Best Curling Wands

Updated June 2021
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

36 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
3 Experts Interviewed
170 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for shopping guide for best curling wands

When you’re not sure what to do with your hair, you can’t go wrong with curls, whether you want a casual everyday look or an elegant, formal style. But for picture-perfect waves, you need a reliable, user-friendly curling wand.

A curling wand is a heated styling tool that you wrap your hair around. As you hold your hair in place, the heat from the wand helps lock the curl or wave into your hair. What sets a curling wand apart from other curl-creating heated styling tools like a curling iron is that it has no clamp to hold the hair in place. Instead, you use your fingers to grip the end of each section of hair and keep it wrapped around the wand’s barrel.

For the most attractive-looking curls, you have to choose the right curling wand. That means figuring out the best size, shape, material, and other features that work with your hair type. If you’re not sure what to look for in a curling wand, our buying guide has all the tips and tricks you need to find the best model for your hair styling routine. We’ve even included some product recommendations to make shopping as easy as can be.

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Some curling wands feature a barrel with a combination of ceramic and tourmaline to provide the benefits of both materials.

Key considerations

Curling wand vs. curling iron

Before you start shopping, ask yourself whether a curling wand or curling iron is best for your hair type and needs.

The main difference between a curling wand and a curling iron is an iron has a clamp that holds the end of your hair in place when you curl it around the barrel. A wand, on the other hand, is usually clamp-less. While the clamp may make it easier to keep your hair in place, it can also leave a crimp or crease in your hair, which many people don’t like.

Curling wands usually heat up more quickly than curling irons, so you’re able to style your hair in less time. They produce looser, softer curls, giving your hair a wavier style. If you prefer ringlet curls, a curling iron may be the better option.


Curling wands are available in different barrel sizes. The barrel size affects the look of your curls or waves. You should choose a barrel size based on the length of your hair and what type of curls you prefer.

  • 3/4-inch barrel: works best for short to medium hair or creating tendril curls around your face

  • 1/2-inch: works best for short to medium hair or creating ringlet curls

  • 1-inch: works best for medium hair or creating spring-like curls

  • 1 1/4-inch: works best for medium to long hair or creating looser curls

  • 1 1/2-inch: works best for medium to long hair or creating large, round curls

  • 2-inch: works best for long hair or creating loose, beach-like waves

If you’re having trouble choosing a curling wand size or want to be able to create multiple types of curls, opt for a curling wand that features interchangeable heads. They include barrels in multiple sizes, so you simply pull off one head and snap another in place to change the size and look of your curls.

Straight vs. cone-shaped

Some curling wands have a straight barrel, meaning it’s the same size from top to bottom. This allows it to produce curls of the same shape and size.

Other curling wands have a cone-shaped barrel. This means it tapers toward the end of the barrel — one end is narrower than the other. A cone-shaped barrel allows you to create curls in a variety of sizes with a single curling wand. If you want curls that are uniform in size and shape, be sure to wrap your hair around the same part of the barrel each time you move to a new section.



Curling wand barrels can be made of several different materials, some of which are better for certain kinds of hair. Some common materials for curling wand barrels include:

  • Ceramic, which provides a steady, even temperature throughout the barrel of the wand. It heats quickly, is scratch-resistant, and is usually fairly affordable. A ceramic curling wand works well for most hair types, too.

  • Tourmaline, which uses ion technology to release negative ions into the hair for smooth, shiny, frizz-free curls. It can curl more effectively at lower temperatures, so it’s ideal for fine or damaged hair.

  • Titanium, which makes for the lightest curling wand barrel, and the most durable. It heats up quickly and provides consistent, even heat. A titanium curling wand usually produces the highest heat, so it works extremely well for coarse, thick, or hard-to-curl hair. Like tourmaline wands, it can produce negative ions to smooth the hair and create frizz-free curls.

