Curling Wand vs Curling Iron: Which One is Better?

A curling wand and curling iron are both tools used for styling hair, but they differ in a few key ways.

A curling wand is a simple rod-shaped tool that has a slightly tapered end, which allows for creating different-sized curls. It usually does not have a clamp or any other mechanism to hold the hair in place, and the user needs to manually wrap sections of hair around the wand. Curling wands work by applying heat to sections of hair, resulting in curls that look more natural and relaxed.

A curling iron, on the other hand, has a cylindrical shape and comes with a clamp or clip to hold the hair in place while styling. The clamp helps to create uniform curls and provides more control over the finished look. Unlike a curling wand, a curling iron has a consistent diameter from root to tip, which means that the curl it generates will be consistent in size and shape.

A lot of women would prefer to have some curls and waves to their hair – which is an excellent idea – but the problem sometimes is deciding the right tool to use; whether to use a curling wand or curling iron.

For women who want to take a plunge into the world of curls or for those who are there but aren’t quite clear on the difference between these two curling tools, the question should be what type of curl pattern and style are you going for. To be sure, both of these tools will deliver beautiful curls, however, their differences are so fundamental, and go beyond just their nomenclature. Before we go about figuring out which is best for you, how about we take a look at how they’re different?

Curling Irons Are Used For Curling and Straightening Hairs For Easier Styling

Curling wand and curling iron

The curling iron has a spring lever or clamp, which holds a section of hair in place while you curl. Curling Irons give more defined, elegant, and long-lasting curls. They are great on any type of hair regardless of length or texture, but be mindful of the clamps as they can cause damage to the ends from frequent use. You can achieve different styles with the curling iron, especially depending on the barrel sizes. For example, a 2″ curling iron on shorter hair will create a bend and volume, not a wave or curl, while the ⅜” curling iron will give you corkscrew curls.

If you have particularly long or thick hair, a larger barrel would be advisable. Curling irons tend to be more versatile since they can also be used as wands as well as straighteners.

Curling Wands Are Used For Making Flat Curls and Beach Waves

Curling wand and curling iron

The Curling wand, unlike the curling iron, does not have a clamp, and just as the name implies, the barrel is just like a wand, on which the hair is wrapped around. This means you have to hold down the hair manually with your fingers (a heat-protective glove might be needed here). The curling wand is for loose S-shaped waves of curls that are natural and flowy. It is perfect for creating messy, beachy waves for shoulder-length hair or long hair.

The Curling Wand Comes in Various Shapes

1. Tapered/Conical: With this, you can choose different wave sizes depending on where you wrap your hair on the barrel. Moreover, the end result gives a more natural wave as it tapers off at the ends.

2. Straight: This is shaped just like the curling iron, with the barrel of equal width, and the resulting curls all have the same size.

3. Inverted: With this wand, the curls are tighter at the top but looser at the bottom. This shape of curling wand is however not very popular.

4. Spiral: That wand is shaped is just like a screw, and the hair is wrapped into the spirals for a defined spiral curl

5. Pearl/Bubble: In this design, the wand has some pearls or bubbles on the barrel and the hair wrapped over the pearls. This shape is great for creating different styles.

Other Differences Between a Curling Iron and a Curling Wand

While the curling iron and the curling wand appear to perform the same function, the two are actually very different.

1. Design

As mentioned earlier the curling iron has a spring lever or clamp, while the curling wand does not. The clamp holds down the hair while it is being curled. For the curling wand, you have to hold the hair with your hand after wrapping it around the barrel. Some wands have insulated tips that you can press the ends of the hair too.

The curling wand also comes in different shapes like tapered, straight, inverted, spiral, and pearl, giving you more versatility for less. For example, with the tapered or inverted shaped wand, you don’t need to have different sizes of the barrel to achieve different curl sizes.

2. Usage

The curling wand and the curling iron are used differently. While the curling iron is held facing over your shoulder or away from your face and vertical to the floor with the clamp facing forward; the curling wand is held upside down, over the left or right side of your head with your free hand wrap the hair around the wand, away from your face.

3. End Result

Curling Wand vs Curling Iron

The final results from a curling iron are more defined curls as opposed to the curling wand that is looser and wavier. The curls from the curling iron are ideal for formal occasions like weddings and galas, while those from curling wands, which are more waves than curls, are for social and casual outings.

Pros and Cons of Curling Irons and Curling Wands

Curling Iron


  • It gives those gorgeous looking mane
  • It can withstand heat without burning through your hands.
  • It clamps down on each section of your hair and thus speeds up the process


  • The time it takes to heat the barrel takes longer than curling wands
  • It can be confusing how you want to rotate each section of your strands
  • It has a definite shape

Curling Wand


  • Perfect for messy, undone waves for many hair textures
  • You get to experiment with different hairstyles thanks to the barrel shapes.
  • There are no clamp marks and no damages from consistent usage of clamps
  • The styling time is shortened because of the ease with which the wand is used.


