The Best Flat Iron Buying Guide

Women of all hair types want to be able to have straight hair when they choose to. Thick and wavy hair can sometimes be coarse and hard to control so a flat iron can be the perfect solution to tame it.

Even women with naturally straight hair often find it difficult to keep their hair smooth and manageable, especially during summer days. During this season, hair is easily stripped of its moisture and the heat makes the strands look crumpled and dry.

The solution for many women is flat ironing their hair, making hair look longer and well defined.

But with so many kinds of flat irons out there, it’s definitely hard to find the right one. In this guide, we’ll help you determine the best kind and brand of flat iron.

Flat Iron Buying Guide – How To Choose

It’s pretty much in our nature to want the best of everything. When it comes to choosing the perfect flat iron, there’s no reason to get too overwhelmed. If you don’t have a clue when it comes to shopping for the best flat irons, just read on. We’ll start with the basics.

Materials

Flat iron plates are commonly made from three materials: ceramic, tourmaline, or titanium.

Ceramic flat irons are cheaper and are more able to distribute heat throughout your hair. They are the most versatile kind of flat iron and can be used on short, fine, coarse, or curly hair.

If you’re looking for something that can save you time, you’re better off with a titanium flat iron. Titanium is known for transferring heat faster, so you need not wait for long to use your iron to style your hair. It’s also much durable than ceramic and can potentially last for years.

The last kind is the tourmaline flat iron. Tourmaline is basically a gemstone which is usually found in metamorphic rocks. Tourmaline coated flat irons are far more consistent in heating and better when it comes to trapping your hair’s moisture. Using this flat iron can lower the risk of damaging your locks.

Size of Plates

Determining the size of your flat iron largely depends on the length and thickness of your hair. Those with short hair, or fine hair, should use an iron that will help them cover smaller hair sections. It is recommended to use flat irons with a narrow plate, around 1/2 inch to 1 inch.

For those with long, thick hair, using an iron with a wider plate size is the best choice. Wide plates start from one and a half inch to two inches. This will help you cover more hair in a shorter time.

Temperature Settings

Did you know there is a “best” temperature for your flat iron that’s ideal for your hair? According to researchers, the temperature that allows the best styling benefits is around 365 degrees Fahrenheit. Too much lower and it will make your hair dull and lifeless. Too high and you can fry and damage your locks. Experts recommend buying an adjustable flat iron and set it to this temperature.

Heat Protector Mats

Protect your station and counter tops by using a heat protector mat for your flat iron. Heat protector mats have thick silicone that can block the heat from the styling tool to the surface. It comes in handy, especially if you have to travel and need to style your hair in new places.

Auto Shut Off

High heat styling tools like flat irons can be dangerous fire hazards. If left unattended they could burn down your house or the whole floor of your apartment. The solution? Buy a flat iron with an auto shut off feature. These flat irons are incredibly efficient, they’ll shut off after 60-80 minutes of using.

Flat Iron Reviews – Top Picks

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium-Plated Ultra-Thin Straightening Iron

Highly recommended by raving fans, the BaByliss PRO Nano Straightening Iron is made with Nano Titanium. An extremely high-quality conductor which can maintain stability even at high temperatures. It emits negative ions which help quicken the straightening process, locking down the hair’s natural moisture for reduced damage. In less than a minute of heating, you can use this flat iron to style your locks.

Main Features

Nano Titanium Plate

Ultra-thin profile

Lightweight

Ryton-housing

5-inch plate

Heats up to 450F

Nano Titanium is an exceptional conductor of heat and maintains stability in ultra-high temperatures. Negative ions are emitted for faster straightening and locking hair’s own natural moisture. The extra-long 5-inch plates reach up to 450°F and allow for wider sections of hair to be straightened. This helps boost speed and effectiveness while eliminating hand fatigue and increasing styling flexibility.

Its lightweight and ultra-thin profile give it a sleek and cool appearance. Giving maximum comfort, it’s very cozy to hold, plus it glides over hair strands smoothly without too much heat damage. Now you can cover lots of hair even in short periods of time.

