3.16.2015

Yes, this IS how this Iron works.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | iron review

What you're looking at is my iron in pieces. I'm known for taking things apart against the advice of the manufacturer. But not this time. This iron is meant to do that.

After my main and my backup irons both bit the dust, I spent a good portion of last fall agonizing over a new sewing mate. Peeps, I hate to buy something important. Discount shoes, cheap fabric, designer coffee, sure, I think about it for a quick minute, but good lord, I OBSESS OVERTIME over anything costing more than 50 bucks. Especially when said Thing has electronic parts. Then I know I'm in for triple the amount of magnifying-glass detective work. I mean, I'm still hanging onto my (super researched, super out of date, SUPER DROPPED) Canon g12 because the thought of doing all that investigating (and dropping that dinero, really, in general, the words dropping and electronics should not ever be friends) is too much to think about.

And let's face it, this is an important decision. Your iron completes the Holy Grail Trifecta of Stitchin' Tools: Sewing Machine. Scissors. IRON. 

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | iron review


So believe me when I tell you I researched the shizznit out of this thing, and have used and abused her since last November just to be sure.  I couldn't holler about her right off the bat, because, um, let's talk about my first try at a replacement: the Rowenta Eco Intelligence. I will not even deign to link to this green monster. Holy EVERYTHING, Batman.  THAT DAMN IRON WANTED TO BE A JACUZZI. It was livid to find out its real purpose in life, and soaked every fabric it laid eyes on in retaliation. And such a worrywart! So many lights and failsafes! JUST NEVER ENDING SPITTING AND SILENT ANGRY BLINKING! 

And it was five times the price of my old beloved Black n Decker repro. What a cutie pie. I loved how it looked, I loved the weight of it, but I rarely used any actual water in it. It didn't spit like its (quintuple the price) initial successor, but it did drip a bit. The weight, looks, and Surface of The Sun heat of it seemed a fair exchange for having to use a separate spray mist bottle for steam.

And the mist bottle kind of made me feel like a hairdresser.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | iron review

This time, I thought, maybe I can have it all. Yesssssss, oona, dream big with your ironing! How 'bout a gravity feed? How 'bout a second mortgage? Someday. 

(The swanky iron, not the drowning in debt.)

I stumbled on my Maytag Vertical SmartFill though a rabbithole of blog and google searches, none of which actually talked about this little grey girl, but instead led me to that handy "you might be interested in" Amazon predictor, which spit this out. I didn't even know Maytag did irons. And what ever happened to the Maytag Repairman? I so liked him, and his cute outfit. Advertising, dudes. Might not have clicked without the memory of that guy.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | iron review

Back to the review. Yes, they call it a "Vertical Steamer," and yes, they mean it. I've steamed vertically on my dressform without so much as a particle of drip. It's heavier than a handheld steamer (which ooooo baby I have a good one of those too, post coming soon!) so, weight wise you wouldn't really want to steam a shirt on a hanger, but it's great for dressform use, or steaming yards off the side of your ironing board! The removable water tank is nice and big for large jobs like that.

Speaking of. I LOVE THAT REMOVABLE TANK. THAT REMOVABLE TANK IS THE BEST EVER, PERIOD. Although the water hole (is there not a more official sounding name for it than that?) is large enough to fill at your ironing board, it's super nifty to pop off the reservoir and walk to the sink while your iron stays plugged in. I noticed a reviewer said the valve leaks when you fill it that way-- not true if you use it correctly and keep it upright when filling and transporting.

And I've pressed paper patterns and silks with zero fear of moisture, not only because she doesn't drip anyways, but because I can remove that tank and use only the stainless steel faceplate. And using just the faceplate portion means much less weight-- the better to iron out flimsy pattern paper, or give your hand a break when prepping/sewing silks and whathaveyou.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | iron review

The faceplate is stainless steel, which was a must in my search. Easier to clean! (And aluminum creeps me out a bit. Easy to scratch, bad to cook with, yadda yadda.) Oh! A word of caution: if you're in the market, make sure you get the one with plenty of holes on the plate. There's a cheaper version with less holes, and I've even seen what must be a knockoff with zero holes. (Yes, I know. WHAT THE F. A steam iron with no steamholes. I have no idea why. It's like the American Horror Story version of irons.)

