Lindsey Lanquist is an experienced writer and editor specializing in health, wellness, fitness, fashion, lifestyle, and beauty content. You can find her work in Real Simple, VeryWell, SELF, StyleCaster, SheKnows, MyDomaine, The Spruce, Byrdie, and more.
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A hair straightener is a classic styling tool that leaves you with straight, frizz-free locks while keeping heat damage to a minimum. “The hair can be damaged very quickly when using a straightener,” says Gina Rivera, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Phenix Salon Suites. “[So] it’s important to use a good professional product.”
To find the best hair straighteners, we spent hours researching flat irons, straightening brushes, and hot combs—assessing them based on their quality, settings, ease of use, and overall value. For specific recommendations on the best hair straighteners for different hair types, we turned to three experts: Rivera, as well as Janel Brown, senior stylist at Julien Farel Palm Beach, and Starr Mason, stylist and field education leader at Hair Cuttery Family of Brands.
Our best overall pick is the T3 Lucea Professional Straightening Iron. The high-tech flat iron is fast-acting and easy to use. We also love that it recommends a hair straightening temperature based on your unique hair type.
Who it’s for: People who want a best-in-class flat iron that picks a personalized heat setting based on your hair length and texture.
Who it isn’t for: Budget-conscious shoppers and anyone who likes a no-fuss straightener.
T3’s Lucea Professional Straightening Iron takes the guesswork out of styling your hair. The flat iron helps you find the best temperature based on your unique length, texture, and more. It has long, wide plates to straighten your hair in one pass—speeding up your styling process and exposing your hair to less heat. The plates have beveled edges, making this pick great for creating waves and curls, too. The flat iron also has a non-stick clamp and a lengthy 9-foot cord, and it automatically shuts off after one hour.
But our favorite thing about this hair straightener? It gives you nine heat settings to choose from—and helps you find the right one. The straightener asks you about your hair length, texture, and whether your hair is color-treated and suggests a specific heat setting based on your information. Thanks to this unique feature, the flat iron works on all hair types and textures and is one of the most versatile and efficient straighteners on our list.
Price at time of publish: $190
Who it’s for: People who want to save on a tool that straightens and curls hair.
Who it isn’t for: People who want a simple flat iron for straightening hair.
There are lots of great budget-friendly hair straighteners out there. But since Landot’s Hair Straightener and Curler is a two-in-one tool, it gives you twice as much bang for your buck. The flat iron ticks a lot of boxes: It heats up in just 30 seconds, offers 11 heat settings, and has an LCD screen that makes it easy to toggle between different options. The straightener has anti-scald ends, which makes it easy to style your hair without burning your scalp, and shuts off after one hour.
But what sets this straightener apart is its unique shape. While many flat irons have straight barrels and flat plates, this pick has a rounded barrel and twisted plates. These features make the tool a great curling iron—without sacrificing its efficacy as a hair straightener. The ability to multitask makes the flat iron a great find, especially at its affordable price point.
Price at time of publish: $66
Who it’s for: People who want a travel-friendly and portable straightener.
Who it isn’t for: People who want a travel flat iron with a carry case or an automatic shutoff timer.
CHI’s Tourmaline Ceramic Mini Hairstyling Iron is small, lightweight, effective, and easy to toss in your bag. The straightener has tons of features that make it great for travel—it’s smaller than a classic flat iron, but the 0.75-inch ceramic-tourmaline plates still straighten hair fast. The tool takes 30 seconds to heat up and is dual voltage, so it’s safe to use on international outlets. The 6.5-foot cord saves space in your luggage, without tethering you too close to an outlet.
But the main reason we love this flat iron? It isn’t as harsh as many travel-sized tools. Like other travel flat irons, this straightener has just one heat setting: 383 degrees Fahrenheit. But since it relies on infrared heat, it’s gentler on your hair than many other mini flat irons. We think the infrared heat makes up for the lack of a convenient carry case. (That said, we really wish this pick had an automatic shutoff timer.)
Price at time of publish: $60
Who it’s for: People with thick hair or those who like having many temperature settings.
Who it isn’t for: People who want a flat iron with an automatic shutoff timer.
Two of our experts love the BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium, and because it has titanium plates, Brown says it’s especially great for thick hair. “[For] thick hair, [you want a straightener with] 100 percent titanium plates, such as the Babyliss Nano Titanium,” says Brown.
The flat iron has more heat settings than any other option on our list—giving you 50 temperatures between 240 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This wide temperature range makes the flat iron great for many hair types. Since titanium plates are so easy to heat, the straightener is ideal for tough styling jobs—like straightening thick hair.
