Best Professional Curling Iron 2018 – What the Pros Use!

best-curling-iron-for-professional---best-professional-curling-iron

If you’re going to buy a curling iron, should you go pro?

It all depends. Professional curling irons are used by stylists but are also available for regular people. While some cost way more than a drugstore curling iron, you can also find pro curling irons that don’t break the bank.

There are some things to look for when choosing the best curling iron for professionals. We put together this roundup to help you pick the best one for your hair.

List of Best Curling Irons for Professionals

Product Summary for Best Professional Curling Iron Reviews

When it comes choosing the best curling iron – professional, we looked at a few features. The curling iron didn’t have to have the word professional in its name, but many did.

What we looked at instead was how well the tools performed, based on their build quality and what users (including pro hair stylists) had to say about them.

The three most important criteria we looked at were:

  • Coating. The material that covers the barrel of a curling iron affects how it treats your hair and how it heats. Ceramic or tourmaline models, like the T3 Whirl Trio and the Remington Pro, typically help reduce frizz. Gold models, such as the Hot Tools Marcel Curling Iron, are known for their heat.
  • Heating Options. Speaking of heat, that’s another feature we looked at. All of the pro curling irons heated up to a maximum temperature above 400 degrees. The BaBylissPRO had 50 heat settings.
  • Ease of Use. Some curling irons are easier to use than others. For beginners, we recommend models that have a clamp, such as the BaBylissPRO or the Hot Tools Professional Lightweight Ceramic Tourmaline Spring Grip Curling Iron, both of which have a clip. We’d recommend the Marcel curling iron, from Hot Tools, for experienced curling iron users only.

Reviews of the Best Curling Iron – Professional Quality

T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand – Best Overall Professional Curling Iron

T3-Whirl-Trio-Interchangeable-Styling-Wand --Best-Overall-Professional-Curling-Iron

With a price that’s close to $300, you might find yourself wondering if the T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand is “worth it.” Based on reports from happy users and pro hair stylists, we’re going to say “yes.”

One celebrity hairstylist praises the tool’s ability to create “effortless looking curls.” Others have noted that the curls created by the pro curling iron can last for up to three days.

That’s pretty impressive if you’re used to your curls falling out a few hours after you’ve styled your hair.

Another feature that sets the T3 apart from the other professional curling irons in our roundup is the interchangeable wands. You’re not getting one curling iron with the T3 — you’re getting three.

The tool comes with a 1-inch straight barrel, 1.5-inch straight barrel and a tapered wand (0.75 inches to 1.25 inches). It’s coated with tourmaline and ceramic, which helps to reduce frizz while heating evenly.

The price seems to be the one drawback of the curling iron, with some users stating that they expected a lot more from it because of the higher than average price tag.

Things We Liked

  • Comes with three barrels, giving you lots of styling options
  • Tourmaline coating heats evenly and helps prevent/reduce frizz
  • Heat up to 410 degrees, has five heat settings
  • 360-degree swivel cord

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Higher than average price tag
  • There’s no clip on the curling wand, which can make it tricky to use

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron – Best Budget Professional Curling Iron

BaBylissPRO-Nano-Titanium-Spring-Curling-Iron --Best-Budget-Professional-Curling-Iron

The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron has a 1-inch barrel, making it an ideal option for people with short or long hair and for people who want springy curls or more relaxed waves.

One of the things that sets the curling iron apart from others is that it is coated with a Nano Titanium, a material that is designed to conduct heat well and to help the heat get into the hair shaft without causing damage to the cuticle.

The barrel also features Sol-Gel technology, which makes it smoother and stronger than most other irons.

The curling iron reaches a top heat of 450 degrees Fahrenheit and has 50 heat settings, so you are sure to find the heat that works best for your curls.

People who’ve used the iron have generally been impressed with it. One user claimed that it gave her curls that lasted for four days.

One complaint that users did have was that the iron did seem to burn their hair. Specifically, some people felt that the iron was always very hot, no matter what heat setting they used.

Things We Liked

  • Top heat of 450 degrees, 50 heat settings
  • Coating that helps to keep hair smooth and frizz-free
  • Swivel cord to prevent tangles

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Can get a little too hot
  • Cool tip on the end is small, which makes it easy to burn your fingers
  • Needs to be unplugged after use, no auto shut-off

Hot Tools Professional Lightweight Ceramic Tourmaline Spring Grip Curling Iron 2′ – Most comfortable professional curling iron

Hot-Tools-Professional-Lightweight-Ceramic-Tourmaline-Spring-Grip-Curling-Iron-2' --Most-comfortable-professional-curling-iron

Hot Tools has established itself as one of the “go to” brands for professional curling irons. Although many of the brand’s curling irons have a 24k gold coating, the Hot Tools Professional Lightweight Ceramic Tourmaline Spring Grip Curling Iron has a tourmaline coating.

The tourmaline ceramic barrel helps you create long-lasting curls and also helps to minimize frizz in your hair while improving hydration.

Like the other curling irons in our roundup, the Hot Tools Professional can heat up quite hot — up to 430 degrees Fahrenheit. The curling iron also maintains the heat as you style, so you don’t have to wait for it to warm up again between sections of hair.

Another great feature of the Hot Tools Curling Iron is the soft grip on the handle. It’s designed specifically for people who have a lot of hair to style, as it helps to keep you comfortable even while using the curling iron for an extended period.

