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The 10 Best Hot Rollers to Buy in 2021

The 10 Best Hot Rollers to Buy in 2021

Think hot rollers are a vestige of your mother’s or grandmother’s heyday? Think again. These hair styling tools are still some of the most versatile on the market, as their simple, tried-and-true curling methods deliver results without turning your hair into straw.

While curling irons still lead the pack in terms of popularity, they’re time-intensive, produce curls that don’t hold as well, and run a higher risk of damaging your hair. Hot rollers, on the other hand, are convenient to use and give you some seriously luscious locks without damaging or drying them out.

Factors to Consider When Buying Hot Rollers

With that being said, it may be tempting to rush over to rush and pick up a set of hot rollers without doing some research first. But before you go and purchase any old hot roller set, there are a few things you’ll want to consider.

Type/Length of Hair

Different hair textures require different heat settings and roller sizes. Thick, naturally curly hair will get the best results from hot rollers. But that doesn’t mean that those with fine or damaged hair have to miss out on the fun. In fact, some hot rollers are specifically designed to curl fine or damaged hair.

  • Thick, curly hair – If your mane is on the voluminous side, go with rollers that have a wider diameter. Smaller rollers simply won’t cut it, as their temperature settings and size will produce curls that won’t hold up very well. Furthermore, the thicker and more naturally curly your hair is, the more rollers you’ll need.
  • Fine, damaged hair – Hair that’s a bit weaker will fare much better with rollers of smaller diameters made from ceramic-infused materials, as their heating technology evenly distributes heat along the hair. This reduces the risk of damage to your already vulnerable tresses. Fine-haired folks will also be happy to know that they’ll need fewer rollers to curl their hair, since the less volume means less hair to roll.
  • Long hair – Longer hair fares much better with rollers of 1½-inch diameters or larger. You’ll need bigger rollers to wrap the entire length of your locks and heat them adequately. Look for rollers with ionic or infrared technology, as this will assist in even heat distribution.
  • Short hair – Stick to rollers that are 1-inch or smaller. An added benefit of curling short hair is you don’t need as many rollers to get the job done, and you can play around with different-sized rollers of smaller diameters to get different kinds of curls.

Size

Some hot roller sets include rollers of different sizes. Different-sized hot rollers will, naturally, produce different results. However, stick to roller sets of one size if your hair is all the same length. If your hair is layered, you might want to go with a set that has rollers of multiple sizes, as shorter hair is typically more difficult to curl than longer hair and often requires more rollers of various sizes.

  • Large-diameter rollers – Ideal for large, loose curls or loose waves. Look for 1½ – 2-inch rollers.
  • Small-diameter rollers – If you’re trying to achieve small, tight ringlets or corkscrew-style curls, opt for small-diameter rollers. Any rollers 1½-inch or smaller will do the trick.

Material

Gone are the days of cumbersome, soda can-style rollers. Although the curling concept of hot rollers has largely stayed the same, their technology has advanced dramatically in the past fifty years. Nowadays, most hot roller sets are made of one of these materials:

Ceramic or Ceramic-Infused

These hot rollers give your tresses a smooth, shiny, and silky finish. Many hot rollers are also made of a blend of ceramic and tourmaline, which evenly distributes heat across the hair. This is important as heating the hair from the inside will keep the outside intact, and therefore, healthier-looking. Hair that has a lot of split ends or is prone to breakage will benefit the most from these kinds of hot rollers.

Nano-Titanium

Nano-titanium options use infrared and ionic technology to not only heat your hair evenly, but set your curls so well that they don’t require hairspray, which is notorious for drying out your hair. An added benefit of rollers that use this technology is they don’t require as high of a temperature to curl your hair, thereby minimizing the risk of damage.

Foam

These types of rollers have been around for quite some time, but they still hold their own in our high-tech era. Foam rollers are more gentle on the hair and heat pretty quickly, making them great for fine-haired folks with busy schedules.

Heat Settings

Like curling irons, some hot roller sets come with different temperature settings. This range in temperature will suit some heads of hair more than others.

