Byrdie April 24, 2023



The 13 Best Curling Irons for Fine Hair of 2023


For wave and volume that won't fry your strands

While they might not look a whole lot different to the untrained eye, today's curling irons are a lot more effective than their decades-old counterparts. Still, fine hair is notoriously hard to style with heat tools, even with today's advancements. The best curling irons for fine hair have adjustable temperature settings to avoid frying fragile, thin hair.

"Temperature is key," celebrity hair artist Sally Hershberger tells Byrdie. "Fine hair is more susceptible to heat damage, so finding one that allows you to keep a steady temperature is major—310 degrees Fahrenheit (F) is ideal for fine hair."

To find the best options, we conducted extensive research on popular and highly-rated options, as well as took our editor's experiences into consideration. Each option was evaluated based on attributes like heat settings, materials, design, and ease of use. We then compiled our findings and tapped the expertise of professional stylists to bring you our comprehensive list of the best curling irons for fine hair.


Best Overall
Hot Tools 24K Gold Marcel Curling Iron

What We Like

  • Heat sensor technology
  • Marcel-style clamp
  • Affordable

What We Don't Like

  • Not ideal for beginners

"I like the Hot Tools Professional 24K Gold Marcel Iron," says Hershberger. "It's lightweight, creates a great curl, and can hold a steady temperature at 310 F that won't damage the hair." As its name suggests, this 1-inch wonder is coated with 24-carat gold to deliver optimal shine.

The brand's Pulse Technology senses heat loss and then restores it to the barrel. And unlike traditional spring irons, the marcel-style clamp offers more control when styling. (If you've never used a marcel iron, it'll take a little practice, but before long, you'll be a pro.) Not only that, but Hot Tools backs this iron with a seven-year warranty.

Price at time of publish: $36

Temperature Range: Up to 430 degrees | Size: 1 inch

Best Budget
Conair Double Ceramic 1-Inch Curling Iron

What We Like

  • Budget-friendly
  • Auto-shutoff feature
  • Moderate heat range
  • 30 heat settings

What We Don't Like

  • Relatively short barrel

With a moderate heat range (but tons of heat settings) that doesn't go above 375 F, Conair's budget-friendly Double Ceramic Curling Iron was designed with fine hair in mind. Though as Hershberger notes, you're wise to keep it around 310 F. The non-tapered ceramic barrel evenly distributes heat while helping to smooth frizzy hair. Though not ideal for people with super long hair as the barrel is pretty short, we love it for those with short or mid-length strands who don't want to invest in an expensive tool.

Price at time of publish: $20

Temperature Range: Up to 375 degrees | Size: 1 inch

What Our Editors Say

"This ultra-affordable option has been my go-to curling iron for the past eight years. It heats up quickly and simply works in a way other, more expensive models haven't for me. The double-ceramic barrel protects against damage, and it means you can also use the tool like a curling wand if you don't want to clip in for tight curls." —Kathryn Vandervalk, VP of Commerce, Dotdash Meredith

Best Drugstore
Remington Pro ½-1-Inch Pearl Ceramic Conical Curling Wand

What We Like

  • Temperature lock functionality
  • Digital temperature control
  • Comes with a protective glove
  • Fast heat-up time

What We Don't Like

  • Limited curling options

This affordable drugstore pick holds its own against fancier devices. Featuring a tapered ceramic barrel, ten digitally controlled heat settings, and an auto-shutoff feature, the quick-heating Remington Pro Curling Wand checks all the boxes. We also like that it comes with a protective glove and heats up in just 30 seconds.

Price at time of publish: $29

Temperature Range: Up to 410 degrees | Size: 0.5 to 1 inch

Best Splurge
T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand

What We Like

  • Interchangeable heads
  • Intelligent heating protects hair from damage
  • High in quality

What We Don't Like

  • No clamp functionality included

If you're open to investing in a top-tier versatile tool, you should definitely consider getting the T3 Whirl Trio. This high-tech model comes with a tapered wand and two traditional barrels (1 and 1.5 inches), allowing you to create endless styles. Not only that, but the intelligent heating system can be set as low as 260 F, so you won't have to worry about frying your hair.

Price at time of publish: $325

Temperature Range: 260 to 410 degrees | Size: 1 to 1.5 inches

Best Wand
NuMe Magic Curling Wand

What We Like

  • Creates ultimate hold
  • Auto-shutoff feature
  • Far-infrared heat technology protects outer cuticle

What We Don't Like

  • Some online reviewers note it doesn't last more than a few years

NuMe's Magic Curling Wand features a clampless, non-tapered titanium barrel, negative ion conditioning technology, and digital temperature settings starting as low as 140 F. You can choose between bouncy ringlets or soft waves without worrying about friction or breakage. If you struggle to use curling irons with a clamp, this is the one for you.

