But since I wanted to make this review as complete as possible, I found one on sale and bit the bullet, thinking I could sell it once I was done with this review.
Once my sister heard that I picked it up, she immediately insisted that if decided to I sell it, I had to sell it to her. Not only did that help with getting over the sticker-shock, but I realized that there might be more to this iron than meets the eye.
The Rowenta DW5080 Focus steam iron is marketed as a “Precision” iron, and after spending a lot of time fully inspecting every aspect of it, I can see why.
From the soleplate to the handle, you will find plenty of little design considerations that make ironing an (almost) enjoyable task. Features include 400 steam holes, anti-drip system, very powerful vertical steaming, an auto shut-off and much more.
Heat, Temperature Settings and Warm-up
The DW5080 has a decent amount of power heating up its soleplate, and it shows. At 1700 watts, this iron will reach its highest temperature setting really quickly – it will be ready to go by the time you lay out your first garment.
It’s also very intuitive to set. All major temperature settings – including fabric names and laundry icons – can be found right on the large and easy-to-read thermostat dial. Just set it and wait for the thermostat indicator light to go out, and you’re ready to go!
That power also ensures that it will produce a pretty constant heat as well. Even when you’re using a lot of steam, it doesn’t cool down as rapidly as other irons. This means that the Rowenta Focus iron will keep extremely accurate temperatures much more consistently than lower-end models, cutting your ironing time in half.
The DW5080 offers a lot of control over how much steam is released into your clothes. The steam switch has a sliding scale that lets you pick the rate of continuous steam you want to use.
It has a steam-on-demand feature for when you need a little extra moisture, and you can also steam vertically with the same button.
The steam it provides is crazy-powerful! It actually took me off guard when I first saw it in action. I call it the fire-breathing-steam-dragon effect.
Whether you’re steaming while you iron or are touching up your drapes, you will find that the steam is delivered very evenly.
While ironing with steam at max, it will produce as much as 30 grams of water per minute, and as much as 95 grams per minute while using the steam burst button. Take note that if you like to use a lot of steam, the Rowenta Focus DW5080 will go through water very quickly.
The spray is very nice, too. It’s a nice mist that doesn’t overshoot, and it’s not heavy enough to leave any visible water marks.
While there is an “Anti-Drip” feature that is designed to help reduce dripping and spitting when steaming at lower temperatures, the guide actually doesn’t recommend using constant steam below the Wool setting. Just because you can use it doesn’t mean you should.
Rowenta DW5080 Focus – Soleplate
I love the soleplate on this iron. It’s nice and big and has a really nice shape to it. It has an aluminum core that evenly distributes heat the same way thick-bottomed cookware does. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, it makes a world of difference in your cooking and certainly helps your iron take on wrinkles.
The outer part of the soleplate is polished solid stainless steel that seems to be pretty scratch resistant, but more importantly, causes the iron to glide like a dream across your clothes. It contains 400 tiny steam vents to distribute steam evenly across your material.
The shape of the DW5080’s soleplate is designed to help you get into tight spots and smooth out pressed wrinkles. The tip of the iron bottlenecks out of the main soleplate body. The bottom of the soleplate has rounded corners. This shape helps to get into tight corners and to release tough wrinkles, like the edge of my flat sheets every time I pull them out of the dryer!
What do you get when you put together all of the heat, steam and soleplate features that the Rowenta DW5080 has? An iron that will perfectly smooth out and crease your clothes in only a couple of passes. Don’t be surprised if you find that both sides of your pants are wrinkle-free after ironing only one side.
Performance & Design
As I said earlier, there are a bunch of little details that the Rowenta DW5080 has built into it. Add up all of these little extras and I feel that they add quite a bit of value.
The handle is soft to the touch, making ironing more comfortable. It’s also quite large – this is a great choice for people with large hands, even though small hands won’t have any problems either.
The water tank window is clear and has graduated lines to show you precisely how much water is in the tank. The thermostat knob is large and very easy to read. In combination with the design of the soleplate and powerful steam functions, I’m sure you can see how this iron feels like it’s in a class of its own.
The bottom line is that it heats up fast, irons skillfully, has excellent steam coverage, and is very easy to use.
