Eletiofe15 Best Hair Straighteners We've Tested (2023): Flat Irons,...

15 Best Hair Straighteners We’ve Tested (2023): Flat Irons, Hot Combs, and Straightening Brushes


- Advertisment -

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. Please also consider subscribing to WIRED

Featured in this article

Image may contain Human Person Electrical Device and Microphone

What to Look for in a Good Hair Tool

Before You Buy

Best Overall

Paul Mitchell Express Ion Style+ Ceramic Flat Iron

Read more

Best Budget Straightener

Conair Infiniti Pro

Read more

An Amazon Bestseller

CHI Original Ceramic Flat Iron

Read more

Curls are beautiful, but taking care of and styling them can be a long, frustrating, and often expensive task. Whether you have tight coils, waves, or Shirley Temple spirals, sometimes you just want to smooth them out and not be bothered for a few days. Having a good tool, be it a flat iron or a blow-dry brush, makes that process easier.

WIRED’s Gear team has an array of curl types, needs, and hair-styling tricks, and we’ve all tried a lot of hair straighteners in our lifetimes. Some flat irons have left us with crispy ends and cramped hands, while others, like the ones listed here, gave us sleek hair. There’s a dizzying number of options around, but hopefully our favorite hair straighteners can help narrow down your search.

Updated September 2023: We added GHD’s Platinum Plus flat iron and Duet styler, Chi’s Original Ceramic flat iron, and L’Oreal’s Steampod. We also added a section for blow-dry brushes.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

  • Image may contain Human Person Electrical Device and Microphone

    Photograph: Carol Yepes/Getty Images

    What to Look for in a Good Hair Tool

    Before You Buy

    It’s all a bit confusing. A straightener can be a flat iron, and a flat iron is a straightener, but not all straighteners are flat irons. They come in other forms too, including brushes and combs. No matter which you go with, what you call it, or what your budget is, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

    • It should be easy to hold and maneuver. If a flat iron needs all your might to keep the plates closed, you’re going to be in pain by the end of your straightening session.
    • It should have a range of easy-to-read temperatures. Dials with no indication of what temperature you’re using are frustrating, and you can end up burning your hair or skin.
    • It shouldn’t snag hair. This is a common problem among flat irons, as hair can get caught in cheap plates and pulled out. Look for beveled designs, which help prevent this.
    • Flat irons should never be used on wet hair. Only style wet and damp hair if the tool is made for that, like a blow-dry brush or Dyson’s Airstrait.
  • Photograph: Ulta

    Best Overall

    Paul Mitchell Express Ion Style+ Ceramic Flat Iron

    I vividly remember the first flat iron my curly-haired family ever owned. It was thick and left our hair looking fried, with clamp marks at the root. Basically, I looked like Witch Hazel from Looney Tunes. It wasn’t until college that I discovered the Paul Mitchell flat iron and it proves that the right tool makes a difference. The one I got then still works now, and I’ve seen it work its magic on several different hair textures and curl patterns. It’s worth every penny.

    The plates on this Ion Style+ model are 1 inch, which is a pretty good size for straightening, as well as creating a natural-looking curl. I currently use the similar 1.25-inch Ion Smooth+ model ($131), which is also a good choice if you are used to maneuvering bigger tools. Go with the smaller Style+ if you’re inexperienced or have shorter hair. Both have been updated with a digital interface since I first tried them.

  • Photograph: Conair

    Best Budget Straightener

    Conair Infiniti Pro

    I love the Paul Mitchell irons, but this cheap Conair is incredible. I doubted it could work well on my unmanageable hair, but it straightened it quickly without it looking fried or frizzy. It has extra long, thin plates that make the whole process easier but they also makes nice curls too. You can probably find this Conair (or similar models) at your local CVS, too.

    Another Cheap Alternative: I’ve also tested and fallen in love with Remington’s Shine Therapy flat iron ($25). It’s another affordable device that outperforms hair straighteners that cost three times as much. It straightened my hair quickly, and I didn’t have to go over a section more than once.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    An Amazon Bestseller

    CHI Original Ceramic Flat Iron

    Chi is highly regarded, and this straightener in particular is an almost permanent feature at the top of Amazon’s bestsellers list. It comes with a lot of hype which, in my experience, it more than lives up to. Its ceramic plates heat up to 392 degrees Fahrenheit (202 Celsius) in seconds—it’s one of the fastest straighteners I’ve tried—and it creates sleek styles with minimal passes. Its curved edges make it great for creating soft curls and flicks, and it feels super lightweight.

