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Best Flat Iron Hair Straighteners: The Ultimate Guide

What’s the Best Hair Straightener?

Seeking out the best hair straighteners can seem like an uphill struggle…but it doesn’t need to be.

The first thing to do is amend your thought process so that, rather than imagining there’s a definitive best flat iron of 2019, think instead of finding the best flat iron for your hair type and style. Consider:

Is your hair long or short?

Is it curly and wildly frizzy?

Do you have thick, thin, or fine hair?

Is your hair dark or light?

Have you inflicted any damage on your hair over the years?

As we explore all the top hair straighteners to help you find the most appropriate irons, we’ll help you figure out why the answers to these questions are important in your search…and much, much more. This will ensure you get the best new hair straightener perfectly tailored to your needs.

Once you’ve personalized the quest, you should also take your budget parameters into account…but remember one thing: Top-rated flat irons are not cheap. Keep this in mind: Buy cheap, buy twice. This is not to say you need to spend a fortune, but you should buy the best iron you can afford rather than thinking the cheapest will do the same job for less money. If you’re looking for salon-grade straighteners, you’ll need to dig a little deeper…but in return you’ll get the very best hair straightener—one that should also give you years of faithful service.

Now that we’ve gotten that caveat out of the way, let’s dive right into the various types of irons on the market, so you’ll be better informed about their features and functionality before making your purchase…

Types of Hair Straighteners

When you’re hunting down the best hair straighteners, the whole process can seem overwhelming.

Today, we’re here to make that job much easier for you.

As with any buying decision, time spent researching and planning is never wasted. On the contrary, if you start by focusing on what you actually need from your straightening iron, you’ll minimize the chance of an expensive mistake.

With so many features on these seemingly simple styling tools, how do you decide on the best hair iron for your hair type?

We’ll start that process by stripping down the core features on the leading models…

Ceramic and Titanium Hair Straightener Plates

The first serious choice you’ll be faced with is choosing from a ceramic vs titanium flat iron. These two are by far the most popular materials.

Plate materials make more difference than you might imagine, so we’ll take a quick glimpse at titanium vs ceramic so you can see which makes the best fit. Rather than looking at titanium flat irons vs ceramic one by one, instead we’ll examine the main areas where the material of the plates comes to the fore.

  • Overall Effectiveness: Titanium heats up very quickly but the plates on some brands end up with hot and cold spots. Ceramic plates tend to heat less swiftly but more evenly, and allowing for fewer passes and thus reducing damage to your hair.

  • Heat Transfer: With the gentle infrared energy used in ceramic plates, it can take some time for the heat to transfer to your hair. That said, ceramic flat irons can work well for beginners, since you don’t need to worry about excessive heat. But overall on this count, titanium is more effective, since it heats up faster.

  • Evenness of Heating: The aforementioned potential cold spots on titanium plates lead to uneven heat distribution. A ceramic flat iron has superior even heat distribution.

  • Durability: While a ceramic hair straightener has many advantages, this material tends to be more brittle. Titanium might be super-light, but it’s also extremely rugged. From a durability standpoint in the battle of the titanium vs ceramic straightener, aircraft-grade titanium definitely has the edge here.
  • Ease of Use: Since titanium is so lightweight, these irons are easier to handle—and because of their durability, you won’t need to worry about dropping and cracking them, either.
  • Price: The best ceramic flat irons—ones with pure ceramic plates—are expensive. Titanium can also be pricey if you’re looking at the higher end of the options range. But again—we suggest that price should not be your prevailing factor when comparing titanium vs ceramic flat irons or curling irons. Look at overall value vs performance and durability rather than obsessing over the bottom line.

  • Hair Type: Ceramic irons are ideal if you’ve got thinner hair or naturally black hair. Due to the speed of heat transfer, titanium plates should be the go-to choice if your hair is thicker and less manageable.

    There’s no right or wrong answer when you’re considering titanium flat irons vs ceramic—there’s simply the right answer for you.

Ceramic and Titanium Hair Straightener Plates

Once you’ve determined which plate material would work best for you, you need to consider the width of the plates themselves.

Size matters—but it’s not necessarily a case of bigger being better.

A wide flat iron helps you create smooth styles in a flash since you can deal with much more hair in a single pass. Not only does this save time, you’ll also protect your hair from damage, since you won’t be repeatedly heating the same section.

Wide hair straighteners are not necessary if you’ve got a shorter hairstyle, however. Slim plates can give you a lot more control.

