The old saying calls a woman’s hair her ‘crowning glory’. That’s still true, as 81% of American women say they feel more confident when their hair looks great. For modern women, that usually means voluminous hair with loosely tousled curls.
But those effortless curls don’t come easy. Most women need a bit of help to curl their hair, and that usually comes in the form of a curling iron. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to spare a chunk of their budget just on one accessory. With so many curling irons on the market, it can be hard to tell which ones offer good performance for their price.
Thankfully, we’ve done that work for you. We’ve committed hours of research into discovering which curling irons are the best at both performance and price, and we’ve picked out a comprehensive list for you to choose from. Read on to find out the best cheap curling iron on the market!
Table Of Contents
- Best Cheap Curling Irons – Comparison
- Top Seven Affordable Curling Irons
- BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron
- Hot Tools Signature Series Gold Curling Iron
- Bed Head Wave Artist Deep Waver
- Alure Three Barrel Curling Iron
- INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Curl Secret
- BESTOPE 6 in 1 Curling Wand Set
- KIPOZI 3/10 Inch Small Curling Iron
- A Buyer’s Guide To Inexpensive Curling Irons
Best Cheap Curling Irons – Comparison
|Name & Brand||Material||Temperature||Voltage||Price
|BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium||Titanium||Up to 450°F||120V|
|Hot Tools Signature Gold||Ceramic ||Up to 430°F||120V|
|Bed Head Wave Artist||Ceramic ||Up to 400°F||Dual voltage |
|Alure Three Barrel ||Ceramic ||Up to 410°F||110V-220V|
|Infintpro By Conair||Ceramic ||Up to 400°F||120V|
|Bestpope Curling Iron||Ceramic ||140°F to 430°F||110-240V AC|
|Kipozi Thin Curling Iron||Ceramic ||260℉-420℉||100V-240V|
Top Seven Affordable Curling Irons
We’ve looked at both performance and price to determine which curling iron is the most worth it at its price. We’ve narrowed it down to these seven, and in each review, we’re going to break down why that product might be the best inexpensive curling iron for your needs.
The Nano Titanium just barely squeaks into our price range, as it’s right at the very top. But it’s still in the range, and for that price, it offers a lot of capability.
In most respects, it’s a standard clip iron with a gray barrel and a blue grip. Notably, the grip is as long as the barrel, giving you a lot more room to put your hand on, and this makes handling a lot easier. You’ve got two controls, the power switch on the right side and the heat dial on the left.
The barrel is a titanium and ceramic one, giving us the best traits of both materials. You get titanium’s excellent heat capacity with ceramic’s even heating. The barrel is protected by BaByliss’ proprietary Sol Gel coating, which works similarly to tourmaline coats on other curling irons.
The Nano Titanium’s heat capacity is excellent, maxing out at 450 F (232 C), with 50 available settings. You can select heat with the dial on the side. You can also press the dial as a button to activate turbo heat, which instantly brings the barrel up to your selected temperature. As usual for curling irons, the tip is insulated to permit handling the far end, though we still recommend a heat-resistant glove for your safety.
It also comes in four barrel sizes to match your preferences. You have a choice of 3/4 inch, 1 inch, 1-1/4 inch, and 1-1/2 inch. All four come at the same price, so you can pick whichever size works best for you.
The power cord is 8 feet long on a swivel mount, standard for curling irons. It isn’t dual voltage, so you can only use it in the US and the few other countries that have similar electrical systems. Safety-wise, it’s got a stand to keep it off any surfaces, and that’s it.
There are only two downsides to the Nano Titanium. The more serious one is that it doesn’t have an automatic shutdown, so make sure that you turn it off to avoid it becoming a fire hazard or running up your electric bill. The other one is ergonomic. The power switch is awkwardly placed because, in most grips, your hand can slip onto it and accidentally turn off the Nano Titanium.
