If you are considering buying a steam press, you’ve probably come across the Steamfast SF-680. It has been around for many years, has excellent reviews and feedback from consumers and is comparable to other leading brands, such as Speedypress and Singer.
So, why would you buy the Steamfast SF-680 over other brands? Or why wouldn’t you? Let’s take a look:
What is a Digital Steam Press?
A steam press works similarly to an iron, but instead of moving the iron over the clothing, the steam press has a large plate that combines heat, steam, and pressure to “press” clothing or fabrics. A digital steam press means it has digital controls to select the heat settings, with some models offering automatic steaming as well.
The good thing about steam pressing machines is that they are highly effective in removing wrinkles or creases from any material. They can press multiple layers of fabric simultaneously and offer up to 50% faster ironing times than a standard iron.
|25 inches x 10 inches
|Heat up Time
Reasons to Consider Buying a Steamfast SF-680
5 Heat Settings
The Steamfast SF-680 has 5 different heat settings for various types of fabrics. They are:
The digital controls are straightforward; you simply press the button to move through the heat settings. You’ll notice in the image above, there is a green button on the handle. This is the steam burst button, and there is one on each end of the handle. This is in an ideal position for releasing steam, unlike the Singer steam presses which require you to reach over the top of the steam press whilst partially open (burns risk) to press a button top.
Choose Steam or No Steam
As a safety precaution, the lowest two heat settings automatically have the steam function disabled – even if you have water in the reservoir.
As the steam button is manually pressed, you can easily choose between steam and no steam. There are pros and cons to this – it is an extra safety precaution for delicate fabrics that need a low heat, but at the same time, steam can be beneficial for silk, nylon and polyester items. With the Steampress SF-680, you simply can’t use the steam function on these low heat settings.
Note: there are simple tricks you can use to generate steam, such as spritzing the garment lightly with water (don’t do this on silk), or laying a damp handkerchief or pillowcase over the top of the garment.
Comparatively, the Singer steam press (26 inch and 36 inch models) has an auto steam function that activates with every steam level.
Top Tip: Sort your laundry by fabric type and start pressing nylon, polyester, silk, and lower temperature items first. Then increase the temperature as you move on to different fabrics – saves waiting for the press to cool back down.
Popular Amongst the Sewing Community
The Steampress SF-680 has been popular amongst sewers for fusing interfacing and fleece, significantly reducing time. Users have also had success with heat transfer vinyl. The maximum temperature is the linen setting at 230 degrees Fahrenheit.
Auto Shut Off
As an added safety feature, the steam press will automatically go into standby mode in the following two circumstances:
- If the top plate of the press is lowered for more than 10 seconds.
- If the top plate of the press is left open and not moved for 15 minutes or more.
A beeping sound will alert you to both. To reactivate the heating element, lift the lid back up (if it has been closed for more than 10 seconds). If it has been left open, you will need to press the on/off button or adjust a heat setting to reactivate the steam press.
In the box, you will find standard accessories included with most steam presses. They are:
- A pressing cushion – for use with collars, cuffs, pleats, darts, etc. – anything that doesn’t sit straight when laid flat on the ironing board.
- A spray bottle – for tough wrinkles, spritz the garment with the spray bottle before pressing.
- A measuring cup – for refilling the water reservoir (note: always use distilled or demineralized water).
You can also purchase replacement ironing board covers for the Steamfast SF-680 (and SF-660 model). This is a huge bonus – the biggest complaint with the Singer steam presses is there are no replacement covers available!
Things to Be Aware of Before Purchasing
The the Steamfast SF-680 steam press provides up to 1350 watts of power and, when closed, exerts approximately 100PSI.
Unfortunately, SteamFast hasn’t disclosed the different temperatures between the settings or the rate of steam (measured in grams per minute) for this model. As I mentioned earlier in this post, the maximum temperature is the linen setting, 230 degrees Fahrenheit.
A comparable steam press to the SF-680 is the Speedy Press 22 inch steam press, also operating at 1350 watts. The linen setting on the Speedypress machine heats to 315 degrees Fahrenheit.
You would expect with a lower wattage that the steam output would be slightly less. Also, the lower wattage is most likely why the steam press takes 3 minutes to heat up.
Before you purchase the Steamfast SF-680, you need to understand that it is only warrantied for use in the United States of America. This is because it only works with US voltage requirements.
Steamfast is owned by Vornado, which primarily operates in US and Canada. If you are in Canada, you can find the Steamfast SF-680 on Amazon. I don’t recommend purchasing the Steamfast steam press if you are outside these two countries. There will be no warranty on the clothing press and no after-sales support.
There is also conflicting information on the Steamfast website and the user manual regarding the warranty. Some pages state a 1-year warranty; others say 2 years. The latest information on the Steamfast website states a 2 year warranty.
What isn’t covered by the warranty:
- Use outside the home environment
- Use of the product other than as intended
- Lack of maintenance or timely cleaning
- Repairs, alterations, or modifications unless undertaken by Steamfast
- Normal wear and tear
- Consumable parts
- Cosmetic damage
- Damage caused by acts of nature of external causes
Important: If you buy a Steamfast product, you MUST register the warranty within 60 days of purchase. If you do not do this, Steamfast will render the warranty null and void.