Sizing varies from 25mm to 38mm and above, so make sure you consider your hairstyle and type rather than simply assuming wide plate hair straightners are always best.

What’s the purpose of curved flat irons?

Well, if you’re looking to have the option to impart curls and waves as well as straightening your hair, slim and curved plates combined with a rounded body help you achieve this.

A curved flat iron gives you great control, and the ability to get a multi-tasking styling tool in one compact unit.

Temperature Control

How important is it to be able to control hair straightener temperature?

Researchers have determined that 365 degrees Fahrenheit (185 degrees Celsius) is the optimum temperature for flat irons—but that assumes everyone has the same hair type and wants the same type of styling.

Many digital flat irons come with temperature control, because, as we know, everyone’s styling needs are different. While a 450 degree flat iron might be ideal if you’ve got a mane of thick hair, it’s not what you need with a short style and thinner strands. A digital flat iron with temperature control is great for easily-damaged hair because you can dial the heat back and prevent further harm to your hair.

If you’ve got a hair straightener with temperature control, you’ll be able to style your long, thick hair, and your daughter can also borrow it for her thinner hair—no need to buy a second one; just tweak the temperature to suit.

Auto Shut-Off

A flat iron with auto shut-off is a must if you’re prone to forgetting to switch appliances off.

While leaving your stereo on all day might use a little extra electricity, hair straighteners left unattended and powered up are an obvious fire hazard. Additionally, a hair straightener with auto shut-off will prolong its lifespan.

Infrared, Ionic and Keratin Hair Straighteners

When you’re investigating hair straighteners for the first time, new terminology is everywhere. Ionic…infrared…keratin…What do these terms even mean? If you’re new to the world of hair straighteners, all the terminology can be confusing. We’re here to help by stripping it down into plain English for you, so you’re better informed about ion hair treatment, the benefits of an infrared straightener, and why you should consider the best keratin straightening system.

  • Infrared Hair Straightener: An infrared flat iron heats your hair from the inside out, keeping damage to an absolute minimum. Heat distribution is remarkably even, and you’ll have the ability to style more hair in less time.

  • Ionic Straightener: An ion straightener generates negative ions which help to keep your hair smoother and frizz-free. While this technology is normally found on hair dryers, there are also plenty of ion flat irons on the market .

  • Keratin Hair Straightener: The best keratin hair straightener is ideal if you’ve had a keratin treatment and want to keep reaping the benefits of this natural protein that helps your hair stay sleek and glossy. A Brazilian keratin flat iron, for example, will neatly trap in the moisture from the treatment, leaving your hair lustrous and shiny.

Dual Voltage Hair Straighteners

Why should you care about a dual voltage flat iron—and what is it, anyway?

Electricity works on either 110 volts or 240 volts, depending on where you are in the world. If you’re looking at a single voltage straightener, make certain it’s compatible with the

voltage in your country. A dual voltage flat iron gives you far more flexibility. If you’re planning to travel frequently, dual voltage straightners are a must.

What else is key if you’re a frequent traveller?

Travel with Your Hair Straightener

A mini-flat iron is tailor-made for jetsetters since you can pop it in your hand luggage or suitcase without feeling burdened. There are plenty of travel hair straighteners and also plenty of mini-straighteners that work well for this purpose.

Best Hair Straightener Brands

Are you searching for professional flat irons?

If so, it’s worth chatting with your hairdresser to see which salon professional hair straightener they recommend for both performance and durability, because, just like with any other product, there is a bewildering array of hair straighteners out there, from a plethora of manufacturers.

Which brands are actually any good, though?

You’re probably already aware of most of the best hair straightener brands if you’ve got even a passing interest in beauty products. The top brands for hair irons in 2019 include:

  • GHD

  • Flair

  • Silver Bullet

  • Babyliss

  • Hot Tools

As we mentioned, the best professional flat iron doesn’t come cheap, and different hair straightener brands serve up a variety of features on their irons targeting different types of hair.

While warranties vary, all the main brands will offer you coverage for anywhere from 1 year to 5 years.

We have no allegiance to any specific straightener brand, so you can trust that we’ll frankly outline the advantages and drawbacks of all the best irons.

If you take the time to investigate our guide in depth, we’re confident you’ll be able to find the perfect hair iron from our carefully curated picks.