Single-Heat Setting

Sets with a single-heat setting put the “hot” in hot rollers in the sense that they’re very, very hot. High-heat settings are best for long, thick, unruly hair that’s hard to curl. Longer, thicker hair is also less likely to suffer damage from high heat settings, making it the ideal hair type for hot roller sets of one temperature setting.

Multiple-Heat Settings

If you have layered, short, fine, or damaged hair, opt for a set with multiple heat settings. That way you can curl the shorter, finer pieces at lower heat settings and the longer, thicker pieces at higher temperatures. If your head of hair falls under any of these categories, you’ll maintain its integrity far better with hot roller sets with multiple heat settings.

Let’s take a look at our top ten picks for hot roller sets on the market. While they all achieve the same result more or less, each model comes with its own set of unique features that make it better for some heads over others.

Top 10 Best Hot Rollers 2021

1. Best Overall Hot Rollers: Caruso C97953 30 Molecular Steam Hairsetter

Caruso C97953 30 Molecular Steam Hairsetter

Why we like it: This hot roller set uses steam to set the curls, which may improve the texture of your hair. Thirty rollers also ensure that heads with long or thick hair will get full curl coverage.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Material: Foam
  • Heat Settings: One
  • Portable: Yes
  • Best For: All hair types

If you’re more clasic when it comes to curling your hair, then this hot roller set will serve you well. It is an excellent option for fine or thin hair. Unlike the ceramic and ceramic-infused options on this list, these foam hot rollers use steam to curl your hair and may even leave your hair in better condition than it was before. However, the whopping number of rollers in this set–30, to be exact–means you’ll be able to curl longer, thicker hair too.

Like the Remington Ionic Conditioning Hair Setter, the rollers come in various sizes, with six each of petite, small, medium, large, and jumbo. The set itself is also pretty compact, making it easy to take with you wherever you go. Furthermore, these rollers heat up quickly, with an average of ten to 15 seconds per roller, which makes them great if you’re tight on time. Just be careful not to steam the rollers for too long, though, as it may make the foam a bit soggy.

Pros

  • Steam heat is gentle on hair
  • Suitable for all hair types
  • 30 rollers of various sizes
  • Quick heating time: 10-15 seconds per roller

Cons

  • Steaming rollers for too long may make them soggy

2. Best Budget Hot Rollers: Remington Ionic Conditioning Hair Setter

Remington Ionic Conditioning Hair Setter

Why we like it: You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more versatile hot roller set for such a great price. This set includes 20 color-coded, ceramic rollers of various sizes (¾-inch, 1-inch, and 1¼-inch) and uses ionic conditioning technology to deliver shiny, frizz-free curls.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Material: Ceramic
  • Heat Settings: One
  • Portable: No
  • Best For: Fine, thin hair

Fine-haired heads, rejoice! This hot roller set of three different small diameters uses ionic and wax core technology to give you long-lasting curls without frying your hair. Better still, the price is definitely right with this set; the average price hovers around $20. This hot rollers set’s ionic technology ensures smooth, shiny curls while the wax core technology means the rollers will retain the heat for a long time, and therefore will curl your hair more effectively.

The rollers heat quickly and also come with J-clips that fasten the rollers securely in place without creasing the hair, meaning less fiddling overall. Longer-haired folks will still find some success with this set, but given the smaller diameters of the rollers, they’re more likely to get curls at the ends of their longer tresses.

