Put the bounce back into your style with the best heated rollers from just £18
If you’re looking for salon-style lift and curl, but without the expense of a salon visit, then heated rollers will deliver just those results. They offer a great way to add anything from soft volume to full-bodied curls from the comfort of your home; they’re quick and simple to use, kind to hair, and the waves and curls they create are long-lasting.
Modern heated rollers are made with materials that protect the hair, so you can achieve a soft and glossy finish that will have you looking like you’ve just stepped out of a salon. Heated rollers can be used to add curls to straight hair, or even to smooth out naturally curly hair into softer, vintage-style waves. Read on for our guide to using heated rollers, and then scroll further down for our picks of the best rollers currently on the market.
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How to choose the best heated rollers for you
How do heated rollers work?
Heated rollers have a metal core that transfers heat through the surface of the roller to gently and evenly heat the hair. This allows it to reform into a new shape, which is similar to other heat-styling tools such as curling tongs or wands. When the roller cools, the hair takes on the shape of the barrel.
In common with many heat-styling products, modern heated rollers are made with ceramic-coated cores that help hair retain moisture and seal the cuticle, preventing dryness and frizz. Pricier heated roller models often feature a tourmaline or titanium core, which releases negative ions into the hair when heated, hydrating the hair for an even more smooth and shiny finish.
The exterior of the barrel is usually made from a velvet flocking, ribbed material or classic velcro, which grips the hair and secures the roller in place during styling.
Once the heated rollers have been wound into place, they need to be left to cool in the hair for at least 15 minutes for the curls to set. At this point you can go about the rest of your day – since you don’t need to move the rollers again until you’re ready to take them out, you’re free to eat dinner, get dressed, or start on your makeup. When the curlers have fully cooled, simply remove and gently style for a long-lasting voluminous look.
Which size rollers should I use?
The most appropriate size of rollers to use is determined by the length and thickness of your hair and the style you’re going for. Large rollers help to lift the roots, smooth the hair and add volume; if you’re looking for a classic red-carpet look with lots of bounce, though, then larger rollers will help you achieve this on short-to-medium hair lengths.
If your aim is a tighter, more defined curl – or if you have long and thick hair – use a slimmer roller instead. On short-to-medium length hair this will create a more noticeable curl. On longer hair, the weight of the hair will pull the finished curl into softer ringlets. For a tight curl on longer hair, use the slimmest size of roller available.
How do I use heated rollers?
For the best results, start with dry (or almost-dry), clean hair and prepare it with a heat protection spray. Divide the hair into sections, starting with the front of your hair and leaving the bottom layers until last.
Wrap small sections of hair – no bigger than three inches – around the roller and secure it into place with a clip. Remember that the hair will take on the shape into which you set it, so to ensure the roots are lifted, wind the rollers away from the scalp, lifting the hair as you go.
Leave the curls to set for at least 15 minutes, until the rollers are completely cool, and then carefully unwind your hair to release the newly formed curls. Make sure the curls are completely cool before brushing or styling with the fingers to prevent the curl from dropping. Finish with a spritz of hairspray to hold your new curls in place.
Rollers can usually be cleaned with a damp cloth between uses – always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions, and leave the rollers to dry fully before next using.
How we test heated rollers
At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. As such, we test all the heated rollers we review, using them as recommended on clean, dry (or slightly damp) hair. We leave the rollers in place as per instruction, before removing.
When testing, we confirm the number and sizes of rollers included in the box and any additional accessories provided. First, we measure the time any heated rollers take to reach the desired temperature for styling from the time they’re switched on. We note how long it takes to roll the curlers into mid-length hair, evaluating the overall ease of use, how well they stay in the hair during styling when used as instructed and how comfortable they are once in the hair. We note the shape and bounce of the curls that result, and the finish and feel of the hair after curling. Finally, we evaluate how well the curled hair lasts over the course of a typical day.
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The best heated rollers you can buy in 2024
1. Babyliss Pro Heated Ceramic Roller Set: The best heated rollers for short-to-medium length hair
Price: £53 | Buy now from Amazon
BaByliss has spent 60 years at the top of the hair-styling game, and this 30-piece heated roller set is a brilliant addition to the range. The heating system gets the rollers ready to use in under five minutes, and there are two heat settings to choose from, allowing you to pick the correct heat for your hair texture and thickness. The rollers come in a choice of four sizes, so you can easily create different looks; and the barrels are colour-coded, so it’s easy to see which size is which.
The BaByliss set comes with colour-coded clips to secure your rollers in place, and the whole kit comes with a handy storage box (with a rear arm that flips out so that you can stand the box in place), plus a bag for your clips. A versatile and great-value set for short-to-medium length hair.
