In the 1960s, women gave up bouffants for the sleek look of ironed hair. Luckily we no longer need to use the clothes iron to achieve Kim Kardashian-like locks at home, thanks to the modern gift of the hair straightener.

Whether your old straightener has gone to the great salon in the sky or you're buying your first one, make sure you research the latest products to find a straightener that does the job quickly and effectively.

Don't scrimp on your straightener

If you're the kind of person who just doesn't feel 'done' without a 'do', a good hair straightener can save you a lot of money at the hairdresser. Cancel that regular blow dry and straighten your hair at home instead. If you're more the type to wrestle your hair into a ponytail each day and wonder how others manage to walk around looking like they married a hair stylist, their secret is now out.

So how much does it cost to look this good?

The best rated hair straightener in our last test a few years ago was also the most expensive. It scored an 'excellent' rating, but if you're happy with 'very good' you can pick up one for $80 to $160. Anything cheaper probably won't do a great job.

Hot to trot

In our last test, the best performing hair straighteners also heated up more quickly. This means, of course, you can get started on transforming your tresses sooner, but it also means the straightener returns more quickly to the right temperature after straightening a section of hair, so you'll move through your head of hair at a speedier rate.

Features

Tongs

Most hair straighteners are tong-style. One model we tested was a 'scissor' style, but it rated very low and triallists said it was "clumsy" and "bulky".

Plate material

Hair straighteners come with ceramic or ceramic-coated plates (sometimes with the addition of aluminium or tourmaline), which are claimed to eliminate frizz and static in hair and leave it smooth, shiny and silky – or even "fresh from the salon", as Philips Tresemmé claims. However, previous CHOICE hair straightener triallists showed no preference for one type or another.

Plate size

Slim to medium-width plates are suitable for most hair types. Wider plates may speed up the process, particularly for those with longer hair, but they'll make the straightener bulkier and perhaps heavier.

Control buttons

Before buying check the position of the controls, as some people report switching off a straightener accidentally during use.

Adjustable heat setting

This is useful for people with fine or damaged hair who want to use the straightener at a lower heat.

Accessories

Some straighteners have a loop to hang it on a hook for storage; others come with a stand or a protective heat mat to rest it on, which may fold into a carry bag.

Cost

Ranges from $50 to $370.