Best 1-Inch Curling Irons – 2020 Complete Review

| Last Updated: January 21, 2022

Wavy hair is such a multi-faceted look. Score huge feminine points with big, voluminous waves or strike a pose with a more textured ‘do. All it takes is the right curling iron and you can work your magic. The waves that a curling iron creates can be quite polished and bouncy, perfect for parties and more formal settings like work and meetings. Every grown woman should not be without one!

But take care! The wrong-sized curling iron can take pretty, beachy waves to “90’s Prom Gone Wrong” in a snap. So read on and let us walk you through everything you need to know about the right-sized curling iron so you can begin turning your Pinterest-worthy hairstyles into reality.

Let’s have a look at what to look for in a 1-inch iron.

Comparison Chart of the Best 1-inch Curling Irons




BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron

Best Overall

Anjou 1 Inch Curling Iron

Anjou 1 inch Curling Iron with Tourmaline Ceramic Coating, Hair Curling Wand with Anti-Scalding Insulated Tip (200°F - 410°F, Heat Resistant Glove)


Hot Tools 1181 Professional Spring Curling Iron, 1 Inch

HOT TOOLS Professional 24K Gold Curling Iron/Wand for Long Lasting Curls, 1 Inch

Best for the Money

Hot Tools Professional Ceramic Titanium Curling Iron, 1 Inch

Hot Tools Professional Ceramic Titanium Professional Curling Iron, 1'

Infiniti Pro by Conair Nano Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron, 1 Inch

INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Nano Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron, 1-inch Curling Iron

Effects of Larger-Diameter Curling Irons

Curling irons with ½ inch barrel: Small barrels this size creates tight ringlets, great for re-creating and completing the “retro” look. Just curl one-inch sections toward the face and brush them out with a boar-bristle paddle brush for that 1920’s waves.

Curling irons with ¾ inch barrel: This size is great for naturally curly hair touch-ups. Let your hair air-dry, then curl seven to eight pieces just around the face for a polished finish. This size is flattering for any hair type or length, particularly for hair with a bit of natural curl.

Curling irons with 1 inch barrel: Many stylists recommend this as the perfect size because it allows you to wrap hair around the barrel securely, yet not too much that you end up with a super-tight spiral. This barrel size is quite flexible, too. Depending on how you hold the iron or how you wrap your hair around it, the resulting waves can be either polished, loose and beachy, or messy and glam rock.

Curling irons with 1 ¼ inch barrel: If you've ever found yourself lusting after glamorous, Kardashian-waves, you need this barrel size, for sure. The larger barrel creates big, voluminous waves and works best on medium to long hair. Great for polished ringlets, tight or loose. This iron creates tighter, natural-looking curls that hold for longer. For best results, divide your hair into three parts if what you’re after is more volume. 

How to Choose a 1-inch Curling Iron

If you were to invest in only one curling iron in your lifetime, the 1 inch barrel is versatile making it the BFF of curling irons. From ringlets to waves and polished to beachy, the 1 inch-barreled curling iron is perfect, not only for women who love to experiment with different looks but for curling iron novices. The 1 inch barrel allows the hair to be wrapped around it securely and will give you perfect loose curls that are ready for any occasion.

This barrel size is perfect for short to medium hair. However, this is great for long hair lengths that want to go for the perfect spiral without needing to get an actual haircut.

The best curling irons in the market nowadays are made with ceramic. This material conducts heat more evenly than metal. Ceramic irons also cause less frizzing and damage to hair because ceramic emits negative ions which keep your hair from static and frizz.

Because curling irons can heat up to temperatures of up to 250º, they can be very damaging to hair. Curling irons fitted with adjustable heat dials are recommended. One is best advised to steer clear of the highest heat setting. Medium heat usually does the trick. Auto shut-off mechanisms are likewise top of any safety features list to consider.

Styles a 1-inch Curling Iron is Great For

If you have naturally curly hair, a curling iron can still be quite handy to add definition to your already curly hair.

A curling iron with a 3/8 inch barrel creates tight curls on the top of your head that match the tighter curls under your top layer.

Start with curling the strands around your face, but don't forget the sections in the back. You can alternate between a 1 inch-barreled curling iron and a larger one (maybe about 1 ½ to 2 inch) for more natural looking curls.

