GHD Chronos review: a hard sell that falls short

Advanced flat-iron tech and styling prowess come at a price

The GHD Chronos on a marble counter
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

It's been six years since GHD released the Platinum Plus, and a lot has changed in that time. There's more competition in the flat-iron market, higher expectations, and people are more budget-conscious. As such, the $329 / £289 / AU$465 Chronos was always going to be a hard sell – and, sadly, it just falls short. It isn't a bad styler; it's fast, it's incredibly smooth in use, and if you like to use a straightener to curl your hair, you'll get a lot out of this styler. However, there isn't enough that's different to make the Chronos stand out as a must-buy styler – especially at this price, when there are cheaper alternatives that perform almost as well.


  • +

    Plates glide through hair easily

  • +

    Redesigned shape adds versatility

  • +

    Leaves hair shiny and smooth


  • -

    Single heat setting

  • -


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Two-minute review

GHD is a styling pioneer. It was one of the first brands to release flat-iron straighteners (featuring its iconic ceramic yellow plates) and has consistently led the way when it comes to styling tech. Today, it sells a range of stylers from curling tongs to hair dryers, brushes, styling products, and even the wet-to-dry GHD Duet Style. Despite this, it's still best known for making some of the best hair straighteners, and the latest to join this collection is the GHD Chronos. 

As a successor to the GHD Platinum Plus, which launched in 2018, the Chronos promises to be faster, smoother, and easier to use. GHD claims it halves frizz, boosts shine by 85%, and styles hair three times faster – and, for the most part, it lives up to these claims.  

I hadn't realized how much the Platinum Plus pulled on my hair until I used the Chronos. It glided through my hair with surprising ease, which not only made it easier to use, but it reduced the friction and potential damage to my hair. In turn, this noticeably decreased frizzing and left my hair looking smoother and shiny, both when it was straightened but also when I used it to create curls and waves.    

This styler is more compact, with rounder edges than previous GHD straighteners; but the hot plates have remained the same size. As a result, the Chronos is easier to store and to take on your travels, as well as being more ergonomic, letting you create curls and flicks more easily. In fact, the Chronos' ability to create curls effortlessly is its biggest selling point.

Yet despite these updates and upgrades, the Chronos still falls a little short. First, the claims GHD makes about its improved responsiveness, speed, shine and more are either in comparison to naturally dried hair, the GHD Original, or on a small sample of consumers – which lessens the impact of those claims somewhat.

Second, while the speed, shine, and ease-of-use improvements I experienced were good, I don't feel like they were dramatic or impactful enough to warrant spending $329 / £289 / AU$465. For example, the improvements between the Platinum Plus and Chronos were relatively minor on my long, thin hair. Decent, but not groundbreaking. 

And third, GHD continues to offer only one temperature setting –365ºF / 185ºC – across all of its stylers. The brand states that this is because it's the optimum temperature for creating a style without damaging the hair; and for my hair in particular, this is true. However, for thicker, longer, and coily hair, this remains a major sticking point for the Chronos as it does for the rest of the range.

However, the biggest issue I have is that since GHD has always led the way when it comes to styling technology, any new product needs to be different enough to warrant ditching one of its older models. The GHD Original, for example, remains a great styler and is much cheaper than the Chronos. All of GHD's stylers are so well-built that they last for years, if not decades, and they hold their value – and that's before you look at the wider flat-iron market and the number of rivals. 

If you've been looking for a new styler, have an older GHD or rival model, or regularly use a straightener to create curls, there's enough about the GHD Chronos to appeal. If you already have the Platinum Plus, need a styler with more heat options, or don't need any bells and whistles, then spending $329 / £289 / AU$465 may be a step too far. 

The GHD Chronos being held

(Image credit: Future)

GHD Chronos review: Price & Availability

  • List price: $329 / £289 / AU$465

The GHD Chronos is the latest flat-iron styler to launch from the British brand and is available in white and black for $329 / £289 / AU$465. You can buy it directly from GHD in all three regions. 

In the US, the Chronos is available from Amazon, Walmart, and Ulta. In the UK, it's available via Lookfantastic, Selfridges, John Lewis and Harvey Nichols. It's due to launch on Amazon UK on 15 April. In Australia, it's available at Adore Beauty.

The Chronos is the flagship flat-iron styler in the GHD range, but it's joined by a wider range of straighteners including:

  • GHD Platinum Plus – a 1-inch flat-iron styler and Chronos predecessor
  • GHD Unplugged – GHD's first cordless flat iron, with 0.9-inch plates
  • GHD Duet Style – a 2-in-1 dryer and styler
  • GHD Original – the original, entry-level 1-inch GHD flat iron
  • GHD Gold – a model that sits performance- and price-wise between the Original and Platinum Plus
  • GHD Max – 2-inch plates designed for longer, thicker hair
  • GHD Mini – 0.5-inch plates for shorter hair

GHD Chronos review: Design

  • Ceramic plates with ultra-glossy coating
  • Heats up to 365ºF / 185ºC
  • Redesigned curved barrel and wishbone hinge

At first glance, the GHD Chronos looks remarkably similar to the Platinum Plus and other straighteners in the range. The body of the styler is made from plastic that sports a matte finish, and is available in either black or white. There are two grey-silver ceramic plates fitted on the underside of each arm of the Chronos, above the power button that's surrounded by a white LED. At the bottom end of the styler is a metal wishbone 360-degree hinge and a 2.7-meter swivel cord attached.

