IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

12 best hair straighteners and flat irons of 2021

Smoother, silkier hair is in your future.
Woman straightening her hair in the bathroom with her hair iron
Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Our editors independently selected these items because we think you will enjoy them and might like them at these prices. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a commission. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time. Learn more about Shop TODAY.

A quality flat iron may quickly become the most useful tool in your arsenal, and it doesn't need to be expensive.

When searching for the ideal flat iron to add to your beauty tool collection, a good start is to look for something called Nano Smart technology. This is important because it plays a major role in keeping the hair healthy by sealing in moisture.

“Infrared is so beneficial being that the wavelengths are longer and can penetrate deeper into the cuticle heating the hair from the inside out, keeping your hair's own natural moisture, leaving the hair smooth (and) shiny and keeping it extremely healthy, versus other conventional styling tools that actually pull moisture out of the hair, leaving the hair dry, brittle, dull and damaged,” said hair expert and stylist Gina Rivera.

Keeping moisture in the hair from the infrared, styles will last longer, color will be more vibrant, and hair will have more volume.

Also: “Ceramic tourmaline heating plates will ensure safe, even heat through the plates, ensuring that there are not any hot spots which can create damage, (and) also sealing in the moisture for a smooth and shiny (hairdo). And it eliminates frizz,” said Rivera.

Are cheap flat irons just as good as expensive ones?

“When it comes to flat irons, I truly feel that you get what you pay for,” said Matii Salon Artistic Director Stacey Smoker. The cheaper the flat iron, the less consistent the heat through the blade and the longer the heat recovery time.

“Every time you close a flat iron on the hair, the temperature drops. The bigger the fluctuation in temperature, the more passes the user is inclined to take (and) the hotter the temp they are inclined to set the iron at,” said Smoker.

What should you look for in a flat iron?

Regular and repeated exposure to higher temperatures causes permanent damage to the hair. It's important to select the right heat setting for your hair type.

“Invest in tools that have digital temperature that you can adjust. With internal custom heaters and temperature control, you can protect your hair by lowering the temperature and only holding your hair on the iron for a couple seconds,” said Beachwaver founder and celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa.

For example, if you have thick hair, you will want to use a higher heat setting than someone with thin or fine hair.

“If you have color-treated hair, the cuticle is more open and the internals of your hair strands are more exposed so they actually curl easier and don't need as much heat! Adjusting the heat setting to your hair type will ensure that your curls last and the health of your hair is maintained," said Potempa.

“The temperature of the iron can determine the curl pattern on hair that tends to fall easily, as you might need a higher heat to lock in the pattern closer to the root,” she added. “The internal components of the irons also can determine the curl pattern, and that is why it is important to invest in custom, high-end tools that contain internal heaters that go the entire length of the barrel. The higher the heat, the stronger the curl will essentially be. Low heat will produce a softer finish.”

Below are some stylist-approved flat irons that'll get the job done in a pinch — plus a few other bestsellers that won't disappoint.

Stylist-approved flat irons and hair straighteners

1. T3 SinglePass Luxe Professional Straightening & Styling Iron

This flat iron is a favorite of stylists because it's easy to use and gets the job done fast by straightening the hair with one pass, thanks to its SinglePass technology and tourmaline ceramic plates. Less heat on your hair equals less hair damage, making this flat iron the healthiest option.

2. Herstyler Colorful Seasons Ceramic Flat Iron

This lightweight mini straightener is easy to use and great if you love to travel and need to take your tools with you. It's so tiny and portable that it can fit into a carry-on bag, and it heats and is ready to use in only 30 seconds. It packs serious punch, though — its 100 percent ceramic plates generate six times more negative ions than regular irons for less heat damage and frizz.

3. T3 SinglePass Compact Travel Styling Flat Iron

A smaller and compact version of the SinglePass technology, “T3 Micro is the best hands-down flat iron for your hair. You can use this flat iron with both moist and dry hair. One press will get it hot in seconds. The one pass is the truth!” said celebrity hairstylist and makeup artist Daniel Koye.

4. Drybar Tress Press 1 Inch Flat Iron

A mix of titanium plates and ionic technology, this flat iron will leave hair smooth and shiny, but get the job done quickly, making it the best of all worlds.

5. Bed Head Attention Grabber 1” Flat Iron

This tool uses tourmaline ceramic technology with multiple heat settings to heat up to 400 degrees. It packs a lot of the punch of the big boys but at a very budget-friendly price.

6. Pro Beauty Tools Xl Copper Digital 1 Inch Flat Iron

This flat iron can be heated up to 455 degrees and will stay hot as long as you need it, but has an auto shut-off for safety. It also has dual voltage for worldwide use.

7. Remington Pearl Pro Ceramic Flat Iron

“The Remington is the most budget-friendly, but don’t think that means it doesn’t perform. It heats up quickly and gets to the right temperature without over-drying,” said hairstylist Michelle Schwartz of B2V Salon in West Hollywood.

8. Rusk Engineering CTC Technology 1 Inch Professional Straight Iron

“The Rusk iron has been around for a long time, but is still a top contender. It gets the hair super straight, but still protects the hair with its ceramic plates,” said Schwartz.

Top-rated flat irons and hair straighteners

1. Bestope Hair Straightener and Curler 2-in-1

Perfect for on-the-go hair emergencies, this 2-in-1 flat iron and curler includes six digital temperature settings suitable for every hair type. Reviewers particularly love how it leaves their locks "soft and silky" and free of frizz.

2. Kristin Ess 3-in-1 Flat Iron

With titanium plates delivering fast heat, shine-boosting ionic technology and automatic shut-off after 30 minutes, this flat iron is an easy, breezy, stress-free gateway to smooth locks.

3. InfinitiPro By Conair Rose Gold Titanium 1.25" Flat Iron

Its pretty rose gold exterior isn't the only thing you're going to love about this Conair hair straightener. Ulta customers rave about its "even high heat" and how their hair "glides through effortlessly" through its ceramic surface.

4. HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Flat Iron

Amazon's bestselling hair straightener is this affordable model from HSI. With HeatBalance micro-sensors, ceramic and tourmaline plates and adjustable temperature settings, your hair is bound to look sleeker and smoother than it did pre-ironing.

For more stories like this, check out:

This article was originally published on August 12, 2017.