The Best Hair Straighteners of 2021, From Flat Irons to Brushes
There are few beauty wins as satisfying as discovering the best hair straightener for your hair. To accomplish this feat, you have to weed through tons of potential matches and, through trial and error, find the flat iron or straightening device best suited for your individual hair texture and time limitations to achieve those coveted sleek, glossy strands.
Read on for the best hair straighteners and flat irons that cater to a bevy of beauty and lifestyle concerns.
The 14 Best Hair Straighteners of 2021
- Best on Amazon: HSI Professional Glider
- Best on Sephora: GHD Platinum+ Professional Performance 1-Inch Styler
- Best for Fine Hair: Bio Ionic 10X Pro Straightening & Styling Iron
- Best for Coarse Hair: T3 SinglePass X 1.5-Inch Wide Flat Iron
- Best for Damaged Hair: T3 Lucea ID 1-Inch Flat Iron
- Best Steam: Mkboo Steam Hair Straightener
- Best Brush: Drybar Brush Crush Heated Straightening Brush
- Best to Curl Hair: Chi Air Expert Classic Tourmaline Ceramic 3-in-1 Styling Iron
- Best Mini: BaBylissPro Mini Straightening Iron
- Best for Thick Hair: Croc Classic Black Titanium 1.5-Inch Flat Iron
- Best for Natural Hair: BaBylissPro Nano Titanium-Plated Ionic Straightening Iron
- Best Time Saver: Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Styler
- Best Value: Remington 1-Inch Flat Iron With Anti-Static Technology
- Best Cordless: Dyson Corrale Straightener
How to Choose the Best Flat Iron for Your Hair
Whether you have curly hair or extremely thick hair, are looking for a mini flat iron or a hair-straightening brush, there are almost too many factors to consider on your quest for the best hair straightener possible. In addition to hair texture concerns, you have the financial element: Will a more affordable tool from reliable brands like Remington and Conair get the job done, or do you need to splurge on a high- to mid-tier option from well-known luxury brands like GHD, Chi, and BaByliss for sleek hair? For celebrity hairstylist Annagjid Taylor, finding the best hair straightener comes down to the device's shape, types of plates, and temperature settings. "The way your device is built can affect how versatile it is," she tells InStyle. "If the plates and outer edges are more rounded, then you can use this tool like a curling iron as well. On the other hand, straighteners with sharp edges are less multifaceted, but they can make your hair look a little bit straighter."
It's also important to choose a straightener based on your hair type, texture, and length. Taylor says that those with longer and thicker hair will want a straightener with wide plates to help speed up time in the mirror and reduce damage, whereas "if you have fine or over-processed hair, you'll want a straightener with narrower plates that apply less heat."
Titanium vs. Ceramic Plates:
If you're worried about cutting down the primp time in your morning routine, you may want to look at flat irons with larger plate widths and fast heat-up capabilities. Titanium flat irons tend to heat up quicker than those with ceramic plates, but the strength and speed you get with titanium plates may mean sacrificing the more limited heat damage to your hair done by ceramic flat irons. Heat gets evenly distributed across ceramic plates, and they're often enhanced in one of two ways to further protect hair. When infused with tourmaline, ceramic plates create negative ions during the heat-up process, which add a conditioning layer to protect and moisturize your strands. Then you have infrared irons with ceramic plates, which not only emit negative ions, but also heat hair evenly from the inside out to reduce visible damage.
If the thought of clamping any hot flat iron, ceramic or not, down on your colored, brittle, or otherwise damaged hair makes you cringe, maybe you should look into a steam hair straightener or a ceramic flat iron with a wide range of adjustable heat settings to use in tandem with your favorite heat-protecting hair products.
With constantly evolving technology, the best hair straighteners of 2021 are probably different than they've looked in years past. To help you navigate through the latest hair straightener features and designs, we've rounded up a list of our top contenders. Whatever your main priorities are when it comes to finding the best hair straightener, these are some of the most popular heat styling tools out there.
Best-Rated Hair Straightener on Amazon: HSI Professional Glider
With a whopping 23,500 five-star customer reviews, the HSI Professional Glider is, without a doubt, a popular choice when it comes to ceramic flat irons. Aside from the very reasonable price point, customers love how quickly the hair straightener smooths even the most unruly texture and leaves tresses looking professionally styled. The heat options range from 140- to 450-degrees Fahrenheit, giving you a wide range of options to discover the ideal heat for your hair, and the dual-voltage means you don't have to leave your new hair-straightening staple at home when you travel. An added touch? The flat iron comes with a mini argan oil leave-in hair treatment to boost your hair's shine and softness.
