Anyone who knows how to really wield a blow-dryer can get their hair pretty straight with that alone. But when you want super sleek, shiny strands, a flat iron is your best friend. They’re a lot easier than struggling with a dyer and round brush to get the perfect blowout, saving you loads of time and effort. The best flat irons aren’t just for straightening, though — the surprisingly versatile tool can be used for everything from creating flips to S-waves, beachy waves and even curling. Plus, thanks to ionization, flat irons majorly cut down on frizz, leaving smooth, glossy hair behind.
But as flat irons have come long way over the years, picking one out isn’t so simple. Even professional hair stylists have trouble choosing their favorite, because every hair straightener has its strengths.
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“Asking a hairstylist about her favorite flat iron is like asking her to pick a favorite child,” says Ashanti Lation, celebrity stylist and CEO of VIP Luxury Hair Care.
Every hair type and style requires something different from a flat iron. We asked professional hairstylists to walk us through their decision-making process, so we all can choose the best flat irons together.
What should you know before choosing a hair straightener?
The two most important things you need to know: your hair type and which styles you wear the most.
“If you’re using a flat iron to create lots of bends and texture (like beach waves or curls), you want to be sure your iron has beveled edges,” says Laura Polko, an LA-based hairstylist who counts Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid and Priyanka Chopra among her roster of A-list clients.
For variation in styles, make sure the flat iron you choose has customizable heat settings. “I always recommend ceramic plates for consumers,” says Josh Liu, the hairstylist behind Ariana Grande’s iconic ponytail. “It’s safe, efficient and heats the hair from within.”
How to find the best flat iron for your hair type
When it comes to hair type, there are several rules to follow for selecting the best hair straightener for you. “Generally, thicker hair can tolerate higher temperatures and wider plates, whereas thinner hair requires less heat,” says celeb hairstylist Bradley Leake. “Shorter hair is more compatible with thinner plates as these can get closer to the scalp.”
Similarly, if your hair is more prone to heat damage, you don’t need a hair straightener that goes much higher than 300 degrees Fahrenheit. For straightening pixie cuts and baby hairs, a smaller plate will help you get to the root easier and lower your risk of burning your skin.
A straightener that’s too hot for your specific hair type or condition will fry the outer cuticle layer, making hair more porous, so it’ll be tough for it to retain moisture. This in turn leads to dry, brittle hair. “Overheating your wavy/curly hair can compromise your hair’s elasticity, resulting in you losing your natural pattern overtime, leaving it frizzy and prone to breakage,” Liu says.
To prevent heat damage from using a flat iron, use a heat protectant spray and start with the lowest-temperature setting. If that setting doesn’t do it for you, gradually work your way up the heat scale while keeping a close eye on temperature.
For the healthiest hair, avoid using a flatiron every day.
How to care for brand-your new flat iron
Flat irons are more of an investment today than they were when they first hit the market 20-plus years ago. Taking good, regular care of your tool is essential. One place to start is by having a dark towel that you can always rest your iron on.
“When you’re finished using it, wipe the plates down with the dark towel while they’re still hot,” says Devin Toth, hairstylist at Salon SCK in New York City. “This will remove any excess product from your plates.”
If there’s an excess of build-up on the plates, Liu suggests wiping them with a warm cloth and a little rubbing alcohol. Also, avoid wrapping the cord around your flat iron — the last thing you want to do is damage the power source for your tool.
Ahead, the 15 best flat irons for every hair type and need, according to experts and customer reviews.
1. Dyson Corrale Hair Straightener
Best for All Hair Types
Toth loves this straightener because it has “the newest technology and most styling versatility”. Plus, Dyson’s customer service is hard to beat. The iron features copper plates that flex around your hair, gathering it without breaking it off, and uses less heat to style. It can also be used with or without the cord for up to 30 minutes. If you’re on the go, just charge your straightener and pack it up to take with you. It also includes three heat settings each designed for a different hair type, and a 10-minute automatic shut-off function. While the price tag on this bundle is hefty, it comes with the straightener, a charging dock (that you can use between passes), a magnetic 360-degree charging cable and heat-resistant travel pouch.
2. T3 Lucea ID Smart Flat Iron
Smart hair straighteners are a thing now. Get a completely customized hair straightening experience with Polko’s favorite flat iron. “It prompts you to put in your hair type (texture, length and color treatment) and will give back the best heat setting for your hair type, ensuring minimal damage and better, more consistent results,” she says. The T3 Lucea ID comes with nine heat settings, patented CeraGloss plates and a refresh mode so you can touch up your hair at a lower heat setting.
3. Ghd Platinum+ Hair Straightener
Best Flat Iron for Thin Hair
The Ghd Platinum Plus is a rockstar of a hair straightener, having won more than 50 different global beauty awards. This straightener uses only one temperature, so you literally can’t fry your hair. Set at a smooth 365 degrees Fahrenheit, the floating plates have sensors that check the heat 250 times a second, ensuring the heat stays consistent for smooth, easy styling.
