Ironing Mat vs Ironing Board – A Helpful Detailed Comparison Guide

There are two kinds of people when it comes to ironing clothes: an iron devotee who finds gratification in smoothing wrinkled clothes, or an iron hater who finds ironing an arduous, time-consuming task. One of the compelling things dividing these people are what tools they are using and where they are ironing.  A mismatch between your space and your tools can make the experience of ironing incredibly frustrating, and often switching to a better option is a great way to instantly improve your ironing experience.

Ironing mat vs board - Comparison and differences

You might wonder, “Do I need an ironing board?”  Although ironing boards are traditionally used to complement ironing tasks, many households do not have one – either because they do not have space, consider it an additional expense, they travel a lot, or they’re just too big. An ironing board can weigh between 9 and 20 lbs.  Because of this issue, an alternative to ironing boards is available: the ironing mat. What makes it different from the traditional ironing board? Is it any better than the ironing board?

 An ironing board is the companion of an iron.  An ironing board provides an ideal firm and strong surface where clothes can be laid flat for ironing. It has collapsible legs for easy setup and storage and a heat resistant flat surface. The board size is large enough for the garments but small enough for easy storage.  An ironing mat is a portable, heat-resistant pad that can be dropped on any flat surface and then rolled up and put in storage easily.

In this article let’s compare the types of ironing boards and ironing mats and see which is best for you.


Ironing mats

An ironing mat is, like it sounds, a relatively thick mat that won’t get damaged by the heat of the iron while allowing you a flat surface to lay your clothes on.  Ironing mats are perfect for doubling as an ironing board in a punch.  They enable you to iron your clothes on a kitchen table, on the bed, or a clean swept floor.  However, many are designed to work best by laying them across the roof of your washer or dryer.  Learning how to iron without an ironing board may seem strange at first, but an ironing mat can be just the thing you need.

Types of Ironing Mats

Magnetic Ironing Mats

The magnetic ironing mat is designed to lay over the roof of your washer or dryer, allowing you a space to iron your clothes without the added hassle of having to drag around an ironing board.  Magnetic ironing mats have small magnets around the outer edges that will cling to the metallic exterior of the appliance.  In many cases, magnetic ironing mats also come with a silicone iron rest where the iron can be laid while not in use.

Insulated Ironing Mats

Insulated ironing mats are usually thicker than a more average magnetic ironing mat, and are more useful when you have to iron a wide variety of clothes, where the temperature of the iron’s faceplate and the steam will vary.  A wool insulated ironing mat is also useful when you’re using an unusual surface to iron on such as a table, your bed, or some other area that you want to protect from being damaged by the heat of the iron.



The biggest advantage of an ironing mat is its portability.  When you need to use it, it can be unfurled and laid across any flat surface like a table top, tile floor, bathroom counter, or wooden table.  When you’re finished, roll it up and toss it in whatever storage corner you have available.

The front is often made of a heat-resistant fabric to resist damage, and the back is made of non-slip foam so that you can be confident it won’t slide around and either move your clothes or worse, cause you to drop the iron on an unintended surface.  They also come in a variety of sizes and designs as well.


However, one of the disadvantages of ironing mat is the absence of iron rest. You might need to mind where you put the iron while doing the task because it might damage surfaces and clothes. Luckily many do come with a silicone iron rest piece, but that has the added disadvantage of adding a degree of bulkiness, particularly when it’s folded up and ready for storage.  It also lacks features such as a hanging rail, steam station, and others.

My Top Pick

Houseables Magnetic Ironing Mat


The Housables Magnetic Ironing Mat is one of the best out there, hands down.  People love the Houseables Ironing Mat for its portability, convenience, and reliability.  Toss it on top of your dryer, let the magnets hold it down, and you’ve got a great ironing surface with no effort at all.

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Ironing Boards

An ironing board is an essential component of ironing clothes and other fabric. It provides a flat surface for the clothes while the wrinkles are being ironed out. With a soft, rounded part on one end, it is easier to iron shirt sleeves, jean legs, and open ends of clothes.

