The GC4526/87 Azur Performer Plus is a very decent steam iron that performs well and addresses some of the issues with the previous model. If you can get it for the right price (available in some places for around £60) it’s a good choice, but for its original price (£80) it may be worth looking at other options.
With a dedicated anti-calc feature, Philips claim it is a good option if you live in a hard water area, however the slow heat up times may frustrate some users when compared with other top-end irons.
Read our round-up of the best steam irons.
Philips GC4526/87 Azur Performer Plus performance
The Philips GC4526/87 Azur Performer Plus is at the top of Philips steam iron range and includes a range of features for making ironing easier and quicker. In regular mode the iron produces 50g of steam a minute for ordinary ironing, but if you come across a particularly stubborn crease you can turn on steam boost, which puts out 210g of steam.
This compares favourably with a lot of the competition and should be enough for most tasks. The Philips drip stop system also means you can iron at low temperatures without drips and this seems to work well.
It is also capable of steaming when held vertically if you want to iron curtains or hanging clothes.
With a water capacity of 300ml it is in line with most rivals, plus it is easy to refill even when held horizontal thanks to the side opening door.
The shape of the iron is good, the nose is very pointed for getting into difficult to reach places and also has a button groove for ironing around buttons. The base plate uses Philips’ “T-ionicGlide” coating that claims to provide a 25 per cent better glide as well as strong scratch resistance. In practice, it does glide over clothes well without sticking too much, although some Teflon coated irons have less resistance.
The handle is comfortable and the iron is a good weight, light enough to wield easily but with enough heft to make you feel like you are flattening the clothes. The only concern with the ergonomics is the position of the steam button, which you won’t be able to reach without shifting your grip on the handle.
An improvement on the previous model, the GC4526/87 includes an auto-off safety feature the cuts the power if it doesn’t move for 30 seconds when face down or 8 minutes when it is propped up on its back. This means you can feel comfortable that if you ran out of the house and can’t remember if you left the iron on you know it will have turned itself off.
Hard water features
One good feature for people in hard water areas is quick scale release feature. This works by collecting the limescale at the back of the iron and you can then pull out the tray and empty it straight into the bin. It also has a deep self-clean feature to really help descale the iron.
One of the main concerns with the Azur Performer Plus previously was the smaller than average cord, but for this version they have added an extra 500cm to make it 2.5m. It is still shorter than some options but it at least gives you a bit more flexibility about where you use it.
Despite Philips’ claim for a quick heat up time we actually found it a bit slower than some rivals, although not significantly so I wouldn’t say it’s a major concern.
What the others say
“Easy to use, this steam iron is good at removing creases but slow to heat up, is a bit heavy and has some resistance when ironing.” Good Housekeeping
“The Philips Azur Performer GC4526/87 Iron is a premium model with some top-spec features, including a safety function which cuts the power if you forget to turn it off.” Which?