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.
Do you have curly, dry hair? Thick, color-treated hair? Short, straight hair? Fine, kinky hair? Finding the right flat iron for you really depends on your hair type. Heat and plate types are an important factor in this. Your flat iron should reach and maintain the right temperature and be made from the plate material that works best for you. While most will work well on a variety of hair types, pay close attention to reviews from people with hair similar to yours (bonus points if they include before and after pictures).
T3’s white and rose gold flat iron seems too pretty to reliably function, but hey, sometimes miracles happen. There are four temperature settings ranging from 260 to 410 degrees, and the tool heats up in about a minute. Its ceramic plates are infused with tourmaline, a mineral said to make hair extra smooth because it emits negatively-charged ions. There’s no scientific evidence to support this, but my unscientific bathroom study found that this flat iron does indeed make my hair look shinier.
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.
The ability to create bouncy curls or waves with a flat iron (we know, it seems counter-intuitive!) is a biggie in the beauty industry and merits a bit more discussion. If you’re totally lost and there aren’t enough video tutorials on the planet to explain this weird yet awesome process, don’t worry! Just follow along with our step-by-step guide and you will be curling with the best of them in no time!
There are a few downsides to the BaBylissPro Mini. For those with longer hair, it may take a little more time to straighten than it would with a normal-sized straightener. It also lacks the 360-degree swivel cord and automatic shut-off found in most full-size hair straighteners. However, these downsides can be overlooked when taking the other features into consideration, like its lightweight, compact size and the fact that it can still hold the same temperatures as a full-sized hair straightener.
The plates of the HSI Professional are made of solid ceramic that is infused with tourmaline. The combination allows for consistent temperature and gives hair a smooth finish. The wide range of heat settings, starting at 140 degrees Fahrenheit and going up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, gives you more control over styling and makes this an ideal straightener for multiple hair types.
Most of the hair straighteners we reviewed heat up in under a minute, but the Cloud Nine Original Flat Iron has to be one of the fastest on the market! In as little as 20 seconds, this hair straightener transforms from cool to hot, hot, hot! With this model, there is no need to wait around for your hair straightener to warm up, which means you spend less time getting ready in the morning and more time getting on with your day.
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.
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.
If you have very thick, curly, or coarse hair, you may be wondering if xtava’s Infrared Flat Iron for hair can handle the job of hair straightening your locks - and we have good news for you. Our hair straightening iron has two key characteristics that equip it for the job: high, consistent, and even heat that can lock in your style and extra-wide, 2” floating plates that can handle a lot of volume.
GHD’s “styler” is permanently set to 365 degrees Fahrenheit, which the company says is the highest temperature hair can tolerate before it becomes damaged. As a person who went from a dark brunette to blonde highlights, I can vouch for its straightening power on processed hair. And though I don’t typically think of “comfort” as a flat iron necessity, the springy hinge that connects the two plates really did make it easier to clamp and glide the tool down my hair with minimal effort.