The one I'm linking to is the version I've got here in Kalkatroona. The real thing produces steam so wonderfully, I use the Blast button just to hear the whoosh it makes. When it's on Cotton, I can almost feel the iron raise up a bit from the force of the blast. You can also leave it on continuous steam by pulling that grey lever down, which gives a nice, even, barely visible steam. A calm steam, if you will. 

I'm not the calm type when sewing, so I go for the blast. 

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | iron review


My one con is that she has that automatic resting feature that every appliance seems to have nowadays. Apparently we have become a people who cannot be trusted with an on/off switch. But, she heats up lickety split from resting mode. The manual says a minute, but I'd say about 10-30 seconds depending on heat level.

And, main vote of confidence, when asked if he liked this iron, Ruggy said: This is the best iron we've ever owned. This is the man that taught me the Way of Researching Products, so that sealed the deal for me. At just under 60 bucks, and knowing the lifespan of today's appliances, I'm thrilled.

Cliff's Notes: Maytag Smartfill Vertical Iron and Steamer. Stainless steel faceplate, great steam & steam blast & spray, actual vertical use, true heat options, zero drip, and the removable water tank wins EVERYTHING. Ask me questions, iffn you have them!

disclaimer: this is my first post including amazon affiliate links. any possible pennies earned would materialize in the form of an amazon gift card, which would be used solely for feeding my sewing and blogging habit. you'll still see plenty of non-affiliate links in kalkatroona, and you'll always see a disclaimer note when needed.

75 comments:

  1. Link isn't workin'. And I want to add to you sewing fund.

    Thanks for the review. A decent iron with awesome steam has been eluding me for years. Perhaps this one will fit the bill.

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    1. :)))) thankya m'lady. i just checked them so hopefully they're working now. i had to redo the links like 12 times today-- obviously i'm SUPER good at this affiliate thing!

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  2. Clearly, you should write to Maytag and offer your "services" in an add for T.V. Out with the Maytag repairman, In with Oonaballoona - a new icon!

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  3. Hmmmm, so you really like this baby? I feel sooooo cautious about irons after spending untold $ on three different 'jacuzzi' Rowentas. I finally succumbed to the gravity feed (at a price that equaled the Rowentas, I might add) to great success. But I do still have people who are nervous around it. So it would be good to have one or two others around that did steam and heat in the same package... But you really like it? It does what it's supposed to? It doesn't leak...?

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    1. really and truly. using it since november, no leaks, no drips, plenty of steam, real heat controls (silk heat is actually different from cotton heat, HOORAY, and the nylon setting doesn't burn my man made questionable polys) and that slam dunk of a removable water tank. i'm used to appliances-- especially irons-- lasting about two to three years, so at 60 bucks i'm happy!

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  4. Praise Oona! This is just what I needed to see. My poor favorite B&D is starting it's long slow spit of death, and the Sunbeam I bought before it is both heavy and a major dripper of yellowy-brown water (my water does not come out of the tap brown!), so I've been starting to think about a replacement. Thank you!!

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    1. Alrighty, I pulled the trigger. It's on its merry way to me. I think I'll call it George.

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    2. good name. suddenly i want to call mine mitzi :) you would have been my first verified affiliate sale had the dang links been working properly!

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    3. aw darn! *kicks ground discontentedly*

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    4. i shall still think of you as my first ;)). and you're going to love that iron dude!

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    5. Heya! I just wanted to update you on my love for the super-studly George. He is awesome! I've been using him a lot lately to prep all my fabrics for summer sewing projects, and he's an ace at pressing everything from super-fine silk chiffon to rayon challis to cotton duck. No dripping! Amazing steam function! Nice sharp point for targeting crevices! Thank you for introducing me to the new love of my life!

