Curling irons are great styling tools to add some body and bounce to any hair type. But there are so many different curling irons on the market, it makes it hard to pick the right one. So, how do you know which is the best curling iron for your hair? Well, it’s easier to choose than you think. All you need to do is look at your hair! Its length will decide the barrel size, as will the style you’d like to achieve. Then look at the heating technology, materials, and temperature range. Your hair type will tell you which is best, and safest, to use on your specific strands. Once you have all that information picked out, shopping for a new curling iron will be a breeze. And once you start using it, you’ll wonder how you’ve lived without one for so long!
Short On Time? Here Is The Bullet List:
- Curling for Those on a Budget: Conair Instant Heat Curling Iron
- Professional Curling Iron: Revlon Salon Long Lasting Curls Curling Iron
- Curling Iron for Fine Hair: Hot Tools 1” Salon Curling Iron/Wand
- Curling Iron for Thick Hair: Anjou 1.25-inch Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron
- Curling Iron for Short Hair: Remington CI5219 Instant Curls Curling Iron
- Curling Iron for Long Hair: The Beachwaver Co. Beachwaver S1 Curling Iron
- Curling Iron for Damaged Hair: Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron
- Dual Voltage Curling Iron: Parwin Beauty Diamond Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron
**Below are our more detailed reviews. Click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
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Barrel sizes on curling irons usually range from 3/8 to 2 inches. This is the diameter of the barrel. The larger your barrel is, the wider your curl will be. But every barrel won’t work for all hair lengths, so choose carefully to ensure you can use it properly.
3/8 to ½-Inch Barrels
If you have very short hair, these are the only barrels you are going to be able to use. This is because it will be difficult to wrap those short strands around a larger diameter barrel. But you also won’t be able to really curl your hair, even with the smaller barrel. The purpose for using a curling iron on a short pixie or bob is to give it a bit of volume. These barrels can also work on medium to shoulder-length hair. You’ll be able to get those adorable ringlets and add some body at the same time.
½ to 1-Inch Barrels
Though short hair won’t have much luck with a larger barrel size, medium length or longer can use these ones. These can give you looser curls or large waves. When used at the top of your head, you can get a bit more volume than you would with a smaller barrel. Plus you can curl more hair at a time with the larger diameter barrel, speeding up your styling.
1 to 2-inch Barrels
Those with long hair need the larger diameter for a few reasons. The first is time. If you are trying to add a hundred ringlets to the hair hanging down your back, you’ll be in front of the mirror for hours. A wider barrel will speed up the process, giving you wider curls in less time. You can also vary your style, depending on the size of the barrel. A larger 1 ½-inch or 2-inch barrel will allow you to make loose, beachy waves. But if tighter curls are what you want, the smaller barrel size will give you the right look.
The Best Curling Iron for Your Hair Type
Though barrel size is important, you need to make sure you have the right heating technology as well. This will ensure your curling iron will work well with your hair type without causing any damage. The temperature range is also important. Some hair types can’t handle high heat as well as others.
Thin hair can work with any heating technology. This is because thin hair lacks volume, though not necessarily moisture. This means it most likely won’t go frizzy on you if you use the wrong styling tool. The thing to watch is the temperature. Lower works best to ensure you won’t damage those strands.
The problem with normal hair is that it isn’t always so normal. It can tend towards oiliness or dryness, so it’s hard to pick the right curling iron for everyone. So, let’s break it down. If your hair really is normal, you have as few worries about styling tools as the thin-haired gals. Ceramic or titanium work well, but you don’t need to spend a fortune on the best of the best. You will need more heat to create those curls, so a varying temperature curling iron may be a good idea. This way you can set it as high or low as you need to.
For the drier ends of the hair spectrum, Nano or tourmaline technologies are best. If you can find a curler with both, even better. This will reduce frizz by locking in the moisture. Lower heat will prevent your hair from drying out even further. Oily hair is the opposite. Instead of frizz, you’ll be dealing with flat, heavy hair. More heat will help to give your hair the volume it is lacking and long-lasting curls. You can pick any heating technology you want as well, making the choice even easier.
Coarse or Thick Hair
Since coarse and thick hair types tend towards dryness, using the right tool is essential. This will prevent you from ending up with puffy, frizzy hair the Bride of Frankenstein would envy. With these hair types, more heat is necessary and the higher the better. But you also need to control the frizz while locking in moisture. A titanium curling iron is the best possible choice. But you can also use a ceramic iron with a tourmaline coating if you prefer these types of curling irons. These all use ionic technology and even heating to smooth out and soften those crazy strands.
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Other Features to Look For
These features aren’t essential to a good curling iron. But having them can make your tool easier, and safer, to use, both at home and during your travels.
