6 Best Professional Curling Irons – (Reviews & Guide 2020)

The Best Professional Curling Iron is a Must Have Tool for any Salon Stylist!

Are you having trouble producing the big glamorous curls that many of your client’s desire? Maybe the problem does not stem from your technique but rather in your choice of curling irons. It’s no secret that a good curling ranks right up there with scissors and a hair dryer as the most important tools for any salon professional.

With this article, I hope to enlighten you a little more about the important features and characteristics that make a professional curling iron very nice to own. I will start with a series of short professional curling iron reviews and then give you much more in-depth information on curling irons and what makes them work well. By the time you get done reading you should have a good idea of the features that the best professional curling iron for your needs should have.

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Conicurl Iron

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Conicurl Iron

  • Price: $
  • Barrel: Titanium/ceramic barrel
  • Barrel Size: 1 ¼” to ¾”
  • Maximum Heat: up to 450°F
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Hot Tools Professional 1110 Curling Iron with Multi-Heat Control

Hot Tools Professional 1110 Curling Iron with Multi-Heat Control

  • Price: $
  • Barrel: Gold flake barrel coating
  • Barrel Size: 1 ¼ inch
  • Maximum Heat: up to 428F
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Nume Octowand 8 Attachments Curling Wand Set

Nume Octowand 8 Attachments Curling Wand Set

  • Price: $$$$
  • Barrel: Ceramic/tourmaline coated barrels
  • Barrel Size: 0.5 inch – 1.25 inch 
  • Maximum Heat: 450F
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The Beachwaver Co. Beachwaver Pro Curling Iron

The Beachwaver Co. Beachwaver Pro Curling Iron

  • Price: $$$$
  • Barrel: Dual directional barrel
  • Barrel Size: 1 Inch
  • Maximum Heat: 450F
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CHI Tourmaline Ceramic Automatic Rotating Curler

CHI Classic Tourmaline Ceramic Automatic Rotating Curler

  • Price: $$
  • Barrel: Automatic rotating barrel
  • Barrel Size: 1 1/4 inch
  • Maximum Heat: up to 400°F
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RUSK Engineering Curl Freak Professional Curling Machine

RUSK Engineering Curl Freak Professional Curling Machine

  • Price: $$
  • Barrel: It does not have a traditional style barrel
  • Barrel Size: N/A
  • Maximum Heat: 450°F
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Best Professional Curling Iron Reviews

Here is what I feel is some of the best professional curling irons you will find in the beauty products marketplace:

1. BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Conicurl Iron

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Conicurl IronThere is so much you can do as far as making curls goes with the BaBylissPRO Conicurl Iron. With its some 50 heat selections, you can find a temperature that works great on any type of hair. When you add to that the curl size flexibility that comes with it having a 1 ¼” to ¾” tapered barrel, then there is virtually no limit to the size and tightness of curls you make with it.

Curl versatility is not the only great feature with this curling iron either. It features a titanium/ceramic barrel for quick and even heating, a turbo heat boost feature and Nanotechnology to help your hair retain its moisture while you are curling it. BaBylissPRO even backs this curling iron up with a good 2-year limited warranty.

Read more: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Conicurl Iron


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2. Hot Tools Professional 1110 Curling Iron with Multi-Heat Control

Hot Tools Professional 1110 Curling Iron with Multi-Heat ControlIf you are into larger size curls with a little bit of spring to them this could be a curling iron that is just right for you. It all starts with the Hot Tools Professional 1110 Curling Iron’s large 1 ¼” barrel size that keeps the curls you make from getting winded up too tight as you style your hair.

There is also a ton of versatility with this product as far as heating goes thanks to its heat selection dial that will nicely let you use this curling iron at temperatures up to 428F. It heats up quickly and evenly to thanks to its gold flake barrel coating. People with medium, thick or coarse hair will really like the Hot Tools Professional 1110 Curling Iron.

Read more: Hot Tools Professional 1110 Curling Iron


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3. Nume Octowand 8 Attachments Curling Wand Set

Nume Octowand 8 Attachments Curling Wand SetIf you truly want your curling iron to be as versatile as possible then you will really want to take a close look at this one. The Nume Octowand is the equivalent of owning 8 different curling thanks to its interchangeable barrels. You also can conveniently set its temperature anywhere from 170F – 450F. It’s truly one of the most versatile curling irons you will ever see.

