Requires a single pass through the hair to properly heat it up, so users can apply it to their preferred style within minutes. Adjust the infrared output or temperature settings depending on your preferences. Works well with a variety of hair textures and styles.
One of the more expensive options on the market.
Select your preferred temperature depending on thickness and texture of hair. Extended cord allows for a wide range of movement. Model swivels in place to fit in all angles. Dual voltage makes it an excellent choice for traveling.
Not as powerful or smooth as the other products on our list.
Glide this down your hair to straighten it or wrap it around the model to curl it. Shuts off automatically after 60 minutes so no risk of fires or overheating. LED screen displays your preferred temperature. Elegant style fits in well with any bathroom.
Curls aren't as tight or easy to make as some users would prefer.
Combination of negative ion and infrared technology ensures quick results without sacrificing safety. Heats up within 30 seconds, so users can start using it within a minute. Floating plates ensure further safety. Contains an automatic shut-off to prevent overheating.
May not be the best pick for thicker hair.
Works as well as pricier brands. Easy-to-read display. Floating plates auto adjust to hair thickness.100% true ceramic tourmaline plates. Infrared heat technology. Adjustable from 240 to 410°F. Dual voltage. Curved round edges. Long cord.
Can only adjust in 20-degree increments rather than more precise increments.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Styles fall in and out of fashion, but having smooth, shiny, straight hair is a look that always stays classic. Achieving pin-straight hair usually requires serious work, blow-drying alone often doesn’t get the job done. For this reason, the flat iron is an important hairstyling tool. If you’re not a fan of the damage that a flat iron can do to your locks, it may be time to invest in an infrared flat iron.
An infrared flat iron uses gentler heat than a traditional flat iron, but it’s able to penetrate the hair more deeply and evenly. That allows you to straighten your hair faster and use less heat overall, which minimizes the damage to your hair. Infrared heat also helps lock in moisture by releasing negative ions, so your hair isn’t as frizzy or dry afterward. If you have highlighted, color-treated, or otherwise processed hair, you should have an infrared flat iron in your beauty arsenal.
Ceramic vs. titanium
Most infrared flat irons have either ceramic or titanium plates. Both materials work well, but depending on your hair type, you may prefer one over the other.
Ceramic infrared flat irons are the most common. These irons heat up quickly and provide extremely even heat, allowing you to straighten your hair quickly. Ceramic plates work well on both thick and thin hair and effectively reduce frizz.
Titanium infrared flat irons are lightweight and heat up quickly, just as ceramic plates do. But titanium conducts heat even more effectively than ceramic, and it distributes the heat very well. For thick and coarse hair, a titanium infrared flat iron is extremely effective.
Plate size matters. Depending on how long and thick your hair is, you could end up needing more time to straighten your hair if you choose the wrong size.
Most infrared flat irons have one-inch plates. This works for most hair lengths, but if you have hair that is extremely thick, coarse, or long, you may prefer an iron with plates that are 1 1/2 or 2 inches wide, as you’ll be able to work through your hair faster.
Smaller flat irons that are approximately 1/2-inch in size work well for specific areas of the hair, such as the bangs. This type of iron also works well for travel.
To avoid damage when you are straightening your hair, you shouldn’t use more heat than necessary. However, if you have extremely thick, coarse, or curly hair, you may need a higher temperature to achieve smoothness.
No matter what type of hair you have, you never need a flat iron that gets hotter than 420°F. In fact, if you have fine or thin hair, your flat iron should never rise above 360°F. For medium or normal hair, a maximum temperature of 360°F to 390°F is ideal. For thick, coarse, or extremely curly hair, a maximum temperature of 360°F to 420°F is appropriate.
Some infrared flat irons have fixed temperature settings, which means you have limited control over how much heat the iron produces. These flat irons typically have high, medium, and low settings. The owner’s manual may (or may not) specify the temperature range for each setting.
Some infrared flat irons have variable temperature controls, allowing you to select a precise temperature for your iron. With this type of control, you can select the least amount of heat necessary to straighten your hair.
Some variable infrared flat irons allow you to raise the temperature in 10°F increments. Others advance in larger increments of 20°F or 30°F. The smaller the increment, the greater control you have over temperature.
Entry-level infrared flat irons usually have simple button or dial controls for powering on/off and temperature selection. High-end infrared flat irons may have digital controls that allow you to fine-tune the temperature. An LCD display makes it easier to determine what temperature your iron is set to and whether the iron is on or off.
Leaving any type of flat iron unattended can be a fire hazard. To avoid stress related to this danger, choose an infrared flat iron with an auto shutoff feature. The iron will automatically turn off if it’s left unused for a certain period of time. Most models automatically turn off after 20 to 30 idle minutes.
Moving a flat iron around your head to straighten all your hair can be difficult because the cord gets in the way. To avoid this annoyance, choose an infrared flat iron with a swivel cord that can turn 360°. You can move the iron freely without having to change hands in the middle of styling your hair.
Many infrared flat irons have beveled edges rather than hard, straight edges. Beveled edges help prevent snagging and allow you to use the iron to add curls or waves to your hair.
Infrared flat irons vary in price based on plate material and features offered. The most affordable infrared flat irons usually have ceramic plates, fixed temperature settings, and just a few special features. The price for these irons ranges from $20 to $50. This is probably the best option if you’re new to flat ironing or don’t straighten your hair often.
Mid-range infrared flat irons typically have ceramic or titanium-coated plates, variable temperature settings, and a few special features. The price ranges from $50 to $115 for these models, which are suitable for those who like to flat iron a couple of times a week.
The most expensive infrared flat irons usually have titanium plates, variable temperature settings, and a variety of special features. Cost ranges from $115 to $180. If you’re serious about flat ironing and do so frequently, this could be an investment that makes sense.
Q. How does an infrared flat iron work?
A. Rather than heating your hair from the outside in, an infrared flat iron heats your hair from the inside out. This process helps protect the outer cuticle of hair, so it stays healthy and doesn’t develop as much frizz.
Q. Can I use an infrared flat iron on damaged hair?
A. If you have severely damaged hair, it’s best to avoid heated styling tools completely. But if you have colored or processed hair that’s just a little dry or frizzy, an infrared flat iron is a much better option for straightening your hair than a traditional flat iron. The infrared technology provides gentler heat and actually helps seal moisture into your hair, so it looks smooth and shiny.
Q. What benefits does an infrared flat iron offer beyond reducing heat damage?
A. In addition to limiting the damage your hair experiences due to heat styling, an infrared flat iron allows you to cut down on your straightening time. In most cases, you’ll be able to straighten your hair with a single pass over each section. Many users can reduce their straightening time by five to ten minutes.