Curling your hair can be tiring on your arms, especially if you have very long or thick locks. You’ll find that the constant twisting motion not only weighs down your biceps, but wreaks havoc on your wrist.
Luckily, to make life a little easier, technology is advancing and has brought as an incredible range of automatic curling irons that rotate with the click of a button. Gone are the days or endless twirling, now you just clip your hair in and let it curl itself!
Best Automatic Curling Irons Comparison Chart
BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Professional Curl Machine
Infiniti Pro by Conair Curl Secret
Beachwaver Co. S1 Curling Iron
Kiss Products Ceramic Instawave 1” Automatic Hair Curler
Rusk Engineering Curl Freak Professional Curl Machine
How Does an Automatic Curling Iron Work
Automatic curling irons rotate to help take the pressure off your arms and wrists. You’ll find a couple of different designs on the market, but the main two look either like a regular curling iron with a couple of extra prongs, or they look like a fist. The first style works similarly to a normal curling iron. You place a portion of your hair into the device they have to secure it in place; this is usually a clip or some toothy shaped grips of some kind.
From there, you press a button and it rotates the hair on to the curler without you having to fling your arm around in a wild motion, getting all tangled up. Some curling irons rotate right and left so you can choose the direction for more natural looks with alternating directions, or more formal ringlets when all curled the same way. You hold the hair in place on the curler for a few seconds and either let the grip go, or rotate it back the way it came.
Alternatively, you have the fist-shaped rotating curling irons. These tend to be steamers as well adding a little moisture to your hair. These are easy to use as well, just a little different. You choose a selection of hair and start where you want the curl to start; this could be at the root, or half way down for a more casual, beach look.
When you squeeze the curler together, the barrel rotates and quickly withdraws the hair inside of it. Hold for a couple of seconds. Usually these types of curlers will beep to let you know when they’re done.
What to Look for in an Automatic Curling Iron
The first thing to consider when choosing an automatic curling iron is your hair type. You’ll find that people with very thick hair will find that a curling machine (the fist-shaped curlers) take a long time to use as you can only put small amounts of hair in them. If you have very thick hair or lots of hair, this type probably isn’t for you.
Secondly, look at how the hair is attached to the curling iron and how it gets released, and assess the reviews by previous customers. You will find that despite the fancy advertisements, some models catch the hair and pull it from the head. You will find this especially true if you have frizzy or coarse hair that doesn’t fall easily into one place. Curling machines tend to pull the hair in quite quickly, and those with uneven hair will find that they might catch more easily.
With this in mind, the speed with which the automatic rotating curler spins will also factor into play. If you find your hair is harder to control, a rotating curler that whips the hair toward it very quickly is more likely to catch your hair and get it tangled. The slower the rotation, the more control you have.
You need to consider the heat settings on your curling irons. Higher heat is better for very straight hair or hair that is hard to curl. However, those with finer hair may want to consider options that have lower heat settings to prevent any damage. Moreover, variable heat settings will be able you to style your curls in different ways, with cooler heats producing looser curls.
In terms of protecting the hair, having a barrel that’s made from ceramic with tourmaline technology will help to protect the hair by preventing the moisture from escaping, providing more even heat distribution, and producing negative ions to combat the damaging positive ions produced during the heating process.
Quick Take: Best Automatic Curling Irons
Here are the best options currently on the market:
Reviews of the Best Automatic Curling Irons
Below you will find in-depth reviews of all of the top automatic curling irons currently on the market. The best option is listed first.
This model has a titanium barrel that features nano-technology to produce negative ions. It has a 1.5 inch barrel and heats to 450F. There are 4 styling options to produce subtle, spiral, alternating, and retro chic curls. It comes with a 4-year warranty.
- The steam functions boosts its curling capacity, making it curl quicker and for the curl to last longer.
- It has different curling options based on time which enable you to create all different styles without having to be an expert.
- The results are consistent, producing the same level of curl every time.
- It gets to very high temperatures, which is great for hard-to-curl hair.
- There are 3 different heat settings, with the lowest at 375F
- 375F is still quite high for fine or damaged hair and could cause it to dry out.
- Titanium barrels can be a little harsh on fine hair as they produce a more direct heat.
- This machine only curls a small piece of hair at a time.
"Overall, I am not disappointmented with the product. I think it's a good purchase."
With a tourmaline ceramic barrel, this automatic curler has 2 heat settings and 3 time settings. It has a ¾ inch barrel and is available in both pink and purple. It comes with a 5-year warranty and automatic shut-off function.
- The three time settings mean that it can produce three different curl styles: loose, medium, and tight curls.
