Ever felt the necessity of straightening your hair in your car?
Think about those situations when disarranged hair makes you uncomfortable right before your office time, or you’ve gone camping where it’s difficult to tame your unruly hair, or maybe you have forgotten to sort your hair on a night out.
Yes, those situations when the urge to have a flat iron in your car becomes too evident. Thankfully, there are 12v hair straighteners in the market nowadays, making it possible to style your hair right from your car seat.
In this article, we’ll talk about various aspects of the most popular 12v flat irons in the market and discuss the goodness they bring along.
A Quick Sneak Peek
We’ve picked the ones that won’t compromise your great look or peace of mind.
Have a quick sneak peek at the best 12-volt hair straighteners before we go down to their details.
12V Hair Straighteners Buying Guide
What Is a 12v Hair Straightener?
In simple words, it’s the type of hair straightener that uses the 12v power outlet or the car cigarette lighter of your car to power up. They are also known as cigarette lighter outlet hair straightener, car lighter outlet hair straightener, or simply a car hair straightener. They come with a design and mechanism that lets you style outdoors.
Every car nowadays comes with cigarette lighter outlets or an auxiliary 12v power outlet. Trucks, caravans, SUVs, RVs, and even boats are also seen to be equipped with those as well. The purpose of such sockets didn’t include serving your hair in the first place, though.
With rapidly gained popularity, the intention of serving smokers in their cars has expanded to various other useful contexts. It’s now the elementary method of delivering power in your portable electronics in your car. So, the flat iron manufacturers wasted no time allowing you to style your hair in your car.
A 12v flat iron comes with 15-25-watt power input and juices up to 200 watts from your car battery while working. These low-powered flat irons are intended to serve you with simple touch-ups and not heavy usage. Therefore, they don’t produce professional-grade results. But they come real handy when you want your hair to look great while camping, boating, or traveling.
Who Can Use It?
When it comes to talking about its usage, the first thing you must remember is, 12v flat irons are not meant for professional use. Their purpose is neither serving you at home nor producing salon grade results. So they aren’t meant for serious styling.
So how would such straighteners suit your hair? You’ll need a 12-volt straightener if you’re afraid of disheveled hair right before the start of your office time.
Or maybe you’ll need one when you’re rushing for a party in your car(you can also go with an excellent quality travel-friendly hair straightener in these situations), and you quickly need to fix your disarranged hair. And they will be in your rescue when you want to look your best while camping. Only you’ll have to plug it into the caravan lighter outlet.
12v straighteners are not specialized for any particular hair type. You can use them for thick hair, thin hair, or extremely delicate hair. They are a quick solution for eliminating frizz and kinks when in shortage of time. But again, they are only for touch-ups and quick fixes, not for complete hair styling downright.
In terms of hair length, though, these portable hair straighteners work great on short hair. For the ease of maneuvering and faster fixes, short-haired girls or even boys will love to keep one of these irons in the glove compartment of their cars.
Differences Between Travel Flat Irons and 12V Flat Iron
Many people tend to mistake 12-volt flat irons for travel flat irons where in reality, they are poles apart. Let’s figure out why.
Connectivity primarily differentiates the two flat iron types. Where a travel flat iron comes with dual voltage (110-120V and 220-240V) output plugs that connect to your wall sockets, a 12v iron connects to your 12-volt auxiliary port or cigarette lighter outlet of your vehicle. Therefore, travel flat irons run on AC while the latter runs on DC.
Plate Material & Temperature Setting
These two facts cannot be overlooked when purchasing a travel flat iron. Titanium plates for thick hair, Ceramic for thin, that’s how you’ll make the selection. But you won’t have such options when buying a 12 Volt iron. They all come with ceramic plates.
It’s also essential for a travel hair straightener to have an adjustable temperature setting for different hair types. On the other hand, you won’t find any temperature setting option in a 12 Volt hair straightener.
The previous segments should have clarified this by now. Travel hair straighteners are for those who want to use them both at home and abroad and use them for regular purposes with the high-grade finish.
For instance, you’ll need one of them when flying out to Europe or Asia, where the connectivity system and environment are different than the USA. A good travel iron generally provides a complete styling solution.
A 12v flat iron, on the other hand, is for only quick fix-ups or touch-ups when in a vehicle. With a universal power socket, they can suit vehicles in every corner of the earth.
How You’ll Benefit From a 12v Flat Iron
12 Volt hair straighteners are your styler on the go. Let’s take a look at how you can benefit from them.
The low-powered mini flat irons aren’t professional-grade after all. So it’s quite understandable that they’d have limitations. Take a look at their limitations down below.
