The 10 best hair dryers for curly hair, reviewed by a beauty editor

Define and dry waves, curls, or coils with our guide to the best hair dryers for curly hair - tried and tested by our expert beauty team

Three of the best hair dryers for curly hair
(Image credit: Future)
Best hair dryer for curly hair 2024: Jump Menu

The list in brief
1.
Best overall: ghd helios
2. For coily/afro: Dyson Supersonic
3. Best cheap: Revlon Coconut
4. Best versatile: Shark Flexstyle
5. Best for travel: Bellissima Prestige
6. Best stylish: Hershesons The Great
7. Best for long hair: CurlSmith Defrizzion
8. Best for scalp care: Panasonic EH-NA9J
9. Best luxury: Zuvi Halo
10. Best salon style: Parlux Alyon
How we test
FAQs

Trying to pick the best hair dryer for curly hair can be a daunting task.

Requirements for the best hair dryer usually focus on things like speed, power, and heat, whereas curls have a different set of needs. Almost the opposite, really, as a big whoosh of hot air will create a whirlwind of frizz and can flatten curl patterns. 

The best hair dryer for curly hair needs to be light (the low and slow method means you spend a long time clutching the thing), and gentle enough not to disrupt delicate curls. Picking a drier that includes one of the best diffusers for curly hair is hugely important, says hairstylist at John Frieda, Eugene Smith. "The best way to dry curly hair is definitely with a diffuser," he explains. "The dispersed air allows the drier to evenly dry the curls without disturbing their natural spiral texture."

With these requirements in mind, Senior Beauty Editor Rhiannon Derbyshire put her 3A curls through their paces by testing out tens of driers and diffusers. The result is this definitive list of the best hair dryers for curly hair - and slightly achy arms. 

Our top 6 picks of the best hair dryers for curly hair

The best hair dryer for curly hair, to suit every curl type and budget

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The best overall hair dryer for curly hair

A shot of the ghd hair drier alongside a shot of Senior Beauty Editor Rhiannon Derbyshire's hair after using it

How Rhiannon's curls looked after using the ghd Helios

(Image credit: Rhiannon Derbyshire)

1. ghd Helios Professional Hair Dryer

Best overall hair dryer for curly hair

Specifications

RRP: $279/£179
Heat settings: Two, plus cool shot
Weight: 780g
Included diffuser: No - an extra $30/£29

Reasons to buy

+
Brilliant all-rounder
+
Will last years of use
+
Fuss-free and hardworking
+
Available in different colors

Reasons to avoid

-
No diffuser included

I've had my Helios for years, and it still works as well as it did the first day I unboxed it. It's the model I keep coming back to, even after trialing countless hair dryers over my near-decade in this industry. It's just good. Unpretentious, extremely powerful, and easy to use – with simple controls and well-made attachments that come on and off with ease. 

It's the first option I recommend to anyone who asks for the best hair dryer for curly hair, and it works just as well to diffuse my curls as it does smoothing and de-frizzing on those (exceptionally rare) days when I can be bothered to attempt a smooth blow-dry. The fact that you have to pay extra for a diffuser is admittedly a little bit annoying, but it still makes it cheaper than many of the other options on this list, so in my opinion, it balances out as being the overall best hair dryer for curly hair. 

I sometimes worry that the classic ghd dryer has taken a back seat when it comes to the world of hair tools, with ultra-fancy, high-tech options launching seemingly weekly. But I'll always be loyal to ghd – it's just never let me down.

See our ghd helios review for more details

The best hair dryer for curly, coily and afro hair

A shot of the Dyson hair drier alongside a shot of Senior Beauty Editor Rhiannon Derbyshire's hair after using it

How Rhiannon's curls looked after using the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

(Image credit: Rhiannon Derbyshire)

2. Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

Best hair dryer for curly, coily and afro hair

Specifications

RRP: from $429.99/£329.99
Heat settings: 4
Weight: 659g
Included diffuser: Yes, and a wide tooth comb. Plus 3 other smoothing options

Reasons to buy

+
Industry leader
+
Made to prevent damage
+
Comes with all the kit, plus a stylish box
+
Very quiet

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

You knew this one was coming. Of course the Dyson was always going to make this list – it really is as good as everyone says it is. My colleagues have been waxing lyrical about the Dyson Supersonic for months, so my expectations upon testing this were high. I also had a tiny amount of pessimism in my back pocket. How good can one hair dryer really be

I can confirm it's worth the hype. It's light, user-friendly, and feels genuinely quite fun to use. I mostly loved how quiet it is – drying my mid-length hair can take forever so by the end of the session my ears can start to feel a little sensitive. This was an absolute delight, and my curls were soft, defined, bouncy, and definitely shinier than when I air dry. I'm converted. 

