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Shopping for a curling iron should be pretty straightforward. Except for most of us, it's not. With constantly evolving technology, shapes, and sizes, it can be difficult to keep track of what's hype, what's not, and what's actually worth spending your money on. (Especially since some of the best curling irons come in at a hefty dollar value.) That being said, there are some truly great rods and wands out there—especially if you're looking for an iteration to pair beautifully with shorter locks.
So after doing some research, reading countless reviews, and yes, asking around Byrdie HQ, we curated an all-star lineup of the best curling irons for short hair. Curious to see which magic wands made the cut?
Keep reading for the best curling irons for short hair Byrdie editors (and the internet) love most.
Best Overall: NuMe Classic Pearl Bubble Curling Wand
Helps add bounce
Creates tight curls
Heats up fast
Temperature cannot be adjusted
Okay, within the curling iron realm, this oddly shaped, pearl-inspired wand from NuMe has already become somewhat of a legend. And while it may work beautifully on hair of any length, it's especially great for those with a shorter chop. Made with tourmaline, the unique pearl shape claims to encourage bouncy texture and full-bodied waves and curls. It's also wonderful for every kind of texture, from ultra-thick to baby-fine.
Temperature Range: Up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit | Size: 25 mm, 13 mm
Best Budget: Hot Tools 24K Gold Curling Iron
Multiple barrel sizes available
Adjustable heat settings
Can snag hair
Okay, we're just going to say it: This curling iron from Hot Tools might just be one of the most popular, effective, and budget-friendly curling irons of all time—especially if you have short hair. The 24K surface creates long-lasting and ultra-defined hair looks, while innovative pulse technology (which claims to get hot and stays hot without a moment's hesitation) may chop styling time by 50 percent.
Temperature Range: Up to 430 degrees Fahrenheit | Size: 3/4", 1 1/2", 1", 1 1/4"
Best Titanium: L'ange Ondulé Curling Wand Blush
Lower temperature range
Comes in a cute pink shade
Comfortable to hold and use
Takes some time to heat up
Truth: When it comes to the best curling irons for short hair, this one is about as demure as they come. (It's the perfect shade of baby pink—if you're into that kind of thing.) However, it also has the reviews and technology to back up its good looks. The soft-touch handle makes it easy to grip, and its pure titanium build with an advanced heat mechanism (never exceeding 410 degrees F) claims to ensure minimal styling damage.
Temperature Range: Up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit | Size: 1", 1.25"
Best Titanium, Runner-Up: Foxybae Wanderlux Rose Gold Curling Wand
Heats up quickly with adjustable heat settings
Curls could last longer
Sleek, rose-gold packaging aside (but seriously, who wouldn't want to display this on their vanity?), this one-inch wand by Foxybae consistently receives five-star reviews on sites like Ulta and is applauded for its habit of potentially inducing impeccable shine and hold—sans spray.
Temperature Range: Up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit | Size: 25 mm, 32 mm
Best Ceramic: Sultra The Bombshell Rod Curling Iron
Less damaging than other options
Easy to use
Temperature cannot be adjusted
This cult-favorite one-inch wand is great for any hair length (take it from someone who's proved to be ever the chameleon over the years) but is especially handy for short hair. Plus, it also may be one of the least damaging in the bunch. Featuring the brand's exclusive Advanced Care Ceramic technology (which claims to simultaneously repair the hair as you style), it's safe for color-treated, dry, and yes, even damaged strands. Also—it's fast.
Temperature Range: Up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit | Size: 1"
Best Splurge: T3 Micro Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand
3 wands in one
Okay, before you balk with sticker shock, hear us out. Because essentially, you're getting four different curling irons in one with this ingenious set from T3. Travel-friendly and with the ability to create unique and head-turning curls (the barrels are really just that good), this handsome foursome is worth every penny. According to the brand, undone waves can be achieved with the one-inch straight barrel, tousled waves with the traditional tapered (seen right), cascading waves with the reversed tapered (middle left), and loose with the 1.25-inch straight. Oh, and the base also boasts five different adjustable heat settings, auto world voltage, and a one-hour automatic shutoff, so you'll never waste a day wondering did I or didn't I? again.
