We’re calling it, hot brushes are the simplest and easiest way to make it look like you’ve been to the salon

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Whether you call them hot styling brushes or simply a hot brush, there is no doubt about it; when it comes to creating a big bouncy blow-dry look then they are the easiest way to achieve it. Which is why we’ve put together a round-up of the best ones out there, tried and tested by us, so you can make the right purchase for you, your hair type and your styling needs. We have pulled out their key features; whether they rotate or not, speed and heat settings as well as how long the cord is (we know how frustrating it is if you can’t reach the mirror while doing your hair).

But before we get into that. Why are hot brushes so popular? Quite simply, they take a lot of the hard work away. They don’t require you to be particularly co-ordinated like styling your hair with a round brush and a hairdryer does. And, when used properly, they really can replicate a salon blow-dry from the comfort of your home.

And because they have proved so popular the category has seriously evolved. The first hot styling brushes that came to the market were fairly simple, some would rotate, some wouldn’t, quite a lot would burn your fingers. And that was about it. Now you can buy ones that not only work as a hot brush but all kinds of other styling gadgets, some have integrated hairdryers in them and others have stuck to the original brief.

Do I use a hot brush on wet or dry hair?

This is one of the most asked questions around hot brushes and it really depends on which brush you go for. The design evolution of styling brushes mean there are many that now come with a blow-drying nozzle which make them pretty decent hairdryers, so depending on your hair type you may be able to use them straight onto wet hair. However, you may prefer to rough dry your hair with your regular hairdryer to really get it dry and then go in with your hot brush to add shape, smoothness, bounce and overall shine.

So here are our pick of the best hot styling brushes out there and there's one for every budget, hair texture and length.

8 of the best hot styling brushes

Best for curling hair: Md London Wave, £125 

Specifications: 5 heat settings (150, 165, 180, 195 and 210°C), 3m cable, no additional attachments but a button transforms it from a brush to a tong. Only use on dry hair.
Our verdict:
This combines a slightly old-school version of a hot brush (because it doesn’t rotate, it simply heats up) with a tong. How does it do that? Very cleverly indeed. When you slide the top button from right to left the bristles disappear and you are left with a classic tong. So this truly is a 2-in-1 product. When using it as a hot brush, select the temperature you want, wait for it to heat up (a couple of seconds) and then brush it through the hair. The bristles are made up of a combination of comb-like prongs and rounded bristles so you can smooth and detangle but also lift and create some volume. Great for fringes or refreshing slept-in hair, but you have to put quite a lot of elbow grease into lifting hair at the root so not the best option if you’re looking for a big and bouncy look but ideal for more low-key touch-ups and restyles. Also a great option for shorter hair types as the barrel is slimmer so you will be able to wrap hair around it.

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Best for straightening your hair: Nicky Clarke Glam Pro Styler 3 in 1 Volumising Hot Air Styler, £79.99 

Specifications: 2 power heat settings, 2 attachments - an oval-shaped brush and a flatter paddle brush, 3m cable, can be used on wet and dry hair.
Our verdict:
Depending on your hair type, you may be able to ditch your hairdryer in favour of this styling brush as it is strong enough to dry your hair. And the comes with a paddle brush attachment is quite genius as it allows for a lot of hair to be styled quickly thanks to the large surface area, so if time is of the essence for you then this could be a good option. Plus if you give it the right sort of wrist action you can get a bit of bend and shape in the hair when that’s on. However for real bounce and shape switch to the oval brush. Which you can just brush through the hair to get some movement into it or hold in place at the roots, almost like a hot roller, to get maximum lift.

