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

Our curly-haired beauty editor's pick of the best hair dryers for curly hair – with options for curls, coils and waves.

A selection of the best hair dryer for curly hair options, including ones from Hershesons, GHD and Bellisima
(Image credit: Canva)

Picking the best hair dryer for curly hair is arguably more important than picking one for other hair types. Curls are delicate and require specialized care, so investing in the right tool is key. 

The best hair dryer for curly hair has an entirely different set of requirements than any other hair dryer. You're not looking for super-hot, super-powerful speed styling here – curly girls will know that low and slow is the way to go. And for that to work effectively, your hair dryer will also need to include one of the best diffusers for curly hair. Errol Douglas MBE (opens in new tab), Living Proof Pro Hair Expert explains why. "Diffusers distribute heat more evenly and gently, working with your natural curl pattern," he says. "Avoid a ‘normal’ hair dryer as you have less control of the airflow which will create frizz. The diffuser will help to keep your natural curl formation intact, increase definition, and reduce hair frizz." 

Celebrity hairdresser Ricky Walters wholeheartedly agrees. "Throw away all the other nozzles your hairdryer came with and replace them with a diffuser," he urges. "Curly hair needs to be dried slowly. Once you've applied your products, diffuse your hair on a slow speed and medium heat." While I'd say you should hold onto the smoothing nozzles for those days you fancy a smoother style, I do agree that a diffuser is non-negotiable. Here's what else I looked for in a hair dryer for curly hair. 

How we tested the best hair dryer for curly hair options

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.

A selection of the best hair dryers for curly hair we put to the test

A selection of Beauty Editor Rhiannon's favourite hair dryers for curly hair

(Image credit: Rhiannon Derbyshire)

Every product in this guide has been fully tried and tested by me or another member of the beauty team. We fully put them through their paces and weighed up every aspect of these tools, assessing everything from their ease of use, attachments, heat levels, price points, and any other high-tech specs these options boasted. High power isn't necessarily an important factor when it comes to drying curls – you don't really want a big whoosh of air, which can cause frizz. Slow and steady is key when it comes to drying curls, so the weight of these driers matters more than it does for drying straight hairstyles, to prevent that dreaded dead arm. 

Ultimately, the main non-negotiable is a diffuser. Sure, it's handy to have other, smoothing nozzles for days I fancy a bouncy blow dry, but 99% of the time I keep it curly, so a good, sizeable diffuser is key. If these were included – great – but I'm not going to be too snippy about having to spend on an extra attachment for an otherwise excellent dryer.

The best hair dryer for curly hair, chosen by our beauty team

ghd helios hair dryer with diffuser

(Image credit: ghd)

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

Reasons to avoid

-
It's the heaviest buy on this list

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.

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 still balances out as being the overall best hair dryer for curly hair. 

See our full ghd helios review

Babyliss Hydro Fusion hairdryer with diffuser

(Image credit: Babyliss)

2. Babyliss Hydro Fusion 2100 Hair Dryer

Best budget hair dryer for curly hair

Specifications

RRP: £60 (currently UK only)
Heat settings: 3
Weight: 570g
Included diffuser: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Great price
+
Gentle and will prevent frizz
+
Surprisingly lightweight
+
Easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Only available in the UK at the moment

This shiny blue number looks like a pretty regular hair dryer but I was so surprised by how light and sleek felt when I opened the box. Babyliss was one of the first hair tool brands I tried in my teens, so it's easy to think of them with a nostalgic viewpoint, rather than for what it is – an accessible, affordable brand with truly brilliant, hardworking products. 

On testing, this did a great job of drying my 3B curls, with not a hint of crispiness in sight, which I must say was not the case with some of the other dryers I tested at four times the price. It felt gentle, but not weedy – the ideal middle-ground to prevent frizz (and arm cramp). 

Ok, so it may not be as swish as the other, more Instagram-friendly hairdryers out there, and it may not be all-singing and all-dancing as some others on this list. But it’s solid, sturdy, and just gets the job done. If you're looking for the best hair dryer for curly hair on a budget, this is it. 

Dyson Supersonic Hair dryer with diffuser

(Image credit: Dyson)

3. 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 the list – it really is as good as everyone says it is. But, it's the wide tooth comb attachment that sets this aside from my other best hair dryer for curly hair 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.

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. 

