The Best Hot Rollers for When Your Curling Iron Is Just Not Cutting It

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Best Hot Rollers

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

Rollers have long been used to add volume and oomph to limp strands. You may even remember seeing soda 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 to use. 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.

You'll want to consider your hair type and desired finished result when selecting a set, since they come in all different shapes and sizes. An ideal set might include rollers all in the same size for precise styles or a variety of sizes to achieve different looks—thin rollers are best for springy coils, while big rollers create soft, fluffy styles. Alternating different-sized rollers can also create a more natural look, while using a consistent set can give you a neat curl pattern. Finally, to save precious time, you'll want a set that heats up fast.

Here are the best hot rollers for every type of curl.

In This Article

Best Overall: Remington T Studio Thermaluxe Setter

Remington T Studio Thermaluxe Setter

Courtesy of Amazon 

What We Like
  • Space-saving design

  • Versatile

What We Don't Like
  • No small rollers for tight spirals

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 several styles depending on the look you’re going for.

Heat-Up Time: 90 seconds | Features: Dual heating technology, storage case | Number of Pieces: 20 rollers | Diameter: 1 to 1.25 inches

Best Budget: Conair Compact Multi-Size Rollers

Conair Compact Multi-Size Hot Rollers
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Versatile

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note they're too hot to hold

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.

Heat-Up Time: 45 seconds to 2 minutes | Features: Includes clips, storage case | Number of Pieces: 20 rollers | Diameter: 0.5 to 1.5 inches

Best Drugstore: Remington Ionic Conditioning Hair Setter

4.6
Ionic Conditioning Hair Setter
What We Like
  • Easy to handle

  • Helps boost shine

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Only a few small rollers

This set of 20 rollers comes in 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 smooth your hair 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.

Heat-Up Time: 3 minutes | Features: Includes metal clips, storage case | Number of Pieces: 20 rollers | Diameter: 0.75 to 1.25 inches

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, it’s always good to take extra precautionary measures when it comes to keeping hair healthy.

Best for Volume: BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium 20 Roller Hairsetter

4.8
BaBylissPro Nano Titanium 20 Roller Hairsetter

Amazon

What We Like
  • Best for consistent styles

  • Ceramic technology

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

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.

Heat-Up Time: About 5 minutes | Features: Includes metal and butterfly clips, storage case | Number of Pieces: 12 rollers | Diameter: 1.5 inches

Best for Thick Hair: Conair InfinitiPRO Ceramic Flocked Rollers

INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Instant Heat Ceramic Flocked Rollers
What We Like
  • Ceramic technology

  • Great for long or thick hair

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

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 heat up completely 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.

Heat-Up Time: 85 seconds | Features: Includes butterfly clips, storage case | Number of Pieces: 20 rollers | Diameter: 0.5 to 1.25 inches

Best for Fine Hair: Remington Compact Hot Rollers

Remington Compact Hot Rollers
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Ideal for travel

What We Don't Like
  • Not for thick hair

Thin or fine hair should look out for smaller rollers with a lesser diameter, exactly like this set from Remington. They heat up in 90 seconds, come in a compact travel case, and use ionic and ceramic technology to create soft, smooth, and defined curls. The price point is pretty reasonable, too.

Heat-Up Time: 90 seconds | Features: Includes metal clips, storage case | Number of Pieces: 10 rollers | Diameter: 1 to 1.25 inches

Best for Glamorous Waves: T3 Micro Volumizing Hot Rollers

4.5
T3 - Volumizing Hot Rollers
What We Like
  • Creates long-lasting curls

  • Easy to handle

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

If you want a Hollywood-esque, Blake Lively wave, look no further than this set from T3. They’re velveted rollers, so they won’t create kinks or creases in the hair, plus the HeatCore technology ensures even heat distribution for curls that are built to last. Comb through with a bristle brush and set with shine spray for best results.

Heat-Up Time: 90 seconds to 3 minutes | Features: 2 heat settings, cool grip, storage case, includes butterfly clips | Number of Pieces: 8 rollers | Diameter: 1.5 to 1.75 inches

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 in to create the most long-lasting waves.

Best for Loose Curls: John Frieda Smooth Waves 2-Inch Rollers

John Frieda Body & Shine Smooth Waves
What We Like
  • Creates big curls

  • Adds volume

  • Compact case

What We Don't Like
  • Not enough rollers for long/thick hair

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 your hair before rolling it up.

Heat-Up Time: 2 minutes | Features: Includes butterfly clips | Number of Pieces: 5 rollers | Diameter: 2 inches

Final Verdict

While it’s important to take your hair type and texture into account, the best rollers overall are Remington's T Studio Thermaluxe Setter and T3's Volumizing Hot rollers set. The Remington especially is a great option because its set of rollers includes two sizes, meaning you can create varying looks. An added plus is that they store easily (because most rollers are notoriously bulky). T3 on the other hand is like a fast track to glamorous waves. Their velvet rollers so will leave the hair smooth, shiny, and impossibly full.

What to Look for in Hot Rollers

Smooth Coverings

According to hairstylist and salon owner Anthony Nader, the best kinds of rollers have a velvety-smooth covering over their metal body. “These don’t leave indentation marks on hair strands like older style rollers,” he says. With that in mind, it’s best to avoid rollers made fully from metal.

Pin Fasteners

Nader also says it’s best to opt for rollers that fasten to the hair with metal pins. “These secure to the hair beautifully compared to using a hair clip with claws,” he says. 

Sets That Include a Range of Sizes

Nader recommends investing in a set that contains rollers of different sizes, which will allow you to create a multitude of looks. “You’ll also then have the choice to give your hair extra body by using the smaller rollers, if needed,” he says. 

FAQ
  • How do you use hot rollers?

    According to Nader, wait until the rollers are properly heated and then wrap sections of hair around each one. Leave them in until completely cooled, then use a boar bristle brush to break up curls and give the hair a smooth, sleek, glamorous finish, he says.

  • How long do you leave hot rollers in?

    For the best result, be sure to leave the rollers in until they’re completely cooled down.

  • How do you use hot rollers on short hair?

    According to Nader, the rule of thumb is “the smaller the roller, the tighter the result.” If you have shorter hair, you’ll want a smaller roller so you get definition and a little extra lift.

Meet the Expert

Anthony Nader is a celebrity hairstylist and the salon owner of Raw Anthony Nader in Sydney, Australia.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any hot rollers from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Remington Ionic Conditioning Hair Setter. Remington. https://www.remingtonproducts.com/products/womens/hair-care/hair-setters/h5600g-20-piece-ionic-protective-hair-setter.aspx.

  2. Need to Know: HeatCore Technology. T3. https://www.t3micro.co.uk/en/blog/post/heat-core-technology.

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