It’s perfect for straight, curly, or coarse damaged hair.

CHI Original Pro 1” Ceramic Ionic Tourmaline Flat Iron Hair Straightener

Made with the latest technology combining tourmaline and ceramic materials, this flat iron comes with an even heat distribution that reduces static electricity for better styling. It can curl, straighten, smooth or wave your hair to all kinds of hairstyle you can imagine.

Main Features

Made with combined Tourmaline and Ceramic materials

Infrared Heating

Ionic Output booster

Up to 400 degrees heat power

Heats in less than 2 minutes

360 swivel cord

For its price, this flat iron is extremely durable. It’s a combination of two materials: tourmaline and ceramic. If you care for it properly, it can last for years. Although these irons are a larger upfront investment they will last longer than cheaper models. The great thing about the infrared heating is it doesn’t stick too much to your hair. They also heats up quickly so you don’t have to worry about being late for work when you’re styling your hair in the morning.

Tired of flat irons having short cords? You won’t have a problem with this flat iron. It has a long cord which is very convenient for home, travel, or salon use.

The only downside about this flat iron is it doesn’t have a temperature setting.

As far as tourmaline and ceramic irons go, I don’t think you can do much better than CHI’s Original Pro Flat Iron. It’s the best pick for styling whether you have short, thick, or fine hair.

xTava Pro-Satin Infrared Straightener

If you have wavy, unmanageable hair that’s difficult to style, the xTava Pro-Satin Infrared Straightener is the perfect choice for you. It uses infrared technology which helps penetrate the cuticle and heat your hair inside out. This ensures your hair doesn’t suffer from over drying plus it makes the hair super smooth and shiny.

Main Features

Infrared Heat Technology

2-inch wide plates

Digital temperature settings starting at 265F- 300F

90-second rapid heat up technology

Auto Shut-off function

8 foot 360-degree swivel cord

Universal dual voltage (110 – 240V AC)

With its wide plates, this flat iron can easily style long thick hair. One of its best features is its 2-inch bottom floating plates that’s paired with upper dual-plate technology. This allows a consistent heating while you style hair. Covering more hair at a short time, it’s best for salon use when you have lots of customers for the day.

What if you forgot to turn off your flat iron after going to the office? No worries too. This flat iron comes with an automatic shut off feature which is triggered after 60 minutes of use. It’s very travel friendly with an 8-foot long swivel cord that can be turned up to 360 degrees and a universal voltage that can automatically adjust to any adapter.

Bonus feature: it comes with its own heat resistant travel case!

With these smart features, it’s definitely the best flat iron for anyone looking for an affordable option with great quality.

HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron

Perfect for styling coarse hair, the HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat iron is recommended for home and salon use. It has an inch wide solid ceramic plates with infrared heat technology that helps with styling different kinds of hair from curly, straight, coarse or fine.

Main Features

1-inch solid ceramic tourmaline plate

Infrared heat technology

360-degree swivel cord

Adjustable temperature settings (240F – 400F)

Worldwide Dual Voltage Compatible (110v – 220v)

As a bonus, this flat iron comes with an Argan Oil leave in hair treatment which can help smooth and protect hair strands from the heat of the styling tool. You can easily curl, flip, or straighten hair minus the worries of frying your strands.

Easily adjustable temperature settings make this flat iron a good choice for all hair types. The 1 inch plate provides consistency and control, while the swivel cord makes it perfect for travel or salon use. Whether you have fine, or long thick hair, this flat iron can transform your locks. You don’t have to worry about it slipping from your fingers, the newest design features an ergonomic look with an easy grip.

Remington S5500 Digital Anti Static Ceramic Hair Straightener

Looking for a flat iron that can straighten quickly? Search no more. Remington S5500 is a ceramic flat iron that comes with a 30 second 410 degree heat boost so you no longer have to wait for it to heat up before styling your hair. It’s the perfect pick for busy working women with early day jobs.

