Best Hair Straightening Iron of 2020
If you are searching for a premium hair straightening iron for all of your styling needs, then we highly recommend the CHI G2 Ceramic and Titanium iron. This is one of our all-time favorite flat irons. Its titanium-infused ceramic plates glide easily over most types of hair and it has just about all the features and functions that we would want. It automatically shuts off after one hour and has an extra-long swivel cord. The CHI has an easy-to-read digital display with temperature presets for different types of hair, along with plus and minus buttons to fine-tune the temperature to your liking.
However, we did find that this product has a slightly lower maximum temperature than many of its competitors, with a claimed maximum temperature of 425°F and a measured maximum temperature of around 410°F in our tests. This shouldn't be too much of an issue unless you usually straighten your hair with the iron as hot as possible. The CHI is also one of the more expensive options we have tested and doesn't have a hanging loop for storage. However, even with these minor flaws, we strongly feel that it's hard to go wrong with this product if you are searching for the best of the best.
The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium is another hair straightening iron that thoroughly flattened the competition in our minds. This top-tier iron glides easily across thin and thick hair, leaving it silky-smooth with just a few passes. It heats up very quickly and has a listed maximum temperature of 450°F. This iron is available with titanium plates in 1", 1.5", and 2" widths and has a fairly long cord that pivots.
Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that this flat iron has an automatic safety shutoff. It also has an interface that isn't the most intuitive, offering you 50 different settings rather than just letting you set the desired temperature in terms of degrees. However, we think its straightening performance is so good that it outweighs these flaws and consider it a great option for anyone searching for a top-tier tool for their hair styling needs.
While the Remington S5500 might not be the best of the best when it comes to these styling products in our minds, we will acknowledge that it is hard to beat if you are shopping on a tight budget. It typically costs a fraction of what the premium products do and does a decent job of straightening hair. It glides fairly well and can match the maximum temperature of some of the top products. We also like that this model has both a swivel cord and a hinge lock.
We did find that this iron has one of the shorter cords of the entire group and the interface and digital display aren't necessarily our favorites. However, our biggest complaint with this hair straightening iron is that it feels like you need to apply just a bit more clamping pressure to ensure the plates make full contact with your hair along their entire length than many of the other models. It's not our first choice of flat iron by any means but it will straighten your hair for considerably less than the premium models. It's a good option for anyone shopping on a tight budget or someone who styles with a straightening iron on a fairly infrequent basis.
If you are willing to spend a little more to invest in a quality hair straightening iron but the premium tools are out of your budget, then we would suggest checking out the Hot Tools Ceramic Signature Series. This economically priced model just about holds its own against the best of the best, offering quality straightening performance with its ceramic plates. This iron glides very well across both thick and thin types of hair and is available with either 1" or 1.5" wide plates. It has a listed maximum temperature of 450°F and will automatically turn off after two hours, ensuring you never have to worry if you accidentally left it plugged in. It also has a cord pivot, storage hanging loop, and is compatible with 110V-240V if you happen to be traveling.
We did find that the cord to be a little on the short side — around 6' — which definitely might preclude it from salon use. It doesn't have a hinge lock and we measured the maximum temperature to be just a bit lower than the claimed amount. All in all, it's a great value hair straightening iron that might not be the best for professionals but we think it's the perfect choice for anyone looking for the best value when it comes to these products.
Right off the bat, we will immediately say that the AmoVee Mini Flat Iron is not the best option for a straightening iron that you will use daily. However, this compact flat iron stands out by being exceptionally portable, making it a great option for travel. It has ½" wide plates that slide decently well across hair, as well as a cord pivot and a hanging loop. This flat iron will also work with 110V-240V, making it even more travel-friendly.
