In winter 2015/2016, I bought a new flat iron – a Hot Tools Digital Iron with Titanium plates (they have a few other digital models, so the distinction is important). I don’t heat style my hair all the time because:
- I am lazy and
- It’s just better for your hair not to.
The idea of taking 20+ minutes to fully dry my hair and then style it with an iron is pretty far from my idea of a good time. That means I need an iron that can kick ass and take names on blow-dried and air-dried hair alike.
Powering on isn’t casually tapping the power button. This iron is looking for a long press to confirm that you indeed intend to power it on. The Hot Tools Digital Iron is speedy, going from off to 400 degrees in under one minute. Its temperature range is up to 450, but I do not need that. I probably don’t need 400, but…did I mention that I am lazy?
In reality, the adjustable thermostat is a huge plus. A super-popular brand that makes irons with all sorts of whimsical and fun designs doesn’t offer adjustable heat – which is crazy to me, for how much they cost!
Ergonomics & Design
There isn’t much to talk about on this front – it’s a fairly standard flat iron. Reasonably comfortable to hold and use. The exterior has a soft-touch, velvety plastic coating that feels nice in the hands and enables a better grip.
Swivel cords are commonly considered a ‘luxury’ featured in styling tools, but in my view they’re a no-brainer. The cord moves with you so you don’t have to extricate your arm when you switch sides.
Finally, the backlit, digital display is easy to read, even in less-than-ideal lighting conditions.
This IS NOT a wet-to-straight iron, so you do need to start with dry hair or you are going to have a bad time.
My hair is somewhere between wavy and straight. In the back center I have more texture than the sides and front. That section of hair sometimes requires two passes over a section to get it where I want, but that area aside, one pass at 400 does just fine. Finer hair would be just fine with one pass at a lower temperature.
Overall, it takes me less than ten minutes to do my whole head of (long!) hair. Your mileage will vary depending on the texture, length, and overall condition of your hair…not to mention the temperature setting you choose.
In a year of use, none of the qualities appear to have degraded.
Let’s face it – after a while, product usually gets stuck to the plates for some reason or another. It took a dozen or more uses for even a hint of residue to appear. The titanium plates cleaned up with simple 70% Isoproyl Alcohol without a fuss once the iron was cool.
The Bottom Line
I’m happy and would recommend this iron BUT I wouldn’t pay full price ($70) to replace it simply because it isn’t hard to avoid doing so. I don’t recommend you pay full price either.
I bought mine at Ulta when it was $55 and purchased in conjunction with a 20% off Platinum perk and buy one, get one offer (got a deep waver that I gifted). Currently, JCPenney appears to be the best place to buy; as of this post, it was on sale for $55 and there’s a 15% off code in their banner that takes it down to $48. JCPenney sometimes lets you use multiple codes, too, so you may be able to get it cheaper. Add in 3-6% back from eBates and you’ve got a reliable iron that works quickly and doesn’t break the bank.