Given my wildly curly hair, and a lifelong desire for straight hair, it’s only natural I would have an interest in flat irons. I’ve done a ton of research and decided to put together my list of best flat iron reviews. But you won’t just find a bunch of reviews here. I’ve tried to add lots of interesting info, so that anyone else who is interested in using a straightener won’t have to do all the searching on many different sites that I had to do.
I’ll cover a wide range of flat irons, in different price points. After all, the best flat irons aren’t limited to the very expensive ones. There are some superb selections that are quite inexpensive. Of course, whether or not something is expensive is relative. As an example, the Conair Infiniti Pro is typically sold for about $30. It has solid ceramic plates and is a great choice.
Here a quick list of my top 5 picks:
Speaking of ceramic. When looking for a flat iron, there are several features that you need to be aware of. I’ll briefly mention them here on this page, but you’ll be able to find more detailed info on each of them on separate pages.
Types of Flat Irons
The most important component of a flat iron is the plate, and plates can be found in a variety of different materials. And while it might be said that one material is better than another, keep in mind that what’s best for someone else might not be what’s best for you.
At the low end, you can buy straighteners that have plates made out of glass or cheap metals. These are not hair friendly, and need to be used with caution. And you need to be aware of what you are buying, because while the packaging might call them ceramic, what you are actually getting is that glass or metal plate with a thin film of ceramic painted on top. If you want 100% ceramic, look for marketing material that states that fact. It should say something like “pure ceramic” or “solid ceramic.” Trust me; if their product contains 100% ceramic, they are going to tell you that. If something just says ceramic, be wary.
The problem here is that neither glass nor that cheap metal is going to effectively and evenly conduct heat. And you really want something that will do that. Solid ceramic will. That means that the plates aren’t going to have spots that are much hotter than others. Spots that could be frying your hair.
With all that said, ceramic flat irons are the most popular. They are good for all hair types, getting evenly hot enough for those of us with coarser, curlier hair, while still being gentle enough to use on finer, thinner hair.
Titanium is a step up from ceramic. This metal generates ions – ceramic does as well, but not to the extent that titanium does. For a full explanation of why ions are important to your hair and what they do, check out my article on Should You Chose Ceramic or Titanium.
Titanium also conducts greater amounts of heat than ceramic does, so extreme caution has to be used. As a matter of fact, in my opinion, if you have thin or fine hair, you likely don’t need to use a titanium flat iron. The best flat iron for you would be a ceramic one, and a solid ceramic one if that fits into your budget.
When reading flat iron reviews, you’ll likely come across the mention of tourmaline. This is a relatively new technology where particles of this semi precious gem are added to the plates. Tourmaline is another substance that generates negative ions. Since ceramic only does this in lower levels – at least when compared to titanium – tourmaline will boost the ions that you get from ceramic plates alone.
A nice feature to look for is an iron with a longer cord. There is nothing more frustrating than having to bend, twist and contort yourself because of where your outlet is placed. If it also has one of those swivel things where the plug starts, that’s a bonus.
If you have huge amounts of thick curly hair, go for 2 inch plates, but if that’s not you, go for a model that’s between 1 to 1 ½ inches. That will allow you to get as close to your roots and crown as possible. Many of the flat irons I’ve reviewed here have the option of choosing from multiple sizes. I’ve tried to remember to mention that in each review, if the option is available.
I also like to have an auto shut off if possible. There is nothing scarier than coming home after work and finding your iron still on in the bathroom. If you can find one that will shut off after something like 60 minutes of not being used, they are a safer option.
Another feature I don’t think I’ve mentioned anywhere yet is floating plates. These are designed to self adjust to the hair texture for even pressure and consistent heat distribution.
And last, but not least, are you contrary? After you go to all that work to straighten your hair, are you going to want to create some curls? If so, you need to have a flat iron that is versatile enough to handle that for you. And that means you need to have an iron that has curved edges to the plates. The curves will allow you to create curly styles when you want, and still let you completely straighten your hair as well. A good example of a straightener with curved edges is the Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Flat Iron.
Taking Care of Your Hair
I’ll also cover a series of tips on what to do when flat ironing your hair. Ironically, applying heat to your hair is one of the worst things you can do – it’s extremely damaging. Yet that’s what we all have to do to style our hair. Fortunately, the hair care industry has an array of products that we can use in conjunction with heat styling, giving us a way to halt or repair any damage. Protecting your hair with some sort of protectant before ironing is actually one of the most important tips I can give you. It makes no sense to use a flat iron with the objective of achieving, smooth flat hair, while we’re burning it to a dry, crispy mess. So before you iron, before you even blow dry for that matter, use a protecting lotion of some sort.
Something else you want to be careful of is heat settings. In several places, I’ve talked extensively about choosing the best flat iron with a variety of heat settings. Don’t get one and then automatically use it at the lowest settings, thinking less heat will be better, or conversely thinking hotter is automatically better. Just using the lowest setting could mean you need to pass the hair by the plates more often, further drying your hair out in the process. Find the setting that makes the most sense for your hair and stick to it.
Make sure you use a brush or comb before ironing – or better yet use a comb while ironing. Having tangle free hair will result in even smoother hair when you are done. If you’re coordinated enough to manage it, using the comb in one hand and running it through a section of hair just before you pass it through the flat iron is a good technique.
Once you have found what you believe to be the best flat iron for you, do yourself a favor and keep it clean. Not only will it extend the life of it, you won’t have to worry about snagging your hair on that nasty buildup on the plates. Remember, you are using styling products – or you should at the very least be using a heat protectant – before you apply the flat iron. Over time, that’s going to transfer to the plates.
Perhaps the best bit of advice I can give you here is to know your hair. Don’t make assumptions and/or snap decisions – like my hair is such and such so this is the way to style it. If you need to do some experimenting to find the right balance of heat for your hair, start cool and work up to hot. Don’t turn the iron up to its max temperature and then slap it on your hair. You might be sorry you did. I have a general temperature guideline at How to Flat Iron Your Hair that you might want to check out first, but several flat iron manufacturers do have their own listed guidelines in their product manuals.
Best Flat Iron Reviews!
That’s what you’re really here for, right? So look ahead to our reviews. And like I said back at the beginning of this page, we’ll have reviews that cater to different budgets, so I hope you find one that’s perfect for you.