The 13 Best Curling Irons of 2023

Harry Josh Pro Tools 3-in-1 Ceramic Curling Iron will help you achieve all your hair goals

In This Article

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Best Curling Irons, According to Hairstylists

Amazon, Ulta

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to curling irons — the shape and size of the barrel can drastically change your end result, and an iron that gives you bouncy, voluminous curls won’t necessarily be able to create tight coils. 

So how do you pick the right one to accomplish your #HairGoals? Well, we took out the guesswork, scouring the internet and speaking with hair professionals to find the best curling irons for every curl type and hair type. While we found 13 unbeatable options, the Harry Josh Pro Tools 3-in-1 Ceramic Curling Iron proved to be a tried and true classic that all our experts love, landing it our best overall pick. 

No matter your hair type or what look you’re after, keep reading for the 13 best curling irons.

Best Overall

Harry Josh Pro Tools 3-in-1 Ceramic Curling Iron 1-Inch

Harry Josh Pro Tools 3-in-1 Ceramic Curling Iron 1-Inch

Dermstore

What We Love: It works great with every hair type. 

What We Don’t Love: The attachments are bulky, making it difficult to store. 

Celebrity hairstylists Jacob Rozenberg and Sky Kim's go-to curling iron is the Harry Josh Pro Tools 3-in-1 Ceramic Curling Iron because it really does it all. Rozenberg says that the solid ceramic barrel has great heat distribution to minimize heat damage, and it creates negative ions to smooth hair while maintaining volume and body. (As an added bonus, he says it contains dual voltage so you can take it with you on all of your travel adventures.) It’s also super lightweight and comes with a 360 degree swivel so you can maneuver it easily around your head while curling. Kim agrees, saying its interchangeable clamps — which you can remove if you want to strictly use it as a curling wand — make it easy to curl hair, regardless of how thin or thick it is. The attachments can be a bit difficult to store, but that’s a minor inconvenience for how great this iron is.

Price at time of publish: $185

Barrel Size: 1.25 inches | Heat Settings: up to 380 degrees | Barrel Material: Ceramic

Best For Thick Hair

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron

4.2
BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron

 Amazon

What We Love: It provides high shine and a long-lasting curl thanks to the vast heat settings and ceramic-coated barrel.

What We Don’t Love: Because the heat-resistant tip is the same color as the barrel, you have to be extra careful to ensure you don’t burn yourself while using it.

Kim says the BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron is an unbeatable pick for thick hair because of its wide range of heat settings — it can go up to 450 degrees to create long-lasting curls, while the ceramic-coated barrel helps to also maintain shine. Turn to this if you want voluminous, effortless-looking curls. We appreciate that it’s super lightweight and has a swivel chord, too. Though these features don’t have an affect on your end result, they do make the iron easier to maneuver which is a bonus in our book. That said, we wish the heat resistant tip didn’t blend in with the barrel because it increases the chance of accidentally burning yourself. 

Price at time of publish: $60

Barrel Size: 1.25 in. | Heat Settings: up to 450 degrees | Barrel Material: Titanium/Ceramic-coated

Best For Fine Hair

ghd Curve Classic Curl 1" Iron

4.6
ghd Curve Classic Curl 1" Iron

Amazon

What We Love: It maintains a temperature of 365 degrees to curl fine hair with minimal damage, and comes with an automatic sleep mode that activates after 30 minutes of inactivity. 

What We Don’t Love: We wish it had more than one heat setting.

Finding a hot tool that won’t fry fine hair can be a challenge, but celebrity hairstylist Laura Rugetti loves the GHD Classic Curl 1” Curling Iron for its even, lower heat setting that’s optimal for fine hair. It heats up in just 25 seconds and maintains a temperature of 365 degrees to safely curl hair with minimal damage. You won’t have to second guess whether or not you unplugged this curling iron either because it has a built in automatic sleep mode that activates after 30 minutes of inactivity — a much appreciated safety feature.  

Price at time of publish: $199

Barrel Size: 1 inch | Heat Settings: 365 degrees | Barrel Material: Ceramic

Best Budget

Conair Double Ceramic 1" Curling Wand

4.2
Conair Double Ceramic 1" Curling Wand

Amazon

What We Love: It has 30 heat settings and comes at an unbeatable price. 

What We Don’t Love: It can take a while to heat up. 

