Its no secret that a ski wax iron is a critical tool to a wax tech. So it is important to make sure you get an iron that fits your needs. For most skiers this is a luxury purchase that needs to last a very long time. So here are a few things to look for in your iron quest.
A digital temperature read out makes it stupid easy to know how hot your wax iron is. Usually a digital read out means the iron has a computer in it that is constantly measuring the temperate of the sole plate. This computer will then turn on or off the heating element to keep the temperature fluctuations as tight as possible.
If your budget only allows an analog waxing iron that has a dial setting. That's great, it will still do a great job of melting wax. Just start a little colder than the dial states so you learn the heat pattern of your iron. Slowly increase the temp until you learn the temperature pattern of the iron.
A iron with a long, thick cord is a must. I like a thick cord to help protect it from cuts as you drag your iron up and down alpine skis with their sharp edges. The length of the cord will help you find a plug socket in a crowded wax room.
Lets talk about where the rubber meets the road, the sole plate. First look for a thick sole plate. This will allow the iron to load a lot of heat energy into this surface to make the ironing of wax go smoother. The wax robs the iron of heat, the more heat the iron has stored in the sole plate the more uniform the wax application will be.
Next look for a sole plate that is wide enough for your needs. A small sole plate may require two passes down an alpine ski. While a slightly larger sole plate could cover the entire ski and allow us to put less heat energy into the ski since we only do a single pass down the ski.
If the sole plate has a beveled edge this will be a huge help as you iron in wax. An iron with a blunt edge will often catch on the drops of wax on the ski base. An iron with a beveled edge will guide the iron up and on top of the wax drops. More than likely this bevel will melt the wax before the main part of the sole plate hits it.
Finally look for a smooth, flat sole plate. A sole plate that is flat allows the ski tech to push down on the liquid wax. This pressure allows the wax to cover the ski edge to edge as well as be pushed into the ski base.
See if the iron has a build in stand, since you do not have the iron in your hands all the time. Some irons may come with a hook to hang it from your bench. When your iron is plugged in, never set it down on the sole plate when not in use. The heat of the sole plate will travel up into the iron and cook the insides.
An iron with a carry case is a nice add on. Something to keep your investment protected when it is not in use.