I tried to break everything up on the chart by category so it’s easier to narrow things down, but you have to keep in mind there is a ton of overlap in styling tools. You can have large ceramic tourmaline and small titanium steam as well as just about a thousand other options. The point is, although my table is here for those of you who already have an idea of what you want, there is a small chance you might end up looking at something with a few extra bells and whistles because there is so much overlap. If you’re not sure what different kinds of irons there are, head over to my buying guide so you can get that all sorted out before you start reading the reviews.
There is a slide at the base which holds the device from opening all the way (easier for storing) but if you slide the piece it allows the flat iron to open all the way. The instructions inside the box don't explain this part, so at first I thought it didn't open very far, but once I figured this out, it became a breeze to use. Speaking of the instructions, they are listed in English, Spanish, French, and German. (I think... I don't speak/read all of those languages, but I believe that's correct.)
Once you have purchased your new hair straightener and mastered the multitude of ways you can put it to good use, the only thing left to do is take care of it, so it lasts for years to come! Just like any luxury beauty tool, you will want to care for your hair straightener to extend its longevity and prevent corrosion (which can actually leak into your flowing locks…yuck!). Our top tips for caring for and cleaning your new hair straightener include:
“The temperature of the iron can determine the curl pattern on hair that tends to fall easily, as you might need a higher heat to lock in the pattern closer to the root,” she added. “The internal components of the irons also can determine the curl pattern, and that is why it is important to invest in custom, high-end tools that contain internal heaters that go the entire length of the barrel. The higher the heat, the stronger the curl will essentially be. Low heat will produce a softer finish.”
For some people, automatic shutoff is a critical feature since forgetting to unplug your flat iron could lead to a fire. However, others aren’t fans of auto shutoff since that means their flat irons could turn off while they’re still styling their hair. If this is the case for you, we recommend investing in a timed switch. That way, you can program the switch to turn off at a specific time and your flat iron will shut off as well.
Derek Yuen, the man responsible for Cole Sprouse's grown-up new look, recommends the GHD Platinum Professional Performance iron. The flat iron is consistently and evenly heated at 365 degrees, which is safer and less damaging on the strands. “The beveled edges also allow for infinite styling possibilities, not just just for straightening hair,” says Yeun.
In addition to its sweet settings and versatility, this hair straightener is also super lightweight and features thin, 1-inch plates to save precious real estate on your bathroom counter or inside your vanity cabinet! The BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium Straightening Iron is ideal for anyone with a tiny bathroom (or multiple roommates!) and who wants the results of larger hair straighteners without the added weight or storage space.
If you’re looking for an affordable mid-grade hair straightener that offers tremendous value, you can’t go wrong with the HSI Professional Digital Ceramic Flat Iron with Tourmaline. With a quick heat-up, digital LCD temperature control, and solid ceramic plates infused with tourmaline, you can straighten type 3 hair – and some type 4 hair – with ease.
Many hair straighteners feature a visual interface to alert you when the device is getting a bit too hot for comfort or when it has surpassed the ideal temperature for your hair. With the T3 Micro Single Pass Flat Iron, you can expect the same visual cues with the bonus of sound alerts as well! That’s right; this flat iron will actually tell you when it reaches its ideal temperature or when it is about to shut off automatically after one hour. Now that’s some hot tech!
Those with fine hair can keep the straightener at a lower temperature, while those with thick hair can increase the temperature to ensure they'll walk away with the same smooth results. No matter your hair type, the floating plate design and the curved edges of the plates themselves prevent any snagging or damage so your hair will glide through smoothly.
When you apply heat to your hair, which is not a living thing, you’re essentially cooking it. And, just like food, it’s easy to overdo it. Short of actually searing your hair, you still run the risk of drying out each strand, which can lead to breakage and split ends over time. Every head of hair is different, and each type of hair has an optimal flat-iron temperature. Some locks need extremely high temperatures to relax — coarse hair or those with kinky hair need 380 degrees F or above. Others need hardly any heat at all — fine or damaged hair should be good below 300 degrees.
Eight micro-sensors with HeatBalance technology are used to evenly distribute heat, regulating the temperature so that you spend less time applying heat. As a result, it takes less time to straighten hair, preventing it from damage when styling. Additionally, the 1-inch plate width is wide enough for any hair length, yet narrow enough to style your bangs.
Titanium is a lightweight metal that heats up very quickly and can hold high heat at a consistent temperature. This material is ideal for those who have thick, curly, or natural hair that can be more difficult to straighten. Since it's lighter than ceramic, it also makes for a lighter hair straightener overall, which means less arm strain as you're taming your mane. As someone who has very thick hair, I can attest — Any feature that can make styling easier and faster is a plus.
Ever since the early 2000’s when the planet collectively decided that straightening our hair to death was a good idea, beauty companies have been searching for a way to achieve beautiful and natural-looking straight looks without frying or unnecessary damage. From ceramic plates to protective sprays and everything in between, we have been desperately searching for some way, any way, to show off a straight head of hair that isn’t entirely made of straw.
We usually roll our eyes at oil-infused heat tools — but you can actually watch this oil being sucked right out of the refillable cartridge in the handle. When you press the iron closed over your strands, the oil vapor seeps through tiny holes to condition and straighten your hair. And don't worry fine-haired friends: It made our tester's hair silkier, but not like she'd dipped it in an oil vat.