As part of the World Ironing Championships competition we have been calling on ironing specialists in the military to demonstrate their passion for pressing and their top ironing skills. Pristine garments are a must for our friends in the armed forces so we called on MrBane from The Army Rumours Service to put the Morphy Richards Intellidome steam generator through its ultimate paces. Check out his review below:
It’s a hard one to admit but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only soldier in this mans army that secretly (Or openly!) enjoys a good bit of ironing. Those sharp creases, the tender strokes, the steam, the heat, the passion…. Eh…. The…. Aye, anyway.
The other half was amazed one day when she mentioned she wanted an iron put down on the wedding list and I went off on one, saying that you can’t just leave a decision like that to anybody. It’s all about researching the right product and getting the most for your money. Things like the Steam Shot, the water tank size, does it have vertical steam? Can it spray? What’s the steam output?
Serious business this ironing malarky.
The everyday soldier, being a master of adapting and overcoming may find many varied and often inventive and unique solutions to the problem of ironing. Certainly on parade, we’ve all seem someone that looks like they’ve tried the old mess tin of boiling water..
Or look like they’ve just set about the kit with a big stick..
However, there are better, easier solutions and so it is that I find myself in possession of a top of the line £200 Morphy Richards Intellidome steam generator iron. Certainly a step up from a Tescos Value £13 model! (Not that I’d ever degrade my uniform by sullying it with such trash)
Point to note here is that it’s offered for £199.99 however you can get the same model off of Amazon for £139.99. A solid saving of sixty sheets and it brings the Intellidome into the realm of feasible and affordable when you consider than a top of the range normal iron can cost anywhere from £60 – £89.
What’s it all about then?
There are certain features you want to keep your eyes peeled for when going after a new iron, and below I’ve broken down the most important parts with a note on how the
Intellidome matches up.
The Steam Shot
A standard iron an ability which allows it to ‘fire’ shots of steam at the garment you’re ironing as well as maintaining a steady flow of steam to aid in the working out or working in of creases. When looking at the figures you want the highest steam shot you can find as this is how much steam is generated when you press the shot button. Good for really hitting a stubborn crease. You can average anywhere from 70g to around 180g per shot depending on the quality of the iron.
With the Intellidome it doesn’t operate on this system as it’s a continuous steam generator. It produces up to 4 bar pressure when using the steam function. That’s spad loads of steam. To see just how much steam, have a look:
The Steam Output
This is how much continuous steam the iron will put out. This softens the fabric and helps to really smooth out any creases. It’s the same as getting a massage in that the warmer the hands massaging you (Ooeh!) the more you’ll relax and lose the tension in the muscles. (Or gain tension..Just depends what muscles and whos hands!) Higher the Steam Output the better. You can start from anything down to 25g per minute Steam Output and head up to 40g per minute or more, again all quality dependant.
The Intellidome has a Steam Output of 90g which is double Morphy Richards top of the range standard iron. That’s a hell of a lot of steam at a steady rate!
The Water Tank
Fairly obvious this one. The bigger the water tank the more water you can put in, the longer you can iron before you have to refill. A full set of combats done properly can easily see off half a tank of water in a standard 200-300mil tank. The tank sizes vary massively but can be as low as 150mil on some models.
With the Intellidome it’s got 1.5litre capacity which is more than enough to do four of five sets of combats (properly!) before a refill is required.
The higher the wattage the quicker the iron heats up and the quicker you can crack on with it. Again it varies wildly on the model and you can see 1300W on the cheapest model on the market. Remember, the quicker it heats up the quicker you can get it done and dusted! (Unless you want to savour the experience and really take your time over it!)
The Intellidome once again almost doubles that with 2200W for rapid heating.
So that’s the basic information you want to be checking for when looking to purchase an iron and the Intellidome smashes all forms of standard iron in that respect. There are however lots of other extras and features that you can find which all make the experience a lot easier.
The Intellidome gives us a vertical steam option which means you can iron stuff that’s hanging up, but as some of us seem to struggle ironing stuff that’s flat perhaps this wont be a massively used function. Reminds me back to Basic when one of the lads wanted his collar flattened whilst he was wearing it. Bit of tender vertical ironing, good, almost done, I’ll just give it a burst of steam to… Oops… Sorry mate!
So that’s the facts, but how does the Intellidome actually fare for use then?
Taking it to trial it was the first time I’ve ever had to read an instruction manual to work an iron however it’s straight forward enough and if I managed it, I’m sure the rest of you can!