Briana Jorge, a stylist at Maggie Rose Salon, says the Conair Double Ceramic 1” Curling Iron is the best budget curling iron you can find. With its 30 heat settings, she explains that it works for every hair type — whether it’s thick, fine, straight, or coily. Despite being such a steal (it’s less than $20!), it doesn’t skimp out on quality: The ceramic barrel evenly distributes heat as you curl, so your end result will look bouncy and cohesive. While it’s easy to create a variety of curl types, this one is key if you're looking for looser, undone waves. 

Price at time of publish: $19

Barrel Size: 1 inch | Heat Settings: Up to 400 degrees | Barrel Material: Ceramic

Best Splurge

Dyson Airwrap Multi-Styler Complete Long

4.8
Dyson Airwrap Multi-Styler Complete Long

Ulta

What We Love: It uses controlled, heated airflow to give you immaculate curls. 

What We Don’t Love: There’s a bit of a learning curve because it’s unlike anything else on the market, so it might take a few attempts before you get used to using it. 

Just like its beloved hair dryer, Dyson has another must-have item: The Airwrap Multi-Styler. Jorge likes it specifically because it attracts and wraps hair around the heated barrel using enhanced airflow that is heat controlled to prevent damage. It comes with multiple attachments to style your hair in countless ways, but the two curling barrels, in particular, can curl hair in both directions. Though it does take some practice, once you nail down how to use it properly, you get the most effortless waves that last all day — and that in itself makes it truly worth every penny. 

Price at time of publish: $599

Barrel Size: 1.2 inches and 1.6 inches | Heat settings: N/A | Barrel Material: Thermoplastic

Best for Beginners

Drybar The Wrap Party Styling Wand

Drybar The Wrap Party Styling Wand

Amazon

What We Love: The reverse tapered barrel makes it extremely easy to curl hair. 

What We Don’t Love: It works better with long hair as opposed to short. 

If curling your hair intimidates you, then let Drybar The Wrap Party Styling Wand be the solution. Jorge says this is one of the easiest curling irons to use because the barrel gets bigger towards the end of the wand to prevent hair from slipping as you curl. “This will help you not waste time on re-curling your hair,” she says. The digital temperature control makes it easy to read and adjust the heat (it goes up to 450 degrees), and the barrel is designed to enhance shine and volume, too. 

Price at time of publish: $169

Barrel Size: 1 to 1.25 inches. | Heat settings: up to 450 degrees | Barrel Material: Ceramic

Best for Textured Hair

Hot Tools Professional 1-1¼” Nano Ceramic Flipperless Tapered Wand

4.8
Hot Tools Professional 1-1¼” Nano Ceramic Flipperless Tapered Wand

Ulta

What We Love: The cone-shaped barrel curls hair tighter towards the root to boost volume. 

What We Don’t Love: Because of the unique barrel shape, it can take some time to get acclimated to it.

Jorge likes Hot Tools Professional 1-1¼” Nano Ceramic Flipperless Tapered Wand for textured hair because of the cone-shaped barrel. The unique shape keeps curls tight near the root to help them hold a little better and boost volume. It also goes up to 450 degrees, which is the optimal heat to use when working with thick, coarse hair. Don’t let the high heat scare you: It comes with a foldaway stand for your counter, and a glove to ensure your hands stay protected while styling. Though the barrel shape is a huge selling point, just be aware that it can take a few curling sessions to get acclimated to it and create the voluminous curls of your dreams. 

Price at time of publish: $65

Barrel Size: 1 to 1¼ inches | Heat Settings: up to 450 degrees | Barrel Material: Ceramic

Best For Long Hair

T3 SinglePass Wave Professional Tapered Ceramic Styling Wand

4.6
T3 SinglePass® Wave Professional Tapered Ceramic Styling Wand

Ulta

What We Love: It has a thick 1.5 inch barrel to adequately curl the longest, thickest hair. 

What We Don’t Love: It’s a bit bulky to use if you have short hair. 

Finding a curling iron that’s big enough to handle extra long hair can be a challenge — short, thin barrels result in uneven heat distribution from wrapping the hair countless times around itself. But the T3 Single Pass Curl 1.5” Custom Blend Ceramic Curling And Wave Iron is Kim’s pick for long hair because it has an optimal barrel size. “It has a long and thick barrel so you can curl more hair [in a single pass] and save time,” she says. With five heat settings ranging from 260 to 410 degrees, it provides even heat so you can get the perfect wave or curl in just one try. It works best for long hair though, as the size can be too big for those with shorter strands. 

