Top critical review
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Brabantia Aqua Bowl
on 20 June 2010
The Brabantia Aqua Bowl ironing board offers an exceptionally large ironing area, which is great if you like to iron duvet sets as it makes this a lot easier, as well as speedier. The board is relatively heavy but that also means it is robustly constructed, with a strong cross bar between the legs that I use to hang the board on the wall for storage.
It is easy to take up and down, with a catch located under the board to open it up and a firm click back into place once you have finished. The height is adjustable and the board is stable at each height. The cover that comes with the board is grey, not the currently pictured blue.
I decided to buy this board because I use a steam generator iron and noticed that quite a bit of water dripped onto the floor through the cover and felt on my previous board and so I was attracted to the claims that this would be eliminated. I also liked the addition of the pull out holder to accommodate the steam generator itself, having previously either placed the unit on a nearby table or on the board, thereby restricting the available ironing area.
The holder works well and provides a stable place on which to stand the steam generator and would accommodate most generators as it is generously sized. It is pulled out from the ironing board and then a clip action allows it to drop down into position for use, which is reversed when the board is stored.
Unfortunately, I have found a shortcoming with the aqua bowl system itself. Whilst ironing, there are no drips of condensation through the board onto the floor, so it achieves that objective, but I have had difficulty in actually emptying the water at the point I want to store the board. The instructions state that the board should be raised to a 45 degree angle so that water can be drained into the bowl on the underside (do this slowly as, depending on the amount of ironing you have done, there is a surprising amount of accumulated water). Once the water has been drained off, the board can be stored - but this is where I have found there to be problems. No matter how long the board is left before storage, I have never been able to remove all of the water (even leaving the board standing for 24 hours) with the result that the end of the board always becomes soggy, water drips onto the floor where it is stored and ultimately the cover becomes stained at that point. This does not seem to be an issue displayed by an isolated board as I've had three and all were the same, which is not what I had expected from a board advertised to prevent water on the floor.
I have decided to keep the board as I do like the steam generator holder and the fact that it is robustly constructed, which I couldn't match in alternative boards that I considered. But I remain very disappointed that I have to store the board with a towel underneath to prevent puddles on the floor. I have rated three stars because I am keeping the board despite the obvious shortcoming.
Update 2014: I still have problems with draining water from the board after ironing but have found that if I accumulate less ironing there is less water to drain and the dripping problem is much reduced. I therefore try to iron more frequently and now have a microfibre door mat under the board which soaks up any drips and keeps the floor dry where it is stored. As much as I hate ironing the moral for me has been to do it little and more often.