You need an ironing board to conveniently iron clothes. It lasts for several years but one particular part that needs replacement every few years is the cover. The cover is usually 100% unbleached cotton. A sturdy ironing board with this kind of cover prevents the clothes from moving over the board while ironing.

An ironing board can also be built with a reflective, nonstick cover. In this cover, the heat is put up into the clothes instead of in the cover. This results to faster ironing time and more protection to delicate garments.

What kind of ironing board should I use?

There are three kinds of ironing board: portable, wall-mounted, and table top. All of them have a major purpose: to provide a flat surface to iron out wrinkles on the clothes. Manufacturers have come up with different kinds built with different features to make ironing tasks safe and more convenient.

Portable ironing board

As the name implies, portable ironing boards can be transferred to different areas of the house where ironing can be done. It is lightweight and has foldable legs to easily store or move it from one place to another. The legs are also extendable to easily adjust the height to conform to the user. Many American homes use this kind of ironing board. It can be difficult to carry and set up but it is very portable compared to the other kinds of ironing boards.

Wall-mounted ironing board

Many small spaced apartments use wall-mounted ironing board because it saves space. This kind of ironing board is mounted on and folds out from wall or closet. They are also installed in walk-in closets and other narrow spaces.

Wall mounted ironing boards not only save space, but time also. It can be easily deployed or stored away without the need to carry and unfold it. It is made with strong materials and construction, plus it can be angled according to the convenience of the user.

Table top ironing board

A table top ironing board is made with short legs and can be placed on top of the bed, table, or counter. It is very portable, lightweight, and saves space. It is also the smallest kind which limits clothes to be conveniently placed on top of it. Ironing out shirt sleeves can be a challenge. But since it is very portable and small, the tabletop ironing board is the most popular in college dormitories.

Additional Features

  • Iron rest. Most iron boards have an iron rest on one end. This part keeps the iron in place and prevents it from falling or damaging other fabrics or surfaces.
  • Sleeve attachment. The sleeve attachment is a small board fastened to the main ironing board. It makes ironing small parts of clothes easier.
  • Hanging rack. The hanging rack is space for freshly ironed clothes. It is attached at the wide end of the ironing board.



The biggest advantage of an ironing board is it provides a sturdy, firm surface that you can transfer from one area of the house to another. Some modern ironing boards are built with additional features such as water steam stations, hanging rails, sleeve attachments, storage hooks, organizers, and others. It has an adjustable height that conforms to the height of the user.

It is small, movable and foldable table built with a heat resistant surface. It comes in different sizes from 43 x 12 inches to 53 x 19 inches. It is made of raw materials such as board, cold rolled steel, metal rivets, rubber or plastic tips for the feet, degreasing agents, and oil based paint.


However, ironing boards can take up space. This is a major concern if you have a limited space in your apartment. It is not portable and can’t be brought when you are traveling. Some ironing boards are heavy and feature poor construction that could not stand the test of time.

Choose high quality ironing boards. Examples of the best ironing boards are the Rowenta IB9100 Pro Compact Professional Space Saving Folding Ironing Board, Eureka Compact Wall Mounted Ironing Board, and Homz Durabilt DX1500 Premium Steel Top Ironing Board. They are made with sturdy materials and construction, plus bonus features including iron holders, hanging rails, iron rests, organizers, and more.

My Top Pick

Honey-Can-Do Tabletop Ironing Board

Compact, inexpensive, portable – the Honey-Can-Do is one of the most convenient ironing boards out there.  Its low price point makes it a very easy purchase to make, and it holds up in a variety of spatially-challenged situations such as a dorm room, small apartment, or Airbnb.  The metal iron rest is a great touch to help prevent scorching.

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Whether to use an ironing mat or an ironing board really comes down to your personal taste – what is the best for your situation?  If space is a big factor, then a tabletop ironing board or magnetic ironing mat may be right for you.  If ironing isn’t really your thing but you have to keep your outfits in nice shape, then a wall-mounted ironing board or using a basic mat on your bed may be the best option.

Whatever you choose, I hope you have a much better idea now of the types of options that are available for you.  Taking care of your clothes is one of the best things you can do to help your daily self-confidence and investing the brief amount of time to iron goes quite a long way in the long run.

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