9 best hair curlers for salon-worthy hair at home

9 best hair curlers for salon-worthy hair at home
Whether you have short, long, thick, or fine hair, we’ve found the best hair curlers, tongs, and wands from Dyson, GHD, Toni & Guy and more

Curling your hair is often easier in theory than practice. Whether you want beach waves or glamorous curls, without the right tools or plenty of practice, it’s easy to leave your hair frazzled, frizzy and more limp than ever.

The best curling tongs should be easy to use, eliminating any concerns about technique. Those looking for tighter ringlets should stick to narrower barrels, while bigger blow-dry curls are created by wider wands.

Then you have to consider the pre-existing state of your hair. If you’re regularly styling, dying or bleaching your hair, the lower the temperature the better, as the odds are your hair is already slightly damaged.

However, higher temperatures will set curls in place for longer – a necessity for those with thicker, straighter or softer hair that’s determined to fall out of place. If you fall into this category, be sure to thoroughly prep your mane with a quality heat protector beforehand.

How we tested

Looking for salon-worthy polish from the comfort of our home, we put a range of tongs and wands to action creating tight and big curls alike. While it’s relatively easy to create perfect curls off the bat, we wanted a tool that fixed the finished look in place through the day and beyond. 

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We were also wary of the temperatures involved in the process – even the most perfect curl isn’t worth heat damage. Bearing all this in mind, here are our top picks.

The best hair curlers for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Mark Hill pick ‘n’ mix: £24.99, Markhillhair.com
  • Best for damaged hair – Remington advanced coconut therapy curling wand: £38.99, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best multipurpose tool – BaByliss air style 1000: £60, Babyliss.co.uk
  • Best cordless hair curler – We Are Paradoxx supernova cordless 3-in-1 hair tool: £195, Feelunique.com
  • Best for short hair – Toni & Guy style fix curler: £29.99, Toniandguy.com
  • Best for temperature control – Beauty Works professional styler: £70, Beautyworksonline.com
  • Best for long-lasting curls – BaByliss curl styler luxe: £59.99, Boots.com
  • Best for long hair – Balmain professional ceramic curling wand 32mm: £149, Balmainhair.co.uk
  • Best for quick styling – Dyson airwrap smooth + control styler: £449.99, Dyson.co.uk

Mark Hill pick ‘n’ mix curl fix handle

Best: Overall

  • Temperature: 185C
  • Hair styler plate material: Ceramic
  • Cable length: 3m
  • Weight: 0.4kg
  • Dimensions: ‎27.9cm x 9.7cm x 5.5cm

If you switch up your hair on a daily basis, this was designed for you. It’s borderline genius – after buying the curl fix handle, you customise the tool with the barrel that best suits your desired curl. These range from deep waves to corkscrew curls, but our favourite was the loose waver (£16.99, Markhillhair.com). The biggest of all Mark Hill barrels, it creates the most relaxed, beachy waves. It’s super easy to use – just wrap hair around the circumference of the rounded barrel, hold in place for a few seconds and unwind to reveal your most glamorous self.

On the more technical side of things, it reaches a maximum of 185C. We were initially worried about singeing our fingers, but it’s tipped with rubber to give you a cool spot to help control your curl. The results lasted morning to night and even survived a 5k run in a ponytail. You can’t ask for much more than that. While the loose waver is our top choice, those with shorter or thinner hair might prefer the small curl or easy tong barrels.

Remington advanced coconut therapy curling wand

Best: For damaged hair

  • Temperature: 210C
  • Hair styler plate material: Ceramic
  • Cable length: 3m
  • Weight: 0.48kg
  • Dimensions: ‎37.1cm x 4.1cm x 5.4cm

Heat styling is always risky, so we’re open to anything that minimises damage. Remington has come up with the answer. The brand has infused the ceramic barrel of this wand with coconut and UV filters, which help shield hair from the worst of the heat and smooth out stray strands in the process. It also prevents hair from slipping during styling, so you can wrap each piece around any spot of the 25-38mm barrel and not have to rejig it while it sets in place.

