You’d think that finding the best hair straightener would be easy, right? Google around, see some reviews, pick the best one in your budget, and done. But EL-OH-EL—welcome to the insanely confusing world of flat irons. Like, are ceramic or titanium plates better? What’s the best straightener for curls or damaged hair? Do I need a thousand heat settings?! And brushes! What’s the deal with straightening brushes?!
Yeah, listen—I get it. The internet giveth, and the internet taketh away (your sanity). But finding the best flat iron doesn’t need to be an anxiety-producing nightmare filled with testing and returning. It’s 2020, which means technology has come a loooong way since the hair-burning straighteners of your childhood. Regardless of which flat iron you choose, you can’t really go wrong—they’ll all straighten your hair in the end. Still, to make things a bit easier, I handpicked the best 17 flat irons based on every hair type/budget/preference, so you can really customize your experience without having to test and review every single model yourself (cuz, like, no).
Check out a quick preview of the best straighteners of 2020, below, then keep scrolling for the in-depth review.
But first! A few answers to your ~burning~ questions…
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Which Is Better: Titanium or Ceramic Hair Straighteners?
It depends on your hair type, but pick a ceramic straightener if your hair is easy to straighten, and a titanium straightener if your hair is coarse and harder to straighten. Why? Because titanium plates heat up faster and can usually reach much higher temps than ceramic plates, making them the best choice to straighten coarse, curly, or coily hair. But higher temps lead to more damage, so if your hair is fine, wavy, or just easy to straighten, go with a ceramic flat iron (often combined with tourmaline plates), which distributes heat more evenly at lower temps for less damage.
What Straighteners Do Professionals and Salons Use?
Titanium straighteners are the most popular choice in both salons and professional hairstylist kits, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best for your own hair type (ahem, read the whole titanium vs. ceramic debate above). Regardless of the flat iron you choose, keep the heat low (the lowest and safest temperature possible to still straighten your hair) and use a good heat-protectant spray beforehand.
Now, keep reading to find the 17 best hair straighteners of 2020:
Best Cordless Hair Straightener
Dyson Corrale Hair Straightener
Yup, this is a Very Expensive Flat Iron. Yup, this is something you’d definitely splurge on, save up for, or beg for from the person who loves you most, but it’ll be worth it. This cordless/corded—you can do both—flat iron uses flexible copper plates that subtly move with your hair to evenly distribute heat across every strand, leaving you with less damage and smoother hair. I’ve used it, and it really is a freaking thing of the future.
Best Budget Cordless Hair Straightener
Conair Unbound Cordless 1” Flat Iron
K, so if you can’t exactly afford a Dyson right now (and, like, I get it), but you still want a cordless flat iron, try this very excellent alternative from Conair. Its titanium plates heat up to 400 degrees and can be used for 25 minutes straight before needing a recharge. Definitely perfect for touch-ups when the waves and frizz start to creep up again.
Best Blow-Dryer Straightening Brush
Revlon One-Step Volumizer Hair Dryer
If a blow dryer, a round brush, and a hair straightener all got a lil ~busy~ and weird, this hair-dryer brush would be the end result. It’s literally gone viral for giving every hair type (even tight curls) a perfectly smooth, voluminous blowout without any skill needed. Proof: a Cosmo editor with wavy/poofy hair recorded the magic herself.
Best Instagrammable Hair Straightener
Chi Be Flamazing 1” Ceramic Flat iron
Is it a requirement that your flat iron look cute? Nope. Does it make it easier to stomach the purchase, though? YUP. This Chi straightener not only looks ridiculously cute (flamingos, y’all), but it’s also packed with power, heating up in 40 seconds to quickly straighten curly, wavy, or poofy hair with ceramic plates and a max temp of 392 degrees.
Best Hair Straightener on Amazon
HSI Glider Original Ceramic Flat Iron Hair Straightener
If you trust Amazon reviews more than any actual person in your life, you’ll want to snatch up this best-selling hair straightener, which has ceramic and tourmaline plates for the smoothest finish. More than 28,000 reviewers praise this flat iron for its heat range (140 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit), extra-long cord, and dual voltage for easy travel. The bonus glove, pouch, and argan hair oil treatment make the deal even harder to pass up.
Best Hair Straightener and Curler Duo
Kristin Ess 3-in-1 Flat Iron
Originally famous for her Instagrammable hairstyles, Kristen Ess is now equally famous for her gorgeous (and truly excellent) line of styling tools and hair-care products. The perfectly rounded outer shell on this titanium flat iron makes it the perfect option for straightening, curling, and waving hair.
