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After conducting thorough research, we nominated the CHI Spin N Curl Ceramic Rotating Hair Curler as the best hair curler you can buy today. We liked that it featured an interior one-inch barrel that’s perfect for creating curls on most hair lengths. It also had directional controls so you can create consistent curls on both sides of your head and a digital temperature display. If you like styling your hair, this is one of the bathroom essentials you need to purchase.
To determine the best hair curler, we looked at the following key features: curling mechanism, heat settings, heat protection, hair type compatibility, barrel size, and materials. There are countless ways to create curls and we included the most popular options such as automatic curlers, flat irons, wands, and wavers. We also focused on picks with more robust temperatures and precise controls, as well as prioritizing one-inch barrels. Keep reading to learn more about our criteria and to shop from our recommendations.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: A smart automated curler that can create curls in two directions with a digital temperature display makes this the best curling iron for straight hair.
One of the classic complaints about traditional curling irons is that people don’t like how long it takes to wind their hair around the barrel. An automated curling iron like this pick from CHI is the perfect solution. Cut down on styling time with what we believe is the best curling iron for straight hair. With this pick, you can create curls in two directions thanks to the easy to use buttons. The curler draws hair in with its automated mechanism and heats the curls around a ceramic barrel for even and consistent heat.
While this pick only has three heat settings, you can shift between 370, 390, and 410 degrees Fahrenheit. But the one-inch width of the internal barrel makes this a pretty good option for most hair lengths. However, we did note that — as is common with automatic hair curlers — the learning curve can be a little steep depending on your comfort level with using hot tools. Likewise, it’s best to use small sections when you insert hair in it because putting too much hair into the chamber can encourage tangling. If you’re worried about how using heat will affect the health of your hair, take a look at our guide to the best hair clay too.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: An automatic hair curler with a manageable chamber that can instantly create curls in varying widths depending on the time setting you choose.
Conair is a dependable brand when it comes to hair care, and especially for its hot tools category. The Curl Secret is the brand’s entry into the automatic hot tools hair curler category and might be a better choice for someone who finds the more traditional options a little too bulky or cumbersome to use — especially at the back of their head. This automatic hair curler can heat up to 400 degrees and depending on the timer setting you choose, you can create loose, medium, or tight curls.
Again, this is another option with limited heat settings since you can only shift between high and low. But we do like that this device has a beeper that lets you know when the timer is done and it’s time to remove your hair from the chamber. And you’ll like that the chamber is made from tourmaline ceramic so that you get even heat with negative ions that help to smooth your hair and leave it shiny instead of frizzy. Still, it’s best to use smaller sections of hair to reduce the risk of tangling. In some cases, we noted that very long hair (i.e. past mid-back length) shouldn’t be put into this device as tangling is more likely. If you just need to dry your hair, you should read our guide to the best hair dryer.
Award: BEST FOR BEACHY STYLES
WHY WE LIKE IT: A triple barrel curling iron with a digital screen for precise temperature adjustments that can heat up to 410 degrees in a minute for perfect beach waves.
If you’re frustrated by brands that don’t give you enough control over temperature settings, you’ll love this pick from Alure. The Alure Three Barrel Hair Curler is perfect because it heats up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit but also comes with an LCD temperature display so that you know that you’re using the right temperature.
We like that this deep waver styling tool is safe for all hair types and has stay-cool tips so you don’t need to worry about burning your fingers. Another feature we liked is the built-in heat stand so you won’t accidentally burn surfaces when you put it down. This is another pick that’s best for medium to long hair since the barrel is one inch wide. And as is common, this is another tourmaline ceramic glaze barrel for better heat control and improved shine. Now you can have your hair perfectly curled for your next photoshoot with your best mirrorless camera.
Award: MOST VERSATILE
WHY WE LIKE IT: A two-in-one hair tool that lets you easily shift between straight and curly hair, with 20 heat settings and floating titanium plates makes this the best curling iron for fine hair.
If you’ve ever wondered how people could use a flat iron to curl their hair, this pick is proof that it’s possible. We love that this is a two-in-one option that lets you shift between straight or curly hair with one device — and that translates to less clutter on your vanity. The Furiden flat iron is also incredibly user friendly.
