Best Professional Flat Iron for Thick Hair: An In-Depth Buyer’s Guide

If you’re someone who has lots of thick, lustrous hair, a flat iron will probably be a valuable part of your beauty kit. A good flat iron can tame your thick locks with ease, reducing frizz and helping you create truly flattering styles. If you don’t have time for a lengthy blow dry, and you don’t want your hair to look unruly, a hair straightener is the best tool you can have to hand.

But with so many options on the market, which is the best flat iron for thick hair? There are hundreds of models out there, each with their own selling points and unique features. Some are made from different materials, and some have adjustable temperatures, some even curl and style hair in exciting ways.

Choosing the right flat iron is an important decision. These hair styling tools can be expensive, and if you select one that doesn’t straighten your hair properly, or which damages your locks, it can be a costly mistake. It’s important to do your research beforehand and get this decision right.

We’re going to look at the best professional flat irons for thicker hair, African-American hair, and other natural hair types that can be tough to straighten. We’ll run down some of the top flat irons on the market right now, and we’ll also delve deeper into factors like temperature, material, and flat iron size. If you’re in the market for a new flat iron to tame your thick hair, read on.

How Do Hair Straighteners Work?

The science behind hair straighteners is pretty simple. Every hair on your head is made up of three parts. The outermost layer is the cuticle. The middle layer is the cortex, and the most central section of your hair shaft is called the medulla.

The cortex layer is made up of a protein called keratin. The keratin is held together with molecular hydrogen bonds, which maintain the shape of your hair. To style your hair, you need to break down these bonds, which can be done using two methods: heat or water.

Obviously, flat irons use the heat option (but this does explain why hair can go frizzy or curly when exposed to damp or humidity). Applying heat to the hair using flat irons allows the hair to be rearranged into a new shape for a short time.

Achieving permanently straight hair is possible, but you’ll need to break down the chemical bonds within the hair, rather than the physical ones. This is not a job for hair straighteners – it must be carried out by a professional with access to the appropriate chemicals.

Flat Iron Plate Material: An Important Factor

When you’re looking for a hair straightener for thick hair online, you’ll likely see lots of options made from different materials. These include ceramic, tourmaline, ionic and titanium. The material your flat iron plates are made from is one of the most important factors you should consider when selecting your new hair straightener.

If you have thick hair, you should steer clear of ceramic or ionic flat irons. These options are far better suited to those with thinner, easier to manage hair. Ceramic plates distribute heat well, but they rarely reach the temperatures required to straighten thick or curly hair effectively. With ceramic or ionic plates, you may end up having to pass the flat iron over the hair multiple times to get the desired effect. This can damage the hair over time.

Tourmaline and titanium are slightly different. Tourmaline is a semi-precious gemstone which produces negative ions when heated. These negative ions neutralize frizz and help to keep hair looking shiny and healthy after straightening. Finding solid tourmaline flat iron plates is rare. The material is often infused onto existing ceramic or titanium plates, as a coating.

Titanium is the gold standard plate material for those with thicker hair. It heats up fast, retains that heat wonderfully, and transfers that heat to the hair very well indeed. Titanium can reach very high temperatures, which is necessary for those who have thick, frizzy or curly hair.

Most salons and professional stylists use titanium plates when working on a client’s hair. You can also find many titanium-plated options out there, which combine the frizz-neutralizing effects of ceramic plates with the powerful heat-conducting capabilities of titanium.

However, as with all things relating to hair and beauty, the results of these flat irons are unique to you. You may find that, despite having thick hair, titanium plates are a little too much for you. It might be that ceramic or tourmaline-coated plates work far better for your locks. It’s all about finding what works best for your particular hair type, which is unique to you only.

Why Is Temperature Control So Important?

Most people believe that when it comes to straightening hair, the hotter the better! Unfortunately, it’s this mindset that can lead to damaged locks which take a long time to recover and repair. As a general rule of thumb, the thicker your hair is, the more heat you’ll need to straighten it.

