After 18 hours of research evaluating 94 products, we picked HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron as our top choice.
Okay, we love our curls, but sometimes it’s all about the straight smoothness that comes from the salon - or one of the best flat iron hair straighteners at home.
And, really, if you have the right tools you can make that happen; before you know it your regular routine will be wash, condition, dry, and then run one of these best flat irons through your locks. (Of course, some of the best hair straightener irons also curl like champions too.)
Even the best flat irons are very different from each other!
We’re not going to lie about that. But (as this list of faves clearly proves), you don’t necessarily need to fork out a fortune to achieve amazing results.
You do, however, need to know what you’re after. A look at the tips section should help you narrow it down.
Now, as you start looking through the list for the best flat iron for you, you should know that we didn’t ignore the necessity of non-pulling plates. We only selected flat irons that real users found smooth as silk - whatever their hair type.
You’ll get a lot of heat with this huge 2” tourmaline ceramic flat iron. It features cold conditioning steam and awesome digital controls.
It can get way too hot for some users and there are those that report damages almost straight out of the box.
This is more than a wide flat iron (a whopping 2”) - it also works with infrared heat and steam to ensure your hair looks incredible in record time. The floating tourmaline ceramic floating plates are a little slower to heat, but you’ll only wait for a minute and a half, which is still amazing given their size.
There’s a removable water tank for refills and although there is also a heat-resistant rubber handle - this hair straightener gets too hot for some users’ comfort. But, it does come with a heat-resistant travel case and there is an automatic shut-off so that you don’t burn the house down. And, you can take this baby overseas as it has dual voltage capacity. When you’re sold, just check out the price.
Heating speed: 90 seconds
Temperature and controls: Temperatures between 265 and 445ºF with the LCD digital controls
Plates: Tourmaline ceramic
Price: The MSRP is $60 and you might pay as little as half of that for this awesome flat iron.
This is an amazing all-around, tourmaline ceramic flat iron with auto shut-off, variable heat settings, and 1” floating plates.
It’s expensive and there are a small fraction of users that have experienced issues very early in the life cycle.
This isn’t the hottest of all flat irons - though it does crack the 400ºF mark. And, its not the most expensive model - especially for a salon-quality machine. But those two factors combined mean that you’ll take a much closer look before you click the buy button. Fortunately, you’re going to find it’s an incredible hair straightener - and it doesn’t do too bad with curling and flipping either.
The tourmaline-coated ceramic floating plates operate with a combination of negative ions and infrared heat. You’ll get accurate temperatures quickly - and this flat iron can also hold the heat well. The anti-slip edges are a bonus and we appreciate the extended warranty (which you really should get for the price). In addition, this 1” flat iron is available in enough colors to make you smile. So, go on - take another look at this.
Heating speed: 30 seconds
Temperature and controls: A max of 410ºF with variable temperature settings
Plates: Tourmaline ceramic
Price: The MSRP is $160 and you should pay around $150. That does make this one of the more expensive models, but it’s an awesome flat iron.
This 1.25” ceramic flat iron has a good flat connection and a great grip. It also lasts (seemingly) forever if you treat it nicely.
The plates are bit fragile; you don’t want to drop this flat iron when it gets a little too hot to touch (which it sometimes does).
There are plenty of flat irons ready to boast their high temperatures - and to be fair, this particular hair straightener isn't really talking about their low temperatures. We are though. While 180ºF isn’t the absolute lowest you can find, it’s still rather low. And that’s good news for those with thinner hair or that only need a little straightening help. It’s great at getting rid of static and frizz and it does so with those moisturizing negative ions.
What else is there to like? How about the lifespan of this Herstyler flat iron? People use theirs frequently and still report them lasting upwards of 7 years. But, they are lightweight with a long cord which is slightly problematic - the ceramic plates are a little fragile; drop this hair straightener and you might cry. Still, the price is good and users tend to fall in love.
Heating speed: 30 seconds
Temperature and controls: You can get as low as 180 with this flat iron - though it does go all the way to 450ºF. The manual adjustment dial controls the temperature.
Price: We’ve seen this for just over $22, but the MSRP is $35. We’re happy to see it for less than $25 - especially when people have paid over $100 for this at the mall.
This 1.75” plates on this professional flat iron are designed for speed and unmanageable hair. There's also a carrying case and smart temperature controls.
Though the manufacturer suggests the design is conducive to curls, the size actually makes it difficult.