However, this little flat iron has much smaller plates than a typical hair straightening iron, meaning that it will probably take a little bit longer when it comes to styling. The AmoVee also has a lower maximum temperature, with our thermocouple only recording a maximum temperature of around 382°F. It has a short cord and no option to adjust the temperature, with the interface limited to an on/off switch, but we think it's almost impossible to beat this product if you are looking for a styling tool to take on your next trip.
The NITION Professional Salon Hair Straightener stands out from the rest of the group by having the ability to act as both a straightener and a curler. While we generally would recommend getting a dedicated curler and a straightener if you frequently are using both, this at least gives you the option with some alright results if you hardly ever need a curling iron. It has the typical temperature range with 1" wide plates and a curved exterior for curling purposes, along with a slick and intuitive interface that is very easy to see. It also has an automatic shut-off and one of the longer cords with a swivel connection. Finally, we also like that it includes a pouch, heat-resistant glove, a comb, and some clips.
However, we didn't really find this product to work particularly well as a curling iron, regardless of what the marketing said. The professional stylist we consulted with said she would never try and use this for curling purposes but could see it delivering some alright results if you really worked at it. It's something to consider if the 2-in-1 use appeals to you, but we otherwise would recommend some different products if you just are looking for a straightening iron.
Performing almost identically to some of the other flat irons that we have tested, the KIPOZI Professional Titanium straightening iron is another option that we would recommend to anyone shopping for a flat iron on a budget. We think this styling tool works fairly well and it impressed us with its performance in our temperature accuracy test. It has a simple interface with a very visible digital display, an 8' cord with a swivel, and auto-off after 60 minutes.
Our main issue with this flat iron is that we don't think it slides quite as smoothly across hair — particularly thin hair — as some of the top models, even those with similar plate materials. It also can get very hot, with our thermal probe recording a maximum temperature of 455°F. We don't feel these are deal-breakers, especially considering the usual price of this product, but they did knock it out of the top spots.
The Remington S9500PP Pearl Pro Ceramic Flat Iron's main merits in our mind is that it usually retails with one of the lowest price tags of the entire group. It has all the basic features and will automatically turn off if left plugged in. It has a digital display, swivel cord attachment, and a hinge lock.
Unfortunately, we weren't overly fond of the straightening performance of this flat iron. The ceramic/pearl plates didn't seem to glide as smoothly across hair in our assessments. This flat iron also didn't do particularly well in our temperature accuracy test, with our thermocouple recording a maximum temperature of 466°F — 16°F higher than the claimed maximum temperature.
The FURIDEN Professional Hair Straightener is another 2-in-1 hair straightening/curling iron. It has an automatic power-off, a twist dial interface, and an 8' cord. The cord has a swivel attachment and a hinge lock. It's compatible with 110V-240V and includes a pouch, heat-resistant glove, comb, and 2 clips.
We have similar qualms with this combo styling tool as other multifunctional curling/straightening irons, where we wouldn't really want to use the FURIDEN as a curling iron frequently. We also noticed more resistance with the ceramic tourmaline plates when moving across hair compared to some of the other top-tier options. All in all, we would recommend plenty of other straightening irons over this one when it comes to straightening performance — and plenty of other curling irons over this one when it comes to curling hair.
The INFINTIPRO by Conair hair straightening iron is a low-cost but low performing option in our minds. It is available with 1", 1.25", or 1.75" plates and has one of the highest claimed maximum temperatures of the entire group. It does have an automatic power-off function and the cord does swivel.
The ceramic tourmaline plates didn't pass over hair as effortlessly as we would have liked and we were a little concerned with the performance of this product in our temperature accuracy tests. We measured a maximum temperature of 464°F — quite a bit higher than the claimed maximum temperature of 455°F and high enough that we would be a little concerned about damaging your hair at the highest setting. It only has a 6' cord and the interface isn't the most user-friendly, as it gives you 30 temperature settings to choose from, rather than letting you just pick a temperature. All in all, we would suggest an alternative flat iron for most people.
