Beauty - November 18, 2020

Curling Iron vs Wand: Which is better?

OK, this post is a big one! I almost talked myself out of doing it because I found myself getting overwhelmed as I sorted through all the details and broke everything down on my head/on paper. Thankfully, I did persevere, LOL, and I’m excited to show you what I learned when comparing curling irons and wands!

First things first, there is A LOT of subjectivity to this situation. Obviously I can only base these findings on my hair and the brand of tools I used, so remember to take that into consideration while reading through this. I’d like to think this information can be viewed as “general”, but just want to put that little disclaimer out there first. I share a bit more on the subjectivity piece of things later on in the post because I do want to point out a few key things.

Also, in a perfect world, I would take a photo of my hair when using every single tool. But to be honest, that proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. I did try, but I hate the way the images turned out (lol), so I’d rather share my findings and learnings in written form as I think the images wouldn’t really do the tools justice.

The Tools I Used To Compare

I have a T3 1.25″ curling iron and then the T3 interchangeable wand set that comes with a 1″ barrel, 1 1/4″–3/4″ tapered barrel, and a 1.5″ barrel. This post is not sponsored by T3 at all, those are just the tools I have and use and love.


Whirl Trio Interchangeable Curling Iron Set

I’ve had this set for over 3 years and still love it! This interchangeable wand set comes with a base as well as 3 barrel sizes: 1″ barrel, 1 1/4″–3/4″ tapered barrel, and a 1.5″ barrel.

Before doing my hair with each, I really thought I’d be able to come to a solid conclusion and be able to tell you which one to buy if you had to choose just one. But during the process, I realized how many pros and cons there are to each PLUS all the subjectiveness I mentioned above. Things like hair length, hair texture, your skill level in doing hair, etc. are all factors that I think play a big role in deciding what tool to spend your money on.

This is why I LOVE T3! You don’t necessarily have to choose an iron or a wand. Instead, my best recommendation would be to buy their convertible base from their website and then choose which attachments work best for you. Also, just so you know, the convertible base comes with any of their convertible sets.


Convertible Base

With the convertible base, you can then get ANY curling iron barrel size OR wand barrel size you want and will be able to use them interchangeably. That way, you switch it out as your hair grows or when you want a different look.

But this way, for example, you could go with a 1.25″ curling iron AND a 1″ wand all built into one! There are seven attachment options total so you can take my pros and cons listed below, apply the subjective factors based on your situation and then decide what might work best for your hair.


Polished Curls 1.25 Clip Barrel

Personally, I love the curls I get with this curling iron! They’re big and voluminous and give my hair lots of volume. I will say, though, that this works much better for me when my hair is longer. The curls don’t stay when my hair is shorter.

I realize there are a NUMBER of other curling tools out there, but again, this is just what I have and use and can confidently recommend. 

Example Results with Different Tools

As a general rule, I think using a smaller barrel size on shorter hair works best. Here are a couple examples of when I used the 1 inch barrel on my shorter hair:

As I mentioned above, I much prefer the smaller barrel size (1 inch for me) with shorter hair. I found that when I used the larger sizes, my curls would not stay longer than a few hours.

But as my hair has gotten longer, I’ve preferred the larger barrel sizes – see a few examples in the images below.

Curling Iron vs. Curling Wand

I made a couple graphics to compare the pros and cons of each, but I wanted to chat about a few things first.

For me, curling with an iron just seems to take more skill. I’m constantly adjusting/loosening and tightening with the clamp, whereas with the wand I just sit there and hold the piece of hair. So if you’re new to curling your hair, I think a wand would be easier to start with because it seems to take less skill to get the desired result. On the other hand, using a wand feels like a bit more of a “job” for me because one, I’m really comfortable using an iron, and two, I need both hands to use a wand (vs only one with an iron once the hair is clamped) AND I have to hold the wand over my head, which makes my arms really tired.

I think the texture and thickness/thinness of your hair will make a difference. If you have a lot of hair, I’d assume your hair is thicker so I feel like your hair might be less susceptible to a kink or dent from the clamp of the iron, making the iron a potentially better choice for you. Plus, if you have thicker hair, you have a LOT more to curl, so holding your hand over your hand (like you need to do with a wand) might make your arms tired. Conversely, if you have thinner hair, you’ll want to avoid the kink from a clamp, making the wand a potentially better choice for you.

I also want to say something about colored hair vs uncolored hair. Before I colored my hair (and it got a little drier), a curling iron did not hold my curl very well. I consider my hair to be pretty fine, I just have a decent amount of it, so coloring it helped to hold the curl better, I think, because of the drier texture (if you want to call drying your hair out help LOL, but it does help hold the style since it isn’t as soft). With that said, if you do have soft, fine hair, I personally think a wand is a better choice as I didn’t love an iron before my hair dried out a bit.

I put these graphics together based on my own experience and then a summary of all the response I got when I did the question box a few weeks ago on my Instagram. I got A LOT of feedback and I summarized it into these graphics!

curling iron pros and cons

Another thing about the curling iron that I just recently noticed is that I found it was harder to start the curl up high close to my root. So when I use the curling iron, my curls seem to start lower on my heard. When I use a wand, since I’m holding the hair OUT form my head and wrapping it around the wand, I’m able to start the wrap higher if that makes sense? Or maybe this is just me?!

I also can’t decide which one is quicker. I got mixed feedback from you guys when I asked. I think in general, if you know how to use a curling iron, then it’s typically quicker (at least for me!).

curling wand

So…Iron vs. Wand – Which Is Better?

It depends! After all of this “reaearch” (ha!), I’ve definitely learned that there are a lot of factors at play and it truly depends on a number of things.

It depends on what you’re looking to achieve and the style/length/texture of your hair. It also depends on which one you’re more comfortable with and which works best for your hair.

Now, Can We Chat???

I’d love to know what you think and if I missed anything! I release a lot of this is pretty subjective and depends on your hair type, but hope hopefully it’s helpful!

slash….was that information overload? LOL. I hope not! I really wanted this post to be helpful and informative so I definitely did a deep dive on this one! If you have any questions about anything, drop them below or comment on my latest photo on IG and I’ll do my best to get back to you!