Shopping for a boiler iron

For quite a number of years I have used a Naomoto HYS-5 for my construction pressing in the main sewing room. My other, bigger sewing room holds my ironing board and an old Euro-Pro EP8000 (a steam generator). This is where I iron my laundry every week and steam-press yardage. Well, this is my 2nd EP8000 and I feel it starting to falter. I’m not too upset about that because it is a home iron, after all, and I do give it an awful lot of abuse, sometimes leaving it on for 8 to 10 hours at a stretch. What I like best about it is that it has a floor stand. What I like least is constantly having to refill it. That doesn’t sound like a big deal except that you must allow it to cool before you can open the steam tank to add more water and then wait another 10 minutes or so for it to reheat. What a pain.

So, given my love of industrial sewing equipment, it was only natural that I should have a look at commercial boiler irons, right? I was going to wait until the EP died but since Santa has bestowed an early Christmas/birthday gift upon me, I decided to go ahead and get it now.

I had narrowed my choices down to these two from Reliable:

The i300:


or the i500:


I was really confused about which one would be best for my needs. The i300 certainly seems like it would be adequate but there are features (like the pressure gauge, optional longer steam hose and plug-in iron) on the i500 that appealed to me. The difference in price is about $200 which isn’t much if you consider this an investment – I certainly do. I remembered Kathleen (of Fashion Incubator) writing about commercial pressing equipment a few months ago so I reread her posts and all of the comments. According to the head of the Reliable Corporation, the i300 is best suited for 20 hours or less of use per week. I’m kind of on the edge there so I thought it best to spend the extra for the i500 (which is the one that Kathleen purchased, BTWl). Oh, and did I tell you there is a floor stand available? 🙂


Filed under Pressing Equipment

12 responses to “Shopping for a boiler iron

  1. Sigh….. Now you have me thinking about a boiler iron. Bad Gigi! I may ask Santa for the 300. I’m just on this side of the 20 hour a week pressing habit.

  2. I have the i300. I love it. It suits my needs for my small sewing business. I often have it on for 8-10 hours continuously and have not problems. It was an investment as I was replacing my iron every 18 months or so. I did not go with the more expensive one because I felt the 300 did what I needed and the additional expense was not necessary for some bells or whistles!

  3. subversivesewer

    This is very timely- I plan to buy a decent iron soon as well! However, I think a home one will be more than sufficient for me. Any tips?

    • Nikki, I would look into either a gravity-feed iron or a steam-generator of some sort. Both of these only steam when you press the button which is great for saving your fingertips from steam burns. Also, they won’t run out of water constantly. I’ve seen gravity-feed irons for under $200 which I know sounds like a lot but when you consider that home irons don’t last us very long it all works out cost-wise. I’ve been using my gravity feed for nearly 19 years now so the cost per year is under $20 (I paid about $350 for it). At that time I’d been burning through a $100+ Rowenta once a year so my investment has paid for itself many times over! Allbrands is a good place to compare all of the different types of irons, both domestic and commercial and they offer free shipping.

  4. Theresa in Tucson

    I’m envious. I’m using a Rowenta home iron that I hate. It’s one of those irons that turns itself off. I’m going to keep your and Kathleen’s recommendations in mind when I can set up a dedicated sewing space. Enjoy your new toy.

  5. katharinec

    Ahh, if only these were my sewing quandaries! Enjoy wondering which new toy to buy. My partner is also egging me on to go in together for a high-end iron (nice, huh to have a guy who wants to buy sewing stuff?), but with the little one and compulsory maternity leave on the way I’m in Scrooge mode!

  6. Lindsay T

    You have opened me up to a whole world of industrial sewing equipment I never knew existed!

  7. Heather

    I have a similar steam pressure iron with the vacuum iron board to match. You tap the foot pedal and the steam is sucked downwards through the board. If it needs a refill, I do have to wait quite a while until the pressure in the tank has dissipated.

  8. Hi Gigi, have you decided which to get yet? I broke down and got the 300 when my gravity feed died. Everything about it is wonderful except that it runs out of steam way too quickly — and I don’t sew anywhere near as much as you do. I hope you get/got the 500.