It might be skirting on the edge of ‘cheap’, but there’s no denying the capability and the sheer range of options that the BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium provides. It’s the best affordable curling iron on our list.
Yes, we’re seriously recommending a gold product. No, it’s not going to break your bank. Gold is more than just a shiny, pretty metal for rich people. It also conducts heat excellently, making it a good barrel material for curling irons. And you can’t argue with that price tag.
It sticks to a black and gold scheme, and it’s a serious hairstyling tool once you get over the gold. The grip is shaped to fit the hand and is comfortable to hold, so you won’t have any trouble keeping a good grip on it.
More accurately, the barrel is gold-plated. Gold is a very good material for heat since it gives you excellent heat capacity, even heat all over the barrel, and a fast heat-up time when compared to a similar barrel made of ceramic. There are four settings available for heat, going from 280 F to 430 F (137 C to 221 C), giving you a good selection to match your hair type. Thanks to the gold barrel, it only takes 30 seconds to reach working temperature.
It’s a salon tool, as you can see from the gold and a few other qualities. The power cord is 6 feet long. It’s also a 110v product, which isn’t a problem if you’re only working at home.
In terms of safety features, it’s got a very chunky cool tip on the working end and a stand, but no automatic shutdown. Be careful and make sure to turn it off if you’re putting it down for any length of time.
Hot Tools makes the Signature Series available in four barrel sizes: 3/4 inch, 1 inch, 1-1/4 inch, and 1-1/2 inch. Beyond diameter, the two smaller irons are also 1/8th of an inch shorter than the other two barrels. All other factors are equal, including price. Speaking of price, it’s very reasonable for a curling iron of this capability.
The Signature Series’ biggest issue is that same heat, however. There isn’t any coating on the barrel to soothe the heat, and it can get too hot if you’re not careful. Stick to low heat until you’ve got used to it, or if your hair type calls for high heat. Another downside is that the barrel has no coating at all, so you may have to deal with frizzy hair.
Few products that combine decadence and practicality in one, and fewer still come at such a reasonable price as the Hot Tools Signature Series Gold. Nothing matches it for excellent heat.
One way to reduce costs is to focus on one style. Bed Head does this by making only hair wavers, specialized types of curling irons that do waves instead of tight curls.
The Wave Artist may look very different from a standard curling iron, but it works exactly the same way. The two white plates on the business end are the barrels, shaped to put your hair into the waves it’s named for. The body is split into two parts, with the controls spread over both. The power indicator and travel lock are on the top half, while the heat dial and power switch are below.
The plates are made from ceramic with a tourmaline coating. That’s a typical combination for curling irons because ceramic provides even heat and tourmaline ensures your hair doesn’t go frizzy. Heat capacity is excellent, maxing out at 400 F (204 C), with 30 settings available for you to play with. Heating time is only 30 seconds, so there’s no wait time once you’ve selected your temperature.
The 6-foot cord on a swivel mount is standard if a bit short. It’s an excellent device to travel with since it’s dual voltage. All you’ll need is a plug adapter so that you can plug into any sockets that the Wave Artist’s usual plug doesn’t fit into. It’s also got a travel lock, which keeps both halves of the iron together so that it takes up less space.
The Wave Artist is also well equipped with safety features. For easier handling, there’s a cover and a half-ring on the far end, serving the same function as an insulated tip on other curling irons. To avoid it becoming a fire hazard in case you forget about it, there’s an automatic shutdown that kicks in after 60 minutes.
The Wave Artist’s greatest weakness is also its specialist nature. It only does waves and no other style beyond waves. If you want to experiment, you’ll have to find a different curling iron for that. It’s very good at waves, so if you are sure that waves will be your main style, this isn’t a downside. If you’re not completely set on waves, then the Wave Artist can never be your main curling iron.
But when you’re sure that you want a curling iron that does waves and does them extremely well, the Bed Head Wave Artist is the one for you.
