What to look for when buying a curling iron

December 16, 2014

Styling your hair into cascading waves or springy spirals isn't as hard as it seems when you have the right curling iron. Here are a few things to look for to help you find a great hair curler.

Types of curling irons

Spring curling iron: This type of curling iron is familiar to most. It features a thumb-controlled shell that is used to open and close the clamp. Spring curling irons offer more control over variables like heat and the shape of curls.

Marcel curling iron: Named after a 19th century hairstylist, this hair curler also features a clamp on the wand, along with a longer handle. The Marcel must be opened and closed manually, similar to using a pair of scissors. It produces easily rolled, consistent-looking curls.

Cordless curling iron: Great for adding a little bounce to your hair when you're on the go, a cordless curling iron is powered by Thermacell cartridges, so it doesn’t need to be powered by batteries or a power outlet.

Clipless curling iron: This type of hair curler doesn’t have a clamp. Hair is wrapped around the barrel to give you a smooth curl without any crimps or creases.

Double and triple barrel irons: Double and triple barrel curling irons are professional curling irons used to give hair more waves.

Features and factors to consider when buying a curling iron

Take a minute to consider a few key curling iron features to help determine which model suits you best.

Hair type: Thicker hair requires high heat settings to maintain curling results, while fine hair needs lower settings to avoid damaging the hair.

Barrel heating speeds: The quicker a curling iron generates heat, the easier it is to achieve a professional curl.

Barrel size: Different barrel sizes produce different types of curls. Depending on what look you wish to achieve, a thicker one inch or two inch barrel is suitable for longer and looser curls. If you want tighter curls or ringlets, a 3/8 or 5/8 inch barrel is recommended.

Barrel material: Professional curling irons are more likely to have a ceramic or tourmaline heating plate. Both heat up quickly and cause less damage to hair in the curling process.

Interchangeable barrels: Some curling irons come with interchangeable barrels to help you create a variety of different looks.

Variable heat settings: You may want to consider an iron with a heat setting control, especially when curling your bangs, layers and ends.


Add in a few accessories to make curling your hair even easier.

  • Thermal styling glove: Gives heat better access to your curls and protects against burns
  • Crimping barrel: Add some fun to your curls with a crimping barrel
  • Heat-proof mat: Rest your curling iron on a mat to protect any surface
  • Iron cleaner: Helps maintain consistent results and enhances the longevity of your device

Before buying a curling iron, take into consideration your hair type and what look you want to achieve. Then pick out your favourite curling iron and make bad hair days a thing of the past.

What to look for when buying a curling iron
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