Make light work of taming long, thick, frizzy or textured hair with our favourite wide-plate hair straighteners
If you have very long or thick hair you may feel that super-sleek, straight styles are beyond your reach – or at least only possible after hours of damaging heat styling. That’s where a set of extra-wide hair straighteners can come to the rescue and give you the sleek and shiny hair of your dreams.
Wide-plate straighteners, as the name suggests, have wider styling plates than a typical set of straighteners, allowing the tool to gather up more hair at a time to cut down on time spent styling very long or thick hair. Straighteners designed for thicker hair may additionally allow higher heat settings, which reduces the number of times you need to pass the tool over the hair for a sleek and straight result. Look out also for materials that reduce friction on the hair to minimise breakage, and ionic technology that helps to speed up the process while conditioning and hydrating the hair.
We’ve tested a number of wide-plate hair straighteners to find the best options for you, so that sleek and glossy hair can be a reality for you whatever your hair texture and type. Ready on for our guide to how to choose the best wide-plate straighteners for you, and below for our picks of the best straighteners to buy.
How to choose the best wide-plate straighteners for you
What size heating plates are best for thick hair?
If you have long, thick or very curly hair, anything bigger than an inch thick is great for working through a lot of hair quickly, as the width of the plates means the tool will easily grip larger sections of hair. Floating plates, which are set on tiny springs, allow the straightener to flexibly adjust to the size of the section being straightened, and to grip and then glide through larger sections without pulling or snagging.
If you have a shorter hair, wide plates are less able to get precisely into the root of the hair, so they’re best for hair that is both thick and fairly long. The greater width also means that creating waves and curls by wrapping the hair around your tool results in looser curls, but it is possible to use your wide-plate straightener in this way if a loose, beachy wave is what you’re after.
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Which material is the best for straightening thick hair?
All hair straighteners work by heating the hair using metal plates, which may be coated in a non-metallic material, such as ceramic or tourmaline, to ensure even heat distribution over the surface of the heating plates and produce a shiny and glossy finish. Ceramic plates are great for reducing friction as you pass the plates over the hair and prevent heat damage from hot-spots on the plates, as they heat more evenly.
Plates might also be coated in titanium, which heats up very quickly and to higher temperatures, and so reduces the amount of time that the hair is exposed to heat. Very thick or textured hair may require higher temperatures to straighten effectively, so titanium combined with a high heat can be a good choice for minimising the number of times you need to pass your straighteners over each tress of hair.
Some straighteners additionally make use of ionic technology, which causes negative ions to be emitted, breaking water molecules in the hair into finer particles that then hydrate the hair for a smoother, glossier and healthier look. If your thick hair is also dry, you may like to look for a straightener with ionic technology to improve the condition of your hair as you straighten.
Which temperature setting should you use?
Many hair straighteners often come with adjustable heat settings that allow hotter temperatures that will penetrate thicker-textured, denser hair. Temperatures of up to 210ºC will work well on thick, coarse hair or tight curls; however, note that the keratin protein that makes up your hair starts to melt at temperatures over 235ºC. Heat sensors that monitor and maintain a constant temperature will ensure that your straighteners don’t accidentally stray over the correct heat.
What other features should you look out for?
A quicker heat-up time will save you time styling in the morning (or if you want to get ready quickly for an evening event) – we’ve noted the heat-up times of all our listed straighteners below. Look for straighteners with curved edges if you want to create curls, waves and flicks, as you can shape your hair around the body of the irons.
A long cable can be useful for reaching around the back of the head without getting in a tangle. An automatic switch-off after a certain period of inactivity (usually 30 minutes) greatly reduces the risk of accidental fire, and is especially good if you know you’re likely to forget to switch off the tool manually. We’ve noted the automatic shut-off times of the straighteners in our list below.
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How do you use hair straighteners?
Start with dry, detangled hair and comb the hair into sections prior to styling; always spray with a heat-protective product to minimise the risk of heat damage and breakage. Start at the back of the head and the lower layers of your sectioned hair, then work your way up to the crown; your wide-plate straighteners should be able to grip and glide through a decent-sized section of hair at each pass. Finish with a styling spray to help hold your straightened style in place.
