Canstar Blue’s hair straighteners review has seen Cloud Nine, ghd, Remington, VS Sassoon and Kmart compared on performance and reliability, ease of use, hair care, weight and size, value for money and overall satisfaction.
They’re a styling staple that many of us simply can’t go without, but which hair straightener is best for your precious hair? While some hair straighteners boast all sorts of technology, what really makes the difference between having a well-designed, reliable straightener, and burnt hair? Who can you really trust?
To find out, we’ve once again surveyed nearly 500 Australian adults to seek their opinions about the hair straightener they have purchased (or been given) and used within the last three years. Brands were rated on performance and reliability, ease of use, hair care, weight and size, value for money and overall customer satisfaction. Five leading brands received the minimum required survey sample size of 30 responses to be included in this year’s ratings. So, what did we find?
Cloud Nine has knocked ghd off its throne to end its four-year reign of dominance. Cloud Nine recorded five stars overall and in the majority of research categories in our latest review. That’s a fantastic achievement considering ghd had previously topped this category every year since we started rating hair straighteners back in 2015.
Here are the best hair straighteners in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2020 review:
Cloud Nine dominated our 2020 hair straighteners review, rating best for performance and reliability, ease of use, hair care and overall satisfaction. It also achieved a respectable four stars for weight and size. ghd managed to keep its five-star streak in the hair care and weight & size departments, but landed on four stars in other categories, including overall satisfaction, with just three stars on value for money.
Remington similarly finished on four stars, but clearly impressed Aussies in terms of value for money as it rated best in this area this year. VS Sassoon and Kmart ended on three stars for overall satisfaction.
Cloud Nine sells a range of hair tools, from dryers to curling wands, with a number of irons also on offer. Cloud Nine’s straighteners are said to be equipped with a MiCOM (MicroComputer) controlled heating system, which adjusts the temperature according to the thermal sensor’s calculations. Combined with Ceramic Heat Element technology, you’re promised to have an iron that provides an even temperature across the entire ceramic surface of the straightener. Additionally, the protective heat guard system helps protect surfaces and carpets from unnecessary burns.
The Cloud Nine hair straightener range includes:
Cloud Nine’s Original Iron is said to be the hair hero, with mineral-infused ceramic plates and temperature control for glossy, long-lasting results. You can select from five different temperature settings (100°C to 200°C) with a heat up time of 20 seconds.
Standing for ‘good hair day’, ghd is a very popular brand of premium hair care products. It’s a UK-based company offering a variety of hair styling tools, including hair straighteners, hairdryers, curlers and hair brushes. It was so well received that for its first two years in operation, the company didn’t even need to advertise because popularity spread so quickly through word of mouth and salon recommendations.
For hair straighteners, ghd offers ghd Gold, which is a premium line known for dual-zone technology – two sensors that aim to maintain 185°C temperature from root to tip. The popular manufacturer also produces the ghd Max styler to help Aussies tame longer and thicker hair, as well as the ghd Mini Styler for short hair and fringes. The brand is similarly famous for its limited-edition products, which generally target trending colours or designs.
Some hair straighteners in ghd’s range include:
Prices start at around $210 for the ghd Original IV styler and max out at $355 for certain models in the platinum+ range, with limited edition gift sets also available for $515.
It may be difficult to believe how one of the world’s most popular brands for items such as hair dryers, epilators, razors and hair stylers initially began as a firearms maker! But that’s the case with Remington, a manufacturer which shot up in popularity since it started expanding and diversifying its range.
Remington produces hair straighteners equipped with PROheat Sensor Technology that maintains heat while you style from root to tip. Expect ceramic plates and variable heat settings. It also offers a couple of hair straightening brushes, one with bristles infused in keratin and argan oil that’s said to straighten and nourish hair. Products typically start from around $30 and go up to the $150 mark for the Keratin & Argan Oil Nourish Straightener.
Some Remington hair straighteners include:
Available across many retail stores in Australia, you’ll find a wide variety of Remington hair straighteners for different hair types. Both flat irons and straightening brushes are sold.
This brand of hair styling tools and products was created by one of the world’s most famous hair stylists, Vidal Sassoon, creator of the bob haircut. VS Sassoon promises that it can provide a variety of hair care benefits with its range of hair straighteners, such as reducing static with the ceramic tourmaline plates and ionic conditioning in several of its models. Other common features include frizz control, steam straightening, ultra-fast heat up and wet to dry styling.
VS Sassoon mostly produces flat irons, but also offers the VS Sassoon Elegance Straightening Brush which retails for $39.95. The different hair straighteners available from VS Sassoon include:
VS Sassoon sticks out as one of the most affordable brands amongst some of the major manufacturers in the industry, staying true to its aim to help people ‘create salon professional results at home’. The range costs between $20 and $130.
For those not keen on investing in a pricier model and just want the cheapest hair straightener out there, Kmart has several affordable options to choose from. The most basic model is the Kmart Mini Hair Straightener, which contains a ceramic coating plate and a PTC heater with a 6-inch plate. It’s also said to heat up to 140℃ in 40 seconds.
Alternatively, the most expensive hair straightener from the retail giant is the Kmart Wide Plate Straightener and is described to be especially suitable for people with thick hair. It features an LED touchscreen, auto-off function, floating ceramic plates and a wide plate design. The Kmart hair straightener is also stated to have a heat up time of four minutes, which reaches up to 230℃.
Hair straighteners available from Kmart include:
Kmart sells both flat irons and straightening brushes, with most available in black.
