When deciding which ironing board to buy, you should do almost as much research as when you buy the iron itself. As the saying goes “an iron is only as good as the board it irons onto” or words to that effect…
Having a high-quality iron can make the task of ironing easier, quicker and more enjoyable whereas having a low-quality ironing board can lead to a poor standard of ironing which is laborious and time consuming.
The most important things to think about when choosing the right ironing board can be broadly summed up as “Size, Height, Weight, Sturdiness and Cover”.
Much like the iron itself, bigger is very much better. If space is not at an absolute premium in your home, then go for the widest ironing surface possible. This will not only mean you can iron a larger area at one time, but also minimises the amount of tedious rearranging of the garment which only serves to waste time as no ironing occurs!
The standard ironing board is 4-foot-long by about 12 inches wide. However, ironing boards can go up to 18 inches wide with ease and specialist models can increase that limit further.
Any physiotherapist or chiropractor will agree that any unnecessary extension of movement is ergonomically undesirable and when combined with a repetitive motion such as ironing this undesirability only increases. Ironing at waist height is best and most ironing boards have a suitable range of heights.
Problems can arise as the traditional ironing board has fixed settings of height and nothing in between. However, increasingly there are “slide” height settings which allow for any height. This is also helpful for those who may choose to sit whilst ironing.
By choosing a board with the maximum flexibility of height you will make your ironing sessions feel more like a gentle stroll than a marathon!
It is unlikely that you will find any ironing boards today that are made of wood, which although heavy and supporting are not very convenient for moving or putting away.
The general rule is that the heavier the ironing board, the easier your ironing experience will be as the board won’t move around while you’re ironing. However, this must be offset by your need to be able to put the thing away!! Strike a happy medium between the two by going for a mesh top with heavy legs and feet to keep the necessary weight lower, whilst also allowing you to transport the board to wherever it may need to be.
In a similar manner to the previous points, sturdier is better. A sturdy board minimises the risk of it falling over or being pushed over. A sturdy ironing board is only ever going to make the task easier as less movement between the board and garment makes for a smoother process.
The amount of sturdiness is related to the weight of the board, or more importantly where that weight is distributed. Again, by keeping the weight at the legs and feet of the board the easier it will be to use and move. Striking the balance is key again here.
Some would argue that the most important part of choosing an ironing board is the cover. Apart from just the look, the cover is possible the biggest contributor to a smoother more efficient ironing session. The basic rules for a cover are:
- Non-stick surfaces are essential as nobody want to peel the garment off of the board after it gets burnt onto it like a burns victim to his clothing!!
- A reflective surface directs the downward heat straight back up through the garment giving you almost double the heat and steam penetration for half the effort. An absolute must have!
- A Teflon-coated cover is the gold standard for providing a wipe clean cover and smooth operating service.
- A heavy felt lining is the key to longevity. The thicker the foam the less chance of it pulling out of shape over time there is and the easier each ironing sessions is.
So when choosing an ironing board cover, remember the “Size, Height, Weight, Sturdiness and Cover” principle and you won’t go far wrong!
Now that you know how to use an ironing board, see our top recommendations here.