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The best straighteners for thick hair in 2023
1. GHD Max: Best all-round hair straighteners for thick hair
Price when reviewed: £199 | Check price at LookFantastic
With its generously proportioned 1.65in ceramic-coated styling plates, the GHD Max is specifically designed to significantly cut styling time for long and thick hair. Like other straighteners in the GHD range, the straighteners have floating plates set on tiny springs that make it easier for the tool to flexibly grip sections of hair, and GHD’s signature ceramic coating means the plates then glide with ease through even long and thick hair without pulling or snagging.
One pass of the tool is usually enough to straighten the hair at 185ºC; the result is silky-smooth hair in half the time it might take to style with a standard 1in plate straightener.
For safety, there’s an automatic shut-off after 30 minutes, and a good-length 2.7m cable makes it easy to reach the back of the hair. The GHD Max takes 45 seconds to heat up – a little longer than other straighteners in the range – but long, thick or curly hair owners will love the frizz-free results.
Key specs – Plate width: 1.65in; Type of plates: Floating ceramic; Ionic technology: No; Number of heat settings: 1; Maximum temperature: 185ºC ; Auto shut-off: Yes (30 mins); Heat-up time: 45 secs; Cord length: 2.7m; Weight: 830g; Accessories included: Protective plate guard
2. Cloud Nine Wide Iron: Best hair straighteners for curly hair
Price when reviewed: £169 | Check price at Cloud Nine
With its mineral-coated ceramic heating plates ensuring even heat distribution and minimal heat damage, Cloud Nine’s Wide Iron is designed to care for thicker hair. Five heat settings from 100ºC to 200ºC allow you to choose the best temperature for your hair type and texture, and the heat control is accessed simply with a pair of buttons on the inside handle, so you can select different temperatures for thicker hair at the crown or finer hair around the face.
The straightener is light in weight – just 520g – but feels strong and well built in the hand, while the plates exert a consistent pressure on the hair, meaning even tightly coiled hair straightens well on the first pass of the tool. The results are glossy and long-lasting, with hair still straight at the end of a typical day. While the plates are wide and able to work through larger amounts of hair with ease, the slightly bevelled design means it’s also easy to get close to the roots for a smooth finish. A great alternative to the GHD Max, especially for curly girls.
Key specs – Plate width: 1.5in; Type of plates: Ceramic; Ionic technology: No; Number of heat settings: 5; Maximum temperature: 200ºC ; Auto shut-off: Yes (30 mins); Heat-up time: 20 secs; Cord length: 2.7m; Weight: 520g; Accessories included: Carry case, heat guard
3. Babyliss Keratin Shine Wide Hair Straightener: Best hair straighteners for a glossy finish
Price when reviewed: £40 | Check price at Argos
Banish frizz and boost shine with the Keratin Shine wide hair straighteners from Babyliss. The titanium and ceramic coating on the plates is infused with the protein keratin, which helps give straightened hair a soft and shiny finish. The tool heats up in just 30 seconds with a light indicating when it’s ready, and the 20 temperature settings are controlled using a dial on the side of the tool and range from 140ºC to 235ºC.
The plates are 1.8in wide and also longer than most standard straightener plates, which is great for gathering in larger sections of hair; the highest heat settings style very thick or dense hair with ease. The Babyliss straightener is light in weight but grips the hair well, and a 3m swivel cord means it’s super-easy to get the tool around all areas of the hair. A good budget option that leaves hair smooth and shiny.
Key specs – Plate width: 1.8in; Type of plates: Titanium/ceramic; Ionic technology: No; Number of heat settings: 20; Maximum temperature: 235ºC ; Auto shut-off: Yes (72 mins); Heat-up time: 30 secs; Cord length: 3m; Weight: 320g; Accessories included: Heat-proof mat
4. Revamp Progloss Ultra X Shine Wide Ceramic Hair Straightener: Best straighteners for afro-textured hair
Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at Boots
With 17 heat settings ranging from 80ºC to 235ºC, the Revamp Progloss Wide is able to smooth and straighten all hair types from fine and flyaway to thick and coiled. Built-in heat sensors ensure the temperature is maintained so you’ll always have the correct heat for your hair type, and there’s a temperature lock so it’s easy to select and stick to your preferred heat setting. The plates are 1.4in wide and 125mm long; great for passing through thicker sections of hair with ease.
