Hot Shot Tools Gold Series Spring Curling Iron Review

Sold exclusively at Sally's Beauty, this gold-plated iron delivered loose, wavy curls.

Hot Shot Tools Gold Series Curling Iron on colorful background
Hot Shot Tools Gold Series Spring
Photo: Hot Shot Tools

Price paid: $47
Material: 24-carat gold styling surface
Barrel length: 4 inches
Multiple temperature settings: Yes, adjustable
Cord length: 8 feet
Dual voltage: Yes
Auto shutoff: No
Warranty: 5-year limited
Safety certification: ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratories) Listed

The Hot Shot Tools Gold Series Spring curling iron looks strikingly similar to the Hot Tools 24K Gold Professional curling iron. There’s a reason for that: They’re both branded Helen of Troy. Hot Tools is marketed to professionals, while Hot Shot Tools is sold exclusively at Sally Beauty Supply stores. We picked this iron because it appears to be a best seller at Sally’s—it’s one of the most reviewed curling irons on the site. 

The curling iron comes with directions that include a guide that recommends temperature settings based on hair type: 280° F to 330° F for fine or thin hair; 330° F to 380° F for normal or medium textured hair; 380°F to 450° F for wavy, thick, or coarse hair. The Sally Beauty website says there are 10 variable heat settings, but the iron has a dial—just like the Hot Tools one—so you just point it toward the temperature range you want. The packaging also advertises Pulse Auto-Heat Control, a technology designed to maintain precise temperatures for “uninterrupted, consistent heat.”

How it works: After plugging it in, you have to turn it on via a switch on the handle. A red light on the side of the handle is illuminated to let you know it’s on and hot. On the Sally Beauty website, it says the iron takes 30 seconds to heat up, but the directions advise you to wait 60 seconds. The directions also mention that the iron might smoke and smell weird the first time you’re heating it up, which is slightly unsettling, but none of our evaluators experienced this. Like the Hot Tools iron, it seemed to heat up faster than a minute, though there’s no indicator that the iron has reached your desired temperature. After turning it off, it takes about 10 minutes to cool down such that the barrel is safe to touch. 

Our biggest gripe: The experience using this iron was almost identical to that of the Hot Tools iron. The kickstand was still problematic; there were issues with hair snagging; and the curls came out looser than with other curling irons. Ginger reiterated her concern that the gold might wear off after a while. 

What we liked: The biggest difference between the Hot Tools iron and the Hot Shot iron seems to be where you buy the tool—if you’re a Sally’s shopper, every purchase earns points toward rewards, such as special savings or free shipping. It’s also worth noting that the Hot Tools iron has a longer warranty; 7 years vs. Hot Shot’s 5. And then there’s the matter of money—the Hot Tools iron is $3 more expensive than the Hot Shot.

Woman curling her hair with curling iron
Perry curls her hair with the Hot Shot Tools Gold Series Spring.

Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports

Read about CR’s curling iron evaluation process and see our individual curling iron reviews (below).

This product evaluation is part of Consumer Reports’ Outside the Labs reviews program, which is separate from our laboratory testing and ratings. Our Outside the Labs reviews are performed at home and in other native settings by individuals, including our journalists, with specialized subject matter experience or familiarity and are designed to offer another important perspective for consumers as they shop. While the products or services mentioned in this article might not currently be in CR’s ratings, they could eventually be tested in our laboratories and rated according to an objective, scientific protocol.

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Headshot of CRO Author Laura Murphy (v3)

Laura Murphy

Just like you, I'm a consumer. I love to shop, and I'm obsessed with finding the highest-quality item at the best price. I want my products sustainably made with fair labor practices, and built to last, so I don't have to replace them every two years. I'm at Consumer Reports because I believe in harnessing consumer power to build a better world. Let's do this.