We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. The LA Times newsroom or editorial staff was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more

A Must-Need for Your Hair: The Best Flat Iron

Flat irons are not just for curly heads anymore. New technology has made these tools one of the most popular and sought after styling companions due to their versatility and the ability to enhance hair without causing damage. There are so many options to choose from; start with your hair type and go from there. Super frizzy and static-prone strands need ionic heat to tame strands and lock in moisture. Tourmaline helps the tool glide smoothly while creating tons of shine. Titanium is built for durability, and ceramic models are a bit cheaper yet yield great results. No matter what you need it for, we have listed the best flat iron in 2021 for you to help you decide what product is best to buy.

Here are the best flat irons of 2021

Solia Professional Ceramic Ion Flat Iron - Best Flat Iron Overall

Ceramic flat irons are ideal for getting those frizzy curls or unruly strands in check. You'll notice that with quality ceramic flat irons, you can squeeze an extra day or two out of your current hairstyle. Because they use natural oils to the hair's advantage to polish and shine the cuticle, some of these products even work better on unwashed hair but also keep in mind you should only use ceramic tools on dry hair only, or else you risk ineffective results or even potential damage.

Our pick for the best ceramic flat iron is the Solia Professional Ceramic Flat Iron, thanks to its styling versatility, professional-looking results, and impeccable quality. Solia gives you two size options to choose from. If you need a wider plate to breeze through your strands, go for the 1 3/4-inch model. If you want to be able to create a little texture, flips, or waves, opt for the 1 1/4-inch model. They both are made with the top-of-the-line ceramic, infused with tourmaline ionic technology to deflate, de-puff, and de-frizz all hair types without damage. Strands are heated evenly with a temperature range of 140 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and the result is a lasting shine for days. This iron is great for any hair type of any texture. It is especially ideal for those who are prone to a lot of frizz or have delicate strands that are prone to damage. Solia Professional moves through strands quickly and will never "fry" or damage your hair.

CHI G2 Ceramic Flat Iron - Runner Up

Tourmaline refers to crushed (natural) particles or crystals within the flat iron plate surfaces designed to slip through strands and counter-balance static electricity. It is also great for combating frizz in the hair. The negative ions generated from the tourmaline particles also help hold the style in the hair longer, keep hair shiny, and the moisture locked in. They do cost a little more than ceramic, but you can find some great values that will perform with excellence.

We selected the KQC Beauty X-Heat because it will not damage the hair, has won the highest reviews, and offers excellent build quality. It will effortlessly keep hair soft and shiny. As well, this tourmaline flat iron is ideal for color-treated hair; it works deep in the strand to lock in moisture and preserve your color. For ease of use, the plates change to a darker shade of red when it is at the ideal temperature. This iron has won over many top stylists everywhere in the world because it creates professional-looking hair styles without any added effort. It is also relied upon by many in the fashion industry, and has won the praise and attention of countless magazines.

Paul Mitchell Pro Tools Express Ion Smooth Flat Iron - Honorable Mention

Ionic flat irons deliver natural negative ions to counteract the static electrons in hair. It infuses moisture and doesn't require additional protective products. It truly straightens without leaving any wave behind, unless you want to create some movement on purpose. These tools are great for all hair types and textures. If you have fine, flat hair or thick, curly, and coarse hair, these will help keep strands shiny and beautiful. The ionic technology works with your favorite conditioners or keratin treatments to keep hair looking incredibly healthy.

We chose the Paul Mitchell Pro Tools Express Ion Smooth+ due to the fact that it will not fry hair, will keep frizz and static under control, and create salon-worthy results every time you use it. This model also features professional-grade quality; if you need something for your business, look no further.

This product just excited me once I discovered the styling product line. Paul Mitchell has been one of my favorite “go-to” hair care brands since I was little. The man behind the brand has become a bit legendary in the hair care world, so you can expect nothing but the best from this brand. Paul Mitchell will deliver the goods with professional looking results and consistency. I love the fact that this iron heats up in a literal minute. This line always gives you a lot for you money as well. This tool is the best-selling tool in their styling tool line.

Karmin G3 Salon Pro Tourmaline Hair Flat Iron - Consider

You can define "professional" a few different ways when it comes to flat irons. One way you can define it is if the quality is at a level where professional hair stylists would use it on their clients. If it's good enough for them, then it is certainly good enough for you to use at home. "Professional" quality also refers to the high level of performance, so you know you are getting an outstanding product. Yes, you may pay a bit more up front, but it will save you money in the long run. These will give you that "fresh out of the salon" look which is what it's all about.

