Curling Iron Vs Curling Wand

Curling your hair can be quite a task, but with the availability of tools like curling irons and curling wands, you can make the process much more efficient and favorable for yourself. Both these tools are suitable for curling, so does that mean that you can use them interchangeably?

While it is sometimes okay to use one in place of the other, this does not imply that they are entirely the same. Each of them has differences in terms of its structure, usage, application, speed, safety, hair compatibility and curling results.

Learn more about each of these differences through the following sections.

What Is a Curling Iron?

At it’s most basic, a curling iron is a cylindrical curling tool that uses heat to achieve a curl, and it has a clamp to hold your hair against the iron. Below is a brief how-to for getting some basic curls with an iron:

  • Turn the curling iron on and let it heat up to the required temperature.
  • Section your hair.
  • Take a thick section of your hair and pull the curling iron down it using the clamp.
  • Curl the segment around the iron and hold it in place for a few seconds.
  • Let go of the segment gently and carefully.
  • Move on to the other segments of your hair that you wish to curl.

What Is A Curling Wand?

A curling wand is another type of curling tool. It comes in more of a canonical shape and requires a hands-on approach for curling various segments of your hair. Through this, you can achieve loose and free-flowing curls or waves. Here is how you can curl your hair using a curling wand.

  • Turn the power on and allow the wand to heat up a bit.
  • Section your hair into different pieces to make it easier for you to curl your hair.
  • Take the wand and place it in front of the section closest to your face.
  • Use your fingers to curl the section around the wand.
  • Let the hair rest for a few seconds and then let go of the wand carefully.
  • Repeat for the other sections by working your way inward.

Curling Iron vs Curling Wand

The aforementioned steps may have given you a rough idea about how curling irons and wands differ, but here is a more detailed and direct comparison between the two so that you know exactly what to expect and when to make use of either tool.


At first glance, both curling irons and wands look extremely similar. However, there is a distinct difference between the two when it comes to the overall shape and structure.

Curling irons have a barrel-like shape that maintains a consistent thickness or diameter throughout the structure. This then results in curls of similar consistency and uniformity in your hair. However, if you want to achieve different curls, you can also try interchanging the barrel of the iron with one of a different size.

On the other hand, curling wands showcase a more narrowing or tapering form that can allow you to make curls of various kinds in your hair.


Curling irons have a clamp on their structure through which you can wrap and curl your hair, making the process much more effective, long lasting and simple. Wands do not have this clamp, which means you will need to manually wrap the hair around the wand using your fingers.


When it comes to the types of curls you can achieve, there are notable differences between curling irons and curling wands. For instance, when it comes to curling irons, it will become much easier for you to make curls of similar sizes and shapes in your hair, resulting in a smoother appearance.

These curls are also quite tight and distinct, lasting much longer as compared to the curls you make using a curling wand.

Curling wands, however, result in loose curls that often look like waves, resulting in a more fluid appearance as compared to curling iron curls.

Heating Speed

How long the barrel takes to heat up the appliance is different for curling irons and wands. In this case, curling wands are much quicker to heat up and can allow you to start curling your hair in a matter of seconds. This is ideal for quick curling jobs, especially if you are in a hurry.

You can also release the hair sections much quicker than a curling iron.

Curling irons typically take a bit longer to become hot enough. As opposed to the few seconds that wands take, irons sometimes take an entire minute or even a couple of minutes in some cases.

Type of Hair

The type of hair you have matters when it comes to deciding between curling irons and curling wands. This generally relates to the texture and thickness level of your hair, with curling irons being more suitable for naturally curly or wavy hair. They are also much more stable for hair that happens to be a bit thicker or coarser.

Since the curls are more uniform with a curling iron, you can achieve durable results in such hair textures, not to mention that you can also highlight your natural curls much more while also getting rid of the frizz.

Curling wands, on the other hand, work better with smoother and finer hair. Hair that is a bit straighter or only slightly wavy tends to benefit more from these wands due to the flexibility and variety they can provide.

Length of Hair

Technically, both curling irons and wands are suitable for all lengths of hair, whether long, medium or short. In this case, it is possible to use either of the two.

However, one thing you should note here is that you will need to wrap your hair around the wand with your hands, which is something that you will find more ease with for longer hair. Irons suit shorter hair better due to the ability of the clamp to hold on tighter.


There are two aspects to note when it comes to safety – heat level and usability.

Curling irons are much safer than curling wands when it comes to usability due to the presence of the clamp. You can control the appliance better while also avoiding direct contact with the heated barrel or plate. Curling irons also take longer to heat up, which means you have a longer safe period while using it.

Curling wands heat up rapidly, so you might have difficulty controlling the tool while curling. The absence of the clamp also means that you will need to bring your fingers quite close to the heating plate while wrapping the hair.


Curling irons and wands are both available in a range of sizes, giving you plenty of options depending on the types of curls you want to achieve. Irons tend to be a bit bigger than wands, although much smaller options are also available.

The variety in size is present in wands, but the range is a bit narrower here. The size here also differs within a single wand as well due to the tapering shape.

Summing Up

Curling irons and curling wands look pretty similar but have differences in terms of the clamp availability, size, speed, structure, application and suitability level for different types of hair.

Depending on your hair type and the required appearance of the curls, you will need to choose between the two so as to obtain the best possible look. Although both are extremely useful and convenient, it might be a good idea to start with the wand for wider applications.