9.23
/ 10
8.98
/ 10
8.75
/ 10
8.50
/ 10
7.98
/ 10
7.45
/ 10
7.43
/ 10
7.18
/ 10
6.80
/ 10
6.68
/ 10
5.83
/ 10

Best Hair Types

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Thin/Fine
Curly
Thick/Coarse
Curling Irons: We've spent 40 hours researching and 40 more hours testing curling irons in order to recommend the ones we think are the best purchases.
Get the look you desire even if you have flat or thin hair. With the right curling iron, you can have volume, curls and waves in minutes.

Performance & Versatility

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Performance Score
99%
98%
91%
98%
75%
100%
92%
85%
94%
74%
84%
Temperature Accuracy Score
85%
95%
95%
90%
90%
90%
75%
75%
45%
65%
50%
Time to Temperature
:09
:06
:18
:10
:46
:08
:08
:12
1:16
:09
1:58
Temperature Range
150
106
124
115
138
215
170
95
24
55
19
Number of Heat Settings
11
5
Dial
9
10
23
8
10
30
2
Dial
Barrel Type
Ceramic
Tourmaline Ceramic
Ceramic
Ceramic
Ceramic
Ceramic
Titanium
Ceramic
24K Gold-Plated
Tourmaline
Titanium
Barrel Size (inches)
1
0.75
1
1
1
1
1
1.25
1
N/A
1

Convenience

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Ease of Use Score
97%
85%
65%
85%
71%
87%
93%
80%
94%
61%
61%
Length of Cord (feet)
7.5
6
8
5.7
6
10.7
7.5
8
5.9
6
7.5
Swivel Cord
Digital Display
Spring Clamp
Multiple Barrels

Safety

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Automatic Shut Off
Heat Resistant Glove
Protective Heat Shield
Elevated Rest

Warranty & Support

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Warranty
5 Years
5 Years
2 Years
4 Years
4 Years
1 Year
2 Years
1 Year
1 Year
5 Years
1 Year
Email
Telephone
Video Tutorials

Curling Irons

Why Use a Curling Iron?

We gathered seven testers in our office with completely different hair types and had them use 11 of the best curling irons on the market today to help single out the best of the best. We were looking for the perfect curling iron for all users, but we did not find it. The John Freida Tight Curls comes the closest, though.

Our testers noted that this John Freida device made beautiful curls on the first attempt. The digital screen makes it easy to get the right temperature for your hair type, and the smooth ceramic coating is designed to distribute heat and protect hair from hot spots that can cause damage. It was the best hair curler overall, making it easy to consistently create shiny curls.

The Conair CD107TP was also a hit with testers. This unit made long-lasting curls quickly that our testers loved. It is wonderful on normal and thick hair, and the price is so nice. It runs a little hot so we can't quite recommend it for our finer-haired friends, in every case. However, the wand is made of a material that is designed to lessen the impacts of heat on hair so it is safe even for some fine hair, on lower settings.

The Xtava 5-in-1 was also very effective, albeit a little dangerous. The lack of a cool tip on the 1-inch barrel we were testing led to a few minor burns, but if you know about that going in this really is a good curling iron. The Xtava gave us shiny, long-lasting curls, and it comes with five different barrels so it is a great value when you consider the different types of curls and waves you can create with one tool.

Another good choice is the Farouk Arc Chi. It lacked some of the safety features we value, but if you live in a household with adults it might be just fine. This curling iron rolls and unrolls the hair for you, which was quite jarring for our testers. The curls we got with this one were gorgeous, though, and they lasted a very long time so if you don't mind getting used to the added capabilities you will love it.

Curling Irons: What We Tested, What We Found

We sought out curling irons with the same-sized barrels in each model, or the closest sizes available, and had a panel of testers with different hair types use them. They scored each and commented on the quality of curls they were able to make. We also made one curl with each curling iron on the same amount of product-free hair on the same person and observed the curls after one, two, five and eight hours to see how they held up. There are lots of factors that can impact all of these types of tests, of course, but taken together, we got a pretty clear picture of which curling irons are likely to give the most people the best results.

To ensure you have the high temperatures you need for thick hair and the low temperatures you need for fine hair, we measured how accurate the curling iron temperatures were. We made note of how close they were to the highest and lowest temperatures claimed on the dial or the website. We also recorded the difference between the lowest and highest temperatures in order to give credit for more choice in settings. That way you can use the least heat possible to curl your hair without damaging it.

Which Styling Tools are Best?

To be clear, all of the curling irons curled all of the hair we wrapped around them – every time. At least some of getting a good curl is less about the curling iron and more about your skill and your hair type. But the best curling irons stood out for making it easy for most people to curl their hair the way they like. And when used in the same way, at roughly the same settings on the same hair, the results did differ, at least slightly, between these 11 curling irons. We analyzed all of those differences and summarized them in our curling iron reviews.

Here are some of the ways these curling wands distinguished themselves:

Performance & Versatility

While all of the curling irons we considered curled hair, some were better at creating longer-lasting and shinier curls than others. Temperature is important in hair curling, as well, especially if you have fine hair that might be easily damaged by too-hot temps, so we looked for the ones that offer a wide range of temperatures.

We also looked for the ones that came closest to reaching the temperatures reflected on their screens, when they had one, and the ones that allowed you to adjust temperature easily. We also looked for the curling irons that heated up the fastest, which is convenient in a time crunch.

There is a lot of debate about which type of barrel covering is best, but one thing most agree on is that ceramic is a good choice. Anything beyond basic painted metal is going to help protect hair from heat damage, but ceramic is the most universally praised by experts. Ceramic barrels are designed to emit negative ions that reduce frizz and prevent static electricity. Metal barrels heat up quickly and can become very hot – hot enough to damage some hair types.

Titanium and gold-plated barrels are also common, but they only feature a coating over the barrel to protect hair from the excess heat. When the coating wears off, a metal barrel is underneath, ready to cause damage to weaker hair. Ceramic has the best reputation for keeping the barrel evenly heated so hot spots can't damage your hair.

Convenience

Some curling irons stood out for convenient extras as we ran them through our battery of tests, with features like longer cords that swivel and digital screens that make it easier to know the barrel's temperature so you have enough heat to curl but not damage. We also looked for overall ease of use, which, for most users, means a spring clamp to hold hair in place as it curls rather than the wand design. The clip-free wand design is tapered so it has other benefits – namely the ability to create a different style of curl – but most agree that it is harder to use.

Safety

A curling iron is very unlikely to start a fire, but you could have a real problem if you left it in a place where it could have a bit of fabric or tissue fall over it. It's worth knowing that the curling iron you forgot to turn off will turn itself off in a pinch. We looked for that as well as things that keep you from getting burned, like gloves and a heat resistant shield you can put in place while the curling iron cools down. An elevated rest can protect your countertops so we looked for that as well.

Help & Support

With all products, it is important to have a strong and long warranty as well as easily- accessible customer support from the manufacturer. Even if curling irons do not represent a huge investment we looked for the ones that had both so you can buy once and enjoy the product for a long time.

A sleek straight look can be great for every day, but there are times you want something a little different. The lucky ones can just wash their hair and let it dry into practically perfect curls. For most of us it is a little more complicated than that. A curly or wavy look takes time, effort and the right tool. After testing some of the most popular curling irons on the market on a number of different hair types, we were pleased to find quite a few good options. Be sure to read our reviews to find the best one for your morning routine.