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The best GHD hair straighteners you can buy in 2024

Which is the best GHD straightener for your hair type? We compare the top models

When you think of hair straighteners, you probably think of the GHD brand. While other electrical beauty products are available, GHD has become completely synonymous with heat styling, and straightening in particular (much like Hoover is with vacuum cleaners or Biro is with pens). Launched just over 20 years ago, GHD’s revolutionary ceramic plates made fast and heat-safe styling an achievable reality; the straighteners quickly became the default choice for styling salons and backstage at fashion shows, and an equally popular choice for home styling.

Today, the brand has expanded from its original straightener to offer around half a dozen different models of GHD straighteners, suitable for a range of hair types. GHD has also extended into hair dryers and hot brushes, allowing the creation of a vast range of styles and looks, from super-sleek straight hair to fashionably beachy waves. Hair health remains a priority for GHD, with new models featuring intelligent heat sensors and protective technology that reduces damage to heat-treated hair.

We’ve tested the current lineup of models to help you choose the best GHD straightener for your hair type and the look you want to achieve. If you’re in the market for a premium straightener, read on for our guide to choosing the best GHD straightener for you, followed by our rundown of the current choices below.

READ NEXT: The best hair straighteners to buy

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Best GHD hair straighteners: At a glance

Best GHD for straightening curly hair: GHD Platinum Plus Styler | £229
Best GHD for creating straightener curls: GHD Gold | £179
Best cordless GHD straightener: GHD Unplugged | £299

How to choose the best GHD hair straighteners for you

How do hair straighteners work?

All hair straighteners work by heating the hair using metal plates. The heat causes the hydrogen bonds in the hair to break (a process that also takes place when the hair is wet); the straightening tool then passes over the hair, holding it in a new, flat position that remains when the hair cools.

GHD’s innovation was to coat the metal plates in ceramic, which typically heats more gently and evenly in order to minimise damage from hot spots in the plates. The ceramic plates, set on “floating” springs, glide easily and evenly over the hair without snagging, leaving a smooth and glossy finish. The ceramic material also reduces the number of strokes required to straighten the hair, and therefore the amount of time that the hair is exposed to heat, which reduces damage to hair over time.

What temperature do GHD straighteners heat up to?

All GHD hair straighteners heat up to 185ºC, which the brand says is the optimal temperature for damage-free heat styling. The premium straighteners in the range come with intelligent heat-sensing technology that monitors and adjusts the temperature of the tool as you straighten, helping to maintain the correct temperature for styling without risk of scorching or heat damage. If you straighten your hair often then you may want to consider spending a little more on a tool that includes this heat-sensing technology.

What size heating plates are best for me?

GHD straighteners come in a few different sizes. If you have long, thick or curly hair, the larger plates are great for getting through lots of hair more easily, but less effective at curling and styling. If you want to use your straighteners to create beachy waves and straightener curls, plates of around one inch are better for curling and shaping the hair. Short hair – or short sections of hair around the face – will fare best with thinner plates under an inch in width, which are great for precision styling.

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How should I use my GHD hair straighteners?

Before starting, make sure your hair is clean and completely dry. Section the hair and spray with a heat-protective product to keep heat damage to a minimum (this will also help your chosen style to last longer). Start with the bottom layers of hair near the neck and behind the ears, working your way up to the crown. Depending on the length and thickness of your hair, it will take around 20-30 minutes to straighten from dry.

To create waves and curls, simply wrap each tress of hair around the tool and pass the straightener along the hair, as directed above, allowing the hair to roll around the straightener rather than holding it straight while it cools – your hair will take on a curled shape instead.

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How we test GHD hair straighteners

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. With that in mind, we test all the GHD straighteners we review at home on clean, dry hair, having first applied a heat-protective spray. Where possible, we test on more than one hair type.

We start by confirming the specifications of each model of GHD straightener, including the material from which the hot plate is made, and the weight and dimensions of the tool. We record the time the tool takes to heat up once it’s switched on, and measure how long it takes to style a full head of hair (noting the hair length and texture on which we’re testing). We pay attention to how each GHD straightener feels in the hand and how easy it is to use. For cordless models, we check the stated battery life in use. We assess the softness, shine and feel of the hair after styling, and how well styles last over the course of a typical day. Finally, we note any additional features, such as intelligent heat sensing and auto switch-off, plus any accessories included in the box.

