Do you ever arrive at parties with your curls already limp from travel? Do you go on vacations wishing you had the perfect beach waves while taking pictures?
Do you ever find yourself looking at mall mirrors, wishing you could quickly touch up your curls like you could your makeup?
Well, I know I constantly do.
If you’ve ever had the same thoughts, you might want to get a cordless curling iron, stat. They’re handy, portable, and straightforward to use!
You don’t have to be an on-the-go gal to maximize them. They’re versatile styling tools and great for many reasons, so you can consider getting one as your primary curling iron, too.
Things to consider when choosing a cordless curling iron
Cordless curling irons either run on rechargeable lithium batteries or butane cartridges. Models that run on lithium batteries are rechargeable but have a short runtime. Butane cartridges, on the other hand, last longer and only have to be refilled when drained.
Stylists that work for hours are going to appreciate butane-powered cordless irons. If you’re going on a camping trip, I’d suggest the same. You won’t need to worry about charging your unit or bringing cables and a power bank.
However, if you’re working solo, getting a rechargeable iron is the way to go. You won’t need to buy more cartridges or have to go through the trouble of manual refills.
A wide range of heat settings means the curling iron can accommodate more hair types. If you’re a stylist, you might want a cordless iron with five heat settings or more.
But if you’re purchasing the tool for yourself, considering just your hair profile will be fine. High heat settings are needed for coarser hair, while low heat is more appropriate for fine or fragile hair types.
The barrel material affects how fast the barrel heats up and how well it distributes heat to your hair.
If you have fine or fragile hair, you might want to prioritize a ceramic or tourmaline barrel. Otherwise, a tourmaline barrel would be great. Metal heats up faster and distributes heat uniformly through coarse strands.
Cordless curling irons are small, to begin with, so they usually only come with a ⅝-inch or a 1-inch barrel.
A ⅝ – inch barrel would have no trouble styling short to medium-lengths of hair. However, 1-inch barrels are more versatile and can cater to all lengths.
A 1-inch barrel can help you pull off loose waves or tight curls too, so I’d suggest going for this barrel size unless you’d like to take a slightly more portable unit with you. In which case, the Aokitec ¾-inch Cordless Ceramic Hair Curler might be a great compromise.
Also, consider barrel length. A portable curling iron may have a relatively shorter barrel, so finishing a full head of curls might take longer — especially if you have long locks.
READ: The Best 1-inch curling iron
Size and design
Not everyone buys a cordless iron to take with them on a trip. Some prefer a full-length iron without the limitations a wired unit holds over them.
If this is the case, stick to irons that measure twelve inches or longer. Longer barrels do the job faster. If you prioritize portability and have short hair, feel free to choose smaller models, such as Vodana’s Lovely Wave Curling Iron.
Other aspects to weigh on include: color options, clamp length, handle material, controls, temperature displays, and battery indicators. These may seem like minute details, but aesthetics and ergonomics go hand in hand and could make or break a seemingly perfect styling tool.
It’s essential to know how much watts your cordless curling iron consumes. The more watts it requires, the faster it will deplete its reserved power.
This may clue us in on how long your cordless unit may last when fully charged. Most cordless curling irons will require about 30 to 50 W. This should give you about 30 to 40 minutes of uninterrupted styling.
Higher temperatures will require more energy. So, if your iron is constantly on its highest setting, expect less time on your iron, too.
Wattage, however, does not define how long it will take to charge your unit. If you use the appropriate adaptor indicated by your unit’s manual, a quicker charge is possible.
The Best Cordless Curling Irons: Our Top Picks
Conair Unbound Cordless Titanium 1-inch Curling Iron
Conair starts this list off strong with the Unbound Cordless Titanium 1-inch Curling Iron. It reaches up to 400°F and needs only a minute to heat up to this setting.
Its titanium barrel is perfect for thicker and coarser hair types as it ensures uniform heat distribution despite quick heating times. The curling iron is only a foot long and weighs less than a pound, but it doesn’t compromise other features for the sake of portability.
The Unbound Cordless Curling Iron has four settings and an auto-off feature, all of which are easily monitored using the LED temperature display and adjusted with the press of a button. It also has a clamp that allows you to style with ease.
This model comes with a USB cable and lithium batteries. Once completely charged, it can last for about 25 minutes of uninterrupted styling.