For tight ringlets, you can use either a 1/2-inch or a 3/4-inch barrel. Just be careful as you'll need a higher heat setting for tighter curls. Read up on recommended styling aids for use with high heat styling tools to protect your hair from vulnerability to damage. To achieve the tight ringlets, curl your hair in ½ inch wide sections. Place the end of each section in the iron and wind the hair up along the barrel of the curling iron. Hold for 3-4 seconds, then unwind gently. Don't touch the ringlets or you might lose that ringlet definition.

Another favorite look why curling irons are popular is the beachy wave look. These loose, just-been-to-the-beach waves work best with straight to wavy hair. You can get beachy waves with a few simple steps: begin by spritzing towel-dried hair with a salt spray. Scrunch hair as it air dries. If you don't have time for that, you can use a 1-inch to 1-1/4 inch barreled curling iron.

Now, for the most natural-looking curls, you need a curling iron that's at least 1 1/2 inches in diameter. If you have super fine hair that won't hold a curl for long, though, a 1 inch curling iron will work best.

Really, you don't need to be naturally endowed with wavy hair texture to achieve the lustrous strands of the supermodel set every day. Want Rosario Dawson’s long cascading waves or Chrissy Teigen’s short waves with lots of definition? Or are you going for the fresh, tousled texture like Reese Witherspoon’s? No need to set appointments with celebrity stylists who are booked months back. All you need are the right haircut and high-quality styling irons.

Quick Take - Best 1-inch Curling Irons

Review of the Best 1-inch Curling Irons

Let us now give you a walk-through to some curling iron models most recommended by top hairstylists.

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron

BaBylissPRO is a highly popular brand in professional styling tools. The Nano Titanium 1” Spring curling iron is engineered with Sol-Gel Ceramic technology makes the iron barrels 37% stronger and 22% smoother than standard irons. Nano titanium is an exceptional heat conductor and it maintains stability in ultra-high temperatures.

The BaBylissPro Nano Titanium yields maximum far-infrared heat, penetrating the hair shaft from within for professional styling without the damage. The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium’s 50 heat settings of up to 450º F button instantly boosts heat to the maximum temperature. It is fitted with an 8 foot tangle-free cord that allows for easy styling.

This 1” Nano Titanium is a favorite among both salon stylists and DIY ladies at home because of its fast heating abilities and adjustable heat settings. Users also applaud this for long-lasting curls. A few users find it to heat up “too much”, but reviews on the BaBylissPro is highly positive, overall.

Anjou 1 Inch Curling Iron

Anjou 1 inch Curling Iron with Tourmaline Ceramic Coating, Hair Curling Wand with Anti-Scalding Insulated Tip (200°F - 410°F, Heat Resistant Glove)

This Anjou 1 inch curling iron is made with Tourmaline Ceramic coating that allows it to heat up to 410 ℉ in only 60 seconds for curling that saves you time. The ceramic construction allows for a smooth operation without pulling the hair.

The wand comes with an insulated tip and heat resistant glove to prevent scalding, while the stainless steel support lets you safely lay it on a surface for cooling down. An important safety feature is a built-in safeguard that shuts it off automatically after 30 minutes.

Widely-used, finely proportionate build measures 6.38" in length and 1" in width to best suit short and medium hair. The Anjou 1 inch curling iron is fitted with a 360° rotatable power cord and stretches up to 2.5 m - 40% longer than similar devices. Users love the Anjou 1 inch curling iron for its fast heat up abilities, with hardly any negative feedback on the said product.

Best for the Money:
Hot Tools 1181 Professional Spring Curling Iron, 1 Inch

HOT TOOLS Professional 24K Gold Curling Iron/Wand for Long Lasting Curls, 1 Inch

The Hot Tools 1181 Professional Spring Curling Iron has the Rheostat Control Dial with variable heat settings of up to 430º F. The 24K gold curling iron creates beautiful, long lasting defined styles. With the Pulse Technology, every Hot Tools iron gets hot fast and stays hot from its electronic heating systems and powerful heating capacity.

The system quickly diagnoses heat loss and restores it to the heating surface, reducing styling time. The Hot Tools 1182’s Soft Touch handle allows for a comfortable grip. There is a separate On / Off switch with an “On” indicator light. It comes built with a foldaway safety stand.

The Hot Tools 1181 features an 8 ft. professional swivel cord. Users love the Hot Tools 1181 for its adjustable heat settings and long-lasting curls. A few users, though, find that hair does not glide as smoothly because the Hot Tools 1181 is not coated.

