Voluminous, shiny curls are the easiest way to glam up your look. Even if you weren’t born with bouncy, glossy curls, you can always convince your hair to spring up for a day or two.

Choosing the right curling iron can be complicated. There are so many on the market: different brands, different models, and definitely different price points. You might be tempted to simply reach for the least-expensive curling iron — or the one with the most glamorous photo on the box.

In general, a curling iron has a clasp that holds the hair in place while it’s being styled. But a curling wand has no clasp; you simply wind the hair loosely around the barrel.

Ultra-small – (0.5- to 0.75-inch barrel) These thin curling irons are perfect for styling very short hair or creating tight, ringlet-style curls on medium-length locks.
Small – (0.75- to 1-inch barrel) Use this handy-sized curling iron to touch up natural curls, create tight curls or flowing waves on medium to long hair, or add some lift and texture to shorter locks.

Medium – (1- to 1.5-inch barrel) This is the perfect size if you want loose curls or beachy waves on medium to long hair. You can also use it to add lift at your roots, flips at your ends, or texture throughout your mane.
Large – (1.75- to 2-inch barrel) The largest curling irons are useful for waving or loosely curling heavy or long hair. You can also use a large curling iron to straighten your hair by loosely wrapping your locks around the barrel, then gently drawing the iron out to the ends.

Scroll down to see our Editor’s favorite curling irons that actually work and won’t break your bank!

Hot Tools Professional 1″ Marcel Iron

Hot Tools Professional 1″ Spring Iron

T3 Whirl Convertible Curling Iron

Hot Tools CurlBar 1″ Curling Iron

Gold Series Curling Iron

Hot Tools Professional 3/4″ Spring Iron

Ceramic Tapered Curling Iron

Pink Titanium Curling Iron

3/4 Inch Curling Iron