Overall, we weren't thrilled with the performance of the HSI Professional Glider. We didn't find much to like about this flat iron. It has a basic interface, fairly long cord, and a hanging loop for storage. It also includes a storage pouch, packet of argan oil, and a heat-resistant glove to minimize the change of burning yourself.
We found there to be considerably more resistance when sliding across thin and thick hairs. It doesn't have a digital display or a hinge lock. It also wasn't particularly impressive in our temperature accuracy test, showing a maximum temperature of about 26°F lower than its claimed maximum, and it doesn't have an automatic shut-off. All in all, we struggled to find a reason to recommend the HSI.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our comprehensive hair straightening iron review is led by Senior Review Editor, David Wise . David's overgrown flowing mane of Aquaman hair and his extensive engineering and lab experience, allow him to both push these flat irons to their limits and objectively compare their thermal properties side-by-side. We also recruited a panel of judges with diverse hair types to try out each iron and consulted with a professional hairstylist at a local studio about the design and implementation of our tests.
We rated and scored how smoothly each flat iron slid across different hair types and checked the accuracy of their temperature settings using a digital multimeter and a thermocouple. We also looked at how easy and intuitive each product is to operate and compared any additional features.
Analysis and Test Results
We divided out hair straightening iron tests into 4 metrics, each with different tests. To compare glide performance, we tried out each iron on a variety of different hair, as well as tested them side-by-side on hair extensions to assess the impact of the various plates. We then looked at the claimed temperature range and measured the accuracy at the high end, before moving on to scoring the different features and functions. We were looking for easy to use interfaces, ergonomic irons, and automatic safety shut-offs — one of the most important features in our minds.
We started by looking at how effortlessly the plates on each of these flat irons glide across hair. We based scores off of the opinions of our different testers — all with different types of hair — and side-by-side testing with a set of hair extensions.
We found that it's not just the plate material but also the overall geometry of the hair straightening iron that influences glide performance, as some models require much more force than others to ensure the plates make full contact with your hair. We think the CHI G2, the Hot Tools Ceramic Signature Series, and the Remington S5500 had the best performance in our glide test. These three straightening irons all have ceramic or titanium/ceramic plates. They had the least resistance in our side-by-side straightening test with the hair extensions
Following these top performers, we found the BaBylissPro Nano Titanium also fared very well in our glide performance test. Its titanium plates glide almost as well but we could feel just a bit more drag — particularly during the side-by-side test with the hair extensions.
The NITION Professional Salon Hair Straightener and the FURIDEN Professional Hair Straightener both came next. These multifunctional styling tools pass smoothly over most types of hair but it does take noticeably more effort than the top-tier irons in our minds. The NITION has 5-in-1 heating plates infused with nano silver, argan oil, ceramic, tourmaline, and titanium, while the FURIDEN has ceramic/tourmaline plates.
The KIPOZI Professional Titanium, the INFINITIPRO by Conair, the AmoVee Mini Flat iron, and the Remington S9500 are all about average when it comes to glide performance. They take a little more force when straightening hair — particularly with thicker hair — but we never really felt like we were pulling hard enough to be concerned about damaging hair.
Finishing at the back of the group, the HSI Professional is our least favorite flat iron when it comes to glide performance. We repeatedly felt like we were pulling hairs out while in use and it requires a non-trivial amount of clamping pressure to keep the plates closed.
Next, we moved on to comparing and scoring the thermal properties of these products. We looked at the claimed temperature range, the accuracy at the upper end of that range, and if there is an automatic safety shut-off that will turn off the flat iron if you accidentally leave it powered on. We used a thermocouple hooked up to a digital multimeter to measure the temperature, recording the value once it was stable for approximately 5 seconds. While a non-contact IR thermometer would have been nice to use, the highly reflective nature of the polished plates makes it hard to get an accurate reading with that type of thermometer.
The CHI G2 impressed us the most when it came to this metric. It has a maximum listed temperature of 425°F and our maximum measured temperature is aligned with that very closely, with our meter recording a peak temperature of 421°F. This flat iron will also automatically turn off after an hour.
