There’s nothing that says you’re an adult more than having to do housework. Growing up, your food magically gets cooked and plated up, clothes mysteriously reappear clean in your wardrobe and the disappearing skidmarks you left in the toilet could only be explained by wizardry. Then we grow up. We fly the nest and soon learn that 90% of being an adult involves doing stuff that you need to do but don’t want to do.
I think ironing is the perfect example of this. I’m yet to meet anyone who loves ironing, yet the majority of people spend significant amounts of time at their ironing board. In fact, it’s reported that doing laundry and ironing takes up 2 hours and 42 minutes each week. If I’ve got my calculations correct, that’s nearly a full week spent washing and ironing clothes every year. That’s crazy.
We don’t do that much ironing anymore. When I was a corporate whore wearing suits five days a week, then we didn’t have much choice. Now though, as a stay-at-home dad, I have no issue looking scruffy or a bit creased. Chances are I’m just going to end up with some kind of toddler-related stains on me anyway. However, that’s not to say that I wouldn’t iron if it was quick, effortless and painless.
It was therefore with interest when Beko got in touch to see if I wanted to review some of their small appliances during 2017. The first of these was the Beko SteamXtra SmartStation Steam Generator Iron. Would this household gadget be the solution to our ironing laziness? Before we get onto the review though, Beko wanted me to share some ironing tips and hacks. Here’s what I came up with:
- Follow the instructions on the label. It may sound obvious, but how often do we crack on with something without fully reading the instructions? When it comes to clothes, the garment labels are there for a reason – to keep your clothes in the best possible nick. If there’s a picture of an iron with a cross, then do not iron. If there’s a symbol of an iron with one dot, then use a cool iron (less than 110 degrees C).
- Use the correct technique. Rather than whack the iron on your clothes and freestyle, you should be using long and straight strokes. If you move the iron around too much in different directions or in circles, then you’re in danger of stretching the fabric or creating new creases.
- Iron garments inside out. To avoid ruining the garment – sheen marks, burns or ruining decorative things like logos, sequens etc – iron your stuff inside out. Considering the missus leaves most of her clothes the wrong way anyway, I can usually iron them as they are!
- Use water from a dehumidifier. If you live in a hard water area, using tap water in your iron will result in the build up of limescale – even using a water filter or boiling the water before won’t do much. Instead, if you have a dehumidifier, use the distilled water which has been collected from the air as it has less minerals than tap water.
- Look after your iron. To prolong your iron’s life and to avoid leaving marks on clothes, give your iron a quick once over after each use – empty the water reservoir, wipe the soleplate with a soft cloth to remove moisture etc. Also make sure you store it correctly – don’t put it up high in case it falls, don’t put things on it, keep the cable tidy to avoid fraying etc.
You. Are. Welcome. Without further ado, here is the promised review of the Beko SteamXtra SmartStation Steam Generator Iron:
The product is described as:
The Beko SGA7126P steam generator iron is the perfect iron for all ironing jobs you need to complete. With the magic mode setting the iron automatically sets the perfect temperature and level of steam meaning ironing will no longer be a complicated task.
To make those awkward items like curtains and hanging clothes easier to iron, the Beko iron offers vertical steam. Not only does it make easy work of any items you choose to iron, it also features anti scale and self-cleaning function meaning your iron will stay in perfect condition for longer.
Safety worries are no longer a worry with the 3 way auto-off safety function. The iron will automatically shut off when it has stood on the sole plate for 30 seconds, is laying on its side or has been vertical for 8 minutes. The electronic anti-drip system ensures there will be no dripping even when ironing at lower temperatures.
With the digital display you are easily able to see when water levels are low or when you need to descale. This iron really is perfect for any household who wants to make light work of those ever building ironing piles.
On opening the box, I was greeted with the iron, the steam station, two lime collecting cartridges and instructions. The steam station had two sturdy cords coming out of it – one with a plug and the other which connected to the actual iron. It was white and purple in colour which I thought looked pretty funky and I was surprised that the entire thing was lighter than I imagined.
Setting up the steam generator iron is pretty simple. Firstly, you have something called a lime collecting cartridge which you need to insert into the steam station. Remove the packaging, soak in water for one minute, then push into the slot on the top of the steam station.
Two of these cartridges came in the box – we’ve not had to replace it yet, but the instructions say that a symbol will flash on the control panel when it needs replacing (after 30 litres of water). We live in a hard water area, so it’ll be interesting to see whether this feature helps the longevity of the iron – after using for a month, I obviously can’t comment on the long term.
