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What Is a Butane Curling Iron?

A butane curling iron is a cordless styling tool powered by butane cartridges, offering the freedom to create luscious curls anywhere, anytime. Its portability makes it perfect for on-the-go touch-ups. With no need for electricity, it's a travel essential for those who want salon-worthy hair, no matter the location. Wondering how it compares to traditional curlers? Let's explore its unique benefits.
Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

A butane curling iron is a cordless curling iron that is built to be powered by butane, a flammable gas. By turning on the butane curling iron, the gas heats the curling iron barrel, enabling the user to curl hair virtually anywhere. These curling irons are often smaller in size than traditional curling irons and are designed to be portable. They are typically easily packed in purses or tote bags and are frequently used by travelers or women who need to style or touch up their hair at work or at school. Hair professionals who may be working in areas where they do not have easy access to an electrical outlet may also make considerable use of a butane curling iron.

Standard curling irons are typically designed to be plugged into an electrical outlet. In many places, this is no hardship as most buildings are equipped with electricity. In some cases, however, an individual may be traveling to a location where electricity is not easily accessed. In addition, some facilities may have electricity but outlets may not be conveniently located. An example of such a location may be an office or school restroom, in which it can be difficult for a woman who needs to style her hair to find an outlet that provides easy access to a mirror. A butane curling iron allows her to style her hair in any place that she wishes.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Old-style butane curling wands typically required users to refill the butane chamber with a can of butane which can typically be obtained at drugstores, supermarkets or hardware stores. The modern butane curling iron, on the other hand, typically uses cartridges which easily snap in and out of the iron. The use of cartridges can minimize the risk of exposure to butane gas and can make it very easy to refill one's curling iron. As of 2011, flyers can generally carry one butane curling wand on airline flights to most destinations, but are not permitted to actually use the curling iron while on the airplane. Carrying extra refill cartridges is not permitted.

The primary criticism of the butane curling iron is that it does not get hot enough to properly curl all types of hair and that, in some cases, the curls may not last. Individuals may find their experiences with different types of butane curling wands vary considerably. As such, users of these portable curling irons may need to try several brands before finding one that gives them the results they desire.

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Discussion Comments


I have been using these for the last 14 years and I never use a plug in one! No cord is great! I love them! You can still buy them online or even ebay and also the different cartridges. I buy them in bulk. It would be nice to know how to repair them though, just in case one stops working! L in Michigan


@Scrbblchick -- I've never heard of these! Didn't know anyone ever made them. They do sound like they would do a good job, but I can see the complications of the whole butane concept.

They sound like one of those things that's a great idea, but it's almost more money for the upkeep (cartridges) than it would be just to plug the iron in. I don't know that I'd want to travel with butane in my suitcase, even if it is in a little cartridge. I assume they were very well sealed and all, but I'd still be a little leery of them, I think.

It would be nice if some manufacturer could come up with a similar idea that uses a better portable power source.


My sister had one of these and loved it, but it got to where she couldn't find the cartridges for it, so she couldn't use it anymore. She really liked it, so it was a shame the company stopped making the butane cartridges.

It was a nice curling iron. I used it occasionally. The best part was the butane heated it almost instantly, like within a minute or so. No waiting on the "ready" dot to turn dark, like with most curling irons.

She's the only person I know who had one. Seems like she got it for Christmas one year. She said she's never had a curling iron that worked as well as that one.

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