See our full Dyson Supersonic review

Bellisima Diffon Hair Dryer

(Image credit: Bellissima)

4. Bellissima Prestige Diffon Supreme Hot Air Difuser

Best curls-only hair dryer

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

If you’re looking for a dryer that’s solely for curls, 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 new 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 just liked 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 of the best travel hair dryer (opens in new tab) for curly hair. Nobody wants to risk frying their curls with the risky hotel drier.

Hershesons hair dryer with diffuser

(Image credit: Hershesons)

5. Hershesons The Great Hairdryer

The best new 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 places 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, it 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 matched, 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 can do it all, this is it.

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

(Image credit: Panasonic)

6. Panasonic EH-NA9J Nanoe + Double Mineral Hairdryer

Best hair dryer technology for curly hair

Specifications

RRP: $128/£199
Heat settings: 4
Weight: 500g
Diffuser included: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
The foldable handle makes it handy for travel
+
Made to prevent frizz
+
Surprisingly light
+
Includes scalp care as a factor

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the sleekest design

Panasonic’s offering promises high-tech specs at a nice, mid-level price point. Most notable (and least jargon-y) is the mineral technology, which is used to reduce damage, boost shine and prevent frizzy hair

The heat settings are unlike anything I've seen before – four options, including two for scalp and skin, which is what makes this one of the best hair dryer options for curly hair. Because you don't move around the dryer as much when drying curls, it's common to find the scalp getting a little bit scorched in the process. This smart little extra fully removes that irritation. 

Anyway, it’s all well and good listing these specs, but how did this dryer measure up while actually in use? In two words, absolutely brilliant. It felt efficient and quick and my hair felt soft and bouncy, and not at all crispy. The diffuser is different from others I’ve tried too – more pointed, less cone-shaped. This makes it a better hairdryer for creating volume in curls and catering to shorter, or tighter curl patterns. Impressive.

See our full Panasonic Nanoe review

Zuvi Halo Hairdryer

(Image credit: Zuvi)

7. Zuvi Halo Hair Dryer

Best luxury hair dryer for curly hair

Specifications

RRP: $349/£329
Heat settings: 3
Weight: 433g
Included diffuser: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Designed for an ultra gentle dry
+
Sleek, stylish design
+
Ultra light and easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

The Zuvi is a new, if slightly underground launch – but it’s the one that’s got beauty editors really excited. It dries hair using light, not heat which makes it an extra gentle hair dryer option. The concept is that it’s supposed to emulate your hair air-drying in the sun. Curly hair types will know that this concept is nicer in theory than in practice (to quote Monica Gellar, "it’s the humidity"), but it’s an interesting concept from a new tech brand.

I was surprised by how much I was wooed by the slick design. There's a reason they call it the Tesla of the hair dryer world. It's quite beautiful - light, slim, and a little bit sexy. The lightness and the physical lights that ping on when you switch it on means it's a genuine joy to use. The magnetic attachments clicked on satisfyingly firmly too – no slipping and sliding here. 

The fact that this offers such a gentle dry means it’s one of the best hair dryers for curly hair because it puts care first, over speed or mega-watt power. Overall this is a sleek, high-tech design that’s changing the game. I’m so impressed.

See our full Zuvi Halo review

Parlux Alyon Night Blue Hair Dryer

(Image credit: Parlux)

8. Parlux Alyon Hair Dryer

Best salon-style hair for curly hair

Specifications

RRP: $209/£139
Heat settings: 4
Weight: 425g
Included diffuser: No but can be if bought as part of a set

Reasons to buy

+
Durable and reliable
+
Loved by hair dressers
+
Surprisingly light

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a very sexy option

With so many new all-singing, all-dancing, jazz-hands hairdryers launching, it’s easy to forget about the classics. Underestimate Parlux at your own peril - there’s a reason it’s been hairdressers’ go-to drier for decades.

The Italian brand is known for making durable, hardworking driers that you'll find peeking out of most hair stylists' kit bags. They're quite petite, but powerful, giving a speedy, bouncy blow-dry in minutes. Although for curls you will have to buy the diffuser separately, it's a robust, sizeable option that will still work well on very long hair. Plus, they're now offering combo deals where you make a small saving when you buy the diffuser as part of the set with the drier. 

I forgot how much I liked this buy until I picked it up for the purpose of this review. It feels sturdy and reliable, and the smaller shape helps it feel light and useable. It's a little bit loud but only compared to the whisper-quiet options from the newer designs. If you're looking for an option that will last you years - if not a decade – of regular use, this is the one.