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In this report

Both budget and high-end clipless irons stand out

Clipless curling irons are praised for eliminating excess damage to the ends of hair, reducing snagging and tearing, and creating sexy, beachy curls. With that said, they take some getting used to -- a few burns are likely. Every model we found reviewed has at least a handful of reviewers who find their clipless wands don't offer enough pay-off for their efforts; but for every naysayer, there are at least two huge fans.

The T3 SinglePass Whirl Wand (Est. $130) combines the advantages of clipless wands with the pros of high-end curling irons, yielding an iron that owners say creates flawless curls in just one pass. Owners recommend it for nearly every hair type -- it's not great for short hair, though, due to barrel size. The wand works well for curling straight hair or smoothing frizz from naturally curly hair. It does cost more than most irons we found reviewed, but it offers a two-year warranty and a number of safety features. It has an auto-shutoff and digital temperature settings, reaches 450 degrees Fahrenheit and is the only styling wand we found with a cool-touch tip.

For those with fine hair that's prone to slipping off a tapered barrel, the Sedu Revolution Clipless Curling Iron (Est. $120) may be a better bet. Unlike the T3 SinglePass Whirl Wand, the Sedu Revolution has a straight barrel. Because it lacks the conical shape, curls from this iron will also tend to be a bit more uniform, which could be a considered a pro or a con, depending on the desired style. However, it doesn't seem to work as well for especially fine or thick hair. Though this iron lacks a cool-touch tip -- resulting in burns on arms and wrists, according to reviewers -- this iron has some key safety features including a "kickstand" to rest it on -- which seems less common among wand irons -- and a 30-minute auto-shutoff.

For an inexpensive yet effective clipless wand, the Infiniti by Conair You Curl (Est. $25) is a good option. It lacks professional reviews, but several owners say the results are better than traditional irons. Unlike the Whirl Wand, a few curly haired reviewers said the You Curl left their hair frizzier than it started, and other users said the iron simply didn't work. The Infiniti by Conair You Curl does offer an auto-off switch to prevent potential damage from an unattended iron, but there aren't any other safety features mentioned on the Conair website.

The Remington T-Studio Pearl Ceramic Professional Styling Wand (Est. $25) is similar to the Conair model in style and price. Despite the difficult learning curve, many owners say they love the T-Studio Pearl and are glad they learned how to use it. It does offer a variety of styling options and is small and compact for travel (though it only operates at 120 volts). Curly or wavy-haired women often find that it isn't powerful enough to overcome their natural curl when used to add definition, and curls do sometimes fall out on all hair types. It has an auto-shutoff and few other safety features, so there isn't much to distinguish it from the Conair You Curl.

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T3 SinglePass Whirl
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from Amazon.com
New: $130.00 $78.50   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Conair Infiniti YOU CURL Curling Wand CD117X / CD117R, Original (Packaging May Vary)
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from Amazon.com
New: $29.99 $22.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Remington T Studio Pearl Ceramic Professional Styling Elliptical Wand, Large, Pink
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from Amazon.com
New: $27.99 $17.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Sedu Revolution Clipless Curling Iron (25 mm)
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from Amazon.com
New: $150.00 $95.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

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