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Hands-on Gear Review
Shark Ultimate Professional GI505 ReviewPrice: $50 List | $44.99 at Amazon
Pros: Decent glide
Cons: Low steam output
Bottom line: Decent performer that provides a precision shaped soleplate at a relatively low price
The Shark Ultimate Professional offers good glide and a nice, precision soleplate at an affordable price. However, its lacks some steam power. This is a great choice for quilters and sewers on a budget that need precision, but not over the top power. However, most others would be better served with a different model.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Ultimate Professional scored a 7 in our ironing performance testing. This turned out to be an average score in a metric with scores ranging from 5 to 9. The Ultimate Professional's score was dragged down a bit by its wrinkle reducing performance. All of the models we tested performed very similarly in this test, but the Ultimate Professional was just slightly below average. It was, however, one of the best gliding models that we tested. This made it one of the more hassle free models to iron with.
The Ultimate Professional ranked towards the bottom of our steam output testing. It scored a 5, which was slightly better than the low score of 3, but far behind the top score of 9. It emitted 19 grams of steam per minute during our testing. This was the second lowest output we measured, and was just half that of the top scorer. The soleplate does have numerous steam holes to take full advantage of any steam produced, and the burst of steam function actually feels relatively powerful, but these things can't make up for the low output. This is fine for those that don't need a lot of power in their ironing, such as those mostly ironing synthetic fabrics. However, if you tend to iron cottons with stubborn wrinkles, you will be disappointed by the Ultimate Professional's steam output.
Ease of Use
The Ultimate Professional was one of the higher scorers in our ease of use testing. It scored a 7 in a tightly packed metric that had scores ranging only from 5 to 8. It uses a button to select ironing temperature based on fabric type, and a dial to control steam output. Multiple blinking LED lights make it clear when the iron has reached temperature. The handle is very comfortable and it is easy to use the burst of steam and misting spray buttons with your hand on the handle. An extra long 10 foot cord lends a little extra leeway, and its lightweight, 3.5 pound body is easy to handle. The shape of the soleplate is what really sets it apart. It is the only iron we encountered under $50 that has a pointed nose for maneuvering around buttons and into tight corners. The Ultimate professional lost some points due to difficulties with refilling its water tank. It would be difficult to refill the Ultimate Professional directly from a faucet in shallow sinks. The body design also allows some steam to rise up and burn your hand when using the burst of steam button. In general, we feel most people won't complain about the Ultimate Professional's user experience.
The Ultimate Professional shared the low score of 5 in our heating test. Though this was the lowest score, it still wasn't too far off from the high score of 8. In our testing it obtained a temperature of 390˚F after two minutes of preheating, meaning it would reach the 400˚F required for ironing cotton in just over two minutes. While other models were able to reach the same temperature in less than two minutes, none were amazingly faster than the Ultimate Professional. Speed demons may appreciate some of the slightly faster heating models, but functionally they wouldn't save you much time.
At the time of this writing the Ultimate Professional is retailing for $48. While models like the Best Buy Award winning Hamilton Beach Durathon Digital 19900 offer better all-around performance at a lower price, the Ultimate professional is a great value if your biggest concern is having a soleplate capable of precision ironing.
The Ultimate Professional fills a very specific niche. Those that require glide and precision for sewing and quilting projects, and don't want to break the bank, will be very happy with this iron. However, if you're ironing a lot of cotton or garments with stubborn wrinkles you can get better steam output and power for a lower price.
— Max Mutter & Steven Tata
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