  • Since there is no clamp included in the design, you might burn your fingers
  • It can be uncomfortable to hold your hand in place for the duration of the curling process
  • Not ideal for super short hair

Features To Look Out For When Deciding on a Curling Iron

Below are features to look out for when deciding if you want a curling iron.

1. Heating

The curl takes just a little under a couple of minutes to heat up. You don’t have to wait for too long for this baby to get ready to work.

2. Iron Barrel Size

Here, you want the best barrel size for the kind of finish you want on your hair. If the barrel is narrow, the curls would end up being smaller and tighter. A wide barrel means you would get bigger curls.

3. Heating Plate

Curling irons can be made of ceramic, titanium, chrome, gold, tourmaline, teflon, and their combination. Often high-quality curling irons are made of gold, titanium and ceramic, and tourmaline. Tourmaline is the best of all because it generates negative ions as it heats. These ions help seal your hair’s cuticles, preserving its natural oils. Unfortunately, tourmaline curling irons tend to be the most expensive as it is semi-precious metal.

4. Heating Settings

Heating settings vary from curling iron to curling iron. There are several different curling irons with several heating settings, from the ones that run on up to ten different heating settings, giving you a wide array of options, down to some others that have just one heating setting, and can simply be put on and off.

5. Interchangeable Barrels

As we said, the barrel size determines the size of the curls. For this reason, if you’re someone who might want a bigger curl on one day and a smaller curl on another, I suggest you consider getting a curling iron with an interchangeable barrel, as not all irons have this feature. With an iron that has interchangeable barrels, you don’t need to get another iron for a smaller or a bigger curl than what your current iron can offer.

Features To Look Out For When Deciding on a Curling Wand

Like we mentioned earlier, the key difference between the iron and the wand is a clip found in the iron, which is missing in the wand. Below are what makes a curling wand unique.

1. Heating

The curling wand usually heats up faster than the curling iron. It heats up so fast, you could burn yourself, if you’re not careful or if you do not have safety gloves on.

2. Durability of Curls

Because of the stronger heat of the curl wands, the curls stay all day and all night. This is one reason a lot of people give, who say that they prefer curling wands to curling irons.

Remember that the curling wands have no clips in their wands, therefore they make curls without the clip mark on them. These clip marks look like small indentation marks. However, with the curling iron, this mark appears in every strand of hair.

3. Better End Results

The curling wand heats up much faster than the curling irons with stronger heat, and therefore, better results. That said, the curling iron makes much smoother and shinier curls than the curling wand. For a faster curl, the curling wand is better, but for better-looking hair, the curling iron is better.

Having looked so closely at two different tools that do almost the same thing, one would think that the choice should already be obvious. Not so with the curling wand and curling iron because the choice is a personal thing. What you prefer might be another person’s no-no. So I guess this leaves us with only one question.

Some Recommended Curling Iron and Curling Wands

1. The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron

  • Brand: BaBylissPRO
  • Model: ‎BNT125S
  • Type: Curling Iron
  • Max Temperature: 450°F
  • Barrel Size: 3/4 Inch
  • Auto Shut Off: N/A
  • Dimensions: ‎12 x 1.5 x 3.25 inches
  • Material: Titanium

Curling Wand vs Curling Iron

The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron is for that textured bouncy curls. Its nano titanium barrel uses far-infrared heat, heating the hair shaft from within for styling without damage. It also has 50 heat settings up to 450 degrees and has a turbo heat button to instantly boost heat output for faster results and more defined curls. Its iron uses sol-gel technology which transforms nanoscale particles of titanium & ceramic from liquid to solid form, resulting in higher, more consistent concentrations of each.

What We Like;

  • It uses far-infrared heat, heating the hair shaft from within for styling without damage.
  • It has 50 heat settings
  • Up to 450 degrees high heat

What We Don’t Like;

  • Expensive

2. Remington 3/4″ Ceramic Clipped Curling Iron

  • Brand: Remington
  • Model: Purple, CI5019
  • Type: Curling Iron
  • Max Temperature: 400°F
  • Barrel Size: 3/4 Inch
  • Auto Shut Off: Yes
  • Dimensions: 2.5 x 4.88 x 15.13 inches
  • Material: Ceramic

Curling Wand vs Curling Iron

The Remington 3/4″ Ceramic Clipped Curling Iron is great for defined curls. Its ceramic technology delivers even heat for high shine curls and healthy hair. The curling iron reaches up to 400°F and heats up in just 30 seconds which is suitable for thick and coarse hair types. You can find your preferred heat with 30 different temperature settings to choose from. Plus, automatic shutoff gives you peace of mind with every use.

