Flat Iron Buying Guide – How to Choose a Flat Iron

Last Updated on November 30, 2021 by SulaBeauty Staff

So you have decided to buy a new flat iron, but you’ve also noticed that there are plenty of options in the market! And now you’re wondering -how to choose the flat iron that suits your hair the best?

No worries, that’s why we have come up with this flat iron buying guide!

Flat irons are one of the essential hair styling tools in every women’s beauty arsenal. They are the most convenient and flexible tools that help you achieve your desired hairstyles like sleek straight hair, curls, waves, and even twists.

And, that’s the reason that there are lots of brands manufacturing a range of different types of straighteners. However, not all straighteners give you your desired results.

If you are looking to buy a straightening iron, then before proceeding, determine your hair type. When you know the answer to this question, you can quickly figure out which product is right for you based on the tips and tricks mentioned below.

Before Choosing the Flat Iron Think About Your Needs

Although the end goal of getting a flat iron at home is to style the hair, not every woman seeks the same result. So here’s what you need to ask yourself to get the best flat iron that fulfills your needs.

How often do you plan on using the flat iron

If it’s for everyday use, then consider investing in a high quality model that will last longer and work better

Some women prefer straightening their hair every single day. But, at the same time, some prefer to use the straightener once or twice a week.

Therefore, think of how frequently you are going to use your hair straightener. For example, will you use it daily or once a week or maybe only on special occasions. Then, depending on your answer, you can narrow down the list of the best straighteners available.

Are you going to straighten or style your hair?

Though a flat iron is mainly designed to straighten the hair, it is a flexible tool that lets you try other styles like waves, curls, twists, etc.

Flat irons have different features and functionalities to fulfill such requirements. For instance, straighteners have plates with curved edges that let you create curls or flip your hair effortlessly.

How to Choose a Flat Iron

Now that you know your needs, it’s time to look at the features of flat irons. And determine which one would be ideal for you.

What’s your budget – flat irons can range in price from $10 to $200

Before considering the features, and your needs, it’s time to think of the real point – “Your Budget”!

You can find flat irons at an unbelievably low price or a hefty price. However, before purchasing a hair straightener with your hard-earned money, you need to check whether it’s helpful to you or not.

While it’s tempting to buy the cheapest flat iron in the store, you should take a moment to think if that product is suitable for your hair texture. And if it’s got all the features that you need. If the answer is no, better check the other options available.

Also, if you are a beginner, try to avoid settling for an expensive straightening iron the first time. Instead, try an inexpensive option, and once you are comfortable with straightening irons, switch to an expensive one.

Choose a flat iron with an Adjustable temperature setting that is appropriate for your hair type

lower settings are good for thick, coarse hair while higher settings are best for thin, delicate hair

Most straighteners give you more control over the temperature settings. That means they let you modify the heat settings of the plate. Generally, flat irons can work between a temperature range of 175 F to 450 F.

The higher the temperature, the faster the straightener will work. But that also means that the hair is more likely to get damaged due to the high heat. Hence, you shouldn’t use a straightener at a temperature of 450F or above.

That said, if you have thin, damaged hair, you’ll need a flat iron that operates at a lower heat setting. Alternatively, for thick, coarse, curly hair, you’ll need one that reaches a high temperature of at least 400F.

Do you prefer a ceramic, titanium or tourmaline plate?

The plates of hair straighteners are usually made up of Ceramic, Titanium, or Tourmaline, or a mixture of any two of these materials.

Ceramic flat irons are economical and easy to handle straighteners. Ceramic plates are gentle on the hair and distribute heat evenly for perfect straight styles. Again, such straighteners suit most hair types, including thin, thick, coarse, curly, or damaged hair.

Titanium flat irons are for those who want rapid results or have thick, curly hair. That’s because titanium straighteners heat up quickly and distribute heat more evenly across the plates. They are also more durable than Ceramic ones.

Tourmaline flat irons are gentler on the hair. They are remarkably great at taming frizz from the hair and maintaining the moisture in the hair. If you’re tired of your frizzy, damaged hair, you shouldn’t think twice about purchasing a Tourmaline straightener. 

If you want to compare the plates material read our guides below:

Consider the size, share and width of the plates

Some flat irons have larger plates for better coverage.

Like the plate material of flat irons, the shape, size, and width of the plates also differ. For example, some flat irons have 2 inches wide plates while others have 0.5 inches wide plates.

Flat irons with wider plates can instantly style thick hair, while those with narrower plates are ideal for short bangs. Hence, based on your hair type, you can pick the one that sounds good to you.

Similarly, the shapes of the plates are also different. If you want a straightener to curl and straighten the hair, you can select one with beveled edges. And if you only want a straightener to straighten the hair, you can go for one with regular plates.

Technology used in flat irons

The technology used in every straightener is different. And based on that, we find various straighteners in the market like steam, wet to dry, infrared straighteners, to name a few.

Far infrared

Straighteners with far infrared technology are gentler on the hair. Unlike traditional flat irons that heat hair from the outside, infrared straighteners emit infrared heat to penetrate hair from the inside out.

Infrared flat irons come with either Ceramic or Titanium plates that release negative ions while straightening the hair. As a result, you get frizz-free, smooth, healthy, straight locks on every glide.

That said, such straighteners are best for styling color-treated, frizzy, damaged hair.

