Best hair curlers: 2020's top curling tongs and wands

Check out these best hair curlers – curling wands and tongs included – and style your hair from home. Just in time for the festive season...

Best hair curler: blonde hair being curled
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Spending your money on the best hair curler around? No matter your hair type, budget or preference – curling wand, curling tong, hot brush – we can help make this decision easier. We've done our research and we've also tried and tested some hair tools, so rest assured we know what works for each hair type. Whether you fall into the short and fine hair category, or long and thick...

We've listed a whole range of hair curlers in this guide from tongs to wands and even a hair curler-cum-straightener. When choosing these best hair curlers, we considered each one's price as well as performance and affordability. That and how long they take to heat up, how many temperature settings they have, their cord length and their barrel size. Rest assured we can say there's something from every type of hair on our list.

See our top-rated hair curlers below, then for more styling options, check out the best hair straightener.

What is the best hair curler?

The T3 Whirl Trio Styling Wand is, by far, our best curling wand you can buy. This 3-in-1 interchangeable wand has five different heat settings, it can be used with seven different barrels and it's affordable.

If money were no object, the Dyson Airwrap Styler Volume + Shape is definitely worth checking out. It may be high priced but it’s a great investment as the results are fantastic.

Click to shop the T3 Whirl Trio Styling Wand at its best price.
Click to shop the Dyson Airwrap Styler Volume + Shape at its best price.

Find the rest of our top picks below.

The best hair curlers 2020

Best hair curler: T3 Whirl Trio Styling Wand

(Image credit: T3)

1. T3 Whirl Trio Styling Wand

The best hair curler you can buy: this interchangeable curling wand ticks all our boxes

Specifications
Colour: White/Rose Gold
Heat up time: N/A
Barrel size: 19mm - 38mm
Cord length: 2.7m
Temperature: 210º C max
Temperature control?: Yes
Settings: 5
Reasons to buy
+3-in-1+5 heat settings+Affordable+7 different barrels available+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Only comes in one colour

The T3 Whirl Trio Styling Wand is rated our best hair curler you can buy, and for good reason. This hair tool is interchangeable, all you need is the base and from there you can buy up to seven barrels. Less to store, more to do. This set, the T3 Whirl Trio, comes complete with three heads – a 25mm for undone waves; a 19mm - 32mm barrel for tousled waves and a 38mm option for loose waves. Something for everyone. All barrels have a custom blend ceramic seal for a smooth and shiny finish, too. There are four more barrels available to purchase. Featuring five different heat settings, this curling wand is great for all types of hair whether you consider your locks damaged, untameable or curly. The maximum temperature is 210ºC. This hair tool boasts consistent heat for one-pass styling – your roots and ends will both get the same treatment! And, for safety purposes, after one hour of inactivity, the T3 Whirl Trio will turn itself off. Along with the convertible base, in the box comes three different size barrels, a storage tote and a heat-resistant glove.

Best hair curler for short hair: GHD rise

(Image credit: GHD)

2. GHD Rise

Best hair curler for short hair: add some volume with the GHD Rise

Specifications
Colour: Black
Heat up time: 25 seconds
Barell size: 32mm
Cord length: 2.7m
Temperature: 185ºC
Temperature control?: No
Reasons to buy
+Heats up quick+Can be used multiple different ways+Great for detangling, too+Super lightweight+Lots of volume
Reasons to avoid
-Not very easy to use if you have long hair

The GHD Rise is the newest hair curler on the block. It's not a wand nor a tong, but a hair curler brush instead. It features bristles dotted around its 32mm barrel which heat up, and when these bristles meet with your hair, it shapes it. This means that this hair tool brushes and then styles hair, and when we say that it works great on frizz we truly mean it – one stroke and your hair is transformed. With no temperature control similar to other GHD hair tools, the GHD Rise works at 185ºC. It's lightweight and boasts a long swivel cord making it easy to use. You can use this hair curler for a big bouncy blow-dry, loose tight curls or even for a wavy style. The opportunities are endless. Though we do think it's best (and easier) for use on shorter hairstyles, it does take some getting used to at first. Once you find the knack you'll be rocking a very voluminous hairstyle, that's for sure.

