Southern Living August 3, 2023

Southern Living


The 8 Best Hot Rollers Of 2023


Achieve bouncy curls and major volume with these expert-recommended hot rollers.

Southerners have used hot rollers for decades to achieve bouncy, voluminous curls that last all day (even with the humidity). “Investing in hot rollers can offer a variety of benefits that other styling tools may not be able to provide,” says April Story, multicultural hairstylist at Van Michael Salon in Buckhead, Georgia and Fekkai Salon New York City. “Hot rollers are perfect for creating voluminous curls and waves that can last longer than those created with a curling iron or flat iron. Plus, they are gentle on the hair and can help to minimize heat damage.”

To come up with our list, we researched the best hot rollers and evaluated them on variety, material, accessories, and heat time, just to name a few. We also received expert recommendations and insight from Story, as well as Fabian Lliguin, hairstylist and co-founder of Rahua; Shelly Aguirre, hairstylist at Maxine Salon; and Jennifer Korab, owner and hairstylist at Renaissance Salon & Spa.

Best Overall Hot Rollers

T3 Volumizing Hot Rollers


What’s Great About It

These rollers come with many features including dual temperature settings, cool-touch ends, and an auto-shutoff function.

What Could Be Better

This set only consists of eight rollers of two different sizes, so it doesn’t provide as much variety as others on our list. 

The T3 Volumizing Hot Rollers come recommended for all hair types by several professional hair stylists. “These rollers are made with tourmaline technology, which emits negative ions that seal the hair cuticle and eliminate frizz,” says April Story, multicultural hairstylist at Van Michael Salon in Buckhead, Georgia, and Fekkai Salon in New York City. This pack of eight rollers comes with four 1.75-inch barrels and four 1.5-inch barrels to help you achieve voluminous, soft curls. They heat up in just two to three minutes and have velvet flocking which works to protect hair from damage and ensures it stays in place when styling. 

“With two heat settings, you can make adjustments for fine or damaged hair,” says Shelly Aguirre, stylist at Maxine Salon. “Its dual temperature setting helps create the volume,” adds Jennifer Korab, owner and hairstylist at Renaissance Salon & Spa. And, you won’t have to worry too much about burning your fingers when handling the rollers, as they are equipped with CoolGrip technology along the rims. If you plan on taking your hot rollers with you on any upcoming travels, this pack of hot rollers includes a travel case that allows for easy storage and mobility. And the auto-shutoff function will automatically turn the rollers off after an hour, so you can have peace of mind when you leave for the day. 

Material: Velvet-flocked ceramic | Included Rollers: (4) 1.75-inch rollers, (4) 1.5-inch rollers | Heat Time: 2-3 minutes

Best Budget Hot Rollers

Remington Ionic Conditioning Hair Setter


What’s Great About It

Each roller is ionically conditioned to create less frizz.

What Could Be Better

The size of this set is likely too large for travel.

For less than $25, this set of ceramic hot rollers comes with 20 rollers of varying sizes. There are six large rollers, 10 medium-size rollers, and four small rollers. The roller sizes are differentiated by color (pink = long, purple = medium, white = short), so it’s easy to grab the correct size when styling your hair. 

The hot rollers are ready to be used when the ready dot lights up on the setter. They should take about three minutes to heat up. What makes these rollers unique is that each one is iconically conditioned and therefore will reduce the amount of frizz that is created once the rollers touch your hair. They are also each made with a thermal wax core that retains heat for maximum styling. In addition to the 20 velvety rollers, this set also comes with color-coded J-clips to secure the rollers in your hair with minimal creasing. And when it comes time to unravel them, the cool-touch ends will protect your fingers.  

Material: Velvet-flocked ceramic | Included Rollers: (6) 1.25-inch rollers, (10) 1-inch rollers, (4) 0.75-inch rollers | Heat Time: 3 minutes

Best Hot Rollers for Big Curls

Conair InfinitiPRO 20-Roller Ion Generator Setter With Cord Reel


What’s Great About It

This set comes with enough rollers for thicker hair, plus 12 different heat settings.

What Could Be Better

Although this set is equipped with a retractable cord reel, it does not include a carrying or storage case for traveling.

If you have thicker hair and are looking to create some big, Texas-style curls, these ceramic, flocked hot rollers will do just that and quickly, as they can reach between 140 and 230 degrees Fahrenheit in just two minutes. This set’s “20 rollers will ensure you have enough for thicker hair” says Aguirre. And, each roller has a velvety covering to protect hair from heat damage.

