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10 best hair straighteners for achieving sleek and stylish locks

From ceramic to titanium plates, these tools will deliver salon-worthy styles at home

Sarah Young
Tuesday 17 August 2021 12:00
<p>Today, hair straighteners no longer take a one size fits all approach and there are plenty of innovative launches to shop</p>

Today, hair straighteners no longer take a one size fits all approach and there are plenty of innovative launches to shop

Whether your hair is long, short, thick or fine, achieving sleek and straight locks outside of the salon can be tricky – unless you have the right tools that is. So, if you’ve had the same heated styler since your teenage years, this is your sign to invest in a new one.

Today, hair straighteners no longer take a one size fits all approach and there are plenty of innovative launches to shop – from cordless models for those who need to style on-the-go, to designs with extra-large plates that make light work of super-thick hair.

With so many different tools available it can be tricky to know which one is best for you and, while the ultimate goal is to achieve a sleek, straight finish, there are a host of specifications worth taking into consideration before you add to basket.

While most straighteners are set to reach an optimal temperature of 185C, some are designed with adjustable temperature control. This more personalised approach will deliver guaranteed satisfaction no matter your hair type – while thicker locks tend to need a higher setting, fine hair can benefit from a lower temperature, which decreases the risk of damage.

It’s also worth noting what kind of plates the straighteners have. Ceramic plates can be slower to heat up, but they tend to distribute heat more evenly meaning they’re gentler on the hair than metal plates and therefore a better option for fine hair. However, metal plates – like titanium – heat up much faster and can typically reach higher temperatures, making them the best choice to straighten coarse or curly hair.

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How we tested

To put a range of hair straighteners to the test, we tried out each pair over the course of a few weeks, evaluating their ability to maintain straightness and create other styles like beachy waves. We also looked at the number of heat settings, heat protection technology, ergonomics and time taken to heat up.

The best hair straighteners for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Ghd platinum plus: £199,
  • Best cordless hair straightener – Dyson corrale cord-free hair straighteners: £399,
  • Best for high shine –Bio:Ionic volcanic MX 10 pro styler: £149,
  • Best for thick or curly hair – L’Oreal steampod: £235,
  • Best for long hair –Ghd max: £179,
  • Best value – Panasonic EH-HS99 rose gold nanoe ceramic hair straighteners: £59.10,
  • Best for styling on-the-go –Cloud Nine cordless iron pro: £349,
  • Best for damaged hair –Remington hydraluxe pro: £74.99,
  • Best for all hair types –T3 Lucea ID: £189,
  • Best for frizzy hair – Molly Mae x Beauty Works: £99.99,

Ghd platinum plus

Best: Overall

  • Plate material: Ceramic
  • Variable temperature control: No
  • Corded/cordless: Corded
  • Cable length: 2.7m
  • Weight: 400g

Renowned for being the OG hair straightening brand, we have a lot to thank ghd for and its tools just keep getting better. The platinum plus is the most advanced straightener in the ghd universe as it features “ultra-zone” technology, which recognises the thickness of your hair and adjusts the heat accordingly. The brand states that the plates monitor the heat 250 times per second to ensure the optimum styling temperature is maintained, which means the health of your hair is never compromised.An added bonus? The tool comes with a three-year guarantee and an automatic sleep mode that shuts down after 30 minutes of non-use, meaning you can style safely and stress-free wherever you are. While our colour of choice is the new ombre chrome, which was released to markthe brand’s 20th anniversary, the straighteners also come in black or white.

We loved this styler for so many reasons, from its speedy heat-up time (it takes around 20 seconds to reach 185C) to its ability to create a multitude of hairstyles – it excels at creating natural-looking waves and curls too. When straightening, we found we only needed one stroke to get a great finish, which comes in very handy if you’re running late. The floating plates also glided effortlessly with zero snagging and our hair, which has a tendency to appear dull, looked super-shiny and felt healthy to touch.