This was really easy to use, warming up in 30 seconds and styling a whole head of thick, coarse hair in less than 10 minutes. We especially liked the ability to customise the temperature, allowing those with finer hair to keep heat to a minimum. Curls on the thinnest and widest parts of the barrel lasted just as long as each other, but we preferred the look of those styled on the 38mm end.

BaByliss air style 1000

Best: Multipurpose tool

  • Temperature: 185C
  • Hair styler plate material: Ceramic
  • Cable length: 2.5m
  • Weight: 0.69kg
  • Dimensions: ‎39cm x 10cm x 9cm

For less than £50, BaByliss has released a multi-purpose tool relying on ionic technology to style hair. By releasing conditioning ions, it blow dries, neutralises frizz and boosts shine, all while straightening or curling hair. To do the latter, we attached the conical curling attachment and wrapped each strand as we would around a regular wand. It was tricky to nail the technique at first, but we had it down after a few minutes.

We attempted styling on both damp and dry hair but definitely preferred the finish on pre-dried hair – while it did the trick both times, the curls fell flat earlier in the day when styled on freshly-washed hair. To extend the life of your curls, we recommend blasting hair with the cool setting.

We Are Paradoxx supernova cordless 3-in-1 hair tool

Best: Cordless hair curler

  • Temperature: 185C
  • Hair styler plate material: Ceramic
  • Cable length: Cordless
  • Weight: 1.02kg
  • Dimensions: 24cm x 3.5cm x 3.5cm

Cordless styling tools still feel like they belong in the future, but here we are. We Are Paradoxx is renowned for its quirky yet effective styling products, so it makes sense that it has created a 3-in-1 straightener, wand and tong. By closing the side latch that turns the device into straighteners, you can create waves and curls that last for hours on end.

Not only are they effective, but they’re easy to use on the go and can only be activated by human touch, so no need to worry about accidentally setting fire to your suitcase. Personally, we preferred the waves over the curls, which looked subtle yet defined (an impossible combination, usually) but loved having the ability to touch up our hair wherever and whenever. A worthy investment.

Toni & Guy style fix curler

Best: For short hair

  • Temperature: 210C
  • Hair styler plate material: Ceramic
  • Cable length: 1.8m
  • Weight: 0.5kg
  • Dimensions: 29cm x 7cm x 8cm

Perfectly sized to slip into your bag, this curler is designed to transform your hair on the go. It’s incredibly small and lightweight, but has a disproportionately broad 25mm ceramic barrel. This is great for creating big, bouncy curls, but the issue with such a comparatively short wand is that those with longer hair might struggle to style the whole head. Its portability is also a major flaw in that the cord is quite short so doesn’t give you much flexibility.

Putting these more practical issues aside, our curls held shape all day. However, make sure you douse your locks in protective spray first – it has a top temperature of 210C which is great for wrangling thicker hair but poses the risk of heat damage.

Beauty Works professional styler

Best: For temperature control

  • Temperature: 80C to 220C
  • Hair styler plate material: Ceramic
  • Cable length: 1.8m
  • Weight: 0.8kg
  • Dimensions:‎ 44cm x 12.7cm x 6.3cm

Of all the curling tools we tried, this styler gives you the most control over the temperature, ranging from 80-220C. It heats up extremely fast, which is especially impressive considering the fact that the barrel is 18.5cm long and designed to accommodate longer, thicker hair and hair extensions. You’re left with glamorous, Hollywood-style curls, which last all day when combined with hairspray.

BaByliss curl styler luxe

Best: For long-lasting curls

  • Temperature: 160C, 180C and 200C
  • Hair styler plate material: Ceramic
  • Cable length: 2.5m
  • Weight: 0.49kg
  • Dimensions:‎ 7cm x 37.5cm x 13cm

This styler looks different from any other entry on this list, with a unique split barrel design and system that uses a combination of heat and air to perfect your curls. It’s simpler to use than we anticipated – lock hair into place between the two ceramic barrels, before wrapping your strands around the outer shell, then gently glide down the length of your hair and voila, beautiful curls.

