The Philips PerfectCare Expert GC9222 is a steam generator iron with some great features – simple controls and a smart temperature setting. But it also has flaws, most notably a lack of safety lock and only a modest amount of steam.
It's not a bad product, but for this price you can do better elsewhere – frankly you can buy a better steam generator for a lot less.
This big, rather dark-looking steam generator offers a smart "OptimalTemp" setting for all fabrics and, unusually, is Woolmark approved.
Controls are very simple indeed. The steam generator base has a single button to turn it on and off (press and hold for 2 seconds to go into eco mode, which uses 40% less energy). And the iron itself only has two buttons – a finger trigger for continuous steam and a thumb button for a 340 g/min steam shot.
You can't set the level of steam or even the iron's temperature – instead the iron automatically selects it for you. The advantage of this is that you can iron garments in any order, rather than having to lay them out in the right order, from delicates to linens.
On the side you'll find a calc collector for easy cleaning – when the indicator tells you to, simply unscrew this (while the steam generator is cold) and rinse off the limescale deposits.
Storage is designed beautifully. There's a space on each side, one for storing the steam hose and the other for storing the power cable. The cable is covered in the same braided fabric as the hose, a nice touch.
Sadly the same can't be said for the safety lock. There isn't one. That's unusual for a steam generator and very annoying. If you have young children, or even boisterous pets, it's reassuring to be able to lock the iron to the base, not least because it keeps the hot sole plate pretty much out of harm's way.
But also most steam generators lock the iron in a way that lets you carry the whole appliance by grabbing the iron handle. That's just not possible with this Philips, which makes you really wary of moving it until it's completely cooled down. There's also no auto off function after a period of inactivity.
Simple things about the Philips' design annoyed us from the start. For example, you have to detach the water tank to fill it, but the tank can't balance by itself so if you're filling it with a jug you have to hold the tank with one hand as you fill it.
Once filled, it comes to temperature very quickly – it was ready in less than 2 minutes on test.
The simple controls are good in a way. The iron is very easy to use. But it's a shame that the Philips doesn't let you set the temperature – there's just a smart "OptimalTemp" setting for all fabrics. This worked well, but we'd prefer to also have the option of being in control.
Why? Because ironing isn't always about garments and fabric types – if you've ever had to iron on name labels (some types require a low temperature, others demand the highest) or used your iron to finish children's Hama bead picture, you'll know this.
Elsewhere though, the simplicity is excellent. For example, double-tap the steam trigger with your index finger for constant steam, so you don't have to keep squeezing.
The Philips glides over fabrics well but there's not a blistering amount of steam. And what steam it does produce dies down after 30 seconds, disappointing for a steam generator at this price. And the eco mode is weedier still – it gets the job done eventually, but it's not fast.
No. It has design flaws and it's expensive. For not much more money you can buy the vastly superior Bosch Ultimate Steam Generator – the best performing steam generator we've tested to date. Or save money and get the Polti Vaporella Forever 670 Eco or Tefal Effectis GV6760 instead.
The Philips has some good features, but design flaws and a fairly expensive price tag mean you'd be better off looking elsewhere.