Choosing between Reliable Irons 

You can't go wrong with Reliable irons. But how do you choose between the sexy Maven 140IS and the classic Velocity 270IR? 🤔

Shelly stands between two irons. Text overlay: Which one?

In this post, I’m breaking down the similarities and differences between these two awesome irons (and sharing which one I picked),  so that you can choose the one that best fits your needs and wants.

I won’t be going over every detail of these two irons - this will be more of a high-level comparison. If you’d like to see my in-depth reviews of each, you can check out my post about the Maven (blue) iron here, and my post about the Velocity (red) iron here


Let’s start with the similarities between these two fabulous irons. 

They’re both made by the Reliable Corporation, and each carry a 1 year warranty. I’ve had a Reliable iron for years and have put it through some stuff. I’m happy to say that it’s still truckin’. These irons can best be described as sturdy, quality products that will last you a long time. 

Both of them will be amazing quilting room companions, and will help you get super flat seams while removing any and all creases from your fabric.


They each come with a long cord (the Velocity has an 8 foot cord, and the Maven has a 6 foot steam hose), which means that you can use them both without the need of an extension cord. I sew in a space that only has a couple of receptacles (plug-ins) and I’m easily able to reach my pressing area with both of these Reliable irons.

Shelly holds the head away from the base of a blue iron.

Water and steam

Unlike some other (more expensive) brands of irons, Reliable irons are MEANT to have water in them. You do not need to worry that you’ll ruin your Reliable iron by filling it with water - it will perform at its best / most effective when paired with water. 

The owner’s manuals state that while you can use tap water, it’s recommended to use distilled water to prolong the life of the irons. I live in an area with very hard water, so I always use distilled water with mine, and I’ve never had any issues with spitting, leaking, or spewing brown gunk. 

Both of these Reliable irons have internal pumps that produce SHOCKING amounts of steam in both the horizontal and vertical position. I promise that you will not be disappointed by the steam on these powerhouses!


They both get hot enough to produce nice flat blocks. While the Maven (blue) does get hotter, I still get very flat seams while using the Velocity (red). 


I love that both of these Reliable irons are easy to control. The Maven has only one button, and the Velocity has  one button and one dial. They’re simple to use: you essentially plug them in and they just work. 

Both have an auto-off function for safety (more on that later). 

And finally, they’re both quiet. I probably care about this more than most people, as I live with a shift worker and am often sewing in the room next door while they’re sleeping. A quiet beep is much appreciated!

So it’s not a question of which of these two irons is the better one because they’re both great. It’s about which one is the better choice for you, based on your wants and needs. Let’s discuss!

Design & Comfort


The biggest difference (no pun intended) between these two Reliable irons is their size. The Maven (blue) is a large, tank-based home ironing station that consists of a tank and a head that are connected by a hose. When you’re using the Maven, the base is stationary while you move the head around. That means that the base is permanently taking up room, which might be a concern for someone with limited space. 

The Velocity (red) is a classic hand-held iron design that is more compact and is easier to transport and store because of its size. I love that I can pop the Velocity into a small tote bag and bring it with me to Retreat!

A red iron sits on a wood counter with its cord wrapped around its base.


While the Velocity is smaller, it also weighs more. A lot more. Especially when you fill it with water. When I’m using my Velocity, it feels like I’m pressing my blocks with a dumbbell. Personally, I love it. But since I don’t have a heat-resistant iron rest on the side of my ironing board, I spend a lot of time flipping it between the horizontal and vertical positions. At times it almost feels like a workout.

In comparison, the Maven’s head is solid, but is much easier to maneuver. And since the base of the Maven has a rest in the horizontal position, there’s no flipping the iron up and down. 

If you have any sort of mobility issue in your wrist, hand, elbow, or shoulder, I think the Maven would be a much better option than the Velocity.


The Velocity has an aluminum soleplate while the Maven’s is made of ceramic. Aluminum has a reputation of being a hard, durable material, and ceramic is not known to be as durable. 

The Reliable iron I’ve had for years (the now-discontinued 230IR) has the same aluminum soleplate as the Velocity 270IR, and mine does not have a scratch or dent on it. Given the abuse I’ve put it through - that’s saying something. 

Although I haven’t had the Maven for an extended period of time, I’ve been using it heavily for months and it doesn’t show any signs of wear or tear. 

Shelly holds the soleplate of an iron up to the camera.

The edge of the Velocity’s soleplate is sharper than the Maven’s, which I find helpful when flipping over a seam. The Maven will still push over a piece of fabric, but the seam doesn’t seem as crisp to me. 

A red iron pushes over the seam of a quilt block.


A big difference I noticed between these two Reliable irons is the comfort when using them. They both have comfortable handles that are easy to hold, but I’ve found that my hand gets uncomfortably hot when ironing with the Maven (blue) iron.

Shelly presses with two irons at once.

