From beachy waves to ringlets that would make Shirley Temple jealous, curly hairstyles never seem to go out of style. Whether you want to create a polished look or enhance your natural texture, hair curlers are a foundational tool in any beauty lover’s arsenal.
With a huge array of products on the market, from wands to tongs, hunting for hair tools can be a minefield for the uninformed shopper. Luckily, The Recommended is here to help.
We spoke to two hair experts who gave us their take on what you should look out for (and avoid) when shopping for a hair curler. We took their advice and found the best hair curlers for all eventualities to help you shop smarter (you can thank us later).
Jump to the best hair curlers:
- Best curler for waves: Toni and Guy Deep Barrel Hair Waver
- Best curler for long hair: Babyliss Ceramic Curling wand Pro
- Best cordless curler: Conair Unbound Cordless Auto Curler
- Best affordable curler: Babyliss Curl Pro 210 Tong
- Best automatic curler: Babyliss 2667U Secret Curl Styler
- Best clamp iron: Hot Tools Pro Signature Gold Curling Iron
- Best versatile curler: Mark Hill Pick ‘n’ Mix Styling Collection
- Best curling wand: Amika The Chameleon 5 Barrel Interchangeable Curling Kit
Our expert hairstylists
Beginning her career in a salon in Minneapolis, Courtney Housner made the big move to LA to further her career and quickly made a splash in the entertainment industry. A professional hairstylist and makeup artist, Courtney has styled various A-listers and has had her work featured in the pages of Vogue and QG, to name a few.
Henry Whittle is a freelance hairstylist and haircare expert. When he’s not creating stunning looks for his clients, Henry takes to social media, making honest and informative review posts on a whole host of beauty products. Henry has worked with several top brands, including Blissy, Garnier, and Hask.
What should you look for when buying a hair curler?
When looking for a new hair curler, Courtney told us to always “look for adjustable heat settings. You would think this or a given but it isn’t always!”. Courtney also recommended looking for a tool “that has a piece at the end of the iron that you can grab onto”, She told us how this “gives you way more control and way less of a chance for accidents to occur”.
Henry urged us to consider the “[style] you want to create,” telling us how this “will play a large part in the type of curler you would want”. Henry continued that “a straight barrel of around 32mm is normally a good place to start as it will give you the most consistent result”.
What should you avoid when looking for a hair curler?
There is a whole range of curling irons on the market in varying styles and designs. Courtney urged us to avoid purchasing an iron that doesn’t compliment our hair type, telling us, “if your hair curls easily, get an iron in the desired size with a clamp” and adding that “if your hair doesn’t hold curl well, get a wand”. Her top insider tip? “Hand wrapped curls for hair that doesn’t curl well is the ultimate hack”.
Henry discussed the importance of barrel size and weight, telling us, “I would avoid a curler over 42mm in circumference as it would create such a loose texture that it would drop out so fast”. Henry also advised against “an overly heavy curler as you will need to hold it up for around 10-15 seconds per section”.
Which is the best hair curler?
When asked which tools they consider to be the best of the best, Courtney told us, “my go-to irons are the tried and true, OG, ‘Hot Tool’s‘ curling irons for clamp irons”. She added that her “wand go-to is the ‘Chameleon 5 barrel interchangeable curling kit’ from Amika”, telling us “it’s perfect for all different hair lengths/densities”.
Henry gave his vote to the “super easy to use” “Mark Hill Pick’N’Mix” for its versatility and affordable price tag, saying “the ability to change the heated attachment is such a good investment and way to experiment without breaking the bank”.
The best hair curlers
Best curler for waves: Toni and Guy Deep Barrel Hair Waver
For an ‘undone’ look
With an innovative, easy to use design, this hair tool promises perfect waves every time.
This hair tool promises to help you achieve effortless waves quickly. The 32mm deep barrel works to create deep waves that will stay intact all day, and the adjustable heat settings speak to Courtney’s love of temperature control. The ceramic tourmaline plates are made with colour-lock technology that promises to protect colour, reduce flyaways and enhance shine.
Best curler for long hair: Babyliss Ceramic Curling wand Pro
For long locks
This curling wand is equipped with an extra-long barrel and promises to help you create luscious long curls with ease.
Delivering on Courtney’s recommendation of adjustable temperature settings, this hair curler is made with non-slip wrap control that works to gently hold the hair around the barrel for perfectly even curls. The ceramic barrel is infused with macadamia and camellia oils to help promote hair health and shine.
Best cordless curler: Conair Unbound Cordless Auto Curler
This curling iron is completely cordless and comes equipped with a USB charger for restriction-free styling at home or on the go.
Featuring a digital, adjustable temperature control, the Conair hair curler ticks Courtney’s box of variable heat settings. The automatic design aims to prioritise ease of use and promises to create perfect, even curls that last.
Best affordable curler: Babyliss Curl Pro 210 Tong
This affordable curling iron promises long-lasting bouncy curls and an easy styling experience.
This curling iron delivers on Courtney’s recommendation of adjustable temperature settings as well as offering an easy styling experience with the plastic capped barrel for added control. Equipped with a swivel cord, this tool prioritises ease of movement, and the tourmaline ceramic plates promise smooth, shiny curls.
Best automatic curler: Babyliss 2667U Secret Curl Styler
For hassle-free curls
This automatic hair curler promises to deliver perfect curls fast. The innovative design requires no skill, aiming to bring salon-worthy styles to you.
Equipped with variable heat and timer settings, the Baybliss 2667U Secret Curl Styler promises to gently draw hair into the ceramic chamber, forming long-lasting curls with minimal hassle. This hair curler automatically alternates curl direction for a natural-looking style.
Best clamp iron: Hot Tools Pro Signature Gold Curling Iron
Hot Tools are Courtney’s ‘go to’ for clamp irons, and this 32mm barrel speaks to Henry’s recommendation of the perfect width for consistent curls.
Called out by Courtney as ‘tried and true OG’s’, Hot Tools curling irons are widely thought of as industry favourites. This hair curler has an adjustable temperate control and uses pulse technology that works to keep the tool consistently hot for long-lasting, polished curls.
Best versatile curler: Mark Hill Pick ‘n’ Mix Styling Collection
Covers all bases
Coming in recommended by our expert Henry, the Mark Hill Pick ‘n’ Miz Styling Collection offers true versatility with a range of handles and barrel attachments for every imaginable style.
This product promises to do it all, from corkscrew curls to loose waves. With adaptability at its heart, this styling collection offers a variety of barrel styles and shapes that can be purchased separately, allowing you to build your collection over time.
Best curling wand: Amika The Chameleon 5 Barrel Interchangeable Curling Kit
A wand for every occasion
This multi-talented product comes recommended by our expert Courtney who calls this magic wand set her ‘go to’.
With interchangeable titanium barrels and an adjustable temperature gauge, this curling wand has versatility at its heart. The plastic capped barrels allow for more controlled styling, and the lightweight handle delivers on Henry’s recommendation of light tools for consistent curls.
Want to read more expert-recommended hair care essential round-ups? Check out our hair care page for a full list of recommendations, including our guide to the best shampoos and the best hair dryers, as recommended by our hair care experts.