Our favorite is the Karmin G3 Salon Pro Tourmaline Hair Straightener, which we chose for the durability, superb quality, and the fact that it will last quite a while, even if you use it daily for hours on end. You can create any style you could possible imagine with this tool. Build volume, flatten hair, create sassy waves, or flip hair under or up. You can design your style to suit your mood with ease like a pro. Buy this for the salon to use on clients, or use it at home and create your own styling oasis. Using this tool feels a lot more like fun and less like work. It comes in pink, black, or white, and has a great design that fits perfectly in your hand making it easy to use.

BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium 1 1/4" Titanium-Plated Straightening Iron - Best Titanium Flat Iron

Titanium flat irons are built to last. You will not need to worry about rust or corrosion and will have less wear and tear on the plate surface. This tool is ideal for those who use a flat iron on a regular basis, and use a little product in the hair while doing so. Titanium tools get very hot, so make sure to use the heat controls to prevent damage. On the flip side, those who need that extra power will love how effective it is as it heats strands from the inside out, making hair transform from dull and unmanageable to soft and shiny.

There are few occasions when a product sits head and shoulders above the rest. In this case, the BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium is a shoe-in for the best, due to the consistent durability, high performance, and excellent quality. It's frequently used by professional stylists (or are stylist recommended),and is great for heavy-duty use on a daily basis. This is made with 100 percent pure titanium to give hair the sleekest smoothest style possible. This one has 50 heat options and goes all the way up to 450 degrees, but your hair will not suffer damage due to the even heat distribution. This tool is perfect for all hair types.

HSI Professional 1" Ceramic Ionic Flat Iron Hair Straightener - Best Budget Flat Iron

There are plenty of excellent quality hair straighteners under $100 on the market, but which ones will perform up to your high standards? You can go for a one inch barrel size and do a lot of other styling techniques like curls and waves. Longer strands may consider going for a larger and/or wider barrel and go from fat to flat in no time. While cheap flat irons can cause unacceptable damage to your hair, the best budget flat irons are made with the latest professional-grade ceramic plate technology which won’t damage your precious strands - even if you have a stubborn hair type.

We highly recommend the HSI Professional 1” Ceramic Flat Iron. It comes with everything you need to achieve salon quality results in your own home, including a protective glove that is ideal for those of us who may or may not be licensed cosmetologists. It will keep your hand protected from the heat and prevent burns in case of a distraction. If you are concerned with the cost, just keep the price of a blowout plus straightening by your favorite stylist in mind. After about two visits you would have paid for this tool. You can save yourself the trip, time, and money while getting your hair to look the exact same way your stylist would.

BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium Wet/Dry Flat Iron - Best Wet to Dry Flat Iron

It is always a time saver when you can cut out steps in a tedious beauty routine. Using a wet-to-dry flat iron allows you to take a shortcut and not have to sacrifice your style. Skip the blow dryer and go straight with a few swipes of these amazing irons. Today's products are less damaging than ever before; they work to use the moisture in the hair to its advantage instead of drying it out, leaving it brittle or damaged.

We picked the BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium for several reasons. Primarily, it's manufactured with the finest quality materials that will never fry or damage hair, even when used often. We also appreciated the adjustable heat settings to suit any style and/or hair type, and is exceptionally safe and gentle on your hair. This professional-grade tool uses the moisture within your strands to your hair’s advantage. The advanced titanium technology allows the product to pass through the hair quickly as it locks in moisture and shine. You hair will never look or feel “fried” thanks to the high-quality titanium as it works to distribute heat consistently and evenly. If you are pressed for time, this tool is well worth the investment. If you also find yourself needing a bit of short cut when a full out blow dry is just too time consuming, then this wet to dry flat iron can cut your style time in half.

BaByliss PRO Nano Titanium 1" Mini Straightening Iron - Best Travel Flat Iron

When traveling, there are certain must-haves that are necessary to a woman’s everyday grooming routine. However, given the limited size of the luggage you may be carrying, it’s also essential to find compact items for yourself. Travel flat irons for example, are sized perfectly to take anywhere with you. The best travel flat irons are perfectly lightweight and compact in size but still able to efficiently control frizz and straighten out any hair type, including exceptionally coarse and unruly locks.

Despite its size, the BaByliss PRO Nano Titanium Mini flat iron maintains consistent temperatures which will lock in moisture by sealing the hair shaft, and will do so without drying out or frying your delicate tresses. According to reviewers, this travel flat iron gets hot enough to straighten very thick hair thanks to the 430 degree Fahrenheit setting - the ideal temperature for use on thick hair strands as well as straightening wavy hair. The Babyliss PRO Nano Titanium Mini is well suited for touching up your hair throughout the day, making this ideal for use after a post-flight touch up in the airport for example. The one-inch plates also make it very easy to straighten a substantial amount of hair in a short period of time. BaByliss Pro makes versatile, dependable tools which always perform with professional grade results and this pick is no exception.