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Best for mid-length hair: Babyliss Big Hair, £50 

Specifications: 2 heat settings plus 1 cool shot, 2 rotation settings, 2.5m cable, can be used on damp and dry hair.
Our verdict:
This emits a lot of air (and noise) much like a hairdryer, so depending on your hair type you may be able to finish off drying your hair when using this, but it definitely not powerful enough to dry it from sopping wet. The main element to get used to are the two buttons that control the rotating element. Each sends turns brush a different way so you will either end up wrapping your hair around it, or flick it away entirely. It has quite a large barrel which short hair will probably struggle with but medium-length hair will love as it will wrap around once and get the full force of the air and the temperature.

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Best for all hair textures: Amika Double Agent, £116 

Specifications: 3 heat/ speed settings, 2.7m cable, can be used on wet and dry hair.

Our verdict:
All Amika electricals are designed with all textures in mind. This works on all but is most suited for those with looser curls and waves as well as fairly straight hair. And it has been created to be your hairdryer and straightener in one. It can be used in a number of ways. Firstly, as a drying brush. It emits noise and air like a hairdryer but with the simple action of brushing it under and over your hair it also starts to smooth it at the same time. Then you can add the straightening element to the air, this is when the heated sections towards the centre of the brush turn red. Or you can just use it as a straightening brush with no air. A great option for refreshing hair on day two and onwards. Out only note of caution is to be careful of how you store it as the bristles can bend easily so treat it with the care and respect it deserves.

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Best for creating waves: Ghd Rise Volumising Hot Brush, £169 

Specifications: 1 heat setting (185°C), 2.7m cable, use on dry hair 

Our verdict:
This hot brush is perhaps more traditional in its design and purpose in that it is a styling brush that gets hot allowing you to get more lift and volume at the roots of your hair, smooth the lengths or wrap the hair around the 32mm barrel to create waves. Because it doesn’t have lots of different options it’s really easy to use, just switch it on, and wait for the beep that tells you it has reached the optimum temperature and style as you desire. The tip of the brush stays cool throughout meaning you can hold onto it to create extra tension in the hair, giving you the potential to create tighter curls and more volume at the root.

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Best for longer hair: Drybar The Double Shot Blow-Dryer Brush, £125 

Specifications: 3 heat/ speed settings, 3m cable, can be used on wet and dry hair.
Our verdict:
This has proved so popular that it is constantly selling out. Why? Well, it could be that it works on all hair types (again thicker hair will want to use a separate hairdryer before styling with this), it has a cool tip which allows you to create more tension on the hair which makes it smoother and sleeker. It’s also super simple to use with very few buttons and options and arguably sometimes when there are too many choices with a gadget it just makes the whole thing feel overly complicated. The bristles are also very grippy so you can really get your hair to do whatever it is you want it to do. But we think it’s probably because this is great for longer hair lengths, whereas quite a few hot brushes work best on mid-length hair. Cleverly, Drybar has created different sized barrels to cater for all hair lengths but this seems to be their best-seller every time.
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Best for smoothing hair: Shark SmoothStyle Heated Brush Smoothing Comb, £99.99 

Specifications: 3 speed/ heat settings, 2.44m cable, can be used on wet and dry hair.

Our verdict:

Another hot brush that can dry your hair from wet as well as style it. The oval-shaped barrel means it’s quite easy to get into the roots of the hair but if you have thick hair you may want to blast your roots with your usual hair dryer, to ensure they’re fully dry, and then use this on the lengths. It’s super easy to use with just a few settings - wet hair mode (to dry your hair), dry hair mode (when you want to refresh your hair) and heated smoothing comb (heated plates warm up to smoothen and straighten hair). It is slightly heavier than others (730g) but it is also super speedy so we doubt you will get arm fatigue.

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Specifications: 3 heat settings, 2 speed settings, 2.5m cable, can be used on wet and dry hair.

Our verdict:
A brilliant gadget for an excellent price. It will dry hair but, again, if you have thick hair then it may not get the roots bone dry so you may want to use your hairdryer to get the bulk of it dry, or wait until your hair is towel-dry and then use this. It has an oval-shaped barrel with two types of bristles that aim to lift hair at the root for volume as well as smooth the lengths.