Best Hot Rollers

Updated May 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
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.Read more 
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How we decided

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

30 Models Considered
28 Hours Researched
2 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 best hot rollers

Bouncy, va-va-voom curls are perfect for a night out. Even if you haven’t been blessed with naturally curly hair, anyone can get the look with the help of hot rollers. Hot rollers require less effort than curling irons, and they do less damage to your hair. But if it’s your first time buying a set, you might not know where to start. Ribbed or flocked, wax core or ceramic, which hot rollers are right for you?

Start here. At BestReviews, we do the research, consult the experts, analyze the opinions of real-life owners, and cut through the jargon. 

If you’re ready to click buy, check out our top five hot roller sets. If you want to know more about what to look for in hot rollers, and how to get Hollywood curls, read on.

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Hot rollers create long-lasting, frizz-free curls with less damage than curling irons.

How do hot rollers work?

First, the science: The keratin in your hair is held together by hydrogen molecular bonds, which can temporarily be modified by the application of heat and moisture.

Hot rollers come on a special base that is plugged into a power outlet to heat them up.

Once they are heated, you roll small sections of hair around the hot rollers and fix them in place using the clips or pins provided. Wait for the hot rollers to cool — about 15 minutes — then remove them from your hair.

Due to the heat and moisture from the hot rollers, your hair will now be curled.

What to look for when buying hot rollers


Hot rollers come in two finishes: ribbed or flocked.

Ribbed hot rollers have small ridges, while flocked hot rollers have a velvety surface. Some users prefer ribbed rollers because they are easier to remove from hair.

Flocked rollers help hold hair in place and are especially good for creating large curls.

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Be careful when handling freshly heated hot rollers. Hold them at the sides, not in the middle, as the main body of the roller will be hot and could burn or scald your fingers.
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Testing hot rollers
After researching 32 different hot roller sets over the course of 52 hours, we picked our top five to recommend. We also purchased our favorite and tested it hands on.


Hot rollers come in different sizes for different types of curls. Some sets contain a variety of different sizes, and some just have one size. Smaller rollers make tighter, ringlet-style curls. Larger rollers make big curls or waves, plus they create more volume at the root.

Remember that your hair length also plays a part in how the curls will turn out. If you put a large roller in short hair, you might end up with an inward or outward flick, rather than full-on curls, because your hair is too short to wrap around the hot roller enough times.

Heat settings

Some hot rollers have variable heat settings, whereas others only heat to one preset temperature.

For many people, hot rollers without variable heat settings work perfectly well.

However, if you have particularly fine hair, you might need a lower heat setting to prevent damage and for the best results.

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Did you know?
Flocked hot rollers can protect your hair from heat damage better than ribbed varieties.


The body of the roller can be made from one of several materials, all of which have different properties.

  • Foam rollers

Heated with steam, foam rollers tend to be moister and can give you longer-lasting curls. They also heat up especially quickly, so they’re the best choice if you like to style in a hurry.

  • Wax core rollers

These rollers have a layer of wax in the center, which retains heat well and can help hold a curl longer in hair that’s usually resistant to curling.

  • Ceramic infused rollers

Ceramic rollers emit ions of infrared heat, which helps to reduce frizz and give you smooth, shiny curls.

Tips and tricks for using hot rollers

  • If you find that brushing out your curls removes the definition too much, try separating them with your fingers instead.

  • Some users find a light hairspray helps their curls hold for longer without weighing them down.

  • To avoid heat damage and split ends, put a heat-protecting serum on the ends of your hair before using your hot rollers.

  • Place your hot rollers vertically in your hair, rather than horizontally, for a looser tousled effect and less volume.

  • Choose a hot roller set with a variety of roller sizes if you want to be able to create different types of curls.

  • You get a more natural look if you alternate the number of hot rollers in each layer of your hair. For instance, use two on each side in the top layer of your hair, three in the mid-layer, and two in the under layer.

  • To create the best curls, you need a low heat setting if you have fine hair, and a high heat setting if you have thick hair.

  • Most people curl their hair starting at the bottom. But placing the roller near your head, then wrapping your hair around it from top to bottom gives a more even curl, rather than having most of the curl focused near the ends of your hair.

  • Ceramic rollers are the best type for damaged hair. The ceramic layer smooths hair and reduces frizz, while helping to prevent further heat damage.

  • Stylists recommend using large hair clips around the outside of the hot rollers to keep them in place, rather than using the pins that come with some roller sets, as these can leave creases in your curls.

Hot rollers prices

You can find hot rollers to suit a range of budgets, but you do tend to get what you pay for in terms of quality.

  • Inexpensive

Basic hot rollers start at $15 to $20. They usually come in smaller sets, and the sets may only have one size of roller.

  • Mid-range

In the mid-range, hot rollers cost between $20 and $30. You can find better quality rollers at this price point — like ceramic infused hot rollers — but the best rollers may still come in fairly small sets with limited sizes.

  • Expensive

High-end hot rollers cost roughly $30 to $60. In this price range, you get hot rollers of excellent quality that produce long-lasting curls. You also get large sets with  several different sizes of rollers.

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Hot rollers are a great way to add volume to your hair, even if you don’t want curls.


Q. What hairstyles can I create using hot rollers?

A. Of course, you can opt for classic curls with hot rollers, but you can create other hairstyles, too. For instance, textured waves, sleek waves, loose tousled curls, tight ringlets, big updos, and vintage hair flicks.

Q. Can hot rollers damage my hair?

A. Like any tool that styles your hair using heat, hot rollers can damage your hair. However, if you take good care of your hair generally and take precautions when using your hot rollers, this damage should be minimal. Put a heat protectant in your hair before you use your hot rollers, and use lower heat settings when possible, especially if you have fine hair.

Q. Are some hot rollers heavier than others?

A. Yes, some hot rollers are particularly light and others particularly heavy. The heaviest hot rollers can fall out of fine hair, and the lightest rollers might not curl thick hair effectively.

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