Shop now: $47, amazon.com
Best-Rated on Sephora: GHD Platinum+ Professional Performance 1-Inch Styler
Sephora's best-selling hair straightener and flat iron list is dominated by styling tools from big hitter GHD. The crème de la crème on the beauty retailer's list is GHD's Platinum+ Professional Performance 1-Inch Styler. The smart flat iron operates at 365-degrees Fahrenheit, which the brand considers "the optimum styling temperature for even healthier hair," has a 20-second heat-up time, and a heat-resistant plate guard to protect your furniture and other surfaces. While the price point is definitely on the higher side, GHD's ceramic hair straightener uses predictive technology that adapts to your hair's individual texture and the speed at which you're straightening, promising you a unique — and worth it — hair-styling experience.
Shop now: $249, sephora.com
Best for Fine Hair: Bio Ionic 10X Pro Straightening & Styling Iron
The narrow, vibrating ceramic plates and moisturizing heat of this Bio Ionic flat iron make it the perfect hair straightener for fine hair. Each plate is infused with water-emitting mineral rock to keep your hair hydrated despite the fact that you're heat styling it, and the rounded edges make it easier to straighten close to your roots without leaving crease marks. The bio ionic tool promises a 10-minute styling time, meaning your morning routine will definitely be expedited with this flat iron in your beauty arsenal. In one review, an Ulta shopper with fine hair dubbed the popular flat iron "hands down the best flat iron I've ever used." They also added, "This glides through my hair with ease. Not to mention how soft and shiny it left my hair."
Shop now: $230, ulta.com
Best for Coarse Hair: T3 SinglePass X 1.5-Inch Wide Flat Iron
With its larger-than-average ceramic plate width of 1.5 inches, the T3 SinglePass X 1.5-Inch Wide Flat Iron styles hair quickly and (as the name suggests) with fewer passes over the same pieces of hair, limiting the potential of leaving your hair damaged. The high-tech straightener heats up in just 30 seconds and was designed specifically for long, thick, or coarse hair that can be a bit stubborn with flat irons that don't pack as much power. As one Amazon reviewer raves, "Love this!!! This iron heats up fast. Gets really hot. Cuts down on time to straighten. I have thick wavy/curly hair and this is the best flat iron I have found recently." If quick styling of hard-to-manage hair is your goal, this hair straightener could be your best bet.
Shop now: $230, amazon.com
Best for Damaged Hair: T3 Lucea ID 1-Inch Flat Iron
Most professional hairstylists recommend using additional styling products and heat protectants to limit the damage hot tools can do to hair, but there are also hair straighteners that can be less abrasive on your locks than others. The T3 Lucea ID 1-Inch Flat Iron has the option to use less heat exposure to protect your hair without sacrificing results. The secret lies in its signature Rapid HeatIQ technology and CeraGloss ceramic plates, which, when combined, deliver advanced heat precision to ensure sleek, frizz-free strands in just one pass. It's even equipped with nine heat settings to create a personalized experience based on your hair's texture, length, and color treatment. It's safe to say that Amazon shoppers were blown away by the results they achieved with this straightener. One wrote, "Bam. All of the sudden, my hair looks like it was naturally straight. Not damaged. Not unevenly straight and not-quite-straight-enough in parts. Not still puffy underneath. All straight. All shiny. And all healthy looking."
Shop now: $235, amazon.com
Best Steam Option: Mkboo Steam Hair Straightener
Steam straighteners, like the less common vapor flat irons, are typically considered better for your hair because they provide more moisture, making the straightening process less drying on your strands. While a steam hair straightener sounds super fancy, the Mkboo Steam Hair Straightener is a reasonably priced model that shoppers see good results from. It heats up in 60 seconds and boasts five temperature settings up to a high heat of 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The steam straightener with tourmaline-coated ceramic plates also features removable combs, giving you options for the most effective length to detangle your particular hair while you style.
Shop now: $63, amazon.com
Best Hair-Straightening Brush: Drybar Brush Crush Heated Straightening Brush
Drybar, which basically re-wrote the script on the salon blowout experience, created its own hair-straightening brush so clients can achieve professional-level sleekness at home. Drybar's bright yellow Brush Crush Heated Straightening Brush, with customizable heat settings up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, smooths hair in a matter of minutes and leaves your locks with a little more bounce than a traditional flat iron hair straightener would. A hair-straightening brush like this is great for someone who prefers more of a natural look to pin-straight hair and might be your easiest at-home route to looking like you just got a fresh salon blowout. And according to reviewers, it gets your tresses in tip-top shape fast: "It takes me five minutes to straighten my air-dried curly hair, whereas others I've used only worked if I blew dried my hair and it took two or three times as long."
Shop now: $145, amazon.com
Best for Curling Hair: Chi Tourmaline Ceramic 3-in-1 Hairstyling Iron
Perhaps not how the first inventor of a hair straightener intended, flat irons have been increasingly popular as hair-curling tools. (Here's how to curl hair with a flat iron if you want a refresher.) Haircare mainstay CHI caught on and created the Tourmaline Ceramic 3-in-1 Hairstyling Iron, which not only has flat inner ceramic plating but curved plating around the outer barrel. The rounded plating maximizes the curling potential each time you wrap your hair while also limiting the amount of hair-snagging and clamp lines that often come with using regular flat irons to curl your hair.
