Unlike most cordless appliances, cordless steam irons aren't charged and then used until the battery is drained. Instead, they must be placed on the base whenever they aren't in use -- even for just a minute or two -- to maintain a hot temperature. The primary advantages of this type of iron are that the cord doesn't drag across clothes while pressing (which can cause more wrinkles) and it weighs less than corded models. The downside is the iron can be used for only about 10 minutes before it must be returned to the base to reheat.
While critics say cordless irons generally don't have enough wattage or steam power for heavy fabrics, users really seem to like them. Among cordless steam irons, the Panasonic NI-L70SR gets the most kudos thanks to its features, which include three heat settings, a sturdy charging base (which has a retractable cord), an anti-drip system and stay-clean steam vents, a stainless soleplate, adjustable and vertical steam functions, and burst-of-steam and spray mist buttons. Editors of Good Housekeeping evaluate this 1,500-watt model and say while cordless is "a great idea in theory," this iron has a weaker steam output than traditional cord models. Nevertheless, they find the NI-L70SR does an acceptable job taking care of wrinkles, and they appreciate its ergonomic handle-top controls, auto shutoff and removable water tank.
Reviewers on Amazon.com agree, with more than 150 owners saying the Panasonic Cordless heats up quickly, stays hot long enough to do the job, glides smoothly and is easy to maneuver. Sewers and quilters say it works especially well for pressing quilts and handmade piecework because there's no cord to get in the way. One tip: This iron works better if you leave it in its charging base between items you're pressing; that way, there's no wait time for it to heat up again. Users say they like its transparent, removable water tank, as well as its heat-resistant carrying case so you can put it away while still warm. There are a few complaints; one poster says more temperature settings would be an improvement, while another says the iron doesn't hold heat long enough for larger jobs. Overall, however, Amazon posters frequently use words like "wonderful" and "great" to describe this iron.
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ConsumerReports.org includes the Panasonic NI-L70SR and one other cordless steam iron in tests along with 40 corded models. Testers appraise steam rate and performance on a variety of fabrics, and evaluate safety features offered by each model.
Review: Steam Iron Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Jan. 2010
2. Good Housekeeping
In this separate product review on the Panasonic Cordless steam iron, Good Housekeeping editors say it has a weaker steam output than its corded colleagues but does do an acceptable job removing wrinkles. They like the ergonomic controls located on the handle top, the auto shutoff feature and the removable water tank.
Review: Panasonic Electric Cordless Steam Iron Model #NI-L70SR, Good Housekeeping Research Institute, April 2009
This Panasonic cordless model gets more than 160 mostly positive reviews from users who say it stays hot long enough to do the job, is easy to use and glides smoothly over a variety of fabrics.
Review: Panasonic NI-L70SR Cordless Steam/Dry Iron, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Oct. 2011
The more expensive but similar Panasonic Cordless NI-WL600 is reviewed by this technology magazine. Erik Malinowski says the iron's shortcomings mainly have to do with the minuscule water tank, which needs frequent refills, and the water tank opening is too small for quick refills at the sink. He adds that you have to press really hard on heavy fabrics to get the wrinkles out, but overall, the iron does a decent job for a cordless model.
Review: You'd Be Hard Pressed to Find a Better Cord-Free Iron, Erik Malinowski, Dec. 21, 2010
Posters on this review aggregate website like the Panasonic Cordless, and the majority give it 4 or 5 stars out of 5 for its ease of use on a variety of fabrics, flexible temperature settings, cordless convenience, reasonable price and quick heat-up time.
Review: Panasonic Cordless Steam Iron, Contributors to Buzzillions.com, As of Oct. 2011