Whether you are looking to create beautiful ringlets or mermaid waves, or add volume to an up-do, curling irons are an extremely versatile addition to your hair styling toolkit. No matter what we have, women around the world have one thing in common; we like a change occasionally, and curling your hair is an easy fix.
Curling irons come with a range of price tags, but even the top-quality models are usually reasonable. Nevertheless, when you are looking to upgrade your curling iron, you want to get it right first time, so we are here to help.
Why trust us? We spent over 70 hours researching, testing and reviewing the best curling irons on the market, with professional advice from our inhouse stylist, Paul. We considered technology, durability, usability and performance. Here are the models that came out on top:
Table Of Contents
Best Curling Irons 2023
1. Best Overall: BaByliss PRO Porcelain Ceramic Spring Curling Iron
Editor’s Choice: This curling iron combines intuitive handling with top-quality, professional-grade styling, giving you perfectly-formed curls, quickly. It is hardly surprising that BaByliss made it into our favourites. We believe the BaByliss Porcelain Ceramic is the best curling iron overall.
Of all the irons we tested, this was by far the most ergonomically-pleasing! The handle is soft and tactile and it has a cool tip to reduce the chances of burning your fingertips. The buttons are distinct and well-placed under the clamp lever, which has a comfortable spring action. Its swivel cord and long cable give you lots of freedom of movement, too.
We loved the temperature dial, which rotates around the handle. It is clear to read and set, and the convenient location means it is easy to access, but you are unlikely to accidentally change it while you are styling.
Wide Temperature Range
This curling iron gives you a fantastic range of temperatures, making it suitable for almost all hair types. It can reach up to 430 degrees F (221° C) and it heated quickly for us.
It isn’t completely clear when the barrel had reached its selected temperature, but it emitted heat almost instantly, so we are confident that it reached the temperatures fast, and we didn’t experience any issues associated with insufficient temperatures when styling.
2. Best Combination: Parwin Pro 5 in 1
Editor’s Choice: If you enjoy variety, this 5 in 1 curling iron set by Parwin Pro is a great choice. With 5 interchangeable barrels, it was the most versatile curling iron set we tested, yet it won’t break the bank. We believe the Parwin Pro Ceramic 5 in 1 is the best curling iron combination set around.
This curling iron set includes:
- 18/9 mm tapered-barrel curling wand for small or medium curls
- 25/18 mm tapered-barrel curling wand for bigger-bodied waves
- 19 mm bubble wand for vintage waves
- 25 mm curling iron barrel for natural curls
- 32 mm curling iron barrel for loose curls
Expert Paul says: “This is a good variety of interchangeable barrels for creating hair styles for every occasion, from tight corkscrew curls to a loose barrel curl.”
They are all tourmaline ceramic with PTC heating technology, meaning they heat up quickly. The barrels are extremely easy to attach and are secure and balanced. They don’t have cool tips, but the set includes a heat-resistant glove to protect your fingers.
Built For Travel
This set includes the best travel case out of all the curling irons we tested; a lightweight, yet sturdy and protective case organises all the elements neatly. The curling iron also has dual-voltage, so if you want to use it abroad, you can.
3. Best For Fine Hair: LumaBella Keratin Touch
The LumaBella Keratin Touch Curling iron is designed to condition your hair as it styles, leaving you with glossy, healthy curls. The titanium and ceramic barrel heats up fast, distributing the infrared heat evenly. It is infused with almond oil and keratin microconditioners that transfer to your hair, leaving a healthy shine without oiliness, and the grip coating on the barrel means styling is quick and easy. We believe it is the best option for fine hair.
5 Heat Settings
While it has fewer temperature settings than our Editor’s Choice models, the LumaBella curling iron still gives a good range in temperatures:
- 300°F (149°C)
- 345°F (174°C)
- Pro+ (356°F/185°) is considered the ideal heat setting for curling
- 385°F (196°C)
- 410°F (210°C)
This combination means it is still a great choice for any hair type.
The LumaBella has an automatic shut-off function, which turns it off after 60 minutes, has worldwide voltage so you can use it abroad, and also comes with a stylish pouch to protect it in your luggage.
4. Best Rotating Curling Iron: Beachwaver Co. Curling Iron
If you want your curling iron to do more of the hard work, consider the Beachwaver Co. S1. It’s a ceramic curling iron with a rotating barrel, meaning quick, easy and beautiful curls and waves, every time.
The Beachwaver Co. Curling iron is large. The barrel is 5.5 inches (14 cm) long, but the handle is also longer and chunkier than others. However, the handle is ergonomically shaped so that your hand sculpts around it as you hold it, and the buttons are easy to access, but conveniently located, so you won’t knock them accidentally.
The barrel rotates left and right and you can even control the rotation speed, which is particularly important when you are first getting used to it. The shorter clamp neatly holds you hair in place, but it is more fiddly, so you’ll ned to watch your fingertips.
