Crimped hair was one of the biggest hairstyle trends of the ’80s, but it soon became fashion faux pas at the beginning of the 21st century. But thanks to the rise of influencers like Kim Kardashian and a bigger push for body positivity, naturally curly hair is back in style.
But unless you were born with natural curls, you’ll have to get that look manually with a crimping iron. Crimping irons are ideal for adding texture and volume, and they’re handy tools that can style your hair with minimal effort.
However, if you want to avoid the heat damage to your hair, you’ll have to pick the best crimping iron to avoid a serious case of bad hair day. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best crimping irons that you can use. We’ll also discuss what to keep in mind when choosing one, the best way to use it, and other details about crimping hair.
Table of Contents
- Best Crimping Irons – Comparison Chart
- The 6 Best Crimping Irons You Can Use To Style Your Hair
- Seven Things To Keep In Mind When Choosing The Best Hair Crimper
Best Crimping Irons – Comparison Chart
|Name & Brand||Material||Temperature||Barrel Size||Price
|Hot Tools Professional||Ceramic ||Up to 430°F||1 Inch|
|Gold N Hot Professional||Ceramic ||200℉-450℉||2 Inch|
|DSHOW 4 in 1 Crimper||Ceramic ||Up to 220°F||1 Inch|
|Bed Head Little Tease ||Ceramic||Up to 400°F||1 Inch|
|Bluetop Three Barrel Iron||Ceramic ||176℉-446℉||1 Inch|
|Bed Head Waveaholic||Ceramic ||Up to 400°F||2 Inch|
The 6 Best Crimping Irons You Can Use To Style Your Hair
Plenty of these brands are favored by professional and amateur stylists, but they also have some commercial models so anyone at home can get the crimp that they like. Here are the 6 brands you can choose from.
For easy-to-make crimps, on-demand volume, and effortless styling, the Professional Micro Crimper from HOT TOOLS has you covered. It’s one of the best heat-and-style wands that you can use, and it requires very little prep work to get that subtle yet fluffy look.
With an adjustable temperature dial, it works well with fine hair that needs texturing. It has a heat cap of 430 degrees Fahrenheit, it can also work on rough hair, though you may need more than one pass to get the crimps that you’re looking for. Since you get a lot of flexibility with this kind of heat setting, you can switch looks or designs even in the middle of your styling.
The heating plates are where you’ll find the most value in this product. They’re gold-plated floating plates that make full contact with your hair, so you need fewer passes to get the crimps that you want. The ridges in the plating slots neatly into itself for quick and efficient micro-crimps, which you can style into anything from braids to flowing tresses.
The 1-inch barrel is a slim design that won’t take up a lot of space in your purse or clutch, so you can always keep it around for hassle-free styling. An 8-foot long professional swivel cord gives you all the room you need to style your hair without getting tangled in the wires.
One of the key features of this model is the Pulse Technology heating system on the plates. It’s what allows it to remain hot between passes, making sure that you crimp your hair evenly and give it additional volume without manual input or more power. Once this tool gets hot, it stays hot.
What we like about this model is that it’s the perfect blend of functionality, user-friendliness, and price. The ridges in the heating plates mean less work for you to heat your hair into shape; while the slim profile and efficient heating mechanism mean that you spend less time and effort during styling.
However, take note that this model does not come with an automatic shut-off feature, so make sure that you properly put it away once you’re done using it. The separate on/off switch makes this a breeze, but it might be a little jarring to people who are used to turning off irons via their temperature dial.
The Gold N’ Hot Professional Crimper is a heavy-duty crimping iron that can take on the thickest of hair with no difficulty. While it may not be as portable as the other models on this list, it can evenly style your hair quickly and efficiently, preventing damage to your delicate strands while giving it that textured style.
The adjustable temperature control has two settings at 200 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, right at the sweet spot of most thick and curly hair. A quick 60-second heat-up time means that you don’t have to wait long before styling your hair, which means you can lock in your look before factors like the humidity and the environment affect it.
With 2-inch wide gold heating plates, this model can cover a lot of hair in a single pass. This has two benefits: you decrease the time you spend to style your hair, and you avoid potential damage to it because of excess heat. Styling thick hair is a challenge because the additional surface area is susceptible to heat damage, but this feature drastically reduces the chances of that happening.
The barrel is a bit clunkier due to its extended size, but the weight difference between it and other 1-inch models is negligible. You may have to change your styling routine a little bit to accommodate the increased space, but it’s not cumbersome enough that you’ll experience wrist fatigue. The 6-foot long cord is swivel-mounted for easier operation.
