The 10 Best Curling Irons

Updated May 27, 2018 by Gabrielle Taylor

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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 low on funds? To get that just-left-the-salon look without the exorbitant cost, try one of these effective and feature-rich curling irons. We've included models suitable for any hair type and texture, as well as compact units perfect for taking on vacation, all rated here by their 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.

10. ISO Beauty 5-In-1

9. Instyler Max 2-Way

8. BaBylissPro MiraCurl

7. Hot Tools Titanium

6. Kiss Products Instawave Automatic

5. Phoebe Dual Voltage

4. Bed Head Curlipops

3. Conair Nano Infiniti Pro

2. Anjou Titanium

1. Xtava Professional

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 May 27, 2018 by Gabrielle Taylor

Gabrielle is a writer and hopeful entrepreneur who hails from a tiny town in Virginia. Earlier in her career, she spent a few years in Southern California before moving back to the east coast (but she misses LA every day). An avid and enthusiastic home cook, she is somewhat of an expert at fending off attempted food thievery by her lazy boxer.


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