Buyer's Guide

Best Flat Irons Buying Guide

From thick curls to pin-straight hair, a high-quality flat iron can make attractive hairstyles out of any type, length, and texture of hair. The right straightening tool that heats quickly and damages minimally can make your hair shiny, regardless of its natural state. Some straighteners with advanced features also make your mane look glossier and healthier. Since an excellent flat iron has a lot to bring to the table, it is worth investing a little time in selecting a perfect fit for your hair’s wants and needs. To save your time, we have shed light on some of the key factors you should consider before purchasing the best flat irons. So let’s dive in!

What Should You Consider to Choose the Best Flat Iron?


Flat irons are basically made from three materials, including ceramic, titanium, and tourmaline.

Ceramic straighteners are ideal for straightening short, light, coarse, and curly hair. They not only provide even heat distribution throughout your hair but also make it shiny. Besides, these affordable flat irons have the ability to hold heat as long as your want. If you have fine hair, then this tool is perfect for you.

Titanium flat iron heats up quickly, so you don’t have to wait for long to use this tool. It has the potential to stay heated at a constant temperature. Thanks to its high heat, it is ideal for thick and coarse hair. However, people with light hair should avoid this tool because it can burn their longs easily. Since titanium straighteners heat faster, they tend to be a bit expensive.

A flat iron coated with tourmaline is less likely to damage hair because it traps the moisture of the locks and makes them look healthy. Besides, the heat on its plate remains constant, and you can use it at a lower temperature, thanks to its effective distribution of heat.

Size of Plates

Different flat irons have different plate widths. Deciding on the size of your straightener will depend on the length and thickness of your mane. If you have short or fine hair, you should opt for a tool that can easily cover smaller hair sections. The recommended size of the plate for this type of hair is 1/2 to 1 inch.

On the other hand, people with long, thick, and curly hair should look for a flat iron with a wider plate of 1.5 to 2 inches. It will allow them to cover and straight more hair in a short time.

Temperature Settings

Flat irons reinforced with adjustable heat settings allow you to set the correct temperature for your hair type. While light and delicate hair demands less heat to straighten, thick, long, and curly locks require a high temperature.

Though high temperature quickly straightens the hair, it is not ideal for all types of hair. So, invest in a straightener that enables you to adjust the temperature range according to your hair need and avoid damaging your mane.

Heat Protector Mats

Some flat irons come with a heat protector mat that shields your countertops from the heat of the tool. These mats are made of Silicone that protects delicate surfaces by blocking the heat of straighteners and other hair styling tools. This accessory usually comes in handy when you have to style your hair at new places during a trip.

Auto Shutoff

High heating flat irons can lead to dangerous fire hazards if left unattended. That’s why they should have an auto shut-off feature that will automatically turn them off after they have been on for 60-80 minutes without being used. It will not only avert mishaps but also give you peace of mind after every use.

Cost and Value

Most people simply visit the store and purchase the first cheap flat iron that they come across. If you are also one of them, then you are going to pour your money down the drain because such straighteners break easily or stop working sooner or later. Besides, they may also have uneven heat distribution or overheat that can leave undone patches or burn your hair. So, we suggest investing in a good quality product that makes your hair look more beautiful although it is a bit pricey.

Final Words

The best flat iron has more durability and gives excellent results without damaging the hair. Most straighteners are a little expensive but worth your penny. We hope this buying guide has provided you with nuggets of information that helps you shop for a high-quality product that suits your needs.

Best Flat Iron FAQ

How can I clean my flat iron?

If you frequently use gel or hairspray on your hair, your flat iron will likely have ample leftover gunk. Most people use a scissor or bread knife to scrape off the dirt, but it is not suitable for your straightener. We suggest making a homemade cleaner by mixing hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to clean your iron. It will also eliminate the need to scratch the plate of your tool.

What temperature is ideal for straightening hair?

Though high temperature quickly straightens the hair, it also causes more damage to it. For light hair, the recommended temperature rating is below 300 degrees. However, if you have curly, thick, and extremely coarse hair, the heat range between 350-400 degrees would be ideal. Make sure not to heat your flat iron so much that it burns your hair.

What should be the plate size of a flat iron?

The standard plate size for almost every hair type is 1 inch. However, smaller plates are a perfect choice if you want to perfectly style short hair and mane with bangs. But if you have less time and want to style your hair quickly, then a bigger plate would be ideal as it can cover more hair with every glide. The width of bigger plates ranges between 1.5-2 inches, and they are more expensive than 1 -inch plates.

bestcovery team.jpg
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
Related Content
Go to top