Though the water tank holds a generous 10 ounces, if you like using a lot of steam, you’ll go through it fast. If you love vertical steaming as much as I do, don’t expect a full water tank to last more than a few minutes. Keep in mind that in that time, you’ll easily be able to steam much more with the Rowenta DW5080 than most other irons, but it does feel a bit disappointing to fill it more often.
Fortunately, filling it is very easy. It has a nice cap that covers the water inlet. This cap actually flips down instead of up, where it seems to be a little more out of the way when filling it. The water inlet is nice and big, so you don’t have to spend 5 minutes waiting for the air to escape.
Only use tap water with the Rowenta Focus DW5080, unless you have hard water, then use a 50/50 mix of tap water and distilled water.
Rowenta DW5080 Auto Shutoff Feature
The DW5080 is equipped with an auto-shutoff feature. A motion sensor will detect if it’s not in use, and if it has been left on its heel for 8 minutes, it will shut down and the power light will start blinking to let you know that it needs to warm up again before use.
To kick it out of auto shutoff mode, all you have to do is tip the DW5080 forward and then back to its resting position. You’ll see the orange temperature indicator light turn on to let you know it’s warming up.
If, however, the iron is knocked over on its soleplate or side and you don’t notice, the auto-shutoff will react within 30 seconds. Of course, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t leave our irons unattended, but it does happen.
The cord is 7’ long, which I consider to be near the minimum length a cord should be. I like longer cords, but 7’ is an okay length, I guess. It has a 360° ball joint where the cord connects to the base, which helps keep it out of your way so you can focus on your ironing.
The one major feature this iron is missing is a retractable cord. Considering how many other features they included in it, I’m a little surprised. In spite of that, the cord does wrap neatly around the base for storage.
If you need to use an extension cord, make sure it’s rated for 15 amps. That size of the cord won’t overheat.
Controls & Settings
All of the buttons and switches on the Rowenta DW5080 are very clearly marked and easy to use. They are well made and don’t feel cheaply made.
Temperature Dial – You can find the temperature dial underneath the handle. It’s nice and big and lists fabric settings as well as heat settings recommended by laundry tags found on clothing. Notice in the image to the left that the cotton and linen settings have a black background. This is the recommended steam zone.
Unlike many other temperature dials that are located in this spot, it’s much harder to accidentally bump the temperature setting around.
Steam Boost/Vertical Steam Button – This button is right in front of the handle, as it’s most often used while you’re ironing. While I read a complaint that this button is sensitive and can easily be pushed without meaning to, I did not experience this. The buttons on the one I tested are very easy to push but do require some force.
Spray Mist Button – Found right beside the Steam Boost button. It’s the same style of a button as the Steam Boost button.
Variable Steam Selector – This is a sliding switch that can be found in front of the Boost & Spray buttons. The switch itself is a little to the left, but a viewport for the selected setting is centered beside it where you can see it best. Steam settings include Dry, Minimum and Maximum, as well as a handful of settings in between. They give a little click as you go through them.
Self-Clean Button – Found on the right side of the iron just in front of the handle, this is a little spring-loaded switch used only when using the self-clean feature. You can’t accidentally turn this feature on.
Auto Shutoff Light – Placed right between the top of the handle and the steam boost buttons, this light has “Auto Off” printed right on it. When the iron is in auto-off mode, this light blinks rapidly until you move the iron again.
Thermostat Indicator Light – This is a larger light that can be seen near the base of the Rowenta Focus DW5080’s the left side. It will glow orange when the iron is heating up, and turn off when the iron is up to temperature. It will come on occasionally as you iron to let you know that it’s working to keep the soleplate temperature constant.
There is no special button to turn the iron off. Make sure to unplug it after each use.
Cleaning & Care
Keeping the DW5080 clean and in good working order is relatively painless. To keep the housing clean, simply wipe it down with a damp cloth.
The soleplate can usually be cleaned with a damp cloth or sponge after each use. To keep the soleplate free of scratches and drag, never use abrasive scratch pads or chemical cleaners to clean it.
But even the most carefully cared for iron can get a little bit of buildup from fabric or starch on the soleplate surface. To help remove any buildup, Rowenta sells a cleaning kit that’s specially formulated for their irons, and will take just about anything off, including melted synthetic materials. The cleaning kit is also very easy to use.