Best hair curler for long hair: Beauty Works Professional Styler

(Image credit: Beauty Works)

3. Beauty Works Professional Styler

Best hair curler for long hair: an extra long barrel for extra long hair

Specifications
Colour: White
Heat up time: 60 seconds
Barrel size: 32mm
Temperature: 80-220°C
Temperature control?: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Complete with a heat-resistant carry case and protective glove
Reasons to avoid
-Not the best choice for shorter hair styles

Trying to work with long hair or extensions? The Beauty Works Professional Styler is our best curling wand for long hair: it features an extra-long 18.5cm barrel so an entire section of hair can be styled in one fair sweep. This curling wand features a ceramic-coated barrel to help seal your hair's cuticle, prevent frizz and enhance shine. This way the ends of your hair will feel the same effect as the tops do. If you have slightly damaged hair or want to use the styler at a lower temperature, you can do so from 80-220°C. Since this styler is a wand and not a tong, you'll need to use a glove while using to prevent burning your fingers. Luckily enough, this one comes with both a heat-resistant carry case for your travels and a protective glove included in the box.

Best hair curler straightener: UUCOLOR Hair Straightener and Curling Iron

(Image credit: UUCOLOR)

4. UUCOLOR Hair Straightener and Curling Iron

Best hair curler straightener: a multi-functional hair tool that makes curling and straightening hair easy

Specifications
Colour: Black and pink
Heat up time: 30
Barrel size: N/A
Cord size: 78 inches
Temperature: 100-230°C
Temperature control?: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Very affordable+Comes with accessories+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Some may prefer a curling tong or wand

Buy the UUCOLOR Hair Straightener and Curling Iron to curl and straighten your hair using one tool. This curling iron features a unique and innovative helical heating panel to straighten or curl your hair. Its curved design makes twisting the hair tool through your hair a breeze. It glides while requiring less pressure from you. With a tourmaline ceramic heating plate, this hair tool releases enough negative ions to moisturize your hair leaving it very shiny. With a heat-up time of just 30 seconds, this curling iron has 13 different settings to choose from. Adjust the temperature of your hair tool from 100°C to 230 °C using the LCD display to help choose. With lots of added safety hacks, this hair curler benefits from an auto shut-off mode that activates after 60 minutes and it comes with a heat resistant glove. It has a lock button to clamp them shut when cooling down, while it also comes with an insulated case for travelling. Its 360º swivel cord makes for less tangling and easier use.

Best hair curler wand: Dyson AirWrap Styler Volume + Shape

(Image credit: Dyson)

5. Dyson AirWrap Styler Volume + Shape

Best hair curler wand: a fantastic all-in-one design that can be used on damp hair

Specifications
Colour: Nickel and fuchsia
Heat up time: N/A
Barrel size: 30mm
Cord length: 2.62m
Temperature: 150°C
Temperature control?: Yes
Settings: 3
Reasons to buy
+Powerful dryer+Easy to use+Intelligent heat control+Creates impressive volume and curls+Makes hair fuller and more shiny+Works without awkward winding mechanisms
Reasons to avoid
-Mega price tag-Some say it takes a while to get used to it

Good old Dyson does it again with their AirWrap Styler. It may blow the budget, but it's our best curling wand for good reason. Most buyers rave about how easy it is to use and how effective it is in creating their perfect style. The V9 motor spins at up to 110,000rpm so the Coanda effect attracts hair to the barrel then wraps it for you. No need for awkward clamping, gloves to protect hands from heat or any winding movements that can be tricky to master. With this design the Dyson Airwrap combines powerful airflow with controlled heat, so you can dry and style your hair at the same time! It works on towel-dried damp hair and doesn’t use harsh heat, so your hair won’t suffer any damage. It comes with two 30mm Airwrap barrels, a soft smoothing brush, round volumising brush, pre-styling dryer, filter cleaning brush, non-slip mat and storage case so you can take it away on overnight stays and holidays.