Compare it to ironing your clothes. When you’re ironing silk or wool, typically thin materials, you dial your iron down to a low or medium setting, so that you won’t ruin the material. But when you’re ironing denim, corduroy or heavy linen, you may need a little more heat to have the desired effect. It’s the same with your hair.

The vast majority of hair straighteners nowadays have a variety of heat settings and options for you to choose from. If you’re not sure how much heat you need to style your hair, start at the lowest setting. Turn on your flat iron at its lowest setting and then work your way up to find the temperature that works best for you.

What Are the Best Flat Irons For Thick Hair?

So, let’s dive in and take a look at some of the best flat irons on the market for thick hair. We’ll examine some high-end professional options, and we’ll also look at some budget alternatives which offer great results without damaging the hair.

1) BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium-Plated Straightening Iron

BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium Flat Iron Review

Made by hair styling experts BaByliss, this titanium-plated straightening iron is one of the best on the market. It’s been designed for both professionals and amateur use. You’re just as likely to see it on your friend’s dressing table as you are in a high-end salon.

This titanium-plated straightening iron reaches temperatures of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit – which is one of the hottest temperatures that hair can handle. This means it’s ideal for those with very thick or afro hair. It can tame tight spiral curls and stubborn kinks alike.

This flat iron also uses something called infrared heat to penetrate right to the heart of each hair shaft. This technology straightens hair gently from the outside in, causing less damage to the hair.

For those with thick hair, the higher temperatures will be most commonly used. But if you’re just refreshing hair that you straightened yesterday, or if you want to give your hair a break from the intense heat, you can use this iron’s five different heat settings to find the temperature that works best for you and your locks.

The lightweight design is one of the best features of this flat iron. Many people with thick hair need to spend a long time running their flat iron over their waves and curls to get the desired result. This device weighs in at just one pound, so you’ll never get sore wrists or arms from all the extensive styling you need to do.

The smooth plates of the BaBylissPro Nano-Titanium flat iron mean you won’t be experiencing snags with every pass. The hair straightener also comes in three sizes, so you can choose the option that works best for your hair. The one-inch option might be suitable for those with short, thick hair, while the wider plates (1.5-inches and 2-inches) are more appropriate for those with long locks.

Pros:

  • Reaches very high temperatures of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Made with titanium-coated plates for even heat distribution
  • Fast heat-up time
  • Extremely lightweight and easy to handle
  • Different plate sizes available
  • Plate itself is 5-inches long

Cons:

  • Flat barrel means curling or alternative styling is limited
  • Not available in other colors

Nowadays, flat irons need to be able to do more than just straighten. Most offer a curved or rounded barrel to help with the creation of curls and flicks. However, the BaBylissPRO Nano-Titanium flat iron seems to be in the business of hair straightening only. It has a relatively flat barrel, which could still be used to create new styles, but without the effectiveness of a cylindrical model.

Check the Price of the BaBylissPRO Nano Straightening Iron on Amazon!

2) Bio Ionic OnePass

Bio Ionic OnePass Straightening Iron Review

OnePass by name, one pass by nature! This hair straightener has been rated one of the best on the market for its ability to straighten even the curliest and kinkiest hair in just a single pass. Experts say this can cut around fifteen minutes off your regular styling time.

This professional hair styling tool has ceramic plates infused with silicone. The ceramic conducts the heat, while the silicone ensures the heat is distributed evenly. The silicone is the vital part of the ‘one pass’ technology, as it ensures that every hair is spaced out evenly and targeted with a single pass. Other flat irons without this technology require the user to go over sections again from different angles to make sure each hair is straight.

This straightener has a seriously impressive heat-up time. It can heat up to its highest temperature almost instantly, which is perfect for those who find themselves in a rush each morning. You won’t need to wait five minutes before you can start styling – you can pretty much use the flat iron directly after you’ve turned it on.

As well as being infused with silicone, the plates on the Bio Ionic OnePass have a mineral covering, with ionic and infrared functions. As we’ve covered already, these produce negative ions which ensure your hair won’t turn frizzy or be affected by static throughout the day. This method also traps in moisture, so your hair won’t look dry and dull after a few uses. Hair which is appropriately moisturized and healthy will retain its style for much longer, too.