Pros

  • Smaller diameters of rollers make them great for finer, shorter hair
  • Ionic technology reduces chances of frizz and breakage
  • Wax core technology produces curls that hold for longer
  • High value for low cost

Cons

  • Not as effective on longer, thicker hair
  • Does not have dual-voltage

3. Best Premium Hot Rollers: INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Ceramic Flocked Hot Roller Set

INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Ceramic Flocked Hot Roller Set

Why we like it: This hot roller set not only has a two-minute heating time, but it has 12 heat settings and includes 20 rollers of various sizes (i.e., ¾-inch, 1-inch, and 1¼-inch) that make it perfect for shorter, finer hair.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Material: Ceramic
  • Heat Settings: 12
  • Portable: No
  • Best For: Short, fine hair

Between 12 different heat settings and 20 small, medium, and large-sized rollers with ionic technology, you’ll get to customize your hot roller experience with our premium pick. More importantly, folks with finer, thinner hair won’t have to worry about jeopardizing their tender tresses. The lavish array of roller sizes and heat settings lets you really experiment with your hair to achieve different types of curls, be it long, loose waves, or short, tight ringlets. The ends of the rollers also stay nice and cool, so they’re easy to handle no matter how long they’ve been heated.

However, there are a couple of things to be wary of. One is the fairly lengthy heating time, which can take up to 15 minutes depending on the heat setting. If time is of the essence, you might want to consider going with another set that heats up more quickly. The other drawback is the clips that come with the rollers. They don’t secure the rollers in place as well as clips in other sets.

Pros

  • 20 rollers of various sizes
  • 12 different heat settings
  • Easy to handle

Cons

  • Long heating time
  • Clips that come with rollers aren’t super secure

4. Best Jumbo Hot Rollers: Conair Xtreme Instant Heat Jumbo-Sized Hot Rollers

Conair Xtreme Instant Heat Jumbo-Sized Hot Rollers

Why we like it: This hot roller set boasts the fastest heating time on our list; in just under 90 seconds, your rollers will be ready to, well, roll. These ceramic-infused jumbo rollers are ideal for long, thick hair that has trouble holding curls.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Material: Ceramic-infused
  • Heat Settings: One
  • Portable: No
  • Best For: Long, thick hair

Folks with a quick-paced morning routine will have no trouble getting their curls in for the day with this hot roller set. They’re ready in a jiffy with a heating time of just under a minute and a half. Moreover, their ceramic-infused technology will leave hair both bouncing and behaving without damaging it.

With two sizes of jumbo rollers to choose from (eight 1½-inch rollers and four 1-¾-inch rollers), those with longer manes can play around with curl diameter and shape, unlike most hot roller sets.

Unfortunately, there is no auto-shutoff safety feature on this model, so don’t forget to unplug it when you’re done. Another drawback is this set is bulkier than others on the list, so it’s not very travel-friendly.

Pros

  • 12 jumbo rollers of two different sizes
  • Works great on long, thick hair
  • Very quick heating time
  • Ceramic-infused technology leaves hair shiny and frizz-free

Cons

  • Not travel-friendly
  • No auto-shutoff safety feature

5. Best Travel Set: Conair Compact Multi-Size Hot Rollers

Conair Compact Multi-Size Hot Rollers

Why we like it: This lightweight, compact hot roller set features dual-voltage, making it excellent for international jetsetters. It also includes a “ready” signal that lights up when the 20 rollers of various diameters (eight ½-inch, six ¾-inch, and six 1-inch rollers) are hot.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Material: Plastic
  • Heat Settings: One
  • Portable: Yes
  • Best For: Medium-thick hair that’s average length or shorter

This hot roller set is great for frequent fliers. It’s small and easy to stow in your luggage and features dual-voltage. It’s also perfectly suited for people with hair of average thickness and length or less, as the largest size roller is 1-inch. If your hair is any thicker, you might want to go with a large or jumbo hot roller set, like the Conair Jumbo and Super Jumbo Hot Rollers.

This set also features a “ready” signal light that indicates when your rollers are good to go. But because the rollers are made of plastic, they take longer to heat up than their ceramic and ceramic-infused counterparts (sometimes as long as 15 minutes). The J-clips that are included to hold the rollers in place are also a bit flimsy, so it’s wise to stock up on an extra set or two if you go with this model.