Best Flat Iron for Frizzy Hair
Conair InfinitiPro Rainbow Titanium Flat Iron
This flat iron has a powerful ion generator for frizz-free hair. The rainbow titanium plates reduce frizz (and look stupid cute), the 12 digital heat settings allow you to customize your straightening experience, and the auto-off setting helps give you a stress-free night out (just in case you forget to unplug it).
Best Straightener for Wavy Hair
Hot Tools Radiant Blue Digital Flat Iron
This titanium iron heats up fast, bringing its plates back to the ideal temperature quickly after each pass, so you won’t need to go over each section multiple times and destroy your hair. To get your hair extra sleek and straight, brush through each section with a fine-tooth comb while following right behind it with the straightener.
Best Flat Iron on Ulta
BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Ultra-Thin Straightening Iron
Those with thick or coarse hair might gravitate toward wider straighteners (the bigger the plates, the more area you can cover at once), but don’t be deceived by this ultra-thin straightener. These plates are made from titanium, which heats up quickly and evenly, and are longer than the average iron with an impressive five-inch length, making it ideal for straightening wider sections of hair and cutting down on the time spent. Honestly, one of the best flat irons you’ll find on Ulta.
Best Flat Iron for Coarse Hair
Revlon Salon Straight Copper Smooth XL Flat Iron
Copper is famously known for being an even heat conductor (just ask any cook), which is why it makes for the perfect plates on a flat iron. And fewer strokes over each section results in less heat damage. Bonus: The detachable comb also smooths and distributes your coarse hair evenly over the plates, so you’re left with stick-straight hair on the first pass.
Best Hair Straightener on Sephora
Ghd Platinum+ Professional Performance Styler
Perfect for all hair types, this flat iron needs only 20 seconds to reach its maximum temperature of 365 degrees. According to the smarties in research and development at Ghd, this is the optimal straightener temperature for changing the shape of your hair with as minimal damage as possible. So if you’ve already got damaged, brittle hair, get yourself this straightener ASAP.
Best Hair Straightener for Thick Hair
T3 SinglePass X Straightening Iron
If you’re looking to cut down the time it takes to style a thicker head of hair, try this iron. Designed for full, thick hair, this tourmaline-and-ceramic straightening iron with one-and-a-half-inch plates stops damage by working efficiently with one pass—i.e., no more having to straighten the same section over and over (and over) again.
Best Gentle Hair Straightener for Damaged Hair
InStyler Cerasilk Woven Ceramic Styling Iron
You obviously sleep with a silk pillowcase to protect your hair (if you don’t, do it now, k?), so why not heat style with it too? The silk-and-ceramic ridges on this iron mean that less of your hair comes in contact with the direct heat, which equals less damage and breakage for you.
Best Cheap Hair Straightener for Under $20
Remington 1″ Flat Iron With Anti-Static Technology
If you have relatively straight hair and just need a few touch-ups or something to quickly revive a blowout, this inexpensive ceramic flat iron is a perfect option. Use it as your go-to for travel since it’s not only lightweight but also works well for curling hair. And did I mention it’s incredibly cheap, yet still incredibly powerful?
Best Mini Flat Iron for Bangs and Short Hair
Drybar The Tiny Tress Press Detailing Iron
A straightener this cute and compact couldn’t possibly work well, right? Wrong. The half-inch-wide plates make it super easy to straighten bumps near your roots, along with messed-up bangs that wider flat irons usually can’t touch without burning your forehead. It comes with a travel-pouch-slash-heat-pad, which is a nice bonus because at just six inches, this straightener is one you’ll want to throw in your purse or carry-on.
Best Flat Iron for Curly Hair
Bio Ionic 10x Pro Straightening & Styling Iron
Don’t let the light vibrations in this iron surprise you when you clamp down. The oscillating plates encourage your curls and waves to spread out evenly between the plates to help you get the smoothest, most even finish all the way down the length of your hair.
Best Hair Straightening Brush
Amika Polished Perfection Straightening Brush 2.0
It’s not your conventional-looking flat iron, but this straightening brush does the trick all the same. Just turn it on, brush your hair with its heated ceramic bristles like you would with a normal brush, and watch frizz turn smooth, shiny, and static-free in seconds. It’s not going to turn curly hair into sheets of silk, but it’ll straighten out any of your wonky waves or puffy layers.
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