But, it's the wide tooth comb attachment that sets this aside from my other picks. This makes it especially good for drying and styling coily and afro hair. I also just love that it comes with so many attachments as standard, making it a great, inclusive buy. What's not so inclusive, however, is the price.

See our Dyson Supersonic review for more details

Best cheap hair dryer for curly hair

Revlon SmoothStay Coconut Hair Dryer

(Image credit: Revlon)

3. Revlon Coconut SmoothStay Coconut Hair Dryer

Best cheap hair dryer for curly hair

Specifications

RRP: $34.99/£30
Heat Settings: 3 plus cool shot
Weight: 957g
Included diffuser: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly affordable
+
Designed to dry with care
+
Combines Ceramic and Ionic Technology

Reasons to avoid

-
Heaviest on this list
-
Loud

Although I’d consider the best hair dryer for curly hair to be one of the bigger and most important beauty investments you can make, that doesn't mean that you have to spend a fortune. This bargain is the perfect example of that. This is a tenth of the price of the Dyson - a tenth. That's a discount to not...er, discount. 

Although at first glance it may look quite no-frills, it does contain some quite impressive smoothing gadgetry, including both ionic and ceramic technology, and a coconut oil-infused nozzle. While I can’t vouch for the coconut working any specific shine-boosting magic personally, this is all to say that this is a drier that puts hair health first. 

This worked really well as a simple, straightforward drier and the diffuser really helped boost volume at the root. It's louder and heavier than the snazzier, mega-bucks options on this list, but if you're looking for something affordable that won't compromise your curls, this is it. 

Best versatile hair dryer for curly hair

A shot of the Shark Flexstyle with the diffuser on, next to a shot of Rhiannon's hair after using it

How Rhiannon's curls looked after using the Shark Flexstyle

(Image credit: Rhiannon Derbyshire)

4. Shark Flexstyle

Best versatile hair dryer for curly hair

Specifications

RRP: $299.99/£279.99
Heat settings: 3 plus cool shot
Weight: 700g
Included diffuser: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
5 tools in one
+
Light and easy to use
+
Great for travel 
+
A much more affordable take on the air styling technology 

Reasons to avoid

-
If you only want to diffuse, you won't need all the extra bits and pieces

The Flexstyle launched into huge hype, known as being one of the closest Dyson Airwrap dupes, so at first, I didn’t really register this as a candidate for the best hair dryer for curly hair. However, the thing that sets this apart from the Dyson Airwrap (as well as the price) is that this also works as a standalone hairdryer - and a very good one, too. It's also incredibly pleasing clicking the styler into the dryer mode, a very slick little twist and lock, it all feels a bit James Bond. 

This hardworking bit of kit has a diffuser among its six included attachments, which is an especially clever one - it has a little lever at the back that you can lower or raise the spikes. I haven't seen anything like this before. It means you can raise them towards the end of styling to give roots an extra boost. I was quite wowed before even switching the thing on. 

As for the actual drying, it's a dream, quick, easy, and provides impressive volume when you use the clever little lever. It's worth noting that it's definitely louder than the Dyson, but not dramatically so. Not enough to put me off. In fact, it may have knocked my trusty little ghd off the 'go-to-styler' spot. I'm really excited to use all the other accouterments on days when I want more of a blow-dried style. 

If you don’t want or need all these added extra abilities - the waving, the blow dry brush, then I’d say stick to the original Shark drier, which is a brilliant standalone. But seeing as it’s not dramatically more expensive, I’d wager you might as well have these extra bits, alongside the very light and travel-friendly drier.

See our Shark Flexstyle review for more details

Best curly hair dryer for travel

Bellisima Diffon Hair Dryer

(Image credit: Bellissima)

5. Bellissima Prestige Diffon Supreme Hot Air Difuser

Best curls-only hair dryer / for travel

Specifications

RRP: $219/£129.99
Heat settings: 3
Weight: 720g
Included diffuser: It IS a diffuser!

