The 9 Best Hot Rollers for the Curls of Your Dreams

This is how we roll.

girl with curly hair from using hot rollers
(Image credit: Jeremy Moeller/Getty)

Say “hot rollers” and your mind might go straight back to the ‘60s. But over the past few decades, this old-school beauty tool has come a long way on the technology front. The best hot rollers of 2023 are efficient, compact, and, most importantly, user-friendly. Take it from the world’s most uncoordinated person: Hot rollers are far easier to maneuver than a curling iron with a clamp or a round brush. And the results? It doesn’t get much better. “Hot rollers give you a lot of volume, a lift at the root, and bounce,” hairstylist Jennifer Matos from Rita Hazan explains.

Alas, hot rollers aren’t one size fits all. While there are great options for every hair type and texture out there, the size of the barrel and number of rollers required is going to differ from person to person. To get a better idea of what to look for—and shop the best hot rollers on the market—keep scrolling. We’re sharing our editor-approved favorites tools, and sharing a guide on how to use hot rollers, ahead. 

What Kind of Hot Roller Should I Use?

When looking for a hot roller, there are a few deciding factors: a) What look do you want to achieve? b) What’s your hair type? And c) How long is your hair? 

“The smaller the roller, the more of a bounce you’ll get,” explains Matos. “The larger the roller, the less bounce you’ll get. It will be more of a looser curl.” 

With that in mind, hair rollers with smaller diameters will typically be preferred for fine hair types, as a tighter curl will last longer. When it comes to length, just make sure to manage expectations. Those with short hair will likely get lift and volume, whereas those with longer hair can expect full-blown curls. 

How Many Hot Rollers Do I Need?

At minimum, you’re going to need at least five hot rollers. “If you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up, you can do a half head of rollers, which would be three on top and two on the sides,” explains Matos. 

A full head is going to require about 10 rollers, depending on the length and texture of your hair, though obviously someone with thick, long hair is going to need more hot rollers than someone with a fine bob.

Best Hot Rollers

How to Use a Hot Roller

While the whole kit and caboodle may look intense, rest assured that using hot rollers is actually pretty easy: 

  1. After giving your rollers a good 10 minutes to heat up, spray your heat protectant and section your hair. “Section in a mohawk section, from mid-eyebrows to the crown of your head. Ideally, there’s three rollers there,” advises Matos. 
  2. Then, you’ll want to section out the sides of your hair (two rollers per side is perfect). “For the back, grab whatever hair is left and do it in sections. The number of sections depends on the hair texture, but usually three to four is plenty of sections.” (Pro tip: Always roll away from the face.) 
  3. Then let the rollers sit for as long as the instructions suggest, roll ‘em out, and finish off your look with a hairspray. 

Meet the Expert

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Jennifer Matos

If you ask Jennifer what she thinks is the key to satisfying her clients, she’ll say “listening”. Jennifer earned her title as a stylist with Rita Hazan after years of extensive training. Her unequivocal talent is matched with the knowledge of her profession, courtesy demeanor, and sweet personality that is loved by all.

Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and shares the breakdown on the latest and greatest trends in the beauty space. She's studied up on every ingredient you'll find on INCI list and is constantly in search of the world's glowiest makeup products. Prior to joining the team, she worked as Us Weekly’s Beauty and Style Editor, where she stayed on the pulse of pop culture and broke down celebrity beauty routines, hair transformations, and red carpet looks. Her words have also appeared on Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, Delish.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Samantha also serves as a board member for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). She first joined the organization in 2018, when she worked as an editorial intern at Food Network Magazine and Pioneer Woman Magazine. Samantha has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While at GWU, she was a founding member of the school’s HerCampus chapter and served as its President for four years. When she’s not deep in the beauty closet or swatching eyeshadows, you can find her obsessing over Real Housewives and all things Bravo. Keep up with her on Instagram @samholender.