Every hairstylist knows that shiny, silky straight hair can't be achieved without a trusty flat iron. A bad hair day can turn into a good one with this versatile, must-have styling tool. Say goodbye to bedhead! If it's your first time purchasing a hair iron or you're looking to replace your previous one, we're here to steer you in the right direction.
Hair irons are especially tricky to buy because of the different options and factors to consider like hair type and length. We've gone ahead and researched the 10 best flat irons and came up with this list. HSI Professional's flat iron took first place for its quick heat-up and versatile styling. Interested to see what else made it to our list? Take a look! And don't miss our buying guide- it was reviewed by a licensed cosmetologist, and has lots of helpful tips.
With the numerous types and brands of flat irons available on the market, it is confusing to find one ideal for your hair type, length, and style. After intensive research, we've prepared this buying guide to steer you in the right direction. Consider factors like plate material and size, temperature controls, and the like.
The first factor to consider when purchasing a flat iron is the plate material. A flat iron’s straightening plate or heating panel is generally made from either ceramic, tourmaline, titanium, or a mix of all three.
Ceramic flat irons are the veteran straighteners on the market. If you’ve ever gotten your hair ironed at the salon, they probably used a ceramic-coated flat iron. A ceramic flat iron is versatile and works well with short, coarse, light, or curly hair. However, they work best for straightening fine hair and even giving it a shiny finish.
Ceramic-coated irons heat up quickly and distribute heat evenly. Cheaper models come with only a thin layer of ceramic, which means repeated sliding over a portion of your hair to get it straight.
The more expensive types come with multiple ceramic layers, which makes for a smooth surface; this type does not snag on your hair and is less damaging.
Ceramic plated flat irons are unmatched when it comes to creating shine. When working with clients, I use a ceramic flat iron specifically for styling to give their hair that shiny and polished look. It works exceptionally well for those with fine hair since these plates do not get extremely hot, greatly reducing the risk of heat damage.
Tourmaline, a type of gemstone, is used to coat the flat iron plate’s exterior to make it more heat resistant. The gemstone plating also helps keep in the moisture your hair needs to stay healthy. This is why this type of flat iron is the least damaging.
Because the heat remains constant and is equally distributed, tourmaline plates can be used at lower temperatures. There’s also no need to go over the same strands of hair over and over again with this type of flat iron. With one run-through, your hair will be straight and shiny.
Tourmaline plated flat irons are the safest option for those who are serious about avoiding heat damage and breakage. These plates produce infrared heat and negative ions. That combination closes the cuticle, preventing frizz. Less frizz and more shine is always ideal for sleek hairstyles. Unfortunately, these flat irons have the shortest lifespan, so be mindful of that when shopping.
Titanium plate flat irons are the newest models of straighteners to hit the market. They are the most durable, corrosion-resistant, and heavy-duty out of all three types. Titanium plates transfer heat to the hair the fastest regardless of hair type. However, they work best on thick, coarse, or curly hair because of the fast heat transfer.
People with fine hair should be careful with this type because the plates’ high heat could scorch and damage fine hair. Those looking for immediate results should go for this flat iron. This type of flat iron has an ionic charge, which means your hair will look smooth effortlessly!
As someone who works mostly with naturally curly and coily hair, titanium plated flat irons are my go-to. Not only do these flat irons heat up quickly, they straighten out even the tightest textured hair into silky tresses. Although, I don't necessarily recommend them for at home use because heat damage is likely when used improperly.
When choosing a plate size for the flat iron, one size is not for everyone. Generally, flat irons start range from half-inch to two-and-a-half-inch plates. Each size works best for a specific hair length, type, and style.
A good rule to remember is that the smaller the plate is, the more areas you can reach and style. One-inch plates work great on fine, fragile, wavy, and medium-thick hair. This type of plate is a standard size and will work for almost everyone.
With this type of plate, you can easily curl, style, and straighten your hair of any length. Smaller plates below one inch are used for short hair and on bangs.
1-inch flat irons are the most recommended and easiest to find. It works for pretty much every hair length with the exception of those with short pixie cuts. What's great about a 1-inch flat iron is that you are able to get much closer to the root area, which is great for those with curly hair. 1-inch plates also make it easier to curl your hair with the flat iron.
Any flat iron with a plate size bigger than an inch is considered as a large size. This plate size works best on thick, coarse, and curly hair types. Those with hair that's difficult to manage should consider getting plate sizes bigger than an inch.
A larger plate means more hair is styled each time. It will be a bit difficult to reach bangs and shorter hair with this size as it's easier to burn yourself accidentally.
For those with thick hair, the 1.5-inch flat iron will probably work best for you. That extra half inch will cover more surface area, helping you straighten and style your hair much faster. If you have short hair or shorter pieces around your face, this size flat iron may not be the best option for you.
It can be challenging to style long hair with a one-inch plate because that means going over a portion of hair more than once, causing hair damage. This is why those with medium to long hair of any type should get a flat iron with two-inch plates and larger.
It is also easier to do sleek and silky hairstyles with this plate size. Keep in mind that the larger the plate, the bulkier and heavier the flat iron will be.
If you have long hair, no need to even waste your time with the other size flat irons. The 2-inch plates are going to cut your styling time in half. In the salon we use this size for those with hair over 20 inches in length, or those with long extensions.
This factor is very important if you want to lessen the damage straightening does to your hair. When the flat iron temperature is adjusted to suit your hair type and length, less hair is damaged.
