For many consumers, the flat iron is a staple appliance in the bathroom.
Whether you’re taming the frizz, adding some volume, or creating some beachy waves, this handy device is there to help you achieve a variety of different looks.
If you want to replace your current flat iron or if you are purchasing one for the first time, which brand should you choose?
Manufacturers seem to pump out flat irons at the speed of light, which often leaves shoppers purchasing based on price.
In our guide, we will show you how to shop for a flat iron the right way. From size to plate material, we discuss all of the basics and help make it easy for you to choose the best hair straightener for your needs and budget.
Top 10 Hair Straighteners Ultimate Table
Features to Consider
When it comes to initial product consideration, here are some of the basic things you should consider on a straightener.
- Temperature Display – Digital or analog – which is best?
Most would agree that digital is simply because you can obtain more precise temperatures. Analog is fine, but be careful with the settings if you have fine hair or don’t tend to use heat protectant sprays since you risk damaging it because of excessive heat exposure.
- Swiveling or Fixed Cord – Some irons have a fixed cord while others feature one that swivels; this is referring to the area where the cord attaches to the flat iron.
Swiveling units are handier since you can twist them in multiple directions as you work and they won’t twist around your hand or the iron. You avoid twisting the cord, too.
- Auto Shut-Off – Safety is important when it comes to curling irons and flat irons, so it is best to opt for one with an auto shut-off feature to help you avoid any fire hazards.
Not all flat irons have this feature, so consider purchasing an outlet timer like this one if you really like your flat iron but are forgetful about turning it off.
- Plate Width – Wider plates will allow you to cover more hair in less time, and they are ideal if you want to straighten your hair without trying to add any curls, waves or achieve any other specific looks.
If you have short hair, flat irons that have ½- inch are best since they can help you target the hard-to-reach places and allow you to add volume and lift right at the roots. We recommend the MHU Processional Travel Size Flat Iron for men and women with short hair.
- Dual Voltage – Do you travel often and can’t live without your flat iron? If so, check to make sure that it is compatible with both 110v and 220v outlets.
Plate Material Explained Correctly
What’s the difference between ceramic and titanium plates? What is tourmaline?
There seem to be quite a few different answers to these questions floating around on the internet, but we will give you a clear, straightforward explanation in this section.
- Tourmaline Is INFUSED into Ceramic or Titanium Plates – That’s right; tourmaline is NOT a plate material.
Tourmaline, in nature, is a semi-precious stone that comes in a variety of colors. Flat iron manufacturers take advantage of the fact that it produces negative ions, which come in contact with the positive ions on the hair shafts thus creating a neutral charge. The result is flatter, glossy hair minus the frizz.
The tourmaline mineral stones are ground into fine dust and then infused into ceramic or titanium plates – they are not a type of metal used on the plates of flat irons or curling irons.
- Ceramic – Another myth to debunk about ceramic is that it is usually not the main material. Manufacturers will often use it as a coating on other metals such as aluminum or copper, which will eventually wear off or chip and expose your hair to the harsh metal below.
Ceramic-coated metals do have an advantage because they help distribute heat more evenly and they are ideal for users with fine hair.
As we mentioned in the previous section, some ceramic is infused with tourmaline, which is great if you want stick-straight hair. If you like to create curls, then regular ceramic or ceramic-coated plates are fine.
José Eber makes one, and although we didn’t include it on our list, we thought we would mention it for those interested.
100% Ceramic Series Straightening Iron’s plates are made of 100% Ceramic.
- Titanium – Finally, an actual metal! Titanium flat irons heat up more quickly than other metals do and it is very durable.
If you have thick or coarse, hair, the best flat iron is one with titanium plates since this material maintains a constant temperature better than other metals do. The intense heat that it produces, however, can be a curse if you aren’t careful.
Always make sure you use a heat protectant spray when straightening your hair with an iron that has titanium plates.
If you have fine hair, avoid titanium since it is too harsh and can damage the hair shafts.
Fixed Plates vs. Floating Plates
While some flat irons have fixed plates – meaning that they don’t have any “give” when you press them together – others have floating plates.
You can feel the difference when you close the iron because the plates will feel as if they have a cushion below them.
We recommend these to users who want a multi-purpose flat iron that can both straighten and curl the hair. The floating plates will offer better heat distribution and coverage as you pass it over the hair strands since they are flexible.
Are they better than fixed plates?
They do have a slight advantage. Fixed plates might cause hot or cool spots as you move from thicker to thinner sections of hair. You will spend more time passing over missed sections of hair when using a fixed plate iron, so one with floating plates will most likely allow you to straighten or style your hair more quickly.
