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CHI Professional 13101 Review

This is a well-designed, middle-of-the-road iron, but it's one to avoid if you place a lot of emphasis on steam performance when you iron
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CHI Professional 13101 Review
Credit: CHI
Price:  $60 List
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Manufacturer:   CHI
By Rachael Lamore and Adam Stout  ⋅  May 10, 2024
66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 14
  • Ironing Performance - 40% 6.5
  • Steam Output - 25% 6.7
  • Heating - 15% 6.6
  • Detailing - 10% 6.9
  • Ease of Use - 10% 6.5

Our Verdict

The Chi Professional 13101 was a pretty average performer across our testing. We appreciated it most for its grippy handle and good cord design, but there are better options than this if you make a lot of use of an iron's steam feature or iron a lot of cotton and linen. However, it performs respectably at pretty much everything else, and it's offered at a fair price. Be sure to compare this iron with the other top-ranked irons in our best-in-class review.
REASONS TO BUY
Grippy handle
Lightweight
Good cord length and placement
REASONS TO AVOID
Steam feature isn't very effective
Struggles with polyester

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Bottom Line This iron has a well-thought-out design and decent performance, but there are better choices for those prioritizing steam performanceA little clunky, but an impressive iron overall, with strong steam performanceAn iron that easily tackles most wrinkles quickly and efficiently regardless of the materialGood ironing performance and detailing work, but uneven heating keeps this iron from being even betterPortable for traveling, but lacks the punch needed for regular use
Rating Categories CHI Professional 13101 Hamilton Beach Dura... Black+Decker D3030... Black+Decker Profes... Sunbeam Hot-2-Trot
Ironing Performance (40%)
6.5
7.4
8.3
7.8
6.8
Steam Output (25%)
6.7
9.5
5.6
5.5
3.0
Heating (15%)
6.6
7.5
7.2
6.7
9.5
Detailing (10%)
6.9
5.8
7.9
7.9
5.6
Ease of Use (10%)
6.5
7.0
7.0
6.5
4.7
Specs CHI Professional 13101 Hamilton Beach Dura... Black+Decker D3030... Black+Decker Profes... Sunbeam Hot-2-Trot
Measured Steam Output 116 g 196 g 87 g 82 g 12 g
Measured Average Temperature 291 °F 309 °F 304 °F 293 °F 347 °F
Number of Steam Holes 345 192 23 18 7
Wattage 1700W 1500W 1600W 1500W 800W
Weight 2.4 lbs 3.4 Ibs 1.9 lbs 2.1 Ibs 1.3 lbs
Cord Length 10' 8.1' 8' 9' 8'
Soleplate Material Ceramic Non-stick Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Non-Stick

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


A nice design and lightweight build make the Chi Professional Cordless easier to handle.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Ironing Performance


To examine ironing performance, we tested every iron on cotton, linen, silk/satin, and polyester fabrics, using their recommended control settings. The CHI Professional Corded did well on cotton and linen, about average on silk and satin, and struggled with polyester.

When we heated it up for our cotton ironing test, we were pleased to note that it reached temperature quickly. After about three passes on the ironing board, it was able to remove a lot of wrinkles from our test material. We had to engage the steam setting to remove the remaining wrinkles, which took care of every wrinkle except for one deep wrinkle we planted, which nearly every iron struggled to remove entirely. The story was much the same on linen, where the CHI Professional achieved a smooth fabric swatch in just a few passes.

chi professional 13101 - the chi loses heat near the lower end of the plate.
The CHI loses heat near the lower end of the plate.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Things got more interesting when we moved on to silk and satin-type materials. Almost all of the irons we tested struggled with these fabrics, and so did the CHI Professional in some ways. We got about 85% of wrinkles out with over a dozen passes, but a few of the most stubborn remained. When it came to polyester, the CHI did not perform well at all. After more than a dozen passes with the iron on the lower heat polyester setting, we only managed to get around half of the wrinkles out, and that's even using steam, which is reserved as a last resort in our testing for dealing with extra stubborn wrinkles.

chi professional 13101 - the chi professional cordless has large, clearly illustrated steam...
The Chi Professional Cordless has large, clearly illustrated steam and spray buttons.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Steam Output


To assess the steam performance of irons, we first filled the tank of each iron to its maximum capacity and then measured its weight. Next, we preheated the iron to reach its hottest setting for three minutes before ironing with it for two minutes, using the steam function. Next, we re-weighed the iron to determine the amount of water converted to steam in grams. It's important to note that we refrained from using any concentrated steam burst features during the evaluation to maintain the accuracy of the results; standard steam mode only.