Pros

  • Lightweight, compact design makes it travel-friendly
  • Dual-voltage for international use
  • “Ready” signal light that indicates when rollers are hot
  • 20 rollers of various sizes

Cons

  • Plastic rollers take a long time to heat up compared to other materials
  • Flimsy J-clips don’t secure the rollers well
  • Not great for long, thick hair

6. Best Dual-Voltage Hot Rollers: Conair Instant Heat Travel Hot Rollers

Conair Instant Heat Travel Hot Rollers

Why we like it: Five jumbo, 1½-inch rollers that heat up in just two minutes will give users smooth, voluminous waves. This hot roller set also includes dual voltage so that you can take it with you anywhere in the world.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Material: Plastic
  • Heat Settings: One
  • Portable: Yes
  • Best For: Long, thick hair

This hot roller set is another great option for travelers. Between its dual-voltage feature, compact design, and quick heating time of around two minutes, you’ll definitely find this to be a solid, basic hot roller set. Its ends stay cool to the touch as well, so you won’t have to worry about burning your fingers while setting your curls.

There is a key difference between this travel set and others mentioned here, though. Unlike the Conair Multi-Size Hot Rollers, this set only has five jumbo rollers, which makes them great for longer, thicker hair. Five rollers often aren’t enough for thick-haired heads, though, so you may want to look elsewhere to ensure full curl coverage.

Pros

  • Dual-voltage
  • Lightweight, compact design
  • Quick heating time
  • Ends stay cool to the touch

Cons

  • Only five jumbo rollers of one size
  • Not suitable for all hair types

7. Fastest-Heating Hot Rollers: REMINGTON H9100S Pro Hair Setter

REMINGTON H9100S Pro Hair Setter

Why we like it: This model’s ceramic-coated rollers feature dual-heating technology that sets curls in five minutes or less. It also includes two roller sizes: 12 large (1¼-inch) and eight medium (1-inch), making it an ideal choice for medium-thick, medium-length hair.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Material: Ceramic
  • Heat Settings: One
  • Portable: Yes
  • Best For: Medium-thick, medium-length hair

Here’s another set that’s great for those who are short on time; these rollers can heat up and be ready to go in 90 seconds. This model is also fairly compact and lightweight so it’s easy to take with you. However, since it doesn’t feature dual-voltage technology, you won’t be able to take it with you abroad.

Even though curls set fast with this model thanks to the dual-heating technology they might not hold without a little extra help. Keep some hairspray on hand should you choose to buy this model.

Unlike some of the other options here, such as the Conair Compact Hot Rollers, this hot roller set does not include a “ready” signal light that indicates when the rollers are hot. Still, though, the ceramic material these rollers are made from will leave your tresses smooth and silky.

Pros

  • Quick heating time
  • Curls set quickly
  • Relatively small and easy to store

Cons

  • No dual-voltage
  • Might need to use other hair products to get the best curls
  • No “ready” signal light to indicate when the rollers are hot

8. Most Versatile Hot Rollers: INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Instant Heat Ceramic Flocked Rollers

INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Instant Heat Ceramic Flocked Rollers

Why we like it: These flocked ceramic rollers have a velvety-smooth finish that not only grips hair better but provides heat protection. This set includes 20 rollers of various sizes (four jumbo 1¼-inch, six large 1-inch, six medium ¾-inch, and four small ½-inch rollers).

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Material: Ceramic
  • Heat Settings: Two
  • Portable: No
  • Best For: All hair types

This set of ionic technology-infused flocked rollers is pretty versatile, as you can experiment with different curl sizes and shapes without sacrificing the integrity of your tresses. This set of hot rollers is friendly to all hair types thanks to the range of roller sizes, and in just 90 seconds your rollers will be ready to go. Should you need the extra heat power simply allow the rollers to heat for a few additional minutes. There’s also a “ready” signal light, and as a bonus gift, a bottle of “One and Only” argan oil is included to add a boost of shine and gloss to your curls or waves.

One minor inconvenience, though, is the roller holders are shaped according to the size of the rollers, so you can’t just put the rollers back in any of the holders.

