The world of hair tools can get pretty overwhelming at times, and deciphering which one will create which look the quickest is enough to make our heads spin. From self-rotating curling irons to self-adjusting, temperature-controlled flat irons, hair, hot tools are getting smarter by the day.

One of the newest devices making waves is the hot paddle brush. Similar to a flat iron, it works to flatten otherwise wavy, frizzy hair. Although these tools are capable of creating the same frizz-free result, they’re also able to master additional styling techniques, including s-waves to bouncy blowouts. Wondering which will work best on your hair? Ahead we fill you in on everything you need to know for a never-ending #GoodHairDay.

What’s the difference between a hot brush and a flat iron?

Woman straightening her hair.

While both flat irons and hot brushes deliver high heat to hair, they do so in very different ways. According to Alli Webb, hairstylist and founder of Drybar, a flat iron’s dual ceramic plates can reach up to 400 degrees and, when hair is pressed between them, can create stick-straight strands in a flash. Since these tools mold such sleek strands, they’re often reserved for thicker, curlier hair that won’t fall flat the same way fine hair typically does. A hot paddle brush, on the other hand, is shaped like a hairbrush but has ceramic, silicone, or nylon bristles that heat up to 400 degrees as well. Webb explains that the difference is that, instead of sandwiching strands, the bristles glide through them to help smooth out frizzy hair and relax curly hair, all while maintaining some body and volume. (Photo via PeopleImages/ Getty)

What types of hairstyles can you achieve with each tool?

Straight strands, bouncy blowouts, and s-waves are all possible with the right flat iron or hot paddle brush. The trick is to know which to use for your hair type and desired style. “Although it might take a little more time, hot brushes add shine and help maintain volume,” says Arthur Shamalov, stylist and co-owner of Eddie Arthur Salon in NYC. “A hot brush creates more volume and bend in the hair, and the results look almost like when you use a round brush and blowdryer to style your hair.” In other words, if the goal is a Drybar-esque blowout without making an appointment, it’s time to hop on the hot paddle brush train.

The effects of a flat iron are much different. Shamalov says that you should use this tool when you’re going for a straighter, shinier, more polished style. Additionally, with the right technique, you can create stylish s-waves with flat irons — something you can’t do with hot brushes.

Which tool should you use with which hair type?

While one tool may be suited for a specific hair type, you’re not limited to just that device. The trick is to know which style you want to rock, how to wield each tool to promote that look, and proceed accordingly. If you have fine hair, simply hold your hair straight up and style your roots vertically with a slight bend so that they don’t fall flat; and if you have thicker, curlier hair, get deep into your roots for a straightened, frizz-free look from top to bottom. Whatever end look you’re craving, the hot tools to achieve it are just a scroll below.

1. Chi G2 Ceramic & Titanium 1” Hairstyling Iron ($129): Since this flat iron is not as wide as other 1.5” tools on the market, it’s easier to create curls.

2. Drybar Brush Crush ($145): This baby heats up to 450 degrees and automatically shuts off after 60 minutes. The slender design makes it less of a paddle; however, that just means that it’s especially useful on shorter cuts and creating soft bends at the end.

3. BabylissPro Nano Titanium Ultra-Thin Straightening Iron ($140): Ideal for travel, this straightener is lightweight, coming in at just one pound, and comes with 50 different heat settings.

4. INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR Diamond-Infused Ceramic Smoothing Hot Brush ($40): This hot brush has diamond-infused ceramic bristles to help smooth strands and protect hair from heat damage. Since the paddle spans a few inches, you’ll be able to cover a lot of hair in little time too.

5. T3 SinglePass Compact Iron ($89): As adorable as it is powerful, this ultra-thin straightener smoothes strands in just one swipe. And, since it’s so slender, it makes for the perfect travel companion.

6. GLAMFIELDS Ionic Straightener Brush ($37): The best part about this straightener brush is that its bristles go deep and are pretty high, so you don’t have to pass the brush through as many times.

Tell us which is your favorite straightener @BritandCo!

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