Shop now: $53, amazon.com
Best Mini Option: BaBylissPro Mini Straightening Flat Iron
Mini flat irons are great for travel, but not if they can't work in other countries. BaBylissPro's Mini Straightening Flat Iron is dual-voltage, meaning it won't burn out when you plug it in abroad (with the right adapter). And just because it's tiny doesn't mean its results are. One of Taylor's favorites for its power and portability, the straightener uses nano titanium hair-straightening power at a heat of 430 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a strong straightening force, even on thick and coarse hair. The compact styling tool also comes with a matching blue travel pouch, so everything from packing and using it as you globetrot is a breeze. Another bonus of the tiny size? At just 6 inches long with half-inch plates, you can finally get those frizzy roots and stubborn flyaways.
Shop now: $35, amazon.com
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Best for Thick Hair: Croc Classic Black Titanium 1.5-inch Flat Iron
If your normal hair-straightening routine takes too much time to sustain, it might be time for you to turn to a titanium flat iron. Croc's Classic Black Titanium 1.5-inch Flat Iron adds an extra dose of protection by utilizing negative ions, which close the cuticle layer of hair, seal in natural moisture, and prevent static electricity from leaving your tresses frizzy or disheveled. With Croc's hair straightener, you'll get the speed and durability of titanium flat irons with the negative ions and infrared rays normally produced by ceramic heaters to balance the impact of the plates' strength. The tool also features a wide temperature range with 17 heat settings (from 280 to high heat at 450 degrees Fahrenheit) so you can customize your routine to best suit your hair texture and desired look.
Shop now: $134, amazon.com
Best for Natural Hair: BaBylissPro Nano Titanium-Plated Ionic Straightening Iron
When it comes to finding the best straightener for natural hair, Taylor says it's important to choose a straightener that has adjustable heat settings so that you can customize the intensity based on your hair's texture. She also recommends opting for a model that's designed with ionic technology to minimize damage, which is where the BaBylissPro Nano Titanium-Plated Ionic Straightening Iron comes into play. Taylor is a fan of the heat tool because "the wide, titanium plates of this tool deliver the sleekest and shiniest results, while the natural ions help reduce frizz." The titanium plates are particularly great for natural hair types that are typically hard to straighten.
Shop now: $100, amazon.com
Best Time Saver: Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer Hot Hair Brush
Revlon, the maker of the mega-hit One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer Hot Hair Brush, has also earned thousands of fans for its One-Step Hair Dryer and Styler. The hair-straightening brush promises to give you the power of a blow dryer with the precision of a styling tool. The bristles don't just detangle wet and dry strands but also smooth and tame them at the same time, while the negative ions condition strands and leave them looking extra shiny. Nearly 4,700 Amazon shoppers have given the hair straightener five-star reviews. One five-star reviewer wrote, "Wow! It takes a lot to impress me and make my hair easy. I have thick, long hair and usually have to blow dry and then use a curling iron or hair straightener; this does both. My hair is silky smooth. I can't believe it took me this long to find this product." Other happy customers call the Revlon device a "life changer" and say they were able to get "a blow-out look in record time."
Shop now: $34 (was $50), amazon.com
Best Value Option: Remington 1-Inch Flat Iron With Anti-Static Technology
The hair straighteners on this list run the gamut of price points, but the best bang for your buck might be Remington's adored 1-inch Anti-Static Flat Iron with Floating Ceramic Plates and Digital Controls. But affordability isn't the only reason it's won over beauty enthusiasts. Many shoppers are saying the hair straightener's thin size also makes it ideal for creating wavy and curly looks. With titanium coating on the plates, the flat iron heats up in 30 seconds but won't leave a ton of damage in its wake. The digital display makes it easy to see which of the six heat settings you're using so you can adjust as you style, and its temperature ranges up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit. Taylor recommends this straightener for anyone struggling with frizz and static because of its "long, thick plates for quick styling and less damage."
Shop now: $20, walmart.com
Best Cordless: Dyson Corrale Straightener
If you've been on the fence about buying the Dyson Corrale Straightener, consider this your sign to go all the way at checkout. At $500, it's without a doubt the priciest pick on the list, but it's very much worth the splurge, according to its diehard fans. Thanks to its cordless design and flexing plates, you're able to get every last inch of hair. This level of precision, combined with the straightener's advanced heat technology, means that you'll actually use less heat, which translates to less frizz and healthier, damage-free hair. "This flat iron is worth every penny," raved one reviewer. "It made my hair smooth and shiny. It is easy to handle and the battery lasts just the amount of time I need to style my whole head. I couldn't be happier. I have very frizzy hair and have always had a hard time styling my hair so it can be wavy and still have shine."
Shop now: $500, ulta.com