Best Curling Irons of 2018

Angela Parkinson ·
Updated
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After testing curling irons on seven people who have completely different hair types, we determined The John Frieda is the best curling iron. It heats up quickly, taking only nine seconds to reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The curling iron also has a good range of temperature settings for different types of hair. Finally, it has many of the safety features we looked for and boasts a long warranty.  

Best Overall

The John Frieda

The John Frieda curling iron has a wide temperature range that creates curls in all types of hair, and they hold for a long time. Our testers lauded the features and convenience of this curling iron.
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Best Value

Conair CD107TP

This curling iron not only is the least expensive, but it also received a lot of praise from our testers. It heats up quickly, reaching 100 degrees in six seconds. However, it does tend to run too hot for those with thin hair.
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Best for Thin Hair

Farouk Arc Chi

The Arc Chi has a wide temperature range, which makes it great for curling hair of all types. However, it’s missing some safety features, such as automatic shut-off.
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Product
Price
$22.49Amazon
$10.71Amazon
$40.00Amazon
$20.75Amazon
$34.99Amazon
$149.95Amazon
$49.95Amazon
$10.64Amazon
Overall Rating
9.2
9
8.8
8.5
8
7.5
7.4
7.2
Performance & Versatility
9.8
9.3
9
9
7.3
10
9
8
Convenience
10
9.3
9.3
8
7
9.5
8.8
8
Safety
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
10
2.5
5
Warranty & Support
8.3
10
8.8
9.5
9.5
5.8
7
5.8
Performance Score
99%
98%
91%
98%
75%
100%
92%
85%
Time to Temperature
:09
:06
:18
:10
:46
:08
:08
:12
Temperature Range
150
106
124
115
138
215
170
95
Number of Heat Settings
11
5
Dial
9
10
23
8
10
Temperature Accuracy Score
85%
95%
95%
90%
90%
90%
75%
75%
Barrel Type
Ceramic
Tourmaline Ceramic
Ceramic
Ceramic
Ceramic
Ceramic
Titanium
Ceramic
Barrel Size (inches)
1
0.75
1
1
1
1
1
1.25
Length of Cord (feet)
7.5
6
8
5.7
6
10.7
7.5
8
Multiple Barrels
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Spring Clamp
N/A
N/A
Digital Display
N/A
N/A
Ease of Use Score
97%
85%
65%
85%
71%
87%
93%
80%
Swivel Cord
Elevated Rest
N/A
N/A
Protective Heat Shield
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Automatic Shut Off
N/A
N/A
Heat Resistant Glove
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Thin/Fine
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Curly
Thick/Coarse
N/A
Video Tutorials
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Warranty
5 Years
5 Years
2 Years
4 Years
4 Years
1 Year
2 Years
1 Year
Email
Telephone
Best Overall

The John Frieda

This curling iron was a favorite among our testers. The iron’s clip, combined with the ceramic titanium barrel, produces tight curls, and it distributes heat evenly along the barrel to prevent damaging delicate hair.
The clip holds hair tighter to the barrel than other curling irons, so creating loose curls requires an adjustment in technique. That said, our testers described the results as “the perfect ringlet” and “a good curl.” Part of the reason this curler scored well with our testers is its wide temperature range. All our testers have different hair types, and the ones with thin hair – usually thin hair is more prone to damage at high temperatures – didn’t have any complaints and liked the curls The John Frieda produced. Our testers also said this curling iron was comfortable to hold. The thumb trigger for the clip is close to the handle, so it doesn’t take additional hand maneuvering to open it. Other models we tested required some uncomfortable thumb stretching to get to the clip. The John Frieda has a 7.5-foot cord, so you don’t have to hug the wall to curl your hair. Many others have a 6-foot cord or shorter. The curler also has a cool tip, which makes it easier to maneuver and curl your hair with both hands.
Pros
  • It has a wide temperature range
  • Good for all hair types
  • Ergonomic handle
Cons
  • Difficult to create loose waves
  • Doesn’t come with heat-resistant glove
  • Other curling irons have more accurate temperature gauges
$22.49Amazon
Best Value

