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11 Best Hair Straighteners and Flat Irons, According to Our Beauty Lab and Testers

Celeb stylists are also dishing on the best flat irons to get hair sleek and super smooth.

the best flat irons
Ulta Beauty

There's nothing quite like the shine and sleekness that comes from sealing your style with a straightening iron. The problem: It can be difficult to find the one that's the best for your hair. That's why each year in the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab, we evaluate thousands of hair tools, from hair dryers to curling irons, to find the only ones that are actually worth your money.

In our last test of flat irons, we rounded up more than 50 products from over 20 manufacturers to find the best flat irons — and in our most recent test, we added 18 more. In the Lab, we test them on swatches of frizzy hair in our controlled Climatology Chamber to evaluate each iron's ability to maintain straightness. We also consider each iron's weight and size, plus ease of use, user satisfaction, ability to impart shine and ability smooth hair, plus durability with our Drop Tester that replicates falls from three feet onto tile floor, and of course, safety and efficacy.

After over 4,914 heat data points measured, 972 survey questions tallied and 108 swatch expansion measurements taken in our most recent test, we found the top flat irons and straightening brushes at all price points for every hair type to straighten hair and even curl your hair (just before to douse hair with heat protectant before!):

    Titanium vs. ceramic: What kind of hair straightener is best?

    Some flat irons claim to prevent damage, others claim to be made with the best material for healthy shine, but as a shopper, it can be confusing to tell which is best. "Some of the aspects that make a great flat iron include the heating element ... a good visual digital thermometer, the quality of the plates and the length of the cord," says Eugene Toye, stylist at celebrity-favorite hair salon Rita Hazan. "The best flat irons are ones that sit comfortably in your hands, have an even heat distribution and selection of temperatures so that you don't damage your hair," adds Mane Addicts stylist Sabrina Porsche.

    Porsche says titanium tends to be the best when it comes to heat distribution, which makes for smooth, silky hair. Toye adds, "Titanium is preferred among stylists because [it tends] to get hot really quickly." Another great pick: Ceramic or tourmaline (which is actually "a high grade of ceramic," says Toye). "These plates are safe for thin/fine hair and don't get extremely hot," says Porsche. "Most ceramic flat irons provide faster results in less time, meaning less heat on your hair."

    That said, our Beauty Lab pros have found great flat irons come in all sorts of materials, from ceramic to titanium and beyond, so don't get too caught up in material claims and focus on other important aspects like adjustable heat settings, cord length and budget.

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    Lava Ceramic Hairstyling Iron

    • Adjustable temperature up to 450ºF
    • 1-inch plates
    • 60-minute auto shut-off
    • Top performance scores in Beauty Lab tests

    • No audible alert once iron reaches temperature

    This speed-heating, power-smoothing CHI earned a rare perfect score with GH’s expert evaluators and was far and away our top-tested flat iron. In tests, it warmed up to 96% of max temp in 60 seconds, and ranked top at fully straightening hair and keeping it sleek and frizz-free all day. It also got perfect marks from testers for gliding smoothly through hair and being easy to use, all commenting on the "noticeable shine" in just one pass.

    1” Flat Iron with Anti-Static Technology

    • Adjustable temperature up to 410ºF
    • 1-inch plates
    • 60-minute auto shut-off

    Though we haven't tested it in the Lab, with over 32,00 reviews on Amazon and an average 4.6 star rating, people are absolutely obsessed with this flat iron, and it has an astounding amount of great features for an under-$20 hair tool. Floating ceramic plates are coated with titanium for even heating and a silky smooth glide through the hair, and the temperature is adjustable up to 410ºF, so you can tweak it according to your hair type.

    Platinum+ Professional Performance Styler

    • Maintains 365º to protect hair from damage
    • 1-inch plates
    • 30-minute auto shut-off
    • Rounded edges are great for curling hair

    • Lack of adjustable temperature may be a turn-off for some hair types

    Thanks to rounded edges and a universally convenient 1-inch plate, this flat iron is great for both straightening and curling hair. The plates are super smooth, which means no more snags or broken pieces of hair, even as you curl. In Lab tests, we found that the flat iron heated up the most quickly reaching 99% of its claimed temperature in 30 seconds. It maintained a consistent, steady temperature of 365º to protect hair from excessive heat damage and its technology ensures even heat across the entire plate for even styling, too. A favorite of both stylists Porsche and Toye, Porsche says, "I recommend GHD irons for anyone who is natural and wants to use the best iron that won't damage your hair with heat."

    Pro 1" Pearl Ceramic Flat Iron

    • Adjustable temperature up to 450ºF
    • 1-inch plates
    • 60-minute auto shut-off

    • Shorter-than-average cord length

    This light and bargain-priced Remington delivers smooth strands that stay in place. The tool was the lightest-weight of the winners (0.77 pound!) and tied for best at maintaining sleekness. “One pass for effective straightening that lasted,” an evaluator said, with another adding hair "felt soft and looked straight with this iron." In Lab tests, it heats up to 93% of its claimed temperature in 60 seconds, which is speedy but not as fast as the 15 seconds claimed.

