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With three heat and three airflow settings plus a cool shot, it offers lots of customization. Five magnetic attachments suit all hair types so anyone can achieve a flawless look. The bottom-heavy design is quite comfortable to use, and it’s quieter than most hair dryers. It leaves hair shiny without damage.
It’s expensive and doesn’t have dual voltage capabilities for international travel.
While it can’t compete with high-end hair dryers, this lightweight model still has plenty of power to get the job done. It has three heat settings and two airflow settings, plus it comes with two attachments for styling.
It doesn’t offer as many heat and airflow settings.
This digital hair dryer does the work for you. It defaults to the ideal heat and airflow settings for your hair type and styling method. It has a beautiful color scheme and comes with four attachments.
It’s not as ergonomic as other high-end hair dryers.
It’s compact and lightweight, and so takes less effort to dry your hair. It offers four heat and three speed settings plus a cold shot. It uses intelligent heat technology to prevent it from reaching damaging temperatures.
There’s a large gap between the medium and high airflow settings.
The volumizing brush blows air from between the bristles to dry and straighten strands in one stroke. This updated version of the original has three heat and three airflow settings plus a cool shot and a slimmer brush head.
It doesn’t dry roots as thoroughly as a traditional hair dryer, and it can only achieve straight styles.
After going through an intensive research process to narrow down our short list of top products in this space, we tested Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer to be sure that it’s worthy of our recommendation. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter and test to verify manufacturer claims.
Today, hair dryers can do much more than just dry hair (though that certainly remains their primary function). High-end models are equipped with several heat and airflow settings, diverse attachments to suit various hairstyles and hair types, intelligent settings and features to prevent hair damage. But if you’re shelling out $200 or more for a hair dryer, you want to make sure it works exceptionally well and suits all of your hairstyling needs.
To find the very best hair dryers at every price point, we put the five leading models chosen by AI to the test. The BestReviews Testing Lab sampled the Dyson Supersonic, the Shark SpeedStyle, the T3 Featherweight StyleMax, the Conair InfinitiPro SmoothWrap and the Revlon One-Step Volumizer Plus. In each test, we paid close attention to overall drying time, design and ergonomics, effectiveness of heat and airflow settings, any intelligent settings and attachment qualities.
In our tests, each product demonstrated unique strengths and weaknesses that might make one a better choice than the others for your specific needs. That said, the Dyson Supersonic was our top choice overall for its non-damaging technology, ergonomic design and high-quality attachments; however, it comes at the steepest price point. Below, you’ll find all the details about how these products stacked up against each other.
Best of the best
Product specifications: Heat Settings: 3 | Wattage: 1,600 | Attachments: 5 | Cold Shot: Yes | Power Source: Corded Electric
The Dyson Supersonic is our favorite hair dryer because it quickly and effectively dries and styles hair without causing damage. The 1.8-pound hair dryer has an ergonomic bottom-heavy design that’s easier to hold and maneuver than a traditional hair dryer, and it offers a great variety of attachments for various hair types and styling purposes. We love that the magnetic attachments are super easy to affix, rotate and remove. With 1,600 watts of power, the Dyson Supersonic has three heat and three speed settings, allowing you to customize your blow-dry. Its digital motor spins up to 110,000 rotations per minute, propelling 13 liters of air to the amplifier every second. It has a bladeless design, which means we didn’t have to worry about hair getting caught in the fan, and at a maximum of 77 decibels, it’s quieter than your average hair dryer.
Of the included attachments, we especially loved the Flyaway attachment, which helped to smooth dry hair and tame any flyaways. The Gentle air attachment was another unique standout because it works like a diffuser for straight hair to disperse the airflow and offer a gentler and cooler blast of air. It took us 14 minutes and 48 seconds to dry 22.5-inch straight, fine, dense hair with this hair dryer. Since the Dyson Supersonic is so powerful, we were able to use lower heat and airflow settings, which may add a bit of drying time but also causes less damage and tangling. In a pinch, we’d be able to dry the same hair even faster with higher heat and airflow settings.
Though it’s a splurge, we really love this product because of its anti-damage technology, its ergonomic design and its high-quality attachments. If the $430 price tag feels comfortable to you, we recommend this hair dryer over the others. We give it a 5 out of 5 for its damage-free quick-drying abilities, ergonomic design and top-notch attachments.