Like other tools in the Progloss range, the Progloss extra-wide uses ionic technology to break down water molecules in the hair to speed up styling time and hydrate the hair. The ceramic plates – infused with keratin and moisturising argan oil – grip hair easily and smoothly without too much snagging, and leave the hair with a noticeably glossy and shiny finish after styling. A great choice for frizz-free and snag-free styling on all hair types, and particularly good for bringing moisture back to dry, damaged or textured hair.
Key specs – Plate width: 1.4in; Type of plates: Ceramic; Ionic technology: Yes; Number of heat settings: 17; Maximum temperature: 235ºC ; Auto shut-off: Yes (60 mins); Heat-up time: 15 secs; Cord length: 3m; Weight: 470g; Accessories included: Heat-proof mat
5. Remington Pro-Ceramic Extra Wide Hair Straightener: Best budget wide-plate hair straighteners
Price when reviewed: £30 | Check price at Amazon
If your pockets are not as deep as your hair is thick, look to Remington’s straightforward wide-plate hair straighteners to create smooth and shiny locks at half the price of some luxury brands. The plates are a useful 1.8in wide and longer than many rivals so it’s easy to gather in larger quantities of hair. The eight heat settings top out at 230ºC – perfect for straightening thick or textured hair in one stroke.
As with many of our favourite picks, the use of ceramic plates allows them to maintain an easy glide through the hair and distribute heat evenly over the plates so there’s no danger of damage from hot-spots on the tool’s surface. The result is hair that feels soft and looks shiny after styling. If you’re in the market for a wide-plate straightener but don’t want to spend hundreds on a big-name brand, the Pro-Ceramic is an excellent alternative.
Key specs – Plate width: 1.8in; Type of plates: Ceramic; Ionic technology: No; Number of heat settings: 8; Maximum temperature: 230ºC ; Auto shut-off: Yes (60 mins); Heat-up time: 15 secs; Cord length: 1.8m; Weight: 500g; Accessories included: Storage pouch
6. Dyson Corrale: Best cordless hair straighteners for thick hair
Price when reviewed: £400 | Check price at Boots
The Dyson Corrale was launched in 2020. This innovative cordless straightening tool employs flexing manganese-copper alloy plates to smoothly grip and gather hair and straighten quickly and easily with just one stroke. The Corrale isn’t a wide-plate hair straightener – the plates are a fairly standard 1in wide – but the flexing plate technology and the sturdy build of the tool mean that it’s an excellent option for straightening thicker hair, especially if you’re on the move.
The Corrale has three heat options – 165ºC, 185ºC and 210ºC – allowing owners of thicker or textured hair to select a higher temperature to straighten quickly and efficiently. The flexing design means that the plates mould themselves gently around the hair, so excellent straightening results can be achieved without needing the very highest temperatures. In fact, Dyson recommends that 185ºC is suitable for most hair types, which is what we found in our own testing, even on coiled hair. An intelligent heat control system checks 100 times per second to ensure even heat distribution and the correct temperature over the whole plate.
Dyson’s 4-cell lithium-ion battery charges in just over an hour and lasts 30 minutes once fully charged. The battery means the Corrale weighs in at a fairly hefty 568g, but the weight feels balanced in the hand, and we found it helped to maintain pressure on thicker hair, which improved the straightening effects of the tool. A pricey option, but excellent if you want to style your thicker hair when you’re not at home.
Key specs – Plate width: 1in; Type of plates: Flexing copper alloy; Ionic technology: No; Number of heat settings: 3; Maximum temperature: 210ºC ; Auto shut-off: Yes (10 mins); Heat-up time: 35 secs; Cord length: N/A; Weight: 568g; Accessories included: Charging dock and travel pouch