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).