Plus, these rollers come with a whopping 12 heat settings, so you can play around with different temperatures to see what works best for your hair. Plastic clips are also included to keep the rollers in place.

Material: Velvet-flocked ceramic | Included Rollers: (8) 1.25-inch rollers, (6) 1-inch rollers, (6) 0.75-inch rollers | Heat Time: 2 minutes

Best Hot Rollers for Long Hair

Conair InfinitiPRO Luxe Volume Hair Setter

What’s Great About It

This set contains jumbo-sized hot rollers which make it easier to style longer hair.

What Could Be Better

We wish there was more of a variety of roller sizes.

If you have long hair that’s in need of some volume, be sure to check out this set of eight 2-inch hot rollers. “This set is great for long hair since the rollers are larger,” says Aguirre. You’ll be able to curl longer hair using fewer rollers–because we’re all about convenience. In 85 seconds, these rollers can be heated up to 140 to 230 degrees Fahrenheit. Each roller is equipped with a soft flocking layer and an aluminum heating core to evenly heat hair. 

Hair clips can sometimes be bothersome, but not the two-pronged clips that are included with the set (there are eight to correspond with the eight jumbo rollers). Keep in mind that it is recommended to wait until the rollers are cool to remove them from one’s hair—you wouldn’t want to burn your fingers. 

Material: Velvet-flocked ceramic | Included Rollers: (8) 2-inch rollers | Heat Time: 85 seconds

Best Hot Rollers for Short Hair

Chi Smart Magnify Ceramic Rollers


What’s Great About It

The 1-inch rollers are better suited for shorter hair.

What Could Be Better

Given the price, we wish the set came with more rollers.

According to Agguire, “this set has smaller rollers suited best for shorter hair.” To heat these velvet-finished, ceramic rollers, simply press them down into the base and wait two to three minutes until the red light signals that they are ready to use (the platform base itself does not get hot). The rollers are able to stay hot for about 15 minutes—enough time to seal your curls. 

It’s important to note that the clips included are customized to fit these rollers, so using another kind may not work as well (and you may end up potentially burning yourself if a roller were to slip). These rollers also come with a thermal storage case if you need to store them or take them on the go. 

Material: Velvet-flocked ceramic | Included Rollers: (9) 1-inch rollers | Heat Time: 2-3 minutes

Most Versatile Hot Rollers

BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium 20 Roller Hairsetter


What’s Great About It

They heat quickly and evenly and come in three different sizes.

What Could Be Better

We wish this set had an auto-shutoff feature.

These hot rollers are a great option if you’re looking for a set that can be used on a variety of hair lengths, as the set consists of six 0.75-inch rollers, six 1-inch rollers, and eight 1.25-inch rollers . “The rollers are coated with a nano titanium and ceramic material that heats up quickly and distributes heat evenly, resulting in long-lasting curls,” says Story. 

In addition to the 20 hot rollers, which are able to quickly heat up in one minute, this set also includes 20 butterfly clips and 20 color-coded metal clips. This set is easy to operate and comes with an on/off indicator light, although we wish it had an automatic-shutoff feature.

Material: Velvet-flocked nano titanium ceramic | Included Rollers: (8) 1.25-inch rollers, (6) 1-inch rollers, (6) 0.75-inch rollers | Heat Time: 1 minute

Best Hot Rollers for Volume

John Frieda Smooth Waves 2-Inch Rollers


What’s Great About It

These jumbo-sized hair rollers are able to create voluminous curls in less time.

What Could Be Better

Considering there are only five rollers, the price is high.

Get voluminous waves quickly when you use these jumbo hair rollers. This set of five 2-inch ceramic-flocked rollers heat up in two minutes and style hair evenly, since they are flocked and ionically conditioned. And, they work well on all hair types, so everyone can achieve voluminous curls. This set also comes with five butterfly clips to keep the rollers fastened onto your head while they work. 

Material: Velvet-flocked ceramic | Included Rollers: (5) 2-inch rollers | Heat Time: 2 minutes

Best Hot Rollers for Traveling

Conair Travel Hairsetter with Jumbo Rollers


What’s Great About It

This compact set of rollers features dual voltage for international travel.

What Could Be Better

The rollers are only available in one size.

If you’re looking for a set of hot rollers to fit inside your suitcase, consider this set of 1.5-inch ceramic hot rollers from Conair. Since the rollers are fairly large, you’re able to style more hair using fewer rollers. And, the set won’t take up too much room in your luggage. What’s more, the set features dual voltage, so you can use it for all your international travels as well. 

The flocked, velvety rollers are equipped with stay-cool rings on the outer edges, so your fingers are protected. The full set includes five jumbo rollers, five clips, a zippered pouch, and a 5-foot power cord. 

