Reviews You Can Rely On

Rowenta DW9280 SteamForce Review

A powerful iron equipped with out-of-this-world steam output, achieving high-end quality but for a top-tier price and a serious gamble of breakage
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Rowenta DW9280 SteamForce Review
Credit: Laura Casner
Price:  $190 List
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Manufacturer:   Rowenta
By Maggie Nichols, Michelle Powell, and Hayley Thomas  ⋅  May 3, 2023

Our Verdict

With its powerful ability to remove stubborn wrinkles from most fabrics and impressive steam output, the Rowenta DW9280 SteamForce lives up to its name — when it works. Cotton and linen are wrinkle-free within seconds, though silk and polyester require a little elbow grease and some additional steam. The more-than-sufficient amount of steam escapes through 400 steam holes on an ergonomically shaped soleplate whose nose is pointed for extreme agility. However, based on the sheer number of leakage reports we've read, we have some serious concerns about the longevity of this expensive iron. When it works, it's great, but with such a high price tag, it may not be worth the risk. Check out how it stacks up against the competition in our review of the best clothes irons.
Amazing steam output
Precise soleplate nose
Steam holes are evenly distributed and plentiful
Very expensive
Short cord
Prone to leaking
Editor's Note: We updated this review on May 3, 2023, to include additional information about well-known leakage issues in this model.

Our Analysis and Test Results

We love this model when it's working, but an overwhelming number of leakage reports from other users gives us pause in recommending this expensive product to anyone not willing to take a potentially costly gamble.

Performance Comparison

rowenta dw9280 steamforce - the steamforce is pricy and has a questionable track record of...
The SteamForce is pricy and has a questionable track record of becoming leaky very quickly.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ironing Performance

During our hands-on testing, we spent ample time ironing many different fabric styles on the various settings provided by each iron. The SteamForce blew us away with its ability to smooth out wrinkles and maneuver around obstacles regardless of the material we were working with.

Buyer Beware!
Throughout our testing, the SteamForce produced excellent results, and for thousands of other users who left online reviews, this iron can be excellent. However, more than any other product in our lineup, this iron has hundreds of complaints of extreme leakage strewn across the internet. If you love the sound of this very expensive iron and are tempted to purchase it, beware that you too, may end up with a leaky model. And if that's not a gamble you're willing to take, you're totally justified in choosing a different and less expensive option.

We started with cotton and linen and were very pleased with the results. This iron glides easily, and neither material requires additional steam to relieve the garment of deep-set wrinkles. It takes one to two passes to remove every crinkle, crumple, and crease, regardless of how deep they appear. Silk requires multiple steam bursts but leaves no trace of moisture behind. We did experience a few stubborn deep-set wrinkles, but a couple of swipes did the trick for the most part. The synthetic or polyester setting is also very impressive. While these materials require multiple steam bursts, the high heat evaporates up additional moisture to ensure that no drops are left behind — unless you've ended up with one of the leaky products that unfortunately seems to plague this particular Rowenta model. But, when the SteamForce works, it's excellent.

rowenta dw9280 steamforce - no wrinkles left un-smoothed on linen or cotton with the...
No wrinkles left un-smoothed on linen or cotton with the high-quality SteamForce.
Credit: Laura Casner

Steam Output

A steam iron is simply a dry iron that emits hot moisture to help reduce wrinkles effectively and efficiently. If you are in the market for a steam iron, you probably want to ensure that the model you are purchasing gives off a generous amount of steam. During our testing, we measured the number of grams of steam released over one minute and considered how it distributed that stream.

rowenta dw9280 steamforce - the steam output is the steamforce's claim to fame - and perhaps...
The steam output is the SteamForce's claim to fame - and perhaps also the cause of its rampant leakage issues.
Credit: Laura Casner

Calling this model the SteamForce was a risky move on Rowenta's part, but boy, did they deliver. It emits the most amount of steam per minute of any iron we tested. Not only that, it does so perfectly consistently across around 400 strategically placed steam holes on the soleplate.