The nice features on the Nume Octowand don’t stop with its versatility either. It also has dual voltage capability, ceramic tourmaline infusion, and virtually unrestricted movement thanks to its 7’ power cord w/swivel end. This curling iron even comes with a protective heat glove right in the package.

Read more: NuMe Octowand Curling Iron


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4. The Beachwaver Co. Beachwaver Pro Curling Iron

The Beachwaver Co. Beachwaver Pro Curling IronAre you looking to put curls in your client’s hair with less effort? If that’s the case then this duel directional curling iron will certainly help you with that. Just by simply pressing a button you can easily curl your hair in any direction with the Beachwaver Pro Curling Iron. Its custom clipping mechanism will help you do it without getting those unsightly kinks in your hair too.

Other design features that make this curling iron a good one to own are its versatile 1” barrel diameter, gold powder/tourmaline infusion and its working temperature range of 310F – 450F. It also heats up and is ready to use in just 30 seconds.

Read more: The Beachwaver Beach Waver Pro Curling Iron



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5. CHI Classic Tourmaline Ceramic Automatic Rotating Curler

CHI Tourmaline Ceramic Automatic Rotating CurlerAre you looking to take some of the stress off your hands and wrists as you go about your work in the styling salon? Then let the CHI Pro Auto Rotating Curler do most of the work for you. With a simple push of a button, you can be spinning curls automatically in either direction.

Not only does this curling iron rotate automatically but it also has a 1” barrel that’s great at making some medium sized curls and ceramic infusion which heats the barrel consistently throughout its entire length.

With its 410F max heat and an easy to set and read digital display, this curling iron works great on all but the thickest and coarsest type of hair.

Read more: Chi Pro Auto Rotating Ceramic Curling Iron

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6. RUSK Engineering Curl Freak Professional Curling Machine

RUSK Engineering Curl Freak Professional Curling MachineThere is a reason this Rusk Engineering product is called a curling machine as opposed to a curling iron and it’s because of the peculiar shape it has. When using it you gently clip your hair in its somewhat bulbous end and then this curling machine does the rest for you. It features three different temperature settings (375F, 410F, 450F) and three different timer settings (8, 10, 12 seconds) that help you make consistent curls every time you use it.

Other features that make it a popular choice are its fast heat up time (ready to use in less than 30 seconds) and the fact you can curl hair with it in either direction. The Rusk Engineering Curl Freak also has a nice even heating ceramic coating on its barrel.

Read more:  RUSK Engineering Curl Freak Professional Curling Machine


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Buying Guide: Choosing The Best Pro-Level Curling Iron

Professional Curling Iron Reviews

Are you curious to learn how to pick out the best curling iron for you to use? Here are what I think are the most important characteristics of curling irons to concentrate on when you are shopping for a new one:

8 Things You Need to Know to Buy The Perfect Curling Iron

  1. Barrel diameter
    This is one of the two most critical factors when it comes to deciding which hair curling product you will buy. That is because the barrel diameter of a curling iron directly affects the size of curls you can make with it. For example, if you want smaller and tighter curls you are not going to choose a 2” barrel diameter.
    So one of the first things you have to do before you shop for a curling iron, determine what size curls you want it to help you make and then look for a curling iron model that has.
    Here is a quick overview of the most common curling iron barrel sizes and the type of curls they are good at making:

