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.
Size matters. With plates too big or too small, you’ll have to make multiple passes. This exposes your hair to high heat longer and increases the risk that you’ll do damage. According to Janine Jarman, owner and operator of acclaimed Hollywood salon Hairroin, a 1-inch-wide plate will do for most people, and if you want to use your iron for anything other than straightening, like creating curls or waves, you’ll need a 1-inch plate; anything larger won’t make the waves or curls tight enough. She also pointed out length is important too. “You need plates to be at least 3 inches long, or close to it, so you’re not spending a ton of time with small sections.”
EDITOR’S CHOICE: CHI has and always will be a powerhouse brand in the hair straightener industry, and the company’s new G2 Ceramic and Titanium Flat Iron is no exception! Packed with ceramic and titanium technology, this hair straightener was designed to give you silky, shiny styles without snags. We also love its easy-to-read, color-coded temperature settings, so you know the temperatures that you are using at any given time!
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:
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Both inexpensive and high-end flat irons come with a wide range of features. If you plan to travel out of the country often, then a tool with dual voltage might be a good option. Or you might find that the Bio Ionic’s vibrating plates are something you can’t live without after trying. A long cord that swivels at the end of the handle to ensure ease of use might also be an important feature for you. Some features you might not need include pads to rest your flat iron or gloves to protect your hands — both accessories our testers didn’t think were necessary. When researching flat irons, make a list of your must-haves and make sure the one you choose includes your top features before purchasing.
According to Jarman, you should never have to use both hands to clamp the iron down on your hair. You not only risk burning your fingers on the plate end, but this can pull at your hair and break it. High-quality, modern irons are designed to clamp together from the handle end only, so if you find that your iron requires pressure on both ends, it’s time to upgrade.
When you’re shopping around for a great flat iron that’ll give you flawless waves, you’re essentially looking for three specific qualifications. First, you want something that’s got one inch plates or smaller. Any thicker, and the curls will be so loose, they’ll be virtually non-existent on anyone whose got hair shorter than the butt. Secondly, a rounded body is a must, as you’re wrapping the hair around and through the straightener to create a loose curl. Third, you need something that’s sleek and easy to handle, so your hair won’t snag and break off while you’re curling. Check out these awesome options that make it easy to curl your hair with a straightener.
While you might think that a hair iron is only necessary to straighten curly hair, a hair iron is actually a great tool for styling straight hair. A flat ceramic flat iron can help smooth away flyaways and a add sleek shine to your hair. You can also use a flat iron to shape straight hair, and you can use it near your scalp to add volume to limp hair.
Bio Ionic 10X Pro Styling Iron 1" - Nano Ionic - with Vibrating Plates The Bio Ionic 10X Pro Styling Iron 1 Inch is part of the Luxe Pro Styling Collection. Natural Volcanic Rock Minerals infused into the Bio Ionic Luxe Pro Styling Collection are uniquely refined to emit negative ions that drive tiny water molecules deep into the hair. Hair becomes hydrated and conditioned on the inside, while the outer cuticle layer lies flat and smooth, trapping moisture, giving it a vibrant shine.
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.
Xtava’s two inch-wide plates are massive, making them perfect for people with thick or coarse hair. Aside from the plates, everything else about this flat iron is fairly standard. You can use it at a temperature range in between 265 and 445 degrees Fahrenheit, the plates are made with tourmaline and ceramic, and it takes less than two minutes for the tool to fully heat.