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  5. This is just on time, as my Rowenta has just ruined some coveted linen!

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    1. i hope you gave it what for. the blue streak i would let fly on that damn thing....

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  6. Ohhh, I have iron envy! My dear Reliable Velocity iron blew a fuse, but since I only paid $15 on ebay, it was not too bad until I went to try and replace it. I have been waiting on your review and am off to get one through your link. DH does not understand that irons cost money if you want a decent one.

    Also, if I just click through, that is all that I need to do for you to get your affiliate credit??

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    1. well, it should be all you need to do, but the links weren't tagging right. it should all be working properly now, but you'd have to click again. which, let's be honest, is BORING. there's sewing to do!

      and i eyed those reliables for their looks, i must admit!

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    2. Hmmm... Well, I clicked the link and the iron appeared. I've bought it, so hopefully you get your cut :)

      Thanks!!!

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  7. I hear you on Rowenta's - dang they start spitting and dripping so soon! :( I may end up trying this Maytag, and I had no idea Maytag sold irons! Too funny, I remember the ads about the repairman also.

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  8. I love my B&D repro (I never trust an iron's sprayer/steamer) but I bought a vintage 1980s Rowenta ($2.99) made in W. Germany and a much newer Panasonic ($4.99) at a thrift and both are fantastic and look hardly used. And thrift stores don't require much research. :)

    Your Maytag looks great, very tech and unique, and I like the design -- especially the multitude of holes!

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    1. i've never trusted an iron's watery bits till this one! and i've loved the thrift store route. though, old wiring does scare me a bit ;)

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  9. I've had a Maytag cordless iron for nearly 10 years and have loved it so much! Sadly, the water reservoir/steam connection has melted so I've been resigned to using the hairdresser water bottle for "steam." I wouldn't hesitate to buy another Maytag iron though!

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    1. ooo cordless, that was on my list of wants.

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  10. We have a Tefal. Both an iron and a kettle actually, sitting in the same room due to the curious logistics of our house, both with shades of blue and both fairly reliable so far, which I think must be definitely around the count of years you mention above. The iron does drip occasionally, but I've observed that only happens when I switch from the steam-able temperatures to the lower temperatures and forget to switch off the steam...
    Next to my sewing machine sits a superbasic (and therefore also nicely lightweight) Eta that has zero steam and looks a lot like the one I was taught ironing with, except that one was black and this one's red. I would have loved this red one as a child. Perhaps it's a good thing that one was black. For quick precision pressing of seams during sewing, no steam's actually better (fingers are grateful), and it saves me the constant running between rooms.
    Seeing as I don't have a dress form, steaming on a dress form is not something I've had to give a thought to yet.
    Never heard of Maytag before. That's Europe for you.

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  11. I don't think I've EVER read read a review about an iron. I mean this long. But my retention is good; Maytag, lots of holes, if I ever get around to buying a new iron. Not now though. Plenty of other candy catching my eye now. But I look forward to next appliance review. LOL

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    1. HAHAHAHA and this is the edited version!

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  12. Seriously useful review! Bookmarking this for when the Black & Decker dies and/or I move somewhere with wiring that can handle a whole 1500 watts.

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  13. My Rowenta just died :( so I'm in the market! Timely post!

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  14. Looks like a fantastic iron. The new Black and Decker Classic has long been my fav, but alas is not as heavy as the older models. I use a gravity fed heavy as all git out iron, but I love it. However the I still have a Black and Decker classic backup. Happy pressing and ironing!

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    1. once again you've coined a term i need in my permanent dictionary: the All Git Out Iron.

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  15. If you ever come across that May tag advertiser, will you send him my number. Tall, dark, handsome...

    Great review! I don't use an Uber expensive iron. When I interviewed Norman Porter (remember him? He was one of the first Homemade posts), he used a shitty iron from Target to make all his jeans. I've used him a reasoning to not splurge. If he can do without, so can I!

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    1. i think we're thinking of a very different maytag man! HA!

      i remember that-- the price tag doesn't always mean quality.