    Lucea ID 1'' Smart Flat Iron
    Now 20% off

    • Adjustable temperature up to 410ºF
    • Personalized settings for your specific hair type
    • Top scores for making hair shiny and silky-smooth

    • Testers found the touch screen power and adjustability buttons difficult to use
    • Takes a while to heat up

    This smart flat iron allows you to plug in personal info like hair length and texture to automatically calculate the perfect styling temperature for your hair. "Far too many times, people use a hotter setting than they actually need," our Lab pros say, but with nine temperature settings, this iron has the perfect fit for everyone, meaning you won't scorch even super fine hair. It nabbed top scores for making hair noticeably shiny, with testers noting it "glided effortlessly" through strands without pulling, tugging or creases for a style that "lasted all day long." Stylist Sabrina Porsche says, "I love T3 because if I am doing a silk press, I know I am getting super straight and shiny results." The iron remembers your settings but also offers instructions for re-touches and manual setup, plus 60-minute auto shut-off for peace of mind.

    Salon Straightener Copper Smooth Flat Iron

    • Adjustable temperature up to 455ºF
    • 1-inch plates
    • 60-minute auto shut-off
    • Super long plates to smooth long or thick hair quickly

    • No audible tone when it reaches temperature
    • Shorter-than-average cord

    Revlon’s super long, 1-inch-wide tool gave lasting straightness to even the longest, thickest hair. It has the widest temp range (180°F to 455°F) in our tests to work on all hair types and at 4.9 inches, the longest plate length we tested ("but not too long," said testers!) aided in “making the process quicker,” a pro noted. It took around a minute to reach 94% of its claimed temperature, and it earned the top score for maintaining hair straightness in our technical test, though the lowest score for keeping hair staying straight, shiny, and frizz-free all day, so make sure you use an anti-frizz serum!

    Corrale Hair Straightener

    • Auto shut-off after 10 minutes of inactivity
    • Can be used cordless or corded
    • Flexing plates for voluminous yet sleek hair

    • Heavy, bulky profile
    • Only 3 heat settings with a small 80ºF range

    Perfect for travel (or inconveniently placed outlets in the bathroom), this Dyson flat iron can be used cord-free: The brand claims one 70-minute charge grants 30 minutes of cordless styling. Unlike traditional flat irons that have a solid surface, the Dyson's plates are flexible so hair doesn't get squished flat which "left [hair] a bit voluminous like a blowout" and a style that testers said "retained volume," yet "stayed straight and kept its body." It's heavy and bulky, but experts found that “it didn’t seem to matter during use.” From the operational standpoint, the Dyson excelled: It heated up to 95% of its claimed temperature in 60 seconds and maintained a steady plate temperature for 15 minutes, while the outside surface temperature stays cool to the touch. However, in Lab tests, hair struggled to maintain straightness after 24-hour humidity exposure, and our experts found it pulled and snagged hair more than other irons during styling.

    One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer

    • Dries, straightens, and detangles hair quickly
    • Budget-friendly
    • Reviewer- and editor-approved

    • Lacks adjustable heat

    Want to go from wet, curly hair to dry, straight hair? This round brush/hair dryer hybrid is able to pull even super-curly hair smooth and straight, thanks to an innovative design that's both easy to use and effective. The hair dryer brush claims to "deliver gorgeous volume and brilliant shine in a single step," and our editors are obsessed. The unique design allows for volume at the root of the hair, sleek strands, and salon-worthy movement through the ends, which means you may be able to skip using a flat iron altogether.

    Nano Ultra-Thin Straightening Iron

    • Adjustable temperature up to 450ºF
    • 1-inch plates extend to iron's edge for smoothing frizz

    • No auto shut-off
    • Takes longer to heat up than other irons

    This iron is our Beauty Lab standard: We use it for various evaluations such as anti-frizz studies. It glides through hair without tugging and is easy to use according to consumer testers. Plus, with over 3,700 five star reviews on Amazon, it's safe to say people are obsessed with this flat iron from BaBylissPRO. Because the titanium iron is so thin and the plates go all the way to the edge of the clamp, it's able to nab frizz right at the root of the hair, making this iron perfect for stubborn frizz or super-curly and natural hair. One reviewer who says she has "very, very curly hair," claims that this flat iron cuts her styling time in half and gets rid of frizz in one pass.

    Polished Perfection Straightening Brush 2.0

    • Adjustable temperature up to 450ºF
    • 60-minute auto shut-off
    • Retains volume at the roots

    This clever brush requires absolutely no styling skills to transform your hair into smoother strands, plus it won't sacrifice volume at the root or give hair that crunchy, too-straight look. Don't expect it to get your hair as pin-straight as it might with a traditional straightening iron, but we recommend using it whenever hair is misbehaving but doesn't need to be stick-straight. It slashed one of our curly-haired editor's straightening time in half.

    Glider Ceramic Flat Iron
    HSI Professional
    Now 18% off

    • Adjustable temperature up to 450ºF
    • 1-inch plates

    • No auto shut-off
    • Low performance scores in Beauty Lab tests

    According to Amazon reviewers, this is the best flat iron money can buy (and for under $50!), racking up over 32,000 five-star reviews on Amazon (it's worth checking out the thousands of before and after photos, too). Reviewers say it can press hair silky smooth in one pass, cut down on styling time, and is snag-free. In our Beauty Lab tests, however, it scored low for ease of use and satisfaction with testers citing the heat dial as "difficult to adjust," plus it took the longest of all irons to heat up — we also found hair didn't remain straight.

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