The brands compared in our 2020 review aren’t the only options. Other experts in the field you may want to look into include:
Known for its vast range of home electrical products, Philips produces both ceramic and titanium hair straighteners, balancing quality with value. Expect to pay between $50 and $150 for the Philips range. Some of its hair straighteners are equipped with ionic conditioning, which is claimed to eliminate static, condition the hair and intensify the hair’s glossiness with the charged negative ions.
The Philips Pro Straightener is boasted to have a 10-second heat up time and floating plates that move when too much pressure is applied to avoid hair damage. Plus, it features extra-long 110mm plates for extra reach when straightening. The model uses ‘ThermoGuard’ technology which apparently increases the temperature in 5°C increments when it’s above 200°C, to avoid unintentional heat exposure. For a simple model, its EssentialCare straightener heats up to 220°C and includes a swivel cord to help prevent tangled wires.
Hair straighteners available from Philips include:
Silver Bullet is not as heavily marketed as some other brands, so it’s something of a hidden gem. The Australian-owned company offer a variety of straighteners featuring titanium, tourmaline and ceramic plates with variable heat settings. Certain models are also designed with a keratin straightening system, including the Keratin 230 Titanium straightener. This comes with variable temperature control, titanium technology and is stated to be ideal for thick and coarse hair. The straightener has 37mm heating plates and includes a mat, clips and comb and brush for all your styling needs. It’s also useful to note that Silver Bullet products come with a two-year warranty.
Silver Bullet hair straighteners include:
Firstly, your hair should be completely dry, unless you have a hair straightener specifically designed for damp hair. It’s also (highly) recommended to apply a heat protection spray or serum to your hair while wet to both make your straightening more effective and to protect your hair from heat damage.
Straighten your hair in sections so it passes smoothly through the straightener and is heated all the way through from both sides. Start from as close to the root as you can get without burning yourself, gently clamp down, and run the straightener down the length of your hair. Don’t hold the straightener in any one place for too long, as this puts you at greater risk of burning your hair or leaving fold marks. You may need to run the straightener over the section multiple times until you get the desired look.
Typically, hair straighteners are categorised by the type of heat plate they use. But there are other differentiating factors, including plate size and overall straightener size, which are also important to consider for different hair types. Several brands also produce ‘mini’ hair straighteners, ideal for travel. While you might have to sacrifice on power with one of these, the small size is convenient to help keep your hair tidy when you’re away from home instead of lugging around a full-sized straightener.
A hair straightening brush is another hair styling tool that has made its debut in the last few years. It’s quite simple – a heated brush that straightens your hair while you brush. It aims to make hair styling faster and more straightforward as you can brush and straighten your hair at the same time – a two in one! While it works faster than a traditional flat iron, it’s not quite as effective as getting that perfectly dead-straight hair.
The price of a hair straightener varies from as little as $10 up to thousands of dollars for lavish designer tools. Our survey shows Aussie consumers spend an average of $157 on new hair straighteners.
When it came to performance and reliability, Cloud Nine, ghd and Remington achieved the highest scores in our latest review. The average price for the models listed above for these three brands sits at just over $220, but this definitely doesn’t mean you should be spending this much to find a decent model that works well. Interestingly, the number of respondents who believe that brand is an important purchase decision factor has dropped significantly from 66% to 29% since last year. A quarter of the respondents (27%) admitted to using a model recommended by friends and family.
You can buy a hair straightener from hair supply shops, electrical retailers, department stores, and in some cases direct from the company’s website. Different kinds of stores will carry different ranges of brands and quality.
If you’re looking for something affordable, Remington rated best when it came to value for money, followed by VS Sassoon and ghd. Kmart’s range of hair straighteners are also significantly cheaper compared to most brands, although it wasn’t able to be rated for this specific category. However, a cheap price might not always lead to cheerful results, with a handful of survey respondents wishing they’d spent more on a better hair straightener (12%).
Or maybe you’re more interested in certain features, especially since styling can get a little… hairy. It’s fair to say safety might be high on the priority list for a few consumers, with two in five (41%) admitting they’ve burned themselves with a hair straightener before. Ouch! It doesn’t help that nearly one in five Aussies have accidentally left their hair straightener on when they’re not at home (17%). Thankfully, a similar number of participants are taking some precautions and at least using a heat mat (18%).
There’s also a large handful of Aussies looking to minimise hair damage from styling (37%), with many using extra products to prevent heat damage (39%). Our research shows Cloud Nine and ghd are the top brands keeping people happy in this area, and have continued to earn a five-star rating in our hair care category since first featuring in this series of reports.
A hair straightener is a great tool if you want smooth, neat hair. But it’s not the only way to style your hair. Your natural hairdo may be amazing just the way it is, and can also stay much healthier without applying heat on a regular basis. But keeping a straightener on hand can come in handy for the special occasions or days where you feel like doing something different with your hair. With a number of brands out there, you are sure to find one to fit your budget.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Content Lead, Megan Birot. She’s an expert on household appliances, health & beauty products, as well as all things grocery and shopping. When she’s not writing up our research-based ratings reports, Megan spends her time helping consumers make better purchase decisions, whether it’s at the supermarket, other retailers, or online, highlighting the best deals and flagging anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: Kamil Macniak/shutterstock.com, Tinatin/shutterstock.com.
*Prices taken from respective retailers, The Good Guys and Appliances Online and correct as of April 2020.
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased (or been given) and used a new hair straightener in the last three years – in this case, 487 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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