Main Features

1-inch ceramic plates

410 degrees heat with turbo boost

Auto shut off feature

Smart digital controls

Temperature settings

One of the things we love about this flat iron is its easily adjustable temperature settings. You can choose to lower the power and temperature while styling, depending on your hair type, you can properly adjust to the proper heat to style your locks. This will shorten the styling process so you can start the day sooner. Be careful when setting the temperature, for ceramic flat irons, the recommended temperature is less than 300 degrees.

Accompanied by an inch thick cushioned ceramic plate, it’s very easy to work on groups of strands and distribute the heat evenly. Because of its narrow plate, you can also use it in smaller areas like bangs. The auto shut off feature gives users peace of mind and the long swivel cord gives freedom to style at any angle or place.

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium-Plated Wet-to-Dry Ultra-thin Straightening Iron

Flat ironing damp hair is always a big NO. Applying heat to wet hair can crack and split up strands making it lose all its smoothness and shine. If you’re looking for a fast solution to this problem, this wet-to-dry BabylissPRO ultra thin straightening iron has one for you.

Main Features

Wet-to-Dry Protection

Slim Styling

Infrared Heat Technology

If you want to make sure your hair is protected, this flat iron can help maximize comfort, prevent damage, and straighten. BabylissPRO is made with Nano titanium, an amazing conductor of heat that can help maintain stability even in high heat. It’s wet to dry features helps reduce damage of styling when hair’s damp.

The consistent slippery smooth plates and heat work to effectively straighten hair even if you have tight coarse curls.

However, be careful of using this iron for damaged hair. Since it heats on ultra-high settings, you might want to try something with lower heat.

Common Questions About Flat Irons

Should I buy cheap or expensive straighteners?

Does price mean quality when it comes to straighteners? Mostly yes, and it’s only rare when you find a cheap tool that delivers. Lots of cheap straighteners don’t heat consistently. They need to be pumped to the highest heat before they can control your strands. They can leave your hair damaged if used regularly. When you’re shopping for flat irons look for plates that are durable so they’ll last a long time. These durable plates may be high in price but if it’s to prevent damage, you’re saving more money in the long run.

Can I travel with straighteners?

Hair straighteners are usually allowed on planes, but there are countries with strict guidelines so you might want to check before booking. When traveling with your straightener, make sure to bring a heating pad and an extra adaptor for your styling tools. It’s also recommended that you bring your straighteners heat proof case to ensure safety when you put it inside your luggage.

How do I clean my flat iron?

If you’re a frequent user of hairspray, dye, or gel, your iron will probably have lots of leftover gunk from these products. Usually, the dirt can be easily scraped off using a scissor or bread knife but it isn’t good for the tool. Use a cleaner to prevent scratching the ceramic or metal. You can also create your own homemade cleaner by mixing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.

What plate size do I need?

Straightener plates often come in 1 inch sizes, it’s the standard size that can be used for almost kind of hair (long, short, coarse, fine or thick). However, if you want better control, smaller plates are the best choice. When you use short plates you can easily style short hairs and hair with bangs. If you want to finish styling quicker, you’ll want a bigger plate size which can cover more hair with every glide. Bigger plates start at 1.5 inches to 2, they’re also more costly than 1 inch plates.

What temperature should I use?

High heat means faster straightening, but it also means more damage. The recommended setting for cheap flat irons are below 300 degrees. If you have curly or extremely coarse hair, the recommended setting starts at 350-400 degrees. You don’t want to heat your iron too much to avoid frying your hair.

Can flat irons damage hair?

Heat is never good for your hair, so flat irons can indeed be damaging to your hair strands. Hair styling tools like flat irons, blow dryers, and curling irons destroy valuable proteins in your hair. They can also strip your hair of nutrients that add to its shine and bounce. Plus, if you use a flat iron almost daily you can risk frying your hair. Try to limit using the tool for at most 3-4 times per week. You can also use flat irons that minimize heat or heat protectant hair masks that reduce hair damage.

Do I need to use a heat protectant?

Heat protectants are essential to protect your hair from damage. Before using a flat iron, spray your hair with a heat protectant solution. You can buy heat protectants at your local drugstore or beauty shops. It’s important to shield your locks from the damaging heat that rip off your hair’s proteins and essential nutrients.

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