The titanium plates are extra-long to heat more of your hair and speed up your styling process and come in three widths: one inch, one and a half inches, and two inches. (For the fastest styling process, we recommend the two-inch plate.) “I have the BaByliss Pro Nano in different sizes,” says Mason. “I like how the heat is distributed throughout the flat iron.”
The flat iron also comes in a heat-resistant shell that cuts down on burns and scalds, and its 9-foot cord gives you lots of room to move around. The only downside to this selection is that it does not have an automatic shutoff feature, like all of our other favorites.
Price at time of publish: $160
Who it’s for: People willing to splurge on a gentle straightener that works fast and minimizes damage.
Who it isn’t for: People who want a quality straightener on a budget.
Infrared straighteners are the gentlest way to heat your hair, so if you want to cut down on damage, we recommend a fast-acting infrared straightener—like Bio Ionic’s 10X Pro Styling Iron. The straightener uses infrared heat, which heats hair from the inside out rather than the outside in. According to experts, this is the safest and gentlest way to heat your hair. “I always recommend using an iron that has infrared technology, because it’s healthier for the hair, compared to other straighteners,” says Rivera.
This straightener reaches temperatures up to 450 degrees, boasts five heat settings, and straightens your hair in as little as 10 minutes. The reason this flat iron works so fast? Its ceramic plates vibrate as you use them, heating more of your hair with each pass to speed up the styling process. (The less time you spend heating damaged hair, the better.) We also like that the straightener has a rounded barrel, so you can use it for curling and straightening your hair. It also has a nine-foot cord and a one-hour automatic shutoff timer.
Price at time of publish: $239
Who it’s for: People who want a top-notch flat iron that quickly straightens, steams, and detangles curly hair.
Who it isn’t for: People who want a no-frills styling tool.
Brown swears by the L’Oreal Professionnel Steampod—especially if you have curly hair. “It steams in moisture, leaving you less susceptible to frizz,” she says. The flat iron has ceramic plates that evenly heat your hair and a built-in water tank, which releases steam as you straighten your hair to speed up your styling process—whether you’re smoothing thick waves or curls. The flat iron also has a built-in comb, which detangles your hair with every pass.
This three-in-one approach is hard to top. And since you can use the flat iron to straighten or wave your hair, this is a multipurpose tool for your styling collection. While an innovative tool, the Steampod has a limited temperature range of 350 to 410 degrees Fahrenheit, only has three heat settings, and is more difficult to use than some of our other favorites. Still, we think this straightener is a solid choice for anyone with curly or frizzy hair.
Price at time of publish: $250
Who it’s for: People who want a straightener that works fast and cuts down on damage.
Who it isn’t for: People who want a fast-acting straightener that isn’t bulky, heavy, or pricey.
If you have long hair, bigger plates are better, which is why Brown recommends this tool from Aria Beauty—a one-pass straightener with two-inch plates. The flat iron has ceramic-tourmaline plates and relies on infrared heat to style your hair. This design makes the straightener great for damaged hair. But thanks to its size and speed, it’s ideal for long hair, too. The flat iron plates are two inches wide, heating more of your hair with each pass.
While fast-acting, this design has its downsides. The wide plates are harder to wield than slimmer ones, and at two pounds, the straightener is one of the heaviest on our list. (Many of our other favorites weigh about 10 ounces.) Even so, this is a small downside when styling long hair quickly. Plus, we like that the flat iron has an eight-foot cord and a one-hour automatic shutoff timer.
Price at time of publish: $200
Who it’s for: People willing to splurge on a fast-acting straightener that works cord-free.
Who it isn’t for: People who prefer to splurge on heat settings over convenience.
Dyson’s Corrale Hair Straightener may be expensive, but experts and consumers agree: It’s the best cordless hair straightener. This flat iron only has three heat settings but is loaded with standout features. Its plates are manganese copper alloy, a unique material that cuts down on heat damage, and they have tiny ridges that are great at gripping your strands, helping you straighten more hair with each pass.
The real selling point of this flat iron is that you can use it without a cord. The straightener gives you up to 30 minutes of cord-free styling and only takes 70 minutes to charge completely. Plus, it comes with a 10.9-foot cord, so you can style your hair after the 30 cord-free minutes run out. This flexibility is hard to find and makes the Dyson hair straightener a particularly convenient buy.
Price at time of publish: $499
Who it’s for: People who want a hair straightening brush that works on different hair types.
Who it isn’t for: People who don’t want to use two different tools to get stick-straight hair.
Hair straightening brushes, like Amika’s Polished Perfection Straightening Brush 2.0, straighten and detangle your hair simultaneously. The fan-favorite tool has ceramic bristles that get as hot as the plates on a hair straightener, reaching temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The bristles have cool tips, so you can brush your hair without burning your scalp. Plus, this tool relies on infrared heat to minimize damage. The hair straightening brush also has a convenient nine-foot cord and automatically shuts off after one hour.