    • 3/8” barrel: This is the type of curling iron barrel that will produce very tight curls that are very springy too. Some would describe these curls as tight, kinky spirals.
    • 5/8” barrel: A barrel this diameter will still produce a tighter type curl but without the springiness, as the curl is much more taught. Great for naturally curly hair users to smooth out those natural curls.
    • 3/4” barrel: This is your choice of barrel diameter if you want a more classic style curl. It’s the perfect size for making structured spirals. Another good choice for those with naturally curly hair to spruce up their curls.
    • 1” barrel: Here is the most popular barrel size. Not so much because it works the best but more so because it’s what so many curling irons come with. This size barrel diameter makes full, well-defined beach waves. A great barrel size choice for those with medium length and short hair that want some curl. Also, discover what you should look for when it comes to buying a curling iron for short hair.
    • 1 ¼” barrel: This is a great barrel diameter for making medium-size curls that are a little looser too. Can be left tight or lightly brushed out for a fresh look that is different.
    • 1 ½” barrel: It’s all about voluminous, larger and bouncier curls when you use this size curling iron barrel. Best used on medium length or longer hair. Can be raked out using your fingers for a unique look.
    • 2” barrel: here is the best choice for those with longer hair that want gentle, loose waves in their hair. Can be brushed out to leave just the ends curly for a nice look too.
  2. Temperature choices
    This is the second of the two very critical characteristics that you must consider when you are shopping for a new curling iron. That is because the temperature is so important as it relates to the type of hair that you want to curl with one of these heated curling devices.
    An example of this is if you have thick or coarse hair you are going to need a curling iron that works at 400F or above to be able to reshape it properly. Also, many curling irons will not go below 350F; this can cause hair damage if you use it on some people with fine or thin hair.
    So it’s ultra-important to match a curling iron’s working temperature range to that of the hair types that you will style with it. If you are a salon professional you will want a curling iron that has a very wide temperature selection (something in the area of a 175 F to 450 F working range).
  3. Curling wand vs Curling Iron vs Curling Tools
    Curling wand vs Curling Iron vs Curling ToolsMany people assume that a curling iron and a curling wand are one in the same but that is entirely not true. There are some big differences between them even though they do basically accomplish the same thing (making curls) but go about doing that in slightly different ways.Here is a little more about the looks of each one, the advantages they offer and the disadvantages of using them:

    • Curling irons
      This is what most people think of when they think of a toll used to curl hair. They feature a long, round metal coated barrel and they will have a spring clip on them to catch the hair so you can wrap it around them and make a curl.One of the advantages that they offer users is they are much easier to master. Even novice curling iron users can make consistent curls with them after just a little practice. They are generally thought to be simple to set and operate too. Most people can add curls faster with a curling iron too.The big disadvantage with them is their lack of versatility. If you like to make different size curls on occasion you often will have to own more than one of these. Their metal barrels can also easily damage hair if you are not careful when you use them on higher heat settings.
    • Curling Wands
      Curling wands usually are longer than curling irons and have a tapered barrel, unlike most curling irons. Many times they will not have a spring clamp like curling irons do and their barrels are usually coated more heavily than curling iron barrels are so they almost appear non-metallic in nature.The biggest benefit you will get from using a curling wand is its versatility. Since their barrels are tapered they will allow you to make several different sizes and types of curls with them. They also will not tend to put unsightly kinks in hair like curling iron spring clips sometimes do.Their biggest drawback is that they are not nearly as simple to use as a curling iron is. It takes most people a lot of practice to perfect using them. This is a big turnoff for many salon professionals and individual users.
      Best Professional Curling Irons
    • Curling tools
      To make matters even more confusing manufacturers are coming up with radical new designs for heated hair curlers that don’t fall into either of the above categories. For now, these types of curling devices simply fall into a category known as ‘curling tools’ or ‘curling machines’.They often each have their own unique look and design that has a specific curling purpose. A good example of a curling tool is the RUSK Engineering Curl Freak Professional Curling Machine that we reviewed above. It has a unique large bulbous barrel that is thought to help you make big and voluminous looking curls on a more consistent basis.
  4. Innovative barrel shapes and features
    Curling iron manufacturers are also getting creative when it comes to producing models that have irregular shaped barrels that help make different types of curls and adding other features that will supposedly help the curling process go smoother.Here are a few examples of innovative curling iron designs:

