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14 best flat irons of 2024, according to hair experts

Choosing the best flat iron depends on your hair type and texture.
We consulted experts on the best ceramic, tourmaline and titanium flat irons to shop from brands like Dyson, T3, Ghd, Paul Mitchell and more.
We consulted experts on the best ceramic, tourmaline and titanium flat irons to shop from brands like Dyson, T3, Ghd, Paul Mitchell and more.Olivia Ott / NBC

There are various tools that can help you create a salon-worthy blowout at home, including curling wands, hair dryers and, perhaps the most versatile of them all, flat irons. A flat iron can often have similar functions as a round brush or curling iron, which minimizes your need for extra hair tools, especially if you’re traveling.

Flat irons provide sleek, long-lasting looks that smooth the cuticle and lock in a specific style with minimal tension and less repetitive passes on the hair fibers, says Bridgette Hill, a certified trichologist and scalp expert.

To help you find the best flat iron for your hair type, we spoke to experts and hairstylists about what to know about flat irons and how to protect your hair from heat damage. We also gathered their recommendations for the best flat irons to shop.

SKIP AHEAD Best flat irons to shop | How do ceramic, tourmaline and titanium flat irons differ? | How to shop for a flat iron | Do flat irons damage hair?

Selected.Our top picks

How we picked the best flat irons

When shopping for a flat iron, our experts recommend looking at the following factors:

  • Plate type: There are three main types of flat iron plates: ceramic (good for dry, damaged or fine hair and generally more affordable), tourmaline (good for all hair types) and titanium (the most durable and good for coarse thick, curly and coily hair).
  • Plate size: Most flat iron plates are available in sizes between 1 inch and 2 inches (our experts recommend avoiding options larger than 2 inches). Smaller plates are best for those with short hair and offer more styling versatility, whereas larger plates are best for those with long hair.?
  • Heat settings: Our experts recommend looking for models that have multiple temperature settings so you can tailor the amount of heat to your specific hair type. Some flat irons have a digital display that lets you know the exact temperature, too.
  • Your hair type: The amount of heat your hair can tolerate depends on the type of hair you have. Fine, less dense hair doesn’t need much heat to straighten it, so consider setting your flat iron’s temperature around 250 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent damage, says Shawn Harvey, hairstylist and owner of ShawnCutMaster Inc in Pennsylvania. For medium-thick hair, consider using a temperature between 250-350 degrees Fahrenheit; thick and coarse hair will need slightly more heat to lay the hair’s cuticle flat, so you’ll want to use a temperature between 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit, says Harvey.
  • Price: Ceramic-plated flat irons are typically more affordable, while durable titanium flat irons will have a higher price tag (upwards of $150).

Best flat irons to shop

Below, we rounded up our experts’ recommendations for the best flat irons to shop, all with varying plate types, sizes and heat settings.

Best flat iron overall: Dyson

Dyson Corrale Hair Straightener

What we like
  • Cordless
  • Minimal heat damage
  • Faster styling
Something to note
  • Higher price point

This cordless Dyson Corrale makes styling your hair faster and effortless, says Kyle DeToure, a Washington-based hairstylist and colorist. Instead of the traditional ceramic or titanium plates, the straightener has magnesium copper alloy plates (the only iron on this list with this type), which helps avoid repeated passes and causes less heat damage to your hair, according to the brand. The flat iron has 30 minutes of cord-free use, three pre-set heat settings — 330, 365 and 410 degrees Fahrenheit — and automatically shuts off, according to Dyson. The brand also has a newer version of this straightener, called the Dyson Airstrait, which uses hot air to dry and straighten your hair instead of hot plates.

Plate type: Magnesium copper alloy | Plate size: 1 inch | Number of heat settings: 3 | Digital display: Yes | Max heat: 410 degrees Fahrenheit | Automatic shut off: After 10 minutes

Best hybrid flat iron: Chi

CHI Original 1-inch Digital Ceramic Iron

What we like
  • Even heat distribution
  • Heats up quickly
Something to note
  • Nothing to note at this time

Harvey recommends this tourmaline-infused ceramic iron from Chi because it gives hair a smooth finish. It takes 30 seconds to heat up to the maximum temperature of 425 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the brand. “Its sleek design also makes it easy to straighten, curl or wave [hair] effortlessly,” says Harvey.

