Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100w Review

A powerful steam iron with some neat features.

Verdict

A powerful, precision iron, the Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100w makes ironing effortless and its clever button notches make detailing with details simple.

Pros

  • Strong steam blast
  • Auto shut-off
  • Good value

Cons

  • May need distilled water
  • Heavy iron

Key Specifications

  • Powerful steam shot
  • Three-way auto shut-off
  • Self-clean
  • Button grooves for professional finish
  • 3-metre power cord

What is the Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100w?

The Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100w is a fast-heating and smooth-gliding iron, with a 100 steam-hole ceramic soleplate. It has a tapered tip with button grooves to make it easier to get in and around fastenings on shirts, trousers and dresses for a professional finish.

It has a large 350ml water tank that can deliver 45g of continuous steam and a powerful 210g burst of steam. It also has a vertical steam function to work the creases out of hanging items, such as curtains and upholstery. The Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra is equipped with an anti-scale cartridge and a self-clean and power-shot function to help prevent the build-up of scale. Three-way auto shut-off provides peace of mind.

Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100w – Design and features

Filling the Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100w is easy enough. If you live in a soft-water area, simply fill directly from your tap; if you live in a hard-water area, however, Russell Hobbs recommends that you use distilled water with this iron.

The Russell Hobbs Powersteam has a nice clear water tank and, despite the box and online promotional material saying it had a 350ml capacity, it takes 400ml to fill the tank to the “max” mark.

Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100W water tank

Once filled, the iron is ready to go. Just plug it in, select the desired temperature setting using the control dial on the iron’s main body, and wait for the indicator light to switch off; this indicates that the Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100W has reached temperature.

The settings on the variable temperature control dial are all labelled with dots. These are universal symbols for fabric, and appear on all clothing care labels. One dot denotes delicates and synthetics; two dots is wool and silk; and three dots is linen and cottons. For those not in the know, not having the words printed on the dial may prove annoying. The corresponding temperatures are 92ºC, 120ºC and 170ºC.

Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100W controls

At this point you can dry-iron using heat but no steam. To steam iron, you move the steam control button to the steam or high steam setting, and wait until the red light turns off. To use the water spray, you lift the iron and press the spray button to the left of the steam control button. The water comes out of the nozzle above the iron’s tip.

The steam shot only works on the steam or high steam settings. To use it, simply lift the iron off the fabric and press the steam shot button, which can be found to the right of the steam control button. You have to leave four seconds between shots to allow the temperature to build up.

If you want to tackle curtains or hanging clothes, the Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100w offers a vertical steam mode. Just set the temperature control to “max” and the steam control to high steam, hold the iron close to the fabric and press the Steam Shot button.

Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100w – Handling and performance

The iron’s 3100 watts of power means it heated from cold to the three-dot setting in a super-fast 21 seconds. It really pumps the water out, too: I got 25 minutes of ironing on the three-dot, full-steam setting from the 400ml of water. (At 24 minutes, the steam blast stopped working.) Although it was steamy enough to mist up my reading specs at first, the steam seemed to dissipate gradually, so the room didn’t feel damp after ironing.

The button cut-outs on either side of the ceramic soleplate’s tip are excellent. They mean that when you’re ironing shirts or the like you can get up-close to the button, which gives an impressively professional finish.

Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100W buttons

The steam blast is everything you could wish for. Providing you leave four seconds between shots, this mode never seems to lose power. I found I had to make about four passes over cotton to achieve the finish I was after. Even with the steam blast, the iron didn’t get all the crinkles out of the back of a sheet folded in four, but it got pretty close. The vertical steam blast certainly drops creases out of hanging clothes, and is so powerful it blows the fabric back.

The Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra was gentle enough on synthetics, and did a great job on a heavy cotton shirt. I found it was more effective on heavy cottons 20 minutes in, once the ironing board had heated and steamed up. Even so, my very dry, very crinkly test linen didn’t smooth out completely.

Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100W ironing

The three-way auto shut-off worked well: after leaving the iron upright and unattended for 7mins 47secs, it began beeping and flashing and then steadily cooled down; after 29 seconds horizontal or on its side, the auto shut-off also cut in. This was quick enough to stop the cotton pillowcase on which the iron was sitting from becoming scorched, even on the highest heat setting.

The iron alone is heavy at 1.6kg, which means you don’t have to press down so hard on the fabric to smooth out creases. Those with arthritis might prefer a lighter iron.

In Self-Clean mode, it’s mainly water that comes out. It’s the most comfortable iron to clean as a result; it isn’t much fun standing over a sink and being in a cloud of steam for nearly ten minutes. You need two hands to use the cleaning mode: one to hold the button down and the other to hold the iron. The entire job took only 2mins 30secs.

Why buy the Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100w?

The Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra has plenty of steam and an enjoyably powerful Steam Shot. It switches itself off if you forget about it, has a big tank, a glide-y ceramic soleplate, and is easy to clean. I like its heaviness, too. The whole iron feels strong and well-engineered.

It’s disappointing that I have to buy expensive distilled water for it, but I’ll put up with that for the quality of the finish. If you’re after something else, our guide to the Best irons has products at a wide range of prices.

Verdict

The Russell Hobbs Powersteam Ultra 3100w is so good, there’s little reason to look elsewhere.

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