Read the full Ghd platinum plus review

Dyson corrale cord-free hair straighteners

Best: Cordless straightener

  • Plate material: Copper
  • Variable temperature control: Yes
  • Corded/cordless: Cordless
  • Cable length: N/A
  • Weight: 561g

The Rolls Royce of straighteners, the Dyson corrale is by far the most expensive on this list but, if your budget can stretch to it, we highly recommend making the investment. Trust us, you won’t regret it. Every bit as innovative as the brand’s bestselling Supersonic hair dryer and Air Wrap curling tool, the Corrale is designed with “flexing” Copper plates that grip every strand, meaning you don’t have to go over the same section twice and we found they took all the hassle out of straightening, leaving our hair sleek and making quick work of even the frizziest of manes.

Of course, the main selling point here is the fact that it’s cordless, which not only makes them great for taking out and about, but also so much easier to use. Fitted with a 4-cell lithium-ion battery, the straighteners give you up to 30 minutes of cord-free styling time, which is plenty considering they work so quickly, and only take 70 minutes to charge fully, meaning you’ll never be left caught out.

There are three heat settings to choose from and it reaches its maximum temperature of 210C ridiculously fast. You also get a luxurious heat resistant travel pouch, a magnetic charging dock and a magnetic charging cable with a 360C swivel feature. To understand the high price tag of this straightener you really do have to try it but take our word for it when we say it’s probably one of the best in the market.

Read the full Dyson corrale review

Bio:Ionic volcanic MX 10 pro styler

Best: For high shine

  • Plate material: Ceramic
  • Variable temperature control: Yes
  • Corded/cordless: Corded
  • Cable length: 2.7m
  • Weight: 283g

What sets this flat iron apart from the others is its innovative plates, which vibrate and are infused with natural volcanic rock. While this might seem like pointless beauty jargon, both actually serve a valuable purpose – the rock, alongside the brand’s “Nanolonic MX” (a fusion of natural minerals) helps moisture go back into the hair while styling, which gives a sleek, frizz-free finish, while the sonic vibrations provide an extra smoothing action that helps spread the heat evenly.

And it really does work, as we experienced no dragging, didn’t have to go over sections of hair more than once and were left with straight salon-worthy strands. In fact, of all those used on this list, we found this tool left our hair looking shiniest. Styling was a breeze too, thanks to the straightener’s speedy heat-up time, soft-touch outer and rounded tips, which make it easy to reach right to the root area and even create waves. It’s also a great option for anyone looking for temperature control, as it can be tailored in 10C intervals all the way up to 230C to suit your hair type. Plus, you won’t need to worry about forgetting about switching it off, as it automatically shuts off after one hour.

L’Oreal steampod 3.0

Best: For thick or curly hair

  • Plate material: Ceramic
  • Variable temperature control: Yes
  • Corded/cordless: Corded
  • Cable length: 2.4m
  • Weight: 1.04kg

The L’Oreal steampod is truly unique in that, unlike traditional flat irons, it uses steam technology to straighten your locks – as the name suggests. But, why? Well, we all know that heat styling can damage our hair but this method is as close as you can get to “naturally” straightening, as the brand claims that using steam causes 78 per cent less harmful than a regular flat iron, while still giving you the silky, sleek look you’re craving.

The tool comes with a little pod, which you fill with filtered water, and you can also adjust the temperature, choosing from 180C up to 210C. Once the heat level is reached, when you press the plates together against a section of hair, steam is projected from small vents onto the hair, helping to reduce frizz and smooth down the fibres.

Unlike standard straighteners, this one also comes with a removable comb, which makes it really easy to use, particularly on very thick or curly hair. We found that the steam technology left our locks feeling healthier, shinier and more hydrated than ever.