Best hair curling tongs: BaByliss PRO Titanium Expression Curling Tong

(Image credit: BaByliss)

6. BaByliss PRO Titanium Expression Curling Tong

Best hair curling tongs: a great styler that holds your hair while it curls it

Specifications
Colour: Black
Heat up time: 15 seconds
Barrel size: 25mm or 32mm
Cord length: 2.7m
Temperature: 210°C max
Temperature control?: Yes
Settings: 11
Reasons to buy
+Auto shut off+Several temperature settings+Quick heat up+Affordable+Comes in two sizes+Holds hair in place
Reasons to avoid
-None. We like.

This Babyliss PRO Titanium Expression Curling Tong is a great option for those who don't want to risk burning their fingers: it features a clip to hold hard-to-manage hair in place. What's more? The tong heats up in just 15 seconds and it comes in two different sizes: 25mm and 33mm – whether you want large or small waves, there's something for everyone. It also features a whopping 11 temperature settings up to 210°C. As well as having a cool tip, this curling tong features a clip to hold your hair in place so you don't have to do so yourself. It also has an auto-shutoff mode for those times when you forget to flick the off switch.

Best hair curling iron: GHD curve creative curl wand

(Image credit: GHD)

7. GHD curve creative curl wand

Best hair curling iron: for loose or tight curls

Specifications
Colour: Black
Heat up time: 25 seconds
Barrel size: 28mm - 23mm
Cord length: 3
Temperature: 185ºC
Temperature control?: No
Reasons to buy
+Quick heat up+Cool tip+Comes with glove+Makes hair look shiny
Reasons to avoid
-No temperature control

The GHD curve creative curl wand is great whether you have short or long hair – its tapered barrel lets you curl hair without it losing much length, while it's long enough to hold a lot of hair at once. This barrel measures from 28mm to 23mm so that you can choose from loose, bouncy curls or a tighter looking style. With a cool tip for ease of use and a safety stand, too, this GHD curling wand has an advanced ceramic coating to leave your hair looking shiny. It also has a sleep mode if left unattended for 30 minutes. It works at 185ºC and boasts a swivel cable, while it comes with a glove to protect your fingers while curling. 

Best hair curler for waves: GHD Curve classic wave wand

(Image credit: GHD)

8. GHD Curve classic wave wand

Best hair curler for waves: this GHD curling wand is truly the best at creating cool waves

Specifications
Colour: Black
Heat up time: 25 seconds
Barrel size: 38mm - 26mm
Cord length: 3m
Temperature: 185°C
Temperature control?: No
Reasons to buy
+Cool tip+Safety stand+Auto shut off after 30 mins+Heats up in 25 seconds
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

The GHD Curve classic wave wand heats up in just 25 seconds for beachy waves in an instant. Although more expensive than several others on our list, GHD are known to create products that last years and years. Unlike other curling wands, the GHD Curve classic wave wand has a 38mm to 26mm oval-shaped barrel to create long-lasting waves. Making both tight and loose waves has never been quicker – five to eight seconds is all that's required to spend on each small section of hair. There are three safety features on the GHD Curve classic wave wand, making it very high up on our to-buy list: they feature a cool tip for easy holding; the curling wand features a safety stand built-in so it won't burn your tabletop or floor; lastly, the styler features a 30-minute auto shut off.

Best hair curler for thick hair: GHD Curve Classic Curl Tong

(Image credit: GHD)

9. GHD Curve Classic Curl Tong

Best hair curler for thick hair: tame that mane with this 26mm barrel

Specifications
Colour: Black
Heat up time: 25 seconds
Barrel size: 26mm
Cord length: 2.7m
Temperature: 185ºC
Temperature control?: No
Reasons to buy
+Clamp for holding your hair+Cool tip for holding too+Automatic shut off+Long cord+Safety stand
Reasons to avoid
-No temperature control

A great pick for thick hair types whether long or short, the GHD Curve Classic Curl Tong boasts a 26mm barrel and since it's a tong, it can clamp your thick and unruly hair without the need for you to hold it. Though it does have a cool tip, too. The barrel on the GHD Curve boasts ultra-zone technology to guarantee an even temperature from root to tip, while it also delivers long-lasting curls without causing significant damage to your hair. Use this curling tong with large or small sections of hair depending on the look you want – if it's super thick, the clamp may not fully close, but this is fine. With a built-in safety stand so you can pop this hair tool down while using, it boasts an automatic sleep mode as well as a professional cord.