A word of caution: we read scores of users complaining that their SteamForce leaked badly — some as soon as right out of the box to several months or even a year later. The SteamForce we tested had no leakage problems, but we read so many reports of this happening that we'd be remiss if we didn't mention it as a warning for anyone seriously considering this costly model.

rowenta dw9280 steamforce - just look at all those steam holes.
Just look at all those steam holes.
Credit: Laura Casner


While steam may be the key element for a steam iron, nothing would work correctly without the heat of the soleplate. In this metric, we paid attention to how quickly the soleplate heats up, whether or not that heat is distributed along the soleplate evenly, and whether or not the heat indicator light works as it should.

The SteamForce performs admirably, but there is a little room for improvement. The temperature average of the soleplate was 304°F after five minutes, far from the hottest. We also found that the soleplate had some variance in temperature. The top and middle measured 315°F, while the bottom read 55° cooler at 260°F. This is not a deal-breaker, but it is worth noting.

The temperature indicator on the SteamForce is very informative. Not only does it light up when the iron is up to temp, but it has a different light for each setting. We love this feature.

rowenta dw9280 steamforce - the steamforce gets plenty hot, but the soleplate varies in...
The SteamForce gets plenty hot, but the soleplate varies in temperature a bit more than we would prefer.
Credit: Laura Casner


Not only did we test out each steam iron on different materials, but we did our fair share of detail work too. The tapered nose and ergonomic soleplate of the SteamForce are perfect for maneuvering around buttons, between pleats, and working with collars. The steam burst is plentiful and strong, and the water sprays out in a fine mist that adds moisture to the spot you're working on without completely soaking the garment.

rowenta dw9280 steamforce - the light mist helps to alleviate stubborn wrinkles
The light mist helps to alleviate stubborn wrinkles
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Use

Here we paid special attention to the cord, general handling, and how easy each iron was to fill up with water. The cord is one of the few things we don't like about the SteamForce. While it has a nice convex curve on the base of the iron to securely wrap, the cord is a full foot shorter than most of the other options in our test suite. This may not seem like a big deal, but a seven-foot cord is short and can hinder the user's ability to iron larger items like bedsheets.

Unfortunately the SteamForce's cord is only seven feet long and...
Unfortunately the SteamForce's cord is only seven feet long and isn't retractable.
The tapered nose is perfect for precision work.
The tapered nose is perfect for precision work.
Some of the details that make the SteamForce a pleasure to use.

The soleplate shape and feel of the handle are both great. The spray trigger makes the handle feel more secure and comfortable, while the narrow nose of the soleplate provides some serious precision for working around obstacles like buttons or collars. When filling the tank, we were impressed with the large funneled hole that guides water nicely into the reservoir. Smaller holes are easy to spill, and steam irons that lack some sort of tapered funnel require precise aim to avoid spillage.

rowenta dw9280 steamforce - filling this iron up with water is a breeze.
Filling this iron up with water is a breeze.
Credit: Laura Casner

Should You Buy the Rowenta SteamForce?

If you are looking for a high-performing machine and don't mind taking a gamble while paying top dollar, the SteamForce can be a fantastic product. When it works correctly, this iron hits all the important elements, from its impressive steam output to its tapered nose. It works wonders on fancy garments and bedsheets alike, leaving almost no wrinkles behind. That said, we are not sure we can wholeheartedly recommend this product. While it scored well in our tests, our readers have been disappointed with key reliability issues, particularly exorbitant leaking. The bottom line is, it's a superb iron when it works — and a costly bit of rubbish when it doesn't.

What Other Irons Should You Consider?

The Rowenta SteamForce is not what we consider a price point model — in fact, it is one of the most expensive we tested and has too high of a tendency to be defective for many users. If you are looking for high-end performance at a budget-friendly price, consider the PurSteam Pro 1800W. Or, if your clothing and climate require high steam output, the Chi Steam Titanium offers top-notch performance in this regard without carrying such a high price tag.

rowenta dw9280 steamforce - here we are easily working around buttons with the sharp nose.
Here we are easily working around buttons with the sharp nose.
Credit: Laura Casner

Maggie Nichols, Michelle Powell, and Hayley Thomas