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The Best Curling Iron

Last updated on August 27, 2019

We looked at the top 10 Curling Irons and dug through the reviews from 62 of the most popular review sites including Elle, RelevantRankings.com, Smart Style Today, Honest Product Reviews, Curling Irons HQ, Smooth Beauty Bar and more. The result is a ranking of the best Curling Irons.

Best Curling Iron

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Our Picks For The Top Curling Irons

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall
  The Best Value

Conair

Instant Heat Curling Iron

Overall Take

Lots of OptionsA curling iron with 25 heat settings and auto-shutoff.

Experts Included
DWYM Beauty and Personal Care Experts plus My Curling Iron, Smooth Beauty Bar, Rank and Style. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Travelling abroad is now very easy with this curling iron. You don’t have to face the energy issues while travelling. This iron comes with Dual Voltage facility."
Cons
"It should be noted, however, that this product doesn’t have a perfectly smooth finish. It has a slightly brushed outer layer, which makes sense because steel that’s too smooth might just make your hair slip out of the barrel."

Bed Head

Wave Artist Curling Iron

Overall Take

Effortless WavesGet effortless waves or beachy curls with this curling iron.

Experts Included
DWYM Beauty and Personal Care Experts plus Best Reviews Guide, Any Top 10, My Straightener, Top Family Reviews, iExpert Reviews, Hair Tips N Tricks and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" With an average high heat temperature of 400 degrees, this hair crimper is perfect for almost any type of hair."
Cons
"Some consumers report that it frizzes hair."

BaBylissPRO

Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron

Overall Take

Frizz-Free StylingGet frizz-free styling with this curling iron with 50 heat settings.

Experts Included
DWYM Beauty and Personal Care Experts plus BestReviews, Top Ten Reviews, Groom and Style, Curling Irons HQ, Smooth Beauty Bar, My Straightener. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Target.
Pros
" Fast-acting heat and ergonomic design. Versatile styling results with one barrel."
Cons
"There is no digital screen on this hair curler."

Kiss

Products Instawave Curling Iron

Overall Take

Automatic CurlingA unique automatic curling design that also smooths and detangles hair.

Experts Included
DWYM Beauty and Personal Care Experts plus RelevantRankings.com, Smart Style Today, Honest Product Reviews, Curling Irons HQ, Smooth Beauty Bar, My Curling Iron. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" This makes creating curls super easy and saves time on both long and short hair."
Cons
"Some women had a hard time using this curling iron. It tends to work better with longer sections of hair than with shorter strands."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the curling irons available to purchase.
10

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

62

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Elle, RelevantRankings.com, Smart Style Today, Honest Product Reviews, Curling Irons HQ.

82,483

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Target, Walmart and 3 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 10 Curling Irons and also dug through the reviews from 62 of the most popular review sites including Elle, RelevantRankings.com, Smart Style Today, Honest Product Reviews, Curling Irons HQ, Smooth Beauty Bar and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Curling Irons.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Conair Instant Heat Curling Iron

Our Expert Score
9.7
3 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
7.9
2,776 user reviews
Our Take

This Euro-design iron comes in four barrel sizes, ranging from 3/4 to 1 1/2-inch. It features 25 heat settings for all hair types. The Turbo Heat feature increases barrel temperature by up to 36° and regular heating takes only 30 seconds to heat up to a max of 400°F. The extra-long cool tip and auto-shutoff feature also keep users safe during and after styling. 

What other experts liked
Travelling abroad is now very easy with this curling iron. You don’t have to face the energy issues while travelling. This iron comes with Dual Voltage facility.
- My Curling Iron
Its Turbo Heat feature increases its temperature by 36°F in a jiffy, so you significantly can cut down your styling time.
- Smooth Beauty Bar
This curling iron features a patented Euro design, nonslip grip handle for easy styling.
- Rank and Style
What other experts didn't like
Limited warranty time. Need adapter plug for different plug outlet than the US.
- My Curling Iron
It should be noted, however, that this product doesn’t have a perfectly smooth finish. It has a slightly brushed outer layer, which makes sense because steel that’s too smooth might just make your hair slip out of the barrel.
- Smooth Beauty Bar

Overall Product Rankings

1. Conair Instant Heat Curling Iron

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 7

2. Bed Head Wave Artist Curling Iron

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 8

3. BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 10

4. Kiss Products Instawave Curling Iron

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 9

5. Xtava 5 in 1 Professional Curling Iron

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 17

6. Remington Pro Curling Wand

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 13

7. Conair INFINITIPRO Tourmaline Curling Iron

Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 8

8. Bed Head Curlipops Tapered Curling Wand

Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 10

9. Jose Eber Curling Iron

Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 5

Our Findings

Conair Instant Heat Curling Iron

Best of the Best

Conair Instant Heat Curling Iron, 1 1/2-inch Curling Iron (Misc.)


List Price: $19.99 USD
New From: $13.80 USD In Stock
Used from: $13.80 USD In Stock

What We Liked: This Euro-design iron comes in four barrel sizes, ranging from 3/4 to 1 1/2-inch. It features 25 heat settings for all hair types. The Turbo Heat feature increases barrel temperature by up to 36° and regular heating takes only 30 seconds to heat up to a max of 400°F. The extra-long cool tip and auto-shutoff feature also keep users safe during and after styling. 

Bed Head Wave Artist Curling Iron

Also Consider

Bed Head Wave Artist Deep Waver for Beachy Waves Generation II (Health and Beauty)


List Price: $29.99 USD
New From: $27.30 USD In Stock
Used from: $26.95 USD In Stock

What We Liked: Don’t let the alien look of this unique curling iron put you off. The tourmaline ceramic plates create effortless waves and simultaneously combat frizz and add shine. The barrel produces beach or sculpted waves, depending on how you use it. In our testing, it made our hair look naturally wavy.