Those with thick hair will be pleased to hear that the OnePass comes in two different sizes. The 1-inch option gives you the ability to add curls and waves, but may not be as suitable for those with longer, thicker hair. The 1.5-inch option straightens perfectly but may be a little more limited if you want the freedom to create waves and flicks.

Pros:

  • Straightens hair in a single pass
  • Reaches temperatures of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Comes in two size options
  • Very fast heat-up time
  • Ionic and infrared functions reduce frizz

Cons:

  • Only comes in one color
  • Not made for curling or creating waves
  • Not digital

The OnePass goes up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit as a top temperature – but it comes with various heat settings, so you have a little more flexibility. A top tip from the experts is to start with a lower setting and work your way up until you find the temperature that works for your hair.

Check the Price of the Bio Ionic OnePass on Amazon!

3) HSI Professional Titanium Tourmaline Flat Iron

HSI Professional Tourmaline Ceramic Hair Straightener Review

As the name might suggest, this flat iron is the perfect example of a professional straightener which is still ideal for use in the home. This ceramic straightener uses ionic technology to transform curly, frizzy locks into sleek and straight tresses, fast. It’s one of the most popular models on the market, and when you look at its reviews, its features, and its price point, it’s easy to see why!

Aesthetically, the HSI Professional Flat Iron looks great. It has a super-sleek design, and the matte finish makes it easy to grip. It weighs in at 1.7 pounds, which makes it slightly heavier than other comparable models. If you need to spend a lot of time straightening your hair, the weight of this device might go against it.

The tourmaline ceramic plates of this iron transfer heat very evenly onto the hair, and the tourmaline releases those negative ions which are so important in fighting frizz. It also helps to keep moisture in the hair, which is ideal for those with afro hair.

The temperature control on this straightener is great, with a range of 240 degrees Fahrenheit up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This means it can be used on just about any hair texture. Thicker, afro hair types will benefit from the hottest temperatures, while those with regular to thick hair can afford to dial down the heat a little.

Pros:

  • Ionic technology fights frizz and effectively straightens all hair types
  • Adjustable temperature control
  • Nice design, great grip
  • Comes with a selection of goodies, including heatproof glove and bag
  • More affordable price point

Cons:

  • Only available in one size – 1-inch
  • Slightly heavier than other models
  • No automatic shut-off feature

The HSI Professional is also sold with a selection of goodies to help enhance your hair straightening experience. You’ll receive a small bottle of argan oil conditioner to keep your tresses moisturized and healthy. The kit also comes with a heatproof pouch and a heat glove, so you and your furniture will always be protected when using this device.

Check the Price of the HSI Professional Titanium Tourmaline Flat Iron on Amazon!

4) Croc Classic Nano-Titanium Flat Iron

TurboIon Croc Classic Straightener Review

The first thing that stands out about this Croc Classic hair straightener is its design. Most hair straighteners on the market today follow the same design rules – they’re long and thin, with a slightly rounded barrel, usually black and super-sleek. This Croc flat iron breaks all the rules! It’s a slightly avant-garde take on the classic straightener, and it certainly delivers results.

With its unique, angular design, you’re guaranteed superb grip. The flat iron also leverages the power of both ceramic and titanium plates. The frizz-neutralizing power of ceramic plates is combined with the heat distribution abilities of titanium coatings to leave shiny, healthy hair.

Another interesting feature about this flat iron is its nano-silver technology. This offers sterilization and deodorization of the hair. If you constantly use hair products to keep your locks in check, this is a great feature. It neutralizes the gels, serums, and mousses you use over time, reducing the residue and build-up that can contribute to frizz and dullness.

The temperature control system of this hair straightener is incredibly precise. You can start off at 200 degrees Fahrenheit and work your way up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit in 10-degree increments. This gives you total control over how much heat you use on your hair.

