Facebook Pixel Code
x
BestReview's Logo
Best For Your Buck Product
Best bang for the buck
HSI PROFESSIONAL
Check Price
Best Of The Best Product
Best of the best
BaBylissPRO
Check Price
BestReview's Logo

Best Flat Irons

Updated May 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

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

  • 111 Models Considered
  • 12 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 82 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best flat irons

    Last Updated May 2018

    Some people think flat irons are just for straightening hair. Not true!

    Yes, you can definitely tame frizz, waves, and curls into a sleek, shiny 'do with the right flat iron. But you can also create waves and curls with this tool.

    At BestReviews, we’ve done our homework.

    We’ve studied the flat iron market, consulted experts, and spoken with owners of several different popular flat irons. And frankly, there’s quite a bit you need to know about this specialized tool before making a purchase. These appliances aren’t always cheap, and in general, a higher-quality unit yields a much better style  and healthier hair, too.

    If you’re ready to dive into a flat iron purchase, please see the product matrix above for our top recommendations. We’re confident that you would be happy with one of the top five flat irons on our shortlist.

    If you’d like to learn more about this versatile styling tool before laying your money down, please continue reading this shopping guide. In it, you’ll find a helpful introduction to the flat iron anatomy, as well as tips and FAQ that can help guide you to the perfect styling tool.

    If you’re in the market for a flat iron that can create waves as well as smooth them out, opt for a model with rounded edges. A flat iron with abrupt, sharp edges can create unwanted creases in the hair.

    Flat iron features

    Adjustable temperature

    The best flat irons offer multiple heat settings so you can tailor your styling session to your hair type. How do you know which heat setting is best for you?

    • Fine hair usually responds best to lower temperatures. In fact, one pass with a low-heated iron is often all it takes to achieve the style you want with fine hair. If your fine hair falls into this “responsive” category, consider yourself lucky. You could actually burn, break, or otherwise damage your fine hair by exposing it to too much heat. (Please see our Tips section for information on how to protect your hair with heat-resistant products.)
    • Thick, coarse hair tends to withstand high heat with a little more grace. And in general, a higher heat setting is better for “unruly” tresses. Why? Because it minimizes your chance of having to pass over the hair with the iron more than once.

    All about the plate

    The part of the flat iron that heats up and presses the hair is called the plate. Different irons offer different plate widths and materials. The trick is to know which width and material would work best for you before you invest in a pricey new iron.

    Plate size

    The average plate width is one inch, but dimensions vary across the product line from a very narrow one-half inch to a generous three inches.

    • In general, people with longer hair require a larger plate than people with shorter hair.
    • If you’re planning to curl your hair with a flat iron, you’d probably fare better with a smaller plate than a larger one.

    Plate material

    Flat iron plates are made with a handful of different materials. Ceramic, tourmaline, a ceramic/tourmaline mix, and titanium are the most common. What’s the difference between these materials, and how does the plate material you choose affect your results?

    • Ceramic

    Many of today’s flat irons have ceramic infused into the plate. The negative ions emitted by the ceramic help create a smooth, shiny look. This might sound like magic, but there’s actually a scientific explanation behind it.

    Hair naturally carries a positive electrical charge associated with its degree of “dryness.” The negative ions created by the styling tool counteract the effect of the positive ions. Think of the positive ions as “bad guys” who try to make your hair look ragged and fried. The negative ions supplied by your iron are “good guys” whose mission is to rescue your hair from the bad guys  or at least temper their ill effects somewhat.

    But buyer beware: whereas some plates are pure ceramic, others are simply “coated” with ceramic. The latter are cheaper, but they’re also weaker and less durable, since the ceramic coating will eventually wear off.

    • Tourmaline

    Tourmaline is an organic, crystalline gemstone that has been ground up and layered onto the surface of the heating element. The gemstone layer holds heat evenly and consistently, which in turn helps you create a better style.

    Because tourmaline is even closer to nature than ceramic, it’s got a lot of the good guys  negative ions, that is  working for it. Faced with a choice between ceramic and tourmaline, many people gravitate toward tourmaline because it’s naturally better for the hair. Fortunately, manufacturers got wise to this and quickly began infusing both ceramic and tourmaline into the plates of their flat irons. 

    • Titanium

    Titanium is an actual chemical element (symbol: Ti) that some manufacturers use as a top coat over the styling plate. Styling tools made of titanium are extremely powerful. They heat up fast, and their high heat is often enough to tame the most unruly of tresses with one pass.

    People with stubborn, difficult-to-style hair appreciate the effectiveness of this material. Notably, titanium hairstyling products tend to cost more than other styling technologies. 

    EXPERT TIP

    Ceramic plates tend to work well for people with fine hair, but those with thick or curly hair may want to consider titanium.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Flat iron plates range in width. If you’re unsure which is best for your hair, opt for a one-inch plate. This size tends to work for most people.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Comfort

    Ideally, you won’t be spending too many minutes with your flat iron in hand. The faster you can complete your style, the sooner you’ll relieve your strands from the stress of high-heat exposure.

    But while you’re standing there in front of the mirror primping and coiffing, you want to be comfortable. You shouldn’t have to assume the role of a contortionist just to get the look you want on the sides, top, and back of your head.

    Look for these comfort-related qualities in your next flat iron:

    Stay-cool housing

    The metal part of your iron might shoot up to 450°F, but the part you touch with your hands should stay cool. Look for a flat iron with a handle made of a material like Ryton, a thermoplastic material that temporarily resists high heat.

    Long swivel cord

    Some flat irons include a 360° swivel cord for easy manipulation. You won’t find yourself performing the contortionist exercises mentioned above with this type of user-friendly cord.

