Best One-Step Hair Dryers

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

14 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
194 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Buying guide for best one-step hair dryers

Last Updated October 2019

Achieving perfectly styled hair can be quite the process. After you’ve washed your hair, you still have to dry and curl, wave, or straighten it. When you need to get out the door in a hurry, you may not have time for each step. Enter the one-step hair dryer. It can simplify your styling and save you precious time in the morning.

As the name implies, a one-step hair dryer lets you dry and style your hair at the same time. Depending on the hair dryer, you can smooth your hair, define its natural texture, or add soft waves or curls, and finish your coif in half the time. A one-step dryer is ideal for thick, coarse, or curly hair that takes a long time to dry and style.

If you want to make sure you always have a good hair day, it all comes down to choosing the right one-step hair dryer. If all the options have you confused, you can stop worrying. Our shopping guide has the tips you need to find the right one-step hair dryer for your styling routine. And take a look at our favorites to make your shopping even easier.

Brush-style one-step hair dryers usually have nylon bristles, which hold up well in heat and provide a solid grip on your hair.

Key considerations

Type

One-step hair dryers are available in two main types: those that resemble traditional hair dryers but include attachments and those that resemble hair brushes.

Traditional style: The first type is the easiest to get used to because it functions exactly like a traditional hair dryer but with attachments. Most models include diffuser, concentrator, brush, and comb attachments. This type works best if you have naturally curly or wavy hair because the diffuser lets you dry and define your natural texture in one step. But even using the comb or brush attachment, it can be more difficult to curl, straighten, or boost volume in your hair with this type of dryer.

Brush style: A one-step hair dryer that resembles a hair brush is more versatile. Some models are designed like a wide paddle brush, others like a round brush, and there are even some with multiple attachments that allow you to change the head. This type of one-step hair dryer emits heat to dry your hair while you style it with the brush head at the same time. You can smooth or straighten, curl, or add loosely defined waves to your hair. This type of one-step dryer works well for fine hair because you can easily add volume where needed.


Materials

Just as with a traditional hair dryer, flat iron, or curling iron, the materials used for a one-step dryer play a significant role in how it affects your hair. Ceramic and titanium models are best because these materials heat evenly and maintain a consistent temperature as you style your hair. This prevents heat damage and reduces the drying and styling time. These materials also cut down on frizz, so your hair has a smooth, shiny appearance.

Versatile, high-quality styling

This Panasonic dryer may look like any other hair dryer you’ve used, but what sets it apart is the inclusion of some excellent styling attachments. The long, flexible teeth on the circular brush make it particularly effective at defining natural curls and waves while drying the hair. We also love the dryer’s unique nanoe technology that helps boost the moisture in your hair.

One-step hair dryer features

Temperature settings

Three: Like any heated styling tool, a one-step hair dryer has multiple heat settings. Most models that resemble a traditional hair dryer have three general heat settings – low, medium, and high, so you don’t have precise control over the amount of heat that you’re using to dry and style your hair.

Variable: However, some brush-style one-step dryers offer variable temperature controls, in 5° or 10° intervals, so you can choose a more precise temperature for drying and styling your hair. Pay attention to the temperature range for these hair dryers. Thicker, coarser hair usually requires higher temperatures for drying and styling, but most users don’t need a dryer that can reach more than 400°F.


Speed settings

Some one-step dryers offer multiple settings to control the speed of the hot air blowing on your hair. Two speeds, low and high, are most common, but you can find models that offer three speed settings.

Brush-style one-step dryers usually don’t offer multiple speed settings because they’re intended more as styling tools than drying tools. The hot air blows much more gently to provide more control when styling your hair.


Blowing modes

Some one-step dryers provide multiple blowing modes, such as hot, warm, and cool, to help you achieve different effects with your hair. The dryer set on the hot mode can effectively dry your hair. Use the warm mode to set curls, waves, or smoothness in place. Use the cool mode to seal each hair’s cuticle, set your style, and help boost the shine.