This makes the Conair Cordless Titanium 1-inch Curling Iron a great companion during spontaneous excursions or your best-kept secret for maintaining perfect curls.
|Four heat settings with a maximum of 400°F|
Small, portable design
Rechargeable and allowed in a carry-on
|Can’t be used while charging|
Only has a 25-minute battery life
Takes longer than 4 hours for a full charge
Unplugged Beauty Cordless 1-inch Curling Wand
Lock in your curls or fix them real quick with this beautiful rose gold titanium wand. It packs serious heat and switches seamlessly between low and high temperatures too.
This 1-inch wand is clipless to avoid the clunky dents clamping might impart in the process. Instead, this wand encourages wrapping and twirling locks with the help of a cooling tip.
This design, however, might not appeal to everyone as many users rely on the convenience a clip provides while styling. If you aren’t willing to learn how to style without one, you can try the other choices on this list.
Still, the 40-minute battery life and multiple heat settings make this cordless curling wand a winner. It’s perfect for a trip overseas as it runs on dual voltage. Charge it at night while you sleep and have it ready when you wake up for a full day’s use.
|Beautiful rose gold titanium wand with black or white handle options|
Multiple heat settings reaching a maximum of 400°F
Lasts up to 40 minutes when fully charged
|Doesn’t have a clamp|
Can’t be used while charging
Weighs about a pound and a half
VODANA Professional Cordless 1-inch Lovely Wave Curling Iron
This is, without a doubt, one of the cutest curling irons available today. Don’t let its baby pink exterior fool you, because it packs 400°F of heat into its nine-inch body.
Vodana puts safety first by adding a heat shield and protective caps over the Lovely Wave Curling Iron’s barrel. Damage is minimized by its ceramic coating, making it compatible with both fine and coarse hair types.
You can take this mini curling iron with you anywhere and achieve loose waves or corkscrew curls without a problem. It’s a bit on the shorter side compared to other cordless curling irons, but its long clamp helps achieve styles effortlessly.
This curling iron is very easy to operate and lasts up to 40 minutes when set at 392°F. It comes with a Type C USB charging cable, so you can charge it like you would any Android phone. Just make sure to use a 5 V, 2 A adaptor for quick charging.
Vodana’s Lovely Wave Curling Iron may be a new player in the cordless styling scene, but it’s proved its reliability thus far — and in an irresistibly pink package to boot!
|Has a clamp as long as its barrel|
Includes a heat shield, cool tip, and protective caps
Lasts up to 40 minutes on the lowest setting
Measures less than a ruler
|Has only three heat settings|
Has a relatively shorter barrel than other cordless irons
Aokitec 3/4 inch Cordless Ceramic Hair Curler
The Aokitec ¾-inch Cordless Ceramic Hair Curler is both impressively light in your hand and for your wallet. It delivers a premium at a fraction of the usual cost, so it’s difficult not to gush about.
Weighing just half a pound, this gray curling iron delivers up to 420°F of heat, and its tourmaline ceramic barrel ensures shiny, soft curls and less frizz. It also uses positive temperature coefficient (PTC) technology which aids in fast heat-up times and accurate heat distribution.
This styling tool is different in that it has an anti-scalding PC shell and an insulated safe tip to avoid accidental burns. Aokitec is especially generous in addressing safety concerns as this unit comes with a glove and a sleek storage bag.
This model has many things going for it, but I must point out that it lacks an ample barrel length. Its clamp may not be as tight as well, so I don’t recommend this for long hair.
If quick styling and touch ups are your main reasons for buying a cordless iron, then Aikotec’s cordless curler will be more than enough to serve your needs.
Safety protections against accidental burns
Uses PTC technology for accurate and fast temperature adjustments
|May not last a full 40 minutes due to its high heat settings|
Barrel clamp not tight enough to hold your locks in place
Has a short barrel
BaByliss ¾-inch Pro Cordless Styler
BaByliss offers an alternative to rechargeable curling irons as this next model operates on a Thermacell liquid energy cell. This means a much longer work time thus allowing you to really maximize this styling tool.
It has a high-heat ceramic barrel that can be interchanged with a brush attachment. This wand may lack a clamp, but it has a brush that adds volume which other cordless options don’t have.
If you find yourself going on a remote trip or booking tickets for a festival, the Pro Cordless Styler would make for the best companion. You’ll be able to style your hair in the morning and bring it with you wherever you go to make the look last an entire day or more! You won’t need to charge the unit at all.