Wavy hair is a popular style, and this type of curling iron is specialized entirely in making wavy hair. The specialization of this device also tends to reduce costs, since the manufacturer can think about just one set of needs instead of trying to meet several.
As you might guess from the name, the Alure is a three-barrel iron. The business end is just as the name indicates, three barrels side by side. You hold on to a non-slip black grip, which has a bulge in the middle to fit your hand better. Right between the grip and the barrels is a temperature display.
The barrels are all 1 inch wide and are made of ceramic with a tourmaline coating, giving you the classic combination of even heat and frizz-free hair. Heat capacity is excellent. The maximum temperature is 410 F (210 C), and you can adjust the heat using the two buttons beneath the display. It takes just 60 seconds to reach working temperature. All told, no surprises here, and quite a competent setup.
Power comes from a 7-foot swiveling cord, and it’s dual-voltage, so you can take it anywhere in the world. Just make sure to bring a plug adapter in case of socket trouble. Its default resting position is closed, so it doesn’t need a travel lock, and thus it occupies less space in your luggage.
Safety features are also excellent. The barrel tips are insulated, so you can put a hand on the far end if needed. The stand keeps the barrels off any surface, and there’s even an automatic shutdown in case you forget about it. Overall, the build quality and design are excellent.
The Alure’s main downside is that it’s a specialist. Sure, it does waves better than any single-barrel iron, but it only does waves. There’s no room for experimentation or any style beyond a wave. If you want to do something other than the specific style the Alure can give you, you’ll have to get a different curling iron. Such is the pitfall of all specialist tools, as they give up capability outside their area for excellent performance in that area.
If it’s waves you want, then few curling irons will do as well as the Alure Three Barrel. It picks an area to be excellent in and focuses entirely on its specialization, and that makes it cheap and very effective.
Curling irons can cause vicious burns if you’re not careful. Thankfully, Curl Secret bypasses this risk by automating the whole process.
It may look like a chopped-off blow dryer, but trust us, this is a very effective curling iron. Specifically, it’s automated. Instead of having you wind your hair around a barrel, the Curl Secret does all the work for you. The cylinder on the end is the barrel, and the controls are quite simple. You get a power button, a heat switch, and a time switch.
The cylinder works the same as the barrel on a curling iron, and it’s made of the same ceramic and tourmaline that such a barrel would be. This gives you the standard combination of even heat and frizz-free hair, saving you a lot of trouble. The heat switch has two settings, 365 F and 400 F (185 C and 204 C). The timer switch lets you control how long your hair stays inside the cylinder, options being 8, 10, or 12 seconds. This controls how tight a curl you get, and a longer duration on the timer gets you tighter curls.
Once you’ve chosen your settings, it’s easy to use. Take a 1-inch-wide section of your hair, and bring up the Curl Secret to the right length where you want to start curling. Place your hair into the slot, then close the Curl Secret. When it beeps, you’re done, so just open it up to see your hair, all nicely curled.
It’s fed by a 6-foot power cord. It’s US voltage only, so you can’t take it elsewhere. As far as safety matters are concerned, few curling irons are safer, thanks to its design. Unless something goes wrong, it’s never going to be a fire hazard. The barrel is on the inside, with no risk of touching anything outside.
There are some issues you’ll have to deal with. The biggest one is a lack of control. There are only two time settings and three heat settings, so you don’t get much room to play with styles. Also, don’t feed too much hair into the cylinder. If it’s overfilled, it chokes and gets stuck.
This product is fast, it’s easy to use, and it’s cheap. When you want quick, trouble-free curling with virtually no chance of injury, the Curl Secret is the curling iron for you.
The best way to save on money is to get a tool that can fulfill multiple roles on its own. You can do this a lot of ways, and the BESTOPE 6-in-1 uses interchangeable barrels to pull it off.
It’s a set with 6 barrels and a handle. That handle is non-slip black and rose gold, and you can slot in whichever barrel suits your fancy onto the ring on the working end. Below that ring is the LED temperature screen, and below that are three buttons controlling power and temperature.