Price at time of publish: $170

Barrel Size: 1.5 inches | Heat Settings: up 410 degrees | Barrel Material: Ceramic

Best Waver

Trademark Beauty Babe Waves Limited Edition

Trademark Beauty Babe Waves The Hair Waver

Amazon

What We Love: The three-barrel clamping iron makes achieving beachy textured waves a cinch. 

What We Don’t Love: The iron is pretty heavy. 

When you’re looking to create beachy waves, Kim says to use the Trademark Beauty Babe Waves. It’s a three-barrel iron that clamps onto hair, giving it a wavy texture in half the time it takes for a normal curling iron to do the same. It’s super easy to use: All you have to do is open the clamp around a section of hair, close the clamp, and hold for a few sections before releasing and revealing waves. That said, be prepared for an arm workout, because this tool is a bit heavier than other picks on this list. 

Price at time of publish: $59

Barrel Size: 1 inch | Heat Settings: up to 450 degrees | Barrel Material: Ceramic

Best for Dry Hair

BIO IONIC Stylewinder Rotating Styling Iron

4.7
BIO IONIC Stylewinder Rotating Styling Iron

Amazon

What We Love: It locks in moisture and conditions hair with special heat technology. 

What We Don’t Love: We wish the clamp was shorter to prevent pulling. 

Though all heat tools will impart some sort of damage onto your hair, Jorge says the BIO Ionic Stylewinder Rotating Styling Iron is one of the safest tools out there, and will cause minimal heat damage. She explains that although it’s made of titanium, which heats up quickly, it evenly distributes heat thanks to Nano Ionic MX technology that locks moisture into hair and seals the cuticle so your strands look and feel soft and conditioned. Though we love almost everything about this iron, we do wish the clamp was shorter because it’s easy for hair to get caught in it. 

Price at time of publish: $145

Barrel Size: 1 inch | Heat Settings: up to 440 degrees | Barrel Material: Titanium

Most Versatile

Revlon Mix Curler Adjustable 2-in-1 Curling Wand

Mix Curler Adjustable 2-in-1 Curling Wand

Ulta

What We Love: You can get a variety of curl types with this wand because the barrel size is adjustable.

What We Don’t Love: We wish it came with a clip to hold hair in place while curling. 

Jorge says the most versatile curling iron is the Revlon Mix Curler Adjustable 2-in-1 Curling Wand. The unique barrel is adjustable — so you get two different size barrels without having to remove and change any of the parts. All you have to do is twist the top to either get a 1½-inch barrel for loose curls, or a 1-inch barrel for tighter curls. It also has 10 different heat settings and goes up to 420 degrees so all hair types can use this. The one thing that would make this wand better would be a clip to keep hair secured while curling. 

Price at time of publish: $55

Barrel Size: 1 to 1½ inches  | Heat Settings: up to 420 degrees | Barrel Material: Ceramic

Best Flat Iron

HSI Professional Glider Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron

4.9
HSI Professional Glider Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron

Amazon

What We Love: Its thin, rounded plates make it easy to curl hair. 

What We Don’t Love: It can be slippery when gliding through hair, so be sure to really clamp hard when curling. 

If you want soft waves rather than voluminous curls, try curling your hair with a flat iron (yes, really). The best flat iron for this, according to Jorge, is the HSI Professional Glider. “It has thin, rounded plates [that are] perfect for curling hair,” she says. “The ceramic plates help reduce damage and evenly distribute heat.” It contains eight micro sensors and a special heat balance technology to regulate heat distribution, and also generates negative ions to reduce frizz. Make sure to have a strong grip while using, because the sleek design can be slippery.

Price at time of publish: $40

Barrel Size: N/A | Heat Settings: up to 450 degrees | Plate Material: Ceramic

Best Rotating Wand

Beachwaver Co. S1 Rotating Curling Iron

4.2
Beachwaver Co. S1 Rotating Curling Iron

What We Love: The rotating wand does all the work for you. 

What We Don’t Love: Though this is the best-performing model, we wish it had a vibrant design like some of the other curling irons from the brand. 

