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The hair dryer market is surging, with new models and designs coming out regularly, according to a 2022 report by Technavio focusing on the growth and trends of the hair dryer industry. Tourmaline dryers, which are less damaging to the hair, are driving the charge, the report noted. Hairstylist Courtney Foster, owner of Courtney Foster Beauty in New York, said she has seen many innovations in recent years, too: “The trend is hair dryers that are smaller but with much more power,” she noted. “Blow dryers don’t look like blow dryers anymore."
SKIP AHEAD How to shop for a hair dryer
Today these essential beauty tools have a multitude of settings to help add volume and shine to your hair, along with a number of attachments and advanced technologies to ensure a smooth salon finish. To find out which hair dryers are worth considering, we consulted celebrity hairstylists and salon owners for their expert recommendations and tips.
Best hair dryers to shop
These blow dryer options feature a number of settings for airflow and temperature control. They are all available across retailers like Amazon, Sephora, Ulta, Nordstrom and Walmart, or directly through brands like Dyson. We have included both expert-recommended options as well as highly rated options that meet expert guidance.
Best overall hair dryer: Dyson
A lot of stylists love the Dyson, and that’s not surprising: It was the most awarded hair dryer in 2021 based on industry recognized awards, mostly for its innovative technology. The Supersonic has four precise heat settings and three airflow settings and comes with five styling attachments. Foster called the Supersonic her "all-time favorite blow dryer," noting that "it prevents heat damage by regulating direct heat on the hair strands, eliminates frizz and provides high shine, which is crucial when it comes to getting the perfect blowout.” Nation added that it’s “a great at-home option for clients” — since the air suction is in the handle of the dryer, “you no longer worry about getting your hair sucked into the machine,” he explained. According to Karla Marabello, owner of K’Bello Organic Hair in New Jersey, it’s also the ease of use that makes it an attractive option. “The Dyson gives people the confidence to be able to style their own hair and get that salon look at home,” she noted.
Best 2-in-1 hair dryer: Revlon
The highly rated Revlon hair dryer aims to simplify the hairstyling process by simultaneously smoothing your strands with nylon and tufted bristles while drying your hair. Due to its oval shape, the brush can get close to your roots to create massive volume and bouncy movement, the brand says. Revlon’s blow dryer brush sports three heat settings and three speed settings, along with a cooling feature to help your style last longer. It sports ionic technology to dry your hair quickly, according to the brand. “It’s the ease of using it that makes it attractive,” Marabello said. “And it does give you that salon finish.” She said she likes the Revlon One-Step for thicker hair, though she doesn’t recommend it for fine hair.
Best lightweight hair dryer: ghd
One of Nation’s all-time favorites, the ghd Helios has an acoustic technology built in to ensure a low sound level and features variable temperature and airflow settings to combine power, speed and control, the brand says. It is ergonomically balanced to make it easier to manage while styling and creates a powerful airflow for a fast dry, ghd says. Marabello said a lighter, smaller dryer like this one is best for clients to use on their own because they can better manipulate it when also holding a brush.
Best nano titanium hair dryer: Babybliss
Foster uses this hair dryer in her salon and recommends it to any client "[who] needs a blow dryer at home but does not necessarily use it often." The BaByliss is also one of Marabello’s favorites. “I love it because it is super lightweight and I can go all day blowing out and [won’t] have an ache in my shoulder. I recommend it for my clients all the time,” she said. Foster noted that because the blow dryer is infused with nano titanium properties, it helps prepare hair in the blowout process by removing static and closing the hair cuticles. The ionic dryer has six heat and speed settings and comes with two concentrator nozzles.
Best salon-level hair dryer: Harry Josh Pro
Foster and Nation were both in agreement over the fact that this lightweight professional-grade hair dryer packs a powerful punch. “As soon as you turn it on, [your hair] dries quickly,” said Foster, adding that it also stores very easily. It weighs less than 1 pound, so it's lightweight enough to hold when you're drying your hair at home. If you like to hold your nozzle while drying your strands, you can also purchase the Long Nozzle Concentrator, which uses patented Cool Air Flex Technology so you don't accidentally burn your hands. Harry Josh Pro Tools says the blow dryer’s dual filtration system helps reduce energy consumption, and it boasts an 11-foot extension cord.
