- Ceramic plates with steam vent groove
- Leaves hair soft and silky
- Heats up quickly
- Combs hair while straightening with removable 3D comb teeth
- Water tank holds plenty of water
- Digital display and controls
- Combination flat iron/hot brush
- Heated ceramic bristles disperse steam and heat evenly
- Requires filtered water
If you like soft, smooth, sleek hair (who doesn’t?), it’s time to figure out the best tool for getting it.
Your standard flat iron is an obvious option, but you might worry about the amount of heat and damage you’re doing to your poor tresses. Well, what if you could straighten and smooth without drying your hair out?
It’s possible with a steam hair straightener. For the best steam flat irons around, check out my picks below. Your hair will thank you.
Best Steam Flat Irons
Solofish Professional Steam Straightener
Static electricity can be your arch enemy when trying to straighten your hair. Are you tired of waiting for your hair to stop standing on end? The Solofish Professional Steam Straightener should make things a bit easier.
Its ceramic plates come with a titanium coating to help keep static electricity to a minimum. Negative ion technology works to counteract dry hair’s positive ions, helping to tame frizz.
The plates are 1 ½” inches in width, meaning you can straighten more hair at once. You’ll spend less effort getting ready and more time enjoying how it looks.
With temperatures of up to 450°F, it’ll easily straighten the most challenging locks. There are 6 heat settings, starting at 300°F, which is useful for fine or damaged hair. The heat up time is a blazing 15 seconds.
There’s a choice of a high or low level of steam. On high, the water lasts for about 15 minutes. Alternately, you can opt for no vapor at all and use it as a normal straightener.
For safety, this flat iron will automatically shut off after 60 minutes. It also comes with a heat-protective glove as well as a handy drawstring carrying bag.
- Reduces static electricity
- Variable steam settings
- Ceramic + titanium plates
- Comes with a heat-resistant glove and drawstring carry bag
- 360° swivel cord
- Water tank may leak on occasion
MKBOO Steam Flat Iron
The technology and design of the MKBOO Steam Flat Iron should help you achieve perfectly smooth, straight hair. Ceramic and titanium 1 ¼” plates allow for quicker styling, especially if you have long locks.
It uses nano technology to break down water molecules into tiny particles for better absorption, leaving your locks hydrated, shiny, and smooth.
Adjustable heat settings from 300° to 450°F plus digital controls and display mean you’ll always know which setting you’ve selected. Furthermore, this flat iron features a removable comb, positioned on the edge of the bottom plate. It’ll keep your hair from getting tangled while straightening and ensures even heat distribution throughout.
The packaging is really nice, and it comes with a couple hair clips. The removable water tank holds plenty of water so you don’t have to keep refilling it, and is located on the backside handle.
The steam comes out of vents located on the curved edge, so be sure to keep that side away from you at all times to prevent scalding. Some users find it a bit difficult to do on the side of their head that’s more awkward, so it may take a bit of practice getting it positioned correctly.
- Digital temperature display and controls
- 5 temperature settings from 300° to 450°F
- Removable comb
- Large 40 mL water reservoir keeps you steaming and styling
- 100-240V dual voltage
- Comb sometimes slips out
- A bit heavy and cumbersome after a while
Ion Steam Pro Straightening Brush Iron
The Ion Steam Pro Straightening Brush Iron is the steam iron my girls with natural hair swear by for super soft, silky hair. It’s a combination flat iron and hot brush in one – instead of flat panels on the inside, it has ceramic bristles that help comb through your strands while you pass hair through.
The heated bristles are made of ceramic, so you’ve got double duty protection from damage and hot spots along with the steam action. The plates are 1 ½” wide, which is a bit wider than most, probably to accommodate the bristles.
There are 5 temperature settings from 300°F up to 450°F and it has an LCD digital display and controls for heat adjustment. The water tank is located on the backside of the iron.
The hot brush-flat iron combo works particularly well at dispersing the steam and heat to each individual strand. Note: don’t be alarmed at the odd noise it makes while it’s pressed closed – for some reason it sounds like small gears are turning inside or something. It takes a bit of getting used to, but nothing’s wrong with the iron.
The instructions mention that you should only use filtered water, so just be sure to have your Brita filter around. 🙂
Lastly, if you have type 4 hair, just know that this will most likely give you a nice blow-out look, not bone straight tresses.
- Heated ceramic bristles produce even heat and steam distribution
- Dual voltage for worldwide use
- Leaves natural hair feeling extra soft and silky
- Auto shut-off after 60 min
- 5 adjustable heat settings up to 450°F
- Bulkier and heavier than other steam flat irons
- May require extra passes to fully straighten
What Is a Steam Flat Iron?
A steam flat iron is a hair straightener with a small compartment for water that produces steam while you’re styling. The removable water tank is a small plastic container that snaps onto one side of the flat iron, usually on the handle.
When heated, the water turns to vapor and is released through small vents built into the plates.
Advantages of a Steam Flat Iron
The main benefit of a steam flat iron is its ability to add moisture and straighten your hair with less direct heat. We all know how damaging heat styling can be – a steam straightener reduces this effect by adding moisture back to your locks instead of drawing it out.
They’re often able to create super soft, silky hair that doesn’t feel crunchy or burned after straightening.
Heat up time is incredibly quick – normally around 15-30 seconds. Steam is efficient at smoothing your strands because it makes hair more pliable, which helps relax curls and waves.
Many users also like the fact that their hair doesn’t have a burnt smell when using a steam straightener. It’s reassuring to know that the steam coming off is due to evaporated water instead of your hair being singed by hot plates.
