Regardless of whether you opt for a corded or cordless steam iron, you'll want a good quality ironing board to get the best results. The one professional test we found for ironing boards, conducted by TheSweethome.com, names the Homz Durabilt (Est. $90) as the absolute best ironing board you can buy. Made in the USA, this generously sized board measures 54 inches long by 14.9 inches wide, and its height adjusts to a maximum of 39.5 inches – a feature that's much appreciated by taller users. The top is made of sturdy metal mesh, covered with a thick cotton-and-foam pad. Jackie Reeve of TheSweethome says the mesh construction helps steam flow through your garments, and the cover fits securely with no lumps.
What really sets this ironing board apart from the pack – and justifies its high price tag – is its sturdy construction and ease of use. Reeve explains that the legs open up to a width of 25 inches, much wider than the board itself, making it "rock-steady." Both Reeve and users at Amazon.com and Walmart.com say this ironing board is super stable and doesn't wobble at all during use. Also, the quick-release lever on the base makes it extremely easy to open and adjust – much easier than any other ironing board in TheSweethome.com's test.
A bonus feature of the Homz Durabilt is the iron rest that attaches to the back. Like the board itself, the iron rest is well made, with silicone pads to keep the metal from heating up and hanger slots on the sides for the garments you've finished pressing. The one feature we didn't see on this ironing board is a warranty. It's a small detail, but it's a bit disappointing that a manufacturer with such a good product doesn't back it up with a guarantee.
The biggest downside of the Homz Durabilt, apart from its high price, is that its large size makes it heavy and rather bulky to store. If you're looking for something more compact and less pricey, the Laundry Solutions by Westex Compact Ironing Board (Est. $45) might be worth considering. It's smaller than the Homz Durabilt and most standard ironing boards, with a 13-by 36-inch top that fits easily into a small space. The stainless-steel legs adjust to a height of 38 inches, and Reeve says they open and close both easily and quietly. Like the Homz Durabilt, it includes an iron rest, but it's made of solid metal, without the protective padding of the Durabilt.
But while the Laundry Solutions ironing board gets good expert feedback, user feedback is more mixed. There are about 200 owner-written reviews at Amazon.com, but owners give it only a so-so rating of 3.5 stars out of 5. On the plus side, they like its compact size and thick, padded cover, and most find it easy to use. However, they're less enthusiastic about its construction. While many reviewers describe the board as stable and solidly built, others say that the legs on their boards are bent, causing the entire structure to wobble. We also saw several complaints that the board collapsed completely on its first or second use.
If you're really pressed for space, consider the Above Edge Magnetic Ironing Mat (Est. $12). This inexpensive pad converts any surface in your home into an ironing board. The best place to set it up is the top of your washer or dryer, since the pad includes magnets to hold it securely in place on the metal surface. When used on a table or floor, Reeve says it can tend to slide around. She also describes it as "a bit fussy" to set up and put away.
We found more than 220 reviews for the Above Edge Magnetic Ironing Mat at Amazon.com, most of them positive, and it earns a 4.3 star rating. Unlike Reeve, most users say this space-saving mat is easy to set up and doesn't slide around on a wooden table, though it does if you place it on the floor. Owners report using it successfully on desks, countertops, and even beds. Many users say they simply keep it laid out on top of their washer or dryer, so it's always ready for a quick touch-up. The main complaint is that the 19-by-33.5-inch pad is too small to fit securely over the entire appliance.