Whether you flaunt thick, unruly tresses or long, delicate locks, one thing is for certain: air drying hair can be an absolute pain. Hair can often take hours to dry on its own after a shower, not to mention the blouses and towels it dampens in the process. If this struggle sounds familiar to you, it might be time to invest in a high quality hair dryer. Check out our buying guide below to help you sort out some top contenders for a quick, frizz-less dry.
Considerations when choosing hair dryers
Hair dryer heating technology is typically constructed with one of three materials: ceramic, tourmaline, or titanium, and each of these options works better or worse for specific hair types. Ceramic dryers are the most popular, as ceramic supports a wide range of hair textures. Ceramic is known for retaining moisture in the hair follicle and distributing heat evenly, making it especially useful for those with dry or delicate tresses. Tourmaline is a type of gemstone used for customers who need an "extra-strength" hair dryer. Hair that is difficult to dry or exceptionally curly can benefit from a tourmaline model, which prevents hair frizz with negative ion technology. Titanium dryers are known to be the hottest among the three, and are commonly recommended for anyone with thick or long hair. Be aware that the extra heat can cause damage to dry, extra-fine, or colored hair, so use discretion before purchasing.
The power of your dryer is especially important to give attention to when considering your hair type. Customers with thinner, delicate tresses should aim for a dryer with 1,800 watts, while thick, difficult-to-dry hair would benefit from a 2,000 to 3,600 watt range. Also note that hair dryers with a higher wattage usually outlive the less-powerful models.
If you boast shorter hair that's easy to dry, the weight of your hair dryer shouldn't be too much of an issue. However, users with long, thick, or coarse hair may want to opt for a lightweight option that features a handle with grip since drying time may take a while. Higher-end models are naturally weightier than inexpensive products, though they often dry hair much faster.
It is common to find hair dryers with multiple heat settings, though not all models boast this feature. Usually, dryers come with two heat options: warm and hot. However, customers concerned with the amount of heat their hair is exposed to should search for a dryer that offers low, warm, and hot settings. It is also a fair investment to find a dryer that comes with a cool temperature, as this adds extra shine to nearly-dry hair and supports curly locks.
Oftentimes customers can adjust the airflow of their dryer depending on whether they need a quick dry or prefer a gentler experience. It is helpful to find a model that offers low, medium, and high speed settings so you can alternate between the three, though many users find that the typical medium/high controls work just as well.
Hair dryer prices vary greatly, but the typical range is $20 to $400.
If you are looking for the best bang for your buck, aim for a dryer around $50 at the least. This price range will save you money while still offering heat protection and a relatively quick dry.
High-end models fall around $100 to $200. These hair dryers will last upwards of 5 years--sometimes 10--and will provide fantastic heat distribution.
Professional-grade models are usually found between $200 and $400. These dryers are a must-have for cosmetologists and hair salons.
Other important details
If you prefer to style your hair while you blow dry, consider adding some accessories to your hair dryer collection. Customers who wish to retain a curly bounce in their locks should purchase a diffuser. This add-on tool helps maintain the natural wave of your hair by scrunching it as you blow dry. Users who prefer to straighten or add light waves to their hair may opt for a concentrator nozzle and a round brush. A concentrator nozzle directs heat to a specific area, helping avoid frizz. Used concurrently with a round brush, customers can achieve hassle-free straightening or light waves.
Q. Is there a way I can minimize hair dryer noise?
A. While all hair dryers emit some noise, higher-end dryers and professional-grade models tend to be quieter despite their powerful motors. It also helps to look for a dryer with a low speed setting, as this often quiets the drying process substantially.
Q. What is the significance of infrared heat on my hair dryer?
A. Customers who want a superbly gentle hair dryer should seek a model that utilizes infrared technology. Infrared dryers dry the hair follicle from the inside out, offering excellent heat distribution for delicate hair.
Hair dryers we recommend
Best of the best: Solano Supersolano Professional Hair Dryer
Our take: Customers wanting a salon-grade product should check out this durable power house from Solano.
What we like: Features cool shot technology and includes an attachable concentrator nozzle. Uses 1800 watts. Lightweight at 1.4 pounds.
What we dislike: Expensive when compared with other home models.
Best bang for your buck: Conair 1875 Watt Ionic Ceramic Hair Dryer
Our take: An exceptionally popular dryer that works best for customers with thick, long, or difficult-to-dry hair.
What we like: Uses tourmaline technology with three heat settings and two speed settings. Filter is hinged for easy cleaning. Includes a diffuser and concentrator nozzle.
What we dislike: Not the most durable option. Attachments can pop off.
Choice 3: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Dryer
Our take: This mid-range dryer is a crowd favorite for its nano titanium technology and high-power wattage.
What we like: Uses 2000 watts. Attractive color. Lightweight build. Included nozzle. Various heat and speed settings.
What we dislike: Some models broke soon after purchase.
Moriah Lee is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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