Rowenta DW5080 Focus Review
Pros: Great glide, steam output, precise
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Focus was the clear winner in our ironing performance test, scoring a 9 in a metric that saw scores ranging from 5 to 9. All of the irons performed very similarly in terms of smoothing out wrinkles, and the Focus was right in the mix. It set itself apart in this metric due to its glide. It had far and away the silkiest smooth glide of any of the models we tested. Having the confidence that it would easily skim across any fabric with no snags and minimal effort made the Focus the model our testers were always instinctively reaching for. In fact, if you put on a relaxing waves soundtrack and let the Focus surf back and forth across your ironing board, you can almost convince yourself that you're at the beach instead of ironing the shirt you need for that big presentation on Monday.
Steam output was the most differentiating test we conducted, and it is where the Focus really laid claim to the Editors' Choice Award. It earned the top score of 9 in this metric, putting a lot of real estate between itself and the bottom score of 3. It generated an impressive 38 grams per minute of steam in our test, which was a full 30% better than the nearest competitor. Not only does it generate more steam, its soleplate has more numerous and evenly distributed steam holes than any of the other models we tested, meaning that steam is better used and dispersed. This amount of steam makes the Focus feel very efficient in pressing garments and lends plenty of power for quickly dealing with stubborn wrinkles. Speaking of power, the Focus' burst of steam button packs such a punch that you can feel the iron trying to lift off the board. Long story short, you won't be wanting for power if you get the Focus.
Ease of Use
The Focus scored an 8 in our ease of use testing, sharing the top score with the other Rowenta model we tested. It was also noticeably better than the worst scoring model, which earned a 5. It is one of the lighter models we tested, weighing in at just 3.4 pounds. The handle is well designed with a nice ergonomic shape that doesn't tire out your hand. The opening for the water tank has a curved slot that acts a funnel, reducing splashback while filling the water tank. It also allows you to tilt the iron when you're filling it, making it easy to fill it directly from a sink faucet, even if you have a very shallow sink. A yellow light on the side of the iron lights up to indicate when it has reached your desired temperature and when you can start ironing. What really sets this model apart is its soleplate design. The wide base makes quick work of larger items, and the aggressively shaped nose allows you to get into the nooks and crannies between buttons with ease. Additionally, the design of the body and the soleplates protects your hand from excess steam when using the Focus' burst of steam function.
The Focus' controls are straightforward and easy to use. A dial below the handle allows you to set the temperature based on what kind of fabric you're ironing. Another dial on the handle itself adjusts steam output. Two buttons that can be easily pressed with a thumb control the burst of steam function and allow you to spray some mist in front of the iron. There is also a small self-clean button, but it feels like the powerful burst of steam function is more than enough to blast away any calcium deposits. The only weak point was the cord design. It is 8 feet long, which is plenty long enough for most situations, but it was one of the shortest cords amongst the models we tested. While the rigid tail on the cord did keep it out of the way while ironing, it also made it hard to wrap the cable up for storage. However, this is a relatively minor issue, and we feel confident in saying that if you get the Focus you're going to like the user experience it offers.
Heating is the only metric where the Focus was not at the front of the pack. It scored a 6, putting it in the middle of a metric that had scores between 5 and 8. While it certainly wasn't the quickest model when it came to heating up, it definitely wasn't slow. It took this model 2 minutes on its highest setting to reach 400˚F. This means you can be ready to start ironing cotton garments after just two minutes. If you really want to shave some time off of that there are faster models, but two minutes seems like a fairly short time to wait if you ask us.
At the time of this writing there was a $90 price tag for the Focus. This is probably a bit steep for casual ironers, as lesser but comparable performers are available for $30-$40. However, If you iron a lot, sew, quilt, or do anything that might benefit from the precision offered by the Focus' smooth glide and aggressive soleplate shape, this is a reasonably good price for a great iron.
The Rowenta DW5080 Focus is a high performing steam iron at a reasonable price. If you only iron occasionally, you may find a better value in a more inexpensive model. However, if you iron frequently and your ironing jobs would be made easier with smoother glide, better steam output, and a well designed soleplate, the Focus will provide a noticeable step up in performance without breaking the bank.
— Max Mutter & Steven Tata