How to Choose the Best Flat Iron so You Don't Damage the Eff Out of Your Hair

Having a good flat iron (or hot brush, for that matter) can be life-changing. And I'm not just saying that. Whether you just want an effortless-looking style for the day or something a little more elegant, having the right tools handy, along with the right protective products, can really make or break your styling experience. There's one especially important product stylists say to never use heat without. "The number one tip I recommend to everyone across the board is to always use a heat protectant," says celebrity hairstylist Kee Taylor. "Remember that heat styling will cause moisture loss, so make sure your heat protectant is super moisturizing to combat the drying effects of the heat. Some of my favorites are the Satin Shield Serum ($40), which is great for smoothing the cuticles, and the CHI Infra Therma Protective Treatment ($17) because it's great for all hair types." 

Not only is it important to use a heat protectant, but it's also key that you choose the right flat iron for your hair type. Those with finer hair shouldn't use a ton of heat, as that could cause major damage, while those with thicker hair might need to crank up the temperature a bit to get their desired smoothness. "The most important things to keep in mind [when selecting a flat iron] are the temperature, plate material, plate shape and size, and the technology," Taylor shares. She even has a hot tip for those with curls. "[Those with curls] should look for a flat iron that reaches no more than 450°F. Otherwise, you're going to really damage your strands and curl pattern." With a little help from Taylor and a few other trusted celebrity hairstylists, I've rounded up the best flat irons for each hair type. Keep scrolling for all their picks. 

Best for Curly Hair

Best flat irons for curly hair



"This is my newest obsession. It's a ceramic heated brush that is a game changer for curly and coily hair types. It's similar to a flat iron but completely innovative because this flat heated brush has nylon bristles that line the side of the brush, and right behind the bristles, there's a heated edge (boom), so now when we straighten our hair, we can get right at the buckles around the hairline and roots and stretch them out for the smoothest, shiniest hairstyle. It lays the roots flat and straight but can also add volume to your hairstyle and allows you the easiest blowout touch-ups and soft waves ever." Bridget Brager, Celebrity Hairstylist

"The T3 Single Pass X is perfect for thick, curly hair. The design uses a combination of tourmaline and ceramic plates that are a bit wider than what you find on most flat irons. So your straightening work is accomplished in a gentle way but more quickly and with less effort." Jeremy Tardo, Celebrity Hairstylist

"The floating plates [on this iron] ensure you're evenly heating the hair without crushing strands." Kee Taylor, Celebrity Hairstylist 

I used to use this flat iron religiously when I heat-styled every week. (It was a dark time.) It's honestly one of the best budget options I've ever usedit really gets the job done. It has wider plates, so it's great if you have thick, curly hair, and ceramic coating to provide even heat distribution and less damage to your locks.

Best for Wavy Hair

This Hot Tools Pro straightener allows you to cut down on the number of passes needed to achieve a sleek, straight look. It also has a dual heater controller that allows individual customization between the left and right plates for a smoother style and less damage.

Taylor loves this flat iron for all hair types, but it works especially great for wavy hair because it delivers one of the smoothest finishes if you're going for a straight style or can make even a curly look ultra smooth. It also adds a ton of extra shine to the hair.

Mini flat irons are perfect for on-the-go styling and traveling. If you just need a quick touch-up or want to create some fast beach waves, this is the tool to do it.

Nition's five-in-one tourmaline ceramic flat iron is infused with argan oil to lock in extra moisture and smooth baby hairs or frizz. It's also great for those with long, thick locks because it has a longer heating plate so you can style more hair at once.

Best for Straight Hair

"This flat iron is great for straighter textures because it can be used to smooth the hair but is also really easy to use as a curler to add waves or curls to the hair. The smart iron’s technology keeps the temperature at an ideal 365ºF, which is helpful for finer hair textures that don't require as much heat. It creates less damage during use." — Tardo

As far as more affordable options go, HSI's Ceramic Tourmaline Flat Iron is one of the best for straight hair that's either thick or thin. It has ceramic plates that use HeatBalance micro-sensors to regulate the temperature and evenly distribute heat, therefore requiring fewer passes on the hair. The heat settings go as low as 140°F and as high as 450°F, so it can work for many different types of strands.

"One of my go-to flat irons is definitely the Lucea 1-Inch. It has Ceragloss ceramic plates for even heat and nine heat settings to choose from to keep your hair healthy even when styling. Plus, the Lucea has curved corners, which makes it super easy to not only straighten the hair but also to add waves and curls." — Brager

Hot Tools' versatile styler creates salon-level looks in minutes. It's great for straighter hair types that would like to create loose waves or tighter curls on a time crunch, as it rotates easily, heats up quickly, and has rounded edges for smoother results. 

Best for Coily Hair

Best flat irons for coily hair



"I love this flat iron that's created by the iconic Kim Kimble. It has beveled edges, which enable you to tame frizz and flyaways close to the roots without crease lines. The heating element stays consistent and can go up to 450ºF if your coily hair needs it. I also love that the two-inch ceramic plates allow for easy, user-friendly smoothing." — Tardo

"This is one of my favorite flat irons because the technology used in it is gentle on the hair and leaves it looking very healthy." — Taylor

This titanium flat iron has extra-long floating plates for better contact and faster styling, making it a great option for tighter coils. The ceramic and titanium technology also protects against heat damage and helps control frizz.

Designed to help preserve moisture levels, boost shine, and smooth frizz, this iron is great for coils. It's also designed to be a one-pass straightener. Now, I'll admit doing only one pass doesn't always work for those with curls, but it will at least cut down on the number of passes you'll need to style.