We’ve already discussed the different temperatures needed for each hair type. But having a wide range can help you find the exact right temperature for your hair. This will help you create the perfect style every time. It’s also handy if more than one person is using the curling iron. Everyone will then be able to create the style they want without overheating their hair.
Most curling irons heat up fast, usually in less than a minute. This not only speeds up your drying time but is great when you’re in a rush to get out the door.
Have you ever left the house, then had to run back to make sure you hadn’t left your curling iron on? It’s a hassle and a waste of time! With an auto shut off, you can rest easy and enjoy your day.
Most styling tools have a light to tell you it’s on, but this doesn’t tell you if it’s hot enough to style your hair with. A ready indicator light shows you when your curling iron is at that perfect temperature. Not only will this give you even curls throughout your head, your hair will hold them in place longer.
A cool tip allows you to hold the end of the barrel for more control when styling your hair.
When you’re winding your curling iron through your hair, your cord spins with it. After a few minutes, you’ll be stuck with a tangled mess that needs fixing repeatedly. A swivel cord won’t turn with the curler, reducing this issue and speeding up your styling time.
If you plan on traveling overseas, you may want to get yourself a dual voltage curling iron. This is because of the different voltages used in different areas. A dual voltage curling iron works all over the world with the flip of a switch.
Best Curling Irons on the Market
Best Curling for Those on a Budget: Conair Instant Heat Curling Iron
You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a great styling tool. This Conair 1-inch curling iron proves that with its great features and durable frame. It starts with multilayer technology on the barrel. This is a combination of nickel, chromium, copper, and steel. Fast and even heating for long-lasting style is the result. With 25 heat settings, you’ll always find the right one for your hair type. Safety features include a counter rest, an extra-long cool tip, and an auto-shutoff. There is also a 5-foot swivel cord at the end of the non-slip grip handle for less tangling while you curl your hair. The dual voltage feature is also great for travel around the world.
- An indicator light shows when it’s ready to use
- It heats up in about 30 seconds
- There are multiple safety features
- It’s dual voltage for international travel
- It has 25 heat settings
- The multilayer barrel is a bit too rough to slide easily over your hair
- The cord is a bit short
Best Professional Curling Iron: Revlon Salon Long Lasting Curls Curling Iron
This 1-inch medium curling iron is from Revlon‘s pro collection. It has a tourmaline ceramic coating which helps control frizz. This technology also reduces the damage heat styling can cause. Even heat distribution will give you uniform curls and waves over your whole head. Your hair will also be softer and shinier after every use. There are 30 heat settings with a maximum temperature of 425 degrees. There’s no waiting if you’re in a rush since it heats up in about 30 seconds. A soft feel handle fits comfortably in your hand, no matter how long your style takes. And if you run out of the house with it turned on, the auto shut off takes over.
- It has multiple heat settings
- There is an auto shutoff
- The 1” barrel can create both medium curls or relaxed waves
- It has a fast heat up time
- This tool gives you salon quality curls at home
- The cool tip gives you more control
- The clamp lever is positioned a bit far from the handle
Best Curling Iron for Fine Hair: Hot Tools 1” Salon Curling Iron/Wand
Fine hair needs high heat to give it some volume and bounce. The Hot Tools curling iron with multi-heat control goes as high as 430 degrees to meet these needs. The barrel is coated with 24K gold and heats up using Pulse Technology. Together these evenly distribute the heat, maintaining it for as long as you need it. It also heats up fast. Other features include an extra-long cool tip on one end and a Soft-grip handle on the other. The thumb grip is also longer for easy use. The safety stand keeps it from burning your counter and folds away when you’re done. For fewer tangles, there is an 8-foot professional-length swivel cord.
- This curling iron comes with 2 bonus springs for the clamp
- There is a long swivel cord
- It can be used as a styling wand as well for beach waves
- It can give your fine hair some volume
- The clamp is pretty tight and could pull out hair
- There is no auto shut off
Best Curling Iron for Thick Hair: Anjou 1.25-inch Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron
Thick hair needs both high heat and great frizz-control. The PTC technology on this Anjou gives you fast heating up to 410 degrees in only 60 seconds. The barrel is coated with ceramic to smooth and soften each strand while it curls your hair. The temperature can be adjusted with the touch of the button. Since this is a digital curling iron, you will never be guessing how hot your tool is. Because the barrel is 1.25 inches in diameter, you can switch your hairstyle from curls to waves every day. The extra-long rotating cord reduces tangles. A cool tip gives you more control, and there is also a heat-resistant glove included for added safety.