Temperature Range: Up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit | Size: 1", 1.25", 1.5"
Best Tapered Rod: ghd Curve Creative Curl Wand
Tapered wand creates versatile styles
Heats up quickly
Hair feels soft
Not ideal for every style
According to the brand's helpful product comparison guide, this is one of the best Ghd curling irons for short hair, and if the stellar reviews have anything to say about it, they're not lying to us. Ever so slightly tapered at the end, the wand boasts cutting-edge tri-zone technology that claims to ensure even and consistent temperature for healthier, long-lasting results. Yes, this one's an investment. But if our personal stash of Ghd tools (some of which have lasted us for five years and beyond) gives us a hint, it's a worthy one.
Temperature Range: Up to 365 degrees Fahrenheit | Size: 1"
Best Rotating Rod: Drybar The 3-Day Bender Digital Curling Iron
Rotating clamp styles hair faster
Helps reduce frizz
Heats up quickly
Aesthetically, Drybar's signature bright yellow iron is a winner, but so is its amazing technology and curl payoff for those with shorter strands. Great for all hair types—from tightly coiled curls to pin-straight, this iron boasts a rotating clamp (which may cut your get-ready time in half) in addition to dual ceramic heaters, infrared heating technology, and a handy digital temperature reader.
Temperature Range: Up to 440 degrees Fahrenheit | Size: 1.25"
Best Rotating Rod, Runner-Up: Beachwaver Co. S1 Rotating Curling Iron
Creates natural-looking waves
Has two speeds
Has 30-minute shutoff
Curls could last longer
The Beachwaver Co. has been making waves within the industry for a while now, and honestly, it's for good reason. Case in point: It rotates at two different speeds (fast or slow, take your pick), boasts ceramic technology that may decrease damage, and allows you to create every iteration of curl for your short hair—from intricate and defined to loose and beachy.
Temperature Range: Up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit | Size: 1"
Best Cone-Shaped Rod: Paul Mitchell Neuro Angle Rod Curling Iron
Easy and comfortable to use
Heats up quickly
Creates lasting styles
Full disclaimer: When this curling wand first came across our desks, we were skeptical. Would an angling iron actually prove useful? Or would it just be a liability where unsightly ear, neck, and chin burns are concerned? Thankfully, however, we were proven wrong. With four different rod positions, this universally flattering one-inch wand allows you to position your iron wherever you need to without distressing your biceps, shoulders, or neck in the process. Plus, it heats up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit in record time—we're talking just a matter of seconds, folks.
Temperature Range: Up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit | Size: 1"
What To Look For in a Curling Iron For Short Hair
Go for a smaller barrel, like one that's 0.5 to one inch in size. Any barrel bigger than that will be too big for shorter hair, which may not allow the curl to hold. You want it to be able to wrap around without being too loose, which is why 0.5 to one inch are the ideal size.
Take into account whether you feel more comfortable using a wand or iron before selecting a curling iron. Typically an iron uses a clip to hold the curl in place, whereas a wand requires you to hold the curl in place. Both can yield the same results, so it's truly just a matter of preference of what you like to use more.
Make sure your curling iron arrives with adjustable heat. This can help you adjust the temperature to one that is best for your hair. This may help prevent damage and keep your hair in tip-top shape, which is something we all want. Different hair types and textures need different temperatures, so selecting an iron with adjustable heat is pretty important.
Is a curling iron or wand better for short hair?
It depends on what you're comfortable with. The one you have success with is truly based on your personal preference and how you use it.
What size of curling iron is best for short hair?
A barrel that's 0.5 to one inch in size is usually best for shorter hair. A smaller barrel will make the tool easier to maneuver and allow you to wrap an entire section of hair around it.