Best budget hair dryer
Product specifications: Heat Settings: 3 | Wattage: 1,875 | Attachments: 2 | Cold Shot: Yes | Power Source: Corded Electric
If you’re looking for a basic hair dryer with standard features, we recommend the Conair InfinitiPro SmoothWrap. At $60, it’s the most affordable product on our list, and while it doesn’t have a bunch of fancy features or attachments like many of our other picks, it gets the job done in terms of the most basic hair dryer function (drying your hair, of course) and does it quite well. We were able to dry 22.5-inch fine, dense, straight hair in approximately 15 minutes, which was not significantly longer than it took with any of the hair dryers.
At 1.4 pounds, it’s the lightest product on our list. Still, at 12.8 inches by 12.8 inches, it’s also the bulkiest one on our list (and less ergonomic than the others), though you can certainly find bulkier options on the market and definitely heavier ones. Though there are only two airflow settings, the higher one offers substantial force. It comes with a Diffuser and Concentrator nozzle attachments, both of which snap on the head of the hair dryer.
We recommend this as a great pick for budget-conscious shoppers or those who don’t blow-dry their hair very often and therefore don’t need top-of-the-line technology or a multitude of features and attachments. We give it a 3 out of 5 because it dries hair quickly and effectively.
Best intelligent hair dryer
Product specifications: Heat Settings: 5 | Wattage: 1,875 | Attachments: 4 | Cold Shot: Yes | Power Source: Corded Electric
With five heat settings, the T3 Featherweight StyleMax offers the most heat settings of any hair dryer on our list. Better yet, the hair dryer has an intelligent setting (the S+ button) that allows you to input your hair type (fine, medium, thick) and the affixed styling attachment, then the hair dryer automatically selects the heat and airflow settings that are best suited for your hair and intended style. Of course, you can still make manual adjustments to the heat and airflow if you prefer.
With 1,875 watts of power, it delivers a wide, ion-infused air stream to gently dry hair while adding body and shine. The ion generator is designed to minimize frizz. This model dried 22.5-inch fine, straight, dense hair in 13 minutes and 38 seconds. The T3 Featherweight StyleMax prevents overdrying hair thanks to a smart microchip that minimizes temperature fluctuations. A custom-designed fan propels a wide airflow to retain up to 60% more of hair’s natural moisture while drying. The 1.53-pound T-shaped body is white with rose gold accents, making it, in our opinion, the prettiest option on our list.
The $200 hair dryer earns a 4.5 out of 5 for its beautiful appearance, intelligent settings and ample power.
Best customizable hair dryer
Product specifications: Heat Settings: 4 | Wattage: 1,600 | Attachments: Up to 6 (varies based on bundle) | Cold Shot: Yes | Power Source: Corded Electric
If you have straight hair, you might be in the habit of throwing out the diffuser attachment that comes with many hair dryers since it’s intended for wavy, curly or coily hair. The Shark SpeedStyle has a waste-reducing answer to this conundrum by introducing multiple attachment bundles for various hair types. When you purchase the Shark SpeedStyle, you can either opt for the Straight and Wavy Hair version, or you can select the Curly and Coily Hair version. Each comes with attachments tailored to that hair type. Or you can create a custom bundle with any two attachments from the full line of six (additional attachments can be purchased separately).
Another reason we love the Shark SpeedStyle is its compact, ergonomic design. It weighs 1.67 pounds and measures just 6 by 8 inches, which means it isn’t as taxing to use as a typical heavier and bulkier hair dryer. The Shark SpeedStyle also claims to not damage hair while drying it. It measures and regulates temperature 1,000 times a second, never exceeding 230 degrees Fahrenheit and never approaching damaging temperatures above 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The Shark Speedstyle relies on powerful airflow rather than heat to dry hair quickly. In our tests, it was able to dry 22.5-inch fine, straight, dense hair on high heat and speed in just 11 minutes and 50 seconds (though the powerful airflow tangled the hair quite a bit).
For such a versatile and powerful product, the $200 price point is much more palatable than that of its main competitor, the Dyson Supersonic. We believe this product is a great investment if you want a slightly more affordable version of a luxury hair dryer. We give it a 4.5 out of 5 for its compact design, power and customization options.