All the barrels are ceramic coated in tourmaline, standard for curling irons. That means you get good, even heat and frizz-free hair. You’ve got six barrels to work with. Three are standard barrels, one each of 3/4 inch, 1 inch, and 1-1/4 inch. Two are tapering barrels, one going from 3/4 to 1/2 inch and the larger one from 1 inch to 3/4 inch. There’s also a bubble barrel of 1-inch diameter.
You’ve got a good range of available heat, from 250 F at minimum to a maximum of 430 F (121 C to 221 C), adjusted by the buttons on the handle. Heating time is a nice quick 30 seconds, so you won’t be waiting too long from when you press the power button.
The cord is 6 feet long with a swivel mount. You can take the Bestope with you anywhere in the world because it’s dual-voltage. As always, make sure you have a plug adapter. Safety-wise, the retaining ring holding the barrels in place also flares out, serving the same function as the stand on other curling irons. It also has an automatic shutdown that triggers after 60 seconds of inactivity.
It also comes with a few helpful extras, namely a heat-resistant glove and two hair clips. These included items will help you get started on styling your hair, however, they’re not the best quality. We advise that you get more of your own to help find something better suited to your needs. Until you do get some of your own, the included glove and clip will do fine.
The Bestope’s downsides are largely ergonomic. The retaining ring serves similarly to a stand, but it isn’t one, so the Bestope tends to roll if left unattended. Also, you might accidentally change the temperature, since the buttons are too easy to press even in normal circumstances.
Six interchangeable barrels give the BESTOPE 6-in-1 an excellent range of styles and capabilities. If you want a device that does it all in just one affordable purchase, this is the product for you.
While clip irons are easier to use, they also make waves that are a bit too defined. For a more natural look, you’re better off with a clipless wand like the Kipozi.
Aside from the barrel, it’s your typical curling wand. It’s got the usual slender silhouette of such wands, Most of the black body is covered by a rubberized surface for easier grip, interrupted only by the plastic front panel. The panel has the power button, temperature control buttons, and the LCD temperature indicator just above. A fourth button is off to the side.
Material-wise, the barrel is a typical ceramic type. It’s the size that’s different because it’s 1/3rd an inch wide. That’s a lot smaller than most barrels usually get. This means that you have a lot of options for style. We normally recommend clip irons for tight curls, but the small barrel on the Kipozi lets you get even tighter curls than usual. And since it’s a curling wand, you can still pull off other styles while maintaining that natural look.
Temperature ranges from 260 F to 420 F (126 C to 215 C), adjusted by the + and – buttons on the grip. There’s also a button on the side that locks the selected temperature until you press it again. This means you won’t get accidental temperature changes if you happen to press any buttons while you’re moving the Kipozi around. Heating time is 60 seconds.
The power cord is 6.5 feet long and comes on a swivel mount, so you’ve got enough room to work with. If you need to travel, the Kipozi has you covered, since it’s dual voltage. Just be sure you have a plug adapter. It’s also got a full set of safety features. The stand helps prevent rolling and keeps the barrel off any surfaces, the cool tip lets you handle the business end as necessary, and there’s an automatic shutdown that triggers after 60 minutes of inactivity.
The disadvantage is that the small barrel means you’re not fitting a lot of hair on it. You’ll take a bit more time curling with the Kipozi than you will be with other curling irons. Whether or not this is a significant disadvantage will depend on your preferences, but it’s something to consider before you buy.
It might look a little unusual, but it offers excellent performance for its price. If you want a curling wand that can do curls as well as it does waves, the Kipozi Small Curling Iron is a good buy.
A Buyer’s Guide To Inexpensive Curling Irons
So we’ve looked at seven good and inexpensive curling irons, and now we’ll look at what makes the best cheap curling iron. This is the same criteria we used to rate and evaluate the curling irons above.