Top Hair Straightener Reviews

We’ve given you the basics—so now you should be aware of 2 factors:

  • Not all hair straighteners are created equal.

  • You should personalize your decision according to your hair type.

We’ll now launch into our hair straightener reviews, so you can familiarize yourself with everything from the most expensive straighteners through to a selection of more affordable but high quality straighteners.

One last brief diversion before our best flat iron reviews, though…

We’ll kick off with a capsule summary of why the ghd V Gold Max is our editor’s pick for the best hair straightener in 2019.

Editor’s Pick: GHD V Gold Max Flat Iron Styler

Choosing a single set of hair irons is tough, since everyone has slightly different needs.

We thought long and hard about the straighteners we tested across all categories and the ghd V Max Flat Iron Styler manages to tick most boxes.

As with all ghd irons, you’ll need to pay for the privilege, but you’ll get salon-grade straighteners built to go the distance. Packed with features and boasting that all-important auto shut-off, you can use these irons to style your hair in a hurry without compromising the end result.

We’ll look now at what sets them apart from a crowded pack…

GHD V Gold Max Flat Iron Styler

If you appreciate the finer things in life and you’ve got a more fluid budget, you are most probably looking for a high quality hair straightener.

Well, ghd is a brand with a hard-won reputation for tech-driven excellence. The Gold Max are among the most expensive straighteners in a crowded market but they represent outstanding overall value.

If you’ve got long, thick hair, you’ll get your hair straightened rapidly thanks to the extra-wide plates. If you’re looking to impart some curls, on the other hand, the curved plate edges make this super-simple.

Flat Iron Profile

  • Salon-professional finish

  • Attractive gold colour and sleek design

  • Smoother plates

  • Cooler, lighter body

  • Sleep mode: auto shut-off after 30 minutes

  • Wide plates make straightening thick or curly hair easy

  • Contoured plate edges help to create perfect curls or waves

  • Protective plate guard lets you pack styler straight after use

  • Universal voltage, great for travel

  • 2-year warranty

Salon Professional

Not everyone is looking for the cheapest irons. While we’re aware budget is always a factor in any buying decision, it should never be the determining factor.

These Gold Max flat irons give you salon-quality straighteners so you can get that pampered feeling without constantly heading to the hairdresser.

If you consider the money you’ll save on professional treatment, these straighteners suddenly seem like a bargain rather than a costly luxury.

Wide Plates

Remember, the wider those plates, the more hair you’ll be able to deal with in one go—and this model has them. With everyone so busy today, shaving off a few precious minutes in the morning can mean the difference between a relaxed breakfast and hustling out the door with an empty stomach and a travel mug of coffee.

Speeding things up further, there’s a nifty plate guard so you can stash your straighteners away immediately after use rather than waiting for them to cool off. Combined with the speed at which they heat up and those wide plates, there’s no reason to take too long making yourself look beautiful in the morning.

Ceramic Plates

As mentioned before, ceramic plates are gentler on your hair. This material forms a natural barrier between your hair and the super-high temperatures essential for effective straightening.

Beyond this, the Gold Max’s ceramic plates can also help to bring out the natural shine in your hair, so it looks more lustrous rather than stripped out and brittle.

Even if your hair is long, curly, and unruly, you’ll be able to better tame it with the Gold Max.

Curved Edges

The Gold Max also feature curved edges which really increase this appliance’s value if you want to use these irons to impart some waves or curls into your hair.

With their lustrous gold finish, the contoured plates will glade effortlessly through your hair.

Whether you want your locks poker-straight or curled, you can get the result you want with very little time and effort if you invest in these top-tier straighteners from ghd.

Ideal for Long, Thick & Curly Hair

When you’ve got particularly long or curly hair, finding the best straighteners can be challenging. Impeccable design married to first-class build quality from ghd gives you the confidence to coax your hair into just about any style you fancy with very little fanfare.

Pros and Cons

Pros   Cons 
Attractive Gold Colour  No Temperature Control 
Auto-Off Function  Expensive 
Ceramic Plates  -
Wide Plates  -
Rounded/Curved Edges for Curling  -
Salon Professional  -
Dual Voltage   -
Lighter Body   -
2-Year Warranty  -

Who Should Buy This Hair Straightener?

All hair straighteners appeal to a specific market—so who should consider digging deep for the Gold Max?

If you have long or thick hair and you’re looking for top-tier, professional-grade straighteners from a brand you can trust, the ghd Gold Max series are the obvious choice.

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