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  16. Right now my B&D Classic is doing the job, but if or when it dies I will give your Maytag a shot:) I've already been down the leaky Rowenta route.

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  17. Thanks for the review! This iron sounds amazing. I have a Rowenta Eco that I've had for a year now and it's starting to leak and spew all the time now, so I have a feeling I'll be looking for a new iron soon.

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  18. AHA. steaming on a dress form!!! (running off to go try that)

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    1. dude, and you CAN with your magical lucky rowenta! people, the green orchid household found the ONE model that works.

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  19. I have major iron envy! I hate ironing though so spending decent money on an iron pains me.

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  20. hahaha this is hands down the best review of an iron I have ever read.

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  21. "I OBSESS OVERTIME over anything costing more than 50 bucks. Especially when said Thing has electronic parts."

    This is why I still don't have a TV after my 20+ year old died in October or a computer that's not at least 12 years old.

    Gravity feed irons are the best. Now there's a removable tank for the soul.

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    1. one day, one day...but when i finally get my gravity feed, you ought to get a flat screen :))

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  22. Fascinating infomercial. You may have a future in this affiliate business, after all! I will join the crowd and say that I also did not know Maytag made irons. It looks so professional! My rowenta has been revived a few times, but next time it wets itself on my hardwood floor, I'm trying this baby.

    Where does the seam ripper fit into the sewing trifecta? I may use mine more often that the scissors.

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    1. i am, after all, in the bizzzzz. i should do one a la that friends episode where joey is enjoying a carton of milk.

      seam ripper comes in fourth! still very important. still needed all the time. but if you put it in the top three, ripper might get a big head, and start throwing its weight around NONSTOP.

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  23. Ooh, good to know! I have the worst iron luck. After a Rowenta that lasted for years I went to another model that was beyond leaky. Got a replacement. Same thing. Got a gravity feed and it hates me. I've even had it fixed twice. I may look into this Maytag you speak of.

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  24. Very timely post...I so need a lightweight iron right now. My gravity feed can not be used for everything since it is so very heavy. We, the family has worn out that old Sunbeam, and dare to use the gravity feed even though it can Kill some wrinkles in a jet.

    I would love for you to earn some pennies off my purchases. Your reviews are deserving for sheer fact that they are well thought out and test. Thanks for being so thorough.

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    1. you're welcome! i'm glad you liked it.

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  25. I've been looking, thanks for the great information about it, if I purchase I'll make sure to come back here to click through!

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  26. Ooo shiny! I haven't had problems with my Rowenta Focus, but when it expires from, oh, my son using it for a science project perhaps, I'll look into the Maytag.

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  27. Thanks for this great review! My iron is getting mad and drooling on me, so I might see one of these in my future soon!

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  28. Great review! I have a Rowenta that is not causing me any problems, but that removable water reservoir is really tempting! I have a cord holder that clamps to my table to hold the cord high and out of my way - which I love! However, it is a pain to unhook the cord, unplug the iron to refill (or just empty at the end of the day when I am done) then rehook and replug in between ironing jobs. Tempting!

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  29. Thanks for the review. It is appreciated. :)

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  30. Sounds good. I'm interested. Not on amazon.co.uk!, though. Of I ever go fabric shopping in the US, I'll get one!

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  31. Sounds good. I'm interested. Not on amazon.co.uk!, though. Of I ever go fabric shopping in the US, I'll get one!

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    1. sometimes i eye your amazon uk pfaff area with envy!

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  32. Your timing is excellent, as I may be in the market for a new iron now. My mom found this brand awhile back called Oliso, and I never had a problem with the one at her house. But the identical one I got seems to be possessed, occasionally goes crazy with its auto-lift feature (so you don't have to stand it up vertically), and as of tonight, keeps turning itself off and not coming back on, no matter how many times I unplug/replug it! And let me tell you, getting down onto the floor to keep doing that is not the easiest thing for me to do with a baby belly. So if I can't get this thing to turn back on soon, I may very well be looking into your recommendation! I don't have that much around that I can sew without an iron!

