Beauty & Fashion
hairstyling with a curling iron

Curling Iron vs. Hot Rollers—what’s the Difference?

Hot rollers and curling irons are both useful tools for hairstyling. You can get the perfect curls with both, so what’s the difference? Well, hot rollers are the older version, while curling irons are relatively new. But there’s a lot more to both gadgets than what meets the eye. So let’s look at the top differences between hot rollers and curling irons.

Curl Type

The major difference between the two is the curly type you get. Generally, a hot roller allows you to achieve big and loose curls. At the same time, a curling iron is more versatile. If you look at the collection of ghd hair curlers, you’ll be able to see the difference. Curling irons can give you small and tight curls, but there’s always an option for loose curls as well, based on the type of curling iron you’re using. Moreover, a curling iron can also give you beach waves.

Curl Time

The time it takes for curling your hair via hot rollers is approximately 20 minutes. You plug in the case of your hot rollers to an electrical outlet and wait for your rollers to heat up. But make sure that they aren’t too hot so you can hold them in your hands. Roll your hair around the hot rollers and pin them close to your scalp. After 20 minutes, you can remove the pins, and you’ll have stunning curls.

On the contrary, a curling iron gives immediate curls. You just need to plug it in an electric outlet and wait for a few minutes to allow the curling iron to heat up. After that, you need to wrap a strand of your hair around the curling iron and wait for a few seconds. Once you release the strand, it will have perfect curls. The time varies based on the type of curls you want.


Regardless of which tool you use, curling your hair is a complex process. But when you have to pick between hot rollers and curling irons, we’d have to say that hot rollers are relatively easy to use than curling iron. But still, clipping on the hot rollers is difficult if you’re using them for the first time. Once you get the hang of it, curling your hair with a hot roller will be a breeze.

On the other hand, curling irons are a bit more complex for first-time users. That’s because handling a curling iron requires more caution, and based on the type of curls you need; you’ll have to angle your curling iron correctly. It will take you more than a few trials to get the hang of using curling irons.


Based on the brand you invest in, both curling irons and hot rollers can be cost-effective. But in the long run, a cheaper curling iron won’t give you the best results compared to a cheaper set of hot rollers. However, if you purchase a high-end curling iron, it will last longer and provide you with better results. So, it’s up to you to decide which option is better for you.

Hair Damage

Heat is the biggest enemy of your hair, and when you curl your hair, you need heat. Even if you use heat-protective products, there’s still a high chance that your hair might get damaged.

Curling irons work at extremely hot temperatures, which will cause damage to your hair if you use them regularly. However, hot rollers don’t need a high temperature, making them safer to prevent potential hair damage.

Personal Safety

We already know that curling irons need a high temperature to give you the perfect curls. That means you need to be extra cautious when using a curling iron. There are heat-resistant gloves that come with curling irons that you can use, but it’s still important to curl your hair carefully. Especially when the curling iron is near your neck or ears, it can burn your skin even with the slightest touch.

Hot rollers are the safer option when it comes to personal safety as they are only warmed up and don’t cause damage to your hands or your scalp even when they’re heated.

Final Verdict

Many people still debate over whether curling irons or hot rollers are better. But in the end, it’s all about your preferences. Overall, curling irons give better and faster results, but if heat damage, safety, and cost are your primary concerns, a hot roller might be the better option for you. Keep these differences in mind the next time you go shopping for hair curling tools. 

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