Plate type: Ceramic and tourmaline | Plate size: 1 inch | Heat settings: 5 | Digital display: Yes | Max heat: 425 degrees Fahrenheit | Automatic shut off: After 60 minutes?

Best for heat damage prevention: T3

T3 Micro Lucea Straightening and Styling Iron

What we like
  • Smart heat control
  • Available in two plate sizes
Something to note
  • Higher price point

T3 is a quality hair tool brand, according to Tina Malhotra, hairstylist and owner of Hair By Tina M. This highly rated option has nine heat settings that you can adjust using the built-in digital display. The flat iron also includes a smart microchip that monitors heat fluctuations and maintains a consistent temperature while you use it, according to the brand. The flat iron is available in both a 1-inch and 1.5-inch version.

Plate type: Ceramic | Plate size: 1 inch | Heat settings: 9 | Digital display: Yes | Max heat: 410 degrees Fahrenheit | Automatic shut off: After 60 minutes

Best splurge: Ghd

ghd Platinum+ Styler 1-inch Flat Iron

What we like
  • Rounded edges for beachy waves
  • Smart heat control
Something to note
  • Higher price point
  • No digital display

David Jones-Mu?oz, a stylist and owner of Salon Dumbo in Brooklyn, says he keeps this flat iron handy and loves that it has a small curve to help create a beachy wave. Although it does not have a digital display, it has smart technology that helps the straightener maintain a preset temperature as you style, according to Ghd.

Plate type: Ceramic | Plate size: 1 inch | Heat settings: 1 | Digital display: No | Max heat: 365 degrees Fahrenheit | Automatic shut off: After 30 minutes

Best for multi-styling: Kristin Ess

Kristin Ess 3-in-1 Titanium Flatiron

What we like
  • Heats up quickly
  • Comes with travel cap
Something to note
  • Nothing to note at this time

You can use this tool, which has a 4.5-star average rating from over 1,100 reviews on Amazon, to create straight, wavy or curly hair. Reviewers say it’s easy to use because it heats up quickly, glides without any snagging or pulling and has a long cord that doesn’t get in their way. It also comes with a heat-resistant travel cap to protect the surfaces you place your hot tool on.

Plate type: Titanium | Plate size: 1.25 inches | Heat settings: 4 | Digital display: Yes | Max heat: 440 degrees Fahrenheit | Automatic shut off: After 30 minutes

Best budget pick: Infinitipro

Infinitipro by Conair Rainbow Titanium Flat Iron

What we like
  • Digital display
  • High maximum heat
  • Slim design
Something to note
  • Nothing to note at this time

After owning this flat iron for years, it’s still my all-time favorite — it’s one of the only flat irons I’ve used that doesn’t pull at my hair and heats up fast. You can adjust the temperature on the digital display, which makes using it so much easier than using side buttons, and I love knowing the exact temperature that it’s at so I don’t fry my hair. Aside from its performance, its slim shape doesn’t take up too much space while I’m traveling.?

Plate type: Titanium | Plate size: 1 inch | Heat settings: 6 | Digital display: Yes | Max heat: 450 degrees Fahrenheit | Automatic shut off: n/a

Best for precision: Paul Mitchell

Paul Mitchell Express Smooth Ion & Ceramic Flat Iron

What we like
  • Available in two plate sizes
  • Rounded edges for styling
Something to note
  • Nothing to note at this time

This flat iron is easy to use and heats up and cools quickly, says Harvey. The slim design lets you be precise and get close to your roots as you straighten or curl your hair thanks to its rounded edges, she says. It’s available in two sizes: 1.25 inch plates and 1.5 inch plates, the latter of which is great for those with long, thick or coarse hair, according to the brand.