If you want a slightly more affordable option, opt for the Pro Dryer 2000. Nation said the 2000 is his “favorite luxury hair dryer hands down.”
Best affordable hair dryer: Red Pro
“This Red packs a punch,” Foster said. Ideal for both straight and curly hair, this dryer is lightweight at just 1 pound and comes with an air concentrator attachment, which allows you to concentrate the heat on sections of hair without damaging the integrity of your curls, the brand says. Its tourmaline ceramic technology helps seal in moisture and prevent frizzy hair, according to our experts.
Best investment-worthy hair dryer: GAMA
At just under 1 pound, the Italy IQ Perfetto is lightweight and easy to use at home. It comes with a long concentrator nozzle and is ergonomically designed with the brand’s Oxy Active Technology, which Gama says blasts oxygen to help lock in your hair style. Additionally, it boasts auto-cleaning tech and has a total of 18 possible configurations so you can customize the hair dryer based on your styling needs for the day. The Gama Professional IQ hair dryer has a 4.2-star average rating from more than 350 reviews on Amazon.
Best hair dryer for curly hair: T3
“The T3 AireLuxe is very sleek. It gives you the look of the Gama, but it’s less expensive and just slightly bigger,” Foster said. Its custom-engineered fan provides a wide airflow so hair dries faster, according to the brand. It also comes with four styling attachments, and its ion generator infuses hair with 10 million negative ions to prevent frizz, the brand says. “It’s great for curly girls,” Foster noted.
Best hot air brush: Conair
“[These brush dryers] are all the rage,” Foster said, noting that she prefers the Conair. This model has a ceramic-coated wand that distributes heat evenly, and its ionic technology ensures a no-frizz blowout, according to the brand.
Best hair dryer with a long cord: Drybar
“When I first moved to LA, I worked at the Drybar and I used the Buttercup. It was a great dryer,” said Nation. The 1-pound hair dryer utilizes ionic technology and features a 9-foot-long cord. It is also equipped with three preset heat settings, two power settings and a cool shot button to help lock your hairstyle in place. Drybar also came out with a smaller version — the Baby Buttercup — which is great for travel.
How to shop for a hair dryer, according to hairstylists
According to the pros, there are four types of hair dryer technologies: ceramic, tourmaline, titanium and ionic blow dryers.
- Ceramic hair dryers distribute heat evenly, which is more gentle on the hair — too much heat could cause damage, Marabello explained.
- Similar to ceramic dryers, titanium hair dryers distribute heat evenly on the hair. However, Marabello said that while titanium dryers tend to get a lot hotter than ceramic dryers for a faster dry, there’s less chance of damaging the hair with a ceramic hair dryer, especially if your locks are thinner. Titanium dryers also tend to be lighter than ceramic ones.
- Marabello said ionic technology “is all about preserving the health of the hair.” Ionic hair dryers emit negative ions, which causes water on the hair to quickly disperse, allowing the hair to dry quickly. “Less heat means there’s less risk of damaging the hair,” said Marabello.
- Tourmaline dryers are rapidly gaining momentum over ionic and ceramic hair dryers, according to the 2022 hair dryer research report by Technavio. That’s because titanium dryers are lighter,and while they emit negative ions like ionic dryers, they also use infrared heat to seal the hair cuticles, which in turn makes your hair shinier.
What is the best blow dryer for your hair?
Foster said choosing a hair dryer should be largely based on its settings, not your hair type. “There’s no hair dryer that works just for textured hair. It’s the settings that determine how well your hair turns out,” she noted. She said the rule of thumb is to use low to medium heat for fine hair and higher heat for thicker, more coarse hair. “It’s not the tools that damage your hair. It’s improper use of the tools,” she explained.
If you have thick, textured hair, look for a hair dryer with 2,000 watts of power or more and an instant cool button to thoroughly dry your hair, experts said. If you have curly or coarse hair, you can get away with 2,500 watts of drying power. Those with finer hair, meanwhile, should look for dryers with a lower wattage, Marabello noted.
No matter what hair dryer you use, experts said you should always use a heat protectant as a barrier between your healthy hair and your hot tools. Marabello’s choice: Oway thermal stress protector, an organic heat protectant that guards against damage from hot styling tools up to 437 degrees Fahrenheit and that she sells on her own website.