Material: Velvet-flocked ceramic | Included Rollers: (5) 1.5-inch rollers | Heat Time: 2 minutes

The Bottom Line

We like the T3 Volumizing Hot Rollers best because they are suitable for styling a variety of hair types, have dual heat settings, and work to eliminate frizz thanks to their tourmaline technology. Another good and less expensive option is the Remington Ionic Conditioning Hair Setter, which features a variety of sizes at an affordable price point. 

Tips for Choosing the Right Hot Rollers

Hair Type

Your hair length and density is going to have an impact on which hot rollers you choose and how you use them. If you have shorter hair, it’s not likely that you are going to need to buy the same size rollers as someone with longer hair. It is also important to note that, “quick-heated rollers are best for longer hair (use thick rollers),” says Fabian Lliguin, hair stylist and co-founder of Rahua. “For shorter hair use thin rollers, for fine hair use thick sections, and for thick hair use regular sections (1 roller should cover 1/8 of hair).” 

Number of Rollers

“The number of rollers you need will depend on your hair type, length, and the style you're trying to achieve,” says Story. “If you have thick, long hair, you may need more rollers to get the desired curl or wave. On the other hand, if you have shorter hair or thinner hair, you may be able to get away with fewer rollers.” The size of the rollers and the look you’re going for may also impact how many you need. For example, “larger rollers will give you softer, more voluminous curls, while smaller rollers will give you tighter, more defined curls,” says Story. 


When it comes to the material of hot rollers, what works best on one person’s hair may not be what works best on another person’s hair. However, there are some general guidelines you can follow regarding material to help prevent heat damage. “Ceramic and tourmaline are popular choices because they distribute heat evenly and reduce frizz,” says Story. “However, if you have thick or coarse hair, you may prefer titanium rollers for faster and hotter styling.” Both Story and Lliguin agree that velvet-flocked rollers are favorable, as the coating may help prevent additional hair damage. 


Hair rollers usually come with clips to keep them in place as they’re heating your hair. Safety is key when it comes to using hot rollers and “coverings such as heat-resistant gloves or thermal caps can be used to protect your hands and scalp from the heat,” explains Story. 

Although most hot rollers include clips, “some people prefer butterfly clips, while others prefer metal or plastic clips,” says Story. “Sectioning clips can also be useful, especially if you have thick hair.” Thus, you may choose to purchase speciality clips separately depending on your preferences.

Questions and Answers

What is the easiest kind of hot roller to use?

This depends, as everyone’s hair is different. However, those with a clip or clamp system are typically easier to use as they “allow you to securely hold your hair in place without having to worry about it slipping out,” says Story. “Additionally, rollers with a ceramic or tourmaline coating tend to heat up evenly and maintain a consistent temperature, resulting in a more efficient styling process.” 

What is the best material for hot rollers? 

Ceramic and tourmaline are some of the best materials for hot rollers as they “distribute heat evenly and reduce frizz,” says Story. However, she notes that titanium rollers may be more effective on thicker hair.  

Do you need a heat protectant to use hot rollers?

According to Aguirre, “heat protectant is always recommended for any hot tool” including hot rollers. If a heat protectant is not used before applying hair rollers, the risk of developing split ends, dry, and brittle hair increases. Story says that heat protectant sprays and hair serums are the best heat protectant tools to use on your hair. They “will help keep your hair looking healthy and shiny while also extending the life of your hot rollers," she adds.

How can you keep from damaging your hair while using hot rollers?

This may seem obvious, but not using hot rollers daily is one thing Aguirre recommends to keep from damaging your hair while using hot rollers. Additionally, you also should monitor the amount of time you keep the rollers in your hair and follow the instructions as each set of hot rollers is different. Make sure your hair is completely dry before using hot rollers. “Wet hair is more prone to damage and breakage, so it's important to use a blow dryer or air dry your hair before using hot rollers,” recommends Story. 

Why Trust Southern Living

This article was written by Jenna Clark, contributing commerce writer for Southern Living. To develop this list of the best hot rollers, she considered factors including the number of rollers included, material, heat time, and accessories. To learn more about what to consider when shopping for the best hot rollers and for product recommendations, she consulted April Story, multicultural hairstylist at Van Michael Salon in Buckhead, Georgia, and Fekkai Salon in New York City; Fabian Lliguin, hair stylist and co-founder of Rahua; Shelly Aguirre, stylist at Maxine Salon, and Jennifer Korab, owner and hairstylist at Renaissance Salon & Spa.