The Best Hair Curlers and Rollers

Many of us love the idea of bouncy, beautiful curls, but have straight or wavy hair naturally. Hair curlers and rollers, however, can make that a reality. Curlers and rollers can even help those with natural curls to add volume and definition to their natural texture.

We reviewed dozens of hair curlers and rollers to identify the best of the best. We looked at all types of different curlers and rollers, taking into account size, heat, portability, the time required, and more to find great curlers and rollers for all hair types. We even made sure to look at Amazon reviews from other real-life consumers to make sure each product truly is top quality.

Best Hair Curler Overall
Caruso Professional Molecular Steam Hairsetter with 30 Rollers
Caruso Professional Molecular Replacement Steam Hair Rollers use both heat and water to get gorgeous curls that last.

Our top pick, and the product that stood out as the clear winner, is Caruso Professional Molecular Steam Hairsetter with 30 Rollers. These rollers use both heat and moisture for curls that set quickly but are also long-lasting.

The 5 Top-Rated Hair Curlers and Rollers

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best Hair Curlers OverallCaruso Professional Molecular Steam Hairsetter with 30 Rollers4.7
Best Hair Curler for Short HairMBHAIR 3/8 Small Barrel Skinny Hair Curling Iron
4.6
Best Budget Hair CurlersConair Self-Grip Rollers
4.2
Best Foam Hair RollersBERON 40PCs Set Flexible Foam Hair Rollers
4.4
Best Jumbo Hair CurlersDrybar High Tops Self-Grip Rollers 6-pack4.4

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Best Hair Curlers Overall: Caruso Professional Molecular Steam Hairsetter with 30 Rollers

Our top pick is Caruso Professional Molecular Steam Hairsetter with 30 Rollers. While most hair curlers use either heat or moisture to curl hair, these use a combination of both to get gorgeous, smooth curls that last for ages. It works for all hair types and lengths. The set is also great for travel. The steam setter is dual voltage and the set includes a storage bag.

To use the set, simply fill the reservoir on the steam setter up to the fill line, plug in the unit, and allow a minute for it to start steaming. Once it’s ready, place a roller on the unit for three to five seconds to allow it to steam, then roll a section of hair and apply a roller guard to keep it in place. Continue steaming curlers and rolling sections one at a time until the whole head is complete. Then, allow the hair to cool and dry. You can use a blow dryer to make setting go faster if you’d like, but the roller and shield are designed to allow for quick evaporation and setting. Finally, just unwrap your curls, apply a finishing spray, and you’re good to go.

The set comes with 30 rollers in five sizes: Petite, Small, Medium, Large, and Jumbo. There are six rollers of each. The largest size, Jumbo, is 1.75″ while the smallest, Petite, is 0.5″. You can also buy sets of additional rollers in the various sizes.

Caruso Professional Molecular Steam Hairsetter with 30 Rollers Key Features:

  • Uses both heat and moisture to set curls
  • Comes with 30 rollers in five sizes
  • Great for travel
  • Rollers allow for quick evaporation
  • Works for all hair types and lengths

Best Hair Curler for Short Hair: MBHAIR 3/8 Small Barrel Skinny Hair Curling Iron

Best Hair Curler for Short Hair
MBHAIR 3/8 Small Barrel Skinny Hair Curling Iron
A thin curling iron like the MBHAIR 3/8 Small Barrel Skinny Hair Curling Iron is a great way to curl short hair.

You don’t have to miss out on curly hair just because your hair is short. The MBHAIR 3/8 Small Barrel Skinny Hair Curling Iron has a barrel that’s just 3/8″ or 9mm across, perfect for wrapping short hair. The barrel’s .787″ (20mm) insulated tip head even rotates to make wrapping and styling even easier. The barrel is also ceramic glazed and releases negative ions to ensure even heating, protect your hair from damage, and achieve smooth, shiny curls. The barrel is almost 5 inches long, giving you plenty of room to work with.

This curling iron allows for temperature adjustment with 8 different heat settings. The lowest setting is 176°F and the highest is 450°F. The curling iron also has technology that ensures that the heat stays constant throughout use. It heats up fast, so you’re ready to start curling your hair in minutes.