- This model heats up to 400F which is very high, making it excellent for hair that needs an extra boost to curl.
- The barrel is made of ceramic tourmaline technology which protects the hair and makes it shiny.
- The barrel is quite thin so it suits shorter hair.
- Wide sections of hair tend to get trapped in this model which can mean that it takes a long time to use.
- The model is quite heavy so although you don’t have to turn your arm, after a while it can make your arm ache. This is not ideal for people with lots of hair.
- There are only two heat settings which makes it a bad choice for people who need to protect fine or damaged hair.
"I would have not been able to do this with a traditional curling iron."
Designed by celebrity stylist, Sarah Potempa, this model looks more like a traditional curler. It features a 1 inch ceramic barrel that rotates both left and right. It has adjustable speeds (high and low) and ranges from 290F to 410F.
- It has a great temperature range making it suitable for a wide variety of hair types, from hard-to-curl to fine hair.
- 1 inch is a versatile sized barrel and can be used with both long and shorter hair styles.
- The adjustable rotating speed enables greater control over styling.
- The ceramic barrel protects the hair from damage with better heat distribution than titanium barrels.
- It has alternate rotation which enables you to try out different styles.
- The spring clamp is short so you can only curl a small amount of hair at any given time.
- It doesn’t have dual voltage so it cannot be used abroad.
"It really holds the curls and it's the perfect size too! It is really fun to use!
This curler has a diamond/ceramic infused barrel that can rotate both left and right. It has a maximum temperature of 420F and shuts off automatically after 90 minutes of non-use. It is lightweight and compact.
- The diamond/ceramic infusion help to give better heat distribution across the barrel for better curling and even protection.
- It rotates in both directs for versatile styling techniques.
- It comes with an 8 foot cord.
- The barrel is very short which doesn’t work well if you have very long hair.
- The prongs to tuck the hair into don’t actually grip the hair, which makes it a little more difficult to use, as users struggle to keep the hair in place.
- There is no digital temperature reader and only two settings. While it reaches 420F at maximum, this curler may be too hot for sensitive hair.
"I highly recommended it to people especially to beginners because it does all the work for you. You really can't go wrong!"
This model not only has a ceramic barrel, but also has a ceramic curling chamber. It has 3 heat settings and three time settings, while also featuring dual rotation. It is quite highly priced and only comes with a two year warranty.
- For hard-to-heat hair, this model reaches three different temperature settings that are all quite high.
- The ceramic barrel and curling chamber help to produce more even heat and protect the hair, giving super shiny results.
- The dual rotation allows for variance in styling, and so do the the three time settings.
- This model heats up really quickly.
- While this model cools down dramatically after 20 minutes of inactivity, there is no automatic shut-off. Even worse, this model has been known to blow out if left on for too long.
- This is not suitable for people with fine hair as all the temperatures are very high.
"I really like it, it's super easy and effortless to use this thing."
Tips for Using an Automatic Curling Iron
- Make sure that when you use an automatic curling iron, you separate your hair into small enough pieces. The curling iron is automatic both in rotation and often timing, so if you put too much hair on to the barrel, the curl will drop out more easily. Make sure to only put a piece of hair about an inch wide into or on to the curling iron.
- That said, when you separate each strand, make sure you clip the rest of the hair back in a strong clip. If you don’t you’ll find that the wispy strands of hair might get caught in the automatic curler and get pulled in with the strand you are curling. This can be painful and can rip your hair out.
- Try to use a protection spray before you curl your hair. Like flat ironing your hair, the high heat can do real damage, leading it to dry out and become brittle. Make sure you spray it and wait for it to dry, so as not to create wet spots which will burn with the heat.
- Choose a heat setting that reflects your hair type. A big mistake that people make is to put the curler on the highest setting, thinking it will curl quicker. With an automatic curler, it will curl in its own time, so a setting that is too high will burn your hair. If you have fine or damaged hair, make sure you keep it on a low setting.
- For more natural curls, use a rotating curler that curls in both directions. For each strand, alter the direction and it will give you a more tousled look. If you want more perfect ringlets, use the same direction each time.
- If you want a tousled, beachy look which has a more casual wave, start with the curling iron half way down your hair, leaving the root-to-midsection straight. Curl all the hair in the same direction, away from your face. When the hair cools down a little, but not too much, run your fingers through your hair.
Automatic curling irons are a handy tool to save your arms from aching. Many a user will tell you that they are faster and fool-proof, preventing the kinks that one usually gets when having difficulty with a normal curling iron. Make sure to read the instructions first and always check out reviews to see which one suits your lifestyle.