What We Like;

  • It has up 400°F high heat
  • Its ceramic technology is great for damaged hair
  • It has up to 30 temperature settings
  • auto shut off for safety

What We Don’t Like;

  • Prone to burning if not careful

3. Ghd Creative Curl Wand

  • Brand: Ghd
  • Model: ‎21011
  • Type: Curling Wand
  • Max Temperature: 365°F
  • Barrel Size: 28mm – 23mm
  • Auto Shut Off: Yes
  • Dimensions: 13.75 x 1.13 x 1.63 inches
  • Material: Ceramic

Curling Wand vs Curling Iron

The Ghd creative curl wand features an innovative tapered barrel with a 1″ base and oval .9″ tip, perfect for versatile styling as you can choose different curl sizes depending on where you wrap your hair across the barrel. It also includes a protective cool tip for safety while curling, a built-in safety stand, professional-length cord, 25 second heat-up time, universal voltage, and automatic sleep mode after 30 minutes. And you don’t have to worry about your hair getting burnt; with the ultra-zone™ technology that guarantees a safer-for-hair temperature of 365°F across the entire barrel.

What We Like;

  • Tapered barrel
  • The ultra-zone™ technology
  • 360º swivel cord

What We Don’t Like;

  • Expensive

4. H2D Black X5 Professional Curling Wand

  • Brand: SCOBUTY
  • Model: H2D X5
  • Type: Curling Wand
  • Max Temperature: 230°F
  • Barrel Sizes: 32mm,25mm,19mm, 9mm-18mm
  • Auto Shut Off: Yes
  • Dimensions: ‎37.2 x 25.2 x 7.6 cm
  • Material: Ceramic Tourmaline

Curling Wand vs Curling Iron

This one tool does it all. Its main attraction is the 5 interchangeable heads of different sizes to create the perfect sexy curls, soft waves, and incredible texture depending on what you want. The barrel sizes come in 32mm, 25mm, 19mm, 9mm-18mm attachment, and a reverse conical-shaped barrel.

With this, you don’t have to worry about buying separate heads again. Its micro-porous technology as well as ion field technology ensures that your hair is protected from heat damage and remains moisturized. Unlike other hot styling tools that dry out the hair, the H2D Black X5 Professional Curling Wand does the opposite; it leaves your hair subtle as well as wavy.

What We Like;

  • 5 interchangeable heads
  • Lightweight ergonomic design body
  • LCD Digital temperature control
  • Micro-porous technology locks in moisture
  • Tourmaline barrel
  • Ion field technology that seals in natural oils
  • Anti-tangle cable with 360-degree swivel.

What We Don’t Like;

  • Heats only to 230 degrees which isn’t ideal for coarse or thick hairs.

Some General Tips For Achieving Refreshing Curls

  • Prep your hair with a curl-friendly shampoo and conditioner. (Note that greaser hair tends to hold curls more)
  • Use a leave-in conditioner for extra styling help and don’t forget your heat protectant
  • Don’t curl freshly washed hair or wet hair
  • Use a higher temperature setting if you have coarse or thick hair
  • Choose the right barrel for your curls; smaller barrels-tighter curls; bigger barrels-bigger loose curls
  • You can hold up your curls as you allow them to cool off
  • You can set your style using hair spray

Questions You May Have About Curling Wands and Curling Irons

Which Curling Iron Is Best For Short Hair?

Small-sized barrels are best for short hair, the most suitable shouldn’t be more than 1 inch.

Is a Curling Wand Easier to Use Than a Curling Iron?

Beginners might find using a curling iron difficult to master at first but with patience and practice, you will discover that the curling iron is actually fun to use. The curling wand on the other hand is easier to master as you have to wrap your hair around the barrel by yourself.

Which Is More Expensive, a Curling Wand or a Curling Iron?

Neither is more expensive than the other, as there are numerous brands of curling wand and curling iron in the market. What really determines the price of these tools are the materials they are made of and perhaps if they have some special features. For example, the ceramic and tourmaline ones are more expensive models.

Is It Better to Use a Curling Iron or a Curling Wand for Kinky Hair?

It really boils down to the hair length and style you are going for. It is impractical to use a curling wand on short kinky hair as there is no way to wrap the hair around the barrel manually. This is unlike the clamping lever on curling irons, which hold the hair in place while you twist.

Do I Need To Apply A Heat Protectant Before Curling My Hair?

Yes, just as advised when using any hot styling tool, a heat protectant is essential, as it protects the hair from damage.

What Is The Ideal Temperature For Kinky Hair?

As natural hair typically requires more heat to create definition, a temperature of up to 400 degrees is ideal.

How Long Do You Keep Your Hair On A Curling Iron Or Wand?

It is advisable to hold the hair for between five to ten seconds.


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