We all know how important a good iron is to ensure precision piecing of your quilting blocks. But what happens when you’re out of the house for a quilt retreat or a class? We all tend to forget this important aspect in our quilting. We don’t want to travel with our big iron, but is there such a thing as the perfect mini iron?
Well! I say yes! In fact, I love mini irons so much that I use them even at home. They’re so lightweight and easy to use, especially to get into specific seams or areas of a block. The only time I do get my big iron out is when I start a new project and need to iron the fabrics before cutting, for the final pressing of a quilt top or to bond interfacing.
I pulled out all my mini irons purchased through the years to write this review. I hope this helps you find the perfect one for your next creative projects, or put one on your wish list for the coming holidays.
When reviewing the mini irons for this article, I considered the following key elements we all need for precision quilting:
It’s important to have an iron that heats up quickly and to the right temperature.
2. Cord length
Let’s face it, quilters want it all. A small iron but a long cord. There’s nothing fun about getting to your quilting retreat or class and realizing that your iron won’t reach your space.
Just because we want a mini iron, doesn’t mean we’re making a mini project. So, we still want the largest surface soleplate to cover a bigger area on our fabric or block. You’ll also want a soleplate that applies heat and pressure evenly to your fabrics. I also like when the front ‘pointy’ edge of the soleplate reaches my stitch seam perfectly to ensure my seams lay flat, with no overlapping.
Although you’re not at home, you still want the option to use a dry or steam iron, depending on the project you’re doing. Steam pressure and water tank capacity are also things to consider.
Keep in mind that when designing mini irons, there are features that can’t be kept to save space. So none of the mini irons have auto-shutoff systems which means we need to be extra careful when using these at home.
- Oliso M2Pro
I must say that the Oliso M2Pro is my favorite mini iron of all. It has an 8’ cord with a swivel head which makes it safe to use for right-handed and left-handed quilters! The iron comes with a silicone solemate to rest the iron even when it’s hot. But, this solemate also allows you to hang the iron on a hook, and the cord wraps around it neatly for tidy storage.
The soleplate is made of a diamond coated ceramic which maintains heat evenly. My favorite part about the iron is that it has a precision tip to really help you flatten your seams. It’s also very easy to add water into this iron; the lid is in the handle and the wide opening means there’s no mess. What’s really nice about this iron is that you have two buttons that are easy to reach for a burst of steam.
There’s another great feature on this iron! You can really travel abroad with it as you can change the voltage from 100V – 240V! There’s a switch on the right-hand side of the iron to select the voltage. But you need a magnifying glass and a sharp edge tool to change the voltage.
It’s really the closest you’ll ever be to a regular sized iron, but in a mini iron. The Oliso M2Pro is available in a choice of 4 cute colours: pink, blue, yellow and orchid.
Heat: 3 setting and heats up in 45 seconds
Cord: 8 feet
Soleplate: Non stick – Good surface – Precision tip
Controls: Steam setting with 50 ml capacity
- Go Iron
I love the fact that the Go Iron fits nicely in the palm of your hand, and you can wrap the cord around the handle when not in use. You can snap the end of the cord in place on the edge of the iron so it won’t unwrap when stored. Keeps things tidy!
I’ve used this iron many times, and most of my students have this iron in classes. However, I do miss a precision tip on the soleplate of this mini iron to really flatten my seams. But that’s really the only negative thing I can say about the iron. The advantage is really its ergonomic handle; it’s much more comfortable to use in comparison to the Oliso M2Pro.
This iron also allows you to change the voltage from 100V – 240V. And it’s really easy! Simply move the switch on the back end of the iron from left to right.
Heat: 3 setting and heats up in 30 seconds
Cord: 7½ feet
Soleplate: Non stick – Good surface
Controls: Steam setting with 40 ml capacity
- Clover Mini Iron
The original Clover mini iron is the one I have and comes with a tiny soleplate only. But there is also the Mini Iron II available with 5 compatible iron tips. This mini iron has 3 heat settings and can get really hot. If you’re going to use it, do as I do and use a steady mug to hold it when hot. I find the soleplate is not heavy enough to really flatten seams, but I’ve been told it’s perfect when making miniature quilts, sewing barbie clothes and piecing in the hoop embroideries.
Heat: 3 settings (low-med-high) and takes long to heat up
Cord: 7½ feet
Soleplate: Small and light
- Roll & Press from Clover (#7812)
My last tool in this blog post is a new gadget that’s completely changed my life! The little Roll & Press tool from Clover is perfect and replaces my mini iron beside my sewing machine when doing paper piecing. I just roll the wheel on my seams to lay them flat. It won’t pull or distort my fabric. The ergonomic handle is comfortable and lets me work without any pain.
The other nice thing about the Clover Roll & Press is that it reduces the amount of space needed beside my sewing machine as I no longer need a pressing mat. I simply use it on my UNIQUE 12 x 17 cutting mat.
If you love quilting and starting to go out more to quilting retreats and classes, I hope I was able to help you understand the various choices you have. Think of the type of projects you do and select your mini iron based on that, not the price range. Let me know your thoughts!
This is part 1 of 5 in this series
Go to part 2: Finding the perfect blade for your rotary cutter
I’ve used the Oliso and the Clover mini iron. Two negatives: The Oliso leaks if you stand it upright. You are supposed to leave it face down when not using it. But you are also supposed to turn down the heat when leave it face down – using a somewhat awkward dial. I returned it as I didn’t like those features. The Clover mini iron gets really hot, including the metal part leading to the end. Newer ones have a cage that goes around that to protect your fingers. Make sure to get the one with the cage or use hand protection! I have burned myself a couple times on mine. But it is great for a quick seam press beside your machine
Hi Colleen, thank you for your input. Certainly, when handling any pressing tool, we need to be very careful. I have a basic iron and I’m always on pins and needles when I use it! (Forgive the pun)