The MSRP on this titanium hair straightener is $80 and that’s really rather remarkable for the titanium. And, yet, you’ll still pay less than that. Even before considering other benefits, that’s enough reason to take a second look. When you do, you’ll be pleased with the LCD temperature controls, the automatic shut-off and the dual voltage capacity.
The temperature range is outstanding and you should expect even distribution of heat. The floating 1.75” plates mean you can get through a lot of hair in a short amount of time. And, when you’re done, the intelligent safety temperature fall down makes it easy to maintain your machine. That said, the rounded edges for flips and curlers don’t go far enough to counteract the wider plates on this flat iron.
Heating speed: 30 seconds
Temperature and controls: The digital LCD controls allow for temperatures between 170 and 450ºF
Size: 1.75” (so a little larger than you may be used to)
Price: The MSRP is $80, but you may pay about half of that. For titanium plates, that’s great value for money.
This Babyliss titanium flat iron is super thin and has a whopping 50 settings. It heats up quickly and has 5” long plates to work a lot of hair quickly.
The plates don’t touch on this (because it makes room for hair without it falling out). Additionally, there’s only a manual shut-off.
You’ll be surprised at how thin this Babyliss flat iron is - and how well it works with coarse, thick hair. It’s a seriously non-snag titanium model (which means you’ll pay a fair amount for it). It heats in about 30 seconds and the heat recovery time is also excellent. And yet, the Ryton housing does a great job at keeping the handle cool.
One reason (besides the brand name and the smooth operation) to chose this model is the variety of heat settings - 50 choices. With this range of temperatures, you can bet this works just as well with thinner hair as it does with thicker and longer do's. Okay, it is expensive, and you will need to remember to switch it off. But, otherwise, this is an incredible 1” flat iron.
Heating speed: 30 seconds
Temperature and controls: A max of 450ºF with 50 different heat settings! (Wow!)
Voltage: American only
Price: The MSRP is $140 and you can expect to pay between $125 and $140. Yes, that makes this one of the more expensive flat irons, but it’s absolutely worth it.
This 1” tourmaline ceramic flat iron from Conair features negative ion technology, has auto shut-off, and sells at an amazing price.
The handle can get a little hot and you definitely need to protect your hair before using at a high temperature. Also, curling can be a little trickier given the design of this flat iron.
You’re going to have to work hard to pass up this flat iron. And, it’s not just because of the price. This Conair hair straightener heats up in a mere 15 seconds and reaches a whopping 455ºF (that’s really about as hot as you can expect for any flat iron - and especially one within this price range). A few other bonuses include the auto shut-off (not every iron has this feature) and a huge number of temperature settings.
It’s not the absolute best at curls, but it does a good job at beach waves. The floating plates are charged with negative ions to make your hair smooth and gorgeous. The tourmaline ceramic technology really does leave your hair anti-frizz and static-free. Just watch out; this can get really, really hot. And, then there’s the price.
Heating speed: 15 seconds
Temperature and controls: 455ºF with an amazing selection of 30 different heat settings
Plates: Tourmaline Ceramic
Voltage: American only
Price: You’ll pay between $20 and $25 for this flat iron - and that’s super incredible given its abilities.
This professional-grade flat iron has silicon strips for ultra-smooth operation and speedy heating. The negative ion technology ensures smooth looking hair with this 1.5” flat iron.
Besides being a pricey hair straightener, you’ll need to remember to shut this off; and it only works with North American power standards.
This is a true onepass flat iron from the folks at Bio Ionic. You’ll be in and out of the bathroom in no time at all. And that all starts with the super-fast 5 second heating at startup. Yes, you read that right. Of course, if you give it another 10 seconds it will be at whatever temperature you want. Plus, it’s ceramic, so you shouldn’t expect any snags. That and the silicone strips make for a truly pleasant, cushioned experience.
Infrared technology and negative ions combine to ensure your hair remains moisturized, no matter how hot you set the temperature (it can go up to 400ºF). And, the 1.5” plates can handle a lot of hair really quickly. Though it is a bit wide for curling, you can get a few big curls out of this flat iron. You just need to remember to turn it off (sorry, no auto shut-off), but justifying the price won’t be difficult at all.
Heating speed: 5 second
Temperature and controls: Up to 400ºF with 4 different heat settings
Voltage: American only
Price: This is a seriously expensive flat iron at $200, but users say it’s worth every penny.
This 1” Remington flat iron features automatic shut-off, dual voltage capacity, and locks closed. The ceramic plates are backed by LCD controls.
Some users are upset about the non-touching plates and there are those that find it hotter than reported.