Top 5 Best Hair Straightener Reviews
Maximum Temperature: 450° F
Auto Shut-Off: Yes
KIPOZI is an extremely popular brand that happens to have an affordable price tag, and out of all the products that we have tried, this one was our favorite.
It is truly ideal for anyone who wants to straighten hair rather than style it with curls or waves. The wide, 1¾-inch plates allow you to tame frizz on naturally straight or wavy hair, especially if it is thick. As we mentioned earlier, titanium plates can be a bit too harsh for thin, delicate hair, but KIPOZI offers you automatic temperature settings by hair type. There is one for fragile hair (270° F), damaged hair or color-treated hair (350° F) and a hotter setting for healthy hair (410° F). If you do want to try this iron, it is very important that you use a heat protectant spray!
There are many reasons to love this flat iron – from the digital display to the accurate temperature settings and automatic shut-off feature. It also has a lengthy 8-foot cord that swivels, so you will never have to worry about getting in a tangle or twisting the cord (which can cause it to wear out in spots). The little travel pouch is handy, but not heat-proof so DO NOT put a hot flat iron in it!
If you want to straighten your hair and achieve smooth, shiny locks that are frizz-free, use this iron. It is affordable and makes styling your hair quick thanks to the wide, floating plates.
Maximum Temperature: 455° F
Display: Analog (dial)
Auto Shut-Off: Yes
Infinity Pro by Conair offers some stiff competition to the KIPOZI, especially since they offer their flat irons in different widths.
The plates are coated in a tourmaline-infused ceramic, but we weren’t able to verify what type of metal they used under the ceramic coating. Regardless of that, the iron works great and heats up quickly – 15 seconds and you’re ready to style!
The little temperature dial on the side offers you 30 different heat settings, they feature the floating plates to help apply heat evenly to each strand, and they have even designed the plate section to be slightly longer than those of competitor models, allowing you to style wider sections of hair.
An appliance like this is ideal if you like adding smooth curls or waves to your hair, but it also offers incredible results for those who want straight-as-a-stick strands.
Do you have thick, coarse hair? If so, this just might be your new best friend. The results it provides are amazing!
Maximum Temperature: 400° F
Display: Analog (dial)
Auto Shut-Off: No
This is by far one of the most popular flat irons on the market today. Everyone loves it, and while it didn’t quite earn the top spot on our list, there are still many reasons to buy it.
First, we will point out that it comes with a heat protectant glove, a pouch, and small bottle of Argan oil. The previous product also came with the Argan oil, which gives them both a slight advantage over other products.
The features are actually similar to the Infinity Pro, as well. You have 30 heat settings on the dial, floating plates that are coated in tourmaline-infused ceramic, and a travel pouch like the KIPOZI offered.
HSI’s Professional Flat Iron performs well on all hair types; whether thick or thin, wavy or curly. It works wonders for everyone!
The only complaint that we can think of is in regards to the reliability of the product. For the amount of great models that come off the assembly line, a frustrating number of lemons also make it off. Be sure you keep your receipt in case of any problems!
Maximum Temperature: 445° F
Auto Shut-Off: Yes
If you are looking for some serious results and don’t mind paying a bit more, then consider Xtava’s Pro Satin Infrared Hair Straightener.
The plates on this are wider than the KIPOZI – a full 2 inches. You will cover more hair in less time and achieve amazing results thanks to the infrared heating system.
The plates are coated in tourmaline-infused ceramic, and as they claim, the infrared heat works to heat the hair shaft gently from the inside out, resulting in less damage and better moisture retention inside the hair after straightening.
We love the 8-foot swivel cord and 60-minute auto shut-off feature. It takes 90 seconds to heat up, which is quite long compared to other flat irons, but it is worth the wait!
It comes with a travel case, and those of you who travel will be pleased to know that it is a universal dual voltage unit.
It works extremely well on thick, coarse hair (Type 3 and Type 4 curls, especially), and if you’ve tried plenty of other brands out there like we have without the results you were hoping for, this will be a pleasant surprise.
Maximum Temperature: 410° F
Auto Shut-Off: Yes
If you’re shopping on a tight budget but still want a better-than-average flat iron, consider this one from Remington.
It features a long, swiveling cord, 30-second heat-up time, a turbo boost setting that can take it to the maximum temperature at the touch of a button and ceramic-coated plates that are gentle on your hair.
We were surprised to see that they used floating plates at this price range, but since they are not tourmaline, your hair might still be frizzy in places after you use it. If you have thin hair, this is the best hair straightener on our list!
Stay away, however, if you have thick, coarse, and tightly curled hair as it won’t provide you with silky smooth strands. It is great, however, for adding lift and volume at the roots.
If you use your iron heavily, it is best to invest in a higher quality one. The Remington is OK for the occasional style, but won’t perform well in the long run.