Zone sensors

Some flat irons come with zone sensors that ensure even heat distribution across the plates. If the plates of a straightener are not heated properly, it takes longer to straighten the hair. Also, the results are not much satisfactory.

Hence, it’s worth picking a straightener that ensures no hot or cold spots on the plates so that you can get flawlessly straight locks.

Floating plates

Straighteners with floating plates give you more flexibility while styling the hair. They adjust automatically depending on your hair’s thickness to ensure proper hair grip.

They even glide through the hair effortlessly. As a result, each strand of your hair is perfectly styled.


Regular flat irons use the moisture in your hair while straightening them. Unfortunately, that sometimes makes the hair frizzy, dry, and damaged.

Further, when women with dry hair use such flat irons regularly, the hair gets more damaged. That’s where steam flat irons step in.

These hair straightening irons spray water on the hair while styling them, evaporating from the steaming vents. So, the moisture in the hair is preserved, and you are left with healthy, glossy, straight hair.

Few extra features

Dual voltage for traveling

If you often travel overseas for business or leisure, you’ll need to invest in a straightener that works on dual voltage. That’s because electrical appliances in most countries run on 220-240 V., but in the USA, the voltage is 110-120V.

Sadly, if you don’t purchase a straightener that operates on dual voltage (110V and 240V), you won’t be able to use it worldwide.

Fast heat up time

Most straightening irons have rapid heat up time. Hence they get ready for use in lesser than a minute. Such irons are convenient for those who are in a hurry, as they allow you to use them as soon as you power them up!

Consider the cord length and whether it is Swivel power cord or not

The length of the straightening iron cord is equally essential. Straighteners that come with a long, fully-rotatable cord give you more flexibility while styling. With such straighteners, you can effortlessly reach all parts of your head. And even stand far from the power socket while styling!

swivel power cord on flat iron

Alternatively, shorter power cords will want you to stand closer to the power socket all the time.

Apart from that, you can go for a cordless flat iron if you want more styling flexibility.

Do you need an automatic shut-off feature so it doesn’t overheat when left unattended

If you are fond of forgetting to turn off appliances, you better get a flat iron with an automatic shut-off feature.

This feature will turn off the straightener when it’s left inactive for a specific period (say after one or two hours of non-usage). That way, you’ll not have to panic between your office meetings when you forget to unplug the straightener before leaving the house!

What is your desired hairstyle?

Not all straighteners will help you achieve all your desired styles. Therefore, as mentioned earlier, it’s best to choose a hair straightener based on your styling needs. 

Smooth Straight

If you want a straightener for merely straightening your hair, you can get one with regular square-edged plates. Such straighteners will help you achieve sleek, straight styles effortlessly.

Curly Wavy

If you want to create waves or curls, flat irons with curved edges will give you excellent results. These straighteners have edges curved at an angle, using which you can curl, wave, or twist your hair and create flawless styles.

What is your hair length?

When you bring home a flat iron that is perfect for your hair length, you can style your tresses quickly and fearlessly.

Short bangs

You need flat irons with a narrow plate size like 0.5 to 0.75 inches to style short hair. Such straighteners are generally known as mini or travel-size straightening irons. And using these straighteners, you can style your short bangs without the fear of burning your scalp.

Mid-length (shoulder)

To style shoulder-length hair, you’ll need a flat iron with slightly broad and long plates. The correct plate size for such long hair is between 1 inch to 1.25 inches. However, if you have thick hair, you can go for 1.5-inches wide plates.


If the length of your hair is beyond your shoulders, you’ll need a flat iron with extra-long plates. That means straighteners with a plate size of 1.5 inches and above. Using these straighteners, you can style a wider section of your hair at a time. Hence, your styling time will get significantly less.

What is your hair type?

Similar to the hair length, you should also consider your hair texture. Otherwise, you might end up purchasing a flat iron that doesn’t straighten your hair correctly.

Fine/ Damaged

Fine hair is prone to breakage, so you need to use less heat while styling such hair.

The best option for straightening damaged or fine hair is using a straightener with ceramic or tourmaline plates. Both of these materials are gentle on the hair and lock the moisture in the hair. Ultimately, you get glossy, healthy, straight hair.

Additionally, while straightening such hair, keep the heat setting at 300F or lesser.


You can use any type of flat iron (Titanium, Tourmaline, or Ceramic) on normal hair, as most straighteners are safe for normal hair.

However, you need to keep in mind to set the temperature of the straightener between 300 – 375F. That’s because anything above this range will fry your hair cuticles.


Frizzy hair is a result of a lack of moisture in the hair. When your hair dries up, it tries to take moisture from the air. As a result, it ends up getting frizzy.

You need a flat iron that locks the moisture and tames the frizz in the hair for styling such hair. And the best solution for this is a Tourmaline straightener.

Coarse/ curly

Handling coarse or curly hair is indeed a task. Such hair takes a lot of time to set, and you need to style them using high heat (350 – 400F).

Titanium straighteners are excellent for curly, coarse hair. They reach a high temperature quickly and ensure no hot or cold spots on the plates. That means you get sleek, straight hair in a few minutes!

Know whether or not you can you bring a straightener on a plane


Finally, as we approach the end of this flat iron buying guide, hopefully, you have understood the different features of a flat iron and its purpose. So, before purchasing your first or next hair straightener, make sure you determine your needs, hair type, and hair length.

That way can figure out which hair straightener is best for you. After all, you don’t want to bring home a cheap product that’s of no use to you!

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