Whether you’re a salon stylist, or a home hair enthusiast, one of the “must have” hot tools has to be a professional curling iron. If you’re looking for the best styling wand, the new clipless models offer almost unlimited curling possibilities. If you’re looking for the best curling iron, meaning one with a clamp that holds hair in place while you twist, you’ll need one that delivers some extra heat, because some of your hair won’t be in direct contact with the heated barrel.
As always, you can spend some serious cash on the great hot tools, but if you want a brand that can take the day to day wear and tear of salon use, or you want years of consistent curling at home, look for ceramic barrels, quick heat recovery times, and loads of adjustable temperatures. Many of those on this list heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you’re a styling rookie, be careful not to fry your hair. Practice with lower heat settings first to find what works best for your hair type.
Ceramic barrels deliver consistent heat, and those with ionic technology create frizz-free curls, with more shine, bounce, and body. We’ve found that many are convertible – meaning you can choose between different barrel types, both clipless and traditional. Some make perfect swoopy smooth curls, while others are best for beachy waves or even ringlets. Those with cone-shaped barrels deliver a volumizing boost at the roots, and tighter curls at the ends.
With the clipless curling irons, consider getting a heat resistant glove to protect your tender pinkies. And if you want the best results, without heat damage to your hair, we always recommend using a heat protectant spray with all of your favorite hot tools.
If you have tons of natural waves to begin with, maximize them with a diffuser or one of the bestdryers for curly hair. Then, you’ll just need to touch up the ends with a professional curling iron.
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1. Most Flexible: PARWIN PRO 7-in-1 Curling Wand SetPros:
- Includes seven different rods for different curl types
- Comes with a heat protective glove, hair clips and a travel bag
- Tourmaline ceramic barrels make for shiny, bouncy curls
- Digital temperature control up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
- Wands make it difficult to create good looking, smooth ends
- Not perfect for all hair types
- No heat proof tips mean it’s easy to burn yourself
- Thermal glove doesn’t adequately protect fingers
This professional curling iron from PARWIN PRO gives you seven different styling wands to give you the ultimate in styling flexibility. From big swoopy smooth curls, to tightly wound ringlets and spirals, each delivers a different level of curling capacity. Tourmaline ceramic barrels mean you’ll get shinier, more bouncy curls without the frizz.
The handle easily accommodates each barrel, which locks in place. Because it has one of the widest heat ranges, from 170 – 450 degrees Fahrenheit, you can customize your heat setting as well as your curls. The digital readout gives you easy access to a variety of settings.
The 60 minute automatic shutoff feature and a 360 degree long swivel cord make this iron suitable for home use as well as salon settings. It comes with a convenient travel kit to store the different barrels and handle, along with a heat protecting thermal glove to protect your pinkies, as well as clips to separate and part out your hair.
If you still want a professional curling iron, but you really don’t want or need that many barrel options, you can save a few bucks with the PARWIN PRO 5-in-1 Curling Iron, which also comes with clips and a heat protection glove.
2. Top Rated: Paul Mitchell Pro Tools Express Ion Unclipped 3-in-1 Curling IronPros:
- Three interchangeable barrels
- Extra long length makes it great for longer hair
- Easy digital temperature display
- Proprietary Express Ion Complex leaves curls shiny and frizz free
- An expensive investment
- More difficult to use than barrels with clips
- It’s easy to burn your fingers while wrapping hair
- Some shelf life issues reported
This professional curling iron from Paul Mitchell Pro Tools, delivers flexible styling, with the confidence and quality of one of the top professional beauty brands. This three in one hot tool gives you exactly what you’ll need to create loose waves, natural looking curls and ringlets.
Three interchangeable ceramic barrels have a clamp-free design to deliver heat directly to your hair, for long lasting, frizz free styles. It comes with a one inch styling rod for loose waves, a 1.25 inch styling cone for natural-looking curls, and a .75 inch small styling cone for ringlets.
Infused with proprietary Express Ion Complex, curls stay bouncy and your hair will be extra shiny. The digital display allows you to set your curling iron at the temperature best for your or your clients’ hair, up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit. At 18 inches long, this large iron is terrific for longer hair styles.