Conair CD107TP

Our testers admired the curls the Conair produced, which is great considering this is the least expensive curling iron we tested.
One of the curler’s advantages is that it heats up quickly. We found it can reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit in less than six seconds, which was the fastest time of the irons we reviewed. On the other hand, one of the downsides of this curling iron is that it doesn’t have a wide temperature range. In fact, its lowest temperature is over 300 degrees, and that’s too hot for some hair types. Our testers with straight and fine hair found that it simply got too hot. This curling iron has all the safety features we looked for, including a protective heat shield. The heat shield is placed over the barrel so you don’t touch the hot iron as it cools down. It also features an automatic shut-off. Finally, it has a cool tip so you don’t burn your fingers.
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • A favorite among testers
  • Heats up quickly
Cons
  • Not a wide temperature range
  • Not great for thin hair
  • Only 6 feet of cord length
$13.50Amazon
Best for Thin Hair

Farouk Arc Chi

This is one of the more unusual hair curlers we tested. What it lacks in safety features, it makes up for in other ways.
For starters, it has a wide temperature range. Since you can adjust its temperature to your hair type, all our testers created long-lasting curls with it. This hair curler does a lot of the work for you. After you clip your hair, you press a button, and the barrel rotates for you. You can press another button to unroll the hair. Some testers liked this feature; others didn’t care for it. This particular feature is best for those with long, thick hair. As mentioned, this iron lacks some safety features. The Farouk Arc Chi hair curler doesn’t have an automatic shut-off. If you forget to turn off your curling iron after use, it creates potential hazards. Also, when it is plugged in, it is on. Unplugging it is the only way to turn it off. Still, it was a top performer with our testing team.
Pros
  • A favorite among testers
  • Wide temperature range
  • Long power cord
Cons
  • No automatic shut-off
  • Must be unplugged to turn it off
  • No protective heat shield
$149.95Amazon

Why Trust Us? 

We’ve been researching and evaluating curling irons for the last five years. In those years, we’ve not only looked at manufacturers’ pages and review forums, but also kept up-to-date on beauty industry trends. The last two years, we’ve ordered 20 curling irons for our researchers to test in-house and spent many hours curling different hair types. 

How We Tested 

We first narrowed our research to models with the same barrel size or as close as possible. Through meticulous research of user reviews and online research, we selected the 10 best.

Once we got the products, we had seven testers, all with different hair types, use all the curling irons for a week. We scored each curling iron based on their comments and assessment. We observed how long the curls lasted on product-free hair, checking after one, two, five and eight hours.

A curling iron’s temperature is important, so we used a laser thermometer to measure the accuracy of the temperature gauge on each curling iron. We compared our measurements to the temperatures claimed on the company website.

Finally, we scored the curling irons on temperature range and the number of settings. Curling irons with the widest temperature ranges received the highest scores because they are more versatile and can curl many types of hair without damage.

Important Things to Consider When Purchasing a Curling Iron 

Safety 

On its own, a curling iron is not likely to start a fire in your home when left on but bad outcomes are possible if fabric or tissue falls on it or someone grabs the hot barrel. A feature such as automatic shut-off can reduce the danger. Curling irons that provide safety gloves or a heat-resistant shield also help prevent burns.

Performance
When you’re considering the type of curl you hope to achieve, the size of a curling iron or wand’s barrel is important because it determines the tightness of your curls. The shape of the barrel is also significant. Whether its uniform, spiralled or tapered can give you very different results. If you’re looking for more natural waves, you might like a curling wand better than a curling iron. Defining your style before you go shopping can help you find the right product for your needs.

Convenience
Look for curling irons that have a longer power cord.  Anything over 6 feet is a good place to start. A long cord keeps you from feeling like you are attached to the wall as you curl your hair. A digital screen is nice so you can easily monitor the temperature of the curling iron. 

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