The CHI Professional 13101 did well in our steam output testing with an initial mass of 1408.6 grams when filled with water, which reduced to 1292.7 grams after undergoing a three-minute preheat and two minutes of ironing. This indicates that a total of 116 grams of steam was generated during the process, which was one of the best results in our review in terms of steam output.

Spray and steam functions help with stubborn wrinkles.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Heating


For the heat output evaluation, we adjusted the iron's heating element to its maximum setting and allowed it to reach full temperature for five minutes. Subsequently, we obtained temperature readings from four probes positioned across the iron's soleplate: top, bottom, middle left, and middle right. The CHI Professional demonstrated an average temperature of 291 degrees Fahrenheit, with the highest heat concentration of 321 degrees recorded at the middle-right probe and the lowest at the middle left. The CHI was slightly below the average heat of most of the other irons in our review.

chi professional 13101 - soleplate temperature logger reading of the chi professional.
Soleplate temperature logger reading of the CHI Professional.
Credit: Rachael Lamore

Detailing


This metric evaluates the iron's effectiveness in intricate tasks such as maneuvering around buttons, shaping specific features like pleats, and general handling over the fabric. Factors such as weight and handle ergonomics were also considered in this assessment. Once again, the Chi Professional performs respectably well, with an average performance in most of these areas.

The CHI features a tapered nose design, enhancing its ability to perform detail work, such as navigating seams efficiently. Although its smaller plate design facilitates maneuverability between buttons, it is relatively thick and poses challenges, as buttons don't glide smoothly over the lip compared to other irons. We appreciate this iron's handle design; however, its slightly smaller size may not be ideal for individuals with larger hands. The handle's grippy texture adds to its appeal, making for confident handling and less likelihood of slipping to engage the spray button at the top, as we've done on other irons in the review.

chi professional 13101 - the tapered nose design is handy for detail work like ironing under...
The tapered nose design is handy for detail work like ironing under buttons.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Ease of Use


This metric assesses several of the iron's elements, including the quality of the water spray mechanism, ease of water filling, cord design, and temperature indicator. The CHI Professional 13101 scored well throughout this metric.

We measured its cord at 8 feet and 2 inches long and appreciated that it came off of the back of the unit to prevent the cord from getting in the way on the ironing board. The port for the water fill was an inch wide and easy to fill with a clearly labeled and easily visible max fill indicator on both sides. We didn't spill as much water over the side of the iron on this CHI as we did with other designs when filling it under the faucet.

chi professional 13101 - this iron has one of the broadest water ports, making it way easier...
This iron has one of the broadest water ports, making it way easier to fill without splashing.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

While there is no dedicated temperature indicator on the CHI Professional or any other feature to let you know when it has reached temperature, it does have a small red power indicator light that, unfortunately, is somewhat challenging to see. The CHI employs a dial-style heat setting, conveniently labeled with various fabric types and steam options.

The water spray/steam burst function of the CHI iron impresses with its powerful steam cloud burst, which is visually striking to behold and capable of being triggered multiple times in succession, although it performs better with intervals between bursts. The CHI iron also offers a pleasant light spray option with an extended range, though it would be more convenient if the spray were deposited closer to the iron's nose, as it currently tends to disperse slightly too far ahead of the area being ironed, limiting its usefulness.

chi professional 13101 - the chi professional corded is a well-designed iron with only a few...
The Chi Professional Corded is a well-designed iron with only a few shortcomings.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Should You Buy the CHI Professional 13101?


If you're looking for a quality general-purpose iron at a good price, this may be one worth considering. However, if you rely heavily on your iron's steam feature, we found this iron lacking in that area. It also struggled more with polyester fabrics than most other irons.

What Other Irons Should You Consider?


If you've got a few more bucks to spend, we highly recommend the Rowenta Pro Master DW8360. It makes shorter work of most wrinkles on more fabric types than the competition. If you want a better monetary value that still packs a punch, check out the Black+Decker Vitessa Advanced Cord Reel.

Rachael Lamore and Adam Stout