The handle is just under 4 inches, giving you plenty of room to work with. It has a frosted texture for a comfortable grip. The clip is easy to reach and holds hair securely, while the anti-scalding rack prevents the curling iron from burning the surface it’s resting on. The power cord features 360° rotation to keep it out of your way. The cord is also more than 8.8 feet long, so you’re not stuck right next to the outlet while you use it. This curling iron requires only 25W, so it’s very energy efficient.

MBHAIR 3/8 Small Barrel Skinny Hair Curling Iron Key Features:

  • Great for short hair
  • 3/8″ diameter barrel
  • Ceramic glazed
  • 8 heat settings
  • Long, rotating power cord

Best Budget Hair Curlers: Conair Self-Grip Rollers

Best Budget Hair Curlers
Conair Self-Grip Rollers
Get gorgeous, bouncy waves for just a few bucks with Conair Self-Grip Rollers.

Getting and maintaining beautiful, healthy hair can get pretty pricey. You don’t have to shell out a lot for rollers, however, with Conair Self-Grip Rollers. This roller set includes 31 rollers in five different sizes, each of which is a different color to make it even easier to tell which size each roller is at a glance. Use the largest size for smooth, bouncy, and voluminous waves, or try the smallest set for tighter ribbon curls. Or, of course, use any of the other sizes for something in between. You can even mix and match sizes for curls with a more natural, interesting, and varied look. Each size creates smooth, frizz-free curls. Mix up the size of the sections of hair on each roller to customize the size and tightness of your curls even more.

These hair rollers are self-gripping, thanks to their velcro texture. That means you don’t have to use clips, pins, or guards, which can leave indents in what would otherwise be perfect curls. They can also be used on wet, damp, or dry hair, and with or without a styling product. You can allow the curls set naturally or use a hairdryer to speed up the process. The curls come in a zippered storage bag that allows for convenient storage and travel.

Conair Self-Grip Rollers Key Features:

  • Budget-friendly
  • 31 rollers in five different sizes
  • Color-coded by size
  • Self-gripping
  • Zippered storage bag

Best Foam Hair Rollers: BERON 40PCs Set Flexible Foam Hair Rollers

Best Foam Hair Rollers
BERON 40PCs Set Flexible Foam Hair Rollers
These BERON 40PCs Set Flexible Foam Hair Rollers give you great curls overnight.

Foam hair rollers may be considered old-school by some, but they can be used to create both vintage and modern curly-haired looks. Our favorite foam rollers are BERON 40PCs Set Flexible Foam Hair Rollers. They’re a classic style of foam hair roller in which a foam core is enclosed in a soft fabric outer wrap. Simply wrap your hair around the foam, then tie the ends of the fabric to keep the rollers in place. There are no hard clips or pins, so these rollers are super comfortable to sleep in. The lack of clips and pins also means that you don’t have to worry about creasing.

You don’t need to use them with damp hair, but doing so will give you the best curl definition and longer-lasting curls. A hair single roller is best for short hair, but for long hair you can use two rollers together to divide up the length of each section of hair.

The set includes 40 foam hair rollers in five different colors, each with a cute polka-dot pattern. All rollers are the same size and are ideal for looser curls, especially if your hair is rolled when it’s dry. The rollers are lightweight and compressible, so they’re great for travel.

BERON 40PCs Set Flexible Foam Hair Rollers Key Features:

  • Classic-style foam rollers
  • No hard clips or pins
  • Can be used with dry or damp hair
  • Set includes 40 rollers
  • Great for travel

Best Jumbo Hair Curlers: Drybar High Tops Self-Grip Rollers 6-pack

Best Jumbo Hair Curlers
Drybar High Tops Self-Grip Rollers 6-pack
Get big, loose curls and waves with this Drybar High Tops Self-Grip Rollers 6-pack.

If you’re more interested in getting voluminous waves and big, loose curls than tight, spiraling curls, then the Drybar High Tops Self-Grip Rollers 6-pack is just what you need. Drybar is a company known for helping people get gorgeous, shiny, and healthy-looking blowouts, both at the salon and at home. This roller set is another way to do that. These large rollers won’t give you tight, spiral curls; that’s not what they’re for. Instead, they’ll help you get lift and volume, even with second-day (or third-day) hair.

Either use them after freshly blow-drying clean hair or hit next-day with the blow dryer for a moment to heat up your hair before rolling. Once your hair has cooled, take it down and use fingers to help blend the sections.

