Home Beautygab Steam Straightener Vs Flat Iron

Steam Straightener Vs Flat Iron

by Gabbi

Hot tools can allow you to style your hair in countless ways. Something as simple as a flat iron can help create almost any look you desire. But are there other hot tools are out there that can switch up your style game and are healthy for your hair?

Yes! Steam straighteners are slowly making their way to mainstream heat styling. These hot tools share many similarities with flat irons. We know flat irons are a traditional hot tool to help achieve sleek, smooth, and straight hairstyles. 

But what is the difference between a steam straightener and a flat iron? Both help you achieve the same outcome, but a steam straightener has bristles attached to the plates and a steaming function to flatten and brush through your strands for a silky finish. They tend to work better on wavy and straight hair types.

On the other hand, flat irons only have two metal plates that smooth the hair solely with heat. Usually, in salons, you will find a flat iron is most frequently used to achieve a wide variety of styles. However, are they superior to steam straighteners?

While flat irons and steam straighteners can help achieve sleek and straight hair, what other characteristics set them apart? Is one healthier for your hair than the other? Let’s find out!

Steam Straightener 

Steam Straightener From DORISILK on Amazon

A steam straightener resembles a flat iron in many ways. However, what sets them apart is their bristles and water chamber.

A flat iron has ceramic plates that use heat to straighten the hair, but a steam straightener has bristles attached to its plates.

In addition, a steam straightener usually has an area that holds water. Steam straighteners, just like the name indicates, use steam to style the hair instead of heat. There is usually a chamber to fill up your straightener, just like an iron.

These tools are easy to use and the only difference is having to fill up the chamber with fresh water before you start.


So how do you use a steam straightener? Surprisingly enough, it’s very similar to using a flat iron. It’s advised to use this device on dry hair to achieve the best results. However, using a steam straightener can add more time to your styling sessions. 

The water chamber can only hold so much. For example, most steam straighteners can only work for 15-20 minutes before the water runs out. So, if you have a lot of hair, be prepared to refill the water chamber a couple of times to finish styling it.

Instead of tourmaline or titanium plates, a steam straightener has bristles that resemble a boar bristle hairbrush. These bristles add an extra element to achieve smooth and sleek hair. In addition, the bristles can help add shine to your strands. 

However, these bristles can only handle so much hair at a time. Working in small sections will give you the best result. Overall, if you have a lot of hair, make sure you put some extra time aside for styling it. Flat irons are more time-efficient. 

Because the steam straightener only uses water to straighten the hair, people assume it’s less damaging than heat. But is that really the case?

Any hair tool will maintain the integrity of your hair as long as you use it correctly and use heat protectant, and the same goes for the steam straightener.

Any tool which uses heat on your strands can potentially damage them if use improperly. It’s recommended to work in small sections and only pass through each strand one time to achieve the best results and avoid damage.


Now that we know what to expect from a steam straightener, let’s dive into what benefits it can offer you, what hair types it’s suitable for, and more. A steam straightener may be more time-consuming to use, but its results can be phenomenal.

One significant effect most people notice when using a steam straightener is that it significantly reduces frizzy strands. The water that creates the steam ensures that your hair is shiny, smooth, and hydrated when you start styling your hair.

In addition, the porosity of your hair will play a massive role in deciding if the steam straightener is right for you. Because this device dispenses steam at high temperatures, it’s been said it’s the most suitable for low porosity hair.

Low porosity hair can make it difficult for moisture to penetrate the strands so the steam can be a good choice to reduce dryness and frizziness.

We should mention, however, that moisture and steam doesn’t play nice with most curly hair types. If your hair is prone to frizziness in humidity, a steam straightener is probably not for you.

But if this isn’t a problem for you, the steam straightener is easy to use and simplifies the styling process. Once you get the hang of it, your styling time will be cut down in half.

Flat Iron 

Titanium Flat Iron
Flat Iron from
BaBylissPRO on Amazon

Flat irons are standard for most people. They are powered by heat that allows the plates of the flat iron to reach insanely high temperatures.

Their plates are usually made from ceramic or titanium, both of which are safe for the hair. In addition, flat irons are a versatile tool. We’ve seen how they can curl, wave, flip, and bend the hair alongside straightening the strands.

Flat irons usually have an adjustable setting for high temperatures that allows you to control how much heat you want to use on your hair.

So you can really customize your look and tool when using a flat iron to achieve your desired result.


One of the many reasons flat irons have stood the test of time is their practicality. Flat irons can suit all hair types, textures, and porosities. In addition, there are different kinds of flat irons made for your hair’s characteristics and needs.

Also, flat irons allow you to work quickly. You don’t need to refill a water chamber on a flat iron as you would a steam straightener. All you need to do is plug it in, and within seconds the flat iron will reach extremely high temperatures.

If you’re worried about heat damage, opt for ceramic plates, as they can help prevent damage and spread the heat evenly through your strands.

Flat irons are convenient to use, and it won’t take you that much time to learn how to use one. Moreover, because flat irons are so common, there is even a chance you can find a high-quality one for a lower price.

Pros Vs. Cons 

Steam straighteners and flat irons share similarities, but how do you know which one is right for you? If you’re still undecided, assessing your hair’s needs and characteristics can help you make the correct choice.

Steam Straightener 


  • A steam straightener is a unique and exciting hot tool that uses alternative methods to straighten your hair. For example, some individuals claim that the steam will increase shine and reduce frizz throughout your hair.
  • In addition, water is seen to be much less damaging for your strands than regular hot tools. However, if you misuse the steam straightener, you can still see some adverse side effects. 
  • The steam straightener is ideal for straight/wavy hair types and low porosity hair. In addition, the steam will help you retain moisture and keep your ends smooth. 


  • Unfortunately, a steam straightener is not for all hair types. For example, if you have high porosity hair or curly/coily strands, you may not be able to reap the benefits of a steam straightener. In addition, those with a lot of hair or thick hair will also find some challenges.
  • The steam straightener has a water chamber that needs to be filled to create steam. However, the water will only last on average for 15-20 minutes, so you may have to keep refilling the water chamber through your styling.
  • Finally, the steam straightener can prolong your styling time if you aren’t used to using this device. However, it can only handle small sections at a time, and it’s not recommended to pass through the hair more than once.

Flat Iron 


  • Flat irons are a universal hot tool that can achieve a wide variety of hairstyles. In addition, there is a flat iron for every hair type, texture, and porosity. You can work quickly with a flat iron because it can reach high temperatures within seconds. 


  • If you misuse a flat iron, it can cause some serious damage to your hair. However, this can be avoided with the use of a heat protectant. In addition, the plates of the hair can snag your strands if they aren’t high-quality. 

Up Next: Best Mini Flat Irons For Short Hair

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