Pros

  • 20 flocked rollers of four different sizes
  • Ceramic material and ionic technology for frizz-free and static-free results
  • Ready signal light to indicate when rollers are sufficiently heated
  • Bonus bottle of “One and Only” argan oil to boost shine and gloss

Cons

  • Rollers have designated holders which makes putting them back a pain
  • No dual-voltage
  • Not very travel-friendly

9. Best Tourmaline Hot Rollers: Conair Instant Heat Tourmaline Ceramic Flocked Hot Rollers

Conair Instant Heat Tourmaline Ceramic Flocked Hot Rollers

Why we like it: These tourmaline-infused jumbo 2-inch rollers are flocked for extra heat protection and boast ionic technology which helps reduce hair damage and breakage. They’re best for medium to long hair, as they heat up quickly and produce long-lasting, glossy curls.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Material: Tourmaline-infused ceramic
  • Heat Settings: One
  • Portable: No
  • Best For: Medium-to-long hair

These eight, 2-inch jumbo rollers are a cut above the rest, as they’re flocked for extra heat protection. Like the Conair Ceramic Flocked Rollers, the flocked rollers provide extra grip when rolling your hair. This set also features ionic technology which eliminates frizz and frying while curling your hair. Since the rollers are so large in diameter, this set is recommended for medium-to-long hair. Just be careful when rolling your hair, as too-large sections of hair will not fasten easily with the included clips.

Moreover, the rollers may emit a strong plastic smell when hot, but this is due to the plastic ends and clips. If you have exceptionally voluminous hair, this set might not have enough rollers to curl your entire head of hair, either, so consider stocking up on some extra rollers to achieve that luxurious, curly mane you’re after.

Pros

  • Flocked rollers provide extra grip and heat protection
  • Ionic technology enhances shine and cuts down on frizz
  • Eight jumbo rollers work well on medium to long hair

Cons

  • Rollers emit a plastic smell while heating
  • Eight rollers may not be enough to curl entire head of thick, voluminous hair
  • Too-large sections of hair won’t roll easily

10. Best Infrared Hot Rollers: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Roller Hairsetter

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Roller Hairsetter

Why we like it: These flocked, nano-titanium ceramic rollers use infrared technology to curl hair without damaging it. This set also features dual-voltage so you can get glossy, voluminous waves no matter where you are in the world.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Material: Nano-titanium ceramic
  • Heat Settings: One
  • Portable: Yes
  • Best For: Long, thick hair

Last but not least, this set includes five 1½-inch jumbo rollers that are great for longer, thicker hair. The infrared technology means you’ll get lasting shine and bounce without frying your hair to a crisp. It also comes with U-clips and J-clips to hold the rollers securely in place. Unfortunately, like the Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Hot Rollers, five rollers means you might need more jumbo rollers to curl your whole head. Be aware that the lid may be prone to cracking over an extended period, which might compromise your rollers’ heating time.

Pros

  • Infrared technology heats hair without damaging it
  • Flocked nano-titanium ceramic rollers retain heat for longer and grip hair better
  • Comes with U and J-clips to secure hair in place

Cons

  • Five jumbo rollers may not be enough to curl voluminous heads of hair entirely
  • Plastic lid may crack easily

Guide to Buying the Best Hot Rollers for 2021

With so many hot roller sets on the market, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which model to buy. Just as we touched on in our Mini-Buyers Guide, there are a slew of factors to consider when purchasing your hot rollers, such as roller material, heating time, dual-voltage features, and hair type and length, to name a few.

However, there are a few other things you’ll want to keep in mind while shopping around for the perfect hot roller set.

How Often Should I Use Hot Rollers?

Since hot rollers obviously use heat to curl your hair, you’ll always be at minimal risk of damaging your hair. For this reason, try not to use hot rollers on your hair more than twice a week. However, there are plenty of fabulous options that feature ionic technology or flocked rollers to help mitigate the risks of damage, like the Remington Ionic Hair Setter.

Our best overall pick, the Caruso Steam Hairsetter uses steam to gently curl the hair, which also minimizes the risk of damage.

How Do I Section My Hair When Setting It?