    Owners tend to prefer longer cords over shorter ones. A longer cord is simply more convenient for some bathroom setups.

    Automatic shutoff

    This feature refers more to your emotional comfort than your physical comfort. A styling tool with automatic shutoff can be a godsend for those who feel particularly scattered or stressed in the morning. If you get to work or school and suddenly remember that you forgot to turn off your flat iron, you needn't stress about it all day if it has an automatic shutoff function.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Much like sunblock protects your skin from the sun’s UV rays, a heat protectant shields your hair from the heat damage caused by frequent styling.

    Price

    If you plan to straighten your hair every day, a cheap flat iron is simply not the way to go. With repeated use, a cheap flat iron can wreak havoc on the health of your hair. Repeated exposure to this kind of heat, no matter how many negative ions it releases, can create breakages and brittleness. It can even damage your color.

    $20 to $40

    You can find some good flat irons in in the $20 to $40 range, but be choosy about what you select. Cheaper flat irons are sometimes associated with hair damage.

    $40 to $100

    This is quite a broad price range. Depending on sales, however, you might be able to get a flat iron that normally sells for $100 at a price closer to $50 or $60. You'll have fewer worries about heat damage to your hair if you select a product from this mid-level pricing category.

    $100 +

    Why would you pay this much for a flat iron? If quality is a top priority, you may find it worth the investment. There are some terrific flat irons with nanoionic technology in this price range. Nanoionic technology employs negative ions just as tourmaline and ceramic do, but it does so on a "nanolevel" that is considered to be more thorough. Flat irons with this technology often promise to keep hair healthy and hydrated even as it is exposed to the extreme heat of the iron.

    EXPERT TIP

    Avoid shine sprays, as these can “fry” porous hair. Instead, apply a moisturizing conditioner both before and after your styling session.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Don’t use alcohol-based heat protectant or leave-in conditioner before you straighten, or you’re likely to hear a sizzling noise.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Tips

    • If you straighten or curl your hair with a flat iron every day, we wholeheartedly recommend that you opt for a higher-end tool. Using a flat iron with premium components is the best way to ward off damage, including broken hairs, split ends, and faded color due to heat exposure.
    • If you’re looking for a flat iron for occasional use only, you still might want to invest in a higher-end product in order to preserve the integrity of your hair. However, you might also find it permissible to use something that costs a little less. Many people do.
    • Whether you reach for a high-end tool or a cheap flat iron, we recommend that you apply a heat protectant to your hair first. Heat protectants contain silicone materials that resist water and seal in moisture. The best time to apply heat protectant is after a deep-conditioning session, while the hair is still wet.
    • Bear in mind that even with the best styling tools and heat protectants, it’s possible to damage your hair while heat styling. The best way to combat this is to do your homework before buying hair tools and products. Also, use common sense while styling. If your hair starts to smoke, push the OFF button!
    • People who frequently heat style their hair should follow every shampoo session with a slathering of deep conditioner. Once out of the shower, a leave-in conditioner should be applied to preserve as much moisture as possible.
    • Some experts recommend that you “seal” the ends of your hair at night with oil or shea butter. Possible products to use include coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and jojoba oil.
    It’s a myth that people with ethnic hair need to choose from a different selection of flat irons. What does differ for African Americans is the way in which you iron the hair and how you treat it before and after you iron it.

    FAQ

    Q. I have long, thick hair that’s sometimes wavy and sometimes curly. It’s a nightmare to style. What type of flat iron should I use?
    A.
     Consider a flat iron with a larger plate (between one and two inches in width). Titanium might be your best bet, but a well-made flat iron of ceramic or a ceramic/tourmaline mix could also be great. We recommend a flat iron with an adjustable temperature that can go up to about 420°F.

    Q. My hair is long, fine, and thin. Even though it’s rather straight, I find that it looks even shinier if I use a flat iron. What’s the best product for me?
    A.
     A flat iron with a one-inch plate, or perhaps even a bit smaller, would likely suit you. Choose a tool that can be dialed down to a temperature of 360°F or lower to minimize heat damage. The negative ions supplied by a ceramic or ceramic/tourmaline straightener should give you a good shine boost.

    Q. I am African American, and my hair is very dry, coarse, and curly. How do I proceed with a flat iron?
    A.
     Your number-one goal (aside from a great style) is the preservation of your hair’s health and moisture content. Shampoo first to remove any product buildup or residue. (You don’t want to bake the previous day’s chemicals into your hair while you’re straightening it.) Then, working in sections, comb out your curls as much as possible and apply a leave-in conditioner and oil to safeguard your strands.

    Wait until your hair is dry; then begin the straightening process. Experts recommend that you use a fine-tooth comb to separate extremely small sections. The work will be slow and tedious, but if done right, you should be pleased with your results.

    Q. I understand how to straighten my hair with a flat iron, but I have no idea how to create waves with it. Any advice?
    A.
     For beachy waves, try this quick trick on longer hair:

    • Braid your hair. For best results, create three braids: one on the right, one on the left, and one in the back.
    • Run your flat iron over the length of each braid twice, avoiding the hair tie at the bottom.
    • Allow the braids to cool. When you take them out, you should see soft, beachy waves.
       

    The above is just one of many flat iron styling tips you can find on the internet. If you’ve got the time, the internet has the resources for creating curls, waves, chic bang styles, and much more with your new flat iron.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Alvina
      Alvina
      Photographer
    • Amber
      Amber
      Writer
    • Branson
      Branson
      Production Assistant
    • Ciera
      Ciera
      Production Assistant
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor
    • Vukan
      Vukan
      Post Production Editor