Plate type: Ceramic | Plate size: 1.25 inches | Heat settings: 8 | Digital display: Yes | Max heat: 410 degrees Fahrenheit | Automatic shut off: After 60 minutes

Best for quick styling: BabylissPro

BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Ionic Hair Straightener

What we like
  • Available in two plate sizes
  • Good for thick hair
  • Elongated plates
Something to note
  • Bulkier than other options

This Babyliss flat iron has elongated plates to help you style your hair faster, according to the brand. This flat iron, which has a 4.7-average star rating from 7,500 reviews on Amazon, heats up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and can straighten or create waves, according to Babyliss. Reviewers say it works on all hair types, including fine and very coarse hair, and leaves hair frizz-free. This flat iron is also available in a larger size with 1.75 inch plates.

Plate type: Titanium | Plate size: 1.25 inches | Heat settings: 5 | Digital display: Yes | Max heat: 450 degrees Fahrenheit | Automatic shut off: n/a

Best for heating up quickly: Cloud Nine

Cloud Nine Original Flat Iron

What we like
  • Doesn’t pull on hair
  • Heats up quickly
  • Available in three plate sizes
Something to note
  • Higher price point

The Cloud Nine flat iron, which comes recommended by London-based hair stylist Stefan Bertin, is available in three sizes: 0.5 inches, 1 inch and 1.5 inches. It has seven temperature settings, which is helpful for determining which one works best for your hair type, according to the brand. The ceramic plates are infused with minerals (including tourmaline), so you get a snag-free glide, says Bertin. The tool takes 20 seconds to reach its maximum temperature, according to the brand, and has a protective guard to keep your surfaces safe from heat damage.

Plate type: Ceramic and tourmaline | Plate size: 1 inch | Heat settings: 7 | Digital display: Yes | Max heat: 392 degrees Fahrenheit | Automatic shut off: After 30 minutes

Best for travel: Ghd

Ghd Original Styler 1” Flat Iron

What we like
  • Durable
  • Universal voltage for travel
Something to note
  • Only one pre-set temperature

If you want a flat iron that will last you a long time, consider this option, which comes recommended by NBC Select editor Lindsay Schneider. “I’ve been straightening my hair since I was 10 and have only ever used two straighteners, including this one that I’ve owned for five years now,” she says. Unlike most other flat irons on our list, which allow you to adjust the temperature, this one is pre-set to prevent extreme heat on your hair, according to the brand. It also has universal voltage, so you can take it overseas, according to Ghd.?

Plate type: Ceramic | Plate size: 1 inch | Heat settings: 1 | Digital display: No | Max heat: 365 degrees Fahrenheit | Automatic shut off: After 30 minutes

Best lightweight flat iron: Paul Mitchell

Paul Mitchell Neuro Smooth Titanium Flat Iron

What we like
  • Rounded edges for beachy waves
  • Heats up quickly
  • Available in two plate sizes
Something to note
  • Nothing to note at this time

Malhotra has used this Paul Mitchell flat iron at her salon for years. It has 1.25-inch plates (it also comes in a 1.5-inch version, which is best for thicker, more coarse hair) and has rounded edges that can make it easier to style your hair into waves, curls or flips, according to the brand. The flat iron heats up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit in 45 seconds, according to Paul Mitchell. It also lets you set a custom timer for when you want it to turn off automatically.

Plate type: Titanium | Plate size: 1.25 inches | Heat settings: 4 | Digital display: Yes | Max heat: 450 degrees Fahrenheit | Automatic shut off: After 120 minutes or sooner based on customization features

Best ergonomic flat iron: Drybar

Drybar Reserve Dual-Plate Styling Iron

What we like
  • Causes less heat damage
  • High maximum temperature
  • Ergonomic design
Something to note
  • Bulkier than other options

NBC Select associate reporter Bianca Alvarez recommends this flat iron from Drybar, which she uses to get pin straight hair as well as waves. The ergonomic hot tool, which reaches 450 degrees Fahrenheit, has four small plates that require fewer passes, creating less heat damage, according to the brand. “I have medium, dry hair and after using this flat iron, my hair looks way less frizzy because I’m able to get close to my roots and take it all the way down to my ends in one go,” says Alvarez.