    There are a couple of sacrifices you make for this cheaper price. The hinge has a tendency to trap and pull on the hair, and the outer plastic gets hot while styling, making it uncomfortable to touch. It doesn’t burn the skin, it’s just hotter than other straighteners I’ve tried. Neither of these complaints are enough to outweigh just how good these straighteners are for the price. It’s just worth bearing them in mind. —Victoria Woollaston-Webber

  • Photograph: T3

    A Stellar Upgrade

    T3 Lucea ID Straightener

    The T3 Lucea ID hair straightener would be in our top spot if it wasn’t so expensive. But it might be worthwhile if you’re concerned about hair damage. Most hot hair tools claim to cause less damage than the competition, but the T3 actually delivers with a unique temperature-finding feature the company calls HeatID Technology. To set the right temperature, select your hair features via the touch controls on the iron’s handle: texture (fine, medium, coarse), length (short, medium, long), and if your hair is color-treated. It will then suggest a heat level. I also love its Refresh Mode for touching up hair later at a lower temperature based on previous settings.

    It can create gorgeous curls too. Once you perfect that flick of the wrist, your hair will look like you just came from the salon. If you’d rather have two dedicated hair tools, the company also has a curling iron ($249) with the same HeatID tech.

    More Luxury From Dyson: We love the Dyson Corrale ($499) (8/10, WIRED Recommends), but it’s extremely expensive. It makes you feel fancy, like all Dyson tools tend to do, and its flexing plates quickly get your hair straighter with less heat—they curve around the hair, avoiding the splaying-out effect and uneven heat distribution that plague other flat irons. Still, it has flaws for a $500 hair straightener. It can be used without a cord, but the battery life is too short to straighten my whole head of hair. The onboard battery also makes it quite heavy.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    A Mini Straightener for Bangs

    BabylissPro Nano Titanium Mini Straightening Iron

    If you have super short hair or just need to tame your bangs like reviews associate editor Adrienne So, you don’t have to spend a lot (or deal with a bulky tool). She uses the BabylissPro Nano, which is just 6 inches long. It won’t take up precious bathroom space, and it’s easy to travel with. We also like the full-size version of the Nano ($160) for straightening your full head.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    A Ceramic Hot-Plate OG

    GHD Platinum+ Flat Iron

    GHD was a pioneer of the ceramic hot plate and is still considered a hair tool leader. It sells a range of straighteners to suit different budgets, and the best of the bunch is the Platinum+. Design-wise, it’s sleek and comfortable to hold, which makes it great for creating curls and flicks as well as straight styles. This is thanks to its curved edges and cool tip.

    It straightens my hair in one pass, which reduces how much heat I expose my hair to and thus reduces the risk of damage. It also uses GHD’s “ultra-zone predictive technology,” which makes sure the heat is evenly distributed across its ceramic plates. Our biggest complaint is that GHD tools only offer one temperature setting—365 degrees Fahrenheit (185 Celsius). The brand claims that this is the optimal temperature for styling hair while minimizing damage. This is enough heat for my fine hair, but Medea has tried several of the brand’s tools to little success. It might not cut it if you have thick or natural hair. —Victoria Woollaston-Webber

  • Photograph: Amazon

    When Two Plates Isn’t Enough

    Revlon Double Straight Dual Plate Hair Straightener

    If you can look past its slightly odd shape, the Revlon Double Straight’s four-plate design makes a lot of sense. As you pass the Double Straight over your hair, the first two plates straighten, while the second two ‘reinforce’ the style. This effectively allows you to make two passes in one, which reduces both the time it takes to complete the style and the risk of heat damage. I found this to be largely true, although to get the full effect you need to pass it over your hair slightly slower than you would do normally, which cuts into the time-saving benefits a little.

    Heat-wise, this Revlon offers the most temperature settings of any straighteners I’ve tried. There are 10 to choose from, ranging from 285 degrees Fahrenheit (140 Celsius) up to 455 degrees Fahrenheit (235 Celsius), which makes this a great choice for every hair type. I expected the copper ceramic plates to pull on the hair, due to the fact there are four of them and they’re so far apart, but they glide over it easily. The plates are also smaller than I had imagined—each one is 1/2 an inch whereas standard plates measure 1 inch—but they still cover similar widths of hair as standard straighteners. The biggest downside to the design is that it’s much harder to use these straighteners for curls. Not impossible, but difficult. —Victoria Woollaston-Webber