The three barrels are easy to swap out, and the swivel cord makes it even easier to maneuver from the front to back of your head if you’re a home user.
3. Sam Villa Signature Series Professional Curling Iron with Extended BarrelPros:
- Creates volume and curl
- Can be used as a wand and curling iron
- Has a special setting for color treated hair
- Small handle is easy on the hands
- Takes a lot of work to get the look
- Not as many heat setting options as some
- Pretty spendy for home users
- No cool touch tip
The Sam Villa Signature Series professional curling iron lets you easily create a wide variety of hairstyles from loose and tousled, to tight and curly. This professional curling iron is the choice for many thanks to the extended barrel that makes it simple to style even the longest hair. That’s the biggest differentiator here.
This hot tool meets the demands of professional stylists, and home users as well, because it allows you to curl, and add lots of extra body and movement. But it’s all in the technique, so be sure to check out the video from Sam Villa himself.
An extra-long ceramic barrel makes this iron makes styling thick hair as well as long hair a breeze. The ceramic heating element ensures that the barrel evenly heats from top to bottom, which means you’ll get consistent temperature from top to bottom. That’s especially important if you’re using a technique to build volume.
Professional stylists (and your hair) can appreciate the “Color Treated” 392 degrees Fahrenheit heat setting that helps keep the integrity of your expensive hair color, without dulling or fading it. With three heat settings, and a nine foot swivel cord, it’s a winner in our book.
4. Neuro Unclipped Styling Cone Curling IronPros:
- Adjustable to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cone shaped barrel adds volume at the roots
- SmartSense technology means fast heat recovery times for consistent curls
- Nine foot swivel cord, and dual voltage capability
- Only one curling option
- Easy to burn your fingers and skin
- More expensive than some other single barrel options
If heat is what you’re looking for, the Unclipped Neuro Styling Cone curling iron delivers up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, to curl even the most unruly and resistant hair. The IsoTherm titanium barrel heats up lightning fast, so you can style and go in minutes.
With a SmartSense microchip, this professional curling iron delivers ultra-fast heat recovery. That means you’ll have consistent results for each and every curl. The 1.25 inch barrel gives you the perfect tousled, beachy waves that give you a sexy sort of undone do. With its extra-long barrel, you can tackle even the longest hair.
Dual voltage means you can take this hot tool nearly anywhere in the world, to deliver great hair styles. An easy to read LCD digital display lets you customize this styling wand to the temperature that’s best for your clients’ or your own hair. Because the cone is larger at the base, it allows you to create more lift at the root for extra volume as well as curls that last from morning to night.
This curling wand also comes with a free sample size of Neuro™ Protect HeatCTRL® Iron Hairspray, which is pretty sweet. The nine foot swivel cord comes with a hanging loop for easy storage.
5. Best Seller: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling IronPros:
- Super affordable compared to many
- Far infrared heat is less damaging to your hair
- Heats up super fast
- 50 temperature settings up to 450 degrees
- Cool touch tip could be larger
- No auto shutoff feature
- Hair clip could be more robust
- Can burn hair at the highest heat settings
This nano titanium curling wand is engineered with advanced technology to create textured curls and waves. Because nano titanium is an exceptional conductor of heat, it maintains stability in ultra-high temperatures. The far infrared heat penetrates your hair shaft to deliver exceptional curls, without damaging your hair.
With 50 heat settings, up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, this clip style curling iron is easy to manage. To give your curls even greater staying power, this styling wand has a turbo heat button that instantly delivers added heat to set them.
The smooth barrel means no bumps, and the cool touch tip keeps your neck safe from burns. With an eight foot swivel cord, it can hold up to the daily rigors of salon use. The spring-loaded clip keeps even the thickest hair secured for smooth beautiful ends that don’t look spikey or straw like.
This professional curling iron is easy to approach for both home and salon use because it’s so affordably priced. We also like the location of the controls, which means you don’t accidentally press the off button, mid-hairdo. We also like that you can get this curling iron in four barrel sizes, with the largest having a 1.5 inch barrel.