Although Steamfast offer an excellent 2 year warranty, (one year longer than Singer and Speedypress), the conflicting information doesn’t leave me reassured, and that’s why I have put this under the reasons to consider another steam press. Plus, if you forget to register the warranty it is void?
Having said that, many consumers report having previous models of Steamfast steam presses for 10+ years, so I would hope that you would never need to use the warranty.
For longevity of your Steamfast digital steam press you should use distilled or demineralized water only.
It is also important to note that the water reservoir does not pull completely out of the machine. If you plan on storing the machine on its side, or for long periods of time, I’d recommend trying to empty out the water.
User feedback has indicated rust has occured inside the steam press when stored with water for an extended period of time. Users have eventually needed to replace the machine.
- User friendly design – especially the position of the steam buttons on the handle
- 5 different steam settings
- Safety features with auto shut-off
- Replacement ironing board cover and accessories available
- Good size pressing area for most homes
- Easy to store
- Having to register the warranty
- Lack of information regarding temperatures and steam output
- Some complaints of having to wait 30 seconds for the heat to build back up and allow steaming – particularly on the hottest settings
- Water reservoir doesn’t pull completely out
Where is Steamfast made?
Steamfast steamers, irons and steam press machines are made in China.
Steamfast SF-680 vs Steamfast SF-623: Which one is better?
Steamfast SF-680 and the Steamfast SF-623 have some common features such as 5 fabric settings, a press lock function, 2 steam burst buttons, standard accessories, and 2 year warranty. However, they have some differences, which include:
- Pressing surface: The main difference between these two machines is that the Steamfast SF-680 has a larger ironing area of 25 x 10.5 inches. The Steamfast SF-623 has a smaller ironing size of 20 x 8 inches. Feedback on the size for the SF-623 is that it is great for sewists, but not practical for adult sized clothing.
- Water Tank: The Steamfast SF-680 has a larger water tank with a capacity of 10oz. The SF-623 holds 5.07 ounces. Both heat within 3 minutes, and they have an automatic shut-off function.
- Power: The wattage of the SF-623 is 1500 watts, compared to 1350 watts for the SF-680.
- Price: In terms of price, the Steamfast SF-623 is more affordable than the SF-680 due to its compact size.
What is the Difference Between Steamfast SF-680 and Steamfast SF-660 Digital Steam Press?
The main difference between the Steamfast SF-680 steam press and SF-660 is the size. The SF-660 has a slightly smaller pressing area of 22 x 8.7 inches. The SF-680 also has digital controls, whereas the SF-660 has the dial you can turn on the top to change the settings.
At the time of writing, the SF-660 no longer appears on the Steamfast website, or in the product manuals. It is possible the SF-660 has been discontinued.
How Do You Use a Steamfast Steam Press?
Your user manual will provide you with detailed instructions, but here is an overview of how to use a Steamfast steam press:
- Place the steam press on a flat level surface, or on the (optional) stand for the steam press (sold separately – you can find it here).
- Fill the water chamber with distilled water.
- Plug in the steam press.
- Flick the on/off switch (located on the side) to ON.
- Select your desired heat setting – press the arrow buttons on the top to choose.
- The clothes press will take approximately 3 minutes to heat up.
- Place your garment on the ironing area, and press the heating plate on the fabric when it is ready.
- If you want to use steam, press the button on the side of the handle when the top plate is 3 inches above the clothing. The controls are located on each side of the handle.
- Hold the press closed for 2-3 seconds, then release.
- Repeat this process until you have covered all the parts of your garment.
How to Clean a Steamfast Steam Press
- Fill Water Reservoir with distilled water.
- Place Pressing Cushion in the middle of the ironing board.
- Position a clean towel over the pressing cushion – fold it to cover the length of the steam press.
- Set the temperature controls to the linen setting (the highest heat setting).
- When the steam burst ready light illuminates, lower the pressing plate onto the towel and cushion.
- Press the steam burst button 6 times.
- Turn off the steam press and allow it to cool.
- When cold, wipe over the pressing plate with a damp cloth.
- Avoid any abrasive cleaners, especially on the sole plate. Abrasive cleaners can cause scratching and affect the quality of the Teflon.
- If you need to clean the ironing board cover, it can be hand-washed with a mild laundry detergent.
Enjoy Your Steamfast Digital Garment Steam Press
Steamfast has been around for decades and makes good quality products related to steaming. This includes irons, steam presses, clothing steamers, and steam cleaners. You can consider Steamfast is a trusted name in the steaming world.
The Steamfast SF-680 is the largest steam press available from the range and by far the best-selling steam press. If offers great qualities for home use at a reasonable price.
There are other options available from other brands which have larger pressing areas and hotter temperatures. Depending on your needs, you may want to consider a larger machine, otherwise, the SF680 is a great all rounder for sewing enthusiasts and laundry piles alike. Find it online here:
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