READ NEXT: The best hair dryers to buy

The best GHD hair straighteners you can buy 2024

1. GHD Platinum Plus Styler: Best for straightening curly hair

Price when reviewed: £229 | Check price at John Lewis

best ghd hair straightener ghd platinum plus

Launched in 2018, the Platinum Plus is a considerable technology and design upgrade from the Original model (featured below). The hinge of the tool is a smoother “wishbone” style, which not only looks sleek and stylish but prevents the hair from becoming caught. The plates themselves are an elegant matte black. The tool heats up in just 30 seconds, and promises super-fast and super-safe styling.

Most importantly, the Platinum Plus uses GHD’s most advanced intelligent predictive heat technology that measures and adjusts the temperature of the tool constantly as you style. The result is evenly distributed heat that won’t scorch the hair. And because the correct temperature is maintained, the plates won’t cool and you won’t have to run them through the same tress of hair more than once.

Meeting its promise of a single pass to straighten each tress of hair, we found that the Platinum Plus straightened our curly hair in a matter of minutes, leaving noticeably shinier, healthier strands. Available in classic black and white, there are also a range of limited edition colours including Rose Gold, Alluring Jade, Pink Peach and Warm Pewter.

Key specs – Plates: Floating ceramic; Maximum temperature: 185°C; Voltage: Universal; Cord length: 2.7m swivel cord; Automatic shut-off time: 30 minutes; Warranty: 3 years; Weight: 750g

Check price at John Lewis

2. GHD Original: Best introduction to GHD straighteners

Price when reviewed: £129 | Check price at GHD Hair

GHD’s Original hair straightener was a game changer back in 2001, and continues to be a firm favourite with both home and salon stylists for being quick, effective and straightforward to use.

The design and features of the Original have been periodically updated since the tool launched, and the current version features an improved ceramic coating that heats evenly across its entirety, ensuring a healthy temperature of 185ºC is maintained while styling. The new coating also has a glossier finish that helps the plates glide even more easily over hair, minimising the number of strokes you need to achieve a smooth and straight finish.

The Original heats up in just 30 seconds, and with its swivel cord is easy to manoeuvre around the head, even the tricky spots round the back. The finish is sleek and glossy, even on hair that starts out curly or frizzy. Stylish and straightforward, the Original is a great way to start your GHD straightener journey.

Key specs – Plates: Floating ceramic; Maximum temperature: 185°C; Voltage: Universal; Cord length: 2.7m; Automatic shut-off time: 30 minutes; Warranty: 2 years; Weight: 700g

3. GHD Gold: Best for creating straightener curls

Price when reviewed: £169 | Check price at Amazon

GHD’s Gold model of straightener differs from its brandmates as a result of its lightweight, rounded barrel that makes it easy to manoeuvre the tool around the head. This barrel design is also particularly good for creating straightener curls and waves – simply wrap your hair around the barrel where you’d like the curl to start, and allow your hair to roll around the barrel as you draw the tool through your hair. Hey presto! Flowing straightener curls.

The Gold heats up in under 30 seconds, and uses two heat sensors to maintain an even temperature across each plate. Overall this model is heavier than some of the other GHDs, however, the Gold is solidly built and glides through the hair easily for ‘one-stroke straightening’ on most hair types. Straight and curled styles both stay in place well all day after styling, and for safety there’s an automatic shut-off after 30 minutes.

Key specs – Plates: Floating ceramic; Maximum temperature: 185°C; Voltage: Universal; Cord length: 2.7m; Automatic shut-off time: 30 minutes; Warranty: 2 years; Weight: 970g

4. GHD Platinum Plus Festive Gift Set: Best GHD straightener for gifting

Price when reviewed: £239 | Check price at GHD

best ghd hair straightener ghd platinum plus gift set

If you’re looking for a Christmas gift for the beauty lover in your life, the Platinum Plus Festive gift set brings together the ultra-fast and healthy straightening of the Platinum Plus model with a handy can of GHD’s Bodyguard heat-protective spray, a wide paddle brush to finish your style after straightening, and an elegant heat-resistant carry bag so your giftee can carry the straightener anywhere.

As we note in our review of the Platinum Plus above, the intelligent predictive heat technology constantly monitors the temperature of the tool so that you get fast, one-stroke straightening results that won’t scorch or damage hair. The Bodyguard spray with protective polymers smells pleasant and is lightweight, leaving hair shiny and flexible after styling with no crispy crunch. The paddle brush is a handy addition for smoothing down flyaways after straightening and putting the finishing touches to beachy waves.

