A good flat iron doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, some of the best cheap flat irons work just as well — if not better — than their (much) pricier counterparts. With that said, the key to finding a solid straightener for under $50 is knowing what to look for and what to avoid.
The biggest make-or-break feature in a flat iron, regardless of price, is the material of its plates. Over the years, there's been plenty of advances in technology that have made certain plate materials (like ceramic, for example) cheaper and more accessible to consumers — but that doesn't mean every cheap straightener is made of these materials. To determine which plate material is best for you, look to your hair type. If you have curly or thick hair, you might prefer a titanium iron; Titanium transfers heat to the hair faster, which makes it easier to straighten coarse textures. Alternatively, if you have fine or thin hair, you should look for plates made of or coated in ceramic. Ceramic is notoriously gentle on all hair types and produces even heating that won't snag or damage your hair with hot spots.
Another feature that's important to look for when choosing a cheap flat iron, and one that will protect your hair from damage, is temperature control. A wide range of temperatures and easy-to-use controls makes a straightener more versatile and safer for you hair. Ultimately, the best cheap flat iron really depends on your hair type and your needs. If you're not sure where to start, try one of the five options below, all of which are budget-friendly and perfect for maintaining healthy hair.
1Best For All Hair Types: A Versatile Flat Iron With Solid Ceramic Plates
Didn't think you could get solid ceramic straightener for under $50? Think again. The Herstyler SuperStyler Onyx Ceramic Flat Iron and its one and a quarter inch solid ceramic plates make for an incredibly gentle yet highly effective straightening experience that reduces frizz and prevents hair damage. It has a temperature control dial and heats up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit in order to accommodate stubborn hair types, but is perfect for thin or fine hair that requires even heating.
2Best For Long Hair: A Tourmaline-Ceramic Flat Iron With Extra-Long Plates
With it’s 2-inch, extra-long tourmaline ceramic floating plates, the Infiniti Pro Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron is one of the best cheap flat irons for long lengths. This is because you can easily achieve more (and better) contact with your hair, which leads to straighter results in a shorter amount of time. Also, while the iron can impressively heat up to 455 degrees in 15 seconds, it has 30 heat settings, so you can adjust the temperature to your hair type, which is key.
3Best For Thick, Curly, Or Natural Hair: A Titanium-Plated Straightener With All The Bells And Whistles
Even though the best plate material for curly, thick or natural hair is titanium, it can also be the most expensive. With the LOVANI Titanium Digital LCD Flat Iron, however, you get all the benefits of a titanium iron at an affordable price. Plus, it boasts a digital temperature display which allows you to set, adjust, and monitor precise temperatures from 265 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a good choice for all hair types, especially coarser ones. It even shuts off automatically after an hour, so you won't have to worry about whether or not you left it on.
4Best For Reducing Frizz: A Popular, Pearl-Infused Flat Iron For All Hair Types
It’s hard to argue with over 1000 positive reviews on Amazon, especially when they’re 1000 percent right. The Remington Pearl Pro Ceramic Flat Iron is one of the best overall irons in terms of value and superior results. The 1-inch floating ceramic plates are infused with real pearls for a smoother glide and even heating, both of which help to reduce frizz. Additionally, it has a digital LCD temperature control display, can heat up to 400-degrees in 30 seconds, and also boasts temperature control lock to prevent you from overheating you hair.
5A Travel-Friendly Mini Iron With Durable, Fast-Heating Titanium Plates
The BaBylissPRO Travel Iron is exactly as it suggests — great for travel. But it’s much more than just a mini iron that can fit in your purse or carry-on. With its unique, 1-inch, nano titanium-ceramic plates, this iron can reach temperatures up to 430 degrees, which makes it great for all hair types — even those that are super thick or curly. Also, since titanium is the strongest and most durable material, you don’t have worry about it cracking in your bag and you'll be able to achieve smooth, straight hair wherever you go.
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