The Core Features of a 12v Flat iron
Styling your hair sitting in your car is the absolute delight that your 12 Volt hair straightener provides. The straightening irons come with several features that add up to their uniqueness. We’ll now get to know more about them.
Powers From 12V Auxiliary Power Outlet/cigarette Lighter Outlet
It’s obvious, isn’t it? It’s the very trait the flat iron is named after. They connect to your car’s twelve volts auxiliary port or the cigarette lighter outlet to power up and start getting hot in no time.
The DC-powered hair straighteners can power up from every vehicle having such outlets. These days almost every motor transport system comes with 12 volts sockets to support necessary outdoor connectivity. Car models older than 20 years might be an exception in rare cases, so you should always check whether your car supports it or not.
However, it’s still possible to run these flat irons from a regular AC connection. In that case, you’ll need voltage converters. Check the ‘Alternatives’ section of this article to know more.
Measurement of the Plugs
The 12v flat irons come with plugs pretty much different from the regular plug inputs. They nearly round in shape plugs inserts into particular receptacles in your car, which are also round. You can find one on the front panel of your car.
The diameter of the plugs can vary in terms of inside and outside depending on the country.
The USA-only models come with slightly smaller plugs compared to the European models. The diameter can be ranged from 20.73mm to 21.18mm.
You would be wise to pick a model having the biggest diameter for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they fit older car models with their width fixed with no adjustable clips inside the receptacles. Secondly, 21.18mm is the universal measurement for 12v plugs to fit every vehicle model globally, including European and Asian models, not only the US.
We suggest avoiding flat irons with 20.73-20.88mm plug diameter since they only cover American private car models and no other vehicle type.
PTC heating system is the safest of all when it comes to heating your flat iron plates. This system maintains a balanced insulation performance throughout the duration of hairstyling. It’s a safety-expert system that protects the power source, the flat iron, and your hair altogether.
You’ll want to have it in your 12-V flat iron for the safety it’ll provide to your car battery as well. PTC heaters consume power with the maintenance of perfect moderation, so the battery doesn’t get heavily juiced out.
Some 12-V flat irons are found deploying Metal Ceramic Heater (MCH) for the heat up faster than PTC heaters. However, quick heating isn’t everything, even though you think it’ll save you time. An MCH heater takes in a lot of battery life to heat up faster, resulting in a spate of quick replacements. Besides, the risk of overheating would be there to cause damage to delicate hair.
Low Power Input
Not only do these straightening irons use significantly lower voltage, but also a low power input accordingly. Where a regular flat iron runs on 45-70 watts power inputs, your 12v flat iron will only use 15-28 watts.
It’s important for cigarette lighter flat irons to have lower power inputs—the lower the input, the lower the output. A regular iron with 45 watts can juice up to 1000 watts of battery power, where a good car hair straightener will only reach up to 150 watts.
18-24 watts is our recommended range in this regard. Within this range, your iron will hardly snag, and the heat flow will remain constant while it’ll also save up to 25% battery power.
There are also flat irons with wattage lower or higher than this range. The one with lower decreases heating performance where the higher wanes battery life.
Every car hair straightener must come with a built-in fuse in its plugs. In general, these flat irons’ inner components are highly delicate since they’re manufactured for infrequent use. So there always remains the possibility of electrical hazards inside in the occurrence of excessive flow of current.
A built-in fuse eliminates those possibilities by automatically separating into two pieces to break the circuit when such a hazardous malfunction happens. They are also necessary for proper conduction. With the absence of a fuse, the excessive current flow may continue without your knowledge and cause severe damage to both your car’s power system and your flat iron.
Importance of NRTL/CE Approval
NRTL(Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory) is a certification for products that guarantee the product meets safety, health, and environmental protection standard. It’s similar to the European standard CE approval.
This certification is significantly important for 12v flat irons since there’s always the possibility of chemical hazards when you use them. The car batteries contain toxic elements which may cause emissions harmful to the environment when a low-grade flat iron runs unusually.
You can remain worry-free from this issue if your flat iron is marked as NRTL approved.
12v flat irons come with much shorter cords compared to their traditional counterparts. They don’t provide you with the ease of 9 ft. salon-grade swivel cords. Rather, they offer normal electrical cords with a longitude of no more than 4.5 ft.
The length may vary within the range of 3.5-4.5 feet. We suggest you go for the one with the longest cord (4.5 ft.) for it’ll assist you with easeful maneuvering. Cords shorter than 4 feet make it harder for you to reach the tricky areas of your hair.
