10 Best Hair Dryers | December 2016

10 Best Hair Dryers
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Best High-End
★★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 33 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. And you thought a hair dryer simply blew hot air. Hah! Today's hair dryers feature ion technology that reduces frizziness and split ends, helps hair to retain moisture, and delivers beautiful and softer results. And they do all of that quicker, too, to get you out the door in no time. Skip to the best hair dryer on Amazon.
10
The Hot Tools Professional has six heat combinations with separate switches for total control of heat and airflow, which gives you precise control over your styling needs. Unfortunately, the overall build quality doesn't feel very good and it might not last for years.
  • budget friendly price point
  • takes a long time to dry hair
  • switches are poorly placed
Brand Hot Tools
Model 1043
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
9
The Supersolano Professional is creatively designed to dry hair from the inside out. It has a super high velocity motor that creates a powerful stream of air and a ceramic grill that helps to distribute the heat evenly. It is ideal for use with a round brush.
  • includes 2 concentrators
  • gives hair an incredible shine
  • feels very heavy
Brand Solano
Model 201232BLK
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
8
The Conair Soft Touch has a high-torque DC motor to dry your hair faster, and tourmaline ceramic technology to help reduce the possibility of heat damage. It also features an easy to clean hinged filter, yet still comes in at a price point anybody can afford.
  • fits comfortably in the hand
  • convenient 63-inch power cord
  • matte coating tends to flake off
Brand Conair
Model 225
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
7
The Elchim 3900 moisturizes the air as it dries, thereby eliminating any potential static. It is perfect for even the frizziest of hair, and has a quality build with advanced Italian engineering. Plus it comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • textured anti-slip grip
  • compact housing is easy to store
  • seems a little overpriced
Brand Elchim
Model 249790008
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
6
The John Frieda Full Volume is a good budget-priced option that still performs almost as well as models twice its price. It has a durable titanium ceramic coating on the outlet grill, professional rocker switches, and advanced ionic conditioning.
  • evenly distributes high-powered heat
  • feels solid but not too heavy
  • comes with three attachments
Brand John Frieda
Model JF1R
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
5
The RUSK Engineering CTC is infused with both ceramic and titanium to give it maximum heat transfer capabilities. It dries hair quickly and can even make thick, curly hair smooth and manageable to give you more styling options.
  • comes with a diffuser
  • can get very hot when needed
  • has a quiet motor
Brand RUSK
Model IREB5587
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
4
The durable Babyliss Pro BABNT5548 costs less than $60, and produces a stunning 2,000 watts of power for faster hair drying to get you out the door quicker. It features six heat and speed settings and has a cool-shot button to give your hair a quick blast of cold air.
  • extremely lightweight
  • easy to maneuver when styling
  • removable filter makes cleaning easy
Brand BaBylissPRO
Model BABNT5548
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
3
Built to infuse natural hair with up to 1,000 times more moisture than usual ion hair dryers, the Panasonic EH-NA65-K is both innovative and stylish. It includes a quick-dry nozzle, a set nozzle, and a diffuser, so you shouldn't have trouble achieving any hair style.
  • extra long 9' power cord
  • integrated hanging loop
  • has three temperature settings
Brand Panasonic
Model EH-NA65-K
Weight pending
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
2
The NexGen Turbo has an AC-powered motor paired with a ribbon heater to deliver consistent professional quality results. It's the kind of hair dryer you would expect to find in a fancy high cost salon, yet it comes at a great affordable price.
  • can withstand regular extended use
  • intensifies smoothness and shine
  • comfortable curved handle
Brand Hot Tools
Model NXG3000
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
1
Unlike traditional hair dryers, which can cause frizziness and split ends, the Featherweight Luxe 2I is ion generator-enhanced to deliver beautiful and softer results, making it a smart and healthy alternative that won't damage your hair.
  • blows air in a wide cone shape
  • helps hair retain its moisture
  • cuts drying time in half
Brand T3 Micro
Model 73840
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Dryers: Where They've Come From

The hair dryer has a long and storied history. For more than a century, people have been looking for ways to get results in less time and with less fuss.

In the 1890s, a French hair stylist named Alexander Godefroy took the first stab at controlling the speed and efficiency with which to dry hair. His invention was awkward, certainly, consisting of an outsize hood that was attached to a long tube. You’d hook the tube to the heat source of your choice -- typically a gas stove or heater. The heat from the chosen source would --- eventually -- end up drying your hair. The apparatus included a power cord and a hand crank.

