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Best automatic hair curlers 2024: Perfect waves in super-quick time

Achieve beautiful waves and curls with minimum effort using the best automatic hair curlers

Curls and ringlets are having a moment, and while glamorous waves and ringlets have long been a staple of red-carpet evening looks, in the past few years curls have emerged as a popular daytime look, too. Heated rollers, tongs, curling wands, or even wrapping the hair around straighteners are all good ways to get a temporary curl; but there’s a growing number of automatic hair curlers on the market that promise to take the effort out of curling your locks.

Automatic hair curlers work by winding the hair around a heated barrel, so you don’t have to do the winding yourself. Most use some kind of mechanical motor to twist hair into place, while others use air pressure to wrap the hair. An automatic curler is a useful tool to have if you’re not confident in your own skills with a tong or wand, or if you have a sensory or mobility issue that makes winding your hair into place difficult.

Below we run you through the features to consider when choosing an automatic curler for your hair type and the look you want to achieve, before revealing our selection of the best automatic curlers currently available.

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Best automatic hair curlers:: At a glance

Best automatic curler for styling on the goEnvie Cordless Automatic Hair Curler (~£33)Check price at Sephora
Best automatic curler for longer hairRemington Curl Revolution CI606 (~£79)Check price at Amazon
Best automatic curler for tangle-prone hairKiss InstaWave Automatic Hair Curler (~£89)Check price at Amazon

How to choose the best automatic hair curler for you

How does an automatic hair curler work?

Most automatic hair curlers use a rotating motor to draw a section of hair around a heated barrel – in effect, it’s the same action of winding hair around a tong or curling wand by hand, but with the motor taking care of it for you. Apart from that rotating mechanism, the majority of automatic curlers function in exactly the same way as a pair of tongs, heating a strand of hair while it’s around the cylindrical barrel to set it into a ringlet shape. After a few seconds, the device releases the curled hair and you can move onto the next strand.

Some automatic curlers use air to wrap the hair around a heated barrel to shape curls and ringlets. An air-based curling method allows tresses to be styled at lower temperatures, which is better for maintaining the health of hair, and has the advantage of being able to be used to style damp locks, rather than needing to dry it completely first. However, at the time of writing, air-based curlers tend to be more expensive than their mechanical counterparts.

No matter the method your automatic hair curler uses to wrap hair, the process of creating a headful of waves or ringlets should become quicker and easier – especially for those who find manual styling tools tricky to use.

What features should I look for in an automatic hair curler?

As with all heat-styling products, automatic hair curlers offer a range of features for styling and protecting hair from excessive heat.

Variable heat settings – These allow you to choose the correct temperature for your hair type and texture. For example, fine hair will prefer being styled at lower temperatures of around 140-150ºC, while thick and coarse hair will need higher temperatures to set and hold a curl. Being able to switch easily between temperature settings means you can use the most appropriate heat for the look you want and the precise section of hair you’re working on.

Barrel material – As with a curling tong or wand, the heated barrel of your automatic hair curler may be coated in ceramic or tourmaline to evenly distribute heat, reduce friction between the hair and the barrel, and deliver a smooth and glossy finish. We’ve noted the barrel material in our reviews below.

Charging – For ease of use look for curlers that charge directly from the mains or USB, rather than needing their own proprietary charging docks. A cordless automatic curler is easier to manoeuvre around the head and can be popped into a handbag if you’re styling your hair on the go.

Safety – Finally, as with all heat styling tools, an automatic shutoff is a useful safety feature to avoid accidental damage. We’ve noted automatic shutoff times below.

How do I use my automatic hair curler?

Most automatic hair curlers are designed for use on dry hair only. Section the hair and apply a heat-protective spray, then hold a lock of hair as directed next to the barrel; there’s usually a slot in the curler into which you insert the hair. Keep the tool itself still as the motor winds the hair around the barrel – twisting the tool can lead to pulling or tangling – and keep the curler in place as long as directed. Many automatic hair curlers will either release the hair on their own once done, or signal with a beep when it’s time to remove the tool.

If you’re using an air-based curler, simply hold the barrel next to the section of hair you wish to curl and let it wrap the hair into place, again keeping the tool itself still; then release once the curl is set.

Let the hair cool in place and then run fingers through coils, or brush out – depending on the look you’re trying to achieve. Finish with your favourite hairspray to hold your style in place.

How we test automatic hair curlers

At Expert Reviews, we thoroughly test all the automatic hair curlers that we review. We use the curlers as recommended, on damp or dry hair as stated in the instructions. During testing, we note the method used by the automatic curler – whether it uses a heated barrel, hot air, or a combination of the two – and, where applicable, we test all of the different heat and timer settings.

