice.

Well, one day the Black and Decker automatically shut off and never came back on. I figured that maybe there was something to her request for a new iron after all. We picked up the T-Fal Ultra Glide Turbo (but the decision had nothing to do with the word turbo in the name).

The Ultraglide
I could hardly contain my thrill at getting a new iron. It was a mere seven months after we got home that day when I excitedly used it. I was pleasantly surprised at first pass. This iron really did glide over the clothes. The old Black and Decker took a bit of effort to push and almost felt sticky in comparison to the new one.

Ultraglide was certainly a fitting name. I think the secret to the silky smooth travel of this iron over clothes is the finish on the bottom. A series of raised, white enamel lines actually keep the flat of the iron raised just above the material. This results in about a 50% reduction of surface contact and presumably 50% less friction.

Features
The water reservoir is transparent blue so it is easy to tell how much water is in the iron. This was always a hassle for ironing impaired males like myself who were unsure if they had turned on the steam, were out of water or just hadn’t plugged the iron in.

There is a sprayer that puts water right on what you are ironing negating the need for a separate spray bottle while ironing. I think that our old Black and Decker had this feature as well, however it didn’t work.

One feature that I really like is the steam boost button. When you have a stubborn wrinkle you just press this booster and with a mighty whoosh of vaporized hot water, it is erased. Apparently this feature is also handy for taking the wrinkles out of drapes as it works while the iron is horizontal or vertical. I would also suggest for bachelors out there that this is a good way to soften and warm up stale bread too.

The setting dial is a little confusing. While the dial turns a full 360į, only 180į of it is marked with fabric settings. These are from lowest to hottest, Synthetics, Silk, Wool, Cotton and Linen. I guess the other half of the dial is used to keep food warm.

The level of steam is also adjustable. Steam kicks in on the wool through linen settings. A separate controller allows you to regulate how much steam comes out with a number selector of 0 through 8. This seems a great improvement over the old on/off steam option.

There is a three way automatic shut off on the iron. I haven’t figured out what makes it shut off yet, I am guessing that there is a timer, and a motion sensor, but the third one I can only take a wild guess at. This is my theory, the third automatic shutoff is the one that all irons have called overheating and bursting into flames. It is somewhat annoying that the shutoff sometimes kicks in before you are done ironing. Maybe I will take it apart and see what makes that happen one day. Honey, I need to buy you a new iron, this one doesn’t work anymore . . . er it just fell apart for no reason.

Use
Place clothes on ironing board, run iron over them until wrinkles are gone. This works even better if the iron is plugged in.

I am very pleased with how quickly this iron warms up. It is easily up to temperature in a minute regardless of what setting you select. I suppose this is one of the problems that I have with the automatic shutoff being a little too vigilant. The old iron took a solid five minutes to reach critical ironing temperature. Thus when first using this iron I would turn it on, go rotate the tires on my car and come back only to find it was stone cold.

Now that I’ve realized it heats up so quickly it is only when I get completely wrapped up in an episode of Oprah and stop ironing for a few minutes that I have this problem.

I’ve already mentioned that the iron glides nicely over fabric, it also does an outstanding job of getting wrinkles out. My ironing time has been cut easily in half from a bone wearying 10 minutes a year to a relaxing five. The steam boost feature is very handy for taking care of stubborn wrinkles which were the type that most of my ironing involved.

Durability
We’ve been using this iron for about 3 years now. We thought it was broken twice when the auto shut-off kicked in. But so far it’s been a very durable iron. We hang it on the laundry room wall in a little bracket made just to hold an iron. This sits about six feet from the tile floor. On at least on occasion it was improperly stowed and fell to the hard floor. Minor cosmetic damage near the base of the cord was the only damage. It still works like a charm.

Final thoughts
If I could love an iron, this would be the one.

I don't really watch Oprah.

I haven't rotated my tires since I was 16 (I pay someone else to do it now).

The Harley Ultra Glide is actually not turbocharged or supercharged.

I have never actually used an iron to prepare or keep food of any sort warm.


Recommend this product? Yes

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