I’ve Tested Hundreds Of Hair Tools, But These Are The Only Ones I’ve Kept

September 18, 2021 at 06:00AM

There is so much that I love about working in the beauty industry, but if I had to get to the core of what makes it brilliant I would say it’s testing all the new product innovations before they hit the shelves. As a beauty journalist with a special love of hair, I have been on factory visits to see how hair straighteners are made, sat in top secret meetings (with an NDA signed) to learn about new-to-market hair technology, and met with the brains behind the development of some the most-loved hair tools in the world.

Over my years in the hair world, I have tested hundreds of hair tools, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. There are some that I’ve hated immediately, others that are great but haven’t worked for my hair type (and have since been re-homed with my friends and family) and then there are those holy-grail launches that, simply put, I’d never part with.

Thanks to the hundreds that I’ve tried (genuinely), I’ve now got a pretty good idea about what makes a hairdryer, curling tong or straightener worth the money. And, to my mind, the following products are the very best electrical hair tools that money can by. Yes, these 16 hair tools are the very ones that are currently taking up residence in my hair cupboard and I’m constantly recommending them. And if the fact that they’ve got a permanent place in my hair styling routine isn’t enough, the fact that they’ve survived numerous rounds of beauty cupboard clear-outs (despite all of the newness coming in) should speak volumes. Trust me, as a beauty editor, there’s no higher form of praise. 

Keep scrolling for the very best electrical hair tools to try now.

As a beauty writer, the question I get asked most is, ‘should I get the Dyson Airwrap or the Supersonic?’ And while I am impressed with the styling possibilities of the Airwrap, I always say the Supersonic. It’s honestly the best hairdryer for all hair types—from fine to super-coily Afro hair, like mine. Your hair feels in great condition after use and the attachments make smoothing out hair a breeze.

A pair of wide irons are a great buy if you have long hair or you wear clip-ins a lot as they can really cut your straightening time down. The Cloud Nine Wide Irons are my pick because of the adjustable heat setting for hair that is longer, but fine in texture or bleached and therefore benefits from a lower temperature to keep it healthy.

Confession: When GHD released their second hot brush I was nonplussed. I didn’t love the GHD glide for my hair so I kind of wrote this off too. However, if you have always wanted to master the round brush blow-dry this is the best tool to cheat it as it makes it simple to both curl hair and add bouncy volume at the root.

The most technologically advanced GHD’s available, I use these multiple times a week to touch-up my hair and it never leaves my strands feeling dry or brittle. The heat remains consistent so one pass is enough for a super-smooth finish. If I’m going away then this is the hot tool I’ll bring as it creates the most perfect curls and waves too

Mini straighteners are a lot harder to find than regular sized ones but they’re worth the hunt if you have shorter hair or a blunt, rounded fringe. These from celebrity hairstylist Dionne Smith can be used as a curler too and the adjustable heat setting—up to 230 degrees—suits all hair types.

These have become my go-to for chucking into my gym bag to use post-spin class or for after work touch-ups before a date or drinks. While they don’t really allow for a full re-style, the 20 minutes of charge is more than enough for fixing sweat- or weather-ruined locks.

First of all, having a tong in your tool kit is so valuable for creating curls that hold—as the clamp means that you can curl right to the end of each section of hair. This tong has intelligent technology that allows you too input your hair texture and condition before it selects the temperature that you personally need for the best curl. Genius.

As someone that has natural hair but straightens it most wash days, I need a straightener that can reach the roots of my hair too—especially for the initial smoothing. The flat edge of this straightener mean that you avoid that bumpy, spongey look at the roots and get an ultra-smooth finish.

Sick and tired of the cord whacking you in the face when you’re waving your hair? This is the perfect addition to you styling routine. It’s so easy to use, allowing you to hold the wand at any angle you need. Plus, it has a 40 minute charge which is more than enough to style your whole head of hair.

This tool from Amika makes achieving mermaid hair (you know, those beachy, s-bend waves) a piece of cake. It’s really user-friendly with adjustable heat setting and a lightweight feel. 

If you grew up with a gas stove hot comb and grease being the root to straight hair then just the image of a hot comb might be scarring for you. Same. However, this new-gen hot comb is a lot safer to use with adjustable heat settings, titanium coating and 60-minute auto shut-off. It’s great for laying wigs.

This is similar to the Amika waver, but the barrel size is a lot bigger so I use this for when I have clip-ins or for my long weave.

The power of steam for hair is undisputed and with the Steampod you can easily infuse smoothing without causing frizz. Important note: f you have Afro hair like me then you do need to really smooth your hair out while blow-drying, as the comb on the Steampod can snag a little if your hair isn’t detangled well before using this.

It’s hard to deny the efficiency of a hot brush, but of all the ones I have tried this is the only one that I haven’t passed on to a friend. I feel like the varying teeth sizes really gripped my hair and made light work of smoothing out strands.

Okay, this is just a handle but it’s actually a gateway to a multitude of styling possibilities. If you like to use a bunch of tools on your hair this is a fantastic (and less expensive) option to have a full styling kit. With wand, brush, waver and many more attachments you have a whole host of styling possibilities on your hands.


This is my top affordable straightener pick. The nanoe particles, which are emitted through the holes in the ceramic plates, help to keep frizz at bay with a boost of hydration alongside. Up next: people always ask how I grow my hair so long—these are my 5 tips.

Author Keeks Reid | Whowhatwear
Selected by CWC

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