Curling Irons with the Best Price-Quality Ratio in 2018 and Where to Buy Them

Your Pick: Sultry Sex Kitten, Old Hollywood Glam or Slinky Beach Goddess

Soft, tousled waves, sleek perfectly coifed ringlets, or bouncy flowing curls are all gorgeous styles that don’t just belong to the Victoria Secret Models of the world, but to everyone. Getting the sexy windswept, just-fell-from-Heaven look is as easy as wrapping your strands around a curling iron. The hard part is discerning which hot tool will give you the same look as Gisele fresh off the runway and which might end up a viral horror story of someone singeing off a flame-friendly section of hair.

So how does one manage to stay off the interwebs as the worst hair story ever told and instead float through the iconic curled hair styles like the angel you should be? Well, by purchasing the perfect, professional quality curling iron of course! We’ve also explained several important features to be aware of that put your strands’ health and best hair interests as a priority. Below we’ve listed our top-rated products that passed our hard-wrought criteria with flying colors and earned our glowing recommendation.

The Science of Hair

It’s easier to understand the importance of the below features when you understand exactly what hair is and why these capabilities work seamlessly together to enhance your hair’s health and luster. You see, your hair is a compound made of a tough protein called keratin that sprouts from the bulb, a small round ball inside the follicle that keeps the shaft in place. The shaft is composed of the outer cuticle, the protectant “armor” of the strand. The middle is called the cortex which is where pigment or color of your hair is determined as well as the shape or texture. The innermost layer is called the medulla, although this is not a universal component and is usually seen only in those with very thick hair.

Composition: Now you know a little bit about the ins and outs of hair, let’s get to the importance of composition. The make of the barrel plays a crucial role in maintaining your hair health because it’s the regulator of the thermal conduction between the iron and your strand. Titanium and ceramic are two of the best metals for heat transfer because of their gentle yet powerful capabilities. Both of these metals have a wide range of benefits and as the two most popular metals used in styling tools, they often don’t come cheap. Titanium is extremely light chemical element preferred by high-end stylists due to it’s incredible strength yet low density. This versatile metal is also used to manufacture jet engines, space crafts and many other aerospace vessels because of it’s incredible strength. Titanium transfers heat evenly and quickly, which makes it such a great choice for hair tools. This fast and equal distribution of kinetic molecules completely erases any potential hot spots leaving you with frizz-free smooth hair that we all dream about. Ceramic is another great metal that successful transfers heat evenly, the only issue with ceramic is it takes a longer time to warm up and doesn’t diffuse heat as well or as powerful as titanium.

Technology: You will find some brands boasting a feature called “negative ion technology” which is a functionality designed to eliminate frizz and static. Most hair strands are positively charged which can result in that strange and unwanted static. You know when you rub a balloon against your head and the strands seem to lift off your scalp? Well negative ion technology neutralizes those positive charges by sending negative electrons back into your hair resulting in a smooth, glossy finish.

Temperatures: It’s also important to take temperature into account and make sure that the tool of your choice has a heat setting so you can adjust how hot the barrel is accordingly. For fine-haired or users with damaged hair a recommended setting ranges between 250-300 degrees. For medium/average hair it’s advised to dial it to 300-350 and for those with thick or coarse hair switch it to 350-400 degrees.

Barrel Size: As far as barrels go, the wider the girth the bigger the curl. If you do happen to have super fine hair that struggles to hold a curl no matter how much hair spray you drench it with, you should use a smaller barrel for tight curls that will loosen throughout the day.


Typically a ½ inch barrel will give you small tight ringlets perfect for retro looks or a 1920’s flapper-esque finger waves.

Photo from https://www.denmanbrushus.com/2014/11/11/1920s-flapper-girl/

A ¾ inch curler is perfect for touching up natural curls and by curling six or seven pieces that frame the face you can create a natural-looking yet polished look.