The best thing about this straightening brush is that it works well on different hair types—successfully straightening wavy, curly, and damaged hair. Depending on your hair texture, you might have to pair this brush with a flat iron for stick-straight locks. But if you like straight hair with a little volume, this tool gets the job done.
Price at time of publish: $98
Who it’s for: People who want a fast-acting, affordable, and easy-to-use hot comb.
Who it isn’t for: People who prefer the grip and sleek feel of a traditional hot comb.
Tymo’s Ring Hair Straightener Comb heats up fast and works like a dream, and thanks to its unique design, it’s easy to use without burning yourself. The hot comb offers five heat settings and heats up fast—taking just 25 seconds to reach 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The tool has heated ceramic bristles, but unlike other hot combs, these bristles are round and wide instead of narrow and pointed to straighten more of your hair with each pass—though it doesn’t grip hair as well as a traditional hot comb. Since the bristles have a protective shell, it’s easy to comb your hair without burning your scalp.
The user-friendly features don’t stop there—the heat-resistant plate makes it look more like a brush than a comb and automatically shuts off after 30 minutes. This comb is also one of the most affordable straighteners on our list, which is great news if you’re in the market for an affordable tool.
Price at time of publish: $70
The T3 Lucea Professional Straightening Iron is our best overall pick because it works well on most hair types and helps you find the right heat setting for your hair, so you can straighten your locks while minimizing damage.
If you’re shopping on a budget, we recommend the Landot Hair Straightener and Curler. The affordable hair straightener doubles as a curling iron, giving you twice the bang for your buck. We also like that the flat iron is fast-acting and easy to use.
The first thing you should look for when buying a hair straightener? “The ability to control the temperature,” Mason says. The right temperature for your hair will vary based on length, texture, and health. Look for a straightener with a wide temperature range and plenty of heat settings.
To minimize damage, set your flat iron to the lowest temperature you can (without spending eons styling your hair). “For coarse and curly hair, 375 degrees [Fahrenheit] and lower is a good rule of thumb,” Rivera says. “Fine, thin hair should stay in the 200–250 degree [Fahrenheit] range to play it safe.”
When assessing flat iron plates, pay attention to size and material. Plates come in different widths (typically between one and two inches). Wide plates may be harder to wield than slim plates, but they also work faster because they can hold more hair.
Flat iron plates also come in different materials, like ceramic, tourmaline, and titanium. Ceramic plates heat hair more gently than tourmaline and titanium plates, so Rivera says they are ideal for fine or fragile hair. Tourmaline and titanium plates, on the other hand, get really hot, so Rivera says they’re better for thick, coarse, or curly hair.
The best hair straighteners will style your hair quickly while minimizing damage. To find the right one, shop with your hair type in mind. “Some hair types, such as curly and coarse hair, can typically take more heat than fine, fragile, or damaged hair,” Rivera says.
First, consider how much heat you need and how long it takes to straighten your hair. If you have fine or damaged hair, look for a straightener with a low minimum temperature and ceramic plates. If you have thick or curly hair, look for a straightener with higher heat settings and wide plates made of titanium or tourmaline.
“Straighteners that are designed with infrared heat are the healthiest for the hair,” Rivera says. “Infrared heats the hair from the inside out [and] results in softer, shinier, and hydrated hair.”
If you can’t find an infrared straightener, look for a one-pass ceramic straightener. Ceramic plates are gentler than titanium and tourmaline plates. And since one-pass straighteners work quickly, they expose your hair to less heat.
Flat irons with titanium plates are better for thick or curly hair, while flat irons with ceramic plates are better for fine or damaged hair. “Titanium plates tend to get hotter than ceramic [plates], which can be OK if used correctly and on the right hair type—[like] coarse, thick, and curly hair,” Rivera says. “Ceramic plates heat the hair from the inside out. It’s a more tempered heat, which is healthier for the hair—[especially] if your hair tends to be fragile.”
There are several ways to straighten your hair without heat, but they require much more effort than a flat iron. Mason recommends using a wrap set to stretch out your curls. “This method could take a very long time, depending on the length of hair,” says Mason.
Rivera recommends setting wet hair with Velcro rollers or blow-drying your hair on a cool setting. “Just know [that] it’s super important to completely dry the hair,” Rivera adds. “If there is any dampness left in the hair, it will return to its original state.”
Trimmer Hair Clipper This article was written by Lindsey Lanquist, a contributing writer for Real Simple with seven years of experience writing fashion and lifestyle content. To find the best hair straighteners, Lindsey interviewed hair stylists Gina Rivera, Janel Brown, and Starr Mason, and spent hours researching hair straighteners, assessing them based on their settings, quality, ease of use, and overall value.