For a deeper curl, you can also forgo that first stage and simply wrap your hair around the entire 36mm barrel and use it as you would a regular wand. To extend the life of your style, cool air channels along the barrel to set it in place. This made a massive difference to the longevity of our curls, giving it more of a salon blow dry finish that lasted overnight. A miracle.

There are three temperature settings (160, 180 and 200C), it heats up in a matter of seconds, and it even comes with a handy heat mat to prevent any accidental carpet burns. Most importantly, we were really impressed with the finished result of both methods – those looking for something dramatic might be disappointed, but the curls looked really natural, even on coarse and stubbornly straight hair.

Balmain professional ceramic curling wand 32mm

Best: For long hair

  • Temperature: 80C to 230C
  • Hair styler plate material: Ceramic
  • Cable length: 3m
  • Weight: 0.86kg
  • Dimensions:‎ 35.8cm x 3.3cm x 4.3cm

Designed for Balmain’s professional stylists, this wand is clearly the result of years of experience. Starting with the design itself, it comes without a clip, which prevents any awkward kinks in your hair. It also features a handy built-in safety stand, meaning no more accidental burns in the carpet.

But most impressively, it transforms the styling process and your curls, thanks to incredibly even heat distribution which doesn’t leave some sections limp. While it comes in two different barrel sizes, we chose the 32mm for bigger curls and found that they stood up even without the help of hairspray, but those with shorter hair might prefer the 25mm.

Dyson airwrap smooth + control styler

Best: For quick styling

  • Temperature: 150C
  • Hair styler plate material:
  • Cable length: 2.62m
  • Weight: 0.66kg
  • Dimensions:‎ 27.2cm x 41cm x 4.8mm

As the reigning royalty of hair technology, Dyson had a lot to live up to with its multipurpose hair styler. Not only does it promise to leave you with perfect waves or curls, but it also features additional detachable heads to detangle and partially dry your hair.

Despite all the hype, we were sceptical but quickly won over – whether you want voluminous curls or gentle beach waves, the Dyson styler can do it in half the time and effort of any other gadget. Hair holds its curl all day and both feels and looks like you’ve just stepped out of the salon. It’s extremely pricey, but potentially the best investment you’ll ever make in your beauty routine.

Hair curler FAQs

Is it bad to curl your hair a lot?

As much as we love curling our locks, heat styling is generally viewed as something of an enemy to hair health, but how bad is it?

While using a curling iron can very easily lead to breakage and damage, tools have come a long way and many either maintain a steady temperature of 185C – the ideal maximum temperature – or give you the option to adjust the temperature to best suit your hair type.

To prevent damage, it’s also vital that you use heat protection, which adds a barrier between the tool and your strands to seal in moisture and fight frizz.

How to choose the best hair curler for you

Different tongs will produce different styles so it’s best to know what kind of curl you want to create before buying. Some are better for beach waves, for example, while others may work better for statement ringlets.

You may also want to consider your hair type when choosing which hair curlers to go for. If you regularly dye or bleach your hair, opt for a pair that use a lower temperature, as this will minimise damage.

A lower temperature can also be a better option if you will be using the tongs to style your hair regularly or have fine hair, for the same reason. Alternatively, if you have thick hair, tongs with a higher temperature may hold your curls for longer.

The verdict: Curling tongs and wands

For the ultimate styling freedom, we love the Mark Hill pick ‘n’ mix. However, those looking to curl on a daily basis should consider investing in the Dyson airwrap or the similarly designed BaByliss air style 1000 which are healthier – if not less dramatic – options for your hair.

Voucher codes

For offers on hair curlers and other hair and beauty products, try our discount code pages:

For more tried and tested hair tools, read our guide to the best hair straighteners for achieving sleek and stylish locks

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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