Best hot air brush
Product specifications: Heat Settings: 3 | Wattage: 1,100 | Attachments: 1 | Cold Shot: Yes | Power Source: Corded Electric
The Revlon One-Step Volumizer Plus can help you create salon-level blowouts easily and quickly at home. It combines heated air and a round brush in one tool, so it’s much less taxing to use than working with a round brush and hair dryer at the same time. The product has a motor in the base that pushes air through tiny vents in the 2.4-inch-wide oval-shaped barrel. It uses a combination of nylon pins and tufted bristles to grip hair, smoothing and straightening it in a single pass.
Compared to its predecessor, the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer, this newer iteration has a smaller brush head that is easier to maneuver and gets even closer to roots. The head is detachable, making it simple to store or pack in a suitcase. In addition to the cold shot, there are three heat settings, with Medium being a new addition from the original model.
We found this new setting works especially well on fine, dense hair because it offers more heat and greater airflow than the Low setting, but it is still less powerful and hot than the High setting. On fine, dense 22.5-inch-long hair, it took us just over 13 minutes to blow-dry the hair using the Medium heat setting.
We recommend this as a great pick for people who enjoy giving themselves blowouts and want a fast, easy-to-use tool that’s less taxing to us than using a traditional hair dryer with a round brush. We recommend the Plus over the previous model because it comes with substantial upgrades for only $10 more in price. We give this product a 4 out of 5 for being an effective all-in-one blowout tool.
We tested all the products in this guide on a reviewer who has fine, thick hair about 22 inches long. The hair was first washed with shampoo and conditioner. After washing, we wrapped the hair in a towel for approximately five minutes to absorb excess water, then towel-dried it while separating the strands with the head upside down.
After allowing the hair to air-dry for about 10 minutes, we blow-dried it and timed the drying process. We tried all the included attachments to evaluate their effectiveness, and we tested all the heat and airflow settings, grading them on their overall power and performance. We also noted the noise level, ease of setup and appearance of each one.
Most people purchase a hair dryer because they want to be able to dry their hair quickly after they’ve washed it. With a quality hair dryer, you can dry your hair in as little as five to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness and length of your hair. Based on our tests, a particularly fast hair dryer was the aptly monikered Shark SpeedStyle.
But many of today’s hair dryers offer styling features far beyond just drying hair. They come with a variety of attachments that are tailored to drying specific hair types as quickly and frizz-free as possible. For example, a diffuser attachment helps dry curly, wavy or coily hair with better definition and less frizz. Concentrator and brush attachments can help create sleek, straight styles, and flyaway tamers add extra shine and hide flyaways.
On the other hand, if you have fine hair that lacks volume, you can use a hair dryer to add body. Bend over with your head upside down as you dry your hair, and focus the dryer at the roots to help lift hair and give it more volume.
The more wattage a hair dryer has, the more powerful it is, and the more powerful it is, the less time it takes to dry hair. Hair dryers with higher wattage are also less likely to burn out than models with smaller motors.
Hair dryers typically have between 1,500 and 2,000 watts of power. A hair dryer with 1,875 watts is well suited for most hair types, but if your hair is fine or thin, you can likely do well with even lower wattage.
In addition to multiple heat settings, most hair dryers come with variable speed or airflow settings, allowing you to adjust the heat and airflow levels separately for the most control over the drying process.
Look for a hair dryer that has at least low and high speed settings. For the most versatility, it helps to have a third setting (medium) as well, especially since high speeds can sometimes be forceful enough to tangle hair.
Another benefit to using a hair dryer with powerful airflow is that you might need to use less heat to dry your hair. In general, higher heat is more damaging, so being able to combine lower heat with higher airflow is a good thing.
Almost every hair dryer comes equipped with at least low and high heat settings. In most cases, it’s best to choose a dryer that’s equipped with more heat settings (such as low, medium and high) so you have better control over how much heat your hair is exposed to. Many luxury hair dryers have as many as four or five heat settings, allowing for lots of customization in terms of heat and airflow combinations. Many hair dryers are also equipped with intelligent heat settings that measure the heat a number of times per second while in use and prevent the hair dryer from reaching damaging temperatures.
Most hair dryers come with a cold shot button, the benefits of which cannot be overlooked. Although heat is useful for drying and styling hair, you use a cold blast of air to help lock in and maintain the style. After you style your hair with heat, run over the hair once or twice with the cold shot button activated to seal in your look.
The heating element in a hair dryer can be coated with a variety of materials that affect its performance, so choosing the right material for your hair type is key.
