Straighteners work because they have flat plates that get hot and touch together on either side of your hair. By doing that, they put heat through your hair follicles, trap in moisture and take out frizz. The plates on a flat iron can be made of several different materials, and they’re good for different uses. The best iron for you varies depending on the type of hair you have, the type of styling you want to do, and the amount of heat your hair needs.
We’ve all heard the saying that the grass is always greener on the other side, and our hair types tend to follow the same old adage. If you were born with a head full of beautiful curls, you probably spent your childhood longing for straight hair; if you were born with bone straight hair, then you’ve probably spent more hours than you’d care to admit with a throbbing curler-induced headache. No matter how hard we may try to love the hair we’re born with; the truth is that most of us wish there were something else perched on top of our heads from time to time.
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The solution? Automatic shut off. That way, even if you do forget to turn off your hair straightener, you can be at ease knowing it will turn off on its own automatically. Not all hair straighteners come with this feature, and if you don't have an issue remembering to turn these types of things off it may not be necessary. Still, a little peace of mind and extra precaution never hurt.
When taming coarse, wavy or curly hair, sometimes you need a little to kick it up a notch. That’s why we love that the CHI G2 Ceramic and Titanium Flat Iron can reach a maximum temperature of 475° F and heats up in under a minute! With this hair straightener, say goodbye to wasted time waiting for your tool to heat up, and get styled and out in the door!

It is important to consider what options are important to you when selecting a hair straightener. You must select a hair iron with a heat setting that fits your needs. If you have fine hair, a lower heat setting may be sufficient. However, thick coarse hair may require a higher heat setting to achieve your desired look. Plate size should also be considered. A flat iron with small plates might be best for shorter hair, while a flat iron with larger plates might be best for longer hair. Some hair straighteners have features such as temperature readouts and rollers that might be important to your needs.

Unlike the Bio Ionic’s handy digital temperature control, the Chi Air uses a small dial on the side of the tool that’s harder to read. The dial’s placement makes it not only more difficult to get an accurate reading, but also more prone to being hit by your hand and switching to a new temperature. That being said, most of our testers didn’t mind this minor inconvenience since they don’t expect to change the tool’s temperature often.


Creative director of GLAMSQUAD Giovanni Vaccaro prefers this flat iron by Sedu. "The ceramic plates are really key to maintain the integrity and healthiness of the hair," he says. To get expertly straight hair, Vaccaro recommends using a boar-bristle brush to help mediate frizz, and that "the follow through is key" when moving the iron and comb completely from roots to tips.
Unlike the plain Jane ceramic plates of most hair straighteners, the tourmaline-infused ceramic plates in the CHI Air Expert Classic Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron are designed to keep your hair healthy during styling. Specifically, the tourmaline helps to more evenly distribute the heat during use which, in turn, creates a higher number of negative ions for shinier and healthier looking hair with each use. This reduces the static electricity created, meaning you get a sleeker, smoother style.
If Gisele's mane meets your #hairgoals, consider this iron created by her stylist Harry Josh. The wider-than-usual 1.25 inch plates allow contact with a larger surface area in order to speed up styling time, and the quick-heating ceramic-titanium plates (it takes only 45 seconds to reach 400 degrees) abolish frizz and boost shine for model-worthy strands.
Curling irons, also known as curling tongs, create waves or curls in hair using a variety of different methods. There are many different types of modern curling irons, which can vary by diameter, material, and shape of barrel and the type of handle. The barrel's diameter can be anywhere from .5 in (1.3 cm) to 2 in (5.1 cm). Smaller barrels typically create spiral curls or ringlets, and larger barrels are used to give shape and volume to a hairstyle.
Seemingly small details like cord length can make all the difference in the effectiveness of a beauty tool. A longer cord length is desirable here, giving you more freedom and versatility depending on the power outlet situation in your home or your hotel if you're traveling. A cord with 360 swivel capabilities is also a plus. You'll be moving your hair straightener all around your head as you style, and a rotating cord will keep it from getting tangled.
Once you get over the sticker shock, you'll see just how revolutionary this tool is. It's not a traditional flat iron by any means, but one of the attachments called the "firm smoothing brush" can be used to straighten and smooth frizz in coarse, thick hair. Best part? It works on damp hair, so you're cutting down on the time it takes to get ready as well.

