Hair straighteners might be a stylist’s secret weapon but, whether it’s poker-straight locks or beach waves you’re going for, getting salon-calibre hair from home can still be a task. Still, not all hair straighteners are created equally. At a number of price ranges, the best will leave your hair feeling smooth, silky and shiny – not frizzy, dry and burnt. And, these days, the high end models use tech to not only style but protect our hair.
During our testing of these hair straighteners, WIRED looked at specifications like the number of heat settings, the versatility of plates, the time taken to heat up and heat protection technology. We also looked at ergonomics, size and weight. We styled our hair with each product, taking into account the overall feel and finished look.
We also paid attention to whether there were any useful extras, like heat mats, sleeves and travel bags. The length and style of cables and cords were also important to us, as was – of course – value for money.
What’s the best hair straightener to buy in 2021?
The Dyson Corrale (£400) topped the list as our best hair straighteners, thanks to clever flexing plates, an instantly good finish and no cord. Everything about this screams luxe convenience, from the flight mode to the ergonomic charging station. Worth the splash.
View the Dyson Corrale for £400 on Boots
Our best budget hair straightener is the Remington PROLuxe (£50). With nine different heat settings, this tool is as versatile as it gets, and the PRO+ feature offers maximum protection. The next step up, the Remington HYDRAluxe Pro is also worth a look, especially when it’s selling for £75 rather than the £150 RRP.
View the Remington PROLuxe for £50 on Amazon
WIRED Recommends is your definitive guide to the best technology. Every product featured has been properly tested by WIRED reviewers. Head to our best gadgets guide for our top picks in every category we’ve tested.
WIRED Recommends: The cordless Dyson Corrale is our top pick for stellar results
Maximum heat: 210°C | Heat settings: 3 | Cord length: Cordless
By far the most expensive on this list, the Dyson Corrale (£400) is also the most tech-savvy – and, frankly, a little difficult not to gush over it. While the Corrale only has three precise heat settings and doesn’t reach quite as high as say, the Remington straighteners we tested, it is extremely versatile. It also heats up ridiculously quickly and switches off automatically after ten minutes.
Dyson’s ‘Intelligent Heat Control’ technology means that, despite being cordless, the straightener still packs a punch power-wise. And let’s talk about that no cord situation, shall we? There aren’t many cordless straighteners out there and using these was nothing short of a dream. The charger is designed so that you can charge as you go, although, with a 30-minute battery life, that won’t be necessary. It also only takes 70 minutes to charge fully, which is significantly shorter than other cordless straighteners. Oh, and it has a flight mode feature so travelling won’t be an issue.
The flexing plates are another technological edge. They are made from a complex manganese copper alloy – which heats all over – with a tourmaline edge and gather hair to stop it from flaying, meaning you only have to go over sections once to get the perfect result – and it’s true in use. Thanks to this, and since the Corrale relies less on heat itself, heat damage should be limited over the long term.
With the Corrale you get a luxe heat resistant travel pouch, a magnetic charging dock and a magnetic charging cable with a 360°C swivel feature. The one downside here is that, compared with titanium plates, the application doesn’t feel quite as smooth and there was some static after a quick brush. Still, this product is incredibly luxurious – and for £399, we’d be surprised if it wasn’t.
Pros: Flexing plates; cordless; heats up quicklyCons: Some static
Price: £400 | Check price on Boots | Amazon | Currys | Dyson
Remington PROLuxe Straightener
Luxury styling on a budget
Maximum heat: 230°C | Heat settings: 9 | Cord length: 2.9 metres
The PROLuxe (£50) has nine heat settings (!) ranging from 150°C to 230°C, granting this styling tool the prize for most versatile on test. It heats up extremely quickly and the digital screen is large and displays the temperature clearly.
This straightener doesn’t have a swivel cord, but the cord is long enough not to get in the way and, besides, the way this straightener felt on our hair, it was hardly noticeable. Trust us. The ‘Ultimate Glide’ ceramic coated plates do exactly what it says on the tin. They glided effortlessly over our hair and its possible this is the smoothest straightener we’ve ever used. It felt nothing short of professional and, despite the lower price point, should be considered luxury. There was absolutely zero snagging, making this the most comfortable straightener on this list too.
Remington’s ‘OPTIheat’ technology targets heat where your hair most needs it, which delivers genuine long-lasting results and the PRO+ setting keeps the temperature at a responsible 185°C to protect your hair.
While not as techy as other straighteners, the PROLuxe is glamorously good and delivers perfect results instantly – one swipe of each section and you’re finished. It comes with a heat resistant guard similar to the GHDs which, again, might be better as a heat mat. Still, despite only doing the basics, these are definitely the best value for money straighteners you can buy right now.
Pros: Versatile; zero snagging; smoothest platesCons: No swivel cord; no heatproof mat
Price: £50 | Check price on Amazon | Boots | Argos
GHD Platinum+ Hair Straightener
An ergonomic hair styler with predictive heat tech
Maximum heat: 185°C | Heat settings: 3 | Cord length: 2.7 metres
Marketed as SMART, this GHD Platinum+ (£189) straightener also has a techy edge to it. With only one heat setting (185°C) it would be tempting to say this straightener could fall short on versatility – and it very well might, for those with thicker hair types. But, with its ultra-zone predictive technology, the Platinum Plus is able to monitor and adapt the temperature according to the thickness of your hair and styling speed.
