Whether you consider ironing an enjoyable necessity or a chore that must be tolerated, anything to help ease the process must be welcomed. On this basis we are looking at the very latest in cordless steam irons, the Philips EasySpeed Plus Cordless at £89.00, to see just how helpful it is to leave the cord behind and see if any features are lost in doing so.
Out of the box this Philips cordless steam iron immediately struck us as sleek and pleasing. With its see-through light purple coloured water reservoir, good-sized heat selection wheel and solid construction it looks and feels like a quality iron, but instead of a flex cord protruding from its back, there is a separate base which it sits on to charge whilst in use. This charging dock is also well-constructed and has a good length of flex cord which should allow you to place it for easy use. However, the one flaw we have noted is that the base is not held firmly to the surfaces it is placed on, because although it has two non-slip feet it also has three slippery solid plastic feet that seem a bit counterproductive.
Charging in Use and the Dock
Unlike many cordless tools, the cordless iron does not have a separate weighty battery. Instead the iron charges every time it is set down whilst in use. This means you have what Philips refer to as a Smart Charging Base on the end of the ironing board and simply place the iron into it whilst moving the garment across the board or changing from one item to another. We soon realised that this process is really just like ironing with a wired iron and the dock base is formed to direct the iron so it slips in easily and is not at all fiddly.
When first plugged in, with the iron in place, the dock flashes blue to indicate charging and, due to its 2400W power, this quickly (around 6 secs) turns to a solid translucent blue to indicate the iron is charged and ready to use. Whilst you are using the iron the base dock will start to flash orange after around 25 seconds to remind you to replace the iron within it; it then recharges almost instantly. In use we have not really worried too much about this because the normal setting aside of the iron during ironing has always given plenty of charge during each garment surface, so we didn't need to return the iron to the base prematurely. The speed of charging and the way the iron keeps such high temperature really impressed across the board.
Incidentally the dock base includes a locking switch which holds the iron firmly onto it when not in use and also allows for the flex to be wound around it for easy and tidy storage.
The water reservoir is accessed via a hinged filler cap and is easy to fill with a mark on the transparent body showing the maximum amount to be added. Philips have produced a clearly detailed heat selection wheel showing minimum to maximum heat increments and written words indicating where the dial should be for 'nylon' and 'silk', where the steam function is turned off, and 'wool', 'cotton' and 'linen', which obviously need the steam function turned on. Even those of us at the studio who rarely use an iron found the controls easy to use for a pickup and go experience. For those technically interested, the standard steam settings produce a steady 35g per minute, which is more than ample for normal ironing of jeans, t-shirts, underwear, etc.
Steam, Spray and the Soleplate
The steam and spray buttons are quick to find on touch due to their size and in use we find that this Philips Cordless iron has a very strong steam boost of up to 150g to remove tough creases in things like table cloths, proving there's nothing to be lost through its cordless technology. Of course the great advantage of it being cordless is that we have the freedom to use the iron in different areas without considering where to plug it in or putting up with the hassle of a trailing cord. This means we have been able to easily iron out creases from hanging curtains and clothes with the steam boost working vertically without any problems whatsoever.
Furthermore the soleplate of this iron has particularly impressed us in use. It is ceramic and glides across materials of everything we put in its path very smoothly. We have also noted that there is no build-up of dirty deposits on the footplate to date.
Well, apart from the freedom offered through not being attached to a flex cord whilst manoeuvring the iron, there is also the safety factor that you are not holding something with mains electricity flowing through it whilst the supply wire flex is constantly being twisted and turned. Our previous corded iron went out with a large bang and a flash, fortunately without injury; the flex cord looked like new but the constant movement had severed one of the sheathed copper wires where it entered the iron. With this Philips cordless iron there is freedom and safety built in and we only move the flex cord attached to the charging dock when unwrapping it or wrapping it back up for storage. From experience this Philips innovation should outlast its wired counterparts.
To Sum Up
The freedom and safety offered with this Philips EasySpeed Plus Cordless Iron is only surpassed by its great working credentials. In use this iron out-shines all the corded irons we have previously used and Philips include a 2-year manufacturer's guarantee. We love this powerful cordless technology and would never wish to return to being 'tied to the plug'.