How to Choose a Flat Iron

How to Choose a Flat Iron

How to Choose a Flat Iron
In your quest to find the perfect flat iron have you wasted hundreds of dollars on flat irons that claimed to work wonders, but instead, just failed you.  If this sounds familiar, than you know how overwhelming and confusing it can be with all the different shapes, sizes and features. Some think that all flat irons are created equal, but unfortunately, this is not the case, the difference between a poor quality flat iron and a high quality model will literally make or break your hair.  Still, you don’t have to break the bank to get a quality hair straightener.

Follow these easy steps to find the best flat iron for you:

Heat Settings

Ideal temperature is vital when it comes to achieving great results when straightening wavy hair, and more important when it comes to super resistant or curly hair. The more texture your have the higher the temperature you may need to get smooth results. Therefore, I recommend a flat iron with an adjustable heat setting. Look for an iron that has a wide range from between 200F (for fine, thin hair or touch-ups) and temperatures up to 450F (for thick hair or quick straightening).  Not having the ability to set your iron to the ideal temperature can and will fry your hair leaving it severely damaged or leave you without smooth hair your looking for.

Plate Type & Quality

High-quality plates reduce pulling and snagging of hair and the material used is important for heat distribution and ion production.


My favorite, and the most popular, is solid Ceramic because it have the ability to reach temperature fast, distribute the heat evenly and emit negative ions which neutralize hair’s charge closing the follicles and smoothing the shaft.



For those with super, stubborn hair, Tourmaline might be the best option, because it provides similar thermal properties as ceramic but with an increased amount of negative ions. Some tourmaline tools have ceramic heaters or plates, to give you better results.



Titanium is know for begin incredibly strong and lightweight (it’s as strong as steel and 40% lighter) and it’s the smoothest styling surface available. It’s down side is it transfers more heat into hair for faster styling which can cause damage if your not careful.



Never buy a flat iron with metal plates as they have hot spots that cause severe cuticle damage and dryness.

Ceramic Infused

Other irons have ceramic plates infused with tourmaline or titanium. These are nice because they combine the properties of both materials for increased output.

Plate Size

Plate width is really all about preference and how you plan on using the iron, but you can use the below as a general guide.

Short Hair

If you have short hair try a flat iron with slimmer plates which allows more precise styling (1/2” to 3/4”).


Medium Hair

For medium lengths, the 1″ iron is probably your best option for all around styling.


Long Hair

For longer hair I recommend plates between 1 1/4” – 2 1/2″. This allows you to straighten larger sections at time, cutting down on styling time and amount of passes required.


For Curls & Waves

If you want to use your hair straightener to curl or wave your hair your hair, look for a model with curved plates and rounded edges. The width of the plates will determine the size of your curls and waves. Use a 1/2 – 1″ for small curls and tight waves and 1 1/4 – 2″ for big curls and loose waves.



Make sure your new flat iron has at least a 1 year warranty, you never know with electronics.


You can spend upwards of $200 on a flat iron, but I found that you can get a comparable model with many of the same features for less than $100. The more often you use a hair straightener, the more you should probably invest. I recommend shopping online because you can easily save up 50%, you can read customer reviews and there will probably a larger selection.

Remember if you flat iron your hair too often (everyday, or three to four times a week) you will damage you hair regardless of the tools quality.  Hair that is full of body and is straight and smooth is the best measure for a great flat iron and this is how you will know if you made the right choice in buying a good, long lasting flat iron.

I love everything beauty, personal care and fashion! I'm the editor of, and have been a professional cosmetologist for over 12 years.

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