Which Ironing Board and Iron to choose?

Ironing equipment for your laundry.

This will help you select the right equipment for your ironing needs at home or work.

Ironing Board Types

Having a flat, solid surface on which to iron clothes has always been a must-have. Centuries ago, a long piece of smooth wood placed between two chairs did the trick - and it was called an Ironing Board. From that idea evolved the many different types of ironing boards that exist today. With a little research, you can find the type that will best fit your needs.

Portable Ironing Board

typical portable ironing board

Definitely the most popular type since it can be moved anywhere and adjusted to different heights. This allows any sized person to iron, while sitting or standing. These ironing boards are wide and long so everything from California king-sized bed sheets to United States Army pants to a small child's Halloween costume can be pressed on it. It is lightweight to allow for easy portability, and then easily folded up and stowed away. You need to make certain that the legs are firmly planted on a solid surface to prevent any mishaps when using this type of an ironing board. Set it up near your clothes airer so you iron items as you remove them from the rack.

Sleeve Ironing Board

small sleeve ironing board

By contrast to the popular portable kind, this type is very small and compact and sturdily sits on top of a table or a sewing machine chest or even a regular sized ironing board. It gets its name because it is great for ironing shirt sleeves, but is also useful for pant legs, small appliques and doll dresses. You should only use this type if you have experience ironing, as the small surface can be difficult to work on and may result in painful mishaps.

Built-In Ironing Boards

ironing board built into a wall cabinet

This type is often found in older houses and is usually located in the kitchen or basement. Washing machines and dryers as we know them today were non-existent when these homes were originally constructed, so an ironing board was built into the wall and located near the laundering wash tub to make the chore more efficient. Like many other things, built-in ironing boards are making a retro comeback in new and remodeled houses today. The downside to a built-in ironing board is if it is not located near where you want to iron something, then it is very inconvenient.

Over-the-Door Ironing Boards

Ironing board that hooks to a door

Great for small apartments, dorm rooms, motels, etc. They have handles that can be temporarily attached to the top of any door, then removed and stored in a closet or a drawer or even a suitcase. RV'ers can combine this with our portable washer to stay spiffy while on the road. Extra care needs to be taken when using this type of board, as it may not be very sturdy. And you want to make sure no one is going to barge through the other side of the door while you are ironing!

Deluxe Ironing Boards

As with a lot of things nowadays, ironing boards also come in a souped-up deluxe version. Along with a full-sized ironing board, there is also an iron rest, removable laundry bags, and a hanging bar for pressed garments. Wheels allow it to be moved anywhere, yet the entire station easily folds away when not in use. This type can be pricey, but if do a lot of ironing this is the perfect workstation for you.

Choosing a Clothes Iron

face reflected on bottom of shiny iron

A very basic iron, also called a dry iron, is the least expensive and only has a few choices in temperature settings. The soleplate (the bottom part of the iron that heats up and makes contact with the material) might scratch when you iron over buttons and pins, might leave stains on the cloth, and might eventually stick to the fabric. There is only a heal on the back of the soleplate to support the iron upright while in use. But if you only iron a pair of pants once every blue moon, then this iron is fine for your needs.


Moderately priced irons are definitely the most popular and come with a variety of features, both for ease of use as well as for safety reasons. These have water reservoirs so steam can be used while ironing, have a variety of temperature settings so many kinds of material can be pressed, and have a soleplate that is scratch resistant. There is a sturdy base to hold the hot iron, and an auto-shut-off valve to safely turn off the appliance when it is forgotten or not stored properly. This type of iron is just right for most households.


Higher priced models are intended for the professional tailor or someone that quilts as a hobby or anyone else that does a lot of ironing. These irons have a wide range of temperature and steam settings for use on a large assortment and different types of fabrics. It has an auto-clean function so any type of water (including tap water) can be used and will help extend the life of the appliance. The soleplate is often ceramic for durability and has many holes in it so extra steam can penetrate the material. The hot iron will automatically shut off if it is lying on its side or in a horizontal position too long or sitting in its stand for an extended period of time.


History of Clothes Ironing

People have been hand washing clothes for thousands of years, but ironing is a little more recent practice. Long ago, they placed hot water in metal pans or put hot coals in a metal container and used this to press their clothing. The chore got much easier with the advent of the electric iron in the 1800s. The appliance gets its name from the metal that it has often been made of --- iron.

Nowadays, irons come with a large assortment of capabilities, safety features, and price ranges. Do a little research and purchase the iron that will work the best for your needs. Here are even more modern ironing tips for you.


Disclaimer: You are responsible for any suggestions you choose to follow, or not follow. This advice is offered for consideration with no guarantee of safety or effectiveness. Use this information at your own risk.