This ceramic hair straightener has a lot going for it. In addition to the great price, sturdy construction, secure hinge lock, and floating plates, this baby heats quickly (30 seconds) and does a decent job of curling as well. The anti-static technology and turbo boost heat also make this product well worth the investment.
In addition, the LCD controls are incredibly intuitive and easy to use. So why isn’t this in the number one spot? We’ll be honest, it was a truly tough call, but these flat irons don’t tend to last as long as our top pick. Still, you can't beat this for a year or two and feel great about the money you’ve spent.
Heating speed: 30 seconds
Temperature and controls: A max temperature of 410ºF with LCD controls
Price: Yes, this amazing flat iron sells for a mere $20. Incredible, right?
This 1” tourmaline ceramic flat iron reaches 400ºF and comes with a heat glove. Besides its amazing resilience, it comes at an amazing price.
Sadly, there’s no auto shut-off or locking mechanism.
There are reasons this HSI professional flat iron sells like hotcakes on Amazon. It does a terrific job with all types of hair, including African American hair. It’s easy to work and although it is a seemingly basic model, everything it does, it does well. Now, it doesn’t heat as quickly as some hair straighteners (indeed, it’s the slowest on the list), but the temperature control knob is accurate. And, the infrared heat technology means it maintains its heat really well.
Inside of the package, you’ll find a heat protecting glove (which is a real bonus) and there’s a small bottle of leave-in treatment. The swivel cord is the perfect length and this amazing flat iron has dual voltage so you can carry it around the world. Users will want to have it with them everywhere as it does just as well with curling and flipping as it does with straightening. Consider the value-for-money selling price and it’s going to be difficult to pass this flat iron up, isn’t it?
Heating speed: 2-3 minutes
Temperature and controls: 240 to 400ºF with a temperature control knob
Plates: Tourmaline Ceramic
Price: The MSRP is $40 but you can sometimes pick this up for as low as $25 on Amazon which makes this one of the most cost effective flat irons as well.
Many women regardless of hair type want the option to have straight hair whenever they feel like it—especially ladies who like to change up their hairstyle every now and then. Thick, curly, and wavy hair are all gorgeous AF, but sometimes, they can be hard to control and are particularly prone to the effects of humidity.
Enter the classic flat iron which, for ages, has been widely regarded as one of the best solutions for taming hard-to-manage hair. Even ladies with naturally straight hair often struggle with keeping their tresses smooth and manageable—especially when the weather just randomly decides to be difficult. Naturally straight hair, when stripped of its moisture or subjected to a lot of friction, end up looking dull and crumpled.
Flat ironing the hair is a quick and simple way to achieve a simple and sleek hairstyle. But with so many types and models of hair irons out there, choosing the best one can be challenging.
But hey, you’ve come to the right place! The following tips should help you find the best flat iron for your hair type, lifestyle, and style preferences. Before we dive in, here’s a quick reminder: look at the plates, temperatures, and sizing before considering special features.
Typically, flat irons make use of one of three types of materials—or some combination of the three. These materials are ceramic, tourmaline, and titanium.
Ceramic - These plates tend to take longer to heat (though they’re getting faster every day), but they’re great at distributing heat evenly. Also, they’re smooth and less likely to pull on hair, which makes them great for fine, coarse, or curly hair. Ceramic plates are also typically the cheapest material out of the three. You have to be careful with them, though, as ceramic material can easily chip.
Tourmaline - This shiny coating on tourmaline plates makes them even smoother and very shiny. It’s also more resilient than mere ceramic. Tourmaline plates cause the least stress on your hair strands, so we recommend them if you have damaged locks. However, if you have super thick and curly hair, using an iron with tourmaline plates might not be the most efficient option.
Titanium - These plates heat super quickly and hold heat well, so if you’re always in a hurry in the morning, you might find want to check titanium flat irons out. These are also lightweight and tend to be the strongest. However, they are prone to overheating and consequently damaging your hair if you’re not careful.
Generally speaking, the thicker, coarser, and curlier your hair is naturally, the higher the heat required to achieve smooth results. The finer your hair - or the more chemicals or damage it has undergone, the more likely you’ll need to work with lower temperatures to avoid damaging your do.
If you have thick or curly hair, we recommend that you use a flat iron that is set between 350 to 400 degrees. The most difficult cases may require temperatures that are a bit higher than 400, but we strongly advise against using anything beyond 450. If you have thin or damaged hair, a setting of around 300 degrees should do the trick.
