58% of women say that their hair is a significant part of their self-expression, and that includes experimenting with different looks and textures. These days, many women with straight hair much prefer to use a curling iron to give their hair the elegant ringlets they’re looking for.
But not all curling irons are made equal. They can be difficult to use, and a curling iron’s working surface is inherently hazardous. A rotating curling iron is exactly the solution to this problem. It’s an innovative device that allows you to curl your hair with much less effort and pain. No more burns, twisted wrists, or any difficulty with your tools!
We’ve written this guide to help you pick out a rotating curling iron that fits your needs best. We’ve put hours of work into comparing the benefits of several curling iron models to present to you in this article. Read on to find out the best rotating curling iron available.
Table of Contents
- Comparison Table of Our Favorites
- Our Top Six Rotating Curling Irons
- 1. TYMO Wavy Rotating Curling Iron
- 2. CHI Arc 1″ Automatic Rotating Barrel Curling Iron
- 3. Conair Curling Iron Infiniti Evolution
- 4. Kiss Products Instawave 101 Ceramic Automatic Rotating Curling Iron
- 5. SalonTech Spinstyle PRO Automatic Rotating Curling Iron 1.25 inch
- 6. Air Spin N Curl 1 Inch Ceramic Rotating Curler
- What Features Should You Consider In A Rotating Curling Iron?
What Is A Rotating Curling Iron, Exactly?
Before we get into our list, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. The defining feature of a rotating curling iron is its barrel. It’s a curling iron that spins. Instead of remaining steady, you can rotate the barrel to twirl your hair around it. This is both a convenience and a safety feature. All curling irons are inherently hazardous because you have to get close to a surface that’s hot enough to burn. With a rotating curling iron, there’s no need to get a hand near the barrel, and thus the risk of burning is gone.
Comparison Table of Our Favorites
|Name & Brand||Material||Temperature||Barrel Size||Price
|TYMO Wavy||Titanium ||290℉- 410℉||1 "|
|CHI Arc||Ceramic||Up to 410°F||1 "|
|Conair Infiniti||Ceramic||Up to 400°F||1 "|
|Kiss Products 101||Ceramic||Up to 400°F||1.25 "|
|SalonTech PRO ||Ceramic||250°F to 450°F||1.25 "|
|Air Spin N Curl||Titanium ||Up to 410°F||1 "|
Our Top Six Rotating Curling Irons
Rotating irons may not be as common as the standard type, but there are a few of them available on the market. We’ve picked the six models below for a variety of reasons, and you can choose which one is the best for you.
Our first and best item on the list is from TYMO. The company is well known for their hot hair tools, and this curling iron is one more excellent product from them.
The TYMO Wavy comes in black and rose gold, with a cool modern silhouette. The body is waisted, so you get a good natural grip on it. The buttons are separated into two clusters. Rotation control is just under the barrel with the direction buttons and a home button that returns the barrel to a central position. Power and temperature control buttons are on the tail so that you don’t accidentally press them, and just above them is the digital temperature display.
Unlike most other curling irons, the Wavy has a titanium barrel. This has a lot of advantages over a more typical ceramic barrel, as it has better heat capacity, it’s tougher, and it has a longer service life. It also has a proprietary coating that fills the same function as tourmaline on other barrels, keeping your hair protected from excess heat and eliminating frizz.
Temperature capacity ranges from 290 F to 410 F in 7 distinct settings, so you can always find a setting no matter your hair type, and heating time is only 30 seconds.
It’s got the complete triad of safety features. There’s a stand just beneath the barrel to keep it off any surfaces. An automatic shutdown kicks in after 60 minutes of inactivity so that it’s not a fire hazard. And if you need to handle the far end for any reason, especially if you’re going manual, the tip is insulated.
The Wavy also comes with a few helpful extras, namely a heat-resistant glove, two hair clips, and a travel bag. Since it’s also dual voltage, all you need is a plug adapter, and you’re set for travel anywhere in the world with the Wavy at your side.
Just about its only downside is the titanium barrel. While they provide much better heat than ceramic, they are also a lot harder on hair. If you have hair that’s fine or otherwise fragile, you may wish to reconsider, or at least stick to the lower settings to avoid damage.
