BEST HAIR DRYERS | MAY 2018
For most people, a hair dryer is an essential tool in hair care and beauty routines. There are many different dryers on the market, however, with a wide array of materials and features: you can find ceramic or titanium models, for instance, or dryers that advertise ionic or tourmaline elements. The biggest consideration in our review process, however, is whether the dryer quickly and reliably allows you to dry and style your hair, without leaving it damaged or frizzy. With this in mind, we looked for hair dryers that offered versatility, control, and high performance for all types of hair. Read more about our methodology.
Our favorite dryer offers excellent heat and power in a beautiful and comfortable design. Titanium heating coils and a 2000-watt motor combine to quickly and easily dry any type of hair without damage or overheating.Read full review.
If you’re looking to move up from our budget pick without breaking the bank, this dryer offers outstanding performance at an affordable price. It’s lightweight and quiet, while still providing multiple heating and fan settings.Read full review.
This budget-friendly hair dryer offers the outstanding performance and extra features you might expect from a higher-end hair dryer. With multiple settings and attachments, you can get a custom styling experience for less than $20.Read full review.
This reliable and well-designed dryer also comes in at an affordable price point, and offers a powerful and durable motor, along with multiple heat, cooling, and fan settings to provide a high level of customization.Read full review.
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Best Hair Dryer for Travel
This handy travel dryer packs a powerful motor into a compact and portable design. While you may want a dryer with a few more features for home use, this model offers performance that rivals a full-size hair dryer when you're traveling.Read full review.
Best Gentle Heat Hair Dryer
Hair Dryers BUYING GUIDE
The foremost consideration when shopping for a hair dryer should be its power level. You’ll want a hair dryer that ranges between 1875 and 2000 watts, which will provide enough heat and airflow to quickly dry your hair. While you may find some hair dryers with higher or lower power levels, the 1875 to 2000 watt range offers the best balance between performance and damage prevention.
Another major consideration when shopping for a hair dryer is whether you can quickly switch between heat settings. In particular, a dryer with a “cool shot” button is worth seeking out, since this lets you set your hair after you’re done styling it without adding extra heat. In general, you’ll want a hair dryer that offers several power settings that are easy to switch between.
There are two major categories of hair dryers in terms of heat source: ceramic and titanium. Most widely-used hair dryers have ceramic-coated coils, which work quickly and provide even heat. The main advantage of titanium-based hair dryers is speed: titanium heats up a lot quicker, which can make the drying process much faster and easier.
Weight and Size.
It’s also worth considering a hair dryer’s weight and size, especially if you don’t have much cabinet space or if you have long hair that takes some time to dry and style. A heavier drier could cause some fatigue, especially if you’re using it every day, while a bulkier one can take up too much space. This is an especially important consideration if you’re looking for a travel hair dryer.
While it’s not the most important consideration, you should generally look for a hair dryer that has a long enough cord to comfortably reach your bathroom outlets. This is primarily a question of convenience, since a 6-8 foot cord will give you a lot more freedom and space to work with while you’re drying your hair.
Hair dryers are available at a very wide range of prices, from models under $20 to salon-quality dryers that can cost upwards of $100. There are also outliers in the $400 range, but most of these don’t offer enough to set them apart from lower-price competitors and justify this restrictive price point.
In general, hair dryers at the lower end of the price range tend to be relatively light on features. You may not find useful functions like “cool shot” buttons or a wide array of heat settings. Mid-range dryers will offer most of these features, and often advertise tourmaline construction or ionic features that most low-end models do not. Hair dryers from $80 to over $100 tend to be salon-quality dryers with multiple settings that allow you to carefully adjust for your particular hair type and needs. These also tend to have useful features like the “cool shot” button and are designed for heavy everyday use. In this range, most hair dryers should offer similar performance, so the main differences between them tend to be aesthetic and ergonomic.
FULL product reviews
We research hundreds of products in order to bring you a final, unbiased list of the very best. We also use a proprietary algorithm to score each product in terms of quality, value, and brand reputation. These subscores are then weighted to calculate our overall scores. Read more about how we calculate our scores.
The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Dryer offers both high performance and a beautiful, lightweight design that really sets it apart from competitors. It’s an incredibly fast dryer, able to rapidly dry thick and long hair without causing damage. With multiple heat settings, a “cool shot” button to set hair, and titanium coils that heat up faster than most competitors, it’s a great all-around dryer for any hair type.
Why We Recommend It
- Fast drying. The BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Dryer is incredibly fast. It heats up quickly thanks to its 2000-watt motor, and pumps out a powerful stream of air, which can shave a lot of time off of your routine.
- Wide range of settings. Reviewers find this dryer's versatile heat and power settings extremely useful, allowing them to switch between settings to get the exact level of heat and power they need. In addition, you can easily switch to a burst of cool air to instantly set your styling.