Ionic technology

Some one-step hair dryers are equipped with ionic technology to help limit heat damage and give your hair a smoother appearance. Hair gets frizzy because of positive ions in the follicles, and a dryer with ionic technology emits negative ions as a countermeasure. This seals your hair’s cuticle to help it look smooth and shiny, reducing frizz and preventing further damage to your locks.

EXPERT TIP

Make sure that any product you’re considering can be used on wet hair. Some heated styling brushes are meant for use on dry hair only.


Staff  | BestReviews

One-step hair dryer prices

One-step hair dryers vary in price based on the type and the features offered. Most models cost between $14 and $125.

Inexpensive: The most affordable one-step hair dryers, costing between $14 and $32, tend to be brush-style dryers with fixed temperature settings and no control over the speed. These work best if you simply want a tool that can dry and smooth your hair.

Mid-range: Most of these are also brush-style one-step hair dryers, but they may have variable temperature controls and multiple head attachments for increased versatility. These work well for drying, smoothing, curling, and straightening your hair and range from $32 to $60.

Expensive: The most expensive one-step hair dryers are either traditional hair dryer models or brush-style dryers with multiple attachments, variable temperature and speed controls, and ionic technology. These work well if you want to dry, smooth, curl, and straighten fine or damaged hair and typically cost between $60 and $125.

DID YOU KNOW?

If you travel abroad, opt for a one-step hair dryer with dual voltage because it can accept both 110-120V and 220-240V.

Tips

  • Treat your hair with a heat protectant before using a one-step hair dryer. Do this before using any heated styling tool.
  • Check the instructions. Some brush-style one-step hair dryers require time to warm up. Read the manufacturer's instructions carefully to see if you need to wait or can use your dryer right away.
  • Use the right temperature. For one-step hair dryers with three fixed temperature settings, set the dryer to low for fine or thin hair.  If you have normal hair, the medium setting is usually your best bet. For thick or coarse hair, opt for the high setting.
  • Dry your hair in sections. If you plan to add curls, waves, or volume with a one-step hair dryer, it’s best to section off your hair before you begin.

Quick and effective

The Andis ionic styler boasts over 1800 watts of power to dry your hair in a hurry. The ionic technology helps break up water molecules in your locks, too, which speeds up the process even further. Best of all, the three attachments, including a wide-tooth comb and a brush, make straightening curly hair a breeze. We also appreciate the Cool Shot button that helps seal your style in place.

Other products we considered

There are plenty of one-step hair dryers on the market, so there should be an option that suits your hair styling needs to a tee. The Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer is an ideal choice if you have fine or thin hair that lacks body. The oval shape makes it easy to lift the roots and target them with heat. It can also reduce drying time in half to get you out the door fast in the morning. We also love the Lescolton One-Step Hair Dryer and Styler. The paddle shape helps smooth and straighten even the coarsest of locks, and it features ionic technology to reduce frizz and boost shine.

Reduce your drying time even further by first blotting your hair well with a towel before using your one-step dryer.

FAQ

Q. How should I clean a one-step hair dryer?
A. 
If you opt for a traditional hair dryer model, remove the cap from the back of the dryer to expose its filter. Use a damp cloth or small brush to gently remove any dust, dirt, and other debris. Allow the filter to fully dry and then replace the cap.

If you have a brush-style dryer, wipe down the exterior, including the bristles, with a damp cloth. Some models may have a filter that you can remove and clean with the cloth as well. Dry the filter and replace it on the dryer before the next use.


Q. What type of one-step hair dryer is best if I want curls and waves?
A. 
If you want to dry your hair and add curls or waves at the same time, a round brush-style one-step dryer is your best bet. Just wind your hair around the barrel as you would with a traditional curling iron and it will dry your hair and add texture simultaneously.


Q. Do one-step hair dryers offer warranty protection?
A. 
Most one-step hair dryers include some type of warranty. Most budget-friendly models offer just one year of protection, while higher-end dryers may provide up to three or four years. The warranty for most dryers only covers problems that result from issues in manufacturing or materials. It typically won’t cover damage that results from an accident or misuse.

The team that worked on this review
  • Austin
    Austin
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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