All these elements explain why we’ve chosen the TYMO Wavy to be number one on our list. It’s well-priced with excellent performance and many helpful features, and it’s our top pick for the best rotating curling iron on the market.
A lot of rotating curling irons rely on the fact that they are new and exciting, with the manufacturers putting in many features you won’t find on a typical curling iron. The CHI Arc rejects this notion. It’s your standard ceramic curling iron, just with the ability to rotate.
It’s quite visually striking, with a red body and gold barrel. The body is waisted for an easier and more natural grip around it, with the control buttons arranged in two groups. Just beneath the barrel are two direction buttons and a center button that returns the barrel to standard orientation. On the tail are the power button and the + and – buttons handling temperature control. Just beneath the power button is an LCD temperature screen.
The 1-inch barrel is ceramic, thus giving you even heat all over its length. Temperature maxes out at 410 F (210 C), and it reaches working temperature in 30 seconds. Nothing really groundbreaking here, but it does make the CHI Arc a known quantity if you’ve already used a curling iron before. The barrel size might or might not be to your preference, depending on your hair length and intended styles, but either way, the CHI Arc only comes in a barrel size of 1 inch.
Power comes from a standard 6-foot cord. It’s US voltage only, so it’s not going to be easy to travel with. In terms of safety, it’s got the usual cool tip and a stand, but no automatic shutdown. Don’t leave it alone for too long to avoid any accidents.
The CHI Arc is a salon tool, made by hairdressers for hairdressers. Its qualities reflect this design since it’s not intended to go anywhere outside the US. The temperature range means that you can handle a lot of hair types, while the lack of an automatic shutdown isn’t that bad in a salon setting, since you’ll rarely have any reason to forget about it.
Its largest weakness is its price. It’s about twice as expensive over the usual range for rotating curling irons, so you’ll need to have a lot of slack in your budget to allow for the CHI Arc. It’s worth the investment, but considering the barrier to entry, your budget may be better served looking elsewhere.
But if you can foot the bill, the Chi Arc provides excellent performance that’s easy on the hair. And it doesn’t stray too far from the typical qualities of a curling iron.
Any discussion of hair styling tools inevitably turns to Conair and its InfinitiPRO label. The Infiniti Evolution is their contribution to the list, and it’s quite a good one.
It comes in wine red and metallic gray, with the midsection bulging from the motor that drives the barrel rotation. You get a good set of controls: the power switch has three positions, off, low, and high. In addition to the necessary rotation buttons going left and right, you also get a center button that returns the barrel to its standard orientation.
The barrel is ceramic coated in tourmaline, which is standard for curling irons. You get an excellent combination of even heat all over the barrel, while the tourmaline coating reduces any frizz. There are two heat settings available, with high going to 400 F (204 C), and the Infiniti Evolution only needs 30 seconds to heat up.
Power comes from a standard 6-foot cord on a swiveling mount, and it’s US voltage only. This is better for home use, not so much for traveling. It’s got the standard trio of safety features. A cool tip on the far end lets you handle it easier if you need to touch the barrel. An automatic shutdown kicks in after 60 minutes of no activity. And a stand just beneath the barrel keeps it off any surfaces. Our main objection here is that the stand is too short, and the barrel may still end up coming into contact anyway.
On the whole, the Infiniti Evolution is what you get when you take a standard ceramic curling iron and give it rotation capability. Its price range is average for rotating curling irons, and the familiar ceramic and tourmaline composition means that if you’ve already used a standard curling iron, you also know what you’re using here. All you have to get used to is the rotation.
It has a few small issues that might interfere with performance. First is the lack of heat options. With only two settings available, you don’t have much flexibility in terms of heat. Even low heat is usable if you have fine hair, but we’d much rather have a few more settings to work with. Furthermore, the clamp isn’t quite grippy enough for our taste, as hair tends to slip away as the rotation is engaged.
Yet these faults don’t get in the way of the Infiniti Evolution’s excellent performance. If you need a good, solid rotating iron that won’t let you down, the Infiniti Evolution is perfect for you.
