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By Maja Ivancic
Maja Ivancic

Beauty and Skincare enthusiast and the Lead Editor of BeautyBets, Maja's main passion in life is to serve equally beauty-obsessed women with the content they want 24/7.

Last Updated: July 28, 2021
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The key to creating that super-smooth, super-sleek straight hair is – surprise, surprise - a great hair straightener. But finding a good-quality flat iron that doesn’t damage your hair and that is budget-friendly is much easier said than done. The sheer number of options – ceramic, titanium, tourmaline, ionic, wet-to-dry, and so much more – is overwhelming to say the least.

To help simplify the shopping experience for you, we rounded up some of the best hair straighteners based on every hair type and budget. Some of these options are perfect for fine and thin hair, others are ideal for thick and curly hair, while some are suitable for all hair types. Certain models are also versatile and can help you create both straight and curly or wavy hairstyles in a matter of minutes. So, whether you’re looking for an affordable flat iron for occasional hair straightening or the cream of the crop that will give you that salon-like look, keep on reading.

The Best Hair Straightener

1. Remington S5500 Anti-Static Flat Iron

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    1-inch floating ceramic plates

    Titanium coating speeds up heat time

    Anti-static tech fights frizz and flyaways

    6 heat settings, from 310°F to 410°F

    Auto shut-off

    Suitable for both straightening and curling

With 1-inch floating ceramic plates with titanium coating and anti-static technology that combats flyaways, Remington’s S5500 straightener is a fantastic budget-friendly hairstyling tool to have in your collection. It heats up fast and does a good job at straightening and smooth out the hair, yet it’s quite gentle thanks to its ceramic plates.

As a bonus, because of these long 1-inch rounded plates, it can also be used for curling. With six heat settings, from 310°F to 410°F and a clear LCD screen, finding the right temperature for your hair type and preferences is a piece of cake. A solid little tool that turns both fine and coarse hair into a smooth straight or wavy hairstyle with zero frizz.

2. HSI Professional Glider Flat Iron Hair Straightener

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    1-inch ceramic plates infused with tourmaline

    Adjustable heat settings from 140-450°F

    Micro-sensors with HeatBalance tech for even heat distribution

    Tourmaline adds moisture-locking ions to hair, smoothing it

    Travel-size argan oil, silk case and glove included

    Perfect for thick, coarse and frizzy hair

If you have a bigger budget and you’re looking for the absolute best hair straightener for curly and wavy hair, check out this top-quality flat iron from HSI Professional Glider. Boasting ceramic tourmaline plates that use 8 micro-sensors with HeatBalance tech, the straightener heats up quickly, evenly distributing heat across every hair strand.

The tourmaline infusion generates negative ions, reducing frizz and creating perfectly silky and smooth hair, even if you’re starting with an extremely frizzy, coarse 4A-4C hair type.

As a bonus, the straightener comes with a travel-size argan oil leave-in treatment which further helps tame frizz and flyaways, plus protects hair. There’s also a heat-resistant glove for safe handling and a silk case with a drawstring closure so you can have your trusty straightener with you when traveling.

3. Remington S9520 Pro Flat Iron Hair Straightener

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    2-inch ceramic plates infused with crushed pearls

    8 x more ceramic for faster results and even heat distribution

    Heats up in 15s, up to 450°F

    9 heat settings to choose from

    Auto shut-off and salon-length swivel cord

    Suitable for all hair types except fine, thin hair

Featuring 2-inch floating ceramic plates that are infused with real crushed pearls, this Remington model turns kinky, frizzy hair into a smooth, silky mane. The wide plates contain 8 times more ceramic than standard Remington models for faster results and more even heat distribution, making them great for thick hair.

Plus, this flat iron reaches a salon high heat of 450°F and heats up in only 15 seconds, so you can achieve professional-looking results at the comfort of your home. The LCD is clear, showing current temperature and you can choose between 9 heat settings based on your hair type and desired look. Overall, a fantastic reasonably priced flat iron that’s suitable for practically any hair type, except very fine and thin hair.

4. INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron

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    1-inch floating tourmaline ceramic plates

    Ceramic element provides even, consistent heat

    Tourmaline combats static and frizz

    Heats up in 15s, up to 450°F, 30 heat settings

    Auto-off feature

    Suitable for all hair types and both straightening and curling

With 1-inch floating tourmaline ceramic plates, the InfinitiPro by Conair provides fast, consistent heat that can straighten practically any hair type, including fine and thin, and coarse and thick hair textures. The addition of tourmaline helps smooth the hair by emitting negative ions that fight the positive ones in dry and damaged hair, creating a truly silky-smooth result.

And what about the temperature? With 30 heat settings for every hair type and the highest temperature of 450°F, this flat iron will get your hair either straight or curly in a snap, making it perfect for when you’re in a hurry. For added safety, there is an auto-off feature so you don’t have to worry about unplugging your iron.

5. CHI G2 Ceramic and Titanium Straightening Hairstyling Iron

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    1.25” titanium infused ceramic plates

    Titanium provides quick heat-up time

    Ceramic distributes heat evenly for a smooth glide

    3 color-coded heat settings, up to 425°F

    Dual voltage for worldwide use

    Ideal for coarse, curly hair, but suitable for all types

If you’re looking for the best hair straightener for thick hair and don’t mind spending a little extra to get it, we highly recommend this CHI G2 model. With 1.25-inch titanium-infused ceramic plates, this flat iron delivers high, even and consistent temperature for a smooth glide.

Thanks to titanium, the iron is super-durable and gets hot quickly, keeping the desired temperature consistent throughout your entire hair straightening session. The ceramic element, on the other hand, provides a very even heat distribution. The result is silky-smooth, frizz-free hair that holds hairstyle for days.

There are also color-coded temperature settings: blue 0-370F for fine hair, green 375-395F for medium/wavy hair, and red 400-425F for coarse hair. Overall, a fantastic hair straightener that does wonders on thick, coarse hair, but can also be used on other hair textures easily.

6. REVLON Salon Straightener Copper + Ceramic Flat Iron

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    1” nano copper ceramic plates

    Copper provides superior heat transfer and less breakage

    Ceramic provides even, consistent heat for smooth results

    Perfect for fine, thin, easily damaged hair

    Digitally precise heat settings, up to 455 F

    Dual voltage for international travel

If you have fine, thin, and easily damaged hair, check out this Revlon’s straightener. With 1-inch nano copper ceramic technology, this flat iron straightens and curls hair with minimal damage, producing a frizz-free, shiny and healthy-looking mane.

Thanks to the combination of copper and ceramic, the straightener produces 63% more shine and 82% less breakage compared to similar products on the market (tested by an independent third-party lab). It also comes with a quick 10-second heat up and can achieve up to 455°F heat for salon-level results.

The LCD is clear and easy to read, and there is even a Smart Heat Memory System that automatically remembers your preferred heat setting. Another big plus is the auto dual voltage for easy international travel.

Best Hair Straighteners Buying Guide

Key Features to Look Out for in Hair Straighteners

While hair straighteners can work wonders when creating a smooth and slick hairstyle, they can be harsh on your hair. To ensure your hair is protected as you straighten it is important to consider the following when buying flat irons that are right for you:

Variable temperature settings – you want to protect your hair as you straighten so the ability to adjust the temperature to suit your hair is a must with any flat irons.

Ionic technology – frizzy, flyaway hair is a styling nightmare and can ruin your look. If this is a key concern, look for straighteners that are ionic. This technology neutralizes the positive charge which creates static in your hair, causing the flyaway look. With an ionic straightener, this frizz is tamed and leaves your hair smooth and under control.

Plates – the heat plates are the business end of your flat iron, and it is where your hair is put under pressure. To help protect your hair while achieving a gorgeous smooth and straight look, the material used for these plates is key. And you get a choice:

  • Ceramic – these plates are typically the slowest to warm up, but they distribute heat evenly across the length of the plate for a more consistent result. While also one of the cheapest, ceramic irons are however, not the most durable and are prone to chipping.
  • Metal – metal plates get hot very quickly but can cause heat damage if over-used or not used properly.
  • Ceramic-coated – with a metal base, these plates feature a ceramic layer, so you get the best of both worlds.
  • Titanium – more expensive than ceramic plates, the lighter weight titanium heats up very quickly and can hold heat for longer. Titaninum straighteners are particularly effective with coarse, thick or difficult to style hair. They are also the best hair straightener for curly hair.

