A curling iron is a hairstyling staple, especially if you're someone who was born with naturally straight hair. If you have the right curling iron, you can create a bevy of looks, from polished curls to beachy waves. But while all curling irons might seem more or less the same, there are actually subtle differences between the different types. When deciding on the best curling iron for you, there are a few things to consider: mainly, the types of looks you hope to create and your level of expertise.
That being said, if you're looking for the most versatile option altogether, you'll want to grab an iron with a 1-inch barrel. These irons are able to create a wide range of styles depending on the technique you use while styling. You want tight, spiraled curls? Done. How about loose, beachy waves? No problem. A 1-inch barrel is also typically the best choice for beginners because of their versatility. In truth, it's mostly professional hairstylists who get the most use out of larger or smaller barrels.
Ahead, you'll find four of the best curling irons on the market. All of them are available in 1-inch barrels, but also come in different sizes, too, in case you're a little more advanced.
1. The Overall Best Curling Iron
If you're looking for the Cadillac of curling irons, you'll want the Hot Tools Professional 24k Gold Curling Iron. This is the iron that you'll find in just about every single professional hairstylist's kit. Why? The gold plates ensure that the heat is evenly distributed, so you get a cohesive curl from root to tip. Instead of a typical clamp, it has a chopstick-like handle, which allows for a lot of flexibility when creating curls. (Beware, though — this guy takes a little getting used to if you're not the most dexterous human on the planet.) This tool also boasts a wide range of heat settings, which means any hair type can use it without the risk of damage. Buy this iron, and you'll never have to pick up another one.
2. The Best Clampless Curling Iron
Recently, clampless curling irons have become incredibly popular, thanks to their ability to create easy, beachy waves in no time. And this iron from Bed Head is the best clampless option you can pick up. Not only is the price right (it costs less than $20), but its ceramic body cuts down on frizz and helps you achieve a sleek, silky curl every time. The iron also comes with a heat-proof glove — a must-have if you're working with clampless curling irons. It has a near-perfect rating with over 1,500 reviews on Amazon, so you can be assured it really works as well as advertised.
3. The Best Self-Rotating Curling Iron
Self-rotating irons are amazing for folks who can't seem to get their technique down, and The Beachwaver Co. S1 Curling Iron is the best of the bunch. It's the easiest iron in the world to use. Simply clamp a small section of hair in the clamp, and then hit the button to rotate it in whichever direction you like. Once your hair is heated, unclamp, and give your curl a little tug to loosen it. It's that simple. The iron does all of the work for you and is incredibly easy to use. Other important features include an automatic shut-off and easily adjustable heat settings. And like the name suggests, the resulting curls are gorgeous beach waves that look amazing for any occasion.
4. The Best Curling Iron With Interchangeable Barrels
If you're interested in an iron that's big on versatility, you'll love the Parwin Pro 5-in-1 Professional Curling Iron. It comes with five different barrels to create a variety of styles. The tapered wand, for example, will help you create tight coils, while the oversized wand is perfect for big, bouncy waves. The iron also comes with that handy glove to keep your fingers from frying, plus two clips to keep your hair out of your face while you're styling. And if you're someone who tends to leave your iron on, this is another option that comes with a 60 minute auto shut-off.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.