    • Marcel curling wand
      This is a specially designed curling iron where the spring clamp activation handle is about the same length as that curling iron’s handle so it makes it easier to use.
    • Bubble wand
      This barrel design is nice for making small, tight spiral curls. It looks like the wand barrel is made of several balls attached together where the hair fits in-between them so it curls up tighter and easier.
    • Double/Triple barrels
      What advantage does a double or triple curling iron barrel design give you? They allow you to wrap the hair around them in a way that produces nice rhythmic ‘S’ curls, ringlets and ripple like waves.
    • Auto rotating barrels
      Maybe you are a salon professional that is looking to take a little pressure off your hand and wrists as you work throughout the day. Auto rotating barrels will take some of the physical work out of curling hair for sure.
    • Spiral iron
      A spiral wand works much the same way that a bubble wand does because it allows you to make very tight and vintage looking curls. The barrel on it looks similar to a large drill bit.
  5. Crystal or metal infusion
    Want to know a cold hard fact? If you do not take precautions when using a curling iron its high heat can severely damage your hair and make it almost impossible to get looking good. Fortunately, manufacturers have done some things to help protect your hair in the form of adding crystal and metal infusion to curling iron barrels.
    Barrels that are titanium, chrome, gold flake or ceramic coated produce very even heat. That means there are no extreme hotspots that can damage your hair. Nano and tourmaline crystal infusion help your hair retain its all-important moisture during the curling process so you don’t get frizzy hair or hair that is loaded with split-ends.
  6. Weight
    You’re dead wrong if you don’t think weight makes a difference when you are using a curling iron. This is even truer if you are a salon professional. Over the course of a day’s time, even a few ounces of extra weight in a curling iron can tire you out faster and leave you feeling uncomfortable. So be sure to consider the weight when deciding between 2 or more curling irons that you are thinking about buying.
  7. Length
    You will also want to consider the length of any curling iron or curling wand that you are thinking about purchasing. This is especially true with some types of curling wands because they tend to be longer because of their tapered barrels. You may not be comfortable using a 17 to 20-inch curling wand if you have small hands or work use it in a tight space.
  8. Warranty
    These days it’s not unheard of for professional curling devices to run well over $100. That means any curling iron you buy at that price or above is not something you want to consider as being a disposable item. Therefore, you want some protection for your purchase in the form of a warranty. When comparing different curling irons try to get one that has the longest and most comprehensive warranty that you can find. It can be an excellent deciding factor between two similar models.

The Mistakes That People Who Use Curling Irons Make Most Often

Mistakes That People Who Use Curling Irons

You may be wondering what some of the common mistakes are that people make when using a curling iron? There are a lot more of them than you can probably imagine. Here is a list that will help you identify and correct any improper ways you are using your curling iron:

  1. Assuming a cheap curling iron works as well as a high-quality one
    Most people are under the common misconception that higher quality and more expensive curling irons don’t work much better than cheap ones. Nothing could be further from the truth. Higher end curling irons usually give your more temperature choices, offer some protection against hair damage and are easy to work.
    If you are like most people you invest much money in your looks so don’t skimp when it comes to a curling iron purchase.
  2. Improper hair prep
    One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to try and curl your hair when it’s wet. Even slightly damp hair should not be curled so make sure its dry first. It also never hurts to treat your hair to protect it before you subject it to the high temperatures that curling irons produce. Try a light glaze or oil on it before you curl it. Ask your hair stylist what they recommend you use.
  3. Curling your hair the wrong way
    A common mistake many people make when using a curling iron is that they twist the hair around the curling iron barrel in the wrong direction. Even though technically you will make curls no matter what direction you curl your hair in; you will be much happier with the results if you use a clockwise curling motion on the right side of your face and a counter-clockwise motion on the left side of your face. Curl the back away from you also.
  4. Trying to curl too much hair at once
    This is a big mistake. Why you may ask. It’s because when you get too much hair on the barrel of your curling iron you are not letting it do its job because the heat will not spread evenly throughout the hair. This will make it much more difficult to curl and you almost certainly won’t get the look you desire. All the hair you want to curl should end up in contact with or almost touching the barrel.
  5. Using too much or too little heat
    If you are interested to know what the single biggest mistake is when people use a curling iron then look no further because you just found it. That’s right it is using the wrong heat setting to cool your hair.
    Often time’s curling irons that have no heat adjustment are way too hot to use on for fine or thin hair and can easily damage it. Fine or thin hair definitely is best curled by starting out with a lower heat setting and working your way up.
    Curling thick or coarse hair needs high heat to break the strong hydrogen bonds in it so it can be reshaped. So while it’s a good idea to select a lower heat setting to protect your hair when curling don’s be afraid to crank it up a little higher if you have thick or coarse hair.
  6. Selecting an improper barrel size for what you are trying to do
    You may remember me mentioning that curl size is directly related to barrel size. The bigger the barrel the bigger the curl it makes. So not every curling iron is able to make the size curls you want. Take this into consideration when selecting the curling iron you will use to style your hair.
  7. Holding your hair in the curling on too long
    Many curling iron users keep their hair wrapped around the barrel too long. This can dry your hair out and damage it if you are not careful. Holding your hair wrapped around the barrel for an extended period of time does not increase your curling iron’s effectiveness. So try only using around 10 seconds to set each curl.
  8. Not allowing your hair to cool before doing additional styling
    Using a styling brush or any other tool on your hair right after it has been curled is a big no-no. Hair that is still warm can be reshaped very easily even by just doing something as simple as a light brushing on it. So be very careful to let your hair cool before doing any other styling to it.
    As a matter of fact, for the best results, you can ‘lightly’ blow dry your hair on the cool setting after you have curled your hair. This will help lock in the curl shape so it lasts much longer.
  9. Misusing the spring clamp
    Most people never read their user’s manual before they start using their hair curler. These are not one size fits all items that all work the same way contrary to popular belief. One of the most misused parts on a curling iron is the spring clip.
    Sure some types of curls you make by clamping the end of your hair first but not all curls are made this way. Other types of curls or hair accents require you to clip your hair with the spring clamp away from the end. As your salon professional more about this the next time you get your hair done.

