How many times have you wished you had an easy way to do touch ups at work or school to keep that pesky frizz under control?
Got a trip planned yet just don’t want to schlep your regular straightener but don’t want your hair to look all wonky either?
Or maybe when on-the-go your style got blown away by gale force winds and you need something to tame your locks and rescue the style?
Yeah, no one wants to walk around with weird looking hair, now do they? Knowing people are staring at you can be embarrassing.
So you’re right thinking this may be where a mini flat iron might come in handy.
Okay it might. Then again it might not.
Yeah before you get too committed to mini straightener salvation there are some things you need to know.
Because a mini flat iron isn’t whole-heartedly viewed as the best thing since hair spray by one and all.
Fact is they do have limitations that are either overlooked or missed by too many when shopping for a small but mighty solution to their styling issues.
But that’s not to say they can’t serve a useful purpose though either which leaves most happy with their purchase.
Quick Section Navigation
- 11 Important Points You Must Consider When Shopping
- Quick Reviews of 3 Pint Sized Straighteners
- Quick Review: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Mini Straightening Iron
- Quick Review: HSI PROFESSIONAL Glider Mini
- Quick Review: MHU Professional Travel Size Mini Flat Iron
11 Points You Must Consider When Shopping
Surprisingly there are several things many seem to miss when pondering one of these as the next tool in their styling tool arsenal.
So here are some questions the answers you want to watch for when scanning the reviews on Amazon or any other online retailer of choice. Think of it like a mental checklist to run through before ordering to help make sure you get the best mini flat iron for your situation.
Question #1: Does it get hot enough?
If you have anything other than fine hair you’re going to need some heat to bend those strands to your will. So are many complaining it doesn’t get hot enough to make that happen?
On the other hand …
Question #2: Does it get too hot?
Some of these little beasts can get very hot. Over 400 degrees F hot.
Forget about what it does to your hair. Being so petite the fact it’s fits-in-your-palm tiny often means at those temps there’s nowhere to grab on without getting burned. And if you can’t hold it you can’t very well use it, right?
Thermal gloves anyone?
While this article from Good Housekeeping isn’t exactly current it does show this concern over burn risk isn’t misguided. Nor should it be news.
Beyond that can you adjust the temperature?
Question #3: Yeah, while on the topic is the temp setting adjustable?
Alas, you’ll all too soon discover that on or off is often your only choice. If you’d like something in between read the fine print to make sure the one you have your eye on offers that capability.
If it does then look to see if …
Question #4: Are the dials and knobs easily reached or do they reflect design compromises and miniaturization run amok?
In some cases even the on off switch requires more manual dexterity than some possess. Plus an inconveniently placed on off switch implies changing the heat setting is going to be an even bigger challenge – assuming you can read the dial.
Question #5: Is there an indicator light to tell you it’s on and ready to go?
You may not miss this until you don’t have it.
Question #6: Just how big is a mini flat iron?
Surprising small. Many reviewers sheepishly admit they didn’t know just how small it would really be. In this case mini literally means mini.
Question #7: Looking to touch up bangs or something more?
Few of these minis are able to style a whole head of thicker hair in anything less than 30 minutes.
Emergency touch up, sure okay.
Beyond that you’re probably expecting too much from half inch wide plates since you’ll need to work with (much) smaller sections of hair to get the desired results.
In other words when you read someone reporting the tool is fantastic for short hair believe them. What that really says is looking to style anything longer and you’ll be disappointed. Which is just what this infographic confirms
Question #8: Does the cord have a swivel and is it long enough?
It’s never good to feel restricted by short cord with any hot styling tool. So you want to measure this in feet not inches.
Question #9: If you’re planning on passing through TSA at the airport is the iron dual voltage? Or will you need some sort of adapter.
Some are not dual voltage and others are but will require a special plug.
If traveling overseas this might be important to you. If not, meh!
Question #10: Is auto shut off important to you?
Most of these don’t offer this feature so I hope not.
Question #11: Does it come with a thermal protecting pouch.
Some do you know. A nice thing to have when pressed for time because you can unplug and go without any worries!
Mini Reviews To Get Your Search Started
As you should be recognizing by now not all so called travel flat irons are created equal.
Some are longer on features compared to the competition.
Just don’t expect to find the perfect solution. In this end of the styling tool market compromises are the name of the game.
Even going with the best available option you likely will have to decide which features you can’t live without so you make the best choice for your hair.
Now one name you’ll recognize graces the first choice.
BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Mini Straightening Iron
Those seeking styling on the go often turn to this trusted name in styling tools.
Some feel BaByliss has packed a lot of styling power into these six inches which easily fits into most any clutch purse making it well worth the price.
While most compact stylers have half inch plates with this one you can get a full inch of nano titanium-ceramic styling surface to work with.
Still this is pretty much best suited for those with short hair.
It’s also dual voltage meaning you’re good to go in Europe as long as you’ve got an adapter plug. But no converter required.
What you might like:
- Automatically picks the correct voltage so all you need is an adapter for European outlets and you’re set
- At only six inches long it is perfect for travel or stashing in your desk
- Who doesn’t like what nano titanium ceramic plates do for their hair?
- The size allows you to get close to your roots to get added lift you might not be able to with a full sized iron
What you might not like:
- Can’t adjust the temperature – it’s either on or off – so thermal protection is a must.
- Some felt the tool itself got so hot you really should have a glove to protect your fingers
- The plates aren’t beveled for easy curling
- There is also no auto shut off so you’ll to want try to hard to remember to unplug it
All in all this could be the travel companion you need when nowhere near your bathroom. Just don’t be shocked when you see how small it is.
It definitely tests the adage that reminds us that good things can come in small packages. Fortunately some feel this one passes the test with flying colors.
Another popular option often mentioned in the same breath is the Glider Mini from HSI.
HSI PROFESSIONAL Glider Mini 0.5″ Ceramic Flat Iron
Okay popular may be understating it. Users seem to be falling over themselves to rave about this guy.
Yet at a foot in length this probably isn’t what you’d truly call travel sized.
What you might like:
- Heats up incredibly fast
- Adjustable temperature plus temperature micro-sensors insure the temp stays where you set it
- Generous swivel power cord measures to 7 feet
- The narrow ceramic plates easily glide through your hair
- Comes with a heat glove to insure you don’t get burnt
What you might not like:
- At almost 12 inches long it’s not exactly pocket sized as are most other mini straighteners
- Some noted that settings dial is awkwardly placed
- Again no auto shut off
This one is proof that just because the word “mini” is in the name doesn’t mean it’s pint sized. In this case I believe it’s due to being only half an inch wide but I could be wrong.
MHU Professional Travel Size Half Inch Mini Flat Iron
As with the BaByliss your best bet with this one is as a travel styling tool only.
It’s probably not big enough for everyday use if you hope to get done anytime soon.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t do a bang up job reviving a fringe that has lost its way.
What you might like:
- Ceramic plates minimize heat damage
- Only 6 inches long and a half inch wide makes it easy to hide away
- Gets hot in a couple-of-minutes fast
- Yet it’s typically not too hot to handle
What you might not like:
- Not Dual Voltage
- Lacks a swivel cord which can cause cord stress and premature wear
- Heat setting is not adjustable (hits 360 degrees F) – the on or off switch is on the inside right below the plates which can make it tough to get to easily
Again it’s small. No hiding that. So you’ll need the mindset that yes, it will take longer to style your look because you’ll want to work with smaller sections of hair. But it’s still so worth it if you have limited packing space and want something rather than nothing.