Like the other portable irons on this list, the tradeoff is a short barrel. But, this does not take away from the many benefits BaByliss packs into this cordless styler. Other people may worry about carrying a liquid energy cell in their bags, but the Pro Cordless Styler has a durable build and includes a protective sleeve to ensure your utmost safety.
|Includes a brush attachment|
Long continuous work time
Includes a cool tip and a protective sleeve for safety
|Has a relatively short barrel|
Need to be careful with its liquid energy cell
Only 1 heat setting
ThermaCell by Conair Compact Curling Iron
Conair doesn’t just offer rechargeable cordless options but has the compact ThermaCell which runs on a butane cartridge too.
Like the Unbound Cordless Curling Iron, this model heats to the necessary temperature pretty fast. If you ever find yourself late for a meeting but would like to squeeze in a few gorgeous curls for that confidence boost, the ThermaCell won’t let you down.
This is a compact iron with a ⅝ – inch barrel. Dramatic vintage curls and loose waves are possible with these dimensions and very easy to do given its ergonomic design. This neon pink iron is only 9 inches long and weighs half a pound. Even in its bright pink plastic case, it is light and easy to bring.
Best of all, you won’t need a charging cable. However, like the BaByliss Cordless Styler, this curling iron does not have adjustable heat settings. If you have fragile hair, it’s best you look for an alternative that uses lower heat.
|Heats up in two minutes|
Lasts longer than battery-powered curling irons
Bright and compact design
|No adjustable temperature settings|
Extra precaution is needed given the butane cartridge it uses
Lunata’s 1-inch Belisa Cordless Styler
The 1-inch Belisa Cordless Styler has a titanium barrel that reaches up to 400°F at its highest setting. You can style on the move with this curler as it lasts up to 30 minutes on its maximum setting and even longer in lower temperatures. The Belisa charges in just two and a half hours, too, so you’ll certainly be able to maximize it.
This unit is surprisingly light, weighing less than half a pound. It’ll be easy to carry around and use all day, leaving extra room in your bag for spare batteries.
The Belisa is designed to make styling effortless and convenient. This is made evident by the digital temperature and battery indicator on its sleek handle. Aesthetics aren’t set aside for convenience either. Users are allowed to choose between a white and black handle depending on their preferences.
This model costs a bit more than the others, but if you’d like premium looks to match grade A functions, the classy Belisa would make a great addition to your collection.
|Weighs less than half a pound|
Reaches 400°F on its highest setting
Includes a clamp
|Lasts only 30 minutes on high heat|
Can’t be used while charging
If you thought cordless curling irons were game-changers, hold your praise, because the Padcist Magicrod takes convenience to greater heights.
The Magicrod has six temperature levels that cater to different hair types, and six time settings that generate varied styles. Its multi-directional action allows for reversed curls and avoids tangles too.
With 60 minutes of runtime and an auto shut-off feature, you’ll be able to hold off charging for a day or two. The tool is very easy to use, and anyone that wields it can become an expert, finishing a head of curls in under 20 minutes.
Its ceramic curling chamber includes heat insulation for skin and eye protection. Padcist also includes a storage bag for the unit, making it easier to carry around with you.
Because it has a 500 mAh Li-ion capacity, The Magicrod can even double as a power bank!
This model sets the bar really high for the next cordless automated tools that followed suit. A lot of the cordless automatic curlers these days are patterned after this design.
Measures just over half a ruler
Multi-directional curl action
Six heat control and time settings
Insulated ceramic chamber
|Takes about four and a half hours to charge|
Curl size and style can’t be manually adjusted
What are the advantages of using a cordless curling iron?
The obvious advantage of cordless curling irons lies in their portability. They’re usually small and handy, so they’ll fit in most bags and large purses.
That said, they allow you to make temporary curl fixes or style your hair on the go. If you have short hair or need just a few minutes to prepare, a cordless curling iron would be perfect for you.
What are the disadvantages of a cordless curling iron?
Cordless curling irons were made mainly for portability, so don’t expect them to have long wands or clamps. This may make styling long and thick hair a bit difficult.
Also, they may not last long enough if you don’t fully charge them. You might run the risk of getting only half the job done. If you take a long time fixing your hair, or if you aren’t used to curling irons yet, you might want to experiment with a wired curling iron for now.
