Best curling wand 2022: Get beachy waves and effortless curls with these great wands and tongs

Lise Smith
12 Jul 2022

Have you got hair that's hard to style? No problem. The best curling wands create soft curls and loose waves with ease

Tired of straight strands? With the best curling wands, you can style your hair into beachy waves, corkscrew curls or sleek Hollywood ringlets. It’s never been easier to shape your hair, and get salon-perfect results with just a few twists and turns around a heated barrel.

Curling wands are great for quickly adding volume and shape to flat hair, or adding temporary curls to change your look for a night out or special event. Curling wands are for the most part quick and easy to use. However, not all curling wands are created equal: different curling wands create curls of different shapes and sizes, which is why it’s important to choose a styling tool that will deliver the right results.

First, we’ll walk you through the key things you need to know about curling tools to find the right wand for you. Then, we’ll jump into our roundup of the best curling wands to buy, whatever your budget.

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Best curling wand: At a glance

How to choose the best curling wand for you

What’s the difference between a curling wand and a curling tong?

While a curling tong is generally used to create super-sleek, Hollywood-style curls, a curling wand can be used to create everything from loose beachy waves to tight ringlet curls. This is because curling tongs tend to have larger barrel sizes while wands have smaller – and usually conical – barrels to achieve a more natural effect. Curling tongs also come with a clamp to hold the hair in place while you curl, but you’ll need to hold the hair by hand (and with a heat glove) when using a curling wand.

Does the barrel size of the curling wand matter?

Yes. The barrel size is the most important factor when it comes to the finished look. Put simply, the smaller the barrel you use, the tighter the curl will be. Larger barrels are great for achieving a more natural wave or loose-sitting curl, while a skinny barrel of 10mm or less will help you create tight corkscrew curls.

Does the material matter?

Despite all looking very similar, not all curling wands are made from the same material, and it’s actually rather important to know what the difference is when choosing a device as some of these materials are better for your hair than others.

  • Ceramic and tourmaline: these curling irons are the most popular, as well as being among the safest. If you curl your hair often, this is the material you should go for as it maintains a consistent temperature throughout the barrel. It releases negative ions that smooth the hair's cuticle, eliminate frizz and make it appear shiny.
  • Titanium: these barrels are good for hair that’s coarse, hard to heat or unmanageable, while containing the same negative ions that help reduce frizz and protect hair as tourmaline.
  • Chrome and gold: barrels made from chrome or gold heat very well, but they won't combat frizz. They might be cheaper, but it probably isn't worth the risk – they have hot spots that could damage your hair.
  • Metal steam: this type of barrel can be good for thin hair that won't hold curl. It releases steam, which helps replace the moisture the metal removes. The steam also helps the hair hold curls in place for longer.

Is a higher temperature better?

It may seem like a good idea to go for the hottest curling wand you can find, but it won’t always give the best results. While a higher temperature will speed up styling, it could also cause more breakage and leave hair looking lifeless – which is not a look you want.

If you’ve got short, fine hair, you’ll be able to get away with using a wand around the 140°C mark, but those with longer or thicker hair will likely need to raise the temperature a little to create curls that last all day, and will benefit from multiple heat settings. Whatever your hair type, it’s best to stick below 220°C to prevent melting the hair’s natural keratin.

The best curling wands and tongs you can buy in 2022

1. BaByliss Curling Wand Pro: The best budget wand for long hair

Price: £32 | Buy now from Amazon

While there are plenty of budget curling wands to choose from, finding one that works well on long hair is no easy task. Thankfully, the BaByliss Curling Wand Pro has been designed with this often-overlooked market in mind. Its extra-long barrel has space for even the longest locks, and if your hair’s on the shorter side you can use the conical barrel to create tighter or looser curls and waves.

The frill-free Curling Wand Pro concentrates on making everyday styling as easy as can be, with a heat-up time of just 30 seconds and five digital temperature settings ranging from 150°C to 210°C. Its ceramic plates spread heat evenly to help give consistent results and prevent heat damage, while BaByliss’s Wrap Control technology does a great job of holding hair in place to create picture-perfect curls.

Unlike some similarly priced wands, the Curling Wand Pro won’t leave you going back over strands that slipped the first time around.

Key specs – Barrel size: 25-13mm; Lowest temperature: 150°C; Maximum temperature: 210°C; Cord length: 2.5m; Extras included in the box: Heat protection glove

2. T3 Whirl Interchangeable Styling Wand: The best curling wand with changeable barrels

Price: £159 (for the T3 Trio) | Buy now from Amazon

Why buy several wands when one can do it all? The standard T3 Twirl comes with a 1.25in barrel, which is perfect for creating gently tousled curls, but there are four others to add to your collection, including barrels for defined curls, polished curls, undone waves and loose waves. The only catch is you’ll need to buy these separately, but it’s cheaper and easier than buying a new curling wand for every style you want to create – not to mention the space you’ll save on storage.

