When faced with a pile of wrinkled clothes, curtains, or other fabrics, a good ironing board—and iron!—makes life much easier. After 25 hours of research and testing 16 boards and mats over the past two years, we recommend the Brabantia Ironing Board B. It’s expensive compared with the rickety boards often sold at big-box stores, but it’s much more stable and durable. It also folds compactly, making it easy to stow in a small apartment or laundry room.
For an oversized, sturdy board, we prefer the Homz Durabilt Premium Ironing Board. It’s just a hair less stable than the Brabantia B, but it’s taller and has a longer work surface—and is still rock-steady, which is impressive for its size. It sits solidly thanks to extra-wide legs, and it’s easy to open and close. But it also takes a lot of room to store and is best if you’re a dedicated crafter or you prefer a wide surface to iron your clothes. This board has come way down in price since we first tested it, but it’s still an investment.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $58.
Most of the budget and tabletop ironing boards we’ve tested were flimsy and disappointing. As a mom, I wouldn’t trust a toddler to be anywhere near me while I was using them with a hot iron. That said, the Minky Hot Spot Ironing Board was the best of the cheaper models we tried, and certainly good enough if you iron a few times a month or less. It’s more wobbly than the Brabantia B, but more stable than other cheaper boards. We also like that it opens quietly and doesn’t need much room for storage, and that the black-and-pink cover won’t show stains like a standard white cover would.
If you don’t have space to store an ironing board, the Above Edge Magnetic Ironing Mat lays over a table or washer and dryer for an instant ironing surface and is easier to use than a tabletop ironing board. It’s a little fussier to set up than a regular ironing board, though, and not as easy to use with dresses, button-down shirts, or other highly detailed clothes.
For our review of clothes irons, we spoke to many experts, but few had much to say about ironing boards. Instead we relied on existing reviews and our own common sense and experience when looking for the best ironing boards. To winnow our list of boards to test, we read product reviews from Amazon, looked at specialty blogs like The Ironing Room, and spoke to members of the New York City Metro Mod Quilt Guild. We also used a Sweethome reader survey to guide us on what most people look for in an ironing board.
I’m a quilter. My mom taught me to sew in third grade, and I’ve done it seriously for 10 years. My blog is almost nine years old. I’ve created quilts on commission for private clients and for Cloud9 Fabrics, and my original designs appeared in Generation Q and Make Modern magazines. I was also a senior editor for GeekMom, and I’ve created tutorials there, too. Bottom line: I’m ironing something pretty much every day.
You don’t absolutely need an ironing board to press clothes, home goods, or craft projects. In a pinch, you can always lay out a folded towel on a table to do your ironing. But a good board will make the task much more pleasant. The tapered front of the ironing surface allows you to more effectively press out wrinkles in button-down shirts and slacks, and a board is a better platform for draping yards of fabric. Because ironing boards are designed to reach waist height, you won’t need to hunch over one as you would when ironing on the kitchen table.
If you currently own an ironing board that screeches as you open or close the metal legs, that wobbles, or that doesn’t stay reliably open (or closed), consider upgrading. It’ll make your ironing time better.
There aren’t many editorial comparisons of ironing boards and ironing pads available, so we scoured user reviews on sites like Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond.
Per our survey, the features most people look for in a board are stability, height adjustment, and size of the ironing surface. A heavier board maintains stability and keeps it from rocking. A standard ironing board is 14 inches by 54 inches. A larger board surface, preferred by quilters especially, would be about 18 inches by 54 inches. The extra width is also helpful when tackling large items like curtains or sheets, though admittedly not always ideal for people who live in small apartments or houses.
For this update, we looked at 23 new boards that we thought might compare with our prior top picks. We settled on four new boards to test against our upgrade pick from last year. We didn’t test our prior pick, the Westex Laundry Solutions board, because it received steadily declining user reviews over the past year.
For last year’s testing, we set up irons and boards all over the Sweethome office and asked staffers to come in and try them. This year, I tested all of the boards at my house. I set them up in my dining room at the same time. I checked for ease of opening and closing, and if they made that screeching metal noise when opened. I measured board surface, height, and width between the front legs and checked the size of the boards when folded for storage.