The ceramic floating plates have sensors which monitor heat 250 times a second – 2.5 faster than the Dysons – to help protect your hair and minimise damage. The 2.7 metre cord is long enough not to be irritating and the 360°C swivel feature, combined with the wishbone-shaped handle, make this tool a winner on ergonomics. Side note: the rounded tip is perfect for curling as well as straightening.
We were a little dismayed to find ourselves going over sections multiple times, as this might counter any protective benefits from the aforementioned features, but the GHD finish was still as glossy as you’d hope for the price. The straightener heats up in exactly 15 seconds and automatically switches off after 30 minutes, just in case you forget.
With the straightener comes a heat resistant plate guard that fits over the top of the tool. White quite handy, the heat does seep through leaving the guard hot to the touch, and a mat might be preferable while styling.
Pros: Smart predictive heat technology; ergonomicCons: No adjustable heat settings
Price: £189 | Check price on Amazon | GHD | John Lewis
Hershesons Titanium Ionic Professional Straightener
A lightweight straightener with smooth, titanium plates
Maximum heat: 230°C | Heat settings: 5 | Cord length: 2.5 metres
The Hershesons Titanium Ionic Professional Straightener (£101) is a dreamy combination of lightweight, powerful and convenient. With five heat settings (from 170°C up to 230°C), these straighteners will suit a variety of hair types. Plus it reaches its highest temperature in a matter of seconds, making it perfect if you’re on the go. The small, digital screen makes for easy reading, too.
The cord is 2.5 metres long and has a 360°C spin feature, meaning that the cord doesn’t get tangled up in the straightener as you go. This makes using it extremely easy and makes for a perfect hair curling tool. Accessory-wise, this straightener come with a transparent, square heating mat (great if you don’t have fluff on your floor) and a travel bag, so portability isn’t a question.
The titanium ionic plates are wonderfully smooth, with almost zero snags, and can be thanked for that speedy heating time. Titanium plates are heated evenly – as opposed to ceramic plates, which often only get hot from the middle – and leave hair looking silky smooth due to having more negative ions than other materials. That’s exactly the result these straighteners offered, although we did find ourselves going over sections more than once due to the splaying effect many straighteners have on hair. Given the results, we can live with that.
Pros: Lightweight; great finishCons: Some snagging; needs multiple irons
Price: £101 | Check price on Amazon | Hershesons
Remington HYDRAluxe Pro Straightener
This step-up Remington has neat moisture mist technology
Maximum heat: 230°C | Heat settings: 5 | Cord length: 3 metres
The HYDRAluxe Pro (£150) uses Remington’s ‘Hydracare’ mist technology which is said to regulate the temperature according to your hair, preventing heat damage and preserve your hair’s moisture balance. To use this – which involves the release of a cool moisture mist as you go – you need to fill up water in the reservoir, kind of like iron, with the pipette provided.
The plates have a ceramic coating designed to preserve the moisture of your hair, leading to a sleeker finish. However, ceramic plates don’t heat as easily as titanium ones, and we did find ourselves ironing sections multiple times to get the right finish. You can definitely feel the difference between ceramic and titanium plates and some hair did pull out with the snag. Ceramic tends to be safer for home use as it leads to less damage over time, though.
The straightener heats up fairly quickly, but adding water to the reservoir does take some extra time meaning that these straighteners might not be the best if you’re on the go. For the hair-saving technology, a few minutes seems like a small price to pay. Like the Hershesons Titanium Ionic and GHDs, the HYDRAluxe Pro has a swivel cord, making it easy to use.
This Remington comes with a chic travel bag but no heat pad. That’s a shame since the straighteners are hot to the touch after a few minutes of use. Other than that, though, no complaints.
Pros: Heat protection technology; sleek finishCons: Moisture mist takes extra time; some snagging
Price: £150 | Check price on Amazon | Boots | Argos
BaByliss Velvet Orchid 235 Straightener
A budget yet versatile straightener
Maximum heat: 235°C | Heat settings: 6 | Cord length: 2 metres
The BaByliss Velvet Orchid 235 (£25) is certainly easy on the eyes. With six heat settings reaching up to 235°C, this straighteners offers more options than many more expensive models on this list. Although it has a shorter cable, the 360°C swivel feature makes the BaByliss the perfect budget dupe for the more luxury GHDs.
While not as smooth in use as some of the other devices, the tourmaline-ceramic plates offer a great result and we found that we didn’t have to go over thin sections of hair more than once, which is always a plus. The plates make for a glossy finish and limited damage, though it’s important to note that they are more suited to thinner hair than thicker hair, and tourmaline – a crystal – can wear over time, unlike titanium.
The straightener reaches its highest setting in well under a minute, which is great if you’re in a rush. And they come with a small heat pad which attaches to the tool, so you don’t have to worry about burning your hands in the clean-up. While the quality definitely matches the lower price point, these are a great ultra-budget option if you can’t quite afford the GHDs.
Pros: Versatile; glossy finish; budgetCons: Not very smooth; suited to thinner hair
Also consider: The BaByliss Cordless Straightener (£200), which is still in testing, could be a slightly more affordable alternative to the Dyson Corrale.
Price: £25 | Check price on Amazon | Boots | Argos