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Hot Comb vs. Flat Iron: What’s the Difference?

Straight hairs have gained immense popularity in the past few years.

Women of all ages love to flaunt sleek and straight tresses. Whether you have curly hair or natural hair, straightening them can transform your look and make your hair smooth and shiny too.

Thanks to the hair straightening trend, the market is flooded with hot tools. Most popular among straightening tools are the flat iron and hot comb.

However, when it comes to choosing from among these tools, many women find it difficult to weigh them and make the correct decision.

To help all fashion enthusiasts choose the right tool for their hair, we will compare a hot comb and flat iron in this article.

At the end of this comparison, you will be able to know Hot Comb or Flat Iron is the right one for you.

So let’s get started.

Hot comb vs. Flat iron

  • Hot comb

A hot comb is a type of hair straightening tool made with a metal comb. It is like any normal comb with bristles except that they are heated to give you straight hair.

With this hot tool, you can straighten hair from the roots.

The hot comb technique of straightening the hair exists since the early 1920s when an African American lady patented it.

She discovered this tool to make it easier for women with natural hair to tame the coils.

Though the hot comb is a hot styling tool, it stands differently from others, like a flat iron and hot airbrush.

The wide teeth of the comb are easy to glide through the hair, preventing pulling and snagging. Also, the comb easily reaches the root of the hair to give a more precise straightening.

  • Flat iron

On the other hand, a flat iron is a kind of straightener that consists of 2 plates made with ceramic or other materials that straighten the hair.

A flat iron straightens the hair by holding them between the plates and passing them through heat.

It not only makes your hair straight and sleek but also imparts shine and smoothness.

You can choose from a wide variety of irons available in the market depending upon your hair needs. For instance, if you are a regular user, tourmaline ceramic is the safest bet.

Type of Hot Comb and Flat Iron

Hot Combs

There are 2 types of hot combs that you can choose from. One is a manual pressing comb, and the other is an electric pressing hot comb.

  • Manual Pressing Hot Comb: These types of hot combs were popular back in time. Such combs were heated on a thermal stove and then used on the hair for straightening them. Such combs were time-consuming as well as more damaging to the hair.
  • Electric Pressing Hot Comb: With the advancement in technology, we now have electric pressing combs. These combs heat up quickly and speed up the straightening process too. They also consist of a heat recovery system to protect the hair.

Flat Irons

Flat irons can be categorized based on the materials they are made with, the size of the plates, etc. Some of the most popular types of flat irons that we see today are:

  • Ceramic Flat Iron: One of the most popular and leading types of flat irons are those that are made using ceramic plates. It is one of the safest tools to use on fine and thin hair.
  • Tourmaline Flat Iron: A flat iron made with tourmaline not only straightens the hair but also makes them glossy. It releases negative ions to lock moisture in the hair and straighten the hair with less heat.
  • Titanium Flat Iron: This type of flat iron is widely used now and is known to be very beneficial for thick and coarse hair due to its heat system.
  • Wet to Dry Flat Iron: If you are always in a rush and don’t find time to dry and then straighten the hair, this type of iron is for you. They are designed to dry and straighten the hair simultaneously.
  • Ionic Flat iron: Ionic flat irons are innovative as they straighten the hair with extreme finesse and impart a smooth texture. Such irons successfully trap moisture in the hair with advanced technology and give sparkling results.

Advantages of Hot Comb and Flat Iron

Hot Combs

  • A hot comb detangles and straightens the hair at the same time. And hence you don’t have to comb your hair separately before straightening.
  • With a hot comb, you can easily reach the root of the hair.
  • Your hair volume won’t be reduced with a hot comb.
  • For certain types of hair, a hot comb works faster.
  • By using a hot comb, your hairs look naturally straight without becoming pin flat.
  • Works best if you have shoulder length and longer hair.

Flat Iron

  • A flat iron is convenient to use and time-efficient.
  • Using flat irons that emit negative ions can give you frizz-free hair.
  • Flat irons also provide your hair with shine and smoothness.
  • Flat irons can also be used to curl the hair.
  • Even if you have thick, coarse hair, a flat iron can effectively straighten them.
  • Gives quick results and is cost-effective.
  • With a flat iron, you can get long-lasting results without much maintenance.

Disadvantages of Hot Comb and Flat Iron

Hot Comb

  • Using a hot comb on fine and thin hair can lead to dryness in the hair.
  • Since a hot comb is made with the metal, it can damage the protective hair cuticle due to overexposure.
  • Electric hot combs are not capable of distributing the heat evenly all over the device.
  • Since the bristles of the comb also get heated up, they can cause burn to the scalp if not used carefully.

Flat Iron

  • Since flat irons heat up quickly and reach high temperatures, excessive use can damage the hair.
  • Using flat irons with low-quality plates can develop hot spots and burn the hair.
  • A flat iron does not add volume to the hair. It makes the hair sleek and flat.