Pros:

  • Uses combined power of ceramic and titanium
  • Heats up to high temperatures, with excellent control
  • Nano-silver technology helps neutralize build-up from products
  • Dual voltage

Cons:

  • At the more expensive end of the pricing scale
  • Shape might be hard to get used to if you’ve used typical straighteners

If you’re straightening thick, curly or African-American hair, you may need the higher temperatures. But if you’re just going over your recently-straightened tresses, or if the style you want doesn’t demand too much heat, you can dial it down at will. The digital temperature control also ensures that the temperature remains consistent and precise throughout.

Check the Price of the Croc Classic Nano-Titanium Flat Iron on Amazon!

5) ISA Professional Hair Straightener

ISA Professional Flat Iron Review

The ISA Professional Hair Straightener comes with an enormous array of options and additional features – that’s why it’s used at so many salons across the world.  The plates are made from solid ceramic, which puts them head and shoulders above ceramic-coated plates on other models. The tourmaline coating also makes sure the heat produced is consistent, and great and fighting frizz.

One of the ISA’s best features is its ability to ‘lock-in’ your current settings when you find something that works for you. The lock feature covers all the buttons on the front of the device, so when you reach the temperature that is your hair’s own ‘sweet spot,’ you can keep it at that heat. Many other flat irons have buttons which can be accidentally pressed during styling, so this is a great feature if you worry about frying your hair with unintended heat!

Another great feature of the ISA device is its ambidextrous design. Many straighteners are designed for right-handed people, with buttons and switches positioned within easy reach from the right side. This straightener positions all the buttons in the middle, so if you’re left-handed or ambidextrous, you’ll enjoy a much more comfortable experience.

The barrel of this straightener is more cylindrical than others, which makes it the perfect tool for styling. You can use this flat iron to make tight curls, loose waves and quirky flicks – no straight edges or harsh lines, just perfectly rounded styles.

Pros:

  • Solid ceramic plates
  • Great design – ambidextrous and sleek
  • Lock setting keeps temperatures consistent
  • Cylindrical barrel, for curls and waves

Cons:

  • Doesn’t stand up on its own – requires a heatproof mat to prevent burning counters
  • Pivoting plates aren’t quite as effective as floating plates

While most flat irons have ‘floating’ plates which adjust to the angle of the hair, the ISA has gone one step further. This device has ‘pivoting’ plates, which are said to be even more flexible and better for styling hair at different angles. However, some users have said that this results in less grip, which can be a problem for all hair types, especially thick. If you can’t get the plates close enough to the hair, they won’t be able to do their job.

Check the Price of the ISA Professional Hair Straightener on Amazon!

6) CHI Air Expert Classic Flat Iron

CHI Original Flat Hairstyling Iron Review

The CHI Air Expert Classic Flat Iron has been a popular choice for years, among those with thick and thin hair alike. Considered by many as the ‘gold standard’ of ceramic straighteners, these were some of the first irons with ceramic plates to hit the market, and they’ve set the tone ever since.

The CHI Air Expert Classic has ceramic plates with a tourmaline coating, which means they’re great at neutralizing frizz and can turn the thickest hair into sleek, smooth locks. They don’t heat up as quickly as some of the more advanced models on the market, but if speed isn’t a priority, these straighteners should suit you just fine.

One of the major complaints about other straightener models and brands is that the heat on the plates is not consistent. There are hot spots and cold spots on many plates, which can mean your hair isn’t straightened properly on the first pass. The solid ceramic plates on the CHI Air Expert Classic flat iron provide total consistency, even on the hottest settings.

The staying power of this flat iron is a real bonus. Many people claim they’ve had their CHI straighteners for years without any problem, and they’re still functioning perfectly. The price might seem high at first, but for a flat iron that could last you for five years, it’s more of an investment.

Pros:

  • Solid ceramic plates
  • No hot spots or cold spots
  • Available in a variety of colors

Cons:

  • Doesn’t heat up instantly like some models
  • At the higher end of the price bracket

If you’re looking for a flat iron that matches your dressing room or bedroom, CHI offers plenty of color options that are stylish and sleek. Many people don’t like to buy ugly appliances that stand out like a sore thumb – but the CHI stylers are aesthetically pleasing, and you can choose the color that suits you best.