What we like about this model is that it’s tailor-made for women with thicker hair. Thick hair is tricky and time-consuming to crimp, and the Gold N’ Hot Professional Crimper takes away a lot of the troublesome parts for a tangle-free and quick heating session. Most users report their average time crimping reduced from 1 hour to 15 minutes.
The fast heat-up time also pays off the longer your hair is. Depending on the crimp that you want, you can get a deep crimp in 1-hour, or 45 minutes for a soft crimp. The shorter the hair the fewer passes are required, so take some time to get used to which heat setting works for you.
The lack of an adjustable temperature dial means that you need to be careful when styling your hair for the first time. While it heats quickly, it can’t change temperatures as easily. The ceramic heating plates keep heat for a long time, so you should monitor how your hair reacts when styling, or put on additional heat protectant just in case.
Most of the time, you need to straighten your hair before crimping it. For people who don’t want to use two different hair irons to get that one look, the DSHOW’s 4-in1 Hair Crimper has all the attachments and features you need to straighten, crimp, and style your locks.
It has five different heat settings at 284, 320, 356, 392, and 428 degrees Fahrenheit for different hair types. It’s well-suited to fine hair, but it can easily switch to thicker hair if you make enough passes with it. We don’t recommend using this with curly or coarse hair since the time needed to style them isn’t compatible with this model’s temperature range.
The heating plates are the best part of this model: 4 ceramic plates that switch from straightening to different crimps for your hair. All you need to do is to slide them in and out of the housing, replace the protective cover, and you’re good to go! The 30-minute warmup time ensures that you don’t have to wait long between plates, so you can get your hair styled within minutes.
The barrel is a bit thicker and heftier than your usual crimping iron, so you have to adjust your ironing style to compensate. But the 2-inch plates go a long way in cutting down on styling time, and the rounded edges allow your hair enough room to slide off without catching or tangling in the ridges between each pass.
What we like about this product is the versatility and convenience of its design. Most crimping irons can only crimp hair, not straighten them, so having a tool like this cuts down on a lot of time and expenses you’d use juggling two hair irons. Switching plates and temperatures is easy, and the temperature ranges are varied enough so you get a lot of options for styles.
With a dual-voltage system, it also functions as an excellent travel crimper. We suggest bringing a universal adapter with you on trips since there isn’t one with your purchase. Once you find an outlet, just plug it in, turn it on, and crimp away.
One note about this product is that you have to be precise about slotting in the crimping plates since you need to align them perfectly to get matching crimps. Be careful to not use it for long periods since the outer plastic covers that hold the plates in place can wear out quickly.
If you’re looking to add more volume to your hair, crimping is the best way to do it. And for a quick and easy way to give your hair more volume, Bed Head’s Little Tease Hair Crimper is an affordable, chic, and sleek wand that can give your locks the extra “oomph” that you’ve been looking for.
Despite being slimmer and smaller than a lot of crimping irons, the temperature range of this product is wide, clocking up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s enough to shorten down most crimping sessions by at least half (possibly even more with the right heat protectant or other hair product) for fine to average hair.
The 1-inch heating ceramic heating plates are also infused with tourmaline, so you get less frizz and more shine on your crimps once you’re done with them. This is ideal if you’re looking for the clean, crisp crimps that give your hair a lot of texture or a subtle way to add volume underneath your scalp.
The barrel is a slim design that rests comfortably in your hand, without a lot of weight for added control while styling. With bright neon colors, it’s a tool that won’t look out of place among any woman’s grooming essentials. The 6-foot swivel cord is tangle-free and resistant to splitting.
What we like about this product is that it’s a quick and easy way to give your hair more volume. Since the tourmaline plates also reduce the amount of friction in your hair, you end up with crimps that look well-defined and consistent without the usual stray hairs and bushes that you get with other crimping irons.
It also has a Heat Recovery System that helps keep the heating levels consistent when you switch temperatures, so your hair doesn’t end up with odd patches that aren’t as crimped as others. This is great if you happen to be styling in humid weather since the ambient temperature can often mess with the heat output of your hair iron.
One downside that we’ve found with this product is that while it’s great at adding volume, it underperforms when you need big and bold crimps. If you try to get a deep crimp with this tool, it can take far too long which risks damaging your hair. The best way to use this is to crimp underneath the top layer of your hair to your roots, which can add more volume without having to re-tease it throughout the day.