Perhaps it’s because my hand is so much closer to the steam when using the Maven, but I found that the steam curled around the head of the iron and reached my hand easily. As a result, I had to adjust my hold on the handle when using heavy steam. I experienced no such discomfort when using the Velocity (red) iron.

You might not experience this issue when using the Maven, but it definitely influenced my decision on which iron to use.

Water and Steam

Both of these Reliable irons are easy to fill. The Velocity has an opening that’s large enough to fill using a large jug of water (instead of the small funnel that’s included with the iron), but the Maven has a MASSIVE 1.5L tank. 

Shelly fills a red iron with a large jug of water

The tank is so large that it holds five times the amount of water compared to the Velocity, and it can be removed from the base for easy filling at your kitchen sink, or with a large jug. 

The takeaway here is that you’ll be able to iron for days without needing to re-fill the Maven. 


Both irons have anti-scale systems, but they approach the task differently. The Velocity has a built-in system, while the Maven uses a cartridge that needs to be replaced periodically (an indicator light on the base of the unit will notify you when it needs to be changed). 

Shelly holds an anti-scale cartridge and smiles as it drips water into her hand.

The cartridges can be purchased from either the Reliable website or their Amazon storefront, and cost $15 USD at the time of writing this. 

The Maven also has a self-clean mode which removes mineral build-up from the steam chamber. Reliable recommends running the self-clean at least once a month (or more often depending on the hardness of your water) in order to keep the iron working its best.


Steam is activated on the Maven by holding the trigger. If you want continuous steam, you need to continuously hold the steam trigger. I initially thought this would be inconvenient or uncomfortable, but the handle is well-designed and it feels natural to hold in the trigger. To stop the steam, you simply need to release the trigger.

The Velocity has a sensor built into the handle. To activate the steam, you simply need to hold the handle. To stop the flow of steam, you can either adjust your grip on the handle or push the button once to temporarily turn off the steam function. 

Neither iron produces a burst of steam - they both produce a continuous stream of steam. Trust me when I say that you do NOT need a burst to get great results with these irons. The continuous steam is MORE than enough for any ironing job you’re going to tackle. 

When it comes to water and steam, the biggest difference between these two Reliable irons will be how often you need to refill their tanks. If you’re looking to iron for a looonnnnng time between refills, you’ll want to choose the Maven 140IS.


When you turn them on, both of these irons start in an “auto” setting. I don’t know about you, but the first thing I do when I plug in my iron is crank it up to MAX so that I’m getting the hottest iron and the most steam. Ideally, this would be a very simple task to do. 

With the Maven, it is. It only has one button, and by tapping it several times, you can easily reach the MAX mode.

A finger presses the button on the back of a blue iron.

I find this task a little more frustrating with the Velocity. As I explained in my in-depth review, I find the dial on the Velocity to be finicky to turn and the display difficult to read. So this point goes to the Maven.


Both of these Reliable irons have an included auto-off function. After 10 minutes of inactivity on the Maven (and 8 on the Velocity), they each go into a standby mode where the heating element is turned off. 

This is a great safety feature, but one that I feel I don’t need. When in my sewing room, I’m often away from the iron for extended periods of time (sewing, cutting, etc), and I find it annoying to have to wait any amount of time for my iron to re-heat after being in standby mode. 

Luckily, you can override the auto-off function on the Velocity by holding in the button for 5 seconds.  Sadly, there’s no way to do this on the Maven.

A finger presses the button on a red iron.

This was a deal-breaker for me. I care more about this function than almost anything else when it comes to irons, so I chose the Velocity. I also don’t have much room, so the compact nature of the Velocity also made it a good choice for me. 

To be fair to the Maven…. It does reheat REMARKABLY fast. After switching into standby mode, you only need to press its button for one second and it will begin reheating. In my tests, I found that it reached its maximum temperature within 30 seconds of pressing the button (sometimes closer to 20 seconds). So it’s not a large inconvenience to wait for the Maven to reheat, but I am who I am! 

Which one should you choose?

Shelly holds a blue and a red iron in her hands in front of a colourful quilt.

This will depend a lot on your personal circumstances, but here are my main determining factors:

  • If you have any sort of mobility in your upper body, you’ll want to choose the Maven. It’s hands-down the better choice for this scenario.
  • If space is a concern, you’ll want to look at the compact and portable Velocity.
  • If you want your iron to last eons between refills, the Maven would be a better choice.
  • If the auto-off function is your personal bugaboo, the only option is the Velocity.

Did that help clear things up and help you make a decision? Let me know in the comments below which one you’d choose! 👇👇👇

Where can I get one of these Reliable irons?

I’ve included some affiliate links below in order to make it super easy for you to pick up one of these sexy beasts! If you click on the links below and make a purchase, I may be compensated.

Reliable Velocity 270IR (red)




Reliable Maven 140IS (blue)




If you’d prefer to watch my comparison on YouTube, you can click the image below to check out my full-length video!

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