You can toggle between multiple heat settings by simply rotating the base right or left. It heats up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for all hair types. The titanium plates are also designed to float so it won’t snag over your hair as you use it. And finally, and possibly most importantly, we think this is the best curling iron for fine hair because it has a rounded exterior to create gorgeous curls thanks to the one-inch width of this flat iron. Stay cool tips also give you more control as you work through your hair. If you need a new place to get ready, you should also read our guide to the best-lighted makeup mirror.
Award: BEST FOR BEGINNERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: A simple curling wand with guides and an automated mechanism that works in two curl directions is the best curling iron for beginners because it’s a semi hands-free solution.
Traditional curling wands can be intimidating, especially if you’re afraid of burning yourself while using one. From the trusted beauty brand Kiss, the InstaWave is a hair curler that we believe is the best curling iron for beginners. It relies on an automated mechanism and smart guides to feed hair around a one-inch ceramic ionic barrel — all while keeping your hands safely away from the barrel.
This pick also heats up to 420 degrees Fahrenheit, making it safe for all hair types. However, we didn’t like that you could only make two temperature adjustments. That’s a bit limiting and means that with two preset temperature controls, many people may find that this pick is too hot or not hot enough to properly curl their hair. Compare this curling iron to those found in our guide to the best curling iron to make sure you’re making the best choice.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: A smart adjustable waver from one of the best hair curler brands is designed with a covered backplate to prevent accidental burns and a tourmaline ceramic barrel.
Bed Head is considered one of the best hair curler brands, and best hair care brands for good reason, whether you need a hot tool, styling tool or styling products, this brand makes premium products. This unique A-Wave-We-Go waver is our Best Quality recommendation because it’s unique.
While it looks like a standard three-barrel waver, Bed Head ups the ante by creating an adjustable barrel. With a twist of the knob, you can raise or lower the center barrel to create more dramatic or low profile waves. This means some days you can have beachy waves, and other days you can go for a deep wave 1980s-era crimp-like style. But we also like that the back of this device features a covered backplate so you won’t accidentally burn yourself. And as is fairly common, you can reach temperatures of 400 degrees Fahrenheit or as low as 250 degrees. To keep the device clean, always use the best washcloth.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: A simple bubble wand with a cool tip grip, one-inch width, and included heat resistant glove makes this one of the best curling wands for the budget-conscious.
Whether you don’t use hair curlers that often or aren’t sure if you want to get one of the more complicated models, this bubble barrel curling wand from Revlon is a budget-friendly option that will still give you the control and style payoff that you want. This tourmaline ceramic wand can reach up to 420 degrees Fahrenheit and gives you 30 adjustable settings.
It heats up in just 30 seconds, and also comes with a heat resistant glove. That will come in handy since curling wands require more manual work to create bouncy curls. But we like that the bubble design helps you create perfect waves and curls, proving that this pick from Revlon is one of the best curling wands for everyday use. For most men, if you want to spruce up your hair, use the best hair gel for men.
Hair curlers come in a variety of styles and the one you pick is going to depend on what features are most important to you and how willing you are to learn new methods for styling your hair. To create our guide, we focused on the following features — curling mechanism, heat settings, hair type compatibility, barrel size, and materials.
Curling mechanisms can vary widely with hair curlers. In our guide, we included three automated picks, two hair wavers, a flat iron, and a curling wand — all of which can create curls. The version you pick is going to depend on which you find easiest to use. Although, we did note through our research and throughout our recommendations where limitations could make using the automated devices more difficult for select users such as those with very long hair or trying to put too much hair into the chamber at one time.
All of the recommendations in our guide could achieve at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit — with some going as high as 450 degrees. So, officially all of our picks are safe for all hair types. However, temperature controls varied greatly between our nominations. Preference should be given to options that let you precisely control the temperature as opposed to general “high” and “low” type settings which can still leave some people using too much heat for their hair.
The barrel size is going to impact how large or small your curls will be, and whether you’ll end up with waves instead of curls. Most of our recommendations, including the automated curlers, featured one-inch barrels which is a universal width that will work on most hair lengths. But our hair wavers such as the Best Quality recommendation may be harder for those with very short hair to use.
And finally, we looked for options made from high-quality materials. Tourmaline, ceramic, and tourmaline ceramic barrels or chambers were the most popular option. These two materials are known for creating even heat and releasing negative ions to help smooth the hair, produce high shine, and reduce the risk of frizz.