I ironed on each of them, checking to see how much the boards moved in use, and if the ironing surface was level or slightly tilted. I also noted how much pressure it took to feel the surface of the board under the ironing cover—that told me if the ironing cover was thick enough. And, finally, I noted if iron cords ever became stuck in the space between an iron rest and the board’s ironing surface—because that’s just annoying when you’re trying to use the board.
Members of the NYC Metro Mod Quilt Guild recommended the larger C and D Brabantia boards for our initial testing, but this time we looked at the smaller, narrower Brabantia Ironing Board B. We were impressed with its stability, size, design, and warranty. It’s really the best smaller board we’ve found that we’d be happy ironing on regularly.
The Brabantia B is a hair more stable than our runner-up, the Homz Durabilt, which we’ve used for a year and still love. Its stability outshines the wobbly and slanted Minky Hot Spot, and that’s great if you’ve ever done an ironing marathon. Without that stability, your arm can get tired very quickly trying to keep the board and the hot iron steady. I was also more comfortable using this board with an active small child nearby.
|Brabantia Ironing Board B||49″ by 15″||7″||38″||63″||15 lbs.|
|Minky Hot Spot Ironing Board||48″ by 15″||None||37″||55″||12 lbs.|
|Homz Durabilt Premium Ironing Board||54″ by 15″||7″||39½″||63″||20.4 lbs.|
With a 49-by-15-inch ironing surface, this board is more petite in length than the Durabilt’s 54-by-15-inch surface. (Those measurements don’t include the 7-inch iron rest on both boards). Compared with the Durabilt, the Brabantia B is also an inch thinner. It’s easy to maneuver, which isn’t surprising, as it’s more than 5 pounds lighter than the Durabilt. It also folds to a smaller size. If you live in a small space and want to invest in a safe, stable board, the Brabantia is a great choice.
The Brabantia B’s smart design has leg locks to secure it when it’s folded. We haven’t actually had problems with any of the boards we’ve tested collapsing or popping open unexpectedly, but now that we’ve seen the locks on the Brabantia we would love to see some of the less stable, less expensive boards add them, too.
The Brabantia B has several great-looking ironing board covers to choose from, but they can make the board vary in price. (They’re also sold separately.) We wish the covers were a little thicker—press down and you can start to feel the mesh of the board itself—but we don’t think that’s a dealbreaker.
Brabantia offers a 10-year guarantee on its ironing boards, compared with five years for the Minky and Durabilt boards. That may not seem like much for people who have had durable old wooden ironing boards, passed down through generations. Though modern boards may or may not last long enough to end up with the grandkids, a 10-year warranty at least gives us confidence that Brabantia believes its product will last. That’s another reason Brabantia pulls ahead of the competition.
If you can’t find the Brabantia, we recommend the Homz Durabilt Premium Ironing Board. It’s a better choice if you want a really big, solid board for tackling craft projects or if you just want a longer ironing space. We’ve used it for more than a year, and we still appreciate how solid and well-built it is. It’s an investment at its price, but that price has come down from $200 to about $90 over the past year. However, this board’s size can make it impractical if you’re tight on space.
By default, the front legs are the same 19 inches apart as the Brabantia’s. But the Durabilt’s legs can open all the way to 25 inches, much wider than the nearly 15-inch board top, which gives it a rock-steady base. The downside of that solid base is that it’s really big and makes the board more bulky to store.
The Durabilt weighs a little over 20 pounds, so compared with the 15-pound Brabantia and 12-pound Minky it’s a beast of an ironing board. We’ve definitely tripped over the wide legs of this board more than once, even in a suburban laundry room with plenty of space. The surface isn’t as wide as that of some of the other boards we tested, but it is so sturdy and well-built that it doesn’t move or wobble. As a quilter, I’ve used it to throw big, heavy projects around while I’m ironing seams.
The cover is made of high-quality cotton and thick foam padding. The cover fits well, too—I never felt like I was ironing on a lumpy piece of fabric. The top of the board itself is metal mesh rather than metal with holes, which helps steam flow through your garment.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $58.
We weren’t wild about any of the more affordable boards we researched and tested; all were fairly mediocre. But we also know that many people don’t want to spend much on an ironing board. For occasional ironing, the Minky Hot Spot Ironing Board is your best bet. The Minky does move ahead of typical big-box-store ironing boards because it’s easy to open, compact, relatively affordable, and it actually looks good.
