Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Choosing an iron

IronChecklist

Filling with water

  • Is the filling hole large enough? If you have unsteady hands, a larger hole will help avoid spills.
  • Can you fill the iron using one hand?
  • Is the water level easy to see?
  • Is it easy to empty the iron? Some have to be held at awkward angles.

Indicators

  • Are indicator lights bright and easy to see?

Handling the iron

  • Does the shape and size of the handle make it easy to grip?
  • Is the iron well-balanced?
  • Do any parts of the iron that you're likely to touch get hot?

Controls

  • Are all the controls easy to reach? If you sometimes have swollen joints, think about whether you'll need extra space.
  • Are labels and markings large and do they contrast well with their background?
  • Are buttons easy to press? Large buttons that stick out are better.
  • Are dials large and easy to grip and turn?
  • Are positions on the dial well-spaced? Cramped settings need more precise control.
  • Are the controls well-spaced, so that you don't press the wrong one accidentally? Your fingers shouldn't touch the controls while you're ironing.

More to consider

If you have impaired grip or strength…

  • A lighter iron may be easier to lift, but you might have to press harder on it when ironing. If your current iron works for you, consider weighing it and looking for something similar.
  • Think about whether you can easily fill the iron, empty it and descale it. It's easier to fill an iron if you can stand it on its end rather than holding it at an awkward angle.

If you have a visual impairment…

  • Some irons have click positions or raised markings to indicate settings.
  • Check how easy it is to see the water level in the tank.

If something goes wrong...

  • Know your rights to ask for a refund, repair or replacement if your iron's broken or not as described when you buy it.