The trouble with most rotating curling irons is that they tend to be on the expensive side. The Kiss Instawave 101 doesn’t have that problem, and it’s an excellent choice to start experimenting with rotating curling irons. It’s cheap enough to be accessible, and it has all the necessary components to give you a great curling experience.
It looks a bit different from your typical curling iron. Instead of having a clamp, it’s got four prongs close to the barrel. All you have to do is hold out your hair, slide it into one of the prongs, and then turn in the appropriate direction. Beyond that, its controls are bare-bones. You get the power button and the rotation control switch, and that’s it.
The barrel is ceramic, as typical of curling irons. There’s also a coating, but where you’d normally find tourmaline, the Instawave 101 instead uses pearl. It serves the same purpose in keeping hair frizz-free and protecting it from heat damage. There’s exactly one heat setting, that being 400 F (204 C). This makes it easy to use since there’s no more fiddling with heat settings, but it’s also inadvisable if you have thin or fragile hair. It reaches working temperature in 30 seconds.
The Instawave 101 is available in barrel sizes of 1 inch and 1-1/4 inch, both of them at the same price. While the manufacturer recommends the larger size for longer hair, it’s up to you as to what size you should get. Consider the style you’re going for before you pick a barrel.
The greatest advantage the Instawave 101 has is a combination of low price and ease of use. It’s under half the price of an average rotating iron, and there aren’t any extra settings or options you need to understand. It’s bare-bones, but it’s easy to use because of that.
There are two major disadvantages to the Instawave 101. First is that it only has one heat setting, and since that setting is 400 F, we can’t recommend this product for fine hair. You risk burning your hair right off. The other downside is ergonomic.
The prongs don’t grip your hair all that tightly, so you can only use the Instawave 101 vertically and right side up. Your hair falls out if you try to use it upside down. It’s also nearly impossible to use manually, unlike a rotating iron with a proper clamp.
If you want an inexpensive and easy-to-use introduction to the world of rotating curling irons, the Kiss Products Instawave 101 is the product for you.
One complaint about typical curling irons is that they can be difficult to use. SalonTech takes that difficulty into account with its Spinstyle Pro, making it an excellent, easy-to-use rotating iron with a good range of options.
It comes in a classic black and silver color scheme, but the silhouette is slightly different compared to typical curling irons. For one, it doesn’t use a clip to hold your hair in place. Instead, it prefers a set of prongs arranged around the barrel, with one close to it to hold your hair in place. You’ve got three controls on the body, that being the power switch, the heat dial, and the rotation buttons.
The barrel is standard, being ceramic with a coating. It’s the coating that’s different. Where the typical coat is tourmaline, the Spinstyle Pro uses diamond dust. The combination ensures even heat, frizz-free hair, and less damage. For heat, you’ve got a good range of five settings from 250 F to 450 F in 50-degree increments. It heats up to working temperature in just 60 seconds.
The power cord is 9 feet long on a swivel mount, giving you a bit more room than is typical for a curling iron. It’s US voltage only, so we don’t recommend taking it with you if you’re traveling. It also has the classic trio of safety features. There’s a cool tip in case you need to handle the working end and an automatic shutdown. The flange with the prongs works the same way as a stand, keeping the barrel clear of any flammable surfaces.
The Spinstyle Pro comes in three barrel sizes, 3/4 inch, 1 inch, and 1-1/4 inch. All three sizes are the same price, so you can pick one that suits your style. If in doubt, go with the 1-inch.
While the prongs make it easier to use, they’re also the Spinstyle Pro’s main disadvantage. There’s nothing to actually hold your hair in place, so it only works vertically and right side up. It’s also a bit more expensive than the average for rotating curling irons, so if you want the Spinstyle Pro, you’ll have to set aside some room in your budget.
The cost may be heavy, but it’s a competent rotating iron that’s very easy to use. If you want an effortless curling experience, the SalonTech Spinstyle Pro is the one for you.
It might not look like your average curling iron, but trust us, it is one. Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed that the name and design are very close to another curling iron, and that’s because this product is essentially the cheap and downmarket version with a different label. However, there are enough differences that this one and the more expensive Chi product are quite distinct.