Sectioning the appropriate amount of hair can make or break your beautiful curls; too much and the section won’t heat up enough to hold a curl, while too little might expose your hair to excessive heat. What you’ll need is a comb or hairpin to neatly divide your hair into sections. A good rule of thumb is to wrap sections of hair that are about two inches wide, but you may need to tweak this a little depending on your hair type and length.

You also might want to use a setting spray before putting your hot rollers in, as this will help with heat protection and setting your curls.

Will Hot Rollers Damage My Hair?

While you need to be careful of any kind of prolonged heat exposure to your hair, hot rollers are gentler on your hair than curling irons. Hot rollers heat your hair at a lower temperature over a longer period, unlike curling irons, which “shock” the hair by curling it at a very high heat for a much shorter time. However, this doesn’t mean using hot rollers every day is a good idea.

Can I Use Hot Rollers on Wet or Damp Hair?

In a word, no. Sadly, wet or even slightly damp hair does not hold a curl. Dry, slightly straightened hair is the best candidate for a good curling.

How Long Does It Take for Hot Rollers to Curl Hair?

This will depend heavily on the type of hair you have. Naturally, the thicker, longer, or curlier your hair is, the longer it will take to curl it. Most heads of hair can get the great curls they’re after in 20 minutes or so, but fine-haired folks may want to opt for a duration of no longer than 15 minutes, while thick heads of hair should keep the rollers in for at least a half hour.

While some sets on the market boast a quick curl setting time, like the Remington Pro Hair Setter boast a curling time of just five minutes, but in reality, you’ll most likely need to tack on several minutes to achieve the results you want.

How Long Should I Heat Up My Hot Rollers Before Using Them?

While the general time frame for heating up your hot rollers is between five to ten minutes, this time can vary widely depending on the material from which the hot rollers are made. Some hot rollers have an exceptionally short heating time of just a couple of minutes which allows you to wake up, curl your hair, and hit the road.

Keep in mind that you may have to adjust the time according to your hair type and length. This may affect how long your overall curling process takes, since you’ll have to account for the time it takes to heat your rollers, set your hair, and let them work their magic.

Should I Use Products in My Hair With Hot Rollers?

Again, the answer to this question depends on the type of product you want to use. Heat protectants are generally okay to use whereas hairsprays are not. Setting sprays are also often grouped with heat protectants, as they protect your hair from the heat and help your hair hold its curls longer.

The reason hairsprays are mostly a no-go is because they dry out the hair and make them more prone to breakage. If your hair is having trouble holding a curl with hot rollers, adding hair products may not be the answer. You may want to reassess the rollers you’re using and see if they’re well-suited to your hair texture and length, rather than add hair products.

How Should I Set My Hair in the Hot Rollers?

The way you set your hair in the hot rollers depends on your hair length and texture. The classic way is to roll your hair from the ends up, which gives you a lovely pile of big, bouncy curls towards the ends.

However, you might not get the best heat distribution this way. If you want a more evenly-heated curl, start in the middle and wrap the ends around the roller first. After that, roll the hair section the rest of the way up and fasten it. This method maximizes your curl potential across the entire hair piece by distributing the heat more evenly.

How Long Should I Leave My Hot Rollers In?

Patience is indeed a virtue, especially when it comes to coiffing your locks. While hot rollers cut down on the amount of work you have to do (say, compared to a curling iron), they still need just about as much time to do their thing.

Thinner-haired heads can get away with wearing hot rollers for 15 minutes or so. On the other hand, those whose hair is more like a mane (i.e., thick, curly, and a little unruly) may want to wait a good half hour before removing their hot rollers.

A Final Word on Hot Rollers

You don’t have to sacrifice loads of time to get beautiful, bouncy curls. No matter what type of hair you have, there’s a hot roller set out there for you. Thankfully, the majority of hot roller sets are pretty affordable, so you won’t have to spend too much cash to get salon-grade curls.

As with anything else, though, make sure to do your research before investing in a hot roller set, as not all sets are created equal. Once you find a set that’s right for you, though, we’re confident you’ll be more than satisfied with your new head of luscious locks.