Read the full L’Oreal steampod 3.0 review

Ghd Max

Best: For long hair

  • Plate material: Ceramic
  • Variable temperature control: No
  • Corded/cordless: Corded
  • Cable length: 2.7m
  • Weight: 829g

If you have particularly long or thick hair, look no further than the ghd Max, which will basically cut your styling time in half thanks to its wider plates, which measure at 1.65-in. Just like all of ghd’s tools, the supersize tool heats up to 185C in a matter of seconds and features the same dual-zone technology, which guarantees a consistent temperature across both plates, helping to deliver smooth results from root to tip with minimal heat damage.

We found that the max made light work of our long tresses, taking just five minutes to straighten from start to finish, while the style lasted all day long. Despite initial reservations, the wide plates were also great for creating curls and will prove a hit with anyone who loves the look of soft, brushed-out waves with maximum bounce. The max takes safety very seriously too, with a travel-friendly heat resistant protective plate guard and an automatic sleep mode that switches the device off after 30 minutes.

Read the full Ghd Max styler review

Panasonic EH-HS99 rose gold nanoe ceramic hair straighteners

Best: Value

  • Plate material: Ceramic
  • Variable temperature control: Yes
  • Corded/cordless: Corded
  • Cable length: 2.7m
  • Weight: 280g

Proving that beauty doesn’t always have to break the bank, this offering really impressed us. Made using nanoe technology, the tool draws moisture from the air to create tiny, atomised water particles that penetrate your hair as you style to help hydrate and nourish while also giving longer-lasting results. We found the technology helped style our hair quicker than average, leaving it super-straight and glossy, and despite the low price point, the tool felt nothing short of professional.

The flat iron does feel slightly less streamlined than most others we tried but if you prefer to get a good grip on your tool, then you’re likely to find this to be beneficial rather than a hindrance. It also has five temperature settings, ranging from 150C to 230C, which gives you plenty of options that are often lacking in some straighteners. The only downside? There is a slight buzzing noise when the straightener is in use.

Cloud Nine cordless iron

Best: For styling on-the-go

  • Plate material: Ceramic
  • Variable temperature control: Yes
  • Corded/cordless: Cordless
  • Cable length: N/A
  • Weight: 290g

Fans of Love Island will likely have spotted this straightener lining the dressing room tables of season seven’s villa and we can confirm that it’s totally our type on paper. Housed in a luxurious faux leather case, the tool is Cloud Nine’s first-ever cordless styler, which means you can style your hair, wherever and whenever. And you really can – it is a really compact design with slim plates and, because it weighs just 290g, it is genuinely portable.

Simple to use, the straightener has just two buttons – one to turn it on and choose between two temperature settings (160C or 170C) and another to initiate “revive mode”, which vibrates the plates at 8,000 times a minute to minimise friction. We were seriously impressed by this styler, which left our hair straight and silky in just one sweep and although it’s called a straightener, don’t be fooled into thinking you can’t use it to curl or wave your locks too.

Read the full Cloud Nine cordless iron review

Remington hydraluxe pro

Best: For damaged hair

  • Plate material: Ceramic
  • Variable temperature control: Yes
  • Corded/cordless: Corded
  • Cable length: 3m
  • Weight: 490g

If you like the idea of the L’Oreal steampod but prefer the look of a more traditional straightener, consider the Remington hydraluxe pro, which uses a light mist to prevent heat damage and preserve your hair’s moisture balance.

The tool features a small reservoir, which you need to fill with filtered water using the pipette provided and, once your desired temperature is reached – it has five settings up to 230C – the plates release a cool moisture mist as you go. While the straightener does heat up within a matter of seconds, adding water to the reservoir can be fiddly, so this might not be the best option if you’re in a rush or travelling. However, a few extra minutes is a small price to pay for a set of straighteners that leave your hair feeling and looking healthy.

We found that the hydraluxe pro left our locks feeling nicely nourished, super-glossy and free from flyaways too. But, the best bit was that the morning after, our hair was still straight and sleek, meaning we didn’t have to re-style it. Is there a better lazy girl accolade than that?

T3 lucea ID

Best: For all hair types

  • Plate material: Ceramic
  • Variable temperature control: Yes
  • Corded/cordless: Corded
  • Cable length: 2.7m
  • Weight: 390g

If you’re looking for a straightener that can do just about anything, this is the one for you. The Lucea ID has a host of unique technical features, including “heat ID”, which adjusts the plates’ temperature to best suit your hair type, making it ideal for those with fine, thick or curly locks.

Unlike ghd’s technology though, which is automatic, this one requires some setting up. But, it is easy enough to do – you simply tap various symbols on the styler’s touchscreen panel that best describe your hair before it calculates the perfect setting for you and heats up in seconds. While it is a little time consuming, the tool remembers your selections, so you only need to do it once and we also loved that it has a “refresh mode” designed specifically for second-day styling, which decreases your custom temperature by a level or two so your hair isn’t overexposed to heat.

There’s a lot of technology squeezed inside this wand and the results speak for themselves. Not only do you get the comfort of knowing you’re using the correct temperature on your hair at all times but, in our experience, the tool also helped us achieve poker-straight perfection with just a single pass.

Molly-Mae x Beauty Works hair straightener kit

Best: For frizzy hair

  • Plate material: Ceramic
  • Variable temperature control: Yes
  • Corded/cordless: Corded
  • Cable length: 2.7m
  • Weight: 390g

Released in March 2020 as part of an ongoing collaboration with Beauty Works, which has seen Molly-Mae create everything from curlers to wavers, this tool is the Love Island star’s first hair straightener and it doesn’t disappoint, so don’t be deterred if you’re not one for celebrity endorsements.

Designed with a glossy white finish, the tool looks seriously sleek and features narrow plates that come with three infrared bars, which are said to help you create snag-free styles, eliminate frizz and provide enhanced shine. It also has a handy dial at the base, which allows you to adjust the temperature (it ranges from 80C to 220C) and a display screen so you can see when it’s ready to use. We found that the plates heated up in record time and we experienced no snagging. While we loved how straight it made our hair, it was this tool’s ability to tame our irritating baby hairs that really caught our eye – after one swipe, those at the top of our head laid flat while the rest of our locks were left noticeably less frizzy.

Created as a kit, the straightener comes with plenty of accessories, including a carry case, paddle brush and heat protection glove, which is great for anyone prone to burning themselves mid-styling.

Read the full Molly Mae x Beauty Works straightener review

Hair straighteners FAQs

How to prevent damage to your hair when using hair straighteners

Any heated styling tool can damage hair, especially if your tresses are already lacking in moisture and protein. This, combined with external aggressors such as chlorine, chemical treatments and over or under washing can leave your hair looking and feeling lacklustre.

The best preventative measure you can take is to always use a heat protectant spray before blowdrying, curling or straightening your hair. This is because they work by adding a protective layer that acts as a shield to absorb the heat and leave your locks undamaged.

Read our guide to the best heat protection sprays that keep hair soft, shiny and healthy.

Can you straighten wet hair?

Another step you can take to protect your tresses is to only straighten hair that is completely dry. Hair is at its most fragile state when wet and if you’ve ever attempted to use a heat styler on damp hair, it’s likely you’ve heard your strands sizzle, which should tell you all you need to know. Doing so can increase breakage, frizz and even make your hair’s natural texture more coarse.

The verdict: Hair straighteners

With so many incredible tools out there, choosing just one is no mean feat but for a great all-rounder that delivers on tech, styling ability and price, the ghd platinum plus is our winner.

However, if it’s a cordless straightener you’re after, Dyson’s corrale should be top of your wish list. While it’s definitely a long-term investment, it’s a game changer for those who style their hair on a regular basis and they’ve become a firm favourite ever since we started testing.

Special mention also goes to Cloud Nine’s cordless iron which, while similar in price, comes with a host of add-ons that make it feel incredibly luxurious.

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