The Best Flat Iron for Every Hair Type and Budget
Back in the day there were only a handful of flat irons you could buy—and as limited as we were in choices, we were just as limited in styling options and settings. The starter flat iron we had in junior high would barely straighten the top half of our thick, coarse hair and the one we eventually upgraded to flattened our strands so much that they stuck to our heads in a limp, lifeless mass.
Luckily, flat irons have come a long way in intervening years. With beveled edges, ceramic and titanium plates and smart heat settings, you can easily find one to fit your individual needs. Whether you have bleached, straw-like strands or a head full of curly coils, we’ve put together a handy guide to shopping for the best flat iron for your hair type (and budget).
1. Best Budget Buy: Remington 1“ Flat Iron
Ceramic plates with titanium coating for protection against heat? Check. Varied heat settings to adjust to your hair? Got eight of them. A swivel cord for easy maneuvering while styling? Done. Plus, this flat iron heats up in 30 seconds and automatically shuts off after 60 minutes (so you no longer have to worry about whether your iron is still on after you've left the house.). Did we mention it’s 25 dollars?
2. Best Mid-Range Option: Kristin Ess 3-in-One Flatiron
Not only is Kristin Ess a masterful hairstylist, but she’s also the creator of a luxe, yet affordable line of styling products and tools. This flat iron is no exception. With curved titanium plates that heat up quickly and distribute heat evenly, it reaches a peak temperature of 440 degrees and has a longer-than-average cord (at nine feet) so you can walk around your bathroom with ease while styling your hair. The sleek white-and-gold exterior give it an elevated feel.
3. Best Splurge: Dyson Corrale Flatiron
From the makers of your favorite vacuum and the Supersonic Dryer comes the most innovative flat iron we’ve seen in a while. As the only straightener that features flexing plates that move and bend with your hair, it gathers strands more easily, so you get smoother results using less heat altogether. The plates themselves are made with manganese copper and are broken into 15 segments to mold to your hair and give you better control while styling (while ensuring less snags or breakage). Add to that the intelligent heat control feature (which continuously regulates the temperature of the plates 100 times a second so you never exceed your chosen setting) and a cordless option, and there’s little they didn’t think of.
4. Best for Long Hair: Nume Megastar X 1.75“ Hair Straightener
For ladies with longer hair, this wide iron has larger plates to cover more surface area with each pass. Made with 100 percent pure tourmaline ceramic plates, it glides through strands easily without any tugging or pulling. It also comes equipped with an integrated infrared heat strip and Ion booster to give you the silkiest, smoothest finish in less time.
5. Best for Short Hair: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium-Plated Ultrathin Straightening Iron
If you’re rocking a lob or bob, we’d recommend this super slim iron. The one-inch titanium plates are great at reaching right up to the roots and hairline (so you can smooth down any cowlicks, flyaways or fuzz at the crown) without having to worry about scalding your skin. It’s also great for any detail work, in case you want to flip out the ends or add in some beachy bends.
6. Best for Super Short Hair: Bed Head Pixie On Point ½“ Tourmaline Straightener
For an even slimmer iron that reaches cropped strands (at a fraction of the cost), we’d recommend this turquoise number from Bed Head. With half-inch tourmaline plates that get super close to the roots and a 30-second heat up, this slender iron delivers fast style and shine. Plus, it’s dual voltage for easy use no matter where you are.
7. Best for Coarse Hair: Croc Classic Black Titanium 1.5“ Flat Iron
A favorite among stylists, this classic iron uses a ceramic heating system and titanium plates for speedy straightening without compromising the health of your strands (at least as far as these things go). With adjustable temps that reach up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s one of the hottest options on the list. Luckily, the titanium plates transfer heat quickly, so you get sleek results using fewer passes. Previously puffy strands are left silky and soft.
8. Best for Fragile Hair: InStyler Cerasilk Styling Iron
For the fine and fragile-haired, this iron has woven ceramic covered plates that float over your strands to minimize direct contact with them. The curved edges yield to your hair so you can pull the iron all the way through (and maybe even toss in a subtle wave) without causing any snags or kinks along the way. The InStyler also uses digital heat control so the iron stays at a consistent temp throughout, meaning it never overheats while you’re straightening.
9. Best for Frizzy Hair: T3 Lucea 1“ Hair Straightener
If you’re frequently dealing with frizz, this is your iron. Offering a wide range of temps, it’s safe to use on super fine hair, while still effectively straightening thicker strands. The tourmaline and ceramic technology deliver negative ions (which help seal in your hair’s natural moisture, thereby eliminating fuzz and static). Glide it through from root to tip for a frizz-free finish.
10. Best for Shine: Hot Tools Black Gold 1“ Micro Shine Salon Flat Iron
Another top pick for many celebrity stylists, this cult favorite iron combines 24k gold with titanium and ceramic plates (that are coated in what they call a "micro-shine finish" to reduce friction while styling and add back shine). We can attest from experience that our strands do look shinier whenever we use this iron and the results tend to last longer, too. (The included safety glove is a nice addition for those who are accident-prone or just want to take the extra precaution.)
11. Best for Curly Hair: Bio Ionic 10x Pro Straightening Styling Iron
OK, so full disclosure: It takes a couple tries to get used to this iron at first because it vibrates when you clamp down on your hair (which is, admittedly, a strange sensation). But that tiny little movement is what helps to spread your curls evenly, while the mineral-infused plates drive water molecules deep into each strand for maximum shine.
12. Best Overall: GHD Platinum+ Professional Performance 1“ Styler
This flat iron has won more awards than Meryl Streep herself. (Eh, maybe don’t quote us on that, but you get the point, right?) The smart straightener takes into account how thick your hair is and how quickly you style it to automatically adjust the heat settings accordingly, so you always get optimal sleekness without singeing your strands in the process. The 20-second heat up time, universal voltage and three-year warranty certainly don’t hurt.
13. Best for Beach Waves: Harry Josh Pro Tools Ceramic Flat Styling Iron
Created by a celebrity hairstylist who is famous for Gisele Bündchen’s signature waves, this flatiron features slightly wider plates (at 1.25 inches) which are curved at the edges, so you can easily wind it through your hair for loose waves without creating any accidental kinks. The nano-ceramic and tourmaline plates ensure an even heat distribution and the lightweight body make styling easier on the arms.
14. Best Multipurpose: CHI Tourmaline Ceramic 3-in-1 Styling Iron
Want to streamline the tools in your bathroom? This multi-functional iron features flat ceramic plates on the inside to smooth your strands like a traditional straightener and curved plating around the outer barrel so you can wrap your hair around for easy curling. No clamps, no snags and no fuss about it.
15. Best for Travel: Amika Mighty Mini Styler
Put small, stubborn cowlicks and temperamental bangs in place with this palm-sized iron. It’s petite, but powerful and has titanium floating plates that deliver smooth results without scalding your strands. Plus, it comes with a heat-resistant travel pouch that you can easily toss into any purse or overnight bag for on-the-go touch ups.