Lastly, you don’t have to use the steam function if you don’t always feel like it. Most brands give you the choice of controlling the amount of steam produced, so you can easily turn it off if you want to use it like a standard flat iron.
Disadvantages of a Steam Flat Iron
While a steam flat iron is great for protecting and smoothing hair, it does require an extra step of filling and attaching the water compartment before you start straightening. If you have especially long, coarse or thick hair, you may need to refill the reservoir once or twice while styling if you run out of water before you’re finished.
Some steam straighteners also instruct you to use distilled or filtered water only, which means you can’t just use tap water. It’s a bit annoying, but it does help prevent mineral deposits and buildup in the tank and vents over time.
Hot steam also requires some extra caution, especially around your scalp and ears. It’s possible to scald yourself if you aren’t careful.
Protect Your Hair
If you want further protection from heat damage (and achieve super glossy results), you can also add a small amount of argan oil to the water. This product not only makes your hair shiny, but it also contains essential nutrients such as vitamin E, which may help repair damage and split ends.
It goes without saying, but you should also always apply a heat protectant before you do any heat styling.
How To Use a Steam Flat Iron
First you’ll want to remove the water compartment. There’s usually a small latch near the tank that will pop it out of the housing.
Most models come with a small squeeze bottle that you fill with water, and then fill the reservoir with that. Plug the opening with the rubber stopper, snap the tank back onto the flat iron, and switch it on.
If your model allows you to select a steam level, go ahead and adjust it to the amount of steam you want it to produce. Also make sure to set the temperature setting that’s appropriate for your hair.
Once the straightener is ready, clamp it shut a few times to get the steam producing.
Finally, glide down each section of hair slowly to reduce the number of passes you need to do.
Is a Steam Flat Iron Better Than a Regular Flat Iron?
A steam flat iron is definitely better for your hair than a standard non-steam flat iron. However, it isn’t necessarily better at producing super straight locks.
A lot of it depends on your hair type and condition. Some people find the additional moisture to be the perfect ingredient for getting their hair soft, smooth and sleek. Others find that it does the opposite – the vapor actually makes their hair frizzy.
One of the nice features of a steam straightener is the choice of whether you want the steam function operating. You don’t have to use it if you find it less effective on your locks.
If you have naturally kinky or coily hair, you might need to blow dry with a round brush before straightening if you want pin straight locks.
Who Should Use a Steam Flat Iron?
If you haven’t had much success with a traditional flat iron or find your hair to be extremely dry and brittle, you may be the right candidate for a steam flat iron.
Those with wavy, coarse hair usually find the steam vapor to be an excellent way to get smooth, soft tresses. Many find the results to last longer as well, even in humid conditions.
Features To Look For
Most steam flat iron plates range from 1” to 2” wide. If you have short hair or need to get close to your scalp, go with the 1”.
If your hair is thicker or longer then you may want to opt for 1 ½”-inch plates or wider. You’ll be able to straighten more hair at once, cutting down on your styling time. Note that some steam straighteners look wider but may still have the standard 1″ width. Some flat irons have a wider housing around the plates to accommodate steam vents on the outer edge.
Some steam irons for hair have floating plates. It might sound dangerous, but all it means is that they are able to tilt from side to side, keeping your strands sandwiched evenly between the two plates at all times.
The result is less gaps and thus fewer passes on each section.
Their increased flexibility also makes it easier to maneuver around shorter styles too.
As with any flat iron, it’s essential to consider the plate materials. The main options you’ll come across are ceramic, titanium and tourmaline. You’ll also find a combination of these together in some models, most commonly ceramic and tourmaline.
Ceramic is a popular choice as it heats up evenly so you won’t burn your hair on hot spots. It also makes for smoother straightening with no tugging and pulling. Whatever your hair type, with this material, you’re good to go.
These plates have increased durability and can handle high temperatures, making it great for thick or difficult-to-manage hair. It uses infrared technology, which is able to penetrate and heat strands from the inside out, leaving hair softer and shinier. Far infrared also allows you to use less heat, which helps tresses retain moisture.
This semi-precious material also uses infrared and negative ion technology, which means smoother and healthier hair. You’ll experience less frizz, as tourmaline replaces lost moisture in your locks.
The best steam hair straighteners will allow you to control the temperature. Perhaps you have damaged hair? Or maybe you’re just touching up your style?
Either way, you probably don’t need to use maximum heat. With adjustable temperature settings, you can select the right amount for your needs:
- Fine: 250°–320°F
- Medium: 320°–380°F
- Thick: 380°–430°F
These are general guidelines. If you’re unsure, start at a low temperature and increase the heat slowly until you’re happy with the results.
It’s useful to be able to adjust the amount of steam. Fine hair will probably need a lower setting than thick hair. With an adjustable vapor setting, you can usually choose from high, low or off.
Steam Straightener Tips and Safety
- You won’t always see steam when you’re styling but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t on. The steam should moisturize your hair, not make it wet. You’ll know if it’s working because the water in the tank will start going down.
- If you need to refill the water tank during styling, switch the iron off. This will prevent you from accidentally burning yourself while doing so.
- Some irons require you to wait until they’ve cooled down a bit before refilling the reservoir. Safety first!
- Steam flat irons work well on hair extensions too.
Start Styling With Steam
Any of the flat irons above are excellent options for getting smooth, straight hair. However, my favorite steam iron for hair has to be the Solofish Professional Steam Straightener.
It ticks all the important boxes. Can you adjust the steam? Yes. Does it have adjustable temperature settings? You betcha.
The panels on this flat iron also work to reduce static electricity, making styling much easier. A ceramic and titanium coating is a great combination for keeping heat damage to a minimum, as well.
Add automatic shut-off and a heat-protective glove, and you’re all set for some serious straightening.