However, going cordless is still very much worth it. Their pros outweigh their cons, especially if you’re a multitasker and want to do other things while styling your hair or often find yourself needing to fix your curls while you’re out and about.
How do you use a cordless curling iron?
Cordless curling irons are still very similar to their traditional counterparts, so that you can use them pretty much the same way. The main difference is that they’re more portable than your usual iron.
- Make sure your unit is fully charged. If your unit uses a butane cartridge, keep a spare cartridge at the ready.
- Apply a heat protection spray or serum, and brush your hair to get rid of tangles.
- Separate your hair into equal sections. Use clips to keep the partitions in place.
- Turn your cordless unit on and adjust it to the temperature or setting you wish to use. Then, wait for the iron to heat up.
- Take the lock of hair you intend to start with.
- If your unit is an automatic curler, simply feed the section into the curling chamber and allow it to work its magic.
- If your unit is also a flat iron, wrap the section around a plate and clamp it shut for a few seconds. Then, slide the iron down slowly to release the curl.
- If your unit is a curling wand, start from the end of your chosen section. Use the clamp if it comes with one, and twirl the unit until you reach your roots. Hold it for a few seconds before letting go to form a curl.
- Use hairspray to keep the style in place.
- Charge* your iron, especially if it’s nearly drained. You’ll want to be ready for quick fixes or for the next time you’re going to need it. It could be sooner than you think!
* If your unit uses a butane cartridge, refill it once it’s drained.
Precautions for using a cordless curling iron
If you’re bringing your cordless iron overseas, take note of its power source. Lithium batteries are allowed on board a plane, so you won’t have a problem bringing your iron in a carry-on.
Cordless curling irons come in different wattages, so be careful not to plug them in without checking for socket voltages. If you’d like, bring a voltage converter so that just the right amount flows into your unit while charging.
If you’d rather not worry about voltages, get a dual voltage iron, such as Unplugged Beauty’s instead. They’re great for travel because they’re compatible with 110 V-120 V and 220 V-240 V outlets. Just make sure to bring an adaptor with you so that you’re able to plug them in no matter the continent you’re visiting.
Check out: The Best Dual Voltage Curling Irons For Travel
A protip would be to carry extra batteries for your rechargeable curling iron like you would for your camera. Just note that most airlines only allow you to carry two spares in a carry-on. You can’t carry more in checked-in baggage either.
On the other hand, Butane-powered curling irons are great if you’re going somewhere remote or going for days without power. They don’t need to be charged and will surely last you your entire trip.
However, you will have to check your local airport’s regulations to see whether or not they’re allowed in carry-on and checked-in baggage. If you can’t verify this, then bring a rechargeable iron and a power bank instead.
Can I charge my cordless curling iron with a power bank?
Sure you can! You can use your laptop too, if your unit comes with a compatible USB cable.
Cordless curling irons may be smaller, but they use a lot of power to reach the high temperatures precise styling demands. Bringing a power bank with you would be a great idea, especially if you’re going someplace remote.
How long should I charge my cordless curling iron?
Charging times may vary depending on the model you’re using. It mostly takes two to three hours to charge a unit fully.
However, other models like the Conair Unbound Curling Iron take up to four and a half hours. If it takes this long, you can always charge your unit before going to bed. That way, it’s ready for a day’s styling by the time you’re up.
How long do butane cartridges last?
Butane cartridges can last from four to six months, depending on how much you use your cordless curling iron.
The Padcist Magicrod is an easy favorite. Its benefits combine the freedom provided by a wireless unit and the time saved by automation. The styling process can’t be manually customized, but its many heat and time settings make up for this shortcoming if you can call it that.
The Magicrod isn’t just great for its portability. It’s an excellent styling tool overall and could well belong in other lists too. However, if you prefer manually controlling your cordless iron, I’d suggest the Unplugged Beauty Cordless Curling Wand.
It lasts long and is lightweight, making it great for travel. Best of all, it’s dual voltage, so you can use it no matter the continent you’re in!
The options on this list work well as the main styling tool too. They may be smaller than traditional curling irons, but that doesn’t make them a substandard replacement.
Cordless convenience might not be something you think you need until you experience it, so I highly urge you to try it. Once you do, wired styling tools just might be a thing of the past to you!