Curling Iron FAQ’s

Here are some of the questions that I get asked repeatedly about curling irons and their use:

  • Question: How do I prevent my fingers from getting burned when I use my curling iron?
    Answer: A lot of this burden falls on the manufacturer to build in such things as heat shields, protective grips and cool tips into their curling irons. The best advice I can give you to keep from burning your fingers is to learn to use your curling iron properly so your fingers never go near the hot barrel.
    It never hurts to wear a protective styling glove when curling your hair either. This is especially true when you first start getting used to using a new curling iron.
  • Question: How hot should my curling iron be when I go to use it?
    Answer: I can’t say enough how critical it is to use the right temperature to style hair and it’s no different when using a curling iron. As a general rule, you use lower heat on fine or thin hair curling, medium heat on normal hair and high heat on thick, kinky or coarse hair.
    However, I do recommend that no matter what type of hair you have to start out with your curling iron on its lowest setting and work the temperature up to where it works best at curling your hair.
  • Question: How do I treat a curling iron burn?
    Answer: Fortunately most burns that people get when using a curling iron are not severe in nature. The best way to treat a hot iron burn is to first put some ice on it or run it under some cool water. After you have done that pat the burn area dry and put some burn ointment on it.
    *** If the skin is broken by the burn or it does not start to heal right away then you must visit a health professional and have it looked at. Infected burns can cause some very serious health issues.***

Also check out: What Is The Best Curling Iron For Natural Black Hair?

Best Professional Curling Iron Comparison Chart

The Beachwaver Co. Beachwaver Pro Curling Iron
$$$$Dual directional barrel1 Inch450F
Nume Octowand 8 Attachments Curling Wand Set
$$$$Ceramic/tourmaline coated barrels13mm, 19mm, 25mm, 32mm, Pearl, Reverse 18mm to 9mm, Reverse 25mm to 13mm, Reverse 25mm to 18mm450F
RUSK Engineering Curl Freak Professional Curling Machine
$$$It does not have a traditional style barrelN / A450F
CHI Classic Tourmaline Ceramic Automatic Rotating Curler
$$Automatic rotating barrel1 1/4 inchup to 400°F
BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Conicurl Iron
$Titanium/ceramic barrel1 ¼” to ¾”up to 400°F
Hot Tools Professional 1110 Curling Iron with Multi-Heat Control
$Gold flake barrel coating1 ¼ inchup to 428F

Some Final Thoughts on Curling Irons and Their Use

Well if you did not know before you certainly know now that there is a lot to consider when buying and using any curling iron. Anyone who just tries to pick one up and use it without some knowledge and instruction will most likely not get the curling results they desire. Even the best professional curling iron will take some getting used to.

So consider what I talked about here when you go to make a curling iron purchase; especially what I pointed out as being very important to consider in the buying guide. You can also take the guesswork out of your curling iron shopping process by purchasing a model that we did one of the professional curling iron reviews on. Most of all don’t underestimate how important the proper curling iron is when trying to add some pizazz to your hair with some elegant curls.

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