The KIPOZI's performance also impressed us. This model has a listed temperature range of 170-450°F and we measured a maximum temperature of 455°F — one of the closest to the claimed maximum of the entire group. This model also has a timer to shut off automatically after around 60 minutes.
The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium, the FURIDEN Professional Hair Straightener, and the Hot Tools Signature Series* all followed. These all have a claimed maximum temperature of 450°F but we measured a maximum temperature of around 430°F-435°F for these irons. However, the BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium doesn't have an auto shut-off — something we thoroughly missed.
Most of the other models averaged about 20°F to 25°F under their claimed maximum temperature in our test, except for the AmoVee Mini Flat Iron and the Remington S9500. The Remington S9500 ran on the hot side in our test, with a measured maximum temperature of 466°F that significantly exceeded its claimed range of 450°F. We found this to be a bit concerning, as we could see this elevated temperature definitely having an increased potential for damaging your luscious locks.
The AmoVee Mini Flat Iron performed on the other side of the spectrum, with our measured peak temperature only hitting around 382°F — about 30°F lower than its claimed top temperature.
While this isn't that much lower than some of the other irons, we do mention it since this model already has a much lower peak temperature than other models and it might be a concern if you routinely use your flat iron on the hottest setting.
Ease of Use
Our next series of evaluations looked at how user-friendly and easy to operate each hair straightening iron is. We rated and ranked the interface and display for each product, the length of the cord, if the cord swivels, and if there is a hinge lock.
The CHI G2, the KIPOZI Professional Titanium, and the Hot Tools Ceramic Signature Series all struck us as particularly intuitive and easy to use. The CHI G2 has a particularly long swivel cord — around 11'. The interface is simple and easy to use and this iron also has a digital display that makes it very clear what temperature the iron is set for. However, it doesn't have a hinge lock.
The KIPOZI and the Hot Tools Ceramic Signature Series both have slightly shorter swivel cords, but we still found them to be plenty long enough for most cases. They have similar interfaces with a power button, plus/minus buttons for temperature, and a mode button to cycle through the different presets. Neither have hinge locks though.
The BaBylissPro Nano Titanium is also quite easy to use, though the interface isn't the most intuitive. It lacks a display and the dial has marks from 1-50, rather than temperatures. The INFINITIPRO by Conair is very similar, with a dial that goes from 1-30, though the cord is a little on the short side at 6'.
Both the FURIDEN and the NITION have a twist interface that sets them apart. We actually liked this quite a lot and appreciate that both of these ample cords come with swivels.
The AmoVee Mini Flat Iron is also one of the easiest to use since it just has an on/off switch and no way to adjust the temperature. It does have a short cord but this can actually be a plus since this is typically a travel option.
Our final metric looked at any extra features or accessories these flat irons might have. We looked at any bonus accessories included, if they are travel-friendly, have a hanging loop, and if they have any other functions.
The CHI G2 includes a heat-resistant mat, while the KIPOZI, the NITION, and the FURIDEN include a storage pouch. The AmoVee Mini Flat Iron, the FURIDEN, and the NITION all come with a heat-resistant glove, while the FURIDEN and the NITION also have a comb and clips. The FURIDEN and the NITION also can double as curling irons.
The KIPOZI, the NITION, the AmoVee, and the Hot Tools Ceramic Signature Series all have hanging loops. The KIPOZI, the NITION, the FURIDEN, the AmoVee Mini Flat Iron, the Hot Tools Ceramic Signature Series, and the CHI G2 also are compatible with 110V-240V if you are traveling, though you should always double-check on the actual device before you plug it in.
We hope that this review has helped you find the perfect flat iron for your needs and budget, regardless if you are a professional searching for the best of the best, someone who straightens their hair daily, or if you only style your hair occasionally with one of these tools.
— David Wise