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Rollers have long been used to add volume and oomph to limp strands. You may even remember seeing coke cans (in pictures, of course) used to achieve that coveted volume. But hot rollers are making a comeback thanks to their ability to create effortless-looking texture and volume while actually being pretty effortless. Whether you’re looking for a hot tool alternative or trying to save a little time in the morning, hot rollers could be your solution.
But before you start rolling, here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your new routine. Don’t forget to spray on a little heat protectant to your strands before pinning them up. While hot rollers are less damaging than a straightener or curling iron, you it’s always good to take the extra precautionary measures when it comes to keeping hair healthy. Also, don’t forget to let the rollers completely cool off before you remove them. This is crucial, as your hair needs to cool down in the same curl pattern you heated it up in to create the most long-lasting waves. Now, onto choosing which rollers are best for you.
Here are the best hot rollers for every type of curl.
Best Overall: Remington T Studio Thermaluxe Setter
We couldn’t decide what was better about these rollers, the compact case that saves space on your bathroom counter or the curls that it creates. This set comes with 20 rollers and butterfly clips that you store on the rollers themselves so you’re less likely to misplace them. Another bonus: The rollers are stored vertically and have a place to wrap the cord when they’re not in use so they’re not as bulky. We also like that the variety of medium and large curlers lets you create a number of styles depending on the look you’re going for.
Best Budget: Conair Compact Multi-Size Rollers
This set gets you 20 hot rollers, coordinating rods, and a little more counter space thanks to the compact case. The rollers come in small, medium, and large so you can create numerous styles from large and voluminous to tight and springy. If you have slippery strands, you’ll also love the grippers on the rollers that not only hold onto hair but also help to keep tangles at bay. Just wait for the red light to turn on and you’re ready to roll.
Best Drugstore: Remington Ionic Conditioning Hair Setter
This set of 20 rollers comes with three sizes (small, medium and large) and includes matching color-coded clips so you can set them and get on with the rest of your morning routine. The velvet-covered rollers (read: no hot fingers!) also have Ionic Conditioning to help control frizz and add shine. Use all of the sizes at once for a more lived-in texture or just stick with the 10 medium rollers for a more even wave. The rollers have a wax core that helps them hold onto heat for a more long-lasting curl.
Best Luxury: T3 Micro Volumizing Hot Rollers
Gone are the big boxy sets of rollers you remember your mom using. Instead meet this new sleek take from T3. The set of eight (four large and four medium) takes about two minutes to heat up on the minimalistic—aka more room on your counter—panel and will show a white dot when they’re ready to use. The rollers themselves have a grip on the edges as well as velvet on the rollers so you don’t have to worry about burning your fingers as you use them. Roll them up and clip them in place with the included butterfly clips. While these are on the pricier side, there are a few added benefits that make it worth it if you’re an avid hot roller user: Two heat settings, auto world voltage (it adjusts to wherever you’re traveling to), automatic turn off after an hour, and a two-year warranty.
Best for Volume: BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium Jumbo Roller Hairsetter
Not too big, not too small, these rollers are just the right size for that dreamy bouncy texture. The set includes 12 rollers, all the same size, so you’ll get a consistent texture—ideal for creating old Hollywood style waves. You’ll also get a set of 12 butterfly clips and metal pins so you can choose to use whichever holds your hair up best. Be sure to use the same amount of hair in each roller to get the most even, long-lasting curls.
Best for Damaged Hair: Caruso Professional Molecular 30-Piece Steam Hair Setter
If you have damaged hair, you’re in luck because hot rollers are already a better, less damaging choice than a curling iron or hair straightener. That being said, you can be even easier on strands by choosing steam rollers instead of the typical hot roller. The steam gently creates a smooth, soft curl without any heat damage. This set comes with 30 rollers (six petite, six small, six medium, six large, and six jumbo) that you steam one at a time before rolling into your hair. Just be sure to let your hair dry before taking them out.
Best for Loose Curls: John Frieda Smooth Waves 2-Inch Rollers
You’ve probably realized by now that the bigger the roller, the bigger the curl. That’s why these jumbo rollers are perfect for creating loose, undone waves for those times when you just want a little bounce. Since you’ll want to be using more hair in each of the rollers to create a looser curl, five curlers should be just right. For a little more volume, apply a texturizing spray onto each section of hair before rolling it up.
Best for Travel: REVLON Curls-to-Go Travel Hot Rollers
Hot rollers are not the easiest thing to travel with, that is unless you have this set from Revlon. The compact, flexible case velcros shut to hold everything in place so you can toss it into your suitcase without worry. Plus, it’s heat resistant so if you have to pack them up while they’re still warm you don’t have to fret about causing heat damage to anything else in your bag. The set comes with 10 rollers (five large and five medium) and has an indicator light that turns white when they’re ready to use.
Best for Thick Hair: Conair InfinitiPRO Ceramic Flocked Rollers
When you’re trying to roll thick hair, you need as many rollers as you can get which is why this set of 20 is ideal when you’re working with lots of locks. The set comes in four different sizes and only takes 85 seconds to completely heat up thanks to the ceramic technology inside. For a more consistent curl and texture, use the smaller rollers on larger sections of hair and the larger curlers on smaller sections of hair on the top of your head and around your face.