Price at time of publish: $129

Temperature Range: 140 to 450 degrees | Size: 1 inch

Best for Short Hair
ghd Curve Classic Curl 1" Iron

What We Like

  • Heats evenly
  • Automated temperature control provides safe heating
  • Gets warm quickly

What We Don't Like

  • No heat settings

For those rocking a shorter style, we recommend the 1-inch Curve. "GHD adapts its heat temperature depending on the section of the hair and won't go above 365 F, so it's really great for fine hair or damaged hair," explains Kim. Plus, the cool tip helps prevent burns when you're holding it near your face and scalp. It also features an ergonomic design and creates shiny results.

Price at time of publish: $205

Temperature Range: Up to 365 degrees | Size: 1 inch

Best for Long Hair
CHI Volcanic Lava Ceramic Pro Spin N Curl

What We Like

  • Automated curling
  • Time-saving design
  • Customizable heating

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't go below 370 degrees

If you have long hair, Kim says to consider styling time. You'll want to select tools that help you get the job done efficiently. With this in mind, we recommend the Pro Spin N Curl from CHI's Volcanic Lava line. This unique iron basically sucks up small hair sections into its heated curl chamber, then releases a bouncy 1-inch curl.

Price at time of publish: $130

Temperature Range: 370 to 410 degrees | Size: 1 inch

Best Barrel
Bio Ionic Long Barrel 1.25" Curling Iron

What We Like

  • Extra-long barrel provides ample styling room
  • Keeps hair conditioned
  • Easy to hold

What We Don't Like

  • Hair may slide out of the clip

Unlike many curling tools on the market, this beauty from Bio Ionic doesn't skimp on barrel length. The Long Barrel Iron is 1 inch wide and roughly 2 inches longer than average, allowing you to create glamorous spirals or modern waves, even in hard-to-reach sections, like the back of your head. It's a fantastic choice for those with long hair, but it's also suitable for people with short or medium hair, making it a great option for personal use as well as for stylists who work on a wide range of clients.

Price at time of publish: $149

Temperature Range: 250 to 430 degrees | Size: 1 inch

Best Features
Drybar The 3-Day Bender Digital Curling Iron

What We Like

  • Rotating clamp
  • Auto-shutoff feature
  • Long power cord gives range and flexibility

What We Don't Like

  • Not ideal for beginners

Drybar's 3-Day Bender pulls out all the stops for at-home styling. This all-star curling iron has a 1.25-inch barrel with a rotating clamp, transforming slick, flat hair into bouncy curls in no time. What's more, it has digital heat settings, an automatic shutoff feature, and a 9-foot power cord.

Price at time of publish: $149

Temperature Range: Up to 440 degrees | Size: 1.25 inches

Best Rotating
InStyler Max Prime 1.25" Rotating Tourmaline Ceramic Iron

What We Like

  • Finishes the job in minutes
  • Provides four heat settings
  • Automatically shuts off for safety

What We Don't Like

  • Some online reviewers say the quality isn't top tier

For pro-level curls and voluminous bounce, reach for the InStyler Max Prime. With a 1.25-inch rotating barrel and an ionic bristle brush in place of a traditional clamp, it tackles frizz and leaves visibly shinier hair in its wake. And when you're not in the mood for curls, you can use it to smooth and straighten.

Price at time of publish: $89

Temperature Range: 285 to 425 degrees | Size: 1.25 inches

Best for Loose Waves
Beachwaver Co. Beachwaver Pro 1

What We Like

  • Rotating barrel provides convenient movement
  • Hair stays intact all day
  • Crimp-free clamp

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't create the most long-lasting curls

If it's loose waves that you're after, your best bet is the Beachwaver Pro. It's got a 1-inch gold-infused tourmaline barrel with a dual-rotation feature that makes easy-breezy hairstyles, well, a breeze. We also like that it has a 9-foot power cord and a specially designed clamp that won't create that dreaded crimp.

Price at time of publish: $229

Temperature Range: Up to 450 degrees | Size: 1 inch

Best for Tight Curls 
Chi Lava Ceramic 3/8''-3/4'' Tapered Hairstyling Wand

What We Like

  • Extended barrel length
  • Multiple heat settings
  • 1-hour auto shut-off
  • Great for long hair

What We Don't Like

  • Long barrel is a bit awkward to use

If you have fine hair and you like creating tight curls, this wand was practically made for you. It features multiple heat settings to ensure you have an option that's right for you. The thin, tapered barrel is extra long which is great for those with long hair. And while with one glance at this tool, you might not think that it looks super versatile, but you can use small sections of hair to create ultra-tight curls, or larger sections of hair to create a looser, more relaxed look. An added bonus is that it has an auto shut-off feature so you don't need to panic if you forget to unplug it before leaving home.

