I clearly remember my very first flat iron. I got it at Walmart, circa 1998 or so, for all of $9.99. It was a massive looking thing with 2.5 inch plates of some kind of shiny metal and, when the heat was turned all the way up, it made my hair smell of something like 4th of July barbecue. Hmmm... no wonder my hair was such a mess in the late 90's! If you're still using a pre-historic flat iron, it may be time to upgrade, but with the market saturated with flat irons, it's hard to know which one is best and how much to spend. Look no further!
The CHI flat iron, by Farouk Systems, has been one of the most popular brands for several years. I personally own four CHI flat irons for use at home and my salon. I have never been disappointed in a CHI! CHI's are very versatile. The cutting-edge ceramic plats are great for all hair types and can straighten even some of the tightest curls. You can easily learn to curl, flip, bend, and add volume to the hair in addition to straightening. CHI offers a solid warranty and they stand behind the technology of their product. Prices range from $80.00 to $250.00 depending on the type of flat iron you purchase. With such a wide array of flat irons (from the travel iron to the wet-to-dry model) you are sure to find one in your price range.
Hot Tools brand of, well... hot tools, have been a professional's favorite for years. With more than a dozen different flat iron models, it's not difficult to find a model that will work great for your hair! Prices are very budget friendly, ranging from $20.00 to $100.00. The ceramic and tourmaline plates are designed to heat up quickly, evenly, and be less damaging on hair than other types of plates (i.e. the metal plates of yesterday). I personally love the versatile four-in-one design and this combo purchase that includes a flat iron and hair drier with a matching purse! My personal experience has found that Hot Tools brand works great for most hair types, but may not have the power to straighten very curly and/or very course hair.
I've been hearing all kinds of buzz in the beauty world about the T3 flat iron, and from the reviews that I've read online, I can see good reason for the chatter. These tourmaline plates can heat up to 450 degrees! Now that's hot! Even the most course and curliest of locks are no match for the T3. Prices for different models run from $60.00 to $200.00. For super short course hair, the mini flat iron is perfect for getting close to the scalp and creating waves, fun curls, or funky spikes. A word of warning on these little fireballs: please use caution with the high heat if you have thin or fine hair as 450 degrees isn't safe on that type of hair.
For the budget minded woman on a soft, straight, silky hair mission, Conair flat irons are a great choice. Prices range from under $20.00 to around $60.00. Conair offers a flat iron for just about everyone, in just a about every color. The ceramic plates heat up quickly, offer uniform and adjustable heat. My experience with Conair has lent me mixed reviews. They work great for a while, but often lose their fire when used on a daily basis. I would also not recommend Conair flat irons for people with very course, curly, or ethnic hair. However, if you're on a budget and don't over use the Conair flat iron, it's a perfect way to get soft straight hair at a price that won't break the bank!