Cheap hair straighteners – worth saving a few quid for?

I bought my first pair of hair straighteners when I was in my first year at uni – before then I pretty much did nothing to my hair. But I went to uni and one of the girls there has GHDs – on first use, I loved them. So I decided I needed a pair, unfortunately my student budget didn’t stretch that far, so I bought a pair of much cheaper straighteners that I think were by Babyliss… from what I remember, they were ok. They did an ok job, didn’t get as hot and weren’t as quick as the GHDs but I was happy for the time being (swiftly putting GHDs on my Christmas list….)
But fast forward to the present day, I was invited to take on the challenge of reviewing a cheaper pair of hair straighteners and sharing my thoughts on them versus the more expensive pairs I use more regularly. My current hair straighteners of choice vary between GHD and Cloud Nines – I love them both and it basically comes down to which ones are easiest to find. But both of these straighteners are around the £100 mark to purchase, compared to a bargains £12.79 for the Sassoon Ceramic Straightening Iron I have been trying. 
Sassoon Ceramic Straightening Iron
First impressions are that the packaging certainly isn’t as luxe an experience as you get with either GHD or Cloud Nine. Which obviously, considering the price is fair enough. But on the plus side – I don’t really want to just be paying for fancy packaging, as nice as it is – I want to know I am getting a quality hair gadget if I’m forking out the cash.

So not-so-special packaging aside, the ‘features’ of the Sassoon Ceramic Straighteners include that they reach 180 degrees (GHDs/Cloud Nines hit at least 200), they have ceramic plates, there’s a swivel cord for easy use and they maintain a constant even temperature. All fairly basic features I would say, but again – for £12 I wouldn’t expect much more than basic.

The on-off switch

Sassoon Ceramic Irons

The Plates

In these pics you can see that you get what you pay for -these are bits of plastic sticking out.

 The design of the irons is pretty basic too – they feel very light, this could be a good thing for travelling with them, but they don’t feel totally sturdy. The finish does look to be on the cheap side – some of the edges aren’t very neat or smooth – with small bits of plastic sticking out.

When pushed together you can see that the plates don’t meet evenly along the plates.

I do feel like I’m being a little bit overly critical, but it’s hard not to find the flaws when comparing them to a product that is a higher value. Looking at them on a purely functional level (leaving packaging and look of tool aside) they do an ok job. No, they don’t feel as smooth to use when running through the hair – they tug a little, but essentially they are ok.

I don’t really think that if you are in the market for hair straighteners then you would truly be comparing these to the high-end of the market as it’s just not a level playing field. I think these would be a reasonable buy if you were looking for something to take to the gym/work with you, or as an emergency purchase.

I do think if you are looking for something that will last and generally be better for your hair then these aren’t the right choice – but if you’re going travelling, or want something as I mentioned above that you can take to the gym or leave at work then £12.79 isn’t going to break the bank. Or even if you only straighten your hair once in a blue moon, then there’s no real point in forking out for the expensive ones when these will do the job.

Where do you sit on the bargain vs blowout hair straighteners debate… worth the cash or better to save a bit?

Straighteners provided for review.  also gifted a shopping voucher for this post.


  1. louweevil
    December 12, 2011 / 12:04 pm

    I’ve tried ghd’s probably half a dozen times but i’ve never thought them worth the price tag, I’d much rather have lipstick.
    I use Remington’s ‘Shine Therapy’ Hair Straighteners. They’re like £30 and from my experience with ghd’s, they’re just as good.
    I’ve found very cheap straighteners are fairly useless.
    Having said that i’m really considering getting a pair of ghd’s, mainly because i’ve had my current straighteners quite a while.

  2. December 12, 2011 / 1:10 pm

    Considering you’re only meant to use straighteners once a week MAX (advice from my hairdresser) I think going for a cheaper pair would be wiser. I mean like, £150 on a pair of straighteners is beyond me! Literally! I once got duped with some FAKE GHD’s which I paid £50 for (obviously didn’t know they were fake at the time) and they battered my hair, they were clearly some 99p product, the plates were metal and terrible! When I researched I found out GHD’s were the number 1 faked electrical item in the world at that time!
    I think as long as theyre a ‘salon’ brand or a well known electrical company its fine, just go for ceramic plates and better stats I guess! GHD’s just fry your hair with the heat they go up to! a lot of people dont need it that hot, they only go that hot for afro type hair!
    (loooong comment sorry!) haha

  3. December 12, 2011 / 3:15 pm

    My GHDs lasted 10 years and 2 months. they are well worth the money as i had 10 years of perfect straighteners so I didnt hesitate to get another pair!

  4. Sami
    December 12, 2011 / 3:44 pm

    this would be a good, inexpensive gift for a younger niece of cousin but personally I’m too attached to my ghds to try anything else!

  5. Emma
    December 12, 2011 / 5:38 pm

    I use a cheapere pair at the moment – Remington they cost around £35.00, they do the job…ish. But I recently used my freinds GHD’s and gosh they are amazing, so Santa is bringing me some. Can’t wait!



  6. January 3, 2012 / 5:31 pm

    I’ve tried different brands and for me the best one is the Karmin G3 Salon Pro, it has tourmaline ceramic plates that cause less damage to the hair and I luv it because keeps my hair soft,shiny and very straight . I totally recommend it !! 😀

  7. Anonymous
    January 14, 2012 / 1:47 am

    The best straightener I’ve ever tried is the Karmin Professional Titanium, it works pretty good, removes static and leaves my hair silky and soft

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