Variable temperature

With any heated hair styling tool, it’s best to use the least amount of heat necessary to achieve your desired results. Most curling wands have multiple heat options that allow you to choose the best temperature setting for your hair type. However, these settings are often fairly general, such as low, medium, and high, which means you’re not able to select a specific temperature to curl your hair.

Some curling wands offer an adjustable temperature setting, which means you’re able to set a precise temperature to curl your hair. For example, some wands may allow you to adjust the temperature in 10° increments from 180°F to 400°F, while others may offer adjustment in 25° increments.

Digital controls

If you opt for a curling wand with variable temperature settings, it’s a good idea to choose a model with digital controls. These wands usually feature an LCD display so you can see the temperature setting easily.

Auto shutoff

Because it’s a heated styling tool, a curling wand can pose a fire hazard in your home if you’re not careful. It’s not uncommon to forget to turn off your wand when you’re running out the door in the morning. To avoid worrying about whether you shut off your curling wand after you’ve left the house, choose a model with an auto shutoff feature — it shuts off the wand if it isn’t touched for a certain period, such as 90 seconds.

Swivel cord

Moving a curling wand around your head to style your hair can be difficult because it has a cord that must be plugged into an outlet. Some wands have a swivel cord — the end of the cord that connects to the wand can turn 360°. This makes it much easier to move the wand around your head without worrying about accidentally unplugging it as you go.

Automatic curling

Most curling wands require you to manually wrap your hair around the barrel and hold the hair in place to create curls or waves. However, some models feature automatic curling, in which you feed a piece of hair into a chamber to automatically wrap it around a barrel for curling. These wands can be a little tricky to learn to use, but they’re a good option if you want an extremely quick, simple way to curl your hair.

Heat-resistant glove

Because most curling wands don’t have a clamp to keep your hair in place, your fingers come in pretty close contact with the heated barrel when you hold the ends. To prevent an accidental burn, some curling wands include a heat-resistant glove to wear on the hand that holds your hair in place.

Curling wand prices

Curling wands vary in price based on the barrel material, size, and other features. Most wands range from $12 to $105. Those on the higher end of each price range are curling wand models with interchangeable heads.

Inexpensive: Ceramic curling wands are usually the most affordable. They cost between $12 and $32.

Mid-range: Tourmaline curling wands generally fall in the center of the price range, costing between $18 and $79.

Expensive: Titanium curling wands are usually the most expensive models. They typically cost between $35 and $105.


  • Always make sure your hair is completely dry before using a curling wand. Allowing it to air dry fully is best, but use a blow dryer if you’re in a hurry.

  • Wrap your hair around your curling wand so it’s going away from your face for the most natural, flattering curls and waves.

  • For soft waves, you usually only have to hold your hair on the curling wand for two to three seconds if you have fine to normal hair. For tighter curls, aim for four to five seconds. Thick, coarse hair usually requires more time wrapped around the wand.

  • Allow your curls to cool for a minute or two before brushing or shaking them out to give them time to truly set.
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Because it doesn’t have a clamp to hold the hair in place, a curling wand is usually better than a curling iron for hair with damaged, fragile ends.


Q. What temperature should I set my curling wand to for effective curling?

A. It depends on your hair type. For fine, thin, or damaged hair, never use your curling wand at a temperature above 200°F (or past the low setting) to prevent burning your hair. For medium hair, use your curling wand at 200°F to 300°F, or on the medium setting. Extremely thick, coarse, or hard to curl hair requires high heat, or a temperature between 300°F and 400°F.

Q. Will a curling wand damage my hair?

A. Heat styling is always hard on your hair because it strips moisture, making your tresses more brittle and prone to breakage. To avoid damaging your hair, limit your use of a curling wand to one or two times per week, and always apply a heat protectant product before you curl your hair.

Q. Does a curling wand usually have warranty protection?

A. Many curling wands do come with a warranty. The coverage can range from six months to four years, so check the product specifications to see exactly how long yours is. Keep in mind that warranties usually only cover damage that results from defects in the materials or workmanship of your wand, not any issues that occur due to accidents or misuse.

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