Of course, this early design attempt was cumbersome to say the least, and dangerous, to say the most. Between the hose, the heat source and the power source, there were so many avenues to injury, it was hard to count them. Despite the risks, some employed the contraption. But where did this idea come from? The answer may surprise you.

Women were still determined to get their hair to dry faster prior to Alexander's invention. Their method of choice? -- a vacuum cleaner. It’s true. In early vacuums, the hose drew air in from one end and expelled it on the other. Women used the side where air was expelled to dry their coifs, albeit without much heat. Still, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

Fast-forward to the 1920s when a passel of industrious inventors vied to come up with a dryer you could hold in one hand. Some inventors were way ahead of the times. One early design included headphones for a user’s listening pleasure.

Still, these early handheld dryer designs were not much for convenience, and because wattage was as low as 100, drying time probably took half the day, as we like to imagine.

By the 1960s, however, design improvements began to develop at a steady pace. The introduction of plastic housing made the units much lighter, while changes to the motors made them both safer and quieter, and wattage improved to reduce use time.

These days, as you’ll note from our recommendations, dryer technology is ever-advancing. What with faster drying times, reduced damage to hair and enhanced motor efficiency, we’re practically living in a golden age for the trusted tool.

Materials and Technologies: For Beginners

If you've so much as browsed a single shelf of blow dryers -- even in a discount store -- you've witnessed a dizzying array of claims about materials and technologies. There are ceramic, tourmaline, and ceramic-tourmaline elements. Ionic and nano technology are also on the menu. To make sense of it all, you need patience, to start. So grab a soothing drink and a comfy chair, and let us fill you in. You might be surprised to discover there's actual science behind the hype.

Ionic technology simply means negative ions are created to help break up water molecules. When molecules are busted up like this, they'll evaporate more easily. Which translates to faster drying time for you. It also closes the cuticle which reduces frizz.

Far Infrared heat is known to penetrate the shaft of the hair. Some say it "dries hair from the inside out." The upshot is it helps keep moisture in the hair.

Nano technology has to do with super-small particle size. Nano titanium remains stable at extremely high temperatures and emits negative ions. Nano silver aids in keeping a blow dryer free of germs.

Tourmaline is, yup, the gemstone that is ground for industrial use. In hair dryers, it is typically the heating element, or other internal part that is coated with tourmaline. Some higher-end units may include parts of solid tourmaline. When tourmaline is heated, it gives off negative ions. Which explode water molecules, as mentioned above.

Ceramic is a material that's made of clay. It exudes far infrared heat. It may be found in the body of a dryer, in the heating element, or as a coating elsewhere inside the dryer.

So that's the scoop. Now that you're fully informed, you can brave the retail jungle -- and emerge with a tool that's just right for you.

Which Dryer Is Best For You?

The range of hair types is extensive. First, there's texture: Straight, curly, coil-y. Then, there's moisture level: Dry, normal, oily. Of course, damage can turn straight or curly hair frizzy. And over time, strong, thick strands can become thin and weak due to over-stripping, over-processing, over-drying or internal physiological changes.

Choosing a hair dryer means being realistic about your hair type and needs. What's ideal for someone with thin, straight hair might be completely useless for massive waves or curly locks.

Higher heat is for folks whose hair is harder to straighten or harder to dry. If your hair is very thick, highly textured, or both, you'll benefit from higher temps. You'll still have to be careful to keep the dryer moving and not apply too much heat to a single spot. But if you want to buy a 2,000-watt dryer and use it on a high heat setting, you should be OK.

Folks with fragile or thin hair need to take greater care. Stick with lower heat settings, and even lower airflow when necessary. The last thing you want is to damage already-weak strands. After all, there's only so much a good conditioner can do.

If your hair is frizzy, either due to damage or by nature, take advantage of smoothing ionic technology. Far infrared heat can also help by reducing dryer time, and thereby possible further damage.

Both the fine and frizzy-haired should make sure to use the cool shot button once hair is about 80% dry. It will help to close frayed cuticles to create a smoother look and feel.

When it comes to attachments, diffusers help the curly and wavy-haired achieve dryness without tangles. Concentrators lend focus to airflow, the better to straighten effectively.

Finally, whatever the nifty technology, heat is by nature damaging to hair. So use a heat protectant -- serum, spray, or gel -- whenever you dry or heat-style your hair.



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Last updated on December 15, 2016 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.


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