Reasons to buy

+
Does one job and does it well
+
Easy to use
+
Specially designed with curls in mind

Reasons to avoid

-
Is only for curly hairstyles – so not very versatile

This is on the opposite end of the spectrum to Shark, If you’re looking for a dryer that’s solely for curls and solely for diffusing, this is the perfect one-stop shop. It's a standalone diffuser with three heat settings and two power settings, so you can be as gentle as you want to keep that dreaded frizz from forming. 

I've long recommended the original Bellissima diffuser as an affordable, easy hair dryer for curly hair, but this newer, swisher version is a good option if you're looking for something a bit more premium. The updated version includes ceramic technology, which is said to aid a smoother, frizz-free drying session. 

I enjoyed using this – it's pleasing that it's a specific buy for curls, and I liked just how fuss-free it was. Although I have to say that the results aren't massively different than the original Diffon, so if your budget is smaller I'd stick to that. It is more compact than other models, which makes it a great option for the best travel hair dryer if you have curly hair. Nobody wants to risk frying their curls with the dodgy hotel drier.

Best stylish hair dryer for curly hair

Hershesons hair dryer with diffuser

(Image credit: Hershesons)

6. Hershesons The Great Hairdryer

The best stylish hair dryer for curly hair

Specifications

RRP: $340/£295
Heat settings: 3
Weight: 294g
Included diffuser: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly lightweight
+
Pleasant to use
+
Striking, stylish design

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

Hershesons is one of my favorite spots in London to get a blow dry, so I was curious to see how their newly-launched drier stacked up, especially when it comes to drying curls. I have to admit, when I'm at a salon I do tend to opt for a swishy, straight blow dry – for the novelty factor, more than anything. 

Right off the bat, this looks so different from so many dryers. It's got a slim, conical shape in a full-blown electric blue - even the cord and plug match, which is hugely pleasing. The roomy diffuser slotted in satisfyingly, and it still felt incredibly light and nicely weight-balanced, not tipping to one angle with the attachment. 

It was very quiet too, thanks to the petite motor. I really enjoyed using this – I normally find drying my hair a huge chore, but this really took that feeling away. It’s not the cheapest hair dryer for curly hair, but if you’re looking for a stylish, exciting newcomer that looks gorgeous on your dressing table while doing it all, this is it.

Best hairdryer for long curly hair

A shot of the curlsmith hair drier alongside a shot of Senior Beauty Editor Rhiannon Derbyshire's hair after using it

How Rhiannon's curls looked after using the Curlsmith Defrizzion Dryer & XXL Diffuser

(Image credit: Rhiannon Derbyshire)

7. Curlsmith Defrizzion Dryer & XXL Diffuser

Best dryer for long curly hair

Specifications

RRP: $189/£159
Heat settings: 3 plus cool shot
Weight: 900g
Included diffuser: Yes, and a comb

Reasons to buy

+
A huge diffuser for speedy styling for longer hair types
+
From a curl-centric brand
+
Easy to use and effective

Reasons to avoid

-
The big diffuser might not work as well on very short hair
-
A little bit loud

It makes sense that this curly haircare brand has created a drier specifically with curls in mind. They’ve focused their area of innovation on the diffuser, which is the biggest we’ve ever used - or seen. At 8 inches, it's practically the size of a dinner plate. When you consider most hover at about half that (ghd's is 5 inches), it's a pretty notable USP. 

I used it on my relatively short, shoulder-length hair and I will admit that the diffuser felt a bit necessarily big for me. However, if you have long or very thick hair, this will be a huge time saver - it's practically achievable to fit three peoples’ worth of hair into the thing. 

This uses a lot of hair health-boosting technology, like ionizing and ceramic tech to prevent frizz. It also comes with a smoothing attachment, should you want a sleeker blow-dry, as well as a pic attachment for type 4 coils. In short, it's a brilliant option at a fair price point and the best hair dryer for curly hair created by a curly brand. 

Best hair dryer for curly hair for scalp care

Panasonic EH-NA9J Nanoe + Double Mineral Hairdryer with diffuser on

(Image credit: Panasonic)

8. Panasonic EH-NA9J Nanoe + Double Mineral Hairdryer

Best hair dryer for curly hair for scalp care