4. BaBylissPro Nano Titanium 0.5-Inch Straightening Iron
Best Flat Iron for Natural Hair
If pin-straight locks are what you’re after, the BaBylissPro Nano Titanium straightening iron is great for natural hair. There are 50 — yes, 50! — heat settings, with the highest at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The straightener is small and lightweight, so it’s easy to hold your arms up for longer when you’re styling your own hair.
5. T3 Singlepass X Styling Flat Iron
Best Flat Iron for Long Hair
We can’t get enough of T3 straighteners, and neither will you once you try one. Polko loves the entire T3 line, but especially this model for taming long, coarse hair. With wide 1.5-inch ceramic plates, five heat settings and beloved T3 SinglePass technology for evenly distributing heat across the plates, this iron offers a winning combo of size and performance.
6. Kristin Ess 3-in-One Flat Iron
Best Flat Iron for Wavy Hair
The Kristin Ess 3-in-one flat iron is just what you need for taming wavy hair. With four preset temperatures, you can achieve any style fast. The plates have temperature-sensing rapid heat technology, so your hair gets heated evenly, using negative ions to avoid moisture loss and frizz. This iron is good at not only taming waves, but also at creating them. The actual straightener has rounded edges, preventing snagging and breakage when you’re using it to bend and curl.
7. Boujee Beauty Infused Straightener
Best Flat Iron for Damaged Hair
This tourmaline-plated straightener is ideal for anyone in the process of repairing their hair. It houses a water compartment to infuse steam into the straightening process. “This is my new favorite,” Leake says. “It’s a steam-infused iron with smaller plates that allow you to get nice and close to the hairline.”
You can also put argan oil in the compartment to help promote healthy strands. There are two steam settings, plus a PTC heater for fast heat-up, a nine-foot swivel cord and automatic 60-minute turn off function for safety.
8. Xtava Pro-Satin Advanced Infrared Straightener
Best Flat Iron for Thick Hair
The 2-inch wide plates on Xtava’s Pro-Satin Advanced Infrared straightener make thick hair less headache-inducing to work with. Featuring ceramic tourmaline floating plates, this hair straightener won’t leave thick hair looking fried. It has 10 temperature settings and only a 90-second heat up time. Not only will this straightener cover a lot of surface area, it will also cover depth. We love a hair straightener that can get super thick hair smooth and shiny without the stress.
9. Bio Ionic 10x Pro Styling Iron
Best Flat Iron for Dry Hair
Using negative ions from natural volcanic minerals on the plates, this flat iron helps infuse moisture into dry strands for a smooth, conditioned look. It also vibrates, which apparently enhances the smoothing features of the negative ions. Cool, huh? Thanks to BioCeramic heaters, you get consistent, even heat for your hair at up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This iron also features a rounded edge for smoothly styling tips, as well as an ergonomic handle for comfort. After one hour, it automatically shuts off, so you can have peace of mind throughout your day, even if you accidentally left your straightener on.
10. T3 SinglePass Compact Flat Iron
Best Flat Iron for Travel
Don’t judge a straightener by its size, because this compact travel companion delivers sheer power. The unit heats up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit and features 0.8-inch ceramic plates with T3 SinglePass technology for smooth, even results. In other words, you can get your hair done in — you guessed it — a single pass.
11. H2Pro Black Diamond Mikro Nano Titanium Flat Iron
Best Flat Iron for Curling Long Hair
H2Pro’s Black Diamond Mikro flat iron has possibly the smallest ceramic tourmaline plates of all the irons on our list. This super skinny tool is effortless to maneuver in hand and ideal for curling long hair. Plus, the plates are infused with real diamond dust. Toth also says this one is his “absolute favorite mini flat irons.”
12. GHD Platinum Styler Classic 1-inch Hair Straightener
Get nearly all the fantastic features of the GHD Platinum+ for a fraction of the price with this one-inch version of the style. The floating ceramic plates keep hair snags to a minimum and help provide consistent heating. Using universal voltage and ceramic plates for consistent heating, it’s no surprise this flat iron gets glowing reviews on Amazon.
13. Drybar Tiny Tress Press Detailing Iron
Best Budget Hair Straightener
This tiny tool packs a punch and gives you everything in the name: it’s small, it details like a dream and it has the Drybar reputation behind it. The Titanium and Infrared technology keep your locks healthy by reducing frizz, heating the hair evenly and delivering a super shiny finish. The size is just right for tucking away in a purse during travel or small bathroom where saving space is essential. As an added bonus, this iron uses universal voltage, so you can use your converter for more pressing things while traveling internationally.
14. NuMe Megastar Hair Straightener
More than 80% of customers gave The NuMe Megastar a five-star review on Amazon. Some buyers even claim to have converted their hair stylists to this flat iron because it’s that good. It has one-inch beveled tourmaline ceramic floating plates, making it a go-to option for crafting curly looks. The tourmaline ceramic plates also help distribute heat more evenly to reduce the chance of hair damage.
15. L’Oréal Steampod Flat Iron
Another steam-infused option, the L’Oreal Steampod provides a steady amount of moisture while still keeping hair safe and dry. According to the brand, you should be able to style 600 feet of hair total before needing to refill the iron’s water tank. Its cord rotates 360 degrees, making it one of the best flat irons for achieving curly or wavy looks that require a lot of maneuvering.