If you are looking to tame frizzy hair or straighten curly locks then a flat iron, or hair straightener is for you. Buying the right one for you can be tough since there are hundreds of models available in prices ranging from below $20 to above $200.
A flat iron is simply composed of two flat plates that hinge together and when heated can smooth and straighten unruly hair. Performance is a combination of how hot they get, the material of the plates, how evenly that heat is applied, and the width of the plates. The best units have plates made of either ceramic, tourmaline or titanium.
In addition to straightening performance, we used price, features, ease of use, and other user reviews to come up with our list of the top 10 best flat irons found below. We mainly focused on units that cost less than $100, although some may cost slightly more. If you need more help see our Flat Iron Buying Guide.
What makes it unique is the vapor infusion technology in which the 1-inch floating ceramic plates actually inject a mist of micro-vapor onto the hair to re-hydrate and protect it. Using this mist feature has proven to reduce frizz by 90% and reduce damage 68% over not using the mist feature. Other features on the Remington S8700 include digital display and controls, 5 heat settings with up to 450 degree heat, 30-second instant heat, and auto-shutoff.
The Remington S8700 T Studio PROtect Flat Iron Straightener is the perfect choice for those of you who want salon quality hair for a great price.
The best feature of the ghd Classic Styler is the quick heat up time. It heats up quicker than almost every other model. The downside, however, is that there is only one temperature which ranges between 347 to 385 degrees. That means it might not get hot enough for those of you with thick, coarse hair.
Overall we recommend the ghd 00235 Classic Styler for those of you with fine to medium hair, but for those of you with thicker hair you might want to get one with higher heat settings.
This model has 5-inch long nano-titanium plates which works great at controlling frizzy hair all day long – leaving it straight and silky smooth. It has three temperature settings up to 450 degrees and stays hot during use so you don’t have to wait between passes. However you can’t set the temperature manually.
Overall we would recommend the BaByliss PRO Nano Titanium Straightening Iron for all users.
One negative is that it does not have an auto-shutoff or sleep mode.
Overall the Rusk Professional STR8 Iron is a good choice for all users.
However the temperature is not adjustable and some people think it gets too hot for fine hair. It also does not have an auto-shutoff.
Many users claim the CHI Original Flat Iron is worth every penny, but for those of you with fine hair you should look for something else since you cannot control the temperature.
The BaByliss Pro Porcelain Plate Ceramic Flat Iron is a good choice for anyone looking for a good value and does not want to spend a ton of money.
It is dual voltage for use anywhere in the world, but one negative is that it does not have an automatic shut-off.
Overall the HSI Professional 3rd Generation Flat Iron provides a good value to all users.
Due to its shape the 1.5 inch Sedu Pro Ionic Ceramic Flat Iron is difficult to use if you like to curl or style with your straight iron. It also does not have an auto-shutoff.
Overall the Sedu Pro Ionic Ceramic Flat Iron is a good choice if you just want to straighten medium to thick hair and to tame frizz.
On the downside, we found that the actual body of the unit that you hold onto gets really hot – at times making it difficult to even hold on to.
We recommend the Infiniti Pro by Conair CS710R Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron to anyone looking for a deal or who wants the best cheap hair straightener you can buy.
The biggest downside to this cheap option is that it just doesn’t glide through your hair – it tends to pull and snag a bit. Some other users have also noted that is seems cheaply made and the plates don’t align correctly.
Just remember you get what you pay for – it’s not going to perform like a $100 flat iron, but at this price it is hard to go wrong with the Remington S5500 Digital Anti Static 1 Inch Ceramic Hair Straightener. Even if it doesn’t quite work for you, at least you would only be out $20.
Flat Iron Buying Guide
When shopping for a flat iron we found that price does not necessarily determine quality or performance, and do not believe you need to spend several hundred dollars to get a quality hair straightener. The most important factor in determining hair straightening performance is the material and heat used in the device. You may see several different types of materials and terminology to sell you on an item including:
- Ionic / Antistatic – This means that the iron produces negative ions, or negatively charged atoms, which counteract the positive ions in your hair to reduce static and frizz.
- Ceramic / Tourmaline – Tourmaline is a durable semiprecious stone that produces the same effect as ceramic plates when finely ground and applied to the flat iron plates. They both produce negative ions, although tourmaline produces more, and perform nearly the same. Ceramic or tourmaline coatings are often applied to aluminum plates which can chip or peel leaving the metal exposed and an uneven surface which can produce uneven results and snag hair. The best models will use solid ceramic plates and it can be hard to know if it is solid or just a coating so look for terms like solid ceramic or pure ceramic.
- Titanium – It is used as an alternative to ceramic plates and heats up faster and transfers heat faster than ceramic. You have even heat and do not have to worry about chipped spots, but it is easier to damage your hair because the heat transfers quicker.
- Nanotechnology / Nanosilver – Nanotechnology usually refers to nanosilver which inhibits bacterial growth and is advisable for anyone who shares styling tools. Nanotechnology can also refer to nano materials such as nanotourmaline or nanoceramic used in the plates which is usually a bad trait because it means the plates use a coating instead of solid material.
Many people feel that titanium flat irons require less passes to get their hair straight, but it is really up to you to determine what works better for your hair.
Some other things to keep in mind are the ease of use and features such as an adjustable temperature with LED display, an automatic shut off, heat ready indicator, the plate width, and heat resistant mat.