Key specs – Maximum temperature: N/A; Heat settings: 2; Rollers: 30 (6 small, 8 medium, 8 large, 8 jumbo); Auto shutoff: No; Storage case: Yes
2. Remington H9100 PROluxe heated rollers: The best-value heated rollers for long and thick hair
Price: £53 | Buy now from Amazon
If you have very long or thick hair, you may find that a dozen rollers won’t cover your head in one sitting. Enter the Remington PROluxe kit – including 20 rollers of two different sizes, this set of heated rollers makes easy work of curling even the thickest and longest of manes. The velvet-flocked rollers warm to an even heat, and the ribbed design helps you to keep a firm grip on them when wrapping the hair around the barrel. We found that the clips did a great job of holding the rollers in place, but some left a noticeable kink in the hair if not attached correctly – so be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
For best results, use the large 32mm rollers on the top sections of the hair to add volume, and the smaller 25mm rollers for the hair underneath to create a tight curl that stays in place for longer. After 15 minutes you’ll be left with a mix of loose and tight curls that brush out to gently tousled waves.
Key specs – Maximum temperature: N/A; Heat settings: 1; Rollers: 20 (8 x 25mm and 12 x 32mm); Auto shutoff: No; Storage case: Yes
3. T3 Volumising Hot Rollers Luxe: The best heated rollers for volume
Price: £88 | Buy now from Amazon
The T3 Volumising Hot Rollers Luxe help to transform limp locks into full-bodied, glossy waves with their clever HeatCore technology. The soft velvet flocking will help to keep the curlers firmly in place, while the tourmaline-ceramic core evenly heats the hair from the inside to keep tresses moisturised and free from damage. Lights indicate when the rollers are at the correct temperature for styling, and their insulated rim is handy when wrapping the hair around the tool. Dual temperature controls help to prevent frazzling the hair; but note that the rollers do reach a maximum temperature of 250˚C, so be sure to apply a heat protector before styling to prevent any damage to your hair. And for added peace of mind, we love that T3 has included an auto-shutoff function, too.
The jumbo-sized rollers are great for adding long-lasting and voluminous waves to hair, but super-short styles will benefit from a set that comes with smaller rollers. Similarly, eight rollers may not be enough to style a full head of thick hair, and the extra tools don’t come cheap at £15 for a pack of two.
Key specs – Maximum temperature: 250˚C; Heat settings: 2; Rollers: 8 (4 x XL, 1.75in and 4 x L, 1.5in); Auto shutoff: Yes; Storage case: Yes.
4. BaByliss 3363U Curl Pods: The best budget heated rollers
Price: £18 | Buy now from Argos
If you’re not yet in the market for the BaByliss Pro set at the top of our list, these great-value rollers from the same manufacturer are a good choice for heated roller newbies for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the set comes in at an extremely budget-friendly £18 – just £1 per roller. Second, the clever pod design means that there are no clips or pins to fiddle with – simply roll the hair around the core of the pod and push down on the top to close the pod and hold it in place.
The unit heats up in three minutes, and an indicator light shows when the pods are ready to use. There’s a carry handle for the heating unit, too, so it’s easy to move, and a storage pouch for the pods when not in use. The 18 curl pods are perfect for creating soft, bouncy curls. If there’s a downside to the set it’s that the pods come in only one size, so tighter curls aren’t an option here. However, if you’re looking for a quick, simple and cost-effective way to create larger, looser curls then the BaByliss Curl Pods offer excellent value.
Key specs – Maximum temperature: n/a; Heat settings: 1; Rollers: 18 (18 large); Auto shutoff: No; Storage case: Yes.
5. TRESemmé 3039U Volume Rollers: The best heated rollers for travel
Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon
This set of 10 rollers in a vibrant hot pink shade comes in a compact travel bag that also doubles as the heating unit. The unit itself is dual voltage, so can be used worldwide – perfect if you want to get your hair beach-ready on holiday, or travel away from home for a wedding or special event.
The rollers have a ridged surface for easily gripping in the hair, and the kit comes with pins to hold the rollers in place. The unit heats up in 10 minutes, and the rollers are all 32mm in diameter – a decent medium-large size for adding volume and soft curl. For regular home use this set is a little light on size options, but the handy travel bag makes it a great option if you like to have hair-styling options when travelling.
Key specs – Maximum temperature: 125ºC; Heat settings: 1; Rollers: 10 (10 x 32mm); Auto shutoff: No; Storage case: Yes.
6. Cloud Nine The O Pod Heated Roller Set: The best heated rollers for fast results
Price: £199 | Buy now from Cloud Nine Hair
Patience may be a virtue – but why wait when Cloud Nine’s rollers can deliver a salon-quality do in a matter of minutes? In fact, place a roller in The O Pod and it will reach optimum styling temperature in just four seconds. What’s more, the rollers won’t get hot until they’re sitting pretty in your hair – not in your hand – thanks to their cool-touch technology, so there’s no risk of burning your fingers.
The O Pod comes with 12 rollers in three different sizes, which is great for creating a custom look – although more rollers of each size would result in a uniform finish. The rollers feel surprisingly lightweight, are easy to wrap (and remove) from the hair without damage, and sit securely in place thanks to the crease-free clips. Plus, unlike other models, the O Rollers have a heat-induction spot that turns black once cooled, so you know when they’re ready to be taken out. The result? Bouncy, soft locks that you can’t help but run your fingers through.
Key specs – Maximum temperature: 150˚C; Heat settings: 1; Rollers: 12 (4 x 30mm, 4 x 40mm and 4 x 50mm); Auto shutoff: No; Storage case: Yes.