To keep its innards running at their best, it’s recommended that you use the Auto Clean feature once every couple of weeks or more often if you have hard water. This will help you get rid of any buildup in the steam vents.
It’s pretty easy – just fill it up with water, let it heat up, unplug and then drain over the sink while holding down the Auto Clean button. Once it’s done, heat it back up to dry the steam vents out.
Note that the Rowenta DW5080 includes an Anti-Calc feature. This is a little cartridge built into the water tank that helps to reduce the formation of scale and mineral buildup in the vents. This isn’t something that you need to worry about – it’s a permanent piece and does not need to be changed out or cleaned.
When storing the Rowenta DW5080 Focus steam iron, make sure it’s completely cooled off and has no water in the water tank. Wrap the cord around the base, and store it somewhere sitting on the base and not the soleplate. Make sure that the soleplate isn’t up against something else.
Upright Height: 11”
Soleplate Width: 5”
Height from bottom of soleplate to top of handle: 6”
Weight: 3 lbs 6 oz
- Superb heat and generous amounts of steam
- Very efficient, spend much less time ironing
- Weighted and balanced very nicely – ironing feel like a natural movement
- Precision tip gets into places other irons won’t
- Extremely powerful steam boost & vertical steam features
- Quick-acting 30 second auto shutoff in case it falls over
- Very stable on its base
- It’s more expensive than most irons
- No retractable cord, something really missed in an expensive iron
- Powerful steam means filling up the water tank more often
- If used incorrectly, spitting and leaks can happen
- Instructions are very visual and in some cases, not very articulate
- Rowenta’s warranty repair service isn’t very fast
Rowenta DW5080 Consumer Ratings
I went through well over 600 reviews left by customers on various retail websites, and found that about 82% of owners are happy with the Rowenta DW5080.
Comments repeatedly include how great the performance of the iron is in nearly every aspect – they liked how fast heat it heats up, how well it glides, how powerful the steam is, and how the design of the tip helps get into tight corners.
Many talked about how their ironing time is cut in half, and even or more in some cases. There were also quite a few mentions of how the iron is so efficient that after ironing one side of a garment, there isn’t much left to do on the other side except touch-ups. One person echoed that saying she only needed to “iron one side of anything.”
To take it one step further, there are even a few reviews from designers and professional sewers who say that this is their go-to iron. That’s the biggest recommendation you can get, as far as I’m concerned.
Of course, it seems that there is no such thing as a perfect steam iron. There were a small number of unhappy DW5080 owners that complained about defective items and having issues with the time it took for Rowenta’s warranty service department to return their iron. The percentage of this type of review was lower than what I typically see – only about 5%.
But do be warned that there are quite a few complaints about water leaking out of the soleplate.
I see this in every iron I review. While I’m sure that there are a few legitimate leak complaints, I also know that the majority of people don’t take the time to read the manual and either use it incorrectly, store it improperly, don’t follow the appropriate cleaning process, or use the wrong type of water. Ignoring any one of these recommendations will degrade the iron’s performance, but ignoring all of them will shorten your iron’s lifespan very quickly – and the first thing you’ll notice is water where it’s not supposed to be.Click here to see all customer reviews on Amazon
I know that at a list price of $100 is a lot of money for an iron, and that many people will pass on it just because of the price. And to some extent, I agree. If the price tag is holding you back, wait until it goes on sale.
Honestly, I get why the price tag is so high. It’s really about quality and performance. After having practically dissecting it over the last couple of days, there isn’t any comparison as far as I’m concerned. Even when you take it out of the box for the first time, you can feel that this iron is different.Click here to check the current price on Amazon.
Will cheaper irons do the job? Absolutely. Just not to the degree that the DW5080 does. It will do everything cheaper irons do, only faster and better.
Would I have personally bought this specific iron before I started this site? I guarantee you that I would not, and it’s the lowest priced of their German-made models. I know that it’s hard for many people to justify that kind of money for a steam iron.
If you don’t iron often, it’s probably not worth it. If you iron all the time, this is a great choice. The only part I don’t like is how often I’m having to fill it with water, but it’s easy enough to keep a big measuring cup full of water nearby.
Now that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the DW5080, I’ve decided to keep as my main iron. My sister is a little miffed that she’s not getting it, but lucky for her I have more Rowenta irons to review!
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