The Hoover IronSpeed SRD 4110/2 is a colourful steam generator iron that, unusually, also has a built-in steam brush. But the downside of this is that it adds extra bulk to an already large and heavy appliance. Add an oversized handle and a water tank which requires psychic powers to detect the water level and the Hoover becomes quite annoying indeed.
The IronSpeed is attractive steam generator in red and silver, but it's bulky. This is in part because it, unusually, has a built-in steam brush for tackling hanging clothes and upholstery. This is good for hard-to-iron items and refreshing clothes that have already been worn, promising steam with no water droplets.
There are big plastic loops on both sides to store everything: two steam hoses, one power cord and the steam brush itself. The loops are just about big enough to fit them all, but it feels cluttered.
The iron also isn't brilliantly balanced. Even though steam generators have bases, it's nice as you work to be able to sit the iron on its heel for a moment as you adjust the fabric, but the Hoover doesn't sit comfortably on its heel – you have to put it on its base each time.
It has an auto off function – it turns itself off after 10 minutes of inactivity.
Deep breath before you approach the IronSpeed. Even before you lift it, you can tell that it's going to be a heavy load. And it is, especially once you add water. The steam brush is a welcome addition but it's permanently attached, adding extra bulk and making cable and hose management nearly impossible: you have two hoses and a cable to store. Everything gets in a tangle.
The design is irritating in a couple of other ways. The handle is a large, curved affair that pulls up, rather like the hoop over an infant car seat. It's very comfy in the hand but again it adds bulk. Models that rely on a Safety lock and then let you lift from the iron's handle make much more sense.
The IronSpeed does have a lock, but this just keeps the heel of the iron safely in place, the nose is free to move. We lost count of the number of times we tried to grab it by the handle by mistake.
The red and silver design is colourful and attractive... but at times impractical. For example, the detachable red water tank is so dark that it's nearly impossible to figure out how full it is; you need to be psychic, or at the very least hold the tank up to the light.
We filled the IronSpeed's water tank from the tap and turned it on. In our test it took 3 minutes to heat up, but it was a cold day and we were aiming for the cottons setting and full steam; in summer it should be faster.
To dry iron, just use it without pressing any buttons. Then squeeze your trigger finger for steam. The steam isn't variable but a lever on the front of the iron lets you choose between three types of steam: the "profound" setting gives plenty of steam for everyday ironing; the "precise" setting concentrates steam just at the tip for stubborn creases and awkward places; while the "diffuse" setting gives a soft steam that shoots forwards over delicate garments. It's hard to see the settings on the lever while you iron, but you quickly learn which is which.
The amount of steam was good, especially on "profound" mode, and the "precise" mode was so powerful that it blew stuff away. But it's a shame there's no straightforward steam shot and we found that the IronSpeed didn't glide well enough. Fabrics clung to the soleplate and got rucked up – this means you find yourself using your other hand to stretch garments out, which is time consuming and not ideal next to a hot, steamy iron. We found ourselves having to go over the same piece of fabric several times to iron out creases because of the rucks.
The Hoover's steam brush makes a good alternative to vertical steam for delicates. The only caveat being that you'll need hanging space near your steam generator base as its steam hose is just 1.6m long. With handheld clothes steamers, you can get around more easily as the reservoir is on board and they have long power cords.
Packing up, the reservoir is a little hard to empty – if you bother to empty such things between uses – but the iron can be safety clipped in place for safety. As already mentioned, the hoses and cable are bulky and the carry handle is effective but far too big and bulky.
No. It does the job, but the design is bulky and annoying. Its best feature is the built-in steam brush, but this adds more bulk. For the same money you could buy a good steam generator and a separate steam brush. Or just buy a steam generator and use its vertical steam function. We'd recommend looking at the Bosch Ultimate Steam Generator if money's no object, or the Polti Vaporella Forever 670 Eco or Tefal Effectis GV6760 if you're on a budget.
Bulk and some annoying design touches mean the heavyweight Hoover disappoints.