This roller set contains six rollers, three medium and three large. If you need more, however, the set is definitely affordable enough to buy two. The rollers are self-gripping, so they hold on to hair and stay up using their grippy texture, rather than pins, clips, or guards. This avoids kinks, creases, and indents, which is especially important for the kind of smooth, loose curls these rollers create since flaws are very noticeable.

Drybar High Tops Self-Grip Rollers 6-pack Key Features:

  • Perfect for adding volume
  • Help extend the life of a blowout
  • Contains three medium rollers and three large rollers
  • Self-gripping

Who Should Buy a Hair Curler or Roller

Many people think that hair curlers and rollers are only for people with straight or wavy hair. Sure, they do allow you to add waves and curls to straight hair and allow you to getter a tighter, more defined curl pattern with wavy hair. However, curling tools are also great for helping those with naturally curly hair modify or define their natural curl pattern. Curlers and rollers can also help all of us add volume to our hair, regardless of our natural texture. Large curlers used on large sections of hair can even help those with straight hair get sleek, smooth hair that’s still straight but with just a slight bend to it, as opposed to the flat and lanky locks the straight hair can be prone to.

Curlers and rollers also aren’t just for those with long or medium hair. Short-haired people can benefit too. Just choose a curler or roller with a small diameter so your hair can bend around it. People with short hair may have the best luck with thin curling irons or curling wands, but there are also rollers that work for short hair.

If you’re more interested in straightening your hair, try The Best Hair Straightening Brushes. And for those who want a little heat to their curlers, for faster curling, check out The Best Hot Hair Rollers.

Best Hair Curler Overall
Caruso Professional Molecular Replacement Steam Hair Rollers
Caruso Professional Molecular Replacement Steam Hair Rollers use both heat and water to get gorgeous curls that last.

Important Features to Consider

A hair curler or roller should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting a curler or roller for your hair:

  • Type. There are tons of different types of curlers on the market. There are curling irons, curling wands, foam rollers, curling rods, hot rollers, and steam curlers. Each is a little different in terms of how it’s used and the types of curls it achieves. Look at your different options and choose the one that works best for your lifestyle and desired curls.
  • Size. Curlers and rollers come in a huge array of diameters. Small diameter ones are best for tight curls and short hair, while the large ones create big, loose curls and soft waves. Keep in mind your hair length and how tight you want your curls to be so you can be sure to choose the right size.
  • Time required. Different types of curlers and rollers take different amounts of time. Curling irons and curling wands tend to be fast since you allow each section to set when you curl it. Rollers need time to set. Hot rollers simply have to cool down for setting while foam rollers have to let your hair dry, so foam rollers typically require more time. You can, however, allow them to set overnight for efficiency or use a blow dryer to speed up the drying time. Don’t forget that hot tools will also need time to heat up.
  • Portability. If you do much traveling and want to curl your hair when you do, you’ll need a portable option. Curling wands and curling irons don’t take up much room in a bag. Foam rollers take up more room, but they’re very lightweight. Hot rollers, on the other hand, tend to be heavy and bulky.
  • The number of rollers. If you want to curl your entire head of hair, you’ll need to make sure you can do that, so you may need to buy multiple sets of rollers. If you only plan on curling part of your hair, such as to add volume, you need fewer rollers. Of course, this isn’t an issue when using a curling iron or curling wand, since you only do one section at a time when using them for styling.
  • Heat. Some products curl hair by heating it up and then allowing it to cool in a curled pattern. Heat is great for curling dry hair and can help ensure smooth curls, but is also damaging. The higher the heat, the more damaging it is. Ideally, curlers that use heat should have multiple heat settings or use the lowest possible heat while still being effective.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are hair rollers and how do they work?

Hair rollers are a tool used to create curls by wrapping your hair around the roller. They work in one of two ways. For the first, wet hair is wrapped around the rollers and left until it dries, usually overnight. You can also speed up the drying by using a blow dryer. For the second, hair is wrapped around the roller and heated, sometimes by the roller itself, sometimes by a hairdryer or other device. The curlers are then left in until the hair cools completely. The change in state, either from wet to dry or from hot to cold, helps the hair to hold the shape it was in when wrapped around the roller.

Should you put rollers in wet or dry hair?