Rotating curling irons can be scary if you’re not a seasoned pro, but the Beachwaver S1 Dual Voltage Black Rotating Curling Iron is so easy to use that it will calm any of that anxiety. “This magic tool does all the work for me,” says InStyle’s Commerce Editor Mary Honkus. “Because you can change the direction of the rotation, hair is always left looking professionally styled. This one is full-proof — it curls my waist-length hair with ease and my hair has never gotten caught. I’ll never use another curling iron.” 

Price at time of publish: $149

Barrel Size: 1 inch | Heat Settings: up to 410 degrees | Barrel Material: Ceramic

What To Keep in Mind

Barrel Size

Curling irons come in a variety of sizes — with each creating a different type of curl. Essentially, the smaller the barrel, the smaller the curl.  If you prefer the look of tighter curls, look for a one inch iron (like Beachwaver S1 Dual Voltage Black Rotating Curling Iron). For looser curls and waves, opt for one with a 1.25 to 1.5 inch barrel, like the T3 Single Pass Curl 1.5” Custom Blend Ceramic Curling And Wave Iron.  

Material

Jorge recommends taking your hair length and texture into consideration when looking at what a curling iron is made out of because the barrel material can have an effect on the outcome of your hair. Ceramic plates, she says, work best for thinner hair as it evenly distributes heat. One of our favorite ceramic irons is Hot Tools Professional 1-1¼” Nano Ceramic Flipperless Tapered Wand. Titanium plates on the other hand, like the BIO Ionic Stylewinder Rotating Styling Iron, heat up faster and have a higher heat setting, which she says is best for hair that is difficult to curl, such as thicker hair types.

Temperature

Temperature settings are important because certain hair types need more heat to hold a curl. Thick hair needs higher heat settings (usually between 350 to 450 degrees) to maintain a curl, explains Jorge. Thin to medium hair, on the other hand should stick to a heat setting between 300 to 380 degrees. Some curling irons only have one heat setting (like GHD Classic Curl 1” Curling Iron, which is set at 350 degrees), while others (like BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron) have a range of settings that can be adjusted. 

Your Questions, Answered

How do you use a curling iron?

Curling irons can be intimidating, but once you get the hang of using them they’re process is pretty seamless. Jorge suggests sectioning your hair before you start curling. Then, grab a section about half an inch away from the root, and wrap hair around the curling iron. She says you’ll want to continue to wrap hair until you reach the ends. Depending on the iron, you’ll either clamp or hold the hair for a few seconds before releasing it. Repeat until all sections are done. Something like Drybar The Wrap Party Styling Wand is great for beginners and makes curling hair super easy. 

How do you clean your curling iron?

Rozenberg says that you can clean your curling iron with either rubbing alcohol or a warm hot towel. But this all depends on how often you use your iron and how much product accumulates on it. 

Jorge says that if there isn’t a lot of buildup, rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad is enough to clean it. But if you need a deeper clean, she advises mixing warm water, baking soda, and toothpaste to scrub off any residue. If you don’t use your iron frequently, cleaning it every two to three weeks is enough. If you curl your hair often, though, you should be cleaning it once a week. 

How can you curl your hair with a flat iron?

If you’re not looking to add another tool to your beauty arsenal, you can easily use a flat iron, like the HSI Professional Glider, to give your hair some waves. To start, Jorge says to clamp the flat iron close to your roots, then twist it in a full circle and drag it down to create a curl. She says the faster you drag down the flat iron, the looser the curls are going to be. The slower, the tighter the curls will be. 

Why Shop With Us

Audrey Noble has over eight years of experience in the beauty industry, previously holding editorial positions at Allure, Vanity Fair, and Refinery29; and writing all things beauty for InStyle, Bustle, Vogue, Harper’s BAZAAR, WWD, and more. Apart from one lob cut in her 30 years of life, she has kept her thick hair long and has asked every stylist she comes across for the best curling iron tips. For this story, she interviewed celebrity hairstylists Jacob Rozenberg, who has worked with Anne Hathaway and Dove Cameron, Laura Rugetti, who has worked with Noah Cyrus and Kelly Osbourne, and Sky Kim, who has worked with Nathalie Emmanuel and Jessica Darrow, and Briana Jorge, a stylist at Maggie Rose Salon, to break down how to use a curling iron, how to pick the best one for your hair texture, and to give their recommendations for the best ones on the market. 

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