The power cord could do with being a bit longer but it’s manageable. Looking at the pictures below you can see it at more or less full stretch. with a measured 1.8m length. On top of that you’ve also got the cable length for the iron itself which is more than adequate.
I’ve took the time to read some of the reviews written on the MR website about this product and some people have complained of it being heavy when it’s filled… Man up!! The unit empty isn’t a problem to lift. The cradle rest for the iron can be used as a handle, although you have to try and hold the iron in the same hand to stop it falling off but otherwise it’s a light enough load even when filled.
There have also been comments on dripping. I couldn’t see the problem myself. It’s a clip lid on the top for the water and yes, if you decide to tip the unit up whilst it’s filled then you may get leakage. Moral of the story? Don’t tip it up when it’s filled with water!!
It took about three or four minutes to warm up with a full 1.5 litre load which isn’t bad. If you think about it, if you’re using this beast then you’ve got a load you’re going to work through so the few minutes wait is a fair trade off for the amount of uninterrupted ironing you’ll get done.
The iron itself whilst you’re using the steam mode can cause dampness on the clothing due to the sheer amount of steam being produced but that’s not really a problem, you just iron it until it’s dried again.
The Intellidome is also a stainless steel based model instead of ceramic and it’s all about personal perferance here. I sometimes find on stainless steel that it’s easier to make a mess of the soleplate. Then again, it is shiny shiny.
Packing of the ID is straightforward enough. In the box it comes in it’s securely fitted between styrofoam but once it’s out and about it’s only the unit itself. There’s no form of storage provided unless you stick it back in its original packaging box.
The cables can be secured via a handy little pull out holding rail which you push the cables down into the rail and it pushes back to hold them tight against the base unit. Then they sort of hang there in a mess, but at least they’re not trailing everywhere.
I am dissapointed there’s no securing mechanism to keep the iron seated securely whilst you’re shifting the whole unit around. It may fall off if you angle the unit too much or if the cable gets caught.
The casing appears to be mainly palstic and it may not survive the knocks you’d expect a normal iron to. I’m pretty sure if I dropped it off the edge of the ironing board that it’s going to have issues dealing with it. The big risk is on the tank itself cracking if dropped. However by the sheer nature of the thing you’re going to take a lot more care over it, so hopefully it should never get dropped in the first place.
With regards to ‘onboard features’, the Intellidome has an LCD display on the rear of the base unit which gives you a decent amount of feedback and control. You can adjust the steam level through Low – Med – High – Off as well as receive warnings over filter cleaning and low water.
Ever fired up the Ol’ Faithful iron only to have the first bust of steam s**t white crap all over your uniform? That’s limescale buildup which the Intellidome tackles via a removable filter in the base of the unit. The filter itself needs to be replaced and you can order spares from MR via their hotline. Of course, you could just be a posh arrse and use only the finest bottled water for your ironing needs!
You’ve also got a boiler clean function which allows you to use tap water to clean the limsecale buildup inside the boiler thus further prolonging the lifespan of the kit and as for emptying the unit there’s a drain plug in the base to make it as easy as possible. Just hold it over a sink or place it on a drainer board and away you go.
What about the practicalities though?
When buying a new iron I spend between £40 and £60 on one. I’ve probably gone through four in my time serving. Would I have been better off investing in the Intellidome? Maybe. Though the reason I’ve gone through that many irons is because they get chucked in the kit bag and dragged off all around the world on exercise and training (Never on Ops! Who irons their combats on Ops?!). I sure as hell couldn’t just sling the Intellidome in the bag. If I did, I’d be leaving my webbing and helmet behind to make room for it.
Overall then, it’s got the bells, the whistles, and little flags to wave. It is expensive and it’s a fair old size. Is your average soldier going to buy it? I wouldn’t think so. Is it worth the money? Depends entirely on your outlook and what you intend to do with it. Lots of kids? Would make life easier. Running a small shady sideline in kit ironing in the block for the lads at £3 for two sets of combats? Nipped. Personal use? Only if you want to be really indulgent.
Still though, makes my room feel like a sauna of somewhat dubious repute.
2200W Intellidome Pressurised Steam Generator Iron kindly supplied by Morphy Richards
Here’s a link to the original post on the Army Rumours Service forum.
If you’re a blogger and would like to trial our Intellidome (or any of our other products), give us a shout, either as a comment or by using the contact form.