This depends on the type of roller. Any roller that uses heat is generally intended for use on dry hair. If used on wet hair, it may not create curls properly and can cause frizz and damage. Foam rollers are typically intended to use with wet hair and won’t give well-defined curls with dry hair. Other curlers can be used with wet or dry hair, as long as dry hair is heated properly to allow the curls to form and set.

How do I put rollers in my hair?

First, apply a volumizing or curl enhancing product, particularly focusing on your roots. If you’re using heated rollers, choose a product that also provides heat protection. Then, take a section of your hair and wrap it around one of the rollers. Make sure that the ends are tucked in neatly to avoid kinking. Be sure to wrap in the direction away from your face. The larger the section of hair, the looser the curl will be. You can then repeat to cover your whole head or just use a few larger curlers around your crown to add volume.

How do you use hair rollers overnight?

Foam curlers are the best option for overnight use since their softness makes them the most comfortable to sleep in. First, ensure that your hair is damp, not wet, or it may not dry overnight while wrapped around the rollers. If you’ve just washed your hair, you’ll want to towel dry, then give some time to air dry or use a blow dryer to speed up the process. Your hair will probably not dry evenly, however, especially if you allow it to air dry. Use a spray bottle to add water back to dryer areas until your hair is evenly damp. (If you’re starting with dry hair, use a spray bottle to dampen your hair evenly.) Then simply put the rollers in and hit the sack. The next morning, your hair should be dry and ready to let down into gorgeous curls.

Other Hair Curlers and Rollers We Reviewed

Best Hair Curler Overall
Caruso Professional Molecular Replacement Steam Hair Rollers
Caruso Professional Molecular Replacement Steam Hair Rollers use both heat and water to get gorgeous curls that last.

We looked at 20 other hair curlers and rollers. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best hair curlers and rollers list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your hair. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Flexible Hair Curling Rods

Minerva 42-pack 7” Twist-flex Foam Hair Roller Curling Rods

Minerva 42-pack 7'' Twist-flex Foam Hair Roller Curling Rods-min

This set of flexible hair curling rods contains 42 different rods in 7 different color-coded sizes.

Key Features:

  • Color-coded by size
  • Comfortable and easy to use with no clips required
  • 42 rods in 7 sizes

Cost: $13

SchwabMarken Curling Rods

SchwabMarken Curling Rods-min

These curling rods are available in packs of 10, 30, 50, and 60, so you can get as many or as few as you need.

Key Features:

  • Available in various packs containing different amounts of rods
  • All have a .63″ diameter
  • Flexible and easy-to-use

Cost: $22

Tifara Beauty 42-pack 7″ Flexible Curling Rods

Tifara Beauty 42-pack 7 inch Flexible Curling Rods-min

This pack of flexible hair curling rods contains 6 rods in each of 7 different sizes for a total of 42 rods.

Key Features:

  • Suitable for wet or dry hair
  • Each rod is 7″ long
  • Made of lightweight foam

Cost: $13

xnicx 47pcs 7” Flexible Curling Rods

xnicx 47pcs 7'' Flexible Curling Rods-min

Mix and match these 47 flexible hair curling rods in 7 different sizes for a custom curl look.

Key Features:

  • Color-coded by size
  • Comfortable and easy to use
  • Comes with a storage bag

Cost: $10

Foam Hair Rollers

Aimin Hair Rollers

Aimin Hair Rollers-min

These soft foam hair rollers tie in place without any hard clips or pens, making them perfect for sleeping in.

Key Features:

  • Vintage-style hair roller
  • Great for travel
  • Contains 30 rollers

Cost: $15

Caruso Traveler 14 Molecular Steam Hairsetter

Caruso Traveler 14 Molecular Steam Hairsetter-min

This steam hair roller set is a smaller and even more travel-friendly version of our top pick.

Key Features:

  • Uses both heat and moisture to set curls
  • Great for travel
  • Rollers allow for quick evaporation

Cost: $30

Conair Soft, Bouncy Curls Foam Rollers

Conair Soft, Bouncy Curls Foam Rollers-min

These sponge curlers allow you to get soft, bouncy curls of any size overnight.

Key Features:

  • Built-in clips
  • 48 foam rollers in 4 different sizes
  • Color-coded by size

Cost: $9

Dababell Sponge Hair Rollers

Dababell Sponge Hair Rollers-min

These are another great foam hair roller set without clips or pins.

