The Tefal Ultimate Anti-Calc FV9640 is a good-looking and powerful steam iron that is exceptionally easy to clean: to descale it, simply pop this out the limescale collector at the back and wipe it off.
Aside from that it offers plenty of steam, including a 200g/min steam shot which can be used to demolish stubborn creases or used vertically to steam hanging garments or curtains.
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The Tefal is an attractive, modern-looking steam iron – the one we tested was purple. It has a good, long cord (3m) and all mod cons. The design is a bit chunky, with a large heel for standing it vertically that looks like it should be separate. And as a result it's very stable but heavy (1.7kg).
Unusually, it's exceptionally easy to clean. Most modern steam irons have an "anti-calc" feature for removing limescale deposits, but these require you to heat up the iron, unplug it, hold it over the sink and press a button repeatedly to push out the limescale flakes. With the Tefal, the limescale simply builds up on a collector at the back: to descale it, simply pop this out and wipe off the deposit.
Elsewhere the design is also impressive. A large fill hole means you can top it up (350ml) in 4 seconds from the tap, without spills. The soleplate has a very pointy tip. And like most modern steam irons, the soleplate is designed to glide easily over fabrics and clean itself. It also has a non-drip mechanism, again a pretty standard feature on modern steam irons.
This is one powerful iron. The everyday steam of up to 50g/min is enough for most jobs. And when you need it the 200g/min steam shot tackles stubborn creases brilliantly. This is one of the best steam irons we've tested in terms of sheer ironing power, which is what really counts. It's one step short of having a steam generator.
The Tefal's vertical steam is powerful too. Our only quibble with the steam shot is that the button to trigger it falls under your index finger, while the easier-to-use thumb button lets you spray water. This is counter-intuitive: steam is much more useful than spray most of the time, so it would be better to have it triggered by thumb.
The soleplate's pointy tip is good but the soleplate is quite thick, so the groove above it for manoeuvring around buttons is a bit high: it works well with big buttons but isn't great for ironing between small shirt buttons.
Our only other grumble is the way the cord attaches, hinging up and down. When you wrap the cable around the iron after use, this flaps making it hard to secure the cable in place.
The iron reliably turns itself off automatically when unattended. It senses movement and switches off after 30 seconds when left still in horizontal position, 8 minutes when vertical.
Yes. If you want a powerful iron with plenty of steam, but you don’t want a steam generator, then buy either this or the Bosch TDA7060GB. If you want something more affordable and lighter in the hand then we recommend the Morphy Richards Breeze 300254.
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A powerful steam iron with superb anti-calc, the Tefal is a real workhorse.