Adjustable Twist Locks for Plugs
It’s a convenient feature you wouldn’t want your car flat iron to miss out on. Say, how annoying it would be when the plug comes off of the socket in the middle of your styling session all of a sudden?
Thankfully, with a twist lock, you can ensure the plug stays put throughout the entirety of a session and doesn’t come off. Moreover, the adjustable clips add further support for an easy insertion even into the smallest of the auxiliary receptacles.
A Few Additional Features
Among other notable features of 12v hair straighteners, you’ll find-
The Must-have Features of an Ideal 12v Hair Straightener
Before making a purchase, don’t forget to compare the core features your flat iron must-have. We’ve created the below chart for your assistance.
|Plug Diameter||21.18mm(Universal Measurement)|
|Power Input(Wattage)||18-24 Watts|
|NRTL/CE Certification||Must Be Approved|
|Built-in Fuse||Must Include|
|Adjustable Twist Locks||Must Include|
Top 12v Hair Straighteners
With the increasing popularity of using cigarette lighter outlets for running electronic devices, the idea of hairstyling on the go is pretty new. The trend has become very popular in Europe but yet to gain mass appreciation in the US. So the likes of Babyliss Pro, CHI, HSI, Conair Infiniti, Andis, Karmin, and similar big names in the industry are yet to produce them mass-market.
But, there are other brands too who wasted no time giving the American people the opportunity to embrace this new trend. Down below, we’ve discussed five of the most talked-about 12v flat irons.
Before we go into their details, let’s compare their key features through the comparative chart, making it easier for you to understand.
A Comparative Chart for Clarification
|Properties||Jeegol Travel Tourmaline Ionic Ceramic Mini Hair Straightener||Inmiss Portable Plate Car Mini Travel Hair Straightener||Gone Traveling 12V Hair Straightener||Streetwise 12V Folding Travel Hair Straightener||Universal Textiles 12V Travel Hair Straightener|
|Adjustable Twist Lock||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Price ($)||Less Than 20||More Than 20||More Than 20||More Than 20||Less Than 20|
Jeegol Travel Tourmaline Ionic Ceramic Mini Hair Straightener
Jeegol brings this tiny and super-efficient flat iron that tops our list with its stunning look and performance. The manufacturers have put all their efforts into it to make sure you look your best even with hasty attempts.
The straightening iron comes with ceramic plates like all other 12v flat irons. But what makes it special is the tourmaline coating it has on its plate top. The coating is known for providing even heat distribution in every hair section and making the plates last longer. This feature makes it stand out among the others on our list.
The plates start heating up instantly as soon as you plug them in and gradually heats up to the highest temperature (400°F). It gets ready within a minute, saving your time.
Having a universal 21.18mm plug, the iron connects to every vehicle model with a cigarette lighter outlet or a 12-volt auxiliary port. So you won’t have to worry whether you’re camping in your caravan, rushing for a party, or even boating in the surge of a river.
Moreover, the device comes with an adjustable twist lock on its plug, so it never comes off annoyingly in the middle of your styling session. The adjustable clips by its sideways make sure it fits in properly into every twelve-volt receptacle on the earth. A 4.5-inch long cord enables you to maneuver the iron inside your car easily.
The tiny flat iron works on 22-watt power input, which keeps it very much on balance while working. It hardly pulls out more than 100 watts from your car battery, thanks to the efficient PTC heating system it comes with. So you can continue your styling without having to worry about your car battery running out or any possible damage to your hair.
In addition to further safety, the flat iron also includes a built-in fuse that ensures accurate conduction throughout your styling duration. Besides, it eliminates any possibility of melt-down of the inner components of the flat iron. And the certification of the NRTL cuts off your worries regarding any hazardous impact.
With so many conveniences, a great stunning look, and such tiny a size, it’s a flat iron you’ll definitely love to keep in your car. Wherever you travel, go camping, or ease in your caravan, this car flat iron will make sure your hair looks great all the time.
A Few Additional Features
Inmiss Portable Plate Car Mini Travel Hair Straightener
This beautifully designed Inmiss mini portable flat iron takes the second spot on our list to fall behind the JEEGOL straightening iron, which boasts a longer cord, tourmaline coating, and more wattage.
The flower-themed 12-volt flat iron comes with a range of convenient features that’ll make you want it in your car. Apart from the great look, it offers you a 1-inch ceramic plate, which is wide enough to provide you quicker operations.
The plates gradually start heating up once you’ve plugged them into your cigarette lighter outlet. It reaches a maximum of 390°F in less than two minutes.