At £239, the complete gift set is only £10 more than the standard straightener, making this a great festive gift bundle. Also available at the same price is the Platinum Plus set in limited edition Alluring Jade – this bundle includes a carry case in dusky pink velvet, but no brush or heat protection spray.

Key specs – Plates: Floating ceramic; Maximum temperature: 185°C; Voltage: Universal; Cord length: 2.7m swivel cord; Automatic shut-off time: 30 minutes; Warranty: 3 years; Weight: 750g

Check price at GHD

5. GHD Unplugged: Best cordless GHD straightener

Price when reviewed: £299 | Check price at John Lewis

GHD’s Unplugged model is the latest addition to a growing market of high-performance cordless straighteners designed for styling on-the-go. The Unplugged is light at just 300g, which is half the weight of some comparable straighteners. And at 22cm long, it’s also compact enough to fit in a handbag for day-to-evening styling.

While the Unplugged straighteners are lightweight and compact, they still pack GHD’s trademark technology, including ceramic plates and dual-zone heat sensors (similar to those used in the GHD Gold) to maintain a consistent temperature. The styling plates measure 2cm across, so are slightly narrower than the plates of full-size stylers; but the handle is a similar width to that of GHD’s other stylers and feels comfortable and nicely balanced in the hand.

The tool heats up in 45 seconds and a single battery lasts 20 minutes from full charge. This will be fine for most hair types, but very long or thick hair may need more than one charge to style a full head of hair. We like that the Unplugged is charged via a standard USB-C port, so you don’t need to pack or scramble for a proprietary charger. It can even be charged from your laptop if you’re fixing your hair at work, and it switches itself off after just three minutes if not used, to help preserve the battery. Available in a choice of matte black or white, the GHD Unplugged is a great option if you travel often or like to change your hairstyle during the day.

Key specs – Plates: Ceramic; Maximum temperature: 185°C; Voltage: Universal; Cord length: n/a; Automatic shut-off time: 3 minutes; Warranty: 2 years; Weight: 300g

Check price at John Lewis

6. GHD Max: Best for thick or long hair

Price when reviewed: £199 | Check price at John Lewis

If you have very long or thick hair, then you may find that heat styling with standard-sized plates takes a very long time. It may also require more than one pass with the straightening tool, potentially increasing damage to the hair. GHD’s Max straighteners are here to make your life easier (and your hair healthier) with their generous 1.65-inch styling plates, which make light work of heavyweight hair.

The almost double-width plates are able to smooth and straighten much larger sections of hair than standard one-inch plates, and the ceramic glide means that one pass at 185ºC is enough to straighten even the thickest of hair without the need for higher heat settings. The GHD Max is also a great tool for working with very curly or afro-textured hair, which can sometimes prove fiddly to pass through narrower plates.

The Max does take a little longer to heat up than other GHD straighteners (around 45 seconds) but that’s an extremely small price to pay for – in our tests – almost halving the overall time spent straightening the hair. Your long or thick hair will also love the silky-smooth, straight and frizz-free results.

Key specs – Plates: Floating ceramic; Maximum temperature: 185°C; Voltage: Universal; Cord length: 2.7m; Automatic shut-off time: 30 minutes; Warranty: 2 years; Weight: 830g

Check price at John Lewis

7. GHD Mini: Best GHD for short hair and precision styling

Price when reviewed: £149 | Check price at GHD

GHD’s standard-sized straighteners will style most hair types and lengths with ease. But if you’re after precision styling for your short crop, pixie cut or face-framing fringe pieces, then the Mini’s half-inch plates are just what you need.

Built with the same floating ceramic plates as the rest of the GHD range, the Mini delivers a smooth and silky finish with no snaggles. And the slim plates mean that there will be no kinks or bumps at the roots when you straighten shorter hair. The rounded barrel means you can create waves and curls, even on shorter hair.

Styling a full head of mid-length hair will take longer than it would with a full-sized tool, but the Mini is absolutely ace for perfecting short styles. The smaller size also makes the Mini a great alternative to the Unplugged as a travel styler, if you’re straightening on-the-go and are happy to plug in your tool.

Key specs – Plates: Floating ceramic; Maximum temperature: 185°C; Voltage: Universal; Cord length: 2.7m; Automatic shut-off time: 30 minutes; Warranty: 2 years; Weight: 320g

Check price at GHD

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