It looks quite unusual thanks to the shroud around the barrel, which makes it nearly impossible to accidentally burn yourself on it. You’ve got six control buttons on the handle, plus a digital temperature display. Two of the buttons control barrel rotation, one is the power switch, and the other three control temperature.
The barrel is 1 inch wide and is made of ceramic, giving you even heat all over the barrel. It’s got a good temperature range that maxes out at 410 F (210 C), with several preset levels for given hair types. It gets to working temperature in 60 seconds.
It’s powered by a 9-foot swiveling cord, and it’s also dual voltage, so you can take it anywhere you like. It’s also been designed from the ground up to be completely safe. The shroud keeps the barrel away from any vulnerable surfaces, and since there’s no need to touch the barrel, there’s no need for a cool tip. In case you forget about it, an automatic shutdown triggers after 1 hour of inactivity.
Usage is quite simple. Orient the Spin N Curl with the correct side facing your head, as marked on the shroud. Take a lock of hair and pull it into the slot on the other end, then rotate the barrel. The rotation will then draw your hair into the chamber and around the barrel. Hold it there until it beeps, then pull the Spin N Curl away to release your hair. Simple, easy, and completely safe.
The Spin N Curl’s main downside is the limited styling options. While the shroud keeps you safe, it also means that you can’t get as close to the roots as you can with a typical curling iron. You might not have as much volume on the top of your head as you’d like. Also, the shroud means that there’s no way to use it manually. Minor downsides, but ones to bear in mind all the same.
When you want a curling iron that will do all the work for you and keep you completely safe from burning, nothing beats the Air Spin N Curl.
What Features Should You Consider In A Rotating Curling Iron?
In this section, we’ll go into what makes a good auto rotate curling iron and why. These criteria are how we judged the rotating curling irons above.
The barrel is a curling iron’s working end, and its composition is relevant to its heating capacity. Different materials have different qualities, and depending on your needs, one may suit you better than another.
By far the most common material in use is ceramic. This is because it’s cheap and it heats evenly across its length, thus leaving no hot or cold spots along the barrel that might spoil your style. However, it’s not very durable or long-lasting.
There are also titanium barrels. Titanium has a higher heat capacity than ceramic and heats up faster. It’s also much more durable and has a longer service life. However, that same heat capacity can work against you. If you have thin or fragile hair, you may wish to stick to ceramic, as a titanium barrel may be too hard on your hair.
What is the barrel’s diameter? The standard size is an inch, with the typical range adding or subtracting up to half an inch. This affects two things, namely style and curling time.
On style, a smaller curling iron by definition creates tighter curls. If your style calls for small curls, then you must perforce choose a smaller barrel. However, a smaller barrel also means that you can fit less hair on it. This means you’ll take longer to finish curling, depending on just how much hair you have.
Thus, you’ll have to balance style concerns with curling time. Do you have enough hair to make a difference? If you do, is the curling time a concern or are you fixed on the tightness of your ringlets? If in doubt, you can always stick with a 1-inch barrel.
How hot can the iron get, and how many settings do you have? This is important since you need to match heat capacity to your hair type. If you have fine hair, you should stick to around 300 F (148 C) to avoid damage. If you have thick hair, you want the iron to be capable of getting to 400 F (204 C) at minimum, and ideally higher. As always, experiment first to see what temperature you need, and use carefully to avoid damaging your hair.
All rotating irons are clip irons. They have to be since they need something to hold on to the hair while the barrel rotates. But they don’t all use the same type of clip. You’ll generally see two types in use.
If you’ve used a clip iron, you’ll be familiar with the clamp. It’s the same as on standard irons, the only difference being that it turns with the barrel now. You get the advantages of a solid grip on your hair and thus tighter ringlets, but it might end up creating lines on your hair as well.
Some rotating irons use a prong arrangement, with projections sticking up parallel to the barrel that keep your hair in place. These are easier to use, since you don’t have to move anything, and since they don’t grip as tightly as clamps, there’s no risk of putting lines in your hair. However, that same lack of grip means that you can only use them vertically, or at a slight angle from vertical. Horizontal or upside-down is out of the question.