- Beautiful Design. This hair dryer is beautifully design, both in terms of aesthetics and ergonomics. It’s comfortable to hold, and the handle doesn’t heat up despite the powerful motor.
- Lightweight. Especially considering its speed and overall power, the BaBylissPRO Nano is surprisingly lightweight. This makes it particularly easy to use if you have long hair that typically takes several minutes to fully dry.
- Easy to Hit the Wrong Button. If there’s one major issue with the BaBylissPRO Nano, it’s that the buttons are set a little too close together. Many users find that it’s very easy to accidentally switch between modes, which can be frustrating.
- Cord is Prone to Tangling. The cord on this hair dryer is eight feet long, which may be slightly excessive. While it does provide some extra mobility, it does cause frequent tangling.
If you’re looking for a dryer that offers high-end features at a budget price, the Le Beaute hair dryer is a great pick. It has several heating modes, a separate button for cool air, and outstanding performance, especially for a dryer in this price range. While it is somewhat cumbersome, it dries hair quickly and offers several handy attachments to give you a greater degree of control and customization.
Why We Recommend It
- Excellent performance. The Le Beaute hair dryer heats up quickly and dries hair very fast, which makes it an excellent dryer for everyday use. It uses dependable ceramic coils and has an 1875-watt motor, which users like for reliable and speedy drying.
- Versatile attachments. This hair dryer includes several attachments that provide added customization and versatility. Reviewers with frizzy hair tend to like the diffusor, while the concentrator nozzle lets you precisely direct airflow.
- Useful cool shot button. The Le Beaute hair dryer has a very convenient “cool shot” button that lets you instantly set your hair style. While this is a common feature on most higher-end models, it’s a great find on a dryer at this price point.
- Heavy. The biggest issue with the Le Beaute hair dryer is its weight. It’s made of heavy plastic that many users find extremely cumbersome, and there are a few complaints about arm fatigue.
- Attachments Tend to Fall Off. While the attachments are very useful, they do tend to fall off of the dryer. This can be a big headache if you’re looking to use the diffuser or concentrator every time you run the dryer.
While it’s not quite as powerful as our top pick, the Remington AC2015PP Pearl Pro Ceramic Dryer is both reliable and affordable. It offers multiple heat and speed settings, much like you’d expect from a mid-range dryer, and instead of a “cool shot” button, it allows you to turn on a steady stream of cool air. One of the most interesting aspects is the integrated AC motor, which enhances both performance and longevity.
Why We Recommend It
- Powerful and reliable motor. For a dryer at this price point, the Remington AC2015PP performs very well. Several reviewers noted that it contains an AC motor that provides extra power and reliability, which sets it apart from many similar models.
- Cooling setting. Instead of the “cool shot” button that’s relatively common on hair dryers, the Remington has a separate cool setting that provides airflow without any added heat to help set your style.
- Multiple heat and speed settings. In addition to a cooling setting, this hair dryer has multiple fan and heat settings to customize its performance. Switching between them is quick and simple, which provides a lot of control over how it dries hair.
- Heavy. This is one of the heavier driers available, which can make drying your hair something of a chore. Users with longer or thicker hair report experiencing some arm fatigue with the Remington.
- Burning smell. A few reviewers have noticed that the Remington sometimes produces a burning smell when in use. This is a significant shortcoming, since burning or overheating could shorten the dryer’s lifespan.
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Best Hair Dryer for Travel
If you’re on the road, you can’t always count on your lodgings to have a quality hair dryer on hand. A portable hair dryer can be a great addition to your suitcase or carry-on bag, and many of these foldable or easy-to-pack dryers offer performance that rivals full-size models.
Best Gentle Heat Hair Dryer
If you have fine or sensitive hair, then traditional hair dryers may do more harm than good. A gentle heat hair dryer is a great buy if you want or need to dry your hair every day, but don’t want to cause damage and split ends.
If you have fine or delicate hair and are concerned about causing damage with too much heat or power, then Revlon’s infrared hair dryer is a great buy. This is a surprisingly affordable dryer with ceramic coils and infrared technology to dry hair more effectively, even at a lower heat setting. It also includes several useful and easy-to-use attachments to help with custom styling.
Why We Recommend It
- Gentle heat. The Revlon infrared dryer doesn’t get too hot, which users like for drying hair without causing long-term damage. It uses ceramic coils and infrared heat to maintain a steady temperature to heat and dry hair.
- Affordable. This dryer performs very well for a model that costs less than $20. If you’re looking for a gentle heat option without a significant investment, this is an excellent pick.
- Comfortable grip. The Revlon infrared dryer has a comfortable ergonomic grip that doesn’t cause any hand or arm fatigue. Reviewers find this especially useful on a gentle heat dryer, since drying can take some extra time.
- Not very powerful. The main problem with this hair dryer is that it takes a lot longer than some of the more powerful dryers. This may be closely related to the fact that it’s a gentle heat model, however, since it doesn’t run as hot or blow as much air.