    ★ A four-plate alternative: Hot Tools sells an almost identical straightener, the Black Gold Dual Plate Flat Iron ($130), with the same cut-out look, the same four-plate design, and the same performance. They even max out at the same top temperature of 455 degrees Fahrenheit (235 Celsius). Hot Tools bumps the number of heat settings to 30—three times the already impressive 10 on the Revlon model—but it’s also almost three times the price.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    A Multi-Tool

    Bio Ionic 3-in-1 Styling Iron

    Nearly all flat irons can be used for curling once you get used to the proper hand movement. However, some people prefer separate curling irons. This Bio Ionic tool combines a flat iron, a curling iron (which has a clasp), and a curling wand (which has no clasp) in one. Multi-use tools often don’t do all the things well—what we at WIRED call “the spork problem.” But this one is quite impressive.

    On the bottom of the handle is a lock for the flat iron’s plates. Push the button down to “Straight” and the plates separate so you can straighten as usual. Push it up to “Curl” to lock the plates together to either clasp or wrap your hair. This tool’s best feature, though, has nothing to do with that multi-functionality. It’s that there’s a rubber tip at the top so you can hold it for stability or readjusting without burning your fingerprints off. My biggest gripe was that rogue hairs often got stuck and pulled while trying to style, which is a problem in the category.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    A Straightener That Runs On Steam

    L’Oreal Steampod

    You might think steam would be the enemy of straight hair, but it actually moisturizes it while the heat flattens it into shape. According to L’Oreal, this allows the Steampod to gently dry the outer shaft without drying the core. When you go outside, especially in humid conditions, the hair then doesn’t absorb any of the extra moisture and remains frizz-free.

    First, fill up the built-in water tank. Once it reaches the desired temperature–it ranges from 356 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celsius) to 410 degrees Fahrenheit (210 Celsius)–it blasts a flow of high-pressure steam over your hair as the plates clamp around it. My hair was shinier and felt less dry when using the Steampod and, as promised, it didn’t become a frizzy mess after a workout. The Steampod doesn’t quite give the poker-straight style I’m used to from hot plates, and the curls I created didn’t hold as long as they usually do. It’s also a little fiddly to use: You have to always have the comb facing down. Yet it left my hair feeling healthy, soft, and less unwieldy, so I’ll make that sacrifice. There’s also a Barbie version. —Victoria Woollaston-Webber

  • Photograph: Amazon

    A Hot Comb for Coarse Hair

    Andis Hot Comb

    Hot combs have been around for decades and tend to work well on particularly coarse hair. Many women used to heat these up on a stove to smooth their curls—a friend of mine still uses this type—but these electrical ones don’t get as hot, so they’re a little safer. Still, it’s easy to burn yourself with one, so be extra cautious. This Andis comb works great on coarse hair and is very affordable. My only gripe is the off button’s placement; it’s easy to accidentally turn it off while using the comb.

    One advantage combs and brushes have is that they give you more of a naturally straight look, instead of the pin straight—and sometimes crispy ends—you get by clamping your hair between two plates.

  • Photograph: Tymo

    A New Kind of Comb

    Tymo Ring

    I’d seen the Tymo Ring all over social media for years before trying it, and the wait was worth it. It’s like a traditional hot comb and a straightening brush in one, but you can get closer to your roots without burning yourself than you can with a comb, because there’s an outer shell covering the hot teeth. Straightening brushes aren’t usually a one-stop-shop for my hair, and that was the case here. I did need to go over my hair with a flat iron to smooth out some of the poof left behind, but the Tymo Ring took the curl right out quickly—I didn’t have to go over sections more than once or twice.

    This bundle includes a hot tool glove, which worked well with the Tymo but burned when I used it with another curling iron that reached that same temperature. Be aware that it’s not made for direct contact on a hot plate. There is a newer version of the Ring that we have not yet tried.

  • Photograph: RevAir

    A Dryer-Straightener Hybrid

    RevAir Reverse-Air Dryer (2022)

    Straightening my hair used to be a two-day affair. I’d wash all the product out the night before, let it air-dry, then braid it before bed so that the next day, the curls were looser and easier to work through. Then, and only then, could I go in with a flat iron. With the RevAir, I can decide to straighten my hair at literally any time. It’s a luxury I’ve never known before.

    If you can afford it, and find a cabinet it fits in, the RevAir is incredible. In goes wet, curly hair, and out comes straight dry hair without much effort on your part. I was obsessed with the first RevAir and even more impressed with the second iteration (9/10, WIRED Recommends). It’s a bit smaller and lighter, but more expensive than the last one. I was terrified that its vacuum-like hose would rip my hair right out, but my follicles are still intact. It creates enough tension to remove the curl without actually pulling, and it works way faster than a blow-dry brush. For me, I still wanted to smooth out my hair with an iron, but those with smoother curls won’t need to do that extra step—I tested it on a friend and she ended up with perfectly straight hair after.

