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Hot Rollers Vs Curling Iron – Everything You Need To Know

Hot Rollers Vs Curling Iron

We all love tight curls and smooth waves! We all dream of having them! But, if you are a girl with straight hair like me and you have a hard time curling your hair, you are probably collecting styling tools and are always looking for new ones. But, oh, there are so many of them out there, how to choose the right one?!

Curling wands, curling irons, hot rollers, hot air brushes… where should I start? Let us focus on curling irons and hot rollers! They are both great for creating wonderful curls and they make your hair soft, smooth and silky!

So, what’s your view when it comes to the hot rollers vs curling iron debate? Let’s dive in and close this debate together!

Both hot hair rollers and curling irons are used for curling your hair. Below you will find some of the key differences between the two:

Types Of Curls

Hot Rollers

You can choose between these two styling tools depending on the type of curls you want to get. A curling iron will give you smaller and tighter curls. On the other hand, hot rollers are great for creating loose curls.

One more difference is that hot hair rollers allow you to create one type of curls only, whereas with a curling iron you have many options – from beachy waves to different kinds of curls.

Method Of Use

How can you use these two styling tools? Curling irons need to be plugged into a socket. You then have to wait several minutes for the plates to heat and you can start wrapping your hair around them.

On the other hand, when using hot rollers, you first need to plug in the case so the rollers heat up. They need to be warm enough for you to use them. When they are warm enough (not very hot), take one hot roller at a time, wrap your hair around them and clip them near the head. Use heat-resistant gloves!

Ease Of Use

It takes some time and practice to become a master at using both of these hot tools. With hot rollers, you need to learn how to put them in. There are so many things you need to think about when starting to use them. But later, it becomes a piece of cake!

At first, it is hard to find the best temperature for your hair to make sure you get desired results when styling your hair with a curling iron. But with practice, you will quickly learn how to use a curling iron.

Hairstyle And Hair Types

Hairstyle & Hair Types

Do you have curly or straight hair? Do you want beachy waves or soft curls? When you answer these questions, it will be easy for you to choose the best hair styling tool for you. Curling irons are great for making your hair wavy and for creating different types of curls. With hot rollers, you can create one type of curls only.

Your hair type will also determine which styling tool is better for you. Hot rollers are best for long and fine hair, but they can be used on any hair type. On the other hand, curling irons are best for healthy, medium-thick hair.

Which Is Better? Hot Rollers Or Curling Iron

I guess, there isn’t the right answer to this question. Read on to find out what factors you need to consider when choosing between them.

Hair Type

Curling Iron

Hair rollers are perfect for curling thin and fine hair. They are also recommended to women with colored and damaged hair. Curling irons, just like curling wands, are great for hair that doesn’t hold a curl (here you can find our review of the top curling wands if you haven’t found the best one for you).

But the best thing is that you can use both of them to get gorgeous curls and desired look.


When it comes to safety, hot hair rollers are a safer option. As mentioned earlier, make sure to make hot rollers warm – not hot – and you won’t burn your scalp or your hands. The edges are usually made of plastic, so you can touch them.

Make sure to handle your curling iron with a lot of care as its plates can become super hot and you can easily get burned.

Potential Hair Damage

The possibility of hair damage is always there if you are using hot hair styling tools. Even when you use a hairdryer, you can burn your scalp. There is a risk of suffering hair or skin damage when using a hot curling iron and hot rollers so be extra careful.

Plates of a curling iron can get very hot and burn your hair. But that doesn’t have to be a problem if you learn how to take care of your hair properly. If you use a curling iron often, make sure to learn how to prevent split ends and which products to use.

Once again, hot rollers are a safer option. They can be hot, but when you put them on your head, they slowly cool down. Hair rollers can also make your hair heat damaged, but not as much as a curling iron.

Take a look at our review of the best hair dryers available on the market today! Or do you want a quiet hair dryer? We have everything you are looking for!

Features, Affordability And Quality

Hot Rollers Quality

Compared to curling irons, hot rollers are more basic, as curling irons offer more styling options.

When it comes to affordability, both of these hot hairstyling tools can be inexpensive, depending on the brand. But when we talk about quality, cheap hair irons won’t serve you as well as a cheap set of hot rollers. For a good and high-quality hair iron, be prepared to invest at least two times more.

Best Hot Rollers And A Curling Iron - Our Top Pick

Conair Xtreme Instant Heat Hot Rollers

Conair Xtreme Instant Heat Ceramic Hot Rollers

Hot Tools Professional Curling Iron

Hot Tools Professional Curling Iron

What To Consider When Buying Hot Rollers Vs Curling Iron

What To Consider When Buying Hot Rollers Vs Curling Iron

Here are the main things you need to consider when buying hot rollers and curling irons:

Hair Length

Curling Iron Long Hair

This is probably one of the most important factors you need to consider before buying any of these two hot styling tools. In my opinion, hot rollers are better for shoulder and medium-length hair. I think that wrapping each section of your long hair would be very difficult. Hair irons work better on long hair but can be used on short hair too.

If you have naturally curly hair – never use hair straightening products – you will damage your hair and you might not be able to restore your natural curl pattern. 

Hair Style

Which hairstyle would you like to get? If you are going for nice waves and defined curls, a curling iron is the best tool for you. And if you want to add volume to your waves or curls, the design of curling irons will allow you to pump up your hair and get the look you want. Hot rollers should be your choice if you prefer looser curls.

Curling irons can be used to get different hairstyles and you can create curls of different sizes.

Ease Of Use

Some people prefer hot hair rollers and find them easier to use. But some prefer curling irons and think they are better. So, the choice is all yours. Find what works better for you to get the amazing curls you want. Do you prefer wrapping hair around hot rollers and waiting for them to cool down on your head? Or are you more into working one section at a time, super fast?

Frequently Asked Questions

Hot rollers are better than curling irons if you prefer big and bouncy curls. Hot hair rollers set should be your first option if you want to get a bouncy look. But if you want tighter curls or a loose wave, grab a good curling iron. Unlike curling wands that can be interchangeable, neither curling irons nor hot rollers have this feature.

Hot rollers are not more damaging than curling irons. Curling irons can get extremely hot and they can cause more damage than hot rollers. You can fix that damage a bit with proper hair care and hair protection, but overusing any hot hair tool can cause big problems as exposing your hair to high heat very often is not good at all.

Yes, hot rollers hold curls. They are made to be used on dry hair (never use them on wet hair because it will cause damage) and left in until cool. Unlike a curling iron which provides a short burst of intensive heat, a hot roller uses a lower dose of heat for a longer period of time to create lasting curls.

How long you should keep hot rollers in your hair depends on how well your hair holds curls. You can leave hot hair rollers between one minute and 30 minutes maximum (but 10 minutes is optimal). When you see they are ready, take them out and pin your hair back into a similar shape. Let them cool for at least as long as you have left hot hair rollers in. Later you can use styling gel to get the look you want.

Yes, hot rollers work on fine hair. Actually, they are good for all hair types. But since fine hair is more susceptible to heat damage and it doesn’t hold curls long, make sure to prepare your hair properly. Follow these essential steps to get the desired look. Before curling your hair, apply heat protectant, let the rollers cool down on your head and finish your look with a good and quality hairspray.


Our debate on Hot Rollers vs Curling Iron is over. We have highlighted similarities and differences and hopefully, we have helped you find what works best for you. A curling iron can be your best friend if you prefer having a curling tool that has more options and that can make different types of curls. On the other hand, you can choose hot roller sets if you want to get loose curls and if you don’t want to damage your hair. It is a hard decision, I know. But, you can always get both of them. Why not?!