Ceramic hair dryers work well for most types of hair. The ceramic helps keep moisture in the hair and distributes heat as evenly as possible. That makes it an especially good fit for fine or dry hair.
Tourmaline hair dryers have a heating element coated with the semiprecious gemstone, which helps trap moisture and shoots negative ions to prevent the positively charged ions in water from saturating your hair and causing frizz. That makes a tourmaline dryer a good choice for frizzy, thick, curly or hard-to-dry hair. While tourmaline dryers naturally produce negative ions to fight frizz, you can find ionic ceramic or titanium dryers as well.
Titanium hair dryers distribute heat evenly and steadily, which makes these models hotter than other options. As a result, titanium isn’t the best choice for dry, color-treated or otherwise damage-prone tresses. However, if you have a lot of hair or extremely thick hair, it’s an effective option because it can dry hair more quickly.
You want to choose a hair dryer that’s comfortable to hold, especially if you have long, thick or another hair type that takes a long time to dry. It’s also important if you use your hair dryer with a round brush for styling. Look for a lightweight dryer with an ergonomic grip so your arm and hand won’t get tired when you’re using it.
Keep in mind that professional-grade hair dryers often weigh more, though many users find that they’re more comfortable to hold because the weight is better distributed than in lighter models. We found the bottom-heavy design of the Dyson Supersonic to be the most ergonomic, despite the fact that it was the heaviest model we tested. The short barrel and bladeless design allowed us to hold the hair dryer quite close to the head, and we didn’t have to stretch our arms as much. The Conair InfinitiPro SmoothWrap was the lightest product we tested, but its design is not as ergonomic.
It’s important to consider your hair type when selecting a hair dryer because different hair textures require different product features to get the job done. In general, models with higher wattage are more effective at drying thick hair. If you have fine hair, a lower-wattage hair dryer might work just fine.
Your hair type will also determine the right heat and speed settings. If you have hair with medium texture or thickness, you’ll benefit from choosing a hair dryer with more heat and airflow settings that will help you find the right balance for your hair.
For the most versatility, consider the accessories that come with a hair dryer.
A diffuser is an important tool if you have curly or wavy hair. It helps distribute the heat over a broader area to help maintain the natural texture of the hair without adding frizz.
A concentrator nozzle focuses heat in specific areas. It works especially well when blow-drying hair over a round brush to create a smooth, straight style. Beyond these basic attachments, many luxury hair dryers come with targeted styling attachments suited to various hair types. A wide-tooth comb attachment can be used to stretch and lengthen curls and coils. A flyaway tamer or smoothing attachment is used on a finished hairstyle to help add shine and tuck in any stray hairs.
You can find hair dryers at a variety of price points ranging from $50 to $450.
If you’re concerned about heat damage, you’ll want to buy a higher-end hair dryer made of better-quality materials that distributes heat evenly. Expect to spend at least $200 for one of these.
Keep in mind that higher-end hair dryers also tend to last longer than budget-friendly options. A hair dryer that costs around $100 typically lasts up to a decade, while a model that’s only $30 may only make it a couple of years.
A. A removable filter on the back makes a hair dryer easier to clean. It’s extremely easy to remove lint from the vents so it doesn’t damage the heating element or motor.
A. All hair dryers make some noise, but some models are louder than others. While it might seem like more powerful, professional-grade hair dryers would be louder, they actually tend to be quieter than budget-friendly options.
A. Infrared heat uses longer heat waves than other heating elements, allowing the heat to penetrate the hair shaft and dry it from the inside out. It provides extremely even, consistent heat, so it’s gentler on hair.
A. If you’re worried about damaging your hair with excessive heat, look for a hair dryer that has intelligent heat settings that measure the heat output as it works and makes adjustments so it never reaches damaging temperatures. Another way to avoid heat damage is to pick a powerful hair dryer with a strong airflow. Using a stronger airflow allows you to dry your hair quickly while using lower heat and therefore cause less damage.
A. Wireless hair dryers don’t need to be plugged into an outlet to use. Instead, they charge on a wired dock when not in use and can then be used cord-free. This adds convenience because you can move around freely and don’t have to worry about a cord knocking things over or getting in your way.
However, many hair dryers have a long cord, which provides similar benefits. Plus, you won’t run the risk of the dryer losing power while you’re using it. Look for a cord that’s 9 feet long if you want the most freedom of movement.
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