The 17 Best Hair Straighteners We Tested: Flat Irons, Hot Combs, and Straightening Brushes

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The Straight Scoop: Choosing the Best Hair Straightener for You

Curls are beautiful, but let’s face it, sometimes the desire to embrace a sleek, straight look takes over. Whether you’re going for a polished ponytail, a chic bob, or simply want a break from the daily styling routine, a **hair straightener** can be your best friend. But with so many models on the market, choosing the right one can feel like navigating a tangled mess of plates.

Fear not, curl-curious friends! WIRED’s Gear team has tested countless hair straighteners, and we’re here to guide you through the jungle of heated plates, offering insights on the **best hair straighteners** for every need and budget.

We’ve considered **temperature control**, **plate material**, **heating time**, **weight and size**, and ultimately, the **most important factor: how well they actually straighten hair**. But before we dive into the specifics, let’s answer some key questions about straightening your hair:

Why Choose a Hair Straightener?

  • Versatility: Beyond straightening, many models boast features like curling and crimping, allowing them to serve as a multi-tool in your beauty arsenal. Some even come equipped with detachable plates, offering a wealth of styling possibilities.
  • Style Control: Hair straighteners give you precise control over your look. You can create sleek, straight styles, add subtle waves, or even experiment with unique textures.
  • Efficiency: While blow drying and styling can take a long time, hair straighteners offer faster results, allowing you to achieve your desired look in a fraction of the time.
  • Long-Lasting Results: A good hair straightener can help you enjoy your straight style for days, eliminating the need for daily styling.

But Should You Straighten Your Hair at All?

While hair straighteners can be a powerful tool for styling, it’s essential to acknowledge the potential effects on your hair:

  • Heat Damage: Frequent heat styling can lead to dryness, frizz, split ends, and even hair breakage.
  • Long-Term Effects: The cumulative impact of heat styling can cause your hair to become weaker, more fragile, and prone to damage.

How Often Should You Straighten Your Hair?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for this, but a good rule of thumb is to limit straightening to once or twice a week at most. Give your hair a break between sessions to allow it to recover.

Protecting Your Hair:

Heat protectants are essential for minimizing heat damage. Spray or apply a heat protectant to your hair before using any heat styling tools. Look for products with ingredients like silicone, keratin, or amino acids, which can help seal the hair cuticle and create a barrier against heat.

Here are some of our favorite heat protectants:

  • Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother: This leave-in styling cream is formulated with Olaplex’s signature bond-building technology to strengthen and protect hair.
  • Kérastase Elixir Ultime Oleo-Complexe: This oil-based serum provides heat protection up to 450°F while imparting shine and smoothness to the hair.
  • Oribe Heat Styling Spray: This lightweight spray offers heat protection up to 450°F while adding volume and texture to the hair.

The Straightener Showdown: What to Look For

Now that we’ve laid the groundwork, let’s delve into the key features to consider when navigating the hair straightener landscape:

  • Plate Material:
    • Ceramic: Offers smooth gliding, even heat distribution, and generally less damage to hair.
    • Tourmaline: Injects negative ions into the hair, helping to seal the cuticles and reduce frizz.
    • Titanium: Heats up quickly and maintains a consistent temperature, making it ideal for thick or coarse hair.
  • Plate Width:
    • Wider plates are better for longer hair, as they cover a larger section at once, allowing for quicker straightening.
    • Narrower plates are more suitable for shorter hair or creating intricate styles.
  • Temperature Settings:
    • The ability to adjust the temperature allows you to customize the heat based on your hair type and damage level.
    • Lower temperatures are more appropriate for fine or color-treated hair, while higher temperatures are often needed for thicker or coarser hair.
  • Heating Time:
    • Faster heating is a significant advantage, saving you time and effort. Some models heat up in seconds, while others take a few minutes.
  • Additional Features:
    • Floating Plates: Adapt to different hair thicknesses, ensuring even pressure and consistent results.
    • Automatic Shut-Off: Ensures safety by turning off the straightener after a period of inactivity.
    • Swivelling Cord: Offers tangle-free movement while styling.

Ready to Straighten Out Your Search?

Now that you’re armed with knowledge, let’s dive into our top recommendations:

Best Overall: GHD Platinum+ Styler

This high-end straightener delivers salon-worthy results with its advanced ceramic plates that evenly distribute heat and adapt to your hair’s thickness.

Why It Rocks:

  • Predictive Technology: The GHD Platinum+ monitors your hair’s temperature 250 times per second, ensuring each section is straightened at the optimal temperature, minimizing damage.
  • Sleek Design: The lightweight, ergonomic design allows for comfortable and precise styling.
  • Universal Voltage: Great for travelers!

Best Budget-Friendly: Revlon One-Step Hair Straightener & Volumizer

This innovative hot brush combines the convenience of a blow dryer and the straightening power of a straightener, offering a quick and easy styling solution.

Why It’s a Bargain:

  • Versatile: Can be used to dry, straighten, and add volume to hair in one step.
  • Easy to Use: Easy to maneuver, even for beginners.
  • Affordable: A budget-friendly option without sacrificing quality.

Best for Thick Hair: Hot Tools Professional Black Gold Sleek Straightener

This powerful straightener boasts wide, titanium-coated plates that distribute heat evenly, making it ideal for thick or coarse hair.

Why It’s a Heavy Hitter:

  • Fast Heating: Heats up quickly to reach high temperatures.
  • Durable Build: Made with sturdy materials for long-lasting use.
  • Multiple Temperature Settings: Offers precise temperature control to cater to different hair types.

Best for Fine Hair: T3 Lucea ID Straightening Iron

This smart straightener features temperature adjustment technology that analyzes your hair’s type and condition, setting the optimal temperature for maximum results with minimal damage.

Why It’s Smart:

  • Personalized Styling: The Lucea ID adapts the temperature to your hair’s unique needs.
  • Ceramic Plates: Glides effortlessly and distributes heat evenly, minimizing frizz and flyaways.
  • Sleek Design: Comfortable to handle and easy to store.

The Future of Straightening: The Airflow Straightening Era

A new wave of straighteners is emerging, leveraging the power of airflow to straighten hair without relying solely on heat. These 2-in-1 devices combine the fast drying capabilities of a blow dryer with the straightening power of a straightener, offering a more gentle styling experience.

Tymo Airflow 2-in-1 Straightener and Curler

This innovative device combines the features of a straightener and a curling iron, utilizing airflow technology to dry and style hair simultaneously.

Why It’s a Game Changer:

  • Airflow Technology: Reduces heat exposure by using air to straighten and style, minimizing damage.
  • Multi-Functionality: Can be used for both straightening and curling, offering versatile styling options.
  • Easy to Use: The intuitive design makes it easy to maneuver and style hair.

The Straightening Journey Continues:

With a plethora of choices on the market, finding the right hair straightener can feel overwhelming. By considering your hair type, budget, and desired features, you can narrow down your options and find a tool that delivers the sleek, straight look you’re after. Remember, taking care of your hair is paramount. Use heat protectants, straighten less often, and give your mane the love it deserves.

Article Reference

Sarah Mitchell
Sarah Mitchell
Sarah Mitchell is a versatile journalist with expertise in various fields including science, business, design, and politics. Her comprehensive approach and ability to connect diverse topics make her articles insightful and thought-provoking.