Crimps are a versatile hairstyle since they can veer from tight curls to loose waves. The BLUETOP Bubble Curling Wand helps you get wavelike crimps for a well-defined and bold look, without spending too much time or heat on your hair.
With a constant temperature range of 446 degrees Fahrenheit and the rapid heat upon startup, this is a tool that’s all about convenience. All you need to do is to wrap your hair around the wand, leave it there for a few seconds, then gently pull free for the crimps and curls that you want.
Unlike most hair irons, this model doesn’t use any heating plates at all. It has a tourmaline-infused ceramic barrel that securely holds on to your hair when heating, with the bonus of giving it more shine and less frizz. Since it conducts heat extremely well, you can expect your crimps to last for days!
The barrel is a slim design that you can fit into an everyday carry or travel purse, with a dual-voltage system that automatically compensates no matter what outlet you plug it in. Just use a plug converter of your choice when traveling abroad, since it’s not included with the package. An 8-foot long swivel cord gives you multiple angles you can style your hair from, expanding the range of looks available to you.
What we like about this model is that it’s easier to use than your conventional heating iron if you want to get wavy crimps. It’s a tricky hairstyle to get since you normally have to find a flat iron that has rounded edges, but the bubble-wand design allows you to curl your hair around the barrel as loose or as tight as you want.
There’s even a special heating glove included so you don’t accidentally scald yourself in the middle of styling. The heat-resistant material stands up well even to the highest heat setting, so you never have to worry about injuring yourself.
One thing to note about this product is that while its heating capabilities are extremely efficient, it only has one temperature that you can pick from. It’s not compatible with thin hair since you can easily fry your strands with the high heat. If you’re looking for micro-crimps, this isn’t the product for you either, since it can only make waves and curls.
The Bed Head Waveaholic is a great beginner’s crimping iron, giving you deep crimpy waves with minimal effort. It’s also one of the most budget-friendly products on the market priced a little less than half of what most brands cost. If you don’t have a lot of experience in crimping or just dip into that style on special occasions, this is the model for you.
It has multiple heat settings that cap at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it compatible with fine to thick hair. A temperature dial allows you to adjust the heat whenever you need to, which makes this more forgiving to use if you’re just beginning to learn the basics of styling and crimping hair.
The ceramic heating plates are tourmaline-infused with tight wavy ridges, making it perfect for getting that loose yet well-defined crimpy look. It reduces the amount of frizziness and adds more shine to your finished hair, and can efficiently style it the way you want within minutes.
The barrel has a nice heft to it, with most of the weight being focused toward the 2-inch barrel head. This gives you a lot of areas to style your hair, which reduces the time that you need to crimp it. This also prevents you from accidentally singeing your hair with multiple passes, which is essential if you have very fine or brittle hair.
What we like about this model is that it’s a simple way for anyone to crimp their hair. The tourmaline ceramic barrels add extra softness and fluffiness to your hair, while the multiple heat settings allow you to experiment with different looks and styles. It even has an instant heat recovery feature, so the heat remains constant if you change the temperature settings.
What’s a little more off-putting about this product is that it’s really more of a waver than a crimping tool. Since the high heat locks your hair into place, you’ll get waves instead of crimps, which can be a deal-breaker for some women who don’t want to wear wavy hair.
It’s also not very good at adding volume. Because you’d apply deep waves to the middle or ends of hair, it won’t improve naturally flat hair. If you’re looking for a crimping iron that can add more fluff to your hair’s overall look, this isn’t the one for you.
Seven Things To Keep In Mind When Choosing The Best Hair Crimper
Now that you know the candidates for the best crimping iron on the market, what exactly should you remember when choosing the best one for you? Here are several guidelines.
Adjustable Temperature Control
Some crimping irons only come in one temperature setting, while others can cycle or dial between a pre-set range. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get crimps, you can go for a one temperature model. They often have fast heat-up times and high-temperature caps, so you can get or adjust your look within minutes.
But if you want something more elaborate, getting a model with an adjustable temperature control works well. You can shift between different heat settings mid-styling for more variety with your finished look.
Hair Type And Temperature
A good rule to follow about hair types is the thinner your hair is, the lower you want the temperature to be. Too high a heat setting will fry your hair, but too low will just dry your hair instead of styling it. For thin and fine hair, a temperature range from 200 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit is okay.
If you have thicker hair, anything up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit is fine. Just remember to not leave it on for too long.
The bigger the barrel, the more hair it can style. However, this isn’t always a good thing.
