We don’t know about you, but we never seem to have enough time in the morning—especially when it comes to our hair. Between showering, feeding the kids or pets, doing our makeup and getting dressed, there’s not a whole lot left over to do a full curling sesh before we get down to business for work. Using a hot roller, or curlers, can be a great way to give yourself a polished ‘do on the fly. While the best hot rollers for you will depend on exactly what it is that you’re trying to achieve with your tresses, you should pay close attention to the size of the barrels that are included with your set, whether or not clips are included and how quickly it heats up—and we've done our research to find five sets that check all the boxes.
9 of the Best Hot Rollers for Creating a Classic Pin-Up ‘Do
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The Best Hot Rollers at a Glance
- Best Hot Rollers for Frizz: Remington Ionic Conditioning Hot Rollers
- Most Customizable Hot Rollers: Infinitipro by Conair Ceramic Hot Rollers
- Best Hot Rollers for Fine Hair: BaBylissPRO Roller Hairsetter
- Best Hot Rollers for Long Hair: Conair Ceramic Hot Rollers
- Easiest Hot Rollers to Use: John Frieda Body & Shine Smooth Waves Hot Rollers
- Best Steam Rollers: Caruso C97953 Hot Rollers
Best Hot Rollers for Frizz
- Pros: 20 ionic conditioning rollers with color-coded designs, included J-clips
- Cons: Not dual-voltage for European standards
Included in this set are 20 classic J-clips to hold the rollers in your hair—something that’s especially helpful for thinner strands. The rollers themselves, meanwhile, of which there are 20 in varying sizes (.75-inch, 1-inch and 1.25-inch), feature ionic conditioning to reportedly produce less frizz and more shine. Each roller is also equipped with cool-touch colored ends that won’t burn your fingers—or your scalp.
Most Customizable Hot Rollers
- Pros: 12 temperature settings, 20 rollers in 3 different sizes
- Cons: Bulky container with slower heat-up time
The 12 different temperature settings on this machine ensure your strands won’t get too hot when curling, making it suitable for any tress type. It comes with clips for each of its 20 rollers that are uniquely designed to hold hair without leaving marks. The rollers themselves come in three sizes, including small (.75 inches), medium (1 inch) and large (1.25-inch). The system reportedly takes about two minutes to heat up, which is about average.
Best Hot Rollers for Fine Hair
- Pros: Fast heat up time, heats curls from within
- Cons: Pricey
This Nano Titanium curler set consists of 12 butterfly clips and 12 color-coded metal pins and 12 velvety, flocked 1.5-inch jumbo rollers that use gentle far-infrared heat to heat hair from within—a method the company claims works faster while simultaneously cutting down on damage. Use this salon-quality option, which also reportedly has a faster heat-up time than others, for smooth, shiny bouncy curls or waves.
Best Hot Rollers for Long Hair
- Pros: Jumbo and super jumbo sizes, super quick heat-up time
- Cons: The ceramic can be quite hot
There are eight jumbo-size (1.5-inch) curlers and four super jumbo ones (1.75-inch), all of which will provide bouncy curls and a huge volume boost. They’re also color-coded to make identification simple. Customers say they have a speedy heat-up time and the entire system is lightweight enough to fit inside a luggage or travel pack if need be.
Easiest Hot Rollers to Use
- Pros: Modern clips, variable temperature
- Cons: Takes awhile to heat up
This 5-piece set includes 2-inch jumbo rollers, along with modern plastic butterfly clips that will stay put better than the classic pin style. Each roller is flocked and has titanium ceramic for a frizz-free experience and takes about two minutes to heat up.
Best Steam Rollers
- Pros: Includes storage bag, uses gentle steam
- Cons: Takes longer to heat
This curler set consists of 30 foam rollers in five different sizes which use gentle steam heat—a method the company claims will "reform chain bonds" find in your hair for healthy, shiny curls. Use this salon-quality option, which heats one roller at a time, for luxurious locks.
Best for On-The-Go Styling
- Pros: Comes with a heat-resistant, portable pouch
- Cons: Rollers are on the smaller side
This set includes 10 rollers of three different sizes and metal pins; 3 1 ¼” rollers, 3 1” medium rollers, 4 ¾” small rollers, and 10 metal pins. Perfect for you busy bees, these heat up quickly and come with the cutest carrying pouch for easy transportation.
Best for Thick Hair
- Pros: 20 multi size, tangle free rollers that are color coded
- Cons: Slower heat up time
This set features a starter grip patented hot roller design that grips hair for a fast and secure set. You can achieve a loose curl look in just 10 minutes with these bad boys.
Best Hot Sticks
- Pros: More compact than rollers
- Cons: Can be harder to use on thick hair
If rollers are just not for you, but you want that heated-wave effect on your hair, hot sticks might do the trick. This set comes with 14 hot sticks in two different sizes. They may seem tricky to use, but hair wraps easily around the roller then locks in place so there are no clips needed during the process.
How to Use Hot Rollers
As with any heated product you use on your strands, you’re going to want to start with a good protectant to avoid any damage or breakage. From there, you can pull a section of hair from the middle of your head that’s about as wide as the roller, place the roller beneath or above it (about halfway up the shaft) and wrap your hair around it, being careful to keep the end flat against the barrel before rolling it up and clipping it into place. Rolling every piece of hair in the same direction will give you a more glamorous, tight curl, while alternating the direction will provide a more natural look. It is also recommended to wrap your curls away from your face to enhance and open it up. Repeat this process until all of your hair is accounted for, add some hair spray, and voila! Easy curls in half the time.
What Size Hot Rollers Should I Use?
The size of the hot roller depends on the size of your desired curls, as the smaller you go, the tighter the curl will be. For small, taut ringlets, you’ll want to opt for a roller diameter that's on the tinier side and divide your hair off into smaller sections. For large, bouncy curls, you would want to use a wider roller and a larger section of hair. For a more modern, voluminous feel, you should use rollers that are at least .5-inches wide.
Hot Rollers Versus Curling Iron
Hot rollers are better at creating flowy, loose curls with minimal effort, while a curling iron gives you more control when it comes to creating tight, defined curls (if you know how to use it, that is). The iron is also more likely to damage your hair due to the iron’s high heat. Our suggestion? Start with hot rollers before fine-tuning your look with a curling iron.
Do You Use Hot Rollers on Wet or Dry Hair?
You can use regular rollers with wet hair, but not hot rollers, which should typically be used on dry hair. Once they've cooled off, your curls should be set.
Hot Rollers for Short Hair
Believe it or not, hot rollers can be used on short hair, as long as you choose smaller rollers (such as a .5-inch or .75-inch size) to create voluminous curls.
Using Hair Spray and Curlers
Hairspray should only be used after curling in order to lock in the shape and texture of the curl. Using a heat protectant prior can help prevent your hair from becoming brittle and frizzy, but hairspray will make it dry out faster, due to the heat. As a result, hairspray is best used in moderation post-twirl to set your hairstyle.
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Why You Should Trust Us
PureWow's editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series (where we rank items on a 100-point scale) to our painstakingly curated lists of fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family picks, you can trust that our recommendations have been thoroughly vetted for function, aesthetics and innovation. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.