Mermaid locks never go out of style, and with a curling iron in hand, you can style your way to a great hair day. The best hair curler is easy to use, with ample heat settings for different hair types. It should have a long cord, with ceramic or tourmaline plates for gentle, even heat. We've combed the web for Australia's best hair curling wand, and here's what we've found.
How we picked
We usually begin with CHOICE, Australia's biggest consumer advocacy group, but they haven't reviewed hair curlers. Instead, we started with ProductReview.com.au to get the opinions of real Aussies. With heaps of quality curlers on offer, we weighed up availability, cost, quality and ease of use. This made a solid dent in our picks, but there were still a few gaps.
Next, we turned to trusted consumer comparison site Canstar Blue. While Canstar doesn't have in-depth curling wand reviews, they've surveyed hundreds of Aussies to find the best hair curler brand. One brand came out on top, so we added it to our list. But there was still a gap, so we settled on one styling tool with impressive reviews across the board. That's how we picked Australia's best hair curler.
Types of hair curlers
There's more than one way to curl your hair, so your choice of tool makes a big difference depending on what you're after. A curling iron is probably the most common kind of hair curler. These curlers have a long barrel, usually made from ceramic or titanium, with a clamp that curves around the barrel to hold hair in place as curls set.
Similar to curling irons, curling wands also have long barrels, though they’re usually made from ceramic over other materials. The major difference between them is that curling wands don't have a clamp, while irons do. While an iron will give you tighter, more 'set' curls, a curling wand will create softer, dynamic curls with more natural movement.
Automatic hair curlers are a newer type of styling tool. It's easy to burn yourself when winding hair around a hot barrel, not to mention the time it can take for people with long or coarse hair. Automatic hair curlers generally have a clamp or funnel to place hair into. The magic happens inside with a rotating barrel mechanism. While you'll need to brush hair thoroughly to prevent tangles, automatic hair curlers can save you from burnt fingers and sore arms.
How hot should I have my hair curler?
Hair curlers on our list range in temperature from 125 to 230°C. While some designs are more effective than others, thicker hair generally needs more heat, while thinner or damaged hair requires less. You'll also need higher heat for tighter or more 'set' curls, which tend to hold longer than loose waves.
If your hair is fine, frizzy or damaged, it's best to go for a curler with a lower heat range. High heat can make frizz and damage worse, and fine hair can be more responsive to heat. Anything up to 180°C should do the job, though you'll want to keep the temperature as low as possible to protect your hair.
If your hair type is normal, most short to medium-length hair can be curled at a slightly higher temperature, usually up to around 190°C. Coarse or thick hair usually needs a little more convincing, so opt for a curler that offers a higher heat range. Long hair can be heavy, so sometimes benefits from a little more heat and setting product to give your style more strength.
What features should I look for in a hair curler?
Hair curlers might look similar, but there are a range of features to help you get the most out of your styler. Here's what to look for when buying a new hair curler.
- Wand, iron or automatic - if you want looser waves or natural-looking curls, go for a wand. For more defined curls, opt for a curling iron. If you curl frequently and want a quicker, simpler way, an automatic curler may be your best bet.
- Safety features - auto-off, sleep mode, and safety stands can all help prevent burns. Some models come with heat gloves, carry cases and heat mats, too.
- Barrel size - the bigger the barrel, the bigger the curl. If you want options, look for a curler with a tapered barrel.
- Cord length - most curlers we saw had swivel cords around 2.7m. It can be helpful to think about the distance between the wall outlet and your mirror.
- Heat up time - if you often style your hair in a hurry, you're likely to get more use out of a curler that heats in 1 minute or less.
- Barrel material - while most hair curlers have ceramic barrels, some are 'infused' with additional minerals to further prevent heat damage.
- Temperature range - if your hair's fine, damaged or frizzy, choose a curler with a lower heat range. If your hair's long or normal to coarse, you'll get away with a higher temperature range.
- Cost - you can pick up a cheaper hair curler for under $50. Mid-range curlers are priced between $150 - $250, with higher-end models coming in at around $500 - $700.