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    1. i looked at the oliso, but i got a little worried about those auto lift feet (would they leave indentations on something fine, like silk?). the lifespan of appliances these days seems to be set to butterfly mode, so the price of the oliso also put me off. SUPER cute, though. also, get up off the floor girl!!

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    2. I just wanted to let you know that I just ordered this iron. I really hit the last straw with the Oliso today (turning off WHILE I'M PRESSING? Seriously??) and I just couldn't take it anymore. And I used your affiliate link. :) Thanks for the review, and I really hope this one works better for me!

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  33. "It's like the American Horror Story version of irons...." Bwa-ha-ha! Glad I didn't have anything in my mouth! I've been using my Rowenta Powerglide 2 since forever and remember standing in the aisle at Target evaluating the number of steam holes, the weight, and the price. When I went through the checkout line, the clerk remarked she "wouldn't pay that much for an iron." The sprayer quit some time ago and I, too, must prance about misting fabrics (and the cats, just for fun). Maybe I should upgrade to the Maytag...

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    1. i love target clerks. they are SO vocal about what's on their belt. i had a gal ring up a father's day card, and when it came up as $8 she said "eight dollas?! NOT TODAY." and charged me two bucks.

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  34. I bought this EXACT iron and googled the shit out of it! I'm very happy with my new fancy iron and I'm especially happy to see another sewist review it. That makes me feel that much more awesome and validated in my choice of iron. Seriously though the "sewing" irons have some crap reviews.

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  35. After reading your post, I went searching for this iron. I may end up ordering from Amazon. My search led me to Sears and Bed, Bath and Beyond so at lunch time today I trekked to both of those locations and neither had them. Though BB&B can order it for me, which may be the route I will go. I had hoped I could see and feel this little number before buying. I have read a few other reviews and feel like this will be a good investment. My current Rowenta that I have had for close to 12 years now is slowly dying. I hear the newer Rowenta's as you also experienced is not like the oldies.

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  36. I've had tried to find a decent iron for what feels like 2934830984 years, good to know I'm not the only who struggles with decisions!

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  37. Hahahaha jacuzzis - what a perfect analogy! Thanks for posting this review! I have it bookmarked for the day when my iron bites the dust (shhh....not too loud, she'll hear you) "I love you Dolly, you're the best!" I say to reassure her it won't be any time soon ;)

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  38. USE DISTILLED WATER IN YOUR IRON! Spitting irons can be caused from nasty mineral deposits in your tap water- they can kill an iron (sniff). You need to descale the tank too, just like your coffeemaker. Enjoy your Maytag- it looks great!

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  39. Oooh. This looks marvellous! I have never in my life encountered a domestic iron that wasn't horribly frustrating. My own iron has no steam at all now, and a great big crack from being dropped on the floor several times.
    Maybe I'll mention this to my parents when it's closer to my birthday.

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  40. Just went in a trance, followed that link, and bought that iron, devil woman! It's heading to Martha's Vineyard with me to replace the creepy "Psycho" iron.

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    1. YASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! i hope you love it!!

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  41. Hi Oona!
    I'm in the market for a new iron.
    Now that you've had a little time to use your iron do you still love it?

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    1. hiya! i used this baby for about 5 months before writing my review to be sure the love was real... and yes, the love is still going strong!

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  42. Great review. I'm trying to find o e in Ontario and it would be helpful to have a model number

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    1. hi there! i don't see a model number on the iron itself, but if you search 'maytag vertical steam iron' hopefully something will come up! there's also a great google image search tool-- if you find the product image, and drop it into the image search box, it'll pull up everything it finds similar.

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  43. Thanks for the review! Clicked through the link to find it for $35 today on Amazon! Hoping I love it as much as you do, stoked to get it for a bargain on top!

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    1. oh my god, that's a FANTASTIC price! maybe i should grab a backup, i keep threatening to have a secondary "non-sewing" iron in our teeny apartment :)))

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied, if not always written!