The 8 Best Curling Irons

Updated November 15, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

8 Best Curling Irons
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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Got a hot date, but running short on funds? To get that salon look without the cost, try one of these effective and feature-rich curling irons. We've included models suitable for short and long hair, as well as compact units perfect for taking on vacation, all rated here by their curl quality, ease of use, and safety. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best curling iron on Amazon.

8. Xtava Twirl

The Xtava Twirl is the perfect choice to take on trips. It has universal dual voltage, meaning it works in various international locations and, more to the point, it's compact enough to easily fit into your suitcase so you'll look good no matter where you go.
  • swiveling 8-foot cord
  • heats up to 410 degrees
  • doesn't work well on short hair
Brand xtava
Model XA0040
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. ISO Beauty 5-In-1

The ISO Beauty 5-In-1 will give you all the curl sizes you might need thanks to its multiple attachments ranging in diameter from 9 to 32mm. Its simple controls can take the unit's temperature to any point between 122 and 450 degrees.
  • gift box presentation
  • leaves hair smooth and shiny
  • changing barrels is difficult
Brand ISO Beauty
Model ISO5PBK-227
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Instyler Max 2-Way Black

The Instyler Max 2-Way Black rotates to the left and to the right, giving you more control over the look you design. Its black tourmaline ceramic plate runs on one of four heat settings, and can smooth hair without flattening or damaging it.
  • brush and barrel combination head
  • heats up in less than 30 seconds
  • better for volume than curls
Brand InStyler
Model IS2-32BKUS-30348
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. BaBylissPro Nano MiraCurl

If you have nightmares about getting your hair tragically caught in vacuum cleaners or other machines, the BaBylissPro Nano MiraCurl might make you a little uncomfortable, as it mechanically draws your hair into its unique curling chamber. If not, you'll love how it works.
  • nearly instant heat-up time
  • three different curling directions
  • heavy to use for extended periods
Brand BaBylissPRO
Model U-HC-9072
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Kiss Products Instawave Automatic

The exclusive curl dial design on the Kiss Products Instawave Automatic is built to grab sections of hair and wrap them around the curling wand for you. It can rotate in either direction to create front or back-facing curls.
  • self-shutoff feature
  • blue power indicator
  • ineffective with thicker follicles
Brand Kiss Products
Model KACI01
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Sultra Bombshell ROD

The lightweight construction of the Sultra Bombshell ROD makes it easy to use for longer periods of time if you have a lot of hair to curl. Its cord stretches out to a full 9 feet, giving you additional flexibility in any size bathroom or bedroom.
  • two-year warranty included
  • comes with safety glove
  • comfortable ergonomic handle
Brand Sultra
Model 50016
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Conair Nano Infiniti Pro

Designed to create slightly looser curls, the Conair Nano Infiniti Pro focuses on eliminating hot spots and reducing static and frizz in your hair. Its uniform heat recovery system allows it to maintain a high functioning temperature even as it works.
  • wide barrel head
  • textured grip for easy handling
  • led screen for settings
Brand Conair
Model CD109BP
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. NuMe Lustrum Ceramic

The NuMe Lustrum Ceramic gives you the ability to create curls with one of five different barrel shapes and sizes. It uses infrared heat and negative ion technology to protect your hair from damage and burning as it works its magic.
  • wands are tourmaline-infused
  • warms up to 410 degrees
  • dual voltage operation
Brand NuMe
Model Lustrum 5 Curling Wands
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

How Curling Irons Work

Curling irons are usually made from metal, Teflon, titanium, ceramic or tourmaline. These materials all have one thing in common: they are poor conductors of electricity. One might notice that the rod of a curling iron becomes very hot, but it never causes a spark or an electrical shock. That is because, the material isn't good at conducting electricity, and rather than letting an electrical wave pass through it, it just heats up.

Curling irons contain an internal switch that cuts off the movement of electricity when the metal rod has reached the desired temperature. One might wonder why the curling iron doesn't become completely cold when the internal switch turns off. The switch inside actually expands as it heats up, and begins to shrink when it's reached the preset temperature. When it becomes very small, it expands again. This cycle keeps the curling rod hot until the user shuts the device off.

There is a limited temperature range that can bend and manipulate hair without breaking or damaging it. That range varies depending on the appliance but most curling irons are in the 290 to 400-degree range, and so they all use about the same amount of electricity. Hair is very similar to wood in that when it becomes warm, its structure weakens and one can easily reshape it. It will also keep its new shape until it becomes wet.

Special Features To Consider

Frequent travelers know that appliances have different electrical needs depending on the country, which is why they should buy a curling iron that is both compact and accepts a universal voltage. This way, they don't need to worry about purchasing adapters or a new hair tool every time they visit a foreign country. Most newer models boast a rapid heat-up time, which is not only convenient, but also safer since the user doesn't have to leave an electrical appliance unattended for long while they wait for it to warm up. Another time-saving feature is the comb and barrel system. These irons both brush and curl the hair at the same time. When the hair is warm, it's even easier to untangle, resulting in extra soft locks.

Those hoping to achieve lots of different looks should consider an iron that comes with attachments for various curl sizes. Depending on the size of the rod, a person can make anywhere from tiny, tight ringlets to loose, beach-style waves. It's more economic to buy one iron and several attachments than a different tool for every look. For those who can't stand the motion of physically turning the curling iron, their are models that do the work for the user. These irons simply require a person to place their lock of hair on a small drum inside of an enclosure. When they turn the appliance on, the drum automatically spins and curls the hair.

Indents are a major concern for most curling iron users. Not only are they unsightly, but they can damage one's hair. For this reason, many models do not contain a clip to hold the hair; the user simply wraps their lock around the heated rod. This style of iron is called a curling wand. Some curling irons have several preset temperature settings since different types of hair require different temperatures to manipulate.

Ceramic, Tourmaline or Titanium?

Curling irons are made from several different materials, but a few have stood out for offering special styling benefits. Ceramic emits only the minimum amount of heat required to curl the hair, so it can help reduce the chance of burns. It also sends out plenty of negative ions that seal the hair cuticle. Sealing one's cuticles is an important part of growing healthy hair and it can further prevent damage. Ceramic evenly distributes heat throughout the rod, so the user can see tight curls, no matter where they place their hair on the tool. It's also very difficult for debris to stick to ceramic, so this type of iron stays clean. Ceramic will, however, typically be found in higher priced hair tools.

Tourmaline is an organic crystalline mineral, and for that reason alone,many people who like to use natural products prefer it. This material also puts out negative ions, nearly six times as many as ceramic does. Tourmaline has a reputation for creating the smoothest, shiniest hair, and for combating the toughest frizz. Tourmaline also administers moisture, so it can help make brittle hear healthier. Like ceramic, it seals the cuticle, so it can lock moisture inside the hair. Tourmaline is usually best for hair straighteners rather than irons because it's ideal for flattening out tight curls.

Titanium has metallic properties so it heats up very fast. Titanium irons have an extra polished feel, so hair glides across it effortlessly and rarely snags on the clip or rod. This material also has anti-corrosion properties, so it won't rust and can last for several years of use. Finally, titanium is one of the more affordable options.

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Last updated on November 15, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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