The 5 Best Flat Hair Irons to Buy in 2018

UPDATED UPDATED JANUARY 2018 | BY KATE APPLESON

A trustworthy, reliable flat iron that won't burn or damage your hair is an absolute essential for the curly-haired among us.  The ideal flat iron allows you to speedily straighten and style curls with just a few passes, and at the lowest possible temperature.

Quality is key - most budget flat irons will burn and tear your hair due to low-quality plate materials and poor temperature controls.  That doesn't mean you have to break the bank - we've picked a range of the best professional-quality flat irons available in 2017 for various budgets and hair types below. Several significant price cuts from Cyber Monday are still in effect, including the best deal we've ever seen on our Best Professional Salon Speed pick below.

Best on the Market: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium-Plated Wet-to-Dry Ultra-thin Straightening Iron

The BaBylissPRO is our top performance choice on the flat iron market, reliably delivering professional salon-level smoothness via pure titanium plates without damaging hair. It's on the pricier side due to its best in class titanium plates, but comes in far below other top-line salon models of its kind.

Titanium plates are known for producing extremely sleek-looking results, and when paired with the BaBylissPro's ionic frizz-reducing technology they are able to tame the thickest and coarsest of manes.

The BaBylissPro has an extremely thin body which means you can also use it effectively to shape tighter curls.  It heats up almost instantly to a peak temperature of 450 degrees for harder to straighten hair, and glowing reviewers love that it does so without drying out and tearing their hair.  Check Amazon Price >>

Best Value: HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron Hair Straightener

HSI's Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Flat Iron is by far the best value on the market, and the only flat iron we'd even consider in the budget category. It packs many professional-level features into an affordable package, though we find it performs much more reliably for fine vs. thicker hair.

The HSI Professional sports high-quality ceramic tourmaline plates and ionic-powered frizz reduction at the lowest price we've seen, meaning it can create a refined and upscale look without breaking the bank. It comes with a travel bag and protective gloves, and tens of thousands of glowing reviews confirm its status as our best overall value.

It has a harder time with thick or coarse hair, and isn't as speedy or damage-free as the BaByliss Pro or the Bio Ionic Onepass, so you won't find it at a high-end salon.  If you have fine or normal hair and are looking for a great deal, however, the HSI Professional Ceramic is the way to go.  Check Amazon Price >>

Best for Professional Salon Speed: BIO IONIC Onepass Straightening Iron, 1.5 inch 

The Bio Ionic Onepass Straightening Iron is the most high-end and expensive iron on our list, but worth every penny due to its tangle-free speed and single-pass effectiveness.  It is a favorite of professional stylists, and worth the cost of upgrading over the BaByliss Pro if you're a time-pressed regular user.

The Bio Ionic's plates are ceramic but have a silicone covering that make it effective at passing quickly through hair without snagging. The silicone makes it truly effective at straightening in one pass, unlike other flat irons that only claim to do so. It uses negative ions that break down water molecules to fight frizziness and seal in moisture.  

We've recommended the 1.5 inch plate model for longer hair, but if you have shorter hair or primarily want to use it to style your curls you'll want to go with the 1 inch thickness available separately.  Check Amazon Price >>

Best Mid-Range for Coarse, Thick Hair: RUSK CTC Technology Professional Straight Iron

This decently priced mid-range model is particularly useful for those with coarse, hard to tame thick hair who don't want to pay up for the BaBylissPRO or the Bio Ionic.

This flat iron from Rusk Engineering uses ceramic plates with a Sol-Gel technical coating that makes it easier to maneuver the flat iron through your hair and pull it smoothly without catching or tangling. This gliding action helps keep thick hair soft and sleek despite straightening it at heat of up to 450 degrees.  

On the downside, the Rusk's shape makes it a bit unwieldy for those with shorter hair, and some buyers have also reported long-term reliability issues. We would still choose the BaBylissPRO if price isn't an object, but if you're looking for a more affordable model that can still tackle a thick mane the Rusk CTC is a good choice.  Check Amazon Price >>

Decent Mid-Range Value: CHI Original 1" Flat Hair Straightening Ceramic Iron

CHI is a renowned luxury beauty brand and its flat irons are known for being among the first on the market with high quality ceramic plates.

The CHI Original 1" Flat Hair Straightening Iron is a mid-range model that will do the job for loyal CHI buyers.  The ceramic plates have extremely reliable heat distribution.  That said, the CHI Original takes a long time to heat up vs. other new irons, and a design flaw means they can overheat their outer plastic casing, which can hurt your hands.  Some recent buyers have reported quality issues, with a few saying their models stopped working after less than a year.

With the top-line performance available from the BaByliss Pro, or the strong value available from the HSI Professional, we would choose another iron for anyone other than hardcore CHI afficionados. Check Amazon Price >>


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