The Best Hair Straighteners; GHD Unplugged Vs Original and Platinum+

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I’ve used GHD hair straighteners for 15 years, and would probably run back into a burning house to save my Original Classic. And I once missed a flight, turning the car around when I realised I had forgotten to pack them. They are quite simply the best flat irons available, and guarantee a Good Hair Day.

So you can imagine I was first in the queue to buy their new cordless flat iron – the GHD Unplugged. I’ve been using it daily for 6 months now, and am ready to share my impressions – the good and the bad. We’ll consider:

  • How the GHD Unplugged compares to the Classic Original IV?
  • Who needs the GHD Unplugged (and who doesn’t)?
  • Whether there is any point in buying both flat irons?
  • If you have only one, which one should it be?
  • Long term review of the GHD Original

My Unplugged review

GHD Unplugged hair straightener in use

My very first discovery was the pleasure of using a cordless device. Although the Original has a neat swivel cord connector, I now realize how irritating it is to have the cord bumping your body and subtly pulling on your wrist as you shape the back and side of your head.

The Unplugged is well balanced with a full sized handle, and surprisingly light (30% less than the Platinum+). The switch is large, and deliberately recessed and stiff to prevent accidental switching on when travelling. There is a stylish led indicator showing battery level in 20% increments, with a useful warning beep when there are 5 minutes remaining. The materials, design and ergonomics simply exude quality.

I have fairly long, but fine and frizzy hair. The twenty minutes run time was just enough to do a full style. For thicker hair types or complex hairstyles I don’t think the Unplugged would work as your main styling tool. Because the plate size is not as wide, you would need more passes through smaller sections of hair.

But whatever your hairstyle and cut, this GHD straightener is powerful enough for single pass touch-ups on the go. Caught in the rain before a meeting? No problem – 45 seconds to full heat, 5 minutes of de-frizzing – sorted.

The narrower plates have an advantage when doing bangs and tight curls around your face, getting close to the roots.

GHD Unplugged hair straightener in heat resistant case

The included case is heat resistant. This may sound like a small touch, but it’s actually incredibly useful in real life.

You can use it as a heat resistant mat for resting the hot straighteners. But also, it allows you to instantly pack up the GHD without having to wait for it to cool down first. Perfect when you’re pushed for time.

There’s a pocket inside with room for the cable, but not the adapter.

The heating plates use smart technology to rapidly monitor and adjust the actual temperature on your hair. This ensures the irons are as powerful as possible without causing heat damage. The edges of the barrel are curved and smooth, so this isn’t just a tool for hair straightening, but is great for curls and waves.

There are two main drawbacks to consider. The first is cost. The Unplugged is GHD’s most expensive flat iron – by far. I managed to rationalize this investment by dividing by 10. My experience of other GHD stylers is that I can expect at least 10 years of daily use.

The second consideration is the battery. Two hours to a full charge is … not my idea of fast charging. As partial compensation, recharging options are versatile. The USB-C cable will charge just as fast from your laptop, smart vanity mirror or car. I rarely use the wall charger. And the lithium-ion battery is approved for hand luggage on flights.

In another straightener review I came across the author said that the Unplugged can be used while recharging. I can state, sadly but definitely, that this is not the case.

Reviewers sometimes complain about the lack of different heat settings. GHD’s reply would be that you only need the perfect styling temperature, precisely controlled. As GHDs are a favorite of professional stylists, I suspect this is a non-issue.

Features of the GHD Unplugged Cordless Straightener

  • 0.8 inch plate width, ceramic coated
  • Heats to 365F, dual zone sensors
  • Heating time 45 seconds
  • USB-C charging, 2 hours
  • Run time approx 20 minutes
  • Auto-off sleep mode after 3 minutes idle
  • 10.6 ounce weight, 8.7 inches long
GHD Unplugged hair straightener size comparison with iPhone
Small enough to fit in your purse

Alternative cordless straighteners

The most obvious product comparison is with the Dyson Corrale.

In brief, the Dyson cordless hair straightener is much quicker to charge, and with slightly better battery life. The device has 3 different temperature settings.

However, the charging stand is bulky. The styler therefore has the benefit of cordless performance, but is not really portable.

It is crazy expensive!

Plate width1 inch
Heating sensorsFlexing plates with smart technology
Heating temperatures3 settings: 330oF, 365oF and 410oF
Time to full heat30 seconds
Plate guard?No
Charge time70 minutes
Run time30 minutes
Automatic sleepYes. 10 minutes
Dimensions11.5 x 1.8 x 1.6 inches
Weight1.2 lbs
WarrantyReturnable. 2 year manufacturer’s warranty

Long term review of the GHD Classic Original

I’ve had this styling iron for 12 years. It’s a bit battered as you can see, but continues to give perfect results. I’ve heard of women with one bought on their release in 2001 that are still running now!

GHD Original Classic IV

When it finally dies, I will buy another the same day.

GHD’s ceramic plates were revolutionary when they first came out, and still cannot be beaten. Ceramic plates emit negative ions that help to straighten hair. I’ve tried other hair styler brands, but none give the same glide, texture and shine.

I literally have nothing bad to say. End of review.

Plate width1 inch
Heating sensors1 floating ceramic (upgraded 2022)
Heating temperature365F
Time to full heat30 seconds
Plate guard?No
Universal voltage?Yes.
Automatic sleepYes. 30 minutes
Dimensions12 x 3.5 x 3 inches
Weight1 lbs
Cord length8.7 feet
WarrantyReturnable. 2 year manufacturer’s warranty

Classic Original compared to GHD Platinum Plus

The Platinum+ is GHD’s top of the range straightener. Although it’s a beautiful tool, my honest opinion is that it offers few real-world benefits over the Classic Original.

The supposed advantage is the smart “predictive heat technology”. This is claimed to monitor the surface temperature at the plates hundreds of times per second, and adjust it instantly. So whatever the hairtype, and however thick the section of hair within the straightener, the temperature will be held at a perfect 365F.

Plate width1 inch
Heating sensorsDual zone with smart technology
Heating temperature365F
Time to full heat25 seconds
Plate guard?Yes
Universal voltage?Yes.
Automatic sleepYes. 30 minutes
Dimensions11 x 1.63 x 1.75 inches
Weight1 lbs
ColorsBlack, White, Limited Editions
WarrantyReturnable. 3 year manufacturer’s warranty

GHD claim this decreases heat damage resulting in stronger hair without breakage of the ends, long lasting and improved shine and better hair color protection. I have no reason to doubt their word, but couldn’t confirm it for myself. YMMV if you have different hair type.

One feature that I do like is the wishbone hinge. This prevents strands of hair snagging. And finally, the improved 3 year warranty is nice to have.

GHD Unplugged Cordless compared to the Original

GHD Unplugged hair straightener compared to GHD Classic Original IV

Chose only the Unplugged if:

  • You have short and fine hair, or
  • You have a simple and quick styling technique
  • And
  • You need to touch up on the go, or
  • Travel frequently, or
  • Just enjoy using a cordless

Choose only the Classic (or Platinum) if:

  • You have long and thick hair, or
  • You have complex styling requirements
  • And
  • You rarely travel, or
  • Don’t need to repair your hairdo after leaving home

Consider both tools if:

  • You have long and thick hair, or
  • You have complex styling requirements
  • And
  • You travel frequently, or
  • Like to re-style on the go

Caution: Like many luxury brands, GHD straighteners are a target for fakes. If the price seems too good to be true, or there are dodgy reviews, find another reseller.

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