Plate type: Titanium | Plate size: 0.5 inch | Heat settings: 5 | Digital display: No | Max heat: 450 degrees Fahrenheit | Automatic shut off: After 60 minutes

Best for dry hair: Amika

Amika The Confidante Moisture Maintenance Titanium Flat Iron

What we like
  • Good for frizz-prone hair
  • Automatic shut-off
  • High maximum heat
Something to note
  • Nothing to note at this time

This Amika hot tool uses infrared light beams in its titanium plates to maintain your hair’s moisture while you straighten, curl or create waves, according to the brand. Not only does it keep moisture locked in, but it also helps minimize frizz, which occurs frequently in overly dry hair, according to Amika. Reviewers say it makes their thick, frizz-prone hair look smooth, and it takes a shorter amount of time to style since it only requires one to two passes. The flat iron has a 4.5-star average rating from over 300 reviews on Amazon.??

Plate type: Titanium | Plate size: 1.25 inches | Heat settings: Unlimited between 170 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit? | Digital display: Yes | Max heat: 450 degrees Fahrenheit | Automatic shut off: After 60 minutes

Best durable flat iron: Creative Professionals

Creative Professional SCW 1-inch Styling Iron

What we like
  • Durable
  • Doesn’t pull on hair 
Something to note
  • No digital display 

Jones-Mu?oz calls this flat iron a “workhorse” and says he likes using it at his salon because of? its thick, durable plates. The temperature, which is adjustable, works well for his clients, and he prefers the brand’s ceramic plates over titanium because it offers a better “pull” on the hair, making it easier to style.

Plate type: Ceramic | Plate size: 1 inch | Heat settings: 5 | Digital display: No | Max heat: 450 degrees Fahrenheit | Automatic shut off: n/a

How do ceramic, tourmaline and titanium flat irons differ?

The three most common flat iron plates are ceramic, tourmaline and titanium. Each one will straighten hair, but different attributes make each more beneficial for certain hair textures, ranging from fine wavy hair to kinky coils.

Ceramic flat irons

Ceramic flat irons, which have ceramic-coated plates, are the most affordable option out of the three types of hair straighteners, says Bertin. They don’t get as hot as titanium and tourmaline, which makes them “ideal for those with dry, damaged or fine hair,” he says. However, ceramic-coated plates often need to be routinely checked since the coating can wear and chip away — in fact, when the metal beneath (usually aluminum) is exposed, it can cause damage to your hair, says Bertin.

Ceramic flat irons provide fairly even heat distribution, glide through the hair smoothly and leave behind a glossy sheen, says Courtney Foster, a licensed cosmetologist and owner of Courtney Foster Beauty. However, both Foster and Bertin agree that those with thick, coarse hair should pass on ceramic flat irons since they don’t typically reach high enough temperatures to straighten thicker hair.

Tourmaline flat irons

Tourmaline-coated plates are generally constructed from a tourmaline (a mineral) and ceramic blend that “offers an extra layer of protection and smoothness,” says Hill. Tourmaline irons are considered the best of the three types because their heat distribution means you’ll need fewer passes to get your desired straightening effect, says Bertin.

“Tourmaline plates are a step above the ceramic plates when hair type and texture are medium with loose waves and nominal frizz,” says Hill. Tourmaline provides a barrier to excessive heat and, as with most modern heating tools, you can adjust the temperature settings to fit the majority of hair types and textures.

Titanium flat irons

Titanium is a strong, durable metal best suited for professional salon use on coarse thick, curly and coily hair. These plates typically heat up the quickest and more evenly distribute heat compared to ceramic plates, which allows for fewer passes over the hair, a smoother finish and better results than a ceramic iron, says Foster. However, titanium can cause the most damage to your hair, so you should avoid these if you have fine or damaged hair, according to Hill.