We record the time taken to style a full head of hair, noting both the hair length and hair texture we’re testing on, and, whenever possible, we test on more than one hair type. We also evaluate the overall ease of use of the curler, how it feels in the hand, and the softness and feel of the hair after curling. We also confirm the weight and dimensions of the curler and note any extras included in the box. Finally, we note how well the curled styles last during a typical day of wear.

READ NEXT: Best hair dryers

The best automatic hair curlers to buy in 2024

1. Envie Cordless Automatic Hair Curler: The best automatic curler for styling on the go

Price when reviewed: £33 | Check price at Sephora

Envie’s Cordless Automatic Hair Curler is a neat, portable, and lightweight tool that curls hair at the touch of a button. The principle is simple enough: place a lock of hair into the slot at the top of the curler and allow the winding mechanism to draw in the hair and wrap it around the barrel inside; a timer will beep when it’s time to release your curl. To avoid hair becoming tangled around itself, it’s best to keep the tool still and vertical while it wraps; although, there’s a sensor designed to cut power if hair starts to become tangled. Holding the curler still takes a little getting used to, but once you’ve got the knack, the resulting curls are soft and shiny, and last well.

The Envie Cordless offers six temperature settings ranging from 150ºC to 200ºC, and is suitable for all hair types, from fine to thick. Six timer settings allow you to choose to release hair sooner for a softer, looser look, or later for a more defined curl. There are also two direction buttons, so you can easily choose which way your ringlets will curl. The unit takes around 4 hours to charge fully via USB, and the charge lasts around 1 hour, depending on the times and temperature selected.

Key specs – Styling method: Nano-silver and ceramic barrel with curling motor; Heat settings: 6; Auto shutoff: Yes (60 mins); Cord length: n/a

Check price at Sephora

2. BaByliss Curl Secret 2667U: The best automatic curler for ease of use

Price when reviewed: £120 | Check price at Lookfantastic

BaByliss’s Curl Secret is an easy-to-use automatic curler for creating bouncy curls, using ceramic and ionic technology to protect the hair from heat damage. You insert the end of your hair into the jaw-like entrance to the Curl Secret, then wait while a small motor pulls the hair into the device and wraps it around for you.

There’s a choice of two heat settings – 210ºC or 230ºC – and three timer settings, so you can choose the length of time you want to heat the hair. The Curl Secret emits a friendly beep when it’s time to release the hair.

BaByliss’s curling tool automatically alternates the direction of the curl of each lock to create a natural finish, and uses negative ions to moisturise the hair while heating, keeping dryness, frizz, and breakage to a minimum. The results are soft and shiny curls that last all day.

Key specs – Styling method: Ceramic barrel with curling motor; Heat settings: 2; Auto shutoff: Yes (60 mins); Cord length: 2.5m

Check price at Lookfantastic

3. Remington Curl Revolution CI606: The best automatic curler for longer hair

Price when reviewed: £79 | Check price at Amazon

Longer hair can be tricky to style with manual tools, so an automatic curler can be a good investment for those with extra lengths to handle. The Curl Revolution by Remington features two heated plates set in a rotating barrel at the top of the tool; simply slip a lock of hair into the open slot, and slide the barrel down your hair as it rotates. Since the barrel is open, you can see exactly what’s going on as you curl, and there’s no chance of longer hair becoming caught or tangled in an enclosed chamber. The curler can rotate in either direction at the flick of a switch, and you can also experiment with the tool by holding it at different angles as you draw hair through to produce different styles of curl.

The Curl Revolution offers five heat settings, allowing cooler temperatures for fine hair and hotter settings for thick or coarse hair; a digital display makes it easy to see the setting you’ve selected. The ceramic-coated curling plates glide over hair, leaving it smooth and shiny. This is a good option for longer hair, or if you don’t like the idea of your hair disappearing into a chamber where you can’t see it.

Key specs – Styling method: Ceramic-coated rotating barrel; Heat settings: 5; Auto shutoff: Yes (60 mins); Cord length: 2.5m

4. Dyson Airwrap Styler Complete 2022: Best premium automatic curler

Price when reviewed: £480 | Check price at Boots

Instead of twisting the hair around a barrel using a mechanical motor, Dyson’s Airwrap styler propels dry or damp hair using air. The difference in pressure created by the air as it blows through the vents wraps hair around a heated barrel to create curls, waves, and ringlets. The use of air rather than direct heat from a plate means you can style hair from damp after washing. In addition, the Airwrap styles hair at a cooler-than-typical 150˚C to keep damage to a minimum, while ionic technology preserves moisture and reduces frizz.

