- Cordless 1" curling iron with clamp
- High heat up to 400°F
- Can also use as a wand
- Powered by replaceable ThermaCELL butane cartridges
- No need to recharge
- Compact ⅝” barrel
With so many wireless devices these days, you might wish it would extend to hair appliances. After all, if you can use your phone or laptop without being connected to an outlet, why can’t you do so with your curling iron?
Well in fact, more brands are making cordless versions, but the best in the biz are from Conair. They have a rather impressive lineup of cordless styling appliances, as you’ll see below.
- Best Cordless Curling Irons Reviewed
- Advantages of a Cordless Curling Iron
- Disadvantages of a Cordless Curling Iron
- Battery-Operated or Butane-Fueled?
- Other Features to Consider
- Curls and Cordless Convenience
Best Cordless Curling Irons Reviewed
Let’s kick things off with Conair’s Unbound Cordless Curling Iron. It’s got a 1″ titanium barrel that gets hot enough to set a curl, and heats up in a jiffy.
If you’re on the go and have no place to plug in, this iron does a decent job. It’s great for polishing yourself up at the last minute with some face-framing curls, curling your ends in, or adding some natural waves to otherwise limp hair.
There are 4 heat settings from 280°F to 400°F, though you may need to use one of the higher settings if you want to get through your hair in time before the battery needs recharging.
Conair claims that the battery lasts for 25 minutes before needing a charge, but it actually shuts off after 15 minutes to preserve battery life. It comes with a micro USB cord for charging, which you can either plug into your laptop or a 5V charger that plugs into an outlet.
The Unbound Cordless Curling Iron is the closest thing to a standard curling iron out there minus the cord. Use it as a wand or use the clamp to clip hair to the barrel (though it’s rather short).
All in all, it’s nice and compact and quite handy for some quick curls.
- Titanium barrel gets plenty hot
- Adjustable heat settings
- Lightweight and compact
- Heat resistant travel pouch included
- Short clamp doesn't hold much hair
- May not hold a long enough charge for long hair
The Conair ThermaCell Compact Curling Iron is a butane cartridge-powered curler that works best for small curls and shorter styles. It comes with one included Thermacell cartridge, which comes off the base for storage in the case.
It’s the ultimate portable hair styler since it’s compact, lightweight and doesn’t have any cables whatsoever. The nice thing about it is that you don’t need to charge it – it’s ready for use as long as there’s enough butane in the fuel cell.
The metal barrel is about 3” long (and ⅝” in diameter), so you won’t have as much length to wrap your hair as you would on a standard curling iron. To turn on – just press the ON button, which should result in a hissing sound. Then slide the black bar under the clamp handle up towards the barrel, at which point you should hear a click if done properly.
Like a lighter, it might take a couple attempts to get it to ignite. It’s ready when the red light at the tip goes on.
You can travel anywhere with it – even on board a plane if packed per TSA regulations.
Some of the tradeoffs you’ll have to live with are that it’s only got one heat setting, plus you need to buy replacement Thermacell cartridges.
Depending on how long and often you use the iron, each cartridge can last up to several months if you use it weekly, or several weeks if you use it daily.
- No batteries, cables or adapters required
- Compact and lightweight
- No recharging needed – always ready for use
- Convenient travel case included
- Popular choice among cordless options
- Mostly for touch ups only
- Single temperature setting
Conair is the clear leader in cordless hair appliances with their whole Unbound line of products. Besides the cordless titanium curling iron we looked at above and this auto curler, there’s also a flat iron and 2-in-1 straightener/curler.
The auto curler is pretty nifty in that you don’t have to manually wrap your hair around the barrel – it does it for you with the push of a button. Now, it does take a bit of practice to learn how to use, but if you’re not good at curling your locks, it does a nice job of creating spiral or ribbon curls for you.
The nice thing about this curler is that it can last up to 60 minutes on a full charge. This is pretty impressive considering most rechargeable cordless irons only last between 30-45 minutes tops at a time.
There’s a choice of 3 heat settings (300°F, 360°F, and 400°F), as well as 4 timer settings (6, 8, 10, or 12 seconds). The higher the temperature and hold time, the tighter and more uniform your curl will be. Just set the curl direction (right or left), place a 1” section of hair inside the chamber, and press and hold START.