Hot Combs Technology vs Flat Iron Technology

Hot Combs

  • The technologically advanced world has touched every sphere of life, and hot combs are no exception. They have evolved from the traditional stove heat combs to professional and advanced ones that we have today.
  • Advanced technological features in hot combs include variable heat settings, heat-resistant handles, quick heat up, and much more.

Flat Irons

  • Flat irons also feature advanced technological functions like infrared heat, negative ion emission, adjustable temperature, quick heat function, and so on. Thanks to these features, you can straighten your hair with minimum damage.
  • For instance, if you have fine hair, then using a flat iron with a ceramic or tourmaline plate can protect your hair from damage. Since such irons are capable of distributing the heat evenly, your hair is subjected to uniform heat all over.


Whether you want to purchase a hot comb or a flat iron, you need to consider its price. Make sure that whatever price you are paying is worth the device.

However, this does not mean you settle for a low-quality product.

  • Hot Comb

Hot combs, when compared to flat irons, are more affordable and priced less. You can get your hands on a good quality hot comb in the price range of $10-$30. 

  • Flat Iron

A flat iron is more sophisticated and hence costs more than a hot comb. It gives you the ease of use and convenience of several added features.

Hence, a good flat iron with basic features will cost more slightly more than a hot comb. You can expect a good quality flat iron to cost somewhere around $50-$60.

Type of hair

Hot Comb

Hot combs are most suitable to straighten thick and coarse African hair.

If you have hairs that are hard to straighten and manage, then a hot comb is what you should consider using.

Flat Iron

Flat irons have taken the market by storm as they can be used to straighten almost any type of hair.

From thick and coarse hair to fine and thin hair, there is a flat iron for all. Everyone cannot use one flat iron.

Those with frizzy hair need flat iron with ceramic or tourmaline plates, while one with color-treated hair needs something different.

Time Required

  • Hot Comb: A hot comb is comparatively easy to use and takes less time to style the hair. You can start combing your hair right away without much hassle. 
  • Flat Iron: A flat iron can be more time consuming as compared to hot combs. You have to start by dividing your hair into sections and then use the iron section by section. This process takes more time than you need to ensure you don’t miss out on straightening any part of the hair.

Skills Needed

Hot Comb

Using a hot comb is as simple as using a regular comb to make your hair. You don’t need any specific skills or training to use a hot comb for straightening your hair. All you have to do is simply start running the comb into your hair to get straight and sleek tresses.

However, you do need to take a certain amount of care while using any hot tool, and the same goes for a hot comb.

Flat Iron

Similarly, a flat iron is also easy to use. Even if you are a beginner, you can easily use a flat iron to straighten the hair. There is no complex procedure or steep learning curve involved.

 Once you divide your hair into sections, you can start gliding the iron through the hair. The only aspect that you have to be careful about is the heat control and plate material. For thick, coarse hair, titanium plates do a wonderful job.

Styling Perfection

Hot Comb

For women with kinky hair, a hot comb works best as it can easily reach the roots of the hair. However, the straightness and sleekness that comes from a hot comb may not be as perfect as one with a flat iron.

Flat Iron

Since a flat iron can reach high temperatures, it gives near-perfect straight hair. Many flat irons also come with advanced technologies to make your hair smoother and shinier.

However, with a flat iron reaching the roots can be a problem.


Talking about versatility, flat irons are comparatively more versatile and advanced than hot combs.

You will find flat irons equipped with several advanced features like ion emission, infrared heat technology, automatic shut off, and so on.

Many flat irons also double up as a curler cum straightener thus, adding to their versatility.

On the other hand, a hot comb is still catching up. However, many hot combs come with multiple attachments that can be swapped to get a particular hairstyle.

The Results

Flat Iron

A flat iron is a very effective tool when it comes to straightening the hair.

If you want straight, sleek hair in less time, then a flat iron is what you need. You can use several techniques with a flat iron to style your hair differently every day.

Using a flat iron is the most hassle-free way to style your hair and get ready in a jiffy. Use it as a straightener or curler, and you can get gorgeous-looking hair instantly.

Hot Comb

Hot combs are renowned for straightening hair from the roots.

If you have tightly curled hair, then a hot comb can be an effective tool to separate them and get great results.

If you have thick, coarse hair that you wish to straighten and give them a sleek look, then a hot comb is for you.

Final Conclusion

Flat iron and hot comb both perform the similar task of straightening your hair. However, they differ in terms of their technology, versatility, and the results that they provide.

Depending upon your hair type and needs, you need to decide which hot tool will work best and give the desired results.

So, which tool is better for your hair? What features does each of them have? And how affordable are they?

These are some of the most common questions that may come to your mind while deciding between a hot comb and a flat iron.

To make a choice easy for you and answer all your questions, we came up with this detailed comparative article.

We hope that you find the answer to your questions and with the help of this write you can make the right choice.



I’m Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty & make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will ‘see’ each other more often!

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