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.
While it isn’t the fastest heating hair straightener we have reviewed, the CHI Air Expert Classic Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron warms up to temperature in just one minute! If one minute seems like too long for you to wait, try adding a bit of multitasking into your morning routine by taking advantage of this found time. If you are at a loss for what you can do in just one minute, check out this list for a little inspiration:
Weighing just over 1 pound, the BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium Straightening Iron is the lightest hair straightener on our list of the best flat irons! This lightweight design makes it a great choice for users that are constantly on the go, and even when traveling. In fact, this model might make a wonderful “second straightener” for someone that wants to keep their locks looking fine on the road without toting around their heavier at-home hair straightener!
The plate material you choose can also make a big difference on your style results. Ceramic, titanium, and tourmaline are the most common terms you'll come across. Ceramic plates hold heat well and provide even heat distribution, preventing any hot spots on the plates can cause damage. Ceramic is especially effective for fine hair that can be especially vulnerable to heat damage. While many hair straighteners have ceramic coated plates, plates made entirely from this material are more effective, as this coating can wear off over time. Tourmaline is a gemstone, but when crushed and used to coat the plates of a hair straightener, it has properties and results similar to ceramic plates.
While temperature control is typically a good thing to have in a hair straightener, it can also result in hair damage if you're keeping the temperature too high. The GHD Gold eliminates the chance of any user error, operating at an even 365 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the optimal temperature for most hair types, getting you smooth results without damaging your hair. The gold coated ceramic plates heat up quickly and maintain an even temperature, eliminating the chance for any hair damaging hot spots as well.
By-and-large, most people with natural hair have some variation of type 3 or type 4 – which is exactly why low-end hair straighteners can be so dangerous. More curly natural black hair has a tendency to be more porous than other hair types. As a result, it can lose moisture easily and become damaged. With the wrong flat iron, this can lead to split ends and breakage after just a single use.
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I started this site after I made the decision to get a new hair straightener. I am not a novice with irons by any means, and I’ve had just about every kind imaginable except for some of the newest options. When I realized how far the industry had come in the last couple of years, I decided it was time to try something new. A good flat iron can last for years, as long as you look after it and make sure you buy one that’s robust enough to take what you put it through. By doing your homework up front, you can make sure you not only get the right straightener for your locks, but you don’t end up spending an inordinate amount of money on something that doesn’t work for you. Believe me, I’ve been there!

Odds are, you probably just read right over the fact that this flat iron for hair comes with floating plates, but here’s the thing: floating plates are kind of a big deal. Our plates are not fixed, meaning that they have the ability to flex with your hair to get a better grip. What does that mean for you? The plates work with your hair in any position to help get it straight and smooth in less time.

While there are a lot of great options to choose from, our all-around top pick is the LumaBella Keratin Duel Touch Hair Straightener. Featuring unique, keratin-infused plates for optimal shine and less damage, the LumaBella Keratin Duel Touch Hair Straightener proves that technology really can make a difference when it comes to hair care! We also love this model’s innovative smart heat sensors that protect hair from heat damage and lock in moisture.
Despite these downsides, the HSI Professional comes with plenty of positives, including extras not often found with other hair straighteners. Along with the straightener, you'll receive a carrying case, a heat-resistant glove for easier hair styling, a style guide, and a travel-size argan oil leave-in hair treatment serum to smooth and protect your hair. This is more than most high-end hair straighteners come with, all for a fraction of the price.
Odds are, you probably just read right over the fact that this flat iron for hair comes with floating plates, but here’s the thing: floating plates are kind of a big deal. Our plates are not fixed, meaning that they have the ability to flex with your hair to get a better grip. What does that mean for you? The plates work with your hair in any position to help get it straight and smooth in less time.
Automatic shutoff isn’t a feature we included in our criteria since people have varying opinions about it, but we liked that the Chi Elite has this. Especially for new users who might forget to turn off their flat irons. Like the Chi Air, the Chi Elite will shut off after one hour. However, if you’re working with kinky hair, auto shutoff may be a problem. Traditionally this hair type will take longer to straighten due to detangling and the fragility of the hair.
As an added bonus, titanium has also been found to resist rust, so your hair straightener will keep its out-of-the-box look for years to come. This is particularly important when you are making a long-term investment by purchasing a high-end or professional hair straightener. After all, you wouldn’t want your car or bathtub to start rusting after just a couple of uses and the beauty tools you use for your flowing hair should be no different!
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