Your hair type - the type of hair you have should also be taken into consideration when buying the best flat irons. Ceramic plates are best flat iron for fine hair as they are gentler and work to protect fragile hair while thick hair responds well to larger plates as they save time and reduce overall heat damage. Flat irons that use ionic tech are a good choice for frizz-prone hair and afro hair works best with ceramic plates or a steam hair straightener as they offer the right level of heat and protection.

Plate width – wide plates, while good for thick or long hair, will limit what styling you can do with your irons so for most types of hair and styling, opt for straighteners with plates of around one inch for versatility and ease of use.

Plate shape – if you are wanting to also use your straighteners to curl, wave or flick your hair, then opt for irons that have curved plate edges so you can shape your hair as well as straighten it.

Cable length – there’s nothing worse than having a cable that’s too short to reach the plug socket or your mirror so look for hair straighteners that come with a decent length of cable, ideally two meters or more. And if the cord is rotatable, so you can swivel the irons around 360˚, then even better as it makes reaching those difficult places easier!

Auto shut off – to give you peace of mind against accidentally forgetting to turn off your irons, look for an auto shut off feature which will automatically switch them off after a period of inactivity.

Accessories – it’s always nice to get some added extras and with hair straighteners there are some extra accessories which are actually useful to have. These include a heat mat to protect surfaces, a flat iron stand, gloves to protect your hands against the heat and a travel case for when you need to straighten your hair on the go.

FAQ

Do flat irons damage hair?

When used properly, and with the right heat protection products, flat irons are safe for your hair, but high temperatures, using them when your hair is wet and excessive use can leave your hair dry, brittle and potentially heat damaged.

Hair is at its most fragile when it is wet, so it is important to only use your hair straighteners on dry hair as dry hair can withstand higher temperatures.

The temperature of the flat iron is important too, as keratin – the fibrous protein strands that make up your hair – can start to melt at 233˚C, while the outer layer of your hair, the cuticle, can be damaged at temperatures more than 185 ˚C. For fine or color/chemical treated hair, you should set the iron’s temperature at around 160 ˚C while thicker, coarser, or curly hair can withstand temperatures of 185 ˚C.

To help prevent hair damage when using straightening irons, go for a lower temperature, don’t use on wet hair and be careful not to pull or drag your hair through the plates as you straighten.

Which is better: titanium or ceramic hair straighteners?

Whether titanium or ceramic hair straighteners are the best will depend on your hair type and length as well as how often you intend to use them.

Ceramic straighteners are excellent at evenly distributing the heat along the iron, so you don’t suffer from cold or overheated spots. This has the benefit of minimizing hair damage and giving you greater control. Ceramic will also help to eliminate frizz and will be less likely to pull on the hair shaft. But they do take longer to heat up and are more prone to chips and damage.

Best for: all hair types, but particularly fine, more fragile or frizz prone hair.

Titanium straighteners, on the other hand, are powerhouse heaters, getting to temperature fast and holding it there for longer. The result is a super-smooth finish to your hair and if doubled with ionic technology are excellent frizz fighters. But those high, fast temperatures can be fierce and can lead to hair damage if not appropriate to your hair

Best for: titanium makes the best hair straightener for thick hair, as well as coarse or unmanageable locks.

How do I clean a flat iron?

Regular using a flat iron and you will inevitably get a build-up of skin and hair cells, grease and hair care products on the plates which you need to clean regularly to get rid of all this gunk. Do read your product’s manufacturer’s instructions for any specific guidance on cleaning them. But as a basic ‘how to’.

Always ensure the flat iron is switched off, unplugged and fully cooled before you clean the straightening plates. Now, using dampened cotton pads or a soft cloth, swab the plate surface to clear away any dirt and build-up. For more stubborn surface debris you could use a little rubbing alcohol soaked into a cotton pad or a clean, damp toothbrush.

Once cleaned, wipe the surface with a dry cloth and allow to air dry. And one final tip when it comes to storing your flat irons, avoid wrapping the cable around the irons as this can weaken and twist the cable over time, shorting the life span of your hair straighteners.