The Hot Tools Professional 1" Spring Iron 1181 is a great straightforward, basic curling iron. Though it's relatively inexpensive compared to many professional irons, some stylists say it works just as well. It gets very hot (but is adjustable) to work on all hair types from fine to tough-to-curl tresses. And for a basic iron, it does offer some nice features like a cool-touch tip and extra-long cord.
Gets very hot for serious hold. There's a reason this model is called a professional iron -- it offers variable temperatures but can get extremely hot, very quickly. It gets high overall scores at review websites, and most owners seem very pleased with the 1181's performance. Many experts and owners alike say it curls even the flattest hair without a problem. Inexplicably, the reviews at Folica.com don't seem to reflect this. Here, many reviewers say this iron left their hair completely flat; however, reviews aren't organized by barrel-size at Folica.com, making it hard to tell which model these owners used.
A straightforward and simple iron. While wand irons are growing in popularity, spring irons are still the default and relatively simple to use for most people. This spring iron model offers a long swivel cord to prevent home stylists from getting tangled up, and it has easy to read temperature settings and an indicator light to show when temperature is reached. Hot Tools describes its handle as a Soft-Grip textured handle, though we did find one reviewer who said the handle was difficult to grasp -- it isn't clear how. One reviewer does point out that this spring is very tight, preventing hair from slipping out, and Hot Tools also includes two replacement springs, should the first wear out.
For a professional iron, high on safety features. In general, professional hair tools lack consumer-friendly features like auto-shut-offs. When it comes to the auto-off feature, the Hot Tools Professional 1" Spring Iron 1181 is no exception, though it does have some other features, including an extra-long cord and a longer than average cool-touch tip. The iron also has a small fold-away stand to prevent you from scorching tables and countertops.
Review Credibility: Very Good InStyle magazine creates an annual list of the best beauty products based on recommendations from experts. The Hot Tools 1" Professional Spring Iron has been named the best curling iron every year from 2005 to 2013. The review says that it provides fast, even heat and works just as well as any high end iron. NYC hairstylist Anita Sun says she has one in every size.
Review: Best Beauty Buys: Hair, Editors of InStyle magazine, Not dated
Review Credibility: Very Good Editors at Folica.com curate reviews, and this list offers the top 10 curling irons based on customer ratings research and in-house testing. Editors' insights are helpful, but they may date this list in a way that reviews alone would not (the article is undated). The other downside to Folica.com's reviews is that curling irons of different sizes from the same line are listed together, making it difficult to tell if there are pluses and minuses to a particular size. A remarkable number of users say this line did not curl their hair at all, given the high overall rating by reviewers.
Review: Top 10 Curling Tools, Editors of Folica.com, Not dated
Review Credibility: Very Good Amber Katz interviews several celeb hairstylists and asks for their recommendations for specific hair types. For curly haired women who want more defined curls, several stylists, including Ted Gibson, Jenny Cho and Angelo David, recommend the Hot Tools 1" Professional Spring Iron. They say it heats up in seconds, and Cho says it hasn't let her down in 14 years. "It's affordable and dependable," she tells Katz.
Review: The Best Tools for Your Hair Type: The Pros Spill, Amber Katz, Jan. 11, 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good Temptalia.com is a well-respected beauty blog that routinely features reviews. In its annual roundup of the best beauty products, editor Christine Mielke, picks her favorite high-end and budget products in several categories, including curling irons. She also offers a couple sentences on each product, explaining why it was selected. The description makes it clear that each product was used. While another Hot Tools model was named the best budget curling iron for 2013, the Hot Tools 1" Professional Spring Iron was named the best budget iron in 2010.
Review: 2013 Editor's Choice Awards, Christine Mielke , Not dated
Review Credibility: Good Amazon.com lists this product primarily under the title of Hot Tools Professional 1-1/4" Curling Iron, but a selector allows you to jump to the 1" size instead. Reviews on this product page are for all sizes, though most seem to be for the 1-1/4" size. The reviews we did find for the 1" version say the curling iron can get very hot -- some owners love this, others find it damaging to hair. One owner does point out that this iron is "nice and compact" so it could be good for travel. Still, without reviews organized by iron size, it's difficult to get a clear picture of how this product performs.
Review: Hot Tools Professional 1181 Curling Iron with Multi-Heat Control, Jumbo 1", Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2013
Review Credibility: Fair Bestcovery.com experts compile reviews from other sources and add some of their own experiences to name the best product. There are many categories within the best curling irons review, and the Hot Tools 1" Professional Spring Iron is named the best professional iron and best budget curling iron, though it's hard to tell what the qualifications for professional iron are. Kim Hill does note a couple of the iron's safety features, including a cool tip and 8-foot swivel cord.
Review: Best Curling Iron, Kim Hill, Not dated