“The heat transfer from titanium is intense, quick and, if used frequently or improperly, can create irreversible heat damage and breakage,” says Hill. She recommends leaving titanium to the professionals and touching up at home with a tourmaline or ceramic iron when needed.

How to shop for a flat iron

In addition to the plate materials, our experts recommend looking at features like size of the plates and a digital display to monitor the temperature.

Plate size and shape

“Smaller plates are better for short hair, whereas larger plates are better for longer hair,” says Bertin. However, the plate size won’t really affect the finished product, but it will affect the speed at which you get there, he says.

Once plates get to 2 inches wide or above, there’s less versatility and less chance that you’ll move the straightener quick enough without burning the hair, says Jones-Mu?oz.

If you’re looking to use a flat iron for curls and beach waves, consider using flat irons with rounded edges that allow you to curl your hair onto the back of the straightener without much tug and pull, says Jones-Mu?oz.

Price

Flat irons vary in price based on multiple factors, including plate quality and material, size and brand recognition.

“If you’re using it for a quick touch-up or once a month, then you could go with something that’s a little less expensive,” says Jones-Mu?oz. More durable straighteners (like those with titanium plates) are on the pricier side, but they will be less likely to wear and chip with frequent use.

Digital display

Our experts agree that flat irons should have a button or knob that displays the temperature you’re using. Harvey recommends flat irons with a digital display, which indicates the exact temperature the iron reaches and any fluctuations.

Do flat irons damage hair?

Improper use, like using a temperature too high for your hair type, can cause damage, according to our experts. “Hair is a fabric and, like any material, heat can deteriorate and break down the hair structure,” says Hill. The cuticle — the outer layer of a hair strand — can very easily become damaged by heat over 356 degrees Fahrenheit, experts told us. Damaging that cuticle layer will make your hair more porous, which means it will struggle to hold on to moisture, causing dryness and breakage.

Determining the safest heat setting depends on your hair type and texture. “??Thick hair can use a higher setting, while thin hair should use a lower heat setting,” says Foster.?

When using a flat iron, you should do so via quick passes on low or medium temperature and you should always use some kind of heat protectant when using any hot tool, according to our experts. Severe damage is likely irreparable and has to be grown out, says Bertin. Although hair straighteners are safe when used properly, you shouldn’t use them (or any hot tool) every day, our experts say.

“Even with the best heat protectants in the game, heat is not something you should be exposing your hair to every day,” says Bertin. “Those with afro-textured hair, for example, should consider flat ironing their hair at most once a week because our hair is naturally more fragile and dry, so flat ironing any more than that is a huge no-no,” says Bertin.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Bridgette Hill is a Palm Beach, Florida-based certified trichologist and former hairstylist. Her areas of expertise include scalp health, styling and cutting.
  • Stefan Bertin is a London-based hairstylist, whose specialties include editorial styling, textured hair and more.
  • Tina Malhotra is a New York City-based hairstylist and owner of Hair By Tina M. Malhotra’s areas of expertise include cutting, coloring, styling and treatments.?
  • Courtney Foster is a certified trichologist and owner of Courtney Foster Beauty, a hair salon in New York City. Her specialties include cutting, coloring, styling and scalp health.?
  • Kyle DeToure is a Washington-based hairstylist and hair colorist with expertise in balayage, editorial styling and French and British haircutting.
  • Shawn Harvey is a Philadelphia-based hairstylist and owner of ShawnCutMaster Inc, a hair salon in Pennsylvania. Her areas of expertise include curly hair cutting, styling and coloring.?
  • David Jones-Mu?oz is a New York City-based stylist and owner of Salon Dumbo in Brooklyn, whose expertise includes cutting, styling and coloring all hair types.

Why trust NBC Select?

Mili Godio is an editor at Select who has written a variety of beauty and skin care stories, including stories on the best tinted moisturizers, dry shampoos and dark circles treatments. For this article, Godio spoke to seven hair care experts about what to look for when shopping for a flat iron and rounded up their favorite ones to shop.

Catch up on NBC Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date.

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