25mm vs 32mm Curling Wand: What size curling wand is best?

By: | Last Updated: March 25, 2021

When shopping for a new curling wand, the number of features to consider can become confusing.

Surely the barrel size isn’t that important, a 7mm difference in diameter sounds almost negligible, right?

Well, in fact, just that ¼ inch can impact the overall finish of your hair, depending on its length and style you’re after.

Wands with a smaller barrel can produce a tighter curl, whereas wider wand barrels are more effective at creating a looser, wavier, look.

The length of your hair also needs to be considered. For example, styling short hair with a curling wand too large will not produce defined curls. Trying to style long hair with a barrel that is too small can not only be time-consuming but will be ineffective at creating relaxed, beachy waves.

So what should you choose between the popular 25mm vs 32mm curling wand?

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of each!

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25mm (1 inch) Curling Wands

Bed Head Twirl Junkie 1”  Styling Wand Iron

Nicknamed the “universal” barrel size, the 25mm curling wand is around 0.98 inches in diameter (about 1 inch). It’s popular thanks to the versatility of styles that you can make. Small enough to create curls with definition, but flexible enough to turn your tresses into beachy waves or that classic vintage Hollywood look.

By simply adjusting your technique or brushing out your freshly curled locks, the 25mm barrel is fantastic for beginners and stylists alike to fashion a multitude of hairdos.

For a tight, long-lasting curl that holds all day, hold your hair curler horizontally as you style. For a more relaxed look, style while holding your curler vertically to produce a looser curl with the same tool!

One drawback of using a 25mm wand for all of your curling needs is that it does not easily create larger curls. If you desire a perfectly uniform finish to your curls, this can be difficult to achieve when adjusting your technique.  You may benefit from a larger barrel instead.

The smaller diameter also makes the 1-inch wand suitable for hair that is shoulder length or shorter, unlike the slightly wider 32mm wands which I would recommend for those of you with longer length hair.


  • Styles short, medium, and long hair
  • Can create a wide range of styles
  • Good size for beginners


  • Cannot easily produce large curls
  • Your curls may become uneven when adjusting your curling technique

32mm (1 1/4 inch) Curling Wands

NuMe Classic Curling Wand - 100% Tourmaline Ceramic 32mm Barrel for All Hair Types Black

Love the naturally tousled look of beachy waves?

If you’d like to recreate that look without a weekend visit to the coast, then the 32mm curling wand may be the one for you. Measuring around 1.25 inches, the slightly larger barrel makes it easy to form relaxed, bohemian locks, without the salty air.

Of course, that extra 7mm does make it harder to create a tighter curl. The looser the curl, generally speaking, the faster they will drop. So, when using a larger wand I recommend locking in your look with a spritz of hairspray to help your curls last the day.

The larger barrel provides a bigger surface area to distribute heat to the hair, making it perfect for styling longer/thicker hair.

Le Angelique 1.25 Inch Large Barrel Ceramic Curling Wand for Long Hair & Big Beach Waves Curls - 32 mm Professional Thick Wide Curler Iron with Glove And 2 Clips, 450F Instant Heat, Dual Voltage -Pink

One of the most common mistakes that can lead to curls with a short life-span is not allowing enough heat to penetrate the hair before releasing the section you are curling. This can also lead to uneven curls, so it is important to make sure the barrel is big enough to

My short-haired stylists may prefer to opt for a smaller-sized barrel to maintain the versatility of styles they can create. Larger barrels are harder to get the hang of controlling. For hair that is too short to wrap around it with ease, you may be causing yourself unnecessary stress.

Remember, the bigger the barrel does not equal the better the curl, instead, it is best to invest in the right curling wand for your hair type.


  • Great for styling medium to long length hair
  • Great for beach waves
  • Perfect at creating relaxed waves & wavy curls


  • Cannot create tight curls
  • Not great for shorter hair
  • Harder to control than smaller barrels
  • Looser curls can fall out faster

What’s better, curling wand or curling iron?

Barrel sizes vary in both curling wands and curling irons, but what is the difference? Furthermore, which one is better? The key differences are the design and the looks you want to create with each tool.

KIPOZI 1.2 Inch Curling Iron with Ceramic Coating Barrel, Hair Curler with Anti-scalding Insulated Tip, Dual Voltage,Include Heat Resistant Glove(Rose Pink) for Mother's Day

Curling irons have been around for over 100 years and are fantastic at creating the traditional ringlet-shaped curl. The design includes a clamp that holds the end of your hair in place as you rotate the barrel towards your roots.

Its easy-to-use design has made them a popular choice amongst stylists for generations, just be careful as the clamp can cause the hair to crease but with practice, this can be avoided.

Curling wands are a more recent entry into the hairstyling world. Their modern, clampless design is available in a standard barrel width, as well as a conically tapered shape, allowing a greater variety of shapes to your curls.

The removal of the clamp also eliminates the risk of creasing to the hair, although does make the wand slightly more difficult to use. To reduce the risk of burnt fingers, I recommend using heat protectant gloves while you master your technique.

Should I get a 25mm or 32mm curling iron?

25mm or 32mm curling iron for long hair – Curling Diva

Now, if you’ve decided to use a curling iron with a clamp/clip instead of a wand, the next question to ask would be ‘which size’?

The same principle applies to curling irons when it comes to barrel size. If you’re after loose curls or you have long hair, get at least a 32mm (1.25 inches) curling iron. Go even bigger for looser curls or longer hair. There are plenty of large barrel curling irons to choose from.

For tighter or well-defined curls, or perhaps you have short hair, then get the 25mm (roughly 1 inch) curling iron. Go for smaller barrels for tighter curls and shorter hair.

25mm vs 32mm curling wand: The Bottom Line

Now to answer the question, “Which is better: 25mm or 32mm curling wand?”, is ultimately dependent on your hair type. Both sizes can deliver fantastic results, however, shorter hair will find styling easier with a smaller barrel.

If you are new to curling your hair and want to experiment with a range of looks I recommend starting with a 25mm (1 Inch) barrel. Its diverse range of curling capabilities makes it the perfect starter tool.

Those of you with longer hair do have greater flexibility. Instead, I recommend picking a tool that best delivers the range of styles you are looking for.

If you’ve got very long hair, or you prefer a softer curl I recommend a 32mm barrel, you will find it easier to create an even overall look. But, if it’s tight, defined curls you want, you may prefer a smaller barrel to ensure your curls stay intact for as long as possible.

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