Yet look a little closer at the design and specifications and there are a handful of key differences. First, the Chronos is smaller than previous GHD models, measuring 11.8 x 4.6 x 2.8 inches / 30 x 11.7 x 7.1cm and weighing 1.63lbs / 0.74kg. The Platinum Plus, for comparison, measures 12.6 x 4.72 x 3.54 inches / 32 x 12 x 9cm and weighs 1.65lbs / 75kg. Despite the Chronos' smaller form, the 1-inch plates have remained the same size.  

There aren't any temperature controls on the GHD Chronos. This is because all of GHD's hair tools are pre-programmed to only a single setting of 365ºF / 185ºC. GHD claims this is the optimum temperature for heat styling: hot enough to manipulate the bonds in the hair and set the style, but not so hot that it breaks the bonds completely and damages the hair. 

The GHD Chronos

(Image credit: Future)

Features-wise, the Chronos uses what's described as "HD motion-responsive technology with a next-generation ceramic heater" to control heat to the plates. 

This is an upgrade to the ultra-zone technology seen on previous GHD stylers, and is said to be powered by an algorithm that identifies how the tool is being used. As you move and use the Chronos, its built-in algorithm understands the angle at which it's being held and the amount of hair in the plates. It then uses this to ensure that heat is evenly distributed. This promises to deliver greater precision, and better heat consistency means better results. Ultimately, the technology has been designed to reduce the number of times you need to pass the plates over your hair, which saves you time and effort. 

As a result of these upgrades, and the ultra-gloss coating on the plates, GHD promises "the smoothest glide to deliver one-stroke styling with up to 85% more shine."

Other features include a 20-second heat-up time and a three-year warranty. The Chronos will also switch off automatically after 10 minutes if it's not being used.

The GHD Chronos controls

(Image credit: Future)

GHD Chronos Review: Performance

  • Quick to heat up
  • One pass is enough to smooth hair
  • Temperature needs to be reset every time

GHD makes a lot of bold claims about the performance of the Chronos. It's said to create styles that last 24 hours, three times faster than previous models. It claims to reduce frizz by half, enhance shine by 85%, and its re-engineered hinge and barrel have been “designed to craft high-definition curls and waves easily”.

In terms of speed, the Chronos took an average of 3 minutes and 15 seconds to straighten my hair. This isn't noticeably faster than the Platinum Plus, which takes 3 minutes and 25 seconds on average. The three-fold increase is in comparison to the GHD Original, but without one on hand, I wasn't able to fully test this claim.   

In terms of responsiveness, I didn’t notice much difference between the Chronos and other straighteners I’ve used. That said, I also didn’t have to pass the Chronos over my hair multiple times to achieve the desired finish, nor did I notice any hot or cold patches, so the best I can say about this is that it works as I'd expect.

Frizz was definitely reduced, and my hair did shine more than normal. I have blonde hair, so it can be difficult to get a glossy finish due to the way it reflects the light. However, I had family members comment on the good condition of my hair, and I put that down to the Chronos.  

Sadly, this style lasted only until I stepped outside. At this point my hair quickly lost the smoothness and shine the GHD Chronos had created, and the frizz returned, taking significantly less than the 24 hours promised. It should be noted that I have naturally wavy hair that doesn't appreciate any form of humidity, but I had still hoped the style would hold for a little longer than it did. 

Curling my hair using the Chronos took much longer – 9 minutes and 45 seconds on average. This isn’t necessarily the Chronos’ fault; curling my hair with straighteners always takes longer than straightening it, and the Platinum Plus creates curls in a very similar timeframe, but it’s worth noting.

The Chronos also glided through my hair without any friction as I twisted the styler to create the curls. This incredibly smooth experience, coupled with the smaller design and curved barrel, made curling my hair with the Chronos a hugely enjoyable experience. It was a noticeable improvement on the Platinum Plus, and any straightening iron I've ever used, and is where the Chronos really excels.  

Again, frizz was reduced, the curls were well defined and smooth, and they caught the light even more than when my hair was straightened. This style held for much longer and looked as good at the end of the night as it did at the start. 

For my thin hair, the single temperature offered on the Chronos was more than sufficient to create the style and hold it in place – until I left the house, at least. 

The GHD Chronos on a marble counter

(Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the GHD Chronos?

Buy it if...

You want shiny hair, fast 

The GHD Chronos' rapid heat-up time and efficient styling means you can achieve your desired look quickly and with added shine. This makes it a great styler for busy people. 

You like to curl your hair with straighteners

The Chronos' biggest selling point is its ability to create curls and waves with ease. The redesigned hinge and barrel make a noticeable difference, not just to the ease-of-use, but to the look and feel of the curls themselves.

Hair health is a priority

With its consistent optimal temperature, HD-motion technology, and ultra-glossy plates, the Chronos glides through the hair and styles it with minimum damage. 

Don't buy it if...

You're on a budget

The premium price point of the GHD Chronos makes it a significant investment. There are other options available, even within the GHD range itself, which offer similar features and results.

You have thick or coily hair

The Chronos has only one temperature setting. This will suit most people; but if your hair is thicker, or coily, its great performance may fall short. 

You don't need any bells and whistles

If you have minimal styling needs or want a more straightforward, no-frills hair straightener, the advanced features and technologies of the Chronos may be overkill.

First reviewed: March 2024

Victoria Woollaston

Victoria Woollaston is a freelance science and technology journalist with more than a decade’s experience writing for Wired UK, Alphr, Expert Reviews, TechRadar, Shortlist and the Sunday Times. She has a keen interest in next-generation technology and its potential to revolutionise how we live and work.