A lower price isn’t always good, especially when you’re giving up performance for it. Most products cut prices by also cutting features and capabilities. You can go without some of these, but depending on your needs and your specific hair type, some other features may be essential. Don’t just look at the price. Look at what you’re getting for that price, and consider if you’re getting the right set of capabilities for your needs.
When considering a curling iron, check what type it is. There are three types you’ll generally see, and these types directly affect the style they produce.
Clip irons have a clamp at the base of the barrel. The clamp holds your hair in place while you move the barrel. This makes them a bit easier to use, and they produce tighter curls than the other types.
Curling wands, or clipless irons, are similar in form but come without the clamp. They also tend to be tapered, becoming narrower at the tip. They produce looser and more natural curls, more wavy than curly.
Waver irons generally have a three-barrel structure and are entirely specialized towards making wavy styles. They do so faster and easier than other types can, but at the expense of all flexibility. They do only waves and nothing else.
What kind of material is the barrel made of? This will affect performance a lot.
With very few exceptions, the majority of curling irons that fall into the ‘cheap’ price range are made of ceramic. Ceramic is the cheapest material, and its best quality is even heat distribution. You won’t find any hot or cold spots on a ceramic barrel, since the whole barrel heats up at the same rate. Even so, there are variations. Always choose an actual ceramic barrel, not one that’s ceramic coated. Yes, there’s a difference, and proper ceramic is overall a much better option. Ceramic coatings can degrade under extended use, and build quality is much, much lower than actual ceramic barrels.
What temperature can your curling iron reach? How many settings does it have? The temperature you should be looking for will depend on your hair type. Thick and rough hair will need higher heat than thin and fine hair. Make sure that your chosen curling iron can meet a temperature that’s appropriate to your hair. Ideally, your curling iron should also have a setting that’s lower than that, so that you can build up to the target temperature. Applying a high temperature right off can damage your hair.
What’s the barrel diameter? This affects two things. First, curling time. You can put more hair onto a larger barrel, so you’ll be done faster than you would be with a smaller curling iron. Of course, this is also affected by how much hair you have, so this might not always be a factor.
The other thing it affects is style. The smaller your barrel, the tighter the curls. A smaller barrel can still produce loose curls, though it’s a lot easier with a large barrel. Consider what barrel size works best for the style you’re going for. If in doubt, a 1-inch barrel is right down the middle and can do any style with competence.
Ergonomics And Ease Of Use
It might not do anything about performance directly, but ease of use plays a bigger role than you’d think. For instance, the grip; you’ll have your curling iron in hand most of the time, and you want to be sure it’ll stay in your hand and not slip out and fall. You should also consider comfort and weight distribution; you’ll have to hold your iron at head level for quite a while, and that’ll take a toll on your arm.
Overall, the less mental effort you spend on worrying about using your device, the better.
All curling irons are fire hazards when they’re on. After all, a curling iron’s working surface is more than the temperature needed to boil water, and they will cause burns if they’re improperly handled. Just as important as a curling iron’s business end is what it does to protect you and your possessions from that business end.
Look for the following features: A stand, an automatic shutdown, and a cool tip. A stand will keep the barrel off any surface, thus reducing the risk of flammability. An automatic shutdown will ensure that even if you forget about your curling iron, it won’t do any damage after the shutdown kicks in. And the insulated tip will permit easier handling of the barrel.
It may seem like an expensive prospect to get a curling iron for home use, but it doesn’t have to be. You can just as easily buy a curling iron for a low price and still get an excellent product. There’s a curling iron for every need and every budget.
Do you need to get one product that can do it all? The BESTOPE 6-in-1 has six interchangeable barrels for you. Do you want something that does just one style and does it excellently? Grab the Bed Head Wave Artist. And when you’re not quite sure what to get, the best choice is our top pick, the BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium.
Style and good looks don’t need to come with a heavy price tag. The right product can get you there at only a fraction of the price.