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Best curling irons: straighteners and curlers for all hair types

Best curling irons

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.

ProductPriceOverall RatingPerformance & VersatilityConvenienceSafetyWarranty & SupportPerformance ScoreTime to TemperatureTemperature RangeNumber of Heat SettingsTemperature Accuracy ScoreBarrel TypeBarrel Size (inches)Length of Cord (feet)Multiple BarrelsSpring ClampDigital DisplayEase of Use ScoreSwivel CordElevated RestProtective Heat ShieldAutomatic Shut OffHeat Resistant GloveThin/FineCurlyThick/CoarseVideo TutorialsWarrantyEmailTelephone
John FriedaView Deal4.5/59.8107.58.399%:091501185%Ceramic17.597%5 Years
Conair Infiniti Pro Nano TourmalineView Deal4.5/ Ceramic0.75685%5 Years
Xtava Satin WaveView Deal4.5/599.37.58.891%:18124Dial95%Ceramic1865%2 Years
Remington T-Studio Pearl CI95AC2BCDNView Deal4.5/5987.59.598%:10115990%Ceramic15.785%4 Years
Remington CI91XView Deal4/57.37109.575%:461381090%Ceramic1671%4 Years
Farouk Chi ArcView Deal4/5109.55.8100%:082152390%Ceramic110.787%1 Year
BaByliss PRO Nano TitaniumView Deal3.5/598.82.5792%:08170875%Titanium17.593%2 Years
Revlon Perfect HeatView Deal3.5/58855.885%:12951075%Ceramic1.25880%1 Year

Best curling irons

John Frieda

John Frieda

This is the best curling iron right now

It has a wide temperature range
Good for all hair types
Ergonomic handle
Difficult to create loose waves
Doesn’t come with heat-resistant glove
Other curling irons have more accurate temperature gauges

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.

Best value

Conair CD107TP

Conair CD107TP

A favorite among testers
Heats up quickly
Not a wide temperature range
Not great for thin hair
Only 6 feet of cord length

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.

Best for thin hair

Farouk Arc Chi

Farouk Arc Chi

A great option for anyone with thin or delicate hair

A favorite among testers
Wide temperature range
Long power cord
No automatic shut-off
Must be unplugged to turn it off
No protective heat shield

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.

Most interchangeable barrels

Xtava Satin Wave

Xtava Satin Wave

An excellent, versatile choice

Has five interchangeable barrels
Doesn’t have a cool-touch barrel tip

The Xtava Satin Wave is the most versatile curling iron we tested. It has five interchangeable barrels that help you create a variety of styles, with options ranging from loose waves to tight ringlets. The barrels are easy to remove and click back into place, and a heat-resistant glove protects you from burns.

The Satin Wave created the longest-lasting curls of any curling iron we reviewed. We evaluated our testers’ tresses after one, two, five and eight hours, and the curls made with the Xtava held up all day. However, you should use caution with this curling iron if you have fine or damaged hair, as it gets extremely hot. In fact, because its 1-inch ceramic barrel lacks a cool-touch tip, some of our testers burned their fingers. Blisters aside, the Satin Wave has safety features such as an automatic shut-off and a heat-resistant travel sleeve. Xtava backs this curling iron with a two-year warranty.

Best for wavy hair

Remington CI91X

Remington CI91X

Easy to use and perfect for creating waves in your hair

Has a clamp-free curling wand design
Curling technique takes time to perfect

The Remington CI91X isn’t a traditional curling iron – it’s a curling wand, which means it doesn’t have a clamp. Curling wands create more natural-looking waves than curling irons. Rather than being a uniform shape like a curling iron barrel, a curling wand’s barrel tapers at the end so you can create curls in varied sizes.

Because curling wands don’t have clasps, you manually wrap your hair around their barrels. The CI91X is also known as the T-Studio Thermaluxe Wide Curling Wand. It has a nonstick ceramic barrel and comes with an insulated bag and styling glove. It has a cool-touch tip to help you avoid burning your fingers as well as an automatic shutoff. The CI91X’s digital display is easy to read, and the curling iron has a fabric-covered, swiveling cord. Remington’s four-year warranty is better than average, and our experiences with the company’s customer service have been excellent.

Why trust us? 

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.

Important Things to Consider When Purchasing a Curling Iron

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.

Ceramic vs. Tourmaline vs. Titanium

Ceramic curling irons distribute heat evenly by emitting negatively charged ions. They don't strip your hair of its natural oils, which will make your curls look smoother. Ceramic irons are also the roughest curling iron surface, which means your hair is less likely to slip off but also more likely to catch and snag.

Tourmaline curling irons also heat up your hair by emitting negative ions. This kind of curling iron is made of ceramic but has a layer of tourmaline wrapped around the barrel and plate. This not only protects the ceramic place but will leave your hair looking shinier after you use it.

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.

While using a curling iron it's important not to leave the iron in your hair for too long. Make sure to read the directions of the product you buy and follow them. The hotter the curling iron, the less time you'll need to leave it in your hair. That being said, you should only use a very hot curling iron on thick or coarse hair. Thin hair is more likely to break or burn.

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. 

If you travel a lot you should consider a heat resistant storage pouch for your curling iron. Available from a variety of retailers including Amazon, these bags protect curling irons from unnecessary wear and tear while you travel. They also protect other items from your still-warm curling iron. Just make sure you've purchased a bag that is heat and water resistant. That way you can toss it in the bag while it's still warm and head out the door without having to wait for your curling iron to cool down.

Looking for more great hair content? Then check out our guide to the best hair dryers for at-home blow outs, or if you have a much shorter hair cut that you'd like to keep neat, consider the best hair clippers for cutting your own hair.