Key Features:

  • Vintage-style hair roller
  • Great for travel
  • Contains 40 rollers

Cost: $15

Hair Curlers for Short Hair

Annie Snap on Rollers 3/4″ Yellow 12 Pack

Annie Snap on Rollers 3 4 Yellow 12pack-min

These snap-on rollers have a 3/4-inch diameter, making them great for rolling short hair.

Key Features:

  • Snap-on rollers for a secure hold
  • Suitable for wet or dry hair
  • Easy to use

Cost: $7

Conair InfinitiPRO Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Wand

Conair InfinitiPRO Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Wand-min

This conically shaped curling wand allows those with short hair to customize the tightness of their curls.

Key Features:

  • 4 different heat settings
  • Barrel tapers from 1-inch to 1/2-inch
  • Clamp-free

Cost: $17

Hoson 9mm 3/8 Inch Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Curling Iron

Hoson 9mm 3 8 Inch Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Curling Iron-min

This narrow curling iron is another great option for short hair.

Key Features:

  • 3/8-inch diameter barrel
  • Heats in just 60 seconds
  • LCD temperature control screen

Cost: $20

KIPOZI Thin 3/10 Inch Small Curling Iron

KIPOZI Thin 310 Inch Small Curling Iron-min

This curling iron has the smallest diameter of any curler on our list for the tightest curls for short hair.

Key Features:

  • Ceramic coated 3/10-inch diameter barrel
  • 60-minute automatic shutoff
  • Temperature Setting lock

Cost: $30

Le Salon 16 Brush Rollers & Pins Mini Hair Curlers

Le Salon 16 Brush Rollers & Pins Mini Hair Curlers-min

These narrow brush curlers are another excellent roller option for short hair.

Key Features:

  • Total of 16 brush rollers and 16 pins
  • 1/2″ diameter
  • Removable bristles

Cost: $9

Jumbo Hair Curlers

AFANSO Jumbo Size Hair Roller Set

AFANSO Jumpo Size Hair Roller Set-min

This mix of large and jumbo hair rollers is perfect for creating volume and loose waves.

Key Features:

  • Pack of 12 jumbo rollers and 12 large rollers
  • Self-gripping
  • Use with damp or dry hair

Cost: $12

Diane Magnetic Rollers

Diane Magnetic Rollers-min

These magnetic rollers have a whopping 3-inch diameter, larger than any other roller on this list.

Key Features:

  • Magnetic roller
  • Pack of 6 rollers
  • Vents for fast drying

Cost: $5

Kamay’s Jumbo Hair Rollers

Kamay's Jumbo Hair Rollers-min

These jumbo hair rollers have a large 1.9-inch diameter and are self-gripping.

Key Features:

  • Self-gripping
  • Best used with damp hair
  • Package contains 12 rollers

Cost: $10

MINGHU Jumbo Hair Rollers

MINGHU Jumbo Hair Rollers-min

These hair rollers have a 1.5-inch diameter, but they’re also available in an even larger 1.9-inch diameter.

Key Features:

  • Self-gripping
  • Best used with damp hair
  • Package contains 12 rollers

Cost: $10

UrbHome Large Hair Rollers

UrbHome Large Hair Rollers-min

These jumbo self-grip hair rollers have a large 44mm diameter.

Key Features:

  • Self-gripping
  • Comes in assorted colors
  • Package contains 12 rollers

Cost: $12

Magnetic Hair Rollers

Annie 12 Snap On Magnetic Rollers Medium 3/4″ #1223

Annie 12 Snap On Magnetic Rollers Medium 34 #1223-min

This set of magnetic rollers contains 12 medium rollers but is available in six different sizes.

Key Features:

  • 3/4-inch diameter
  • 12 snap-on magnetic rollers
  • Vents for faster drying

Cost: $4

Diane Snap On Magnetic Roller, Blue, 5/8″

Diane Snap On Magnetic Roller, Blue, 5 8-min

These snap-on magnetic rollers have a 5/8-inch diameter but are also available in five other sizes.

Key Features:

  • Pack of 12 snap-on magnetic rollers
  • Vents for faster drying
  • Available in six sizes

Cost: $6

Products You May Be Interested In: