Oreck JP8100CB cordless iron, $5.

I feature this Oreck iron here not for the profit potential, but for the lessons offers us. Oreck advertises this iron as 'cordless,' although it isn't cordless in the normal sense of the word. Cordless is always a great idea, but appliances that uses electricity to generate heat suck down huge amounts of power, and with today's battery technology, you'd need a battery the size of a beer cooler to keep an iron hot for any length of time. Thankfully, that's not how this thing works.

All this iron really does is heat up the element inside the iron as it sits on its base, and then slowly cools off as you do your ironing. Pop it back into the base, and it's hot again in about 10 seconds. Wait a minute - isn't this how irons worked before electricity was around? Regardless, a cordless iron is a pretty practical idea when you think about it, because a cord can be a little inconvenient when you're ironing, especially since you're tied to a wall socket that's only a few feet away. But no matter how great the idea of ditching the power cord sounds, the fact is that these Oreck irons have a lousy resale value on eBay. Why?

On the Oreck home page, you'll see that these irons retail for around $130, which is a stark contrast with the $30 to $50 or so that they fetch on eBay. This price disparity can't be simply because folks don't like cordless irons, because if you do an eBay search for cordless iron, you'll see that the the Maytag version brings more money on eBay, even though both irons retail for the same price.

So, the reason for the disparity may not be the quality of the irons themselves, but the supply. Although you can buy one of these Oreck irons outright for $130, you get one for free for just trying out their vacuum cleaner. That's right, you don't even have to keep the vacuum - all you have to do is try it out - and the iron is yours to keep. How can you justify value for an item that's given away by the manufacturer? Apparently, all these Oreck irons we see on eBay are the ones that people didn't want, need or even have to pay for. The bidders know this, too, so do you think they're going to pay big money for them?

What can we learn from this experience? Well, besides the fact that you should always protect your money because anything is possible, there are a few other things. First, we're now aware that despite what these irons may actually be worth, the fact that Oreck gives them away cripples the price.

Second, we discovered that if you test an Oreck floor vacuum and actually end up buying it, you get a free ($165 retail!) mini canister vacuum, which you can then sell on eBay for $50 to $75.

Finally, we learned about the Maytag cordless iron, which we'll be sure to grab if we ever see one because they sell much better than the Oreck irons!

This Oreck cordless iron sold on eBay for $43.

Photo of Oreck JP8100CB cordless electric clothes iron