The biggest pro for the Minky board is the lack of sharp metal screeching when you open it. That noise seems standard with most cheap ironing boards, and it can make your teeth ache. The Minky isn’t completely silent, but it’s easy to open and close, and it doesn’t grate. If you’re short, like I am, you won’t feel awkward setting up this board. And instead of four straight feet, the Minky has 2 sets of feet joined together by a floor bar, which does help plant the board. This made it more stable than other low-priced boards we’ve tested. It still wobbles, and it feels like the ironing surface is sloped, but it’s better than most at this price.
The compact size is also perfect for an apartment, especially if you don’t iron all the time. All of our picks are 15 inches wide, but the Minky is the shortest in length. But at 37 inches tall, it reaches waist height, so it’s still comfortable to stand and iron. It’s not as tall as the Brabantia B, but it’s taller than the uncomfortably short YBM Home & Kitchen board (36 inches tall) we tested for this update. Folded, the Minky board fits neatly in a small closet. The Minky is also lighter than the Brabantia B and much, much lighter than the Homz Durabilt.
At around $55, we think the Minky Hot Spot is on the high end of what you might pay for a typical ironing board if you walked into Target or Bed Bath & Beyond and picked one. But its price is still largely in line with the prices we’ve seen, and it has more to offer. It was also better than any of the cheaper boards we tried.
We also like the look of the Minky board. Inexpensive ironing boards often have a white or cream cover, and after a few uses they show every scorch mark. These become unsightly pretty quickly, and you either live with it or replace the cover. We like that the Minky has an ombre cover in dark colors. It will hide all manner of ironing sins. The Minky doesn’t have an iron rest at the end, but we’ve seen a love/hate relationship for that feature across all boards we’ve researched and tested.
If you’re too tight on space for a standing board, we liked the Above Edge Magnetic Ironing Mat. This cheap pad is especially great if you have a washer or dryer you can sit it on, because it has magnetic pieces to secure it in place. It does slide around without the help of something metal underneath it, but when it’s steady, it’s a great space-saving option.
The Westex Laundry Solutions board, our prior pick, steadily declined in user reviews and reliability since our initial review of it last year. At the time, we did see a few reviews saying it was unsteady, and we found that in our testing as well. But, as we noted originally, it was the best of the affordable boards we researched and tested, and we put a premium on price. For this round of testing, we were less concerned with cost and more concerned with stability. It didn’t hold up to the new boards we looked at this year.
The YBM Home & Kitchen Heavy Duty Deluxe Board wasn’t too expensive at about $68. But it definitely wobbled, and it was the shortest board we tested. Our backs ached after standing and ironing for a while.
The Leifheit AirBoard Deluxe XL Board was the lightest we tested at 11 pounds, and the biggest overall. We felt like the Durabilt was already pushing the limits of an ironing board’s size, and this one just became impractical.
The Brabantia C is a fairly large 49 by 18 inches and has an iron rest on the end. We think the child lock to keep it from collapsing is a nice feature, too. But it wasn’t as sturdy as the HOMZ Durabilt when we tested it last year.
The Brabantia D is a solid board. It was easy to open, nice to use, and the extra-large surface (54 by 18 inches) was great. But it can cost about $200 and can be tricky to find.
Overall, we liked wide-top boards for stability and a nice surface area. But after testing the Homz Professional Wide Top we think it will be too hard to store for most people.
We didn’t like the Real Simple Ironing Board at all. It was incredibly unstable in our tests.
For such a high price, we expected more from the Rowenta IB9100 Pro Compact Professional Ironing Board. The one we tested was hard to open and very, very rickety.
We tested two tabletop ironing boards, the Polder Deluxe Tabletop Ironing Board and the Honey-Can-Do BRD-01435 Collapsible Tabletop Ironing Board, but weren’t thrilled with either. Both boards wobbled, slid around our counters, and felt awkward to use and set up in our tests.
We also tested the Real Simple Roll-Up Ironing Pad and the Polder Travel Ironing Blanket. All of the ironing pads came folded up, but those two were made of stiff material that held all those creases and wrinkles. We had to spend time trying to iron them flat before we could use them to iron clothes, and we couldn’t do it. They left new wrinkles in everything we ironed. The Polder, made of stiff canvas, was the worst offender.
Originally published: April 18, 2017
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