The 8 Best Travel Hair Dryers
This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in April of 2016. Just because you’re going away on vacation or a business trip doesn't mean you have to forego looking your best. These handy travel hair dryers are certainly small, but they boast many of the same features you’ll find in their full-size counterparts, including ionic technology and selectable air and heat settings. Some of these robust mini devices could even replace your bigger model. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 07, 2021:
Not much new to report this time in terms of travel-ready blow dryers. The only change made was the removal of a compact Conair unit due to an alarmingly high failure rate.
The most important things to look for are a compact construction that doesn't sacrifice build quality, and dual voltage compatibility. The BabylissPro TT is at the top because it's built to last, easy to fold, and should work in any country in the world as long as you have the right outlet adapter. If you're looking for the absolute smallest option, the Andis MicroTurbo is probably it. It lacks a cold shot function, unfortunately, but its low heat setting is relatively gentle and shouldn't hurt intricate hairstyles.
January 17, 2020:
Though some may think it impossible, looking your best while traveling can most certainly be done. It just requires a little extra planning, and for many, bringing along one of these feature-packed travel hair dryers, so you aren't left relying on the low-powered ones you find in most hotel rooms.
If you are worried about frizziness or damaging your locks, you should consider a model with either ceramic or tourmaline technology, or both. Ceramic hair dryers, like the Jinri JR-101, Revlon RVDR5005, and Andis Fold-N-Go Ionic produce non-damaging infrared heat, while tourmaline-infused models such as the BabylissPro TT and StyleCraft PeeWee emit negative ions that help evaporate water quickly, which means your hair will be subjected to high heat for less time. It is important to note that these are not mutually exclusive technologies, so you can easily find a ceramic model that is also tourmaline infused.
Those with very thick hair should look to a titanium model like the BabylissPro TT or Babyliss Pro Bambino, since they heat hair very quickly and maintain a steady temperature throughout the process. The Hot Tools HT1044 is also well-suited to thick locks, as it is very powerful and offers ionic technology.
While many people may automatically gravitate towards folding options when looking for a travel model, like the BabylissPro TT, Conair Compact 127AMR, Revlon RVDR5005, Hot Tools HT1044, Andis Fold-N-Go Ionic, and StyleCraft PeeWee, there is something to be said for the simplicity of non-folding models, such as the Babyliss Pro Bambino, Jinri JR-101, Vivid & Vogue Milantia, and Andis MicroTurbo. Because the handle is a single piece, there is one less thing to potentially break while on the road. Also, few of the folding models can match the compactness of the Andis MicroTurbo, thanks to its very short nozzle.
Whichever model on our list you choose, we think you'll be more than happy with the results. Perhaps so much so that you may even forgo the use of your full-sized hair dryer when at home.
StyleCraft PeeWee This high-performing model utilizes the company's Tri-Plex Fusion technology to help produce a healthy-looking sheen in your mane. It does this by protecting and conditioning your locks, while simultaneously drying and smoothing the cuticle. It's also one of the few in its size that's able to stand up on its own when placed on a countertop. stylecraftus.com
What To Look For In A Travel Hair Dryer
For those times, you will want a blow dryer with a powerful DC motor for strong airflow, as well as multiple settings.
You never know what conditions you’ll encounter when you’re traveling. At home, you may be able to check your humidity monitor to determine whether or not today is a good day to straighten your hair, but on the road, you may not have that luxury. Between different climates and open-air tour buses, it can be very hard to control the frizz. Look for a travel hair dryer with tourmaline; this both eliminates frizz and closes the cuticle for extra-smooth locks. Since you’ll likely need to pack your hair dryer along with all of your other items, make sure it has a retractable cord, so it doesn’t get tangled up around your other belongings.
Sometimes when you're traveling, a last minute meeting comes up, rushing you to dry your hair. It's especially important to control your look if that meeting is a job interview, since employers put a significant amount of importance on an applicant's grooming. For those times, you will want a blow dryer with a powerful DC motor for strong airflow, as well as multiple settings. It’s also important that it has an ergonomic, non-slip grip. Dropping a hair dryer into a sink full of water, a toilet, or a tub when you're in a hurry can not only be damaging to the dryer, but also dangerous as well.
All good travel hair dryers should be compact, and some may fold up to make them even easier to fit into a small cosmetic bag. Airlines are constantly reducing the weight and size of baggage allowed as carry-ons, so every little bit of saved space and weight helps. Even if you plan on checking your luggage, many airlines charge travelers a fee if their bag is even one pound over the weight limit.
How Different Climates Affect Your Hair
If you’re a frequent traveler, then you will subject your hair to all sorts of climates, and it will respond differently to each one. When heat and water are applied to hair, they break the physical bonds in the strands. This is the reason that wet sets and curling irons work, but it’s also the same reason that your hair style can be ruined in humid weather. If you have straight hair and you curl it, you’ll find that humid weather makes it fall flat again.
If you have curly hair and straighten it, you’ll find that humidity makes your locks bounce back up.
If you have curly hair and straighten it, you’ll find that humidity makes your locks bounce back up. This is part of the reason that blow dryers which seal hair cuticles can be helpful; they also seal in whatever shaping product you’ve put on your hair. The bright summer months expose your hair to UV rays, which can brighten the hair. Extreme heat can also alter any artificial coloring in one’s hair, which is why those with color treated hair should look for a blow dryer that has a cool air setting.
The winter brings its own challenges, like static. In the winter, as you constantly switch between the cold temperatures of the outdoors and the warm air of the heated indoors, you can fall victim to a lot of static, which can make one’s hair frizz up. Windy weather creates very obvious problems, like tangles, but many people don’t know that it can also lead to split ends. When strands of hair are vigorously lashed up against each other, the way they are in strong winds, the ends can break.
Surprising Ways A Travel Hair Dryer Can Save The Day
That small tool can do much more than save you from a bad hair day. Heat can help leather expand. If you find yourself on a business trip breaking in a new pair of loafers, walking around in them can cause blisters. Try this in your hotel room: put on thick socks and slide your feet into the shoes. Now put the blow dryer on the tight areas for a few minutes. This will help the leather soften and expand quickly.
If your travels take you somewhere that you need to sleep on an air mattress, a blow dryer can be quite useful.
If you’re bringing someone a gift on your trip, you likely don’t want the price tag left on. But getting these off can be very difficult. If you blast hot air from your travel hair dryer on the sticky tag for half a minute, it should peel off easily. Hair dryers are good for removing several sticky substances, actually, including gum. Your hotel room may charge you an extra cleaning fee if they find gum stuck in the carpet. Prevent this by blowing your dryer on the gum; it will loosen it up and make it easier to remove.
If your travels take you somewhere that you need to sleep on an air mattress, a blow dryer can be quite useful. For those times a good air pump is nowhere to be found, you can use a powerful travel hair dryer to inflate your bed for the night. If you need to look presentable for a meeting but your hotel room doesn’t provide an iron, simply hang up your wrinkly garments and blast them with your travel hair dryer; it will remove most of the lines.