Before you buy an ironing board, consider your ironing habits, needs and your space available to get the best selection for you.
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Portable or Built-in
Portable ironing boards are usually found in two sizes, stand alone and tabletop.
Built-in ironing boards are usually installed in a drawer or a wall cabinet by professional installers. Kits are available for homeowners to mount boards on a closet door or into a special panel. This ironing board is fastened at the top, anchored only on one end and drops down from the door. This option is a great space saver. You should consider what tools may be necessary to mount the ironing board and whether you have the technical knowledge to do it.
If you have room for a full-size ironing board, choose the widest ironing board that you can find for easier, more effective ironing. A full-size ironing board is one that is at least 4 feet long and 12 to 18 inches wide.
A small tabletop model is useful for craft projects and quick touch-ups but not good for full-sized garments or linens.
If you have a built-in ironing board, it should be set at hip level for the person who does the most ironing. Hip level is best if you iron standing up.
For those who rotate between standing and sitting when ironing, a portable board is preferable because it is easier to adjust up or down.
Older ironing boards were often made of wood. Very sturdy but very heavy and not the ideal material for effective ironing. Look for an ironing board with a metal, mesh top that will allow steam to pass through and evaporate.
A lightweight metal board is easier to set up and fold down for storage. It also enables you to move from one place to another with less effort.
While a lightweight ironing board is desirable, it should also have a sturdy frame that will not collapse or tip over easily as you do your ironing. A stable board makes ironing easier and can prevent accidents like the boards falling over onto small children.
Ironing Board Cover
An ironing board cover with good padding is essential to getting good results. Most boards have a cover included in the purchase; however, you may wish to upgrade.
Some covers feature non-stick or reflective surfaces. The non-stick qualities prevent clothes from sticking to the board; reflective surfaces transfer the heat back into the clothes which makes the job easier. If you are concerned about decorative qualities, you'll find everything from solid colors to designer fabrics.
If you do a great deal of ironing, you may wish to opt for these extra features that will enhance your results and make your job easier.
- Sleeve Attachment - a small board - about 2 feet long and 6 to 8 inches wide - is attached to the main board and is used for ironing sleeves and small articles of clothes.
- Iron rest - a built-in at the wide end of the board that expands the usable area for ironing and prevents the iron from falling off the board.
- Hanging Rack - attached at the wide end of the board, the rack is at least head high for hanging newly ironed clothes.