Why Use a Curling Iron?
The top performers in our review are the Amika Digital Titanium Pro, the Gold Award winner, Remington T Studio Pearl, the Silver Award winner; and the Conair Infiniti Pro Nano Tourmaline, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a product to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 products.
Perfect curls don't come naturally to every woman. Many women need help to achieve a voluminous, curly or wavy look. Curling irons are an inexpensive and easy tool to help you receive loose or tight curls. These products help increase your volume and texture if you typically have straight or flat hair. However, not all curling irons are made the same.
A curling iron typically comprises of a long handle and a barrel that conducts heat. The heated barrels are available in different sizes, which result in different types of curls. Smaller barrels produce tighter, more spiral curls, whereas larger barrels create looser waves. Most barrels range from a half-inch to 1.5 inches.
There are a variety of hair curlers that are ideal for your hair type and the type of curl you are after. Spring-clamp curling irons use a clamp to hold hair down as you wrap it around the heated barrel. There is a spring beneath the clamp so it will hold your hair in place as you wrap it. This is one of the easiest and most popular types of curling irons available.
Marcel curling irons are often used by professionals. These curling irons also use a clamp, but you must hold down the clamp manually. Clamp curling irons are ideal for thicker or coarse hair because the clamp holds the hair in place as you rotate the hair around the barrel.
Curling wands are also becoming increasingly popular. These products don't use any type of clamp to hold down the hair. These are particularly useful if you have thin hair and need extra volume. Thin and fine hair benefits from these devices, because this type of hair typically curls easier and is easier to hold around a barrel. Thicker hair may struggle with this type of device, as it may slide off of the barrel. Additionally, these hair curlers prevent creases in your curl from a clamp, and you'll have less damage with split ends.
Which Styling Tools Are Best?
When looking for the best curling iron, you must consider the type of curl you desire, the size of curl and even the type of product you need for your particular hair type. Below are a few additional features you should consider as you determine the curling iron that is best for you, and be sure to check out our articles on curling irons.
Your hair's ability to hold curls is not determined by the curling iron itself, but by your hair's thickness and texture. Many of the best curling irons can reach heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. However, temperatures above 350 degrees can cause extensive heat damage and dry out thin and fine hair. The higher temperatures are ideal for thicker and coarser hair. However, most curling irons offer multiple heat settings so you can choose the exact heat for your particular hair type, even if your curling iron can reach high temperatures. The best curling irons offer more than five heat settings, while the best hair curlers offer 20 or more.
Types of Curling Irons
One major difference among these products is the materials the barrels are designed from. Ceramic barrels are popular because they emit negative ions that reduce frizz and prevent static electricity. Metal barrels heat up quickly and can become very hot. However, the high heat can also easily damage hair. Titanium and gold-plated barrels are also common, but they only feature a protective coating over the barrel to protect hair from the excess heat. When the coating wears off, a metal barrel is often found underneath.
Not only are many curling irons designed differently, such as curling wands and spring-clamp irons, but they also come with different design features that set them apart. Look for hair styling products with a long power cord that swivels. This provides you with more flexibility and prevents you from feeling like you are connected to the wall. The swivel cord also makes it easier to reach the hair behind your head.
Many of the best curling irons we reviewed provide a handful of safety features. The high temperatures and easy access to the heated barrel can easily cause burns. Several high-end curling irons automatically shut off if they have not been used for a certain period of time. Other irons allow you to set a sleep timer each time you use the product so it will automatically turn off, but only if you turn the feature on first.
Furthermore, an indicator light is featured on the exterior of many curling irons that alerts you when the hair curler is turned on and hot. Some curling irons that do not offer an indicator light may feature a digital display, which will light up when turned on and tell you the exact temperature of the curling iron.
Some curling irons include accessories that you can use for safety. Look for products that offer a protective heat shield that you can place on the barrel when you're finished to prevent someone from touching the hot barrel. Additionally, heat-protective gloves are often included with curling wands to protect your hand from accidentally touching the hot barrel.
Help & Support
Look for curling irons with a long manufacturer warranty. The average amount of time many hair curlers are covered is just one year. The best curling irons are covered for five years or more. Furthermore, if you do have any questions or concerns about your curling iron, it is nice to know that help options are available. Look to buy products from companies that offer several customer support options such as email and telephone options.
Curling Irons: Our Verdict and Recommendations
Our top three products rose above other curling irons in our rankings because of their high temperatures and numerous heat settings. The Remington T-Studio Pearl, for example, boasts nine heat settings that range from 265 to 410 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, all three products provide a digital display and automatic shut-off capabilities.
The Farouk Chi Arc curling iron is also a standout for its unique design and heat setting capabilities. This curling iron has a range of 1 to 410 degrees Fahrenheit. It does not have distinct heat settings, but you can choose the exact temperature of the device, a feature we did not see in most of these products. Furthermore, this device does all of the work for you. The barrel twists on its own. You simply clamp down the hair and the iron does the rest of the work.
When you understand your own hair type and what type of curling iron produces the curls you are after, you can easily get the right look without spending time and money and damaging your hair.