Those with fragile and easily damaged hair should use irons with a heat set below 250 degrees Fahrenheit. People with naturally straight hair looking to tame waves and stray hair should set the temperature to about 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This also goes for people with fine hair.
Those with curly, thick, and coarse hair should use a flat iron around 300 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher heat setting smooths thicker and unrulier hair.
Never iron your hair above 450 degrees Fahrenheit if you don’t want to damage your hair. Remember to also use a heat protectant before straightening to help keep your hair healthy and shiny.
The proper temperature setting for your hair will depend on the type of plates your flat iron has as well. Usually you can risk setting your ceramic flat iron at a higher setting than you can with a titanium flat iron. No matter the heat setting you use, try not to do more than two passes of the iron per section.
No one wants to burn themselves or their house while trying to get that sleek hairstyle. When picking out a flat iron, make sure the product is safe and easy to use. Here are some things to look for.
A convenient feature many flat irons come with is auto shut-off. Usually, if the flat iron is idle while plugged for more than an hour, it will automatically turn off on its own. The time varies from product to product, so check how long it takes for your flat iron to turn off.
Flat irons get quite hot when plugged in, so it's crucial to protect yourself from burns. Some products come with gloves to use while ironing, while others are built with thick handles. If you use a high temperature while straightening, ensure that the handle has enough protection to avoid unwanted hand burns.
It is always advised to unplug your flat iron and other hot tools after using them. Leaving your flat iron on overnight or for an excessive amount of time can quickly lead to a room catching on fire. If you can find a flat iron that has auto shut off, that would be the best option. You should also look into getting a heat-resistant mat to place your flat iron on when using it. This will prevent you from burning or cracking your tabletop.
If you like to travel with a flat iron, getting one with dual voltage is a good investment. This type of flat iron can work on 110 to 240 volts with the proper adaptor. Check the item descriptions before purchasing a flat iron to see if it has dual voltage features. You could also consider investing in a case for your dual flat iron to protect it while traveling.
Another handy feature to make ironing your hair a breeze is a long, swivel type cord. Some of these cords can even rotate fully! If you don't have an accessible outlet where you plan to iron your hair, these long cords make it easy for you to straighten in any location.
Lastly, a handy feature to look for in a flat iron is an easy-to-read temperature display, either as numbers printed on the flat iron or as an LCD display. With an easy to read temperature display, you'll save yourself time wondering and trying to get the right temperature to iron your hair at.
Flat irons with an easy-to-read temperature display are becoming more and more popular. Since it's important to be aware of what temperature setting you are using, purchasing a flat iron that has the setting easy to view would be a great buy. Flat irons with a digital screen are even better, so you can be extremely accurate with what temperature setting your flat iron is on.
The best flat iron for you takes into consideration your hair type and length. We've picked out a range of products online that cater to numerous hair types and styles. Here are our top picks!
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Courtney Mack unless explicitly stated so.
Anti-Static Flat Iron
Pearl Ceramic Flat Iron
Professional Hair Straightener
Nano Titanium Ultra-Thin Straightening Iron
Pencil Flat Iron
Platinum Professional Styler
Vibrating Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron
Flat Iron Hair Straightener and Curler
Feel Like a Professional With This Highly-Rated Iron
Popular Anti-Static 1-Inch Flat Iron
Ceramic 2-Inch Plates for That Smooth Glide
Travel-Friendly Flat Iron Suitable for All Hair Types
A Slim Flat Iron That's Easy to Hold
A Tiny Iron for Beards and Short Hair
Infused Heating Plates for Healthy Styling
Durable Flat Iron With Color-Coded Controls
Flat Iron With Vibrating Plates and See-Through Display
Sleek and Elegant Flat Iron With Rounded Tips
|Plate material||Ceramic with tourmaline coating||Ceramic with titanium coating||Ceramic||Titanium||Titanium||Titanium||Ceramic infused with tourmaline and titanium||Ceramic and titanium||Ceramic and tourmaline||Titanium and silver|
|Plate size||1 in.||1 in.||2 in.||1.75 in.||1 in.||3/10 in.||1 in.||1.25 in.||1 in.||1 in.|
|Temperature control||140-450℉||310-410℉||300-450℉||170-450℉||50 presets up tp 450℉||300-450℉||265-450℉||370-425℉||190-450℉||265-450℉|
|Plate material||Ceramic with tourmaline coating|
|Plate size||1 in.|
|Plate material||Ceramic with titanium coating|
|Plate size||1 in.|
|Plate size||2 in.|
|Plate size||1.75 in.|
|Plate size||1 in.|
|Temperature control||50 presets up tp 450℉|
|Plate size||3/10 in.|
|Plate material||Ceramic infused with tourmaline and titanium|
|Plate size||1 in.|
|Plate material||Ceramic and titanium|
|Plate size||1.25 in.|
|Plate material||Ceramic and tourmaline|
|Plate size||1 in.|
|Plate material||Titanium and silver|
|Plate size||1 in.|
In addition to checking our buying guide for accuracy, Courtney took the time to answer a commonly asked question about flat irons for hair.
Courtney explains, "For the best results, you should start with clean blow-dried hair. The smoother your blow dry job is, the less work you have to do with the flat iron.
Next, make sure your hair is prepped with a lightweight heat protectant. From there you will take small sections, gliding the flat iron down your hair. You can chase a flat iron with a comb to maximize smoothness and reduce tangling."
Need more products to style your hair with? We can help you find the right ones no matter what type of hair you have or what style you want!
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary, as well as extra tips and advice. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
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