The T3 Whirl isn’t just one of the best-looking curling wands on the market, though – it combines ease of use with the latest in hair-styling technologies. Its five heat settings range from 127°C to 210°C, the tourmaline and ceramic plates seal cuticles with negative ions, and T3’s Digital SinglePass technology constantly monitors and maintains a stable temperature. It’s not a cheap product, but it’s well worth the money if you want maximum versatility in a gorgeous, perfectly formed package.

Key specs – Barrel size: 32-19mm; Lowest temperature: 127°C; Maximum temperature: 210°C; Cord length: 2.7m; Extras included in the box: Heat-resistant mat and glove.

3. Dyson Airwrap Styler Complete 2022: The best all-in-one styler

Price: £480 | Buy now from John Lewis

Dyson’s Airwrap styler is a big name in the beauty industry, and with good reason: it provides flexible styling options without running the risk of damaging the hair follicles. Using a clever V9 motor, the Airwrap styler propels damp hair around a heated barrel (instead of using hot plates) for effortless styling. This technique, called the “Coandă effect”, wraps hair around the Airwrap’s barrels to create symmetrical curls and loose waves. There’s no need to worry about heat damage, as the intelligent heat control system will ensure the tool never exceeds 150˚C.

This new 2022 version of the cult product has improved airflow for faster styling, and adds some clever features, including a new switch that allows the direction of airflow to be changed so it’s easy to alternate between clockwise and anticlockwise curls for a natural effect. The switches to control the heat and speed of the airflow are built neatly into the handle and are very easy and intuitive to find and use while styling the hair. There are three independently adjustable heat and airflow settings, plus a cool shot mode to finish each curl.

As with the original Airwrap this is a premium hairstyling tool at a premium price, but the speed and quality of the curls produced by the Airwrap, plus the benefits to hair health, make this worth the investment if you do curl your hair regularly.

Key specs – Barrel size: 30mm and 40mm; Maximum temperature: 150°C; Cord length: 2.6m; Extras included in the box: Smoothing dryer, 30mm barrel, 40mm barrel, soft and firm smoothing brushes, round brush, filter cleaning brush and storage case

Buy now from John Lewis

4. GHD Classic Curl Tong: The best tongs for defined curls

Price: £139 | Buy now from Amazon

Looking for sleek, defined curls? While wands will be your go-to tool for beachy waves, a curling tong is best if it’s shiny, Hollywood-inspired curls you’re after. The GHD Classic Curl tongs have a medium-sized 26mm barrel for creating bouncy and voluminous curls and a spring-activated ergonomic lever that securely clamps the hair in place. Using clever ultra-zone technology, the barrel recognises each strand of hair to evenly deliver an optimum temperature – which never exceeds 185˚C – to provide long-lasting curls in just five to eight minutes.

The protective cool tip provides a safe place to grip the tool, while the nifty safety stand means you’ll never run the risk of burning your carpet – or your house down, as the curling tong will automatically switch off when left unattended for 30 minutes. A ceramic coating helps to keep hair in good health, and a 3m cord allows for ultimate flexibility during styling.

Key specs – Barrel size: 26mm; Optimum temperature: 185°C; Cord length: 3m; Extras included in the box: N/A

5. Lee Stafford Original Chopstick Styler hair wand: The best for corkscrew curls

Price: £20 | Buy now from Amazon

Don’t be fooled by its small size and even smaller price tag: Lee Stafford is a hair brand that’s become known for its bold personality, and the Chopstick Styler is no exception. It heats up to 200°C in ten seconds and transforms hair into tight ringlets that will last for days, no matter how long or thick your tresses.

While other curling wands struggle to achieve consistent results on different hair types and lengths, the Chopstick Styler creates the same corkscrew curls whatever your hair’s natural state and texture. The tiny barrel has only one heat setting and creates just one style, but it does so with perfect precision every time – and it is ceramic-coated to keep hair looking healthy and smooth all day. The only major moan is that the 1.8m power cable is much shorter than rival wands here.

You can get more feature-packed curling wands at a similar price, but if you just want perfect corkscrew curls every time, this is the one to buy.

Key specs – Barrel size: 10-7mm; Lowest temperature: 200°C; Maximum temperature: 200°C; Cord length: 1.8m

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