Photo from http://www.hairboutique.com/blogs_p/index.php/2010/09/07/skyler-samuels-curls-and-rockin-ringlets-how-to/

The 1 inch curling iron is one of the most popular and versatile tools. You can wrap your hair for a supertight spiral, but you can also loosen the strand and still get beachy, loose waves.

Photo from https://www.fashionstylemag.com/2015/hair/how-to-manage-frizzy-hair/?fb_ref=569dd010f35847ddae7e4c7752979314-Pinterest

The 1 ¼ inch is perfect for huge, voluminous curls that would make any Kardashian jealous. This size is only recommended for those with medium to long hair.

Photo from https://ru.pinterest.com/pin/337066353348410932/

The 1 ½ inch barrel is great for one thing: volume volume volume. This can give those with heavier hair some lift at the root rather than sticking mousse to your scalp hoping for a little rise. The 1 ½ inch is great for thick, coarse haired shoppers ready to say good-bye to their bumpits, in case anyone wants to forget that regretful purchase from the 90s.

Now that you know the types of curling irons available and what to look for when purchasing, take a look at the below top-rated curlers we found in our research and see for yourself which tool you want next in your hair stylin’ arsenal.


1

SRI Perfect Curl

SRI Perfect Curl

The SRI Perfect Curl Rose Gold Titanium Curling Iron ensures even, effective heat distribution to give you spiraling, shiny curls in the ideal size for the look you want, with all day hold and fun, easy, fast styling.

This curling iron was an amazing tool that not only added shine and luster to each look, but was incredible easy to use. Many reviewers we came across were a little dismayed by the difficulty of handling various irons and some even complained of small burns, but the SRI Perfect Curl seemed to be a winner for everyone who used it. The ease of use, fast heat up speed, healthy luscious hair, and the gorgeous styles all came together to give the SRI Perfect Curl a resounding 5 stars.

PROS:
  • Titanium barrel left hair healthy and shiny
  • Negative ion technology eliminated frizz and static
  • Incredibly helpful customer service team answered all questions warmly
  • Hair actually became thicker and healthier after using this tool
  • Very affordable for such a professional-quality device

CONS:
  • Only available online
  • Frequently on backorder

 


2

DryBar – The 3 Day Bender

Drybar The 3-Day Bender 1.25

A curling iron for stunning, shiny, bouncy curls. This must-have curling iron features a rotating barrel that makes curling hair quick and easy.

PROS:
  • Ceramic barrel gave users sleek, curls
  • Gorgeous yellow color makes the item pop
  • Nano Ionic mineral technology keeps hair healthy
  • Dual bionic heaters ensure a fast heat up time
  • Available online and in stores such as Sephora, Ulta and Drybar

CONS:
  • The rotating barrel was difficult to use
  • Users complained of their hair quickly falling out of the curl
  • Took a long time to ship
  • Customer service was extremely frazzled and didn’t seem to know how to answer questions about the product, we were transferred many times to reps that never had a solution

 


3

Helen of Troy Hot Tools

This is for 3 pcs. Curl Iron / Hair Straightener - Hot Tools Ceramic Ci 1 1/2

PROS:
  • Features a clip to ensure easy handling
  • Uses ceramic composition to make sure hair strands are healthy
  • Colorful purple color
  • Easy-to-see temperature dial for wide range of temperatures for numerous hair textures

CONS:
  • Customers complained of the barrel easily breaking off
  • Reviewers also complained of the barrel being too short and taking a long time for those with longer hair.
  • Shipping took longer than expected and didn’t arrive until a few days after it was scheduled to.

Michelle Chen

Michelle Chen has written articles on a wide variety of topics such as technology, health and wellness, sociology and culture, entertainment, as well as travel and recreation guides. She has worked throughout her community to bring physical education to elementary schools and provide accessibility to extra-curricular activities for inner city youths through various organizations. In her free time, Michelle enjoys volunteering at her local animal shelter, hiking with her two Labrador retrievers and practicing yoga.

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