When Dyson came out with the Supersonic Hair Dryer, something unthinkable happened: I looked forward to blow-drying my hair. Before this, I had never, ever felt that way. Had anyone? There was something so exciting about the futuristic tool. Years later, the novelty hasn't worn off.
I can't say the same about my straightening iron. I've had my drugstore InifinitiPro by Conair for about a decade. I don't think they even make the model I have anymore (this is the updated version). Despite my sister's and friends' disdain for my $30 go-to straightening tool, I had gotten used to it, and actually, quite liked it. The plates are one inch wide, and four and a half inches long, which gave me the sleek look I love. Honestly, if you're looking for an inexpensive option to travel with, I'd highly recommend it. But to borrow from Marie Kondo, it was no longer sparking joy. An upgrade was long overdue. On a search to find joy in straightening my hair, I set out to try the top six straightening irons. Disclaimer, finding cons was no easy feat. After all, these are the top straightening irons. Ahead, my honest reviews.
1. Ghd Platinum+ Professional Performance 1" Styler
If you want to get excited about an iron, this is it. The Ghd Platinum + has one heat setting (365 degrees) and only takes 20 seconds to reach it. Once it does, it lets you know with a sound. At first, I found the shape awkward. Compared to other irons, it's shorter and thicker. But, the more I used it, the more I appreciated its rounded shape for making flat-iron waves. It delivers big, and I mean big, curls. It's perfect for a special occasion in that way—it's not exactly your everyday straightening iron that you'd throw in your gym bag.
More pros: It turns off automatically after 30 minutes if it's not being used, so you don't have to worry about forgetting to turn it off. And, it has universal voltage, claims 70 percent less breakage, and 20 percent more shine.
2. ISA Professional Digital Titanium Flat Iron
ISA Professional is the complete opposite shape of GHD's Platinum +. It is slim and slick. I found it was one of the most lightweight tools I tried. The plates are titanium and the heat can be set from 265 to 450 degrees.
I am a bit biased because the shape of this one is similar to the one I've used for the past few years. But, it is a major upgrade. And, if you prefer extra-long plates (four and a half inch tapered plates), this is the obvious choice. It's also very versatile: great for waves, curls, or straightening.
It has an LCD screen that displays the heat setting on the front. The screen flashes your desired setting until it reaches the proper temperature. Power and temperature control buttons are on the side, which eliminates accidentally turning it off or changing the temperature while you're using it. One slight nuisance: Every time you turn it on, the heat is set to 355 degrees and has to be adjusted to your previous setting. If you can get over this, then it's a great everyday straightening iron that won't tire your hand.
3. CHI Lava Ceramic Hairstyling Iron
A few things CHI Lava gets right: It remembers your heat setting from the previous use and locks it in. The squared-off shape makes it super easy to straighten your hair and delivers really great curls. Overall, it's pretty standard, and that's not a bad thing. The heat ranges from 200 to 450 degrees in increments of 10 degrees and it heats up quickly. The plates are one inch by four inches long.
4. T3 SinglePass Luxe 1" Straightening and Styling Iron
This straightening iron was the most versatile of the irons I tried (and especially great for fine hair). I was able to effortlessly glide through my hair, curling each strand easily and without much effort. That said, it took more than one pass to smooth my roots.
The design is super minimal and lightweight. It has five heat settings that are controlled through the power button, which is indented so you won't accidentally turn it off or change the temperature. The settings start at 260 degrees and go to 410 degrees. It doesn't tell you the temperature the iron is set at, it just indicates one through five. All in all, I'd highly recommend this for everyday use because of its versatility, light-weight design, and overall ease.
5. Bio Ionic GrapheneMX Styling Iron 1"
The more I used this iron, the more I liked it. At first, I thought it was heavy, but it's smaller and slightly lighter than the Chi offering. It's also easier to roll in your hand, if you're looking to curl your hair. The maximum heat setting is 385, though I think anything higher than that should be left to the professionals.
The technology is what makes this iron unique. It uses graphene, a really great heat conductor, and also the reason for the lower heat setting. The iron is designed to allow you to style your hair at a lower temperature. It also claims that there is up to 68% less damage with this iron. If you just need a reliable iron for smooth, straight hair, this is an amazing option. It's also great for all hair types, including super textured hair.
6. Sephora Collection Tame: Infrared Flat Iron
Let's start with the best feature: The material that wraps the iron is matte and feels like fabric. It adds a level of stability to every pass. I also like that the plates are longer, and wrap all the way around the iron—this gives some versatility to the styles you can create. The plates are made of titanium and use infrared heat. The iron gets as hot as 450 degrees and automatically locks. Like most of the ones on this list, when you turn the iron on and off, it remembers the last setting you used (which I'm a huge fan of).
That said, because my hair is curly, it takes a long time to style after a wash and rough dry. After 30 minutes, I definitely felt the weight of this iron more than some of the other, more lightweight ones.