This is all good and amazing, HOWEVER…the most annoying part of the Conair Unbound Auto Curler is the beeping. It beeps a couple times to let you know when to release, but it also single beeps while you’re waiting for the curl to set.
- Digital display + adjustable heat and timer settings
- Auto curler does the curling for you at the push of a button
- Curls left, right, and mixed directions
- Last up to 60 minutes on a full charge
- Ceramic barrel
- Beeping while the curl sets gets annoying
- Not very versatile – creates one curl type only
Advantages of a Cordless Curling Iron
Portability and Freedom
The main benefit of a cordless curling iron is the ability to curl your hair even when you’re not near a power outlet.
There’s no wire to tie you down, giving you complete freedom to hold and use it at any angle without getting tangled up. It’s pretty awesome to not have to work around a cord, especially when styling sections at the back of your head.
Lightweight and Compact
A cordless curling iron or wand is generally lighter and more compact. You wouldn’t think it, but it’s amazing how much weight a cord adds when you’re holding it up around your head for half an hour or more.
Most are also smaller than your regular curling iron, so they fit easily into a purse, daybag, or your desk drawer at work.
It’s really handy for those days when you don’t have enough time in the morning, or if you’re called on a last-minute meeting with clients.
Most cordless curling irons contain rechargeable lithium-ion batteries via USB or micro-USB cables, which means you can plug them into your connected laptop or car USB port to charge.
No more wrapping or folding a cord into a bundle before putting it away anymore! My bathroom appliance drawer may actually close properly again now. 🙂
Disadvantages of a Cordless Curling Iron
The general trade-off for not being tied to an electrical outlet is a reduction in power, and therefore, heat. You may end up with less-than-spectacular results for locks that require high heat to sustain a curl.
Limited Styling Time
If it takes you longer than 30 minutes to curl your hair, a cordless curling iron might run out of power before you’re done styling.
Needless to say, it’s annoying to have to stop and recharge your appliance (or replace the fuel cartridge) mid-way through. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend a cordless curler for someone with super thick, coarse, or long hair. A dual-voltage curling iron may be better if you travel frequently.
Fewer Barrel Size and Temperature Options
Most cordless irons have a shorter barrel length, which won’t give you enough surface area to curl longer hair. They’re also mostly available in ¾” or 1” diameters.
Many don’t offer adjustable heat settings either. Sometimes, you may not even know what temperature the iron heats to either.
Battery-Operated or Butane-Fueled?
Cordless curling irons are powered in one of two ways: either with a rechargeable battery or through a fuel cell in the form of a butane cartridge. They’re both perfectly effective and easy to use – it’s up to you whether you prefer to recharge the appliance after each use or replace a fuel cartridge every so often.
What Is a Butane Cartridge?
The gas is contained in a replaceable cartridge, which is inserted in the handle of the curling iron. It heats the device quickly once ignited via the power switch.
The best thing about butane curling irons is that they’re truly wireless. Although battery-operated curling irons don’t need to be plugged in, you do need to recharge them. A butane cartridge can last for several weeks or even months before replacing depending on how often you use the curler.
Other Features to Consider
Most curling iron barrels are ceramic-coated. This is true of cordless ones too since the material is best suited for most hair types, especially straight or thin hair. Tourmaline-infused ceramic is a good choice for reducing frizz.
There are a couple of wireless titanium-plated curling irons available too if you need a more powerful curler to style your locks.
Clamp or Clipless Wand?
Most cordless curling irons come with a clamp, though you might be able to remove it if you wish to use like a wand instead. However, the clamp might be necessary to help clip your hair to the shorter barrels on the more compact irons.
Maximum Heat Setting
Since cordless appliances are less powerful, you’ll want to know what the maximum heat setting is before making a purchase. Some irons don’t heat up past 375°F, which may not be enough for some hair types.
Curls and Cordless Convenience
Cutting the cord when it comes to styling your hair is a big deal. Who doesn’t want the freedom to create beautiful curls and waves without being tied to an outlet?
The trade-off in power and usage time has generally relegated cordless curling irons to touch ups only when you’re far from home or an electrical source.
While that’s not likely to change anytime soon, you’ve got options with one of these Conair cordless curlers to keep you looking polished and pretty, no matter how far away from civilization you are.