Flat irons are becoming more sophisticated, with higher quality materials and more options than ever. With all of the different brands and buzz words used to describe them, it is hard to determine which features are important to have in a flat iron.
To understand the types of flat irons, please see Understanding Flat Irons. The brand name and cost are less important then what the iron can actually do, so here are the features I believe to be most important:
1. High quality metal: Ceramic or titanium are the most popular quality metals, they heat evenly and generate negative ions which creates smoother results.
2. Ionic Output Booster: Ceramic and titanium alone generate negative ions, titanium at a higher rate. However tourmaline, when added to the plates of the flat irons yields a much higher output of negative ions.
3. Adjustable Temperature: Some flat irons have a number dial, the higher the number the hotter the temperature. This is better than simply having an on/off or high/low switch, but I think being able to actually adjust the temperature is best. Some irons use a manual dial while others allow you to set the temperature digitally. I don’t think one is any better than the other and it may not be worth it to some to spend the extra money for a digital display.
4. Beveled Edges: When the edges of your flat iron are rounded instead of ending with a blunt edge, it gives you the ability to create many different looks instead of just straightening your hair. You can bend, curl, flip, twist, crimp and spiral with irons that have beveled edges.
5. 360 Swivel Cord: when the cord is static and does not swivel, the iron can be more difficult to maneuver and may limit the angles in which you flat iron your hair. However when the cord can swivel completely, you can use the iron in whatever position works best for you and the cord will not be a hindrance.
6. Indicator Light: Instead of just being lit when the iron is on, the new, more sophisticated indicator lights actually let you know when the iron is heating versus when the selected temperature has actually been reached. Definitely a feature worth having!
7. Automatic shut off: Not many irons actually have this feature but it is one I like to have in as many of my hot tools as possible. It is more a safety feature than actually improving the performance of your iron, but is helpful to have nonetheless.