- The multiple heat settings can be used on all hair types
- It comes with a heat-resistant glove and two curl clips
- It is decently priced at about $25.00
- The swivel cord reduces tangling
- The long barrel speeds up styling time on longer hair
- The barrel size is too big for short hair
- The smooth handle could slip in your hands
The Best Curling Iron for Short Hair: Remington CI5219 Instant Curls Curling Iron
With 30 heat settings to choose from, any hair type will have the right temperature for the perfect style. For this Remington, there is a turn dial on the side, which makes picking the right setting a breeze. The barrel is only 3/4 inch in diameter, so it’s easy to grab and twirl those short strands, even those near your head. Ceramic heating protects against damage and frizz. Instead, you’ll have smooth, shiny curls that last all day long. Since waiting for your styler to heat up can be frustrating, this one heats up in only 30 seconds. If you run out the door with it on, the auto shutoff kicks in to prevent heat damage or fire.
- It has multiple heat settings for use on all hair types
- The slim barrel is the perfect size for short hair
- There is an auto shutoff
- The fast heating speeds up styling time
- It comes in a stylish mix of black and pink
- The turn dial may get in the way, causing accidental setting changes
The Best Curling Iron for Long Hair: The Beachwaver Co. Beachwaver S1 Curling Iron
Curling long hair can take a great deal of time, leaving you with sore wrists and shoulders when you’re done. The Beachwaver S1 can take some of the strain off of your body, thanks to the 2-speed dual rotating barrel. This barrel is 5.5 inches long and is made of protective ceramic. It distributes the heat evenly while reducing damage and style-ruining frizz. There are also multiple heat settings, with a digital display for easy use. The clamp is smaller than on other models, reducing the kinks in your ends. It also resets back to the start position with a simple touch of the home button. The auto shut off kicks in after 30 minutes of disuse.
- It has a 30-minute auto shutoff
- The rotating barrel makes it easier to curl long hair
- The temperature range is 290-410 degrees
- You can make varied curls and waves with this curler
- There is no cool tip
- The clip may be too small to grip thicker hair
The Best Curling Iron for Damaged Hair: Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron
Damaged hair needs low, safe heating technologies. The Babyliss Pro 1″ Spring curling iron uses advanced technology to meet these needs. The barrel uses nano titanium and ceramic. This combination maintains its temperature, even at the highest of its 50 settings. Far-infrared heating penetrates the hair shaft, heating it from the inside out. This reduces damage to your already brittle hair. And when your hair is back to its healthy state, you can keep using this handy tool for amazing curls and waves. To make using it even easier, there is a long 8-foot swivel cord and a textured handle for a tight grip. And the cool tip gives you a bit more control while you style your hair.
- It heats up fast
- The range of settings makes it great for all hair types
- There is a long swivel cord
- The Babyliss Pro maintains its temperature at all settings
- The cool tip is a bit too small to hold comfortably without burning your fingers
- It is pretty expensive at about $50.00
- There is no auto shut off
The Best Dual Voltage Curling Iron: Parwin Beauty Diamond Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron
When you’re traveling around the world, you want your styling tools to travel with you. Having a dual voltage curling iron means you don’t need a converter for it to work properly, no matter where you are. This curler from Parwin Beauty switches easily from 110 to 240 volts for great styles in any country. The plates are ionic ceramic tourmaline infused. It uses steam and negative ions to lock in your hair’s moisture. This reduces the frizz and gives your hair a natural shine. It heats up and cools down fast, and has multiple settings. Other features include a swivel cord, a cool tip, an auto shut off, a heat-resistant glove, and a travel case.
- The multiple heat settings are great for all hair types
- The tourmaline ceramic barrel reduces frizz
- It includes a heat-resistant glove and a travel bag
- There are an auto shutoff and a cool tip
- It only takes 60 seconds to heat up and cool down
- This curling iron is easy to use, even for beginners
- It is a bit pricey
Best Curling Iron Final Thoughts
Having a variety of great styling tools can help you achieve any look you want, no matter the occasion. The best curling iron fits in nicely, giving you a variety of ringlets, big curls, and loose beachy waves. Versatility and easy use make them the perfect tool for even beginners to the styling world. All 8 of the curling irons we reviewed here are exceptional stylers for their designed use. Many of them have similar features, including cool tips, multiple settings, and an auto shutoff. But there is one on our list that meets the needs of everyone. This is the Parwin Beauty Diamond Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron. Its barrel material reduces the frizz coarse or thick hair has to deal with. It can add volume to the fine or oily haired strands. And its range of settings can make it easy to style even the most damaged hair. But despite its higher price, the dual voltage capability and its handy travel case put it over the top. It works as well on the road as it does at home.
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