When faced with a pile of wrinkled clothes, curtains, or other fabrics, a good ironing board (and iron!) makes life much easier. After 20 hours of research, talking with experts, and testing 12 boards and ironing mats in our offices, we’re confident the Laundry Solutions by Westex is the best choice for most people. It’s compact, affordable, and easier to open and close than similarly priced boards. Although it’s not the sturdiest board we tried, it stands more solidly than cheaper ones and will work well for the light ironing most people do.
This was a really tough category to choose from. Most of the budget and tabletop ironing boards we tested were flimsy and disappointing. I wouldn’t trust my three-year-old to be anywhere near me while I was using them with a hot iron. That said, the Laundry Solutions board was the best of the cheaper models and certainly good enough if you iron a few times a month or less.
For a sturdier board, we prefer the Homz Durabilt. It sits solidly thanks to extra-wide legs, and it was the easiest to open and close. But it also takes a lot of room to store and is twice the price of our main pick. Unless you’re a dedicated crafter or iron your clothes more than a few times a month, this board may be more than you need.
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-up 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 been doing it seriously for 10 years. My blog is almost eight years old. I’ve created quilts on commission for private clients and for Cloud9 Fabrics, and my original designs appeared in Generation Q magazine. 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.
We honestly weren’t wild about any of the more affordable boards we researched and tested; all were fairly mediocre. But for occasional ironing, the Laundry Solutions board is your best bet. It’s compact and at least sturdier and easier to use than other ironing boards at a similar price.
The Laundry Solutions board measures 13 inches by 36 inches (standard-size boards measure 14 inches by 54 inches), making it a great option if you don’t have a lot of space for a full-size board. It’s sturdier than the Real Simple and Homz Wide Top Professional boards we tested, with thicker legs at a similar price. If you need a more solid board, we’d recommend our alternate pick, the Homz Durabilt.
We also like that the Laundry Solution board has an iron rest that lays flat, unlike others that sat at a precarious-looking angle when you placed a hot iron on them. It was easy to open, quieter to open than other models, and easily height-adjustable.
Our upgrade pick is our absolute favorite ironing board, the Homz Durabilt—an investment at its price. This board was delightful to use. The legs open up 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 if you’re tight for space, this one will be bulky to store. The surface wasn’t as wide as some of the others we tested, but it was so sturdy and well-built that we still preferred it. It doesn’t move or wobble at all.
It was the easiest board to open and adjust in our testing, and the cover was made of high-quality cotton and thick foam padding. The cover fit 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.
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, since 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.
Per our survey, the features most people look for in a board are stability, height adjustment, and size of the ironing board 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.
To test, we set up irons and boards all over the Sweethome office and asked staffers to come in and try them. Our testers’ familiarity with ironing ranged from the occasional user to the expert. We put out silks, table linens, quilting cottons, button-down shirts, and t-shirts at every ironing station alongside feedback forms that asked whether the ironing boards felt sturdy and for thoughts on size (both of their surface and their frame when folded up). And then we let the ironers get to it.
The Brabantia C is a fairly large 18 by 49 inches and has an iron rest on the end. A child lock to keep it from collapsing is a nice feature, too. It’s a little easier to find than the Brabantia D but costs more than $100.
The Brabantia D is a solid board. It was easy to open, nice to use, and the extra large surface (18 by 54) 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. The Homz Professional Wide Top was more reasonably priced than our upgrade pick, but these large boards can be hard to store.
The Real Simple Ironing Board was our closest comparison to the Laundry Solutions board. We didn’t like it at all; it was incredibly unstable.
For such a high price, we were expecting more from the Rowenta IB9100 Pro Compact Professional Ironing Board. It 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 we weren’t thrilled with either. Both of the boards wobbled, slid around our counters, and felt awkward to use and set up.
We also tested the Real Simple Ironing Pad and the Polder 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.
(Photos by Michael Hession.)
Originally published: March 14, 2016