Ergonomics And Controls
This covers a whole bunch of matters. How easy is it to hold on to your curling iron? Once you’re holding it, how comfortable is your grip? How easy is it to access the controls? Rotating irons might not call for as much hand work as standard irons, but they still share a lot of the same concerns. Specific to rotating irons with clamps, is there a home button? This returns the barrel to its original place and therefore lets you open the clip, instead of having to hunt all around the barrel to find it.
Rotating curling irons are pretty safe. This is because you have less reason to get close to the barrel in the first place. However, that’s not to say that a rotating curling iron should dispense with safety features entirely. Even if you don’t have to touch the barrel, it’s still a surface hot enough to boil water, and it’ll be a fire hazard if left unattended.
With that in mind, what measures are in place to avoid such a hazard? There are some standardized features common to curling irons. A stand just beneath the barrel keeps it off any surfaces. An automatic shutdown turns the iron off after a given time in case you forget about it. A cool tip is not as necessary as on a typical iron, since you’ll have less need to handle the barrel, but one is still good to have if the need arises.
Ease Of Use
This is related to a few factors above, but it’s largely the result of several of them coming together. A rotating curling iron is generally easier to use than a standard one, but even so, some are easier than others. How intuitive are the controls? How are they laid out? Is the manual good enough to get you started, or do you need advice from another user just to figure out how to use it?
A smoother, hassle-free experience means faster curling with fewer mistakes.
Why You Should Pick A Rotating Curling Iron?
There are two main reasons, namely ease of use and safety. These two are directly linked.
The main difficulty in a curling iron is winding your hair around the barrel. Clip irons have this a little easier, but the risk is still the same: You have to get a hand close to a scorching hot surface, and you’ll have to do it multiple times.
A rotating curling iron removes that risk. All you have to do is secure one end of your hair onto the clip, and then press the button to get the rest of it on. There’s no need to get anywhere close to the barrel and thus get burned. Since the hard part is all handled by a button, it’s also easier, without any more twisting of the wrist or arm to get your hair around the barrel.
And since it’s easier, it’s also faster. Curling sessions are a lot less hassle and therefore go by faster. Fewer mistakes mean less time spent cleaning up mistakes.
How Frequently Should You Use A Rotating Curling Iron?
About as often as you’d use a standard, non-rotating curling iron. Beyond the rotating barrel, there isn’t much difference in performance between the two types of curling iron. In fact, given that a rotating curling iron tends to be easier to use, you may find yourself using it more often than a standard iron.
With that in mind, there are two concerns you’ll have to address. First is barrel material. If you’re sure you won’t use your curling iron too often, a ceramic barrel will serve your purposes. However, if you are using it a lot, you may want something with a longer service life, like a titanium barrel.
But you also have to keep in mind your hair. Too-frequent curling can be hard on your hair, so keep your hair healthy and protected. Don’t skimp on heat protectant, and use moisturizing shampoo and conditioner when you wash your hair.
A Few Rotating Curling Iron Tips
- Take your time and get used to your iron. They may be more convenient than non-rotating curling irons, but rotating irons still need some practice to get the process right. Practice, practice, practice.
- If your rotating iron has prongs instead of a clip, remember that it only works right side up.
- Apply the right temperature for your hair type so that you don’t burn it off. Work up from low heat to target heat, and don’t apply high heat straight away.
- Never curl your hair wet! This will damage your hair badly enough to need a cut and for new hair to replace it.
- Don’t curl a section of hair more than it needs to. Once it’s achieved its curl, let it rest. Too much heat will weaken your hair.
- Let your iron cool off when you’re done using it and don’t forget to turn it off and unplug it. Put it back into storage only when it’s cooled down.
All your curling worries are a thing of the past with a good rotating curling iron. With the right product, you’ll have less chance of burns, less trouble curling, and overall a much easier time getting yourself all glammed up.
No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a rotating iron that fits your needs. Do you need an inexpensive but competent device to introduce you to the world of rotating curling irons? The Kiss Instawave 101 has your back. Would you prefer a curling iron that doesn’t stray too far from the general mold? Go for the CHI Arc. Not sure what you should get? Our top choice, the TYMO Wavy, is always a good buy.