4. Hot Tools Professional Ceramic Titanium Curling Iron, 1 Inch

Hot Tools Professional Ceramic Titanium Professional Curling Iron, 1'

The Hot Tools Professional Ceramic Titanium Curling Iron has a Ceramic Tourmaline surface with titanium additive that emits gentle far-infrared heat and negative ions to increase hydration and shine while reducing frizz. The patented Electronic Pulse Technology keeps Hot Tools hot with heat up to 430º F for consistent, non-stop curling. It is equipped with variable heat settings and built-in rheostat control.

The Hot Tools Professional Ceramic Titanium is engineered with a heavy-duty long-life heating element and a separate on/off switch allow rheostat to "memorize" your favorite heat setting. It is built with a new and advanced ceramic and titanium barrel with a powerful spring clamp. There is a Rotating Cool Tip for faster curl wrapping.

A few users found the product to be lacking in that even in the lowest setting, it seemed to “fry” the hair. Other users have blamed faulty temp gauge on this particular model.

5. Infiniti Pro by Conair Nano Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron, 1 Inch

INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Nano Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Iron, 1-inch Curling Iron

The Infinity Pro by Conair Nano Tourmaline Ceramic 1 Inch curling iron barrel gives long-lasting silky, defined curls with 24-hour curl control, even in humid conditions. Nano technology eliminates hot spots and reduces static and frizz for healthy-looking hair. The Infiniti Pro 1 Inch features an extra-smooth Tourmaline Ceramic surface that gives superior performance and produces natural ions for maximum shine from healthy-looking hair.

The Infiniti Pro 1 inch is capable of 400°F highest heat setting for long-lasting curls and waves with uniform heat recovery system maintaining ultra-high heat levels with 30-second heat up. There are 5 precision LED heat settings. The Infiniti Pro 1 inch is suitable for medium bouncy curls.

As a safety feature, this plug will fit in a polarized outlet only one way and has an auto shut-off feature. Users love the Infiniti Pro 1 Inch for its great heating capacities and lasting curls, but some found it to not be suitable for very fine hair. Also, a number of users find the barrel to be a bit shorter than other irons in its class.

1-inch Curling Iron Hairstyle Ideas

Want to do more magic with your curling iron? Here are “get-beachy-quick” styles you can do right at the comfort of your own home.

Summer Relaxed Waves

No time to hit the beach for the “just-been-to-the beach” look? No problem! Spritz on some sea salt spray on damp hair and air-dry it while scrunching. Faster, too, with a 1 or 1 ¼ inch curling iron.

Short Hair with Volume

1 Inch curling irons are can do magic for your short-hair-don’t-care trendy styles.

Big Curls for Long Hair

Do you want loose beachy waves or tight banana curls? Long barreled curling irons are all you need for the extra body and shine.

Oh, Those Flirty Curls

Bouncy ringlet curls are so much fun, or don’t you know? A 1 inch wand is all you’re missing out on.

My Messy Beach Wave

A classic look perfect enough when you’re dressed up or dressed down. And you will never look overdone!

Loose Sexy Curls

Lusting after Giselle Bundchen’s sexy waves? A 1 ¼ inch curling iron is your key to success. Curling hair then pinning to allow it to set will get this look to last all night.


In summary, curling irons come in a variety of barrel sizes and you'll, of course, want to pick which best gives the curl you're after. Smaller barrels create tighter curls and are great for giving already curly hair definition. Medium barrels create medium curls and work on all hair textures. The largest barrels are used for a variety of looks including loose waves, large, voluminous hair with a little curl and beachy waves.

Needless to say, how a woman feels about her hair is a huge factor in how confident and dynamic she is when she steps out onto the outside world. Who doesn’t hate a Bad Hair Day? Every woman who knows that her hair is always at its best easily has a ready smile and will be confidently beautiful inside and out. Research on barrel size, coating, heat output, safety features, complementing styling aids, and the right haircut. Truly, the right curling iron is all you need to make every day a Good Hair Day.

Share to Pinterest

Share to Pinterest

Hi I'm Emilia! I like to think of myself as the "crash-test-dummy" of the hair world. Whether that means testing out the newest curling iron or going with fresh hair styles. I like to mix it up. I share my thoughts on Caffe Hair based on my first hand experience!

Leave a Comment