Best hair curler for fine hair: BaByliss Tight Curls Curling Wand

(Image credit: BaByliss)

10. BaByliss Tight Curls Curling Wand

Best hair curler for fine hair: for a full effect

Specifications
Colour: Red
Heat up time: N/A
Barrel size: 10mm
Cord size: 2.5m
Temperature: 120ºC - 210ºC
Temperature settings: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight+Fast results+Very affordable+Comes with a mat and glove
Reasons to avoid
-Not great for thick hair

Fine locks? Tight curls it is. Use this ultra-slim curling wand around your whole head to give the illusion of thick hair, fast. And the results should last for days. Just avoid brushing through your curls. With a ceramic barrel that measures 10mm, this curling wand can be used on short or long hair. It even boasts 10 temperature settings from 120ºC to 210ºC. Not just that but it's lightweight – thanks to its super slim barrel – and it can be used on all types of hair. And all lengths – its barrel isn't just slim but also long. Use small sections of hair and your hair will look voluminous and thick before you know it. In the box also comes a glove for wearing while using the wand, and a heat mat to protect your surface (or floor).

Best cheap hair curler: BaByliss PRO Ceramic Dial-a-Heat Tong

(Image credit: BaByliss)

11. BaByliss PRO Ceramic Dial-a-Heat Tong

Best cheap hair curler: with 25 settings, this curling tong is super easy to use

Specifications
Colour: Black
Barrel size: 12-32mm
Cord length: 2.7m
Temperature: 100°C - 210°C
Temperature control?: Yes
Settings: 25
Reasons to buy
+Heat-ready indicator+Integrated safety stand+25 heat settings+70 minutes auto-shutoff time
Reasons to avoid
-Some may prefer a wand-Barrel is all one size

Safe, stylish and easy to use, the BaByliss PRO Ceramic Dial-a-Heat Tong is the best curling wand for beginners, or if you don't want to spend an arm and a leg on this hair tool. This curling tong features a whopping 25 heat settings so that no matter your hair type, there's a mode to suit you. The heat settings available range from 100°C - 210°C. It also features a heat-ready indicator to prevent touching, as well as an integrated safety stand so it can be placed on any surface. There's also an auto-shutoff function built-in so that if the curling tong is left on for longer than 70 minutes, it will turn off. Depending on the length of your hair and the curl size you desire, this curling tong comes in four different barrel sizes: 13mm, 24mm, 32mm and 38mm. 

How to buy the best curling wand

Wand material
Choosing the perfect curling wand can be daunting as there are so many models to choose from. Some decisions will be based on your hair type and length and if in doubt, you can always ask your hairstylist to recommend some brands or designs for you. Ceramic coated barrels are the most popular as they heat up quickly and conduct heat evenly, creating curls that should last from one wash to the next. Tourmaline, on the other hand, is made from tourmaline mineral and this emits negative ions that are said to help deal with frizzy locks and fine, flyaway hair. Titanium is often used by the professionals as it’s lightweight and reaches higher temperatures.

Barrel size
Curling wands and brushes come in a variety of different barrel sizes so choose the one that best suits your hair type, texture and length. A small barrel is best for short or fine hair and ideal for creating tight curls and adding definition. Medium barrels are great for all-round use and work on most hairstyles. Longer barrels are easier to work with on long hair as well as creating loose waves and a bouncy, beachy look.

Heat settings
Heat is used to hold curls so you do need a high heat setting but you also don’t want to damage your hair with overheating, so make sure you use a lower setting if your hair is already damaged or if it’s thin and flyaway. It's always handy to have a few temperature options on a hair tool, especially if you're working with damaged hair. While the average temperature for a hair tool sits at around 185ºC, having a few choices – even one as low as 80ºC – will prove beneficial. Always apply a heat protector spray before you use the curling wand, for best results.

Cord length
Something to bear in mind if your plug socket and mirror are on opposite sides of the room, ensure the cord length of your new hair curler is long enough to reach wherever it may need to. 

Heat up time
Some hair curlers take seconds to heat up while others may take minutes. This factor may not bother you – perhaps you always leave yourself a lot of time to do your hair? – but if you're always in a rush, it's definitely something to think about.

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