T3 SinglePass Curl Curling Iron Review

The T3 gave us smooth, swoonworthy curls, but it gets a little too hot if you're not careful

T3 single pass curling iron on colorful background
T3 SinglePass Curl
Photo: T3

Price paid: $150
Where to buy: Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, T3, and Ulta
Material: Tourmaline-ceramic blend
Barrel length: 5 inches
Multiple temperature settings: Yes, 5
Cord length: 9 feet
Dual voltage: Yes
Auto shutoff: Yes, after 1 hour
Warranty: 2-year
Safety certification: ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratories) Listed

The T3 is a nice-looking curling iron—the shiny white barrel and gold accents make it worthy of a spot in your next #shelfie. It came with a QR code rather than a printed user manual, so you have to use your phone to access directions. That irked many of our evaluators.

But once accessed, the directions were clear and came with a temperature guide to help users decide which of the five settings is right for them. T3 recommends that users with fine or chemically treated hair use one of the first two settings, 260° F and 300° F. And for people with normal to thick hair, T3 recommends one of the next three settings 350° F, 390° F, and 410° F. 

The iron is equipped with T3’s SinglePass, technology which utilizes a smart microchip to continually monitor temperature and adjust heat to limit fluctuations. The ceramic barrel is designed to heat evenly.

How it works: The T3 takes about 34 seconds to heat up. To achieve your desired temperature, you have to twist the handle. Little white dots light up as you rotate the handle clockwise to increase temperature and counterclockwise to decrease; there’s one dot for the lowest level and five for the highest. After you unplug the iron, it takes about 13 minutes for the barrel to cool enough that it’s safe to touch.

Our biggest gripe: It gets almost too hot. Ginger had already owned this iron for about a year, so she had some experience with it. “At first I didn’t like it,” she said. “With my long, curly hair, I figured a level 3 would be the perfect setting, but each time I tried it, my hair actually smelled burnt. So I stopped using it and figured I’d just wasted $150. Then I chatted with my hairstylist about it. And she knew right away what the problem was: Ceramic barrels like this one get hotter and hold heat better, so a reduced temperature would suffice. Now, I get shiny bouncy curls that last with this iron.”

Angela felt like the handle was a little hard to grip. “If I had just gotten out of the shower, or it was a hot day, or if I had a bit of product on my hands, I would be nervous about being able to keep a good hold on this iron,” she observed. “That is kind of nerve-racking, especially if you’re a newbie like me.”

Perry wasn’t crazy about the way her curls looked, “mostly curled on the bottom but not at the top.” And though she used the lowest temperature, she felt like her hair was “dry and crunchy” after use. 

What we liked: I also felt like this was too hot when I first tried it. But when I used the lowest heat setting on my second go-round, I loved the results. My hair was shiny and smooth, and the curl held for days. Angela, Ginger, and Daniela had similar results, with Daniela reporting that her hair was “shiny and healthy-looking” after use.

women with their hair curled
Perry and Laura show off their T3 SinglePass Curl styles.

Photo: Perry Santanachote, Laura Murphy/Consumer Reports Photo: Perry Santanachote, Laura Murphy/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.