  • Photograph: Dyson

    A Wet-to-Dry Straightener

    Dyson Airstrait Straightener

    I was afraid the new batch of wet-to-dry stylers would sizzle hair off like the ones in the early 2000s. But now there are a few that actually work. Dyson’s Airstrait (9/10, WIRED Recommends) has the same form factor as a standard flat iron, but instead of hot plates, it uses airflow to dry and straighten your hair simultaneously. Using one focused jet of air that moves downward, it dries your hair with a natural, smooth finish. You’ll also have the option between two main styling modes (wet and dry) and three temperature settings for each. WIRED product reviewer Brenda Stolyar typically uses it on wet mode to fully dry her hair and switches to dry mode to flatten any puffiness. The entire process, which normally takes her about 45 minutes, now only takes 12 to 15 minutes.

    It’s worth noting the Airstrait might not work on multiple hair types, despite Dyson’s claims. It works great on Brenda’s short, curly locks regardless of if they’re wet or dry. But my hair is very coarse and also much curlier than Brenda’s. The Airstrait worked well on my damp and dry hair, but I prefer using the RevAir when styling wet hair because it’s faster and dries larger sections. The Airstrait, on the other hand, does a better job of smoothing my hair when it’s damp or dry.

    An Affordable Alternative: Drybar’s Straight Shot Blow-Drying Flat Iron ($180) is a more affordable hybrid. Even though it uses hot plates (with air vents built-in), it only goes up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit to help reduce heat damage. Brenda says it didn’t give her the pin-straight hair she’d hoped it would. But it did give her the same voluminous blow-out she’d typically get with a round brush and hairdryer—in half the time.

  • Photograph: GHD

    Another Hybrid Tool

    GHD Duet Style

    The GHD Duet Style looks very much like a large flat iron, except that hot air vents are on the center of each arm to dry your wet hair with a single pass. You can stop there, or, if you want to add extra shine, you can switch the Duet Style to Shine Mode. This turns off the air, and turns on two thin ceramic plates, thus transforming the Duet Style into a traditional hot-plate straightener.

    In my time testing the Duet Style, the Wet mode was more than enough to create poker straight styles. The only time I used the Shine Mode was when I hadn’t quite managed to straighten the shorter hairs around my hairline. However, if you have thicker or longer hair, you’ll likely find the Shine Mode much more useful. The hot plates are what sets the Duet Style apart from the Airstrait, which by comparison only uses hot air, but in terms of usage and design they produce the same outcome. This means your choice will likely come down to price, or brand loyalty. —Victoria Woollaston-Webber

  • Photograph: Amazon

    If You Prefer Blowouts

    Blow-Dry Brushes

    Not all hair needs to be fried between hot plates to straighten it. Some people can get soft, bouncy blowouts using a blow-dry brush rather than the old dryer and round brush combo. For coarser hair like mine, I recommend the RevAir below.

    Revlon Volumizer Plus 2.0 for $40: If you want a cheap brush styler, go with this version from Revlon. We don’t recommend the original One Step, as it was recalled in the UK in 2020 over reports of overheating and safety issues. The 2.0 works quickly and is great at bringing second-day hair back to life.

    T3 Airebrush Duo for $190: T3 hair products work well and are easy to use thanks to their light weight. Here you’ll get round and paddle-brush attachments to get whatever look you’re trying to achieve.

    Drybar Double Shot Blow Dryer Brush for $155: WIRED editor Adrienne So says the Drybar Double Shot was nicer than the original Revlon she used, because it made her hair smoother and straighter. However, it’s much more expensive and took a bit more time, because the air-flow openings are smaller. It also comes in a smaller version ($155).

    Hot Tools Signature Series One Step Blowout for $70: This brush has a detachable head for swapping out brushes, which is nice for achieving different styles or for easy storing. In our testing, it wasn’t as good as the Drybar, but it still did a pretty good job if you can put a little more finesse into it.

    Shark FlexStyle Drying & Styling System for $300: Shark’s FlexStyle is a great option if you also want to curl and diffuse your hair at other times. It’s a nearly perfect dupe of Dyson’s Airwrap for several hundred dollars less.