Check the Price of the CHI Air Expert Classic Flat Iron on Amazon!

7) Izunami Ktx450 Flat Iron

Izunami Ktx450 Flat Iron Review

This highly advanced flat iron comes with a wide range of features that are ideal for those with thick hair. It can reach up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the highest recommended temperature for heat styling. This means it’s a prime choice for those with thick or African-American hair types. From cutting through tight curls to smoothing out waves and kinks, this flat iron is one of the best.

You might think that it would take a while for a device to reach 450 degrees Fahrenheit – but this flat iron heats up quick. If you regularly find yourself in a rush to get ready, this can be a real life-saver.

Perhaps one of the most interesting features of the Izunami Ktx450 Flat Iron is its plates. They’re made from titanium and have the popular ‘floating’ design which helps them glide through hair. But they’re also extremely wide, unlike many other straightener models.

When straightening irons have large plastic cases that reach around the side of the plates, it can create kinks and lines in the hair, especially at the crown. Many plates don’t quite reach the hair closest to the scalp, and it can be quite obvious that this section hasn’t been straightened. The Izunami straightener has very wide plates with no plastic overlap. This reduces the likelihood of experiencing lines and kinks at the top of the hair.

Pros:

  • Floating plates glide through hair effortlessly
  • High temperatures
  • Quality titanium plates
  • Very wide plates

Cons:

  • No automatic shut-off
  • Higher end of the price bracket

Anecdotally, many reviewers claim that this flat iron is better at sealing the cuticle with less heat than a ceramic straightener may require. This means it’s better for the hair overall. It helps to keep it moisturized and protected as much as possible, ensuring a healthy and shiny look.

Check the Price of the Izunami Ktx450 Flat Iron on Amazon!

8) Onei MK-I Halo Flat Iron

Onei MK-I Halo Flat Iron Review

Many people with extremely thick or natural hair choose to have a treatment called a Brazilian Blow-Out, a keratin treatment that keeps hair straight for months at a time. After this treatment has been applied, you need to use specific straightening irons to keep the right mix of chemicals and keratin in the hair.

The Onei MK-1 Halo Flat Iron is one of these straighteners. It’s been specially formulated for those who have had a keratin treatment on their thick or natural hair. The ceramic plates have multiple coatings to keep them smooth and ensure they don’t snag the hair on the way down. It can heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, but it also goes as low as 140 degrees Fahrenheit for those who don’t need as much heat to style their locks.

Like many straighteners, this flat iron uses the negative ions from ceramic plates to ensure hair remains straight when it’s been styled. The plates lock in moisture, which helps to keratin treatment to last much longer than it might if your hair was drying out.

Pros:

  • Helps keep Brazilian Blow-Outs in great condition
  • Temperature ranges from 140 degrees to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Automatic shut-off function
  • Floating ceramic plates don’t snag or pull

Cons:

  • Not as affordable as some comparable options
  • A little heavier than some straighteners

While it was formulated to be great for those who have had keratin treatments, this flat iron can be used by just about anyone. It has the popular automatic shut-off feature, the temperature is very adjustable, and it guarantees great results. It’s at the higher end of the price range for many, but it’s a very high-quality flat iron that many claim is worth every penny.

Check the Price of the Onei MK-I Halo Flat Iron on Amazon!

9) Karmin G3

Karmin G3 Salon Professional Ceramic Straightener Review

This flat iron was named after the famous operatic seductress, Carmen – and when you see the design, you can see why! This is one of the most sleek and beautiful flat irons on the market, with its glossy exterior and solid black ceramic plates.

Fortunately, the Karmin G3 is not all style and no substance. It’s a salon-standard straightening iron, with a multitude of great features ideal if you have African-American or coarse natural hair.

Firstly, the solid ceramic plates are coated with tourmaline crystals for that frizz-free look. You’ll get great heat conduction all over the plates, with no hot or cold spots to ruin your styling. The plates also grab hair firmly without pulling, ensuring that every strand is subject to the same amount of heat and pressure with every pass.