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron

Also Great

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron, 1 Inch (Health and Beauty)


List Price: $49.95 USD
New From: $49.95 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

What We Liked: This professional-level traditional curling iron boasts a whopping 50 heat settings and heats up quickly. It comes in four sizes to produce tight coils, natural waves and every type of curl in between. The titanium barrel and Sol-Gel Ceramic technology also combine to create frizz-free styling. We loved how quickly this curling iron got hot and it didn’t make our hair look fried.

Our Curling Iron Buying Guide

Technology has made our lives easier and much more pleasant. Not often at the top of the list, but certainly deserving, are hot tools for styling hair. You don’t have to settle for the hair texture you were born with. What’s more, with the user-friendly and inexpensive styling tools available now, you can change your style daily and safely. Flat irons or straightening irons have smooth, straight hair on lock, but curling irons create a wide range of curls, waves and coils. No matter how stick-straight your hair’s natural texture is, you can transform it into a head full of curls.

And, there are so many different variations, there’s a specific curling iron that’s ideal for every hair length and type. However, the number of curling irons available can make your head, instead of your hair, spin.

A general rule of thumb to follow is the smaller barrels are better for shorter hair and tighter coils. Larger barrels, around 1¼-inch to 1½-inch, work best for long hair. Barrels top out around 2,” and these massive tools can produce equally buoyant beachy waves or loads of volume. In contrast, the smallest ¾  to 1-inch barrels create corkscrews and vintage looks. Right in the middle, 1-inch barrels are the most versatile and produce classic curls and defined waves.

Beyond sizes, there are many different types of materials used in the barrels of curling irons: ceramic, Teflon and a few types of metal. Trendy materials also include tourmaline and titanium. Each one has varying benefits and can work better for certain types of hair.

Ceramic barrels disperse negative ions, which can smooth and protect hair. It also works best at a lower temperature range and can safely curl thin hair. In addition to negative ions, super durable titanium barrels, as well as those made of tourmaline, also produce infrared heat. As such, they are excellent at removing frizz from thick or coarse hair. The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron is made of titanium and has 50 fine-tuned heat settings to make the most of the material.

A luxurious option is a 24K barrel. Gold irons emit quick, high and even heat. Plus, the mini gold particles help enhance hair follicles and potentially prevent hair loss.

One thing they all have in common is their ability to heat up to high enough temperatures to transmit the heat to hair and transform stick straight locks into cascading curls.

A wand is great if you want natural-looking waves and beachy curls. In addition, interchangeable irons let you switch out barrel sizes for a wide range of curly looks. Clip curling irons, like the Conair Instant Heat Curling Iron, produce tighter, ringlet-style twists. They can still look natural and come in a variety of barrel sizes. The Conair model is available in four different barrel sizes.

Not all hair types can take the heat. The most vulnerable hair types, fine or chemically treated, can handle up to 300 degrees. Next is healthy or medium-textured hair, which can stand a bit more at 300-380 degrees.  If you have coarse, curly or thick hair, you can crank up the heat higher to 350-450 degrees without worry.

You can find curling irons for sale in a wide variety of stores, including grocery stores, drugstores, department stores, beauty specialty retailers and online. The higher-end curling irons are sold exclusively direct from the manufacturer or through select shops. Still, budget-friendly curling irons found a few aisles down from the produce can offer a solid value and produce beautiful curls.

Many manufacturers are getting super creative with styling tools, especially curling irons. The patented Curl Dial has ridges and prongs that smooth and detangles hair while it curls. There’s also an easy way to achieve natural or beachy waves. The Bed Head Wave Artist Curling Iron has specially designed deep plates that clamp to turn straight hair into wavy locks quickly. All these high-tech features don’t mean the curling irons are overpriced.

The hair possibilities are endless

DWYM Fun Fact

There’s quite the debate around the true inventor of the very first curling iron. Hiram Maxim obtained the first patent for a curling iron in 1866. However, Marcel Grateau gets the credit for inventing the curling iron and additional hair styling tools a few years later. Grateau co-created the long-lasting Marcel waver with Maurice Lentheric.

Today, professional hair stylists still use Marcel curling irons, like Grateau’s model. They are more difficult to use and require an extra set of hands to operate well. Naturally, they aren’t as common or popular for home use.

His design idea did serve as inspiration for the more user-friendly modern curling irons with spring clamps and wands.

The Curling Iron Tips and Advice

  • If you plan to travel internationally, you will want to confirm the curling iron has dual voltage options.
  • Be aware that some barrel materials heat unevenly and can create hot spots. These areas of the barrel heat up faster or retain more heat than other sections and, in turn, heats the hair unevenly and can damage it.
  • If you’re using a curling wand or a curling iron that is made of titanium, you should wear a pair of heat-protective gloves to ensure you don’t accidentally burn your hands.
  • If a lightweight curling iron is important to you, titanium is your best choice.
  • Not all curling irons work well with wet hair. Tourmaline is the best option if you plan to use a curling iron on wet hair.
  • One inexpensive material to watch out for is Teflon. It’s better to leave it on your nonstick pans because it discharges positive ions that can damage hair. It also tends to heat unevenly.
  • Even if an iron has a higher setting, never curl any hair above 450 degrees. If you have fine hair, you should be curling it with a much lower heat setting to keep it healthy.

About The Author

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Jennifer Nied 

Jennifer Nied is a professional writer based in New York City. She studied journalism at Northwestern University. Jennifer has more than 10 years of experience researching, writing and editing beauty content for award-winning national publications. She focuses on professional treatments, as a spa expert, and has tested thousands of makeup, hair and skincare products.