A complaint some users of the curling iron had was that it does get very hot. In some cases, the temperature of the curling iron itself didn’t correspond to the temperature setting, leading to burns and damaged hair.

Things We Liked

  • High heat of 430 degrees
  • Tourmaline coated barrel
  • Soft grip handle
  • Swivel cord

 

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Temperature settings can be inaccurate
  • 2-inch barrel size is only suitable for long hair

Remington CI96X1B T|Studio Silk Ceramic Wide Styling Wand – Best Professional Curling Wand

Remington-CI96X1B-T-Studio-Silk-Ceramic-Wide-Styling-Wand --Best-Professional-Curling-Wand

So we know this isn’t exactly a curling iron, but its a really great professional curling wand so we wanted to include it here. The Remington T Studio Silk Ceramic Styling wand has a silk protein infused into the ceramic coating, making the wand smooth and helping it to produce a curl that lasts.

The styling wand has a tapered barrel that ranges from 1.5 inches at its widest point to 1 inch at the narrow part. There’s no clip to hold hair in place, so it can take some getting used to using the tool.

Heating up to just 410 degrees, the Remington styling wand is the coolest of the curling irons in our roundup. It offers digital temperature controls so that you can see how hot it is.

Users of the curling wand have pretty much universally said that they loved it, although there have been a few who have complained that their hair got caught on the end of the barrel.

Things We Liked

  • Digital display
  • Automatic shut-off
  • Ceramic coating

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Curling wand (no clip) can be difficult to learn how to use
  • Won’t make springy curls because of the size

Hot Tools HT1108 Professional Marcel Iron

Hot-Tools-HT1108-Professional-Marcel-Iron --professional-curling-iron-reviews

We’re going to warn you. Marcel curling irons aren’t for the faint of heart. But if you’re confident in your hair styling ability and want to take your curls to the next level, it might be the best professional curling iron for you.

The Hot Tools Professional Marcel Iron features the brand’s iconic 24k gold coating, which helps the curling iron maintain its heat (up to 430 degrees Fahrenheit).

People who’ve used the Marcel iron either love it or hate it. For some, using a Marcel curling iron is a game-changer.

For others, figuring out how to manipulate the clamp is just too much, so they end up frustrated or give up.

We recommend this iron for people who are familiar with and comfortable using a Marcel iron. Otherwise, it might be too much of a challenge to use.

Things We Liked

  • High heat (430 degrees)
  • Soft grip handle
  • Gold plated barrel helps it retain heat

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Not for beginners, can be difficult to figure out how to use
  • Can get too hot for some

What Makes a Curling Iron “Professional”?

What separates the best curling iron “professional” from a curling iron made for amateurs? A few things.

For starters, there’s the iron’s ability to heat up. Temperature — how hot the iron gets — matters, but so does the spacing of the heating elements and how evenly the heat is distributed up and down the barrel of the curling iron.

You’re more likely to get even heating with the best curling iron professional compared to an inexpensive drugstore curling iron. In part, that’s because professional curling irons often have more heating elements more evenly distributed than non-pro models.

Another thing to consider is the materials used on the barrel. While you can find professional grade materials (such as tourmaline ceramic) on non-pro curling irons, you aren’t going to find stainless steel curling wands that are professional grade.

Often, pro curling irons differ from non-professional models when it comes to their style. For example, Marcel style curling irons are usually labeled as professional because they can be tricky for the average person to use.

How Do You Use the Best Professional Curling Iron?

Unless you’re trying to use a Marcel curling iron, using a professional curling iron shouldn’t be all that much different from using a standard tool.

First things first, choose the size of the iron based on your hair type and the type of curls you want. The smaller the curling iron’s barrel, the tighter your curls.

Small barrels (less than 1-inch) are also better suited for shorter hair. If you’ve got longer hair, you’ll want a barrel that’s at least 1-inch in diameter.

Choose the temperature of the curling iron based on your hair type. The thicker your hair, the hotter your tool should be.

If you have fine or damaged hair, you’ll want to keep the curling iron under 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Before you start curling your hair, make sure it’s fully dry. You’ll also want to spray it with a heat protectant to prevent or minimize damage.

Once you’re ready to curl your hair, divide it into small (about 1-inch) sections). Start on one side, nearest to your face.

Wrap the hair around the wand or barrel, starting near your roots. Leave about an inch or so of hair unwrapped at the ends.

With professional curling irons, you usually don’t have to hold the hair on the iron for very long. Hold it for five seconds, then release.

Once you’ve curled your entire head of hair, gently fluff the curls with your fingers, then spritz with hairspray to set and hold the style.

Do You Need a Professional Curling Iron?

Looking at the price difference between a professional curling iron and a non-professional one, you might be wondering if it’s worth spending the extra money on a hair styling tool.

The answer is, it depends. A non-professional curling iron will curl your hair.

But for the most part, a professional curling iron will do it better. By better, we mean that your curls are likely to last for longer and you’re going to be less likely to burn your hair.

If money is no object and you’re looking to up your hair styling game, we recommend trying out one of the curling irons preferred and used by pro hair stylists.

Final Thoughts on the Best Professional Curling Iron

If you’re in the market for a professional curling iron, we recommend the T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand. Sure, it’s pricey, but you also get what you pay for.

What makes the T3 Whirl the best curling iron – professional is that it has multiple barrels, giving you lots of curl options. It’s also recommended by top celebrity stylists, who use it and love it.