The larger the plate (typically between 1” and 2”), the more ground you can cover in a shorter time. But, the bigger the plate, the less flexibility you have to create curls, flips, or beach waves. If you have short or fine hair, straightening the shortest sections of your hair will be a lot easier with smaller plates, too. Most flat irons are available in 1” and 1.5” sizes, though there are a few amazing ones that break the norm.
Once you’ve made up your mind about the key specs of the flat iron of your dreams, it’s time to look at their special features. Here are some examples of bonus features that you can expect in a flat iron.
Anything that uses high heat, such as a flat iron, is a fire hazard. If left unattended, flat irons can catch fire and burn your entire house or apartment down. Everyone knows that flat irons must be switched off after use, but sometimes, unintentionally forgetting to do so is inevitable—especially on super busy mornings when you’re running late for work or school.
A flat iron with an auto shut off feature will help avoid this unfortunate situation. Most models that boast this feature will automatically shut off after around an hour of using, so even if you forget to switch your flat iron off and you’re already on the road, you can rest assured that your house will not catch fire.
A heat protector cushion covers the handle of the flat iron and protects your hands from the heat generated by the plates. The absence of a cushion doesn’t necessarily mean your hands are going to get burned, but they do make the overall experience more comfortable by giving you a sense of security. What’s more, a heat protector cushion can improve the ergonomics of your flat iron.
If you have super curly hair, you might benefit from using a flat iron that comes with a steam function. Using steam while ironing your hair will give you extra taming power, and it’s a great way to effectively manage unruly tresses.
Cordless flat irons are available for men and women on the go. These battery-operated tools will enable you to quickly straighten your hair even without a power socket in sight.
Dual voltage flat irons are great for overseas travel. They will be able to run with a voltage of 110-120v and 220-240v.
The shape of a flat iron will impact its versatility. A flat iron whose body is rounded will be easier to transition into a curling iron. Conversely, a flat iron that is flat throughout will be more difficult to use for anything other than straightening the hair.
The size of a flat iron becomes important if you plan to take it with you outside the comforts of your home. Whether you’re bringing it to the gym or an overseas trip, you’d want to get something that won’t be too hard to fit in your gym bag or take up too much luggage space.
Hair straightening can take a lot of time if you have thick hair. Thus, you might want to stick to flat irons that are not too heavy. The entire process of achieving sleek and manageable hair can take anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the state of your hair and your desired result. Imagine the agony of holding a heavy tool for more than 30 minutes!
It’s nice to have a flat iron that has a variety of temperature settings. Being able to switch between different temperatures is helpful in certain situations, such as when you want to treat certain parts of your hair (usually your bangs) with less heat. This is also helpful if you occasionally share your flat iron with your mom, sister, or daughter and you have different hair textures.
Besides, our tastes in hairstyles and cuts can change over the years—especially with fluctuating and evolving trends. Choosing a flat iron that can stand the test of time isn’t only a matter of durability, it’s also a matter of adaptability and versatility.
Heat is never good for the hair. Even the most expensive flat irons—yup, those who claim to use materials that are more hair-friendly and cause less damage—will eventually wreak havoc on your hair if you’re not careful. That’s just the way it is: subjecting your hair to heat on a regular basis will affect its health over time. That is inevitable.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to help lessen the damage. The number one thing you can do to help keep your hair healthy and shiny is to avoid using hot tools every single day. Give your hair strands a break every now and then. If you can limit their exposure to heat to 3 to 4 times a week, that would be awesome.
Another way to take care of your hair is to consciously use the lowest temperature setting possible to achieve your desired look. The hotter the tool, the more damage it can cause. Also, avoid running through the same section of hair multiple times. If possible, you should run hair through the flat iron just once.
Lastly, use products that are specifically geared towards combatting heat damage. A heat protectant spray is essential to protect your hair from the effects of frequent hot tool use—plus, they’re widely available and not that expensive, too. You may also use conditioners, masks, and other hair treatments that are specifically formulated to help reverse heat damage. Following these recommendations will keep your hair happy and healthy.
Even if you only use your flat iron on freshly-washed hair, it’s still bound to accumulate gunk over time. This is especially true if you frequently use styling products like hair mousse, hair spray, leave-in conditioner, and heat protectant.
Many of us are guilty of attempting to scrape off gunk from the plates using scissors and knives, but this can actually damage your flat iron in the long run. We recommend that you use a soft cloth to gently remove debris and product buildup from your flat iron. If that doesn’t do the trick, you can mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and use the mixture as a homemade cleaning solution.