Using far-infrared technology, this flat iron also seals in moisture and works to protect the hair. It has what’s known as micro-porous technology which helps reduce the risk of dips and dents on the surface of your plates.

The Karmin G3 reaches up to 410 degrees of heat, which should be sufficient for anyone with thick hair. As always, we advise that you start off with one of the lower heat settings rather than going straight for the top temperatures.

Pros:

  • Beautiful design
  • Longest warranty on the market
  • Adjustable temperature up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Far-infrared technology seals in moisture and protects hair

Cons:

  • Not as affordable as other options on the market
  • Some reviewers specify power issues

Lastly, for those who like a little consumer protection with their products, the Karmin G3 comes with an amazing three-year warranty. We guess the clue was in the name! Many other models on the market offer just one or two-year guarantees, so this long warranty period is a real vote of confidence for this flat iron. It also means you can consider this device a real investment for the future.

Check the Price of the Karmin G3 on Amazon!

What About Wet-To-Dry Straighteners?

Those who often find themselves seriously pressed for time when getting ready often love the idea of a wet-to-dry flat iron. These straighteners claim to work on wet hair, drying it and straightening it simultaneously. As you can imagine, this would save valuable time by combining two of the most arduous hair styling processes into one.

There are dozens of wet-to-dry straighteners on the market, many of them made by reputable brands. Unfortunately, the technology required to make these flat irons effective hasn’t reached the right level yet. Many of the wet-to-dry straighteners work well on hair that is already dry. But when it comes to drying and straightening at the same time, they don’t do the job they claim to do.

Those with thin hair may find more success when using these flat irons. There are also reviewers who claim their wet-to-dry straighteners work well on damp locks. But if you have thick or coarse hair, you’ll still need to take extra steps to dry your hair before you start to style it.

The technology is always improving, and we do not doubt that there’ll be a serious wet-to-dry competitor on the market very soon. Until then, we always advise drying hair properly before attempting to style it with heat. You don’t want to experience that horrible sizzle that comes when there’s still excess moisture in your hair.

Top Tips for Straightening Thick Hair

So you’ve invested in the best flat iron for your hair type. Now it’s time to get down to business. Here are some great tips for straightening super-thick or coarse hair, leaving it glossy and straight rather than frizzy and dry.

  • Always make sure your hair is totally dry before styling with straighteners. You don’t want to experience that awful sizzling sensation when you press the flat iron to your locks. This can damage your hair considerably. Air-dry, towel-dry or blow-dry your hair beforehand to remove excess moisture.
  • Use a hair oil before you start. Many of the hair-nourishing oils you’ll find on the market have some kind of heat protection in them, and they’re very easily absorbed by most hair types. Hair oils also keep your locks moisturized and healthy.
  • Always make sure you’re straightening at the right temperature. Thicker hair might require more heat, but it’s recommended that you start the bottom and work your way up. Don’t just assume that you need to shoot for the highest setting!
  • Many people with thick hair suffer from lack of volume at the roots, especially when it’s straight. This is because the weight of the hair pulls it down. If your straight hair has no volume, rub in some dry shampoo at the roots, or try a volumizing treatment beforehand.
  • Separate your hair properly. This will help to ensure that no strands are missed, and you don’t end up with random kinky or curly sections sticking out of your locks.
  • Use a serum after you’ve finished straightening. This will help lock in your style and continue to fight frizz for hours after.

Choosing a Flat Iron for Thick Hair

Having thick hair can be a blessing and a curse. Many people would love to have thick, glamorous locks full of body and volume. But they can take a long time to wash and style, and getting it properly straight can be a challenge.

Finding the right flat iron is an important step in perfecting your thick hair styling routine. Once you have the right straightener, you can enjoy beautiful frizz-free styles for the foreseeable future. With so many options on the market, it’s natural that you might be confused or overwhelmed – but we hope we’ve provided plenty of information to help you make a choice here.

Remember: straighteners can be replaced and upgraded, but your hair can’t. It’s essential to care for your locks properly, and that means buying a flat iron that protects and nourishes, rather than bullies your hair into submission. Check out some of the options above, and enjoy your new-found hair styling freedom.