3 Different Styles With 1 Device
As its name suggests, the Beachwaver Co. curling iron gives you beautiful beachy waves, but depending on how you hold it, you can also create defined curls or Hollywood waves. It didn’t give us particularly crisp curls, but the curls and waves it did produce were a lovely relaxed style, with fantastic volume.
5. Best For Fast Styling: Chi Spin ‘n’ Curl
The Chi Air Spin ‘n’ Curl is a hair curler with a difference. It makes curling hair effortless, while reducing frizz and static, and protecting your skin and scalp for burns. Its wide selection of temperature settings means it is suitable for a wide range of hair textures and types, and the integrated timer helps ensure your curls are even.
Does The Hair Curling For You
The Chi is very simple to use. Just lay your hair across the top, and as the barrel rotates, it draws your hair into the curl chamber.
We were a little cautious of this because movement and hair are an unreliable combination and there were concerns about the curler jamming and tearing hairs. However, we found that this did not happen. It is very easy to release the hair, and if you prefer to reverse the curler, it turns in both directions.
We loved the curls that it creates; perfectly even ringlets. However, the design restricts the Chi from curling the entire length of your hair because the top ¼ of your hair cannot be drawn into the curl chamber. The result is stunning curls, which charmingly frame your face, but you can’t curl from the root, like you can with conventional hair curlers.
6. Best Budget Curling Iron: Anjou Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron
The Anjou Iron is one of the simpler curling irons we tested. It is easy to use and does exactly what you want it to do; creates beautiful curls, easily.
We tested the black and gold version, with a one-inch barrel, but it is also available with a larger barrel. The tourmaline ceramic barrel has fast heating PTC technology and heats quickly (in just 60 seconds) and releases negative ions to reduce frizz and flyaways from static. We found that it created classic-style large curls, which were very pretty.
The buttons are conveniently located on the middle of the handle and the temperature display is clear to read and it gives you a good range of heat settings.
How To Choose The Best Curling Iron
Although a curling iron isn’t as versatile as a flat iron or as important as a hair dryer, it is still a valuable addition to your collection of styling tools! Here is how to decide which of the best curling irons is for you:
The most important consideration when choosing your curling iron is the barrel. Unlike a curling wand, curling irons don’t offer you variety of barrel shapes. A curling iron is typically uniform thickness throughout. Therefore, the two main considerations for the barrel is the material and the size of the barrel.
Similar to other hot tools, like hair dryers and flat irons, curling irons can utilize different materials, for example:
- Ceramic: heats evenly and reaches high temperatures, but is gentle enough for all hair types.
- Tourmaline: naturally produces negative ions and infrared heat when heated, meaning gentle warmth. A great choice for fine hair or more delicate hair, as it is less likely to cause heat damage.
- Titanium: heats up evenly, but faster and is great for thick hair and coarse hair, but most importantly, healthy hair. It is more resilient than other materials.
- Nano titanium: designed to produce more negative ions to cut down on frizz and static.
The barrel size controls the size of the curls you get. A large barrel will give you beachy waves, while a slimmer barrel will give you tighter curls. Common barrel sizes are:
- 75 inch
- 1 inch
- 25 inch
- 5 inch
It is unusual to find barrel sizes larger or smaller than these on curling irons, however curling wands often come in a much wider variety of sizes.
Consider, also, how long you want your curls to last. A wide barrel may make curling long hair easier, but tight curls last longer than loose curls or beach waves.
- Heat settings: no matter what your hair type, choose a curling iron with a variety of heat settings. Always use the lowest temperature that achieves the style you desire, to reduce your chances of burning your hair, as it is far easier to prevent than to fix damaged hair.
- Heat controls: buttons should be close enough for easy access, but not so much that you accidentally knock them when you are styling and change the temperature.
- A longer cable is typical of a hair tool designed for professional use. Styling tools that have particularly short cables are generally designed for at-home use, and may not have the versatility or longevity of professional tools.
Frequently Asked Questions
In our opinion, the best curling iron to buy is the BaByliss Porcelain Ceramic. It heats fast, has ergonomic controls and gives you perfectly-formed curls.
To create beach waves, choose a curling iron with a wide barrel. Gather the sections of hair randomly, and wrap them in different directions around the curling iron. When every section is finished, shake each one to loosen the curl and then use hair spray to hold.
Your hair smokes when you curl it because you have the temperature set too high, burning your hair. To prevent this, reduce the temperature of the curling iron to the lowest setting. Only increase the heat setting if it does not curl your hair, and ALWAYS apply a heat protectant spray to your hair before you use any heat styling tool.
A titanium hot tool can reach higher temperatures and so it is better for coarse or thick hair, but ceramic is gentler. For regular hair, ceramic hot tools are better.
We hope you enjoyed our reviews of the best curling irons on the market. We enjoyed testing these hair tools and hope we have helped you to choose the best curling iron for you. If you are interested in reading more roundups of hair products, check out our other review articles.