A connector plug of universal measurement connects to both the 12v auxiliary port and the cigarette lighter socket of your car. The universal plug also enables you to use the hair straightener in a wide range of supported vehicles apart from private cars. You can secure it in its place with the adjustable twist lock it provides.
With 18 watts of power input, the cigarette lighter hair straightener pulls up to 120 watts of battery power. Relatively lower power consumption means it doesn’t take out much of your car’s battery life. Implementing a PTC heater adds up to the power-saving device, which also provides safety when you use it too frequently.
Talking about safety, the NRTL certified flat iron also boasts a built-in fuse eliminating any chances of possible hazardous emissions due to improper conduction. A 4-inch cord is long enough to provide convenient maneuvering.
The stylish look, doubled up by convenient usage, definitely makes it the fashionable inclusion every woman desires in their car.
A Few Additional Features
Gone Traveling 12v Travel Hair Straightener by Boyz Toyz
You may want to consider this 12-volts travel flat iron from Boyz Toyz, another contender that can well provide decent car hair styling.
However, this unit doesn’t live up to their ranks, for it reaches no more than 350°F of temperature, meaning it’ll be a little bit harder for you to tame thicker hair. But it does include the other vital features to compete with the numerous flat irons of the same kind.
You can connect this flat iron to any vehicle having a cigarette lighter outlet, thanks to its universal 21.18mm plug diameter. It would help if you weren’t concerned about it coming off the receptacle, for it lets you secure it into place with a twist lock. And with a 4-inch long cord, you’ll hardly face maneuvering problems.
Importantly, it comes with a wattage of 18-watts, ensuring the battery power remains balanced. It doesn’t pull juice more than 120 watts. The inclusion of a built-in fuse and PTC heating system adds further security to the NRTL certified hair straightener.
You can surely count on this flat iron for quick fix-ups before office time, campings, or parties, for it’s able to provide risk-free operation at much ease.
A Few Additional Features
The Reason We Do Not Recommend the Following
Streetwise Folding Travel Hair Straightener
This car flat iron from Streetwise comes with 1-inch ceramic plates wide enough to match the other straighteners on our list. The 8-inch flat iron also heats up to 450°F. But we could not recommend it for several reasons.
Firstly, the diameter of its plug is 20.88 millimeters, which doesn’t go according to the universal measurement. Meaning, it will fit into only private car outlets and not the likes of caravans or RVs. You cannot plug this flat iron into outlets of car models outside the USA if you ever fly abroad.
Secondly, the lack of a built-in fuse means the risk of improper conduction and hazardous impacts would be there while styling. Such occurrence is highly possible for the flat iron uses an MCH heater that pulls out a lot of power for quick heating.
Besides, it runs on a wattage of only 15 watts, meaning the flow of current. Therefore, the temperature may not remain constant throughout a styling session.
Universal Textiles 12V Travel Hair Straightener
This car flat iron from Universal Textiles boasts 1.25-inch ceramic plates, wider than the plates of any other models on our list. The straightener also heats up to 400°F. It has still failed to make our choice list, for it lacks some of the vital features.
Like the previous model, this unit also lacks a universal plug input (20.73mm). So you’ll have trouble if you own an older car model or when you fly out to Europe or Asia.
The curt cord length (3.5 ft.) is also a major concern. You’ll surely find it hard to reach your hair strands. The lack of an adjustable twist-lock further complicates the styling since it’s always possible for the plug to come off.
The absence of a built-in fuse and PTC heating system adds to the penury of this flat iron. You’ll surely not want to feel insecure while styling in your car, damaging both your car battery and your hair.
You might think that you don’t want to purchase a 12v flat iron but still feel the necessity of hairstyling on the go. Or maybe you have already purchased one, and now you want to use it at your home as well. Don’t worry. We’ve got both situations covered.
For Traditional Flat Iron Use in Your Car
You can use your regular flat iron in your car using a power inverter. Inverters alter the power inputs from DC to AC. An inverter also makes it possible for you to use the regular iron without wasting much of the battery power. For this method, you’ll need a power inverter having a wattage of at least 300-watts.
For Using a 12V Flat Iron at Home
To make it happen, you have to do quite the opposite. You’ll need voltage converters rather than inverters to alter the power input from DC to AC. Voltage converters are found in both 110-120v and 220-240v. It’s up to you whether to go for a dual voltage or not. But you must make sure it has a wattage of at least 130 watts.
These inexpensive yet effective hair straighteners are the precise investments you’d certainly look for if you always prioritize good hair on the go.
By now, you must have understood how these 12v flat irons work, and what you need to consider for making the best selection. Get the one you prefer and keep looking stylish everywhere you go.