Price at time of publish: $90

Temperature Range: 300 to 410 degrees | Size: 3/8-3/4 inches

Best for Bangs
Kim Kimble Celebrity Series 1" Ceramic Tourmaline Digital Spring Hair Curling Iron with Heat Resistant Protective Glove

What We Like

  • Non-stick barrel and clip
  • Auto shut-off
  • Comes with protective glove

What We Don't Like

  • Some reviewers note the self-wrap function makes the iron hard to handle

This Kim Kimble tourmaline ceramic curling iron works especially well on thin hair and bangs, heating up quickly for less damage and frizz. The design delivers consistent heat across the entire length of the ceramic barrel, which means you have to wrap the hair yourself and hold it in place. A protective glove is included, although some reviewers noted this makes the process more challenging than other curling irons, especially on longer segments of hair.

Price at time of publish: $39

Temperature Range: 325 to 450 degrees | Size: 1 inch

Final Verdict

Our best overall pick is Hot Tools 24K Gold Marcel Curling Iron. Special heat loss technology helps maintain a constant temperature ideal for heat styling fine hair and the marcel-style clamp offers more control. The seven-year warranty is also reassuring. For a more cost-effective pick, consider the Conair Double Ceramic 1-inch Curling Iron, a heritage product that has adjustable temperature settings. And if you're looking for a curling iron to invest in, we recommend the T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand.


Shelly Aguirre is a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. She specializes in cutting, blowouts, extensions, and keratin treatments.

Sally Hershberger is an internationally known celebrity hairstylist with salons in New York and Los Angeles.


What to Look for When Buying a Curling Iron for Fine Hair

Ceramic Barrel

When it comes to curling finer hair, hairstylist Shelly Aguirre stresses the importance of choosing a tool with a fully ceramic (read: not just coated) barrel. “You need to have even heat distribution from the top to bottom of the barrel,” she says. “If the barrel isn’t evenly heated, you’ll tend to go over the section more times than necessary because you’re not getting the results quick enough”—thus, leading to heat damage, which is definitely not beneficial to anyone with fine hair, which tends to be much more fragile. The Conair Double Ceramic 1-inch Curling Iron is a great ceramic option at a super affordable price point.

Ionic Technology

To keep fine, limp hair looking healthy and vibrant, Aguirre also recommends looking for an ionic curling iron. “Negative ions will help make the hair shiny and less frizzy due to the simple fact that negative ions close down the cuticle,” she says. “Your cuticle lays like shingles on a roof, so ‘laying them down’ will increase the shine and offer a healthy overall look.” Our favorite ionic curling iron that works to lay down the cuticle is the Bio Ionic Long Barrel Curling Iron 1.25' NanoIonic MX.

Temperature Control

Aguirre says that it’s imperative to look for a tool with temperature control so that you can adjust it to fit your styling needs while maintaining a non-damaging temperature range. “You should keep the heat down to around 325 to 350 degrees, so you’re not damaging the hair,” she recommends. “Also, using a heat protectant is necessary and not negotiable.” The Conair Double Ceramic 1-inch Curling Iron has 30 heat settings, making it an ideal pick for the ultimate customization.


What kind of curling iron is best for fine hair?

As Aguirre mentions above, fine hair is more prone to damage than other hair types, so it’s important to look for curling that will keep the hair healthy (but, of course, still work). She recommends a curling iron with a fully ceramic barrel to allow for even heat distribution, ionic technology to keep the hair shiny and frizz-free, and temperature control to allow you to style in a non-damaging temperature range.

She also notes that a quality iron that won’t singe your hair may be pricier, but it’s well worth the investment. This is especially true if you use hot tools on your hair consistently. “Spending a little more when investing in a hot tool will help in the long run—ask your stylist for the recommendations when it comes to these tools,” she says.

What temperature should a curling iron be for fine hair?

According to Aguirre, those with fine hair should keep their curling irons in the 325 to 350 F temperature range to effectively curl the hair sans heat damage. It's always wise to start at the lowest possible temperature and work your way up until you find a sweet spot that works to create curls without frying your strands.

What size barrel is the best for fine hair?

When it comes to choosing the right barrel size, Aguirre says it depends on how curly you’d like your hair to be. “The smaller the barrel, the curlier the look,” she says. “This is also dependent on the length of your hair and what look you’re trying to achieve. When in doubt, talk to your stylist and get some advice.” If you like loose, beachy waves, we recommend the Beachwaver Co. Beachwaver Pro 1. If you prefer a tighter curl, go for the Chi Lava Ceramic 3/8''-3/4'' Tapered Hairstyling Wand.

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Theresa Holland is a seasoned beauty writer specializing in skincare, makeup, and hair. Additional input was provided by stylists Sally Hershberger and Shelly Aguirre.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any curling irons for fine hair from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at and we will evaluate the product ASAP.