Smaller barrels are preferable if you want a crimping iron that you can bring with you since they’re portable and don’t take up too much room. They’re also suited for more elaborate hairstyles since they have finer control.
Bigger barrels are heavy-duty heaters that can handle thick hair, but their size and weight put a strain on your arms and wrists while styling. However, they’re also extremely efficient at heating hair, reducing the time you need to spend crimping it.
Crimps vs Curls
You make a crimp when you apply a wavy, zigzag pattern to straight hair. While they’re very close to curls, they’re not quite the same thing. A lot of hairstyles often blend them both, so make sure you know exactly what look that you want before picking your crimping iron.
Some models are better suited to deep waves, while others have micro-crimp plates for those tight and defined locks. Deciding what hairstyle best suits your hair can help you choose a more compatible model for you.
Texture vs Volume
Crimps can add texture or volume to your hair, but it’s difficult to get a style that properly uses both. Most crimped hair leans towards one or the other and figuring out which end of the spectrum suits your hair will determine which crimping iron you get.
If you have naturally straight hair, pick one that can add volume for additional fluff. For those with curly hair, texturing is the way to go for a more defined hairstyle.
Voltage And Outlet Compatibility
If you travel abroad frequently, getting a dual-voltage crimping iron is a must-have. Not only does this prevent it from breaking when you can’t easily order a replacement, but it also improves its performance since you don’t have to worry about the power levels needed to heat your hair.
But if you often do most of your styling at home, choosing a single-volt model is fine. Just make sure that it’s compatible with your outlets and buy an adapter if you don’t have one.
The way you crimp your hair may be the biggest factor in choosing the crimping iron you want. If you regularly crimp your hair as part of your everyday look, a model that heats fast with a high-temperature setting works best.
If you don’t limit your hairstyle to crimps or only put it on for special occasions, a more versatile and adjustable model can work better.
Using Your Hair Crimping Iron Effectively
Now that you know how to choose a crimping iron, how do you use one? Here are some steps and tips to remember.
- Wash And Dry Your Hair Beforehand
While some hairstyles can work with day-old hair, the heat required for crimping doesn’t mix well with the natural oils, dirt, and other things that settle in your hair after a day, Before you crimp, give yourself a bath and a very thorough pat-down.
You can use a hairdryer to hasten the process, but it’s better to pat your hair down and air dry it. This way, the eventual heat won’t affect it as much.
- Apply Heat Protectant
Even if you have thick or coarse hair, the high temperatures of a crimping iron can still burn your hair if you aren’t careful. A quick application of heat protectant not only saves your hair from damage, but it can also help your crimping iron clamp securely to your hair.
Be generous with the application. It’s always better to have a little slick product in your hair than a burnt patch!
- Never Ignore The Brush
Crimping needs a smooth surface so you can get the best definition out of it. Brushing your hair and freeing it from any major knots helps you get a more even and consistent look, besides cutting down on styling time.
This is also why we advise that you don’t towel-dry your hair, since you get more knots that way. Only brush your hair when it’s completely dry, as wet brushing won’t get rid of all the knots.
- Use Clips And Sections
Never grab random bits of your hair when crimping them. Use things like lobster clips and ties to keep your hair neatly partitioned when crimping for a tangle-free styling session. Most women separate their hair into quadrants: top, bottom, left, and right.
If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can even crimp hair that you’ve already clipped to give it a little extra bounce and texture! Just don’t give it too many passes, or you’ll end up burning it.
- Limit Yourself To One Or Two Passes
Most crimping irons attain a heat cap well above 300 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the threshold for most average hair types. Because of this high heat setting, don’t make over one or two passes over the hair that you’re crimping.
For the best results, crimp your hair in sections from five to ten seconds each. You may require some experimentation depending on the hair you have, but anything longer than twenty seconds is too long.
Crimping your hair can be hard, but the best crimping iron makes it less of a chore. Picking the right model can improve the final look of your crimps, cut down on styling time, and allow you to crimp your hair consistently.
The HOT TOOLS Professional Micro Crimper is the best value for money for crimping irons, blending in functionality, and features in an easy-to-use model. For people with thicker hair, the Gold N’ Hot Professional Crimper saves time and effort with styling. And if you’re looking for a crimper that can do a bit of straightening and crimping, the DSHOW 4-in-1 Hair Crimper is your tool of choice.
With a little bit of practice and a compatible crimping iron, you’ll achieve the look you want without worry and effort.