Best Travel Hair Dryers

Updated June 2021
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Buying guide for best travel hair dryers

Whether you’re traveling for work or leisure, no one wants to experience a bad hair day away from home. An effective hair dryer can do wonders when it comes to styling your tresses, but you can’t always expect your hotel or host to have one on hand. That’s why a travel hair dryer can be an important investment for frequent travelers.

A travel hair dryer is essentially a slimmed-down version of a standard hair dryer that’s more portable. It is typically smaller and lighter than your at-home model and can be made even more compact for easy packing. A travel dryer usually has most of the same features as a standard dryer, though it may not be quite as powerful.

If you want a reliable, effective travel hair dryer, it all comes down to choosing the right model. That means figuring out the best weight, whether you need dual voltage, and what wattage best fits your needs, among other features.

In our shopping guide, you’ll find all the tips you need to choose the best travel hair dryer for your next trip. We also have specific product recommendations in our matrix to take all the confusion out of shopping.

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Even if your hotel has hair dryers in the rooms, you may want to bring a travel model with you because hotel hair dryers can harbor a surprising number of germs.

Key considerations


A travel hair dryer should be easy to pack, so its weight is crucial. You don’t want a heavy model that will weigh down your suitcase, especially if you’re flying and checking your bag. Some models weigh as little as one pound, which is lightweight enough that you likely won’t notice it in your bag. Avoid any travel hair dryers that weigh more than two pounds, though, because they’re usually too bulky and heavy for easy travel.


While travel hair dryers are smaller in size than standard hair dryers, the awkward shape of hair dryers can make them difficult to pack. If you want a travel hair dryer that’s more compact, opt for a model that can fold. It will usually fold in half, so you can fit the dryer in a small compartment in your suitcase.

Dual voltage

If you travel abroad frequently, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of not being able to use an appliance because it’s meant for the voltage of U.S. outlets. You can get around the issue if you bring a plug adapter with you, but that’s just one more item that you’ll need to remember to pack.

Some travel hair dryers offer dual voltage, so you’re able to use the dryer abroad without bringing an adapter with you. If you only travel in North America, the voltage won’t matter, but for anyone who travels worldwide, it can be an important feature.

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Expert Tip
If you choose a dual-voltage travel hair dryer, always check that you have it set to the proper voltage before plugging it in.



Just as with a full-size hair dryer, it’s important to consider the wattage of a travel hair dryer to determine how quickly it will be able to dry your hair. Most travel dryers offer at least 1,000 watts, which is usually enough if you have short or fine hair. However, if you have long, thick, or coarse hair, you’ll probably want a dryer that offers at least 1,800 watts to make sure you don’t have to spend too much time drying your hair.

Heat and speed settings

A travel hair dryer with multiple heat and speed settings is more versatile and allows you to dry your hair effectively without causing any damage. Most travel dryers offer two heat settings, high and low, but some models also have a medium setting.

It also helps to choose a travel dryer with a cool button that allows you to seal the cuticle once your hair is fully dry to boost its shine and lock your style in place.

Retractable cord

When you’re packing a travel hair dryer, its cord can get in the way, and you’ll usually have to wrap it around the dryer’s body. For easier packing, opt for a model with a retractable cord, which coils up inside the dryer.

Removable filter

Just like a full-size hair dryer, a travel dryer can pick up dirt, dust, hair, and other debris that clogs its vents and affects performance. Cleaning a travel hair dryer is much easier if it has a removable filter because you don’t have to disassemble the dryer to clean it.


While a travel hair dryer is meant to be compact and lightweight, you may still want a model that includes accessories that make it easier to dry and style your hair. If you want to minimize frizz, opt for a model that includes a concentrator attachment. If you have curly hair, you may want a model with a diffuser attachment to keep your curls intact while you dry your hair.

"A travel hair dryer’s lightweight design means your arm is less likely to get tired when you’re drying your hair."

Travel hair dryer prices

Travel hair dryers vary in price based on their wattage, heat and speed settings, and special features. Most models range from $6 to $80.

The most affordable travel hair dryers are models that offer 1,000 watts or less and only have two settings. They typically cost between $6 and $20.

Mid-range travel hair dryers are models that offer 1,000 to 1,600 watts and have two heat settings as well as a cool option. Some in this price range also offer dual voltage. They usually cost between $20 and $52.

The most expensive travel hair dryers are models that offer 1,600 watts or more, two speed settings, and a cool option. They offer dual voltage as well and often include attachments. They usually cost between $52 and $80.

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Expert Tip
Since you won’t always know the layout of where you’re staying on a trip, it helps to choose a travel hair dryer with the longest cord possible to give you flexibility.


  • A travel hair dryer isn’t just for vacations or business trips – it can be the perfect addition to your gym bag to help get your hair in shape after a workout.
  • It’s a good idea to put your travel hair dryer in some type of bag or pouch before packing it in your suitcase. That will keep dust and dirt out of your dryer and prevent hair product residue on the dryer from getting on your clothes.
  • If your travel hair dryer isn’t quite as powerful as your home model, it helps to allow your hair to air dry about 30% before blow drying it. Gently towel drying your hair after you wash it and then air drying it for 10 minutes usually does the trick.

Other products we considered

There are plenty of highly convenient, effective travel hair dryers on the market, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a model that fits your hair and travel needs. The Remington Compact Ionic Travel Hair Dryer is an ideal choice if you’re looking for a powerful travel dryer for thick or coarse hair. It has 1,875 watts of power, three heat settings, two speed settings, and a cool shot feature to provide hair styling versatility when you’re away from home. We also love the YinQin 1600W Negative Ionic Folding Hair Dryer if you’re looking for a travel dryer that limits damage to your hair. The ionic technology helps keep your hair smooth and shiny, while the folding design makes the dryer extremely easy to pack. It even comes with its own drawstring storage bag.

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Some dual-voltage travel hair dryers have a safety shutoff switch that automatically turns the dryer off if it’s being used at the incorrect voltage.


Q. Can I pack a travel hair dryer in my carry-on bag?
According to TSA regulations, hair dryers are allowed in both checked luggage and carry-on bags. Even travel models can be somewhat bulky, though, so you may prefer putting your dryer in a checked bag where you have more space.

Q. What type of travel hair dryer is best if I have fine or damaged hair?
If you have thin, fine, or damaged hair, you don’t want too much heat on your hair. You can always use the lowest heat setting on any travel dryer that you choose to avoid damage, but it’s usually not worth it to invest in a dryer with more than 1,000 to 1,300 watts of power if you’ll only use low heat.

Q. Do I need to pack a hair straightener in my bag if I’m bringing a travel hair dryer?
It depends on how textured your hair is and how straight you want it to be. You can get your hair fairly straight with a travel hair dryer if you use it with a round brush. If you have extremely curly hair, though, you likely won’t be able to straighten your hair completely with just the dryer, so you may want to bring a travel straightener with you as well.

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