The newest version of the Airwrap includes a switch that allows the direction of airflow to be changed between clockwise and anticlockwise for natural-looking curls. There are two barrel sizes (30 and 40mm); two heat and three airflow settings; and a cool shot mode to set each curl. The Airwrap is extremely easy to use – the hair wraps itself around the barrel like magic, and the resulting curls feel soft and look shiny and healthy.

There’s no denying that at nearly £500 the Airwrap Complete is a serious investment; but with four sold every minute, it’s an investment many are willing to make.

Key specs – Styling method: Hot air with Coandă effect hair wrapping; Heat settings: 2 (plus cold shot); Auto shutoff: n/a; Cord length: 2.6m

Check price at Boots

5. Beauty Works Aeris Multi-Styler: Best affordable curling multi-styler

Price when reviewed: £220 | Check price at LookFantasticbest automatic hair curler Beauty Works Aeris Multi-Styler placed on a pink mat

The Beauty Works Aeris Multi-Styler is an excellent choice for those looking for a cheaper alternative to the Dyson Airwrap. This multi-styler arrives with six attachments, including two automatic airflow curling wands of different diameters, three hot brushes and a hair dryer attachment. That means you’ll get an automatic curling experience as well as the option to create smooth styles or an effortless bouncy blow dry.

Despite its more pocket-friendly price – it’s £260 cheaper than the Airwrap – its performance is outstanding. In our tests, its styling power matched that of the Airwrap, even surpassing the latter’s maximum wind speed. It offers three speed settings, three precise temperature settings and a cool shot – all displayed on a screen to deliver fantastic control over your style.

For hair curling, it creates long-lasting curls that hold well. The styler was simple to use and, after a little practice, results were shiny, smooth and uniform. The Aeris is a superb automatic hair curler offering excellent styling versatility – and for its £220 price, it’s incredibly reasonable.

Read our full Beauty Works Aeris Multi-Styler Review

Key specs – Styling method: Hot air with Coanda effect hair wrapping; Heat settings: 3 (plus cool shot); Auto shutoff: N/A; Cord length: 2.5m

Check price at LookFantastic

6. Shark FlexStyle Air Styler & Hair Dryer: Best automatic curler for versatile styling

Price when reviewed: £300 | Check price at Argos

The Shark FlexStyle uses the same air-powered Coandă effect as the Dyson Airwrap (above) to wrap hair around a barrel, creating soft and natural-looking ringlets. Like the Airwrap, the FlexStyle has three temperature and three airflow settings, which can be independently selected using the two buttons on the handle. Unlike the Airwrap (and many of the other automatic curlers on our list), the FlexStyle doesn’t have a direction switch, but instead comes with two 31.75mm curling barrels that you switch between to change the direction of your curls. You can also use the FlexStyle like a normal hairdryer, and the set comes with concentrator and diffuser attachments, plus a paddle brush to help you smooth hair or add lift.

Since the FlexStyle uses air to wrap the hair around a barrel, it can style hair from damp or dry. The curls it creates are soft and bouncy – if perhaps not as shiny as those styled using the Airwrap – and the diffuser, concentrato,r and brush attachments mean the FlexStyle does more than simply curl the hair.

Key specs – Styling method: Hot air with Coandă effect hair wrapping; Heat settings: 3 (plus cool shot); Auto shutoff: n/a; Cord length: 2.44m

Check price at Argos

7. Kiss InstaWave Automatic Hair Curler: Best automatic curler for tangle-prone hair

Price when reviewed: £89 | Check price at Amazon

The slightly scary-looking Kiss InstaWave comes with a rotating barrel featuring prongs that are designed to detangle the hair as you curl. As such, it’s particularly good for dry or frizzy hair that tends to snag on other curlers. Although the prongs look a little alarming, the tool works in a very similar way to others on our list – section the hair, insert a tress into the iron, and press a switch to wrap and curl the hair. The ceramic barrel leaves hair feeling soft and glossy, and it’s easy to change direction as required for natural alternating curls or a more stylised uniform look.

There are two heat settings, the maximum being 210ºC, which should happily style most hair types – although very fine hair might prefer one of the curlers on our list that allows lower temperatures. The Kiss InstaWave is shipped from the US, where it’s a best-seller; note that this means you’ll need an adapter plug to use it in the UK.

Key specs – Styling method: rotating ceramic barrel; Heat settings: 2; Auto shutoff: Yes (90 minutes); Cord length: 2.4m

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