  • Photograph: Sleek’e

    More Straighteners We Tried

    Honorable Mentions

    L’ange Le Duo Airflow Styler for $119: This is the first flat iron I’ve seen with a clasp similar to a curling iron. Most flat iron plates stay apart, and need to be pushed together to use, while this is the opposite. It works just as well as any other iron and that clasp design and the rounded edges make it easier to curl too. The real draw here is the air vents that blast out cool air to lock your style in. The fan turns on automatically, but there’s a button to turn it off. (Just to clarify, it’s not meant to dry your hair—you will not be happy if you try that.) There’s a larger Grande version for $129 meant for longer hair.

    Sleek’e for $149 and Kosa for $195: These irons are essentially the same tool. Sleek’e confirmed that they are in fact made by the same manufacturer, which is not uncommon. The Kosa felt a little lighter, but neither seemed better or worse to use. They both emit ions and have a strip of infrared lights down the middle of one of the plates, which are supposed to help distribute heat evenly and in a way that won’t damage hair.

    Brilliance New York Smooth Pro Ceramic Flat Iron for $48: WIRED writer and fellow curly-girl Louryn Strampe swears by this hair straightener. She impulse-bought it via a Groupon deal in 2014 and still consistently reaches for it, despite having tried several more flat irons since—she even prefers it over the Dyson Corrale. It’s lost some of its heat consistency over the years, and the plates occasionally snag her hair, but it still leaves her unruly curls sleek and shiny, and most importantly, straight.

    Aesty Cordless Flat Iron for $349: This one is too expensive, but it’s cheaper than the Dyson if you’re desperate for a cordless flat iron. I found it to be similar to the Corrale, straightening my hair nicely and with all the same bulk and weight.

    Avoid This One: The Sam Villa Cordless Flat Iron for $179 is only for people who absolutely need a tiny iron to take in their purses for emergency touch-ups. It would have taken me an entire day to straighten all my hair with it, and I had to keep pressing the power button while using it.

  • Illustration: Getty Images 

    Ions, Explained

    Do They Really Work?

    A lot of hot hair tools, including most on our list, claim to release negative ions to protect your hair. I used to chalk this up to marketing-speak, but hairstylists I spoke with say ions are helpful.

    London-based hairstylist Hollie Rose Clarke says ions in hair tools keep the cuticle layer of your hair smooth, so you’ll get a shinier, frizz-free result. “Think of a strand of your hair as being the size of my arm, covered in fish scales (the cuticles),” she says. “When the hair is damaged, they open slightly, resulting in dry, frizzy, and weak hair. When the hair is healthy they are closed, resulting in your hair feeling smoother and stronger.”

    Abra McField, founder of Abra Kadabra Hair and Healing, says hair is usually positively charged due to its water content, and the negative ions these flat irons generate can help dissipate that water. “You get controlled application of the heat you are applying, and you are able to use only as much heat as you need to smooth and straighten your hair, which can prevent damage.”

    Ionic hair dryers are similar, with some caveats. “If you have finer hair and you are wanting as much body and volume as possible, the ionic dryer may not be the best,” McField says. “So generally it’s best to get a dryer with an ionic option that can be turned on and off.”

Latest news

‘Den of Wolves’ Will Be a Sci-Fi Heist—With a ‘Power Fantasy’ Soundtrack

Following two years of preproduction, game developer 10 Chambers finally announced its new heist game—Den of Wolves—Thursday during the...

Copa América draw: USMNT gets Uruguay, the toughest possible group opponent

The U.S. men's national team will play Uruguay, Panama and Bolivia at the 2024 Copa América, the modified South...

Copa América 2024: Schedule, groups, cities, stadiums, odds and more

Copa América is coming. Coming to the United States in 2024. And coming into focus.Organizers on Monday announced the...

The 19 Best Movies on Apple TV+ Right Now

When it comes to originals, Netflix and Amazon have the deepest libraries of prestige movies. But ever since CODA won the Best Picture...
- Advertisement -

Elijah Wood and Mike Tyson Cameo Videos Were Used in a Russian Disinformation Campaign

For around $340, actor Elijah Wood can record you a personalized video wishing you happy birthday. John McGinley, best...

End-to-End Encrypted Instagram and Messenger Chats: Why It Took Meta 7 Years

Since 2016, the social behemoth now known as Meta has been working to deploy end-to-end encryption in its communication...

Must read

‘Den of Wolves’ Will Be a Sci-Fi Heist—With a ‘Power Fantasy’ Soundtrack

Following two years of preproduction, game developer 10 Chambers...

Copa América draw: USMNT gets Uruguay, the toughest possible group opponent

The U.S. men's national team will play Uruguay, Panama...
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you