Once you’ve popped the cartridge in, then you need to fill the water reservoir. This is a removable plastic tank housed in the steam station unit. You can fill up the water reservoir in one of two ways. The first way is to use a bottle or jug to pour water directly into the tank. There’s a little spout at the front which you can pull out to enable you to top it up with water.
The second way is to remove the water tank from the steam station unit. There’s a latch at the front underneath the reservoir – you simply pull this towards you, slide out the tank, then fill it up using the same spout as in method one. You then slide it back into the steam station and voila, you’re ready to go. It can hold one litre of water.
When you plug in the steam generator iron, you’ll hear a beeping sound to say that it’s plugged in. You then need to press the on/off button, which, as the name suggests, turns the iron on. This is where things get pretty clever. The iron starts in Smart-ECO mode, which sets the perfect temperature and steam levels for all fabrics to be ironed.
I don’t know how it does it, but somehow it manages to ensure all types of items are ironed well without being too hot. If you don’t want Smart-ECO mode though, you can press the control button which toggles between Smart-ECO, low, medium and high. To be honest though, we’ve tended just to stick with Smart-ECO and not bother with the other settings.
Once the steam generator iron has heated up after a few moments, you’re good to go. The iron can either be used to dry iron or steam iron. To do the first, you just need to crack on and start ironing. To do the latter, there’s a steam trigger button just under the handle which you press in and hold. This starts the pump, which takes water from the water reservoir and turns it into steam to come out of the soleplate.
I’ve found that the steam isn’t instant. You don’t just get steam when you press the button – you need to keep it held in for a good few seconds, before the steam starts appearing. Similarly, if you let go of the button for a while and want steam again, then you need to wait a few seconds more. This is fine, it just means that you’re sometimes waiting for the steamy action. It’s also worthwhile mentioning that the pump does make a noise – it’s not really noisy, but it’s also not quiet.
The rest of the operation of the iron is perfectly fine. We’ve used it numerous times now and it’s always made items look less creased than before, which I guess is the purpose of an iron! The iron is comfortable in the hand, the steam doesn’t make the garments too wet and the soleplate runs smoothly across the items. It’s also pretty quick – you don’t have to spend ages going over the same creases, which I attribute to the steam. All in all, it has done exactly what I’d hope an iron would do.
Another cool feature is that the steam generator iron can produce steam in a vertical position. This means that you can use it on garments that are hanging up. It’s not as effective as actually ironing, but it still does a reasonable job of getting creases out, in a not too disimilar way to hanging stuff up in the bathroom when you’re in the shower.
There’s a couple of other things to mention. Firstly, it has automatic shutdown if it remains static / inactive for 10 minutes. This is obviously a pretty handy safety feature in case you forget to turn it off manually. Secondly, there’s a self clean lime removing feature which tells you when it needs a clean. This is indicated by a symbol on the iron and involves pressing the steam button and giving it a shake whilst over the sink. Thirdly and fourthly, there’s a transport lock which secures the iron to the steam station and a bracket which keeps the cables tidy and out of the way.
The Beko steam generator iron retails at £99.99, but is currently on offer in numerous places at £69. Like most gadgets, the price for irons with a steam station can range massively – a quick Google suggests from £50 up to £350. As such, the Beko iron is definitely on the lower end of the price range, but it definitely doesn’t feel like it. I struggle to see how an iron that costs triple the amount is three times better than this.
I’ve been impressed with the Beko SteamXtra SmartStation Steam Generator Iron. It’s done everything I’ve needed of an iron – i.e. iron clothes quickly and easily. In addition, it’s come with some additional extras I didn’t expect, such as the vertical steam setting for garments hanging up and the Smart-ECO mode which selects the best heat and steam setting. In addition, I think it looks pretty nice (for an iron!) with the purple highlights, it is lighter than I anticipated and it’s not complicated to operate.
Will it mean that I now iron our clothes each and every time? To be honest, probably not – but that’s not down to the iron, it’s more down to a lack of time, laziness and a focus on other things that need to be done. What it does mean though is that I know we have a really good iron for when it is needed – for instance, it’ll be whipped out in the next few weeks as I’ll need to iron a shirt for a wedding.
For someone who wants a steam iron that isn’t too expensive and does a good job, then I don’t think you can really go wrong with the Beko SteamXtra SmartStation Steam Generator Iron
The DADventurer Star Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars