The best hair dryer for a professional blowout at home—from top-rated brands like Dyson and GHD

Picking the best hair dryer can be a challenge, so we tested the best models for every hair type, concern, and budget

Three of the best hair dryer models by Parlux, Dyson and Cloud Nine on a lilac background
(Image credit: Future)

If you want to know what the best hair dryer is, welcome to the club. Regardless of where you sit on the low-to-high-maintenance grooming scale, the humble hair dryer is one beauty tool that just about everyone uses.

And much like that other must-have hair tool, the best hair straighteners, there are almost limitless hair dryer models available. These days, models range from simple lightweight styles to ultra-desirable and—dare we say—glamorous options like the Dyson Supersonic, so if you are looking for the best hair dryer for your specific home styling needs, it makes sense to seek guidance.

If you are one of the 76% of women that the Philips Global Beauty Index survey found used a hair dryer at home (from a study of 12,000 women across the globe)  consider this your expert guide to finding the perfect model for you. 

How to choose the best hair dryer for you

Selecting the best hair dryer for you is a personal journey, and comes down to a few factors. Namely, the features on offer and how they work for your hair type in practice. 

Heat and speed
Adjustable heat and speed settings are a bonus for all hair textures. Pick a model with more or less variation in this area depending on your hair type. For example, if you have long or thick hair you may want to accelerate the styling process with higher heats, while cooler temperatures and cold shot buttons work best for color-treated or brittle hair types to minimize heat damage and frizz. 

Attachments
Concentrators encourage a precise, shiny blow dry, the key is selecting the right size. Broad, extended nozzles cater to thick, long hair as they cover more surface area. Narrow concentrators work for focused smoothing on hair that's prone to frizz. Comb nozzles are like concentrators with teeth at the end, allowing time-poor users to dry with minimal tools. Those blessed with curls should opt for a hair dryer that comes with a diffuser to separate and encourage wave and curl patterns. 

Practical features
Specifications like cord length aren't as seductive as shine-boosting ions, but they are as important. Think about your habits—if you dry thick hair into salon-style flicks every day, make sure your dryer is light and has a swivel cord you can turn without tangling. If your dryer will be in a drawer for half the week heavier is ok, but a robust dust filter is a good shout. Need the best hair dryer for the whole family? Look for gentle temperatures and a vent that comes off easily for cleaning. 

How we selected and tested our best hair dryer picks

Beauty Channel Editor Fiona McKim extensively tested these best hair dryer picks, weighing up every aspect of the dryers, including:

  • How they feel in the hand
  • Usefulness of controls
  • Ease of cleaning
  • User experience
  • Technical information, including weight, power, and warranty

Several variants that didn't make the final cut, namely cordless hair dryers and bonnet hair dryers, which, after research, did not live up to their promises in terms of performance, so could not feature in our best hair dryer edit.

Want more information on the different types of hair dryers, if you need a cold shot, or how powerful a hair dryer needs to be? You'll find everything you need to know at the bottom of this best hair dryer guide. 

The best hair dryer, as reviewed by our experts

The Dyson Supersonic with flyaway attachment, the best hair dryer in our guide

(Image credit: Dyson)

Best powerful hair dryer

Specifications
RRP: $399.99/£299
Weight: 1.5lb/659g
Power: 1600W
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Nimble, stylish design+Fast, powerful and quiet+Reduced hair damage +Customizable attachments
Reasons to avoid
-High price  -Magnetic nozzles can be unstable  

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Not everyone has this much money to budget for beauty, and you certainly don’t need to spend that much to buy a quality hair dryer (there are plenty of excellent lower-priced choices on this list). But, if you are planning to make a sizeable investment, it’s easy to see why the Dyson Supersonic has such a devoted fan base.

As you’d expect from the brains that managed to turn vacuum cleaners into a bonafide status symbol, the spec is impressive. The main selling point is power, generated from a 13-blade digital motor, positioned not in the head of the dryer, as is the industry norm, but in the handle. Said motor sends 13 liters of air per second up to the head, which is then multiplied to 41 liters and checked 20 times per second to maintain a precise temperature. The aim is fast, controlled drying and styling without the damage of extreme heat. The dryer runs at a relatively low 1600W, proving bigger isn’t always better when it comes to power.

And what’s it like to use? In a word, impressive. Considering how much technology the Dyson packs in, the experience is pleasingly pared back, with three speed controls and four heat, plus a cold-shot button. Tap the power button and it whooshes right to full speed, not a second wasted warming up, plus it’s noticeably quiet and a dream to control, thanks to that handle-based motor (why didn't anyone think of that before?). 

The dryer has also had an update with a new flyaway attachment designed to replicate the effect of a professional blow dry using a round brush. The curved shape of the attachment looks a little bizarre when snapped on (Gonzo from The Muppets' nose came to mind) but it delivered on performance, using the Coanda technology of the Dyson Airwrap to separate longer hairs from flyaways and delivering a smooth finish. Other attachments include a Smoothing Nozzle, Styling Concentrator, Diffuser, Wide Tooth Comb, and Gentle Air Attachment. They attach magnetically, which is handy when you snap them on, less so when they on occasion click back off of their own accord. We also managed to loosen the little vent at the base of the handle after a couple of months of continuous use, but needless to say, we're nitpicking. It's not easy finding negatives here. 

On balance, the Dyson Supersonic experience is pretty peerless—as to whether you have $400 to spend, we’ll leave that up to you. And the brand does occasionally throw Dyson hair dryer deals our way, too.

See our full Dyson Supersonic hair dryer review

best hair dryer GHD Helios Professional Hair Dryer

(Image credit: GHD)

Best ionic hair dryer

Specifications
RRP: $249/£159
Weight: 1.72lb/780g
Power: 2200W
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Sophisticated look and feel +Powerful, highly concentrated airflow+Ionic technology for smoothness+User-friendly controls
Reasons to avoid
-Heavier than others-Diffuser attachment sold separately 

When GHD launches a product, we pay attention. This brand seems to know our hair goals even before we do. (Example: GHD launches the original styler; suddenly we all need poker-straight hair.)

The latest hair dryer launch from the innovative brand, the GHD Helios Professional Hair Dryer certainly promises a lot. Namely, that it's the brand's lightest, fastest professional dryer and will bless your 'do with 30% more shine than whatever you're drying with at the moment. 

First impressions are good. It looks a little sleeker and sexier than previous ghd models and there are five colors to choose from—black, ink blue, powder pink, white, and, our personal favorite, sophisticated plum with gold accents. The casing is matte with a nice velvety texture. And although at 1.72lb/780g, it isn't the lightest option we tested it feels nimble due to its ergonomic design with the weight balanced fairly equally between handle and head.

The Helios also includes user-friendly settings: two speeds, two heats, and one cool shot button. This might seem a little on the simple side, but honestly how many options do you really use? Anything more is usually superfluous.

Beyond good looks, the GHD Helios offers solid performance from a light, brushless motor that boasts airflow of 120kph. You can certainly feel that power when you flick it on to full heat and speed. The dryer roars into action, albeit in a relatively low-key way, then releases negative ions to smooth as you dry (and what are ions, you ask? Check out the cheat sheet at the bottom of this article) Whether you understand the science bit or not, Woman & Home Group Beauty Director Sarah Cooper-White says this dryer gives her the sleekest, fastest blow-dry she’s ever managed at home. 

Overall, the GHD Helios is a brilliant all-rounder. It features incremental improvements on previous models technology, but nothing that will alienate or annoy fans of the brand. This powerful tool makes for a satisfying and ultra-speedy—if not 100% silent—drying experience.

See our full GHD Helios hair dryer review

best hair dryer Parlux Alyon

(Image credit: Parlux )

Best salon hair dryer

Specifications
RRP: $279/£129.95
Weight: 1lb/456g
Power: 2250W
Warranty: 1 year
Reasons to buy
+Compact and extremely light+Reliable and durable +Stylish design +Simple controls 
Reasons to avoid
-No bells and whistles 

If you ask a room full of hairstylists to name their best hair dryer, expect Parlux to win the majority vote. This Italian brand has amassed a fierce cohort of professional fans, and, after testing its merits, we can certainly see why.

Aesthetically, this is amongst the few dryers that could reasonably be described as sexy. It comes in 10 colors, from inky matte black to bright corals and yellows. (We tried peacock-like jade.) Thanks to its prism exterior, the outer casing shimmers in a rainbow of shades, depending on the light.

Design-wise, it's small, sleek, and incredibly light. In fact, it's only slightly heavier than the travel-centric GHD Flight. Despite its diminutive size, it boasts a muscular 2250W of power which you’ll notice right away, especially when drying thick hair—no achy arms.

Looks and feel aside, the Parlux Alyon includes plenty of useful features. The heat and speed options are practical and uncomplicated—simply flick the switch on the side of the handle and off you go. This proved surprisingly handy for mid-dry temperature adjustments as we were able to intuitively use our thumbs instead of having to pull the dryer away to see which button we were pressing. Small things like that make a big difference when you use a tool every day.  

The Alyon also helps prevent frizz and damage with ionic technology, while the K-Advance Plus motor promises powerful airflow and a lifespan of at least 3,000 hours. Additional touches include two smoothing nozzles in the box, plus a tactile cool button that has a satisfying click. 

The dryer also features a patent-pending HFS “Hair Free System"—a tiny corkscrew within the back vent that catches and prevents hair from getting trapped in the dryer. Though it appears tricky, with a 10-step instruction booklet, this feature is actually quite simple to master. Still, we aren't convinced it deserves such fanfare compared to an ordinary twist-off vent.

See our full Parlux Alyon review

Nicky Clarke

(Image credit: Nicky Clarke)

4. Nicky Clarke Infra-red Pro Hair Dryer

The best kind hair dryer

Specifications
RRP: £129.99 (UK only)
Weight: 520g
Power: 1300W
Warranty: 1 year
Reasons to buy
+Gentle infra-red technology+Saves energy +Quiet and light +Smooth blow dry
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most exciting to look at

They say don't judge a book by its cover, we say don't judge a dryer by its casing. Because what appears to be a fairly generic, albeit sleek and pleasant-looking device from celeb stylist Nicky Clarke actually hides some pretty interesting technology and features. 

The first and most unique aspect of this dryer is infra-red technology. Yes, the same light therapy currently installed in the saunas of wealthy wellness warriors, who wax lyrical about its anti-inflammatory and skin rejuvenation benefits. Here it is embedded within the Infrared Pro Hair Dryer, along with a unique honeycomb-shaped element to disperse heat evenly and a low energy-saving voltage. This all combines to offer a kind, gentle hair drying experience without sacrificing blow dry performance, says Clarke. 

And what do we say? Mostly, we're sold. We tested it on fine hair and experienced a gentle and non-scorching feel, even at the highest heat as well as enjoying the unusually low weight and nimbleness of the model. Our hair was left smooth and dried without static or flyaways, even after rough drying without too much care—perhaps this came down to the ion technology. Did we notice the infrared particularly? No, but we trust it was doing its job of caring for our scalp and hair. Drying time was probably bang on average for a hair dryer of this price, not noticeably quick or slow, but certainly, an impressive showing considering the energy efficiency of the device. 

Looks-wise, you won't get statement 'jazz hands' design from this dryer, and friends may not ask you where it is from if they see it in your bedroom, but it is attractive and contemporary-looking with a velvety black finish. The 3m cord is a welcome touch, as is the smoothing nozzle which did a great job of creating sleek sheets of hair when we tested it with round brushes and a bit more time. Overall this is a strong and thoughtful foray back into premium devices from Nicky Clarke—kind to our hair, kind to the planet, and not too unkind on the wallet compared to some. 

best hair dryer Cloud nine airshot

(Image credit: Cloud nine)

5. Cloud Nine Airshot

Best hair dryer for curly hair

Specifications
RRP : $231.95/£109
Weight: 1.79lb/810g
Power: 2000W
Warranty: 1 year
Reasons to buy
+Ions and infra-red +Powerful smoothing+Strong variation in heat settings
Reasons to avoid
-Diffuser sold separately

Cloud Nine is better known for straighteners than hair dryers. But lo and behold, the brand's top-rated Airshot ticks just about every box in our research criteria and then some. 

The Airshot dryer has similar features to a few other professional dryers in our roster, primarily Parlux and Hershesons. However, it's a notch above in some respects. The main draw? It combines ceramic and vitamin-infused tourmaline. This clever combo evenly distributes heat and delivers a major ionic boost, imparting noticeable shine even after one use. Needless to say, it performs miracles on thick, curly, and frizzy hair types. (Hence why we've declared our best hair dryer for curly hair.)

By construction, the Airshot is easy on the eye: The original model is matte black and compact—plus there is a beautiful limited edition Evergreen model if you can get your hands on it quickly enough. It includes two nozzles and switches easily between three heat and two speeds, too. Though sold separately, the diffuser is a step above the usual flimsy numbers included in dryer boxes. It incorporates uniquely shaped contoured 'fingers' that lift and separate curls without causing frizz. Still, given the cost of the dryer, we wish it was included without the extra expense.

Another drawback: The Airshot is a tad bulky and it wasn't even the heaviest dryer we tried. Luckily, there are plenty of features that compensate for this flaw, like its low-pitched motor noise, cool button, and LED indicator on the back of the handle. Whereas the cool button quickly cools down the temperature, the LED indicator lights up as a guide for users. As one would expect with Cloud Nine, this dryer is an excellent, easy-to-use tool that pays more attention to hair health than others within its price category.

best hair dryer Remington Thermacare Pro 2400

(Image credit: Remington)

6. Remington Thermacare Pro 2400

Best cheap hair dryer

Specifications
RRP: $39.99/£44.99
Weight: 1.6lb/724g
Power: 2400W
Warranty: 3 years
Reasons to buy
+Good value +Relatively light 
Reasons to avoid
-Not luxuriously built-Black attachments jar visually 

Call it the tech takeover of beauty, call it pink tax—whatever’s happened, it’s fair to say the cost of all the best hair dryers has been on a steep incline for a few years now. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find something great at a price that doesn’t require a few deep breaths before you hit “add to cart.” Enter the Remington Thermacare Pro 2400.

After testing many hair dryers costing north of $100, it’s tricky to approach a below-$50 model without making assumptions about its comparative technology, but the Thermacare Pro 2400 blew those misconceptions away. 

It looks the part, with nice cream and metallic casing that feels a smidge plasticky, but pleasant enough in the hand. The technical spec matches up to its pricier counterparts in some ways; it’s got ionic technology and a ceramic grill for even  heat. The motor sends out 90km/56mi of air per hour and boasts a quieter experience and twice the lifespan of the brand’s previous models.

As well as three heat and two speed options, there’s a cool shot and a booster button that ramps up the airflow for fast rough drying. This feature did make the dryer noisier, but it was nothing to warn the neighbors about. It comes with two styling nozzles and one diffuser, a generous offering at this price, and gave a nice daily blow-dry in as much time as you would expect from any dryer.

One minor gripe: It would be nice if the nozzles were white, not black, as they looked a tad out of place stuck on the end there, but as with any hair dryer aesthetics are far less important than performance and this performs very well indeed. If you want something decent-looking, fast, and reliable that doesn't require you to take out a second mortgage, this could be the best hair dryer for you.

best hair dryer T3 Cura Luxe

(Image credit: T3 )

7. T3 Cura Luxe

Best quiet hair dryer

Specifications
RRP: $229.99/£195
Weight: 1.56lb/709g
Power: 1875W
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Fun to use +Digital display and smart controls+Auto pause feature 
Reasons to avoid
-A little heavy -Pricy 

We came to the T3 Cura Luxe with high expectations. Within the beauty industry, T3 has a reputation for innovation and, incidentally, makes one of the best curling irons in the game (the customizable Whirl Trio). So, how did their latest luxury hair dryer measure up?

The Cura Luxe makes a great first impression, sleek and glossy with copper detail; there’s a white version, too, if that’s your thing. It's large compared with some of the others we tried. (about 25cm long, compared with 21cm for the Remington and Parlux.) But it doesn’t feel clunky in hand. The display is digital, which feels very swish—click one button to flip up and down five heat settings or two speeds. The cool-shot button is lockable, too, making life easier if you need to set your style into very long or thick hair—no sore thumb from holding it down.

As mentioned, this is a brand known for moving the needle, and there’s plenty of innovation here. Best of all is auto-pause—put the dryer down and it automatically stops airflow, resuming only when you pick it back up again. You can imagine how useful this is when attempting a flicky blow-dry with round brushes. There's a little delay as it sometimes takes a few seconds to notice you've let go, but in many weeks of testing, it never failed to kick in.

The power-to-noise ratio is impressive— even on full blast it’s noticeably quieter than the other high-end models. There’s also ionic technology, plus a volume-boost switch, which temporarily stops the smoothing ions for rough drying roots or a more textured blow dry if you desire. 

You'll also find all the bells and whistles you'd expect in a high-end dryer here: Two concentrator attachments for smooth blow drying, an ultra long cable with a handy Velcro tidier, and an easy-to-remove vent at the back that clicks off for drying.

While we want to avoid using the D-word, it must be said that the T3 Cura Luxe is the closest thing we tested to the Dyson Supersonic in terms of features and performance. It’s a little more traditional in looks and spec, but has plenty of its own unique selling points and rings in cheaper than its rival, even less at some online retailers. As we said of the best hair dryer that shall not be named, this is an exceptional set, but whether you have $200+ to spend is between you and your credit card.

best hair dryer Dyson Airwrap

(Image credit: Dyson )

8. Dyson Smooth + Control Airwrap styler

Best hair dryer and styler in one

Specifications
RRP: $549.99/£399
Weight: 1.45lb/660g
Power: 1300W
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Versatile styling+Kind to hair+Slick and enjoyable to use
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Tricky to master

The Dyson Airwrap isn’t going to be for everyone. To begin with, there is the obvious expense. It’s also probably not for anyone who just wants to blast their hair in the most fuss-free manner possible without creating any particular style. If you do like to experiment with your hair, blow drying smooth one day, curling in waves the next then volumizing with a hot brush the one after that, you will very likely try the Dyson Airwrap and wonder where it has been all of your life.

In fact, once you've got the knack using the Airwrap is so enjoyable you might actually start looking forward to your morning blow dry. If you go for the Airwrap Complete, you will get a total of six attachments that cover everything you can imagine doing with your 'do: A dryer attachment that essentially turns it into the Supersonic Dryer (minus the styling nozzles); 30mm and 40mm barrels to create waves of varying degrees of tightness; a round volumizing brush; plus firm and soft smoothing brushes. Each one is neatly clicked and locked into the top of the styler and the world is your hair-shaping oyster!

The technology hinges on a phenomenon called the Coanda effect, a powerful spinning impeller within the tool that creates a pressurized flow of air to attract hair towards the attachment, wrapping it around the barrel or holding it against the brush. Air is then pushed over the strands, combined with highly controlled heat, to dry and style hair without ever subjecting it to the searing temperatures of hot styling tools. You can set the hair using a cool-shot button or just flick it back off and out drops a shiny curl, bouncy wave, or perfectly smoothed section of hair. It really is very satisfying and positively mouse-like in volume compared with your average hair dryer, making this truly worthy of the best hair dryer status.

It is worth pointing out that for the Airwrap's Coanda-effect technology to work (more on that below), the curling barrels do need to be switched between left and right sides, which is a minor inconvenience but one that is more than justified by the rest of the slick user experience.

Most of the attachments are novice-friendly, but there’s definitely a knack for using the waving barrels, which you probably won't master the first time. But we found the sleek sexiness of the device is more than enough motivation to keep trying, and we had nailed it by the third time—after our usual curling wand was starting to look outdated and more than a little damaging in our eyes.

The Airwrap is ideal for travel as it’s essentially every styler plus your best hair dryer in one ultra-slim and lightweight package. As we said, the Dyson Airwrap isn’t for everyone, but if you can invest and are a heavy user of a variety of drying and styling tools, this could replace them all in spectacular style.

Panasonic EH-NA67 Enrich + Family Care Hair Dryer

(Image credit: Panasonic)

9. Panasonic EH-NA67 Enrich Family Care Hair Dryer

The best hair dryer for families

Specifications
RRP: $149.99/£99.99
Weight: 547g
Power: 2000w
Warranty : 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Very gentle drying+Nanoe technology hydrates +Light+Three attachments included
Reasons to avoid
-Could be easier to maneuver 

Ask any parent and they'll agree, drying your children's hair can be a tear-soaked, frustration-filled daily challenge. Cleverly, Panasonic EH-NA67 Enrich + Family Care aims to solve this issue by creating a light, ultra-gentle dryer that prevents painful, hair-damaging hotspots. 

How? Mainly a clever oscillating nozzle that spreads the heat around rather than directing it in one specific area. This means you can blast away at your loved one's hair free from worry about misjudging the distance or spending too long on one area and receiving a pained squeal in response. This hair dryer also incorporates Panasonic's signature Nanoe technology, which sends tiny moisture particles into the hair to hydrate as it dries. All this hair and scalp-loving tech means this isn't just the best hair dryer for families, it would also be excellent for anyone with over-processed, frazzled hair or a sensitive scalp. In terms of noise and blast, we would call this a solid middle-of-the-pack option—neither noticeably loud or mystifyingly quiet. 

Spec-wise, it's all here. A generous four temperature settings and three for speed. A cool shot, concentrator and diffuser nozzles plus a mighty 2000w of power. It's a little heavier than the brand's previous model the Panasonic Nanoe + Double Mineral (our best hair dryer pick for damaged hair) It also lacks the handy folding handle of its predecessor making it trickier to transport and slightly less nimble to maneuver when drying

Still, if you value your hair's health there's much to recommend this buy.It may not be the sexiest most show-it-off dryer on the list, but it's definitely the kindest. Smart girls know nice beats flash any day.

Shark Style iQ Hair Dryer & Styler

(Image credit: Shark)

10. Shark Style iQ Hair Dryer & Styler

Best hairdryer for shine

Specifications
RRP: £199.99/£229.99
Weight: 500g
Power: 1600Ww
Warranty : 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Clever settings+Minimizes heat damage+Unique attachments +Smooth, shiny blow dry
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Less power than other premium dryers

If you're thinking there's something familiar-looking about this vacuum company's first foray into the hair dryer market, you wouldn't be alone. Still, physical and pedigree similarities aside, the Shark Style iQ Hair Dryer & Styler is no dupe. This smart, high-spec hair tool has bags of unique attributes that help it stand firmly on its own two feet. 

The main schtick is this; the Shark Style IQ aims to merge drying and styling together into one session. It does this by including two clever attachments. One is an adjustable concentrator nozzle that you can use for both rough drying and focused styling with a brush, the other a diffuser with adjustable prongs that can cradle the hair from root to tip to create a curl pattern and dry in one. In testing we found these both uniquely useful for creating defined styles and leagues above the usual nozzles they throw in the hair dryer box. 

As for settings, you can go two very different ways with the Shark. Either use the handy switch on the side to adjust the dryer to your perfect airflow and heat from three options apiece. Or, snap on one of those clever attachments and allow the dryer to select the perfect settings for the hair type that attachment suits. Genius. 

Even when we turned the right up to the top, we didn't feel particularly blasted with heat or noise, yet our hair was dried quickly and smoothly with a lovely shine to boot. This comes down to ultra-powerful, concentrated airflow, which despite the relatively low wattage, allows for fast drying without extreme heat damage. Good old ionic technology helps smooth the finished look and combat frizz, as does a cool shot button. The 2.5m cord is easy to store and should be ample for anyone. 

While this is undoubtedly a luxuriously priced dryer, it repays that investment in luxury features, kindness to the hair and clever touches we're yet to see elsewhere. 

Harry Josh Pro Tools Ultra Light Pro Dryer 3-piece best hair dryer

(Image credit: Harry Josh)

11. Harry Josh Pro Tools Ultra Light Pro Dryer

Best lightweight hair dryer

Specifications
RRP: $339/Not available in the UK
Weight: Less than 1 lb/454g
Power: 1875 watts
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Easy to maneuver+12 heat and speed settings +11-ft long extension cord+Quickly dries and styles hair
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey

We all know and love the classic Harry Josh Pro Tools Pro Dryer 2000, a top-tier media darling, collector of industry accolades, and formidable solution against bad hair days. Allow us to introduce the Ultra Light Pro Dryer, the brand's reimagined spin on the original model.

Ideal for all hair types, this hair dryer integrates all of the accoutrements we've come to wax poetic about in the Pro Dryer 2000. It's encased in sleek mint-green and incorporates handy features, like a patented silencer, two nozzle concentrators, a sizable cord, and 12 heat, speed, and ion settings for personalized styling.

But compared to the unwieldy tools of yore, the Ultra Light is featherlight, weighing less than traditional dumbbells. What's more, it features a curved handle, which is both easy and comfortable to hold as you style. Ultimately, its practical design minimizes muscle strain, enabling users to curate coiffed looks with ease and finesse.

Moreover, the Ultra Light Pro Dryer is lightning-fast—the Fast and Furious of styling tools. This claim may seem hyperbolic; however, it's certainly warranted—as the tool swooshes air at a consistent speed of 94 miles per hour. Naturally, expedient drying time minimizes hair frying and damage; and it's especially convenient if you're in a rush.

The dryer also features a dual filtration system, which reduces energy consumption. Plus, it harnesses the manpower of negative ion technology that dries but doesn't damage precious tresses.

best hair dryer GHD Flight

12. GHD Flight

Best travel hair dyer

Specifications
RRP: $99/£59
Weight: 0.93lb/422g
Power: 1000W -1400W
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Powerful for its size+Foldable handle +Good value +Sleek looks
Reasons to avoid
-Minimal settings-May not suit very curly or thick hair

The GHD Flight aims to solve a universal vacation-hair dilemma: Do you use valuable baggage allowance on your powerful but clunky dryer, or take something smaller but accept a substandard drying experience? The answer, says GHD, is neither. The Flight is our best hair dryer for travel as it weighs in at 422g/14 oz, around half the weight of the GHD Air, yet packs in 70% of the power of the larger model. Handily, you can adjust the voltage between 120 for the US and Canada, and 240 for Europe, by sticking a coin in a little groove and flicking it around. 

The controls are fairly simple—two hot settings, one cool, and that’s it. The hottest it will ever get is 65ºC/149°F, which is plenty if you’re vacationing somewhere balmy. Although the cool setting could be a little colder, it still has a decent de-frazzling effect if you use it to finish your blow-dry.

Probably the best thing about the Flight is its physical form—it’s made of lightweight plastic but still looks the part. The handle folds inwards to make it less awkward to pack, and the quoted 422g/14 oz is including the nozzle and cord, so it feels incredibly light. 

Of course, it's not the best hair dryer out there in terms of power—no travel dryer could be—but this comes pretty darn close. Our reviewer's hair is of the classic “fine but you’ve got lots of it” variety, and we didn’t notice too much difference in drying time or styling effect from our usual best hair dryer. 

If you have extremely thick or curly hair, it might be a different story. (Although anecdotally we'd suggest that you probably wouldn’t want to go near very curly hair with a dryer at the best of times, let alone in hot and humid conditions.) You’ll find it easy to store the GHD Flight away, thanks to its sleek black carry case. We didn’t bother using it on vacation as it’s far chunkier than the dryer itself, and we never have space to spare. If you’re not the sort of person who has to sit on even the best suitcase to get it closed, then you might find it a useful extra layer of protection.

best hair dryer Panasonic Nanoe & Double Mineral

(Image credit: Panasonic)

Best hair dryer for damaged hair

Specifications
RRP: $99.40/£129.99
Weight: 1.10lb/500g
Power: 1800W
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Unique moisturizing technology+Four temperature settings+Very light and easy to store
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly clunky appearance

The Panasonic Nanoe & Double Mineral dryer doesn't dehydrate and fry precious strands. On the contrary, it accelerates drying time by maintaining 1,000 times more moisture in the hair, courtesy of patented Nanoe technology.

In layman's terms, the dryer takes microdroplets of water from the air, splits them into even tinier particles, and sends them out into your hair along with an ionic charge. These ions and tiny particles then penetrate the hair cuticle and hydrate it from within. Together, they moisturize your scalp, combatting dryness, flakiness, and poor hair health over time.

Nanoe tech aside, the dryer leverages unique ionic technology, which releases ions from not one but two mineral electrodes. It also offers an impressive variety of styling modes, from classic hot and cold to scalp mode. The scalp mode maintains a temperature of 50ºC/122°F, ideal for drying your hair from root to tip without scorching it. Not to mention, we're happy to report it's not too unwieldy to handle—it's easy on the arms.

Another option is Nanoe mode, an intelligent heat control that detects the temperature of your environment and self-adjusts accordingly. This is particularly handy for hot summer days and holidays, especially if you're someone who tends to go for the highest heat settings by default.

The final mode is skin, which, if selected and aimed at the face for one minute, promises to deliver moisturizing Nanoe molecules into the skin. We found this a little bit odd and would rather just use skincare products. Nonetheless, if you have dry skin and are someone who loves a bit of kit, then why not?

In terms of aesthetics, this is not the sexiest-looking of the best hair dryer picks. It’s fairly chunky and squat with harsh lines, rather than curves, although the rose-gold accents do soften up the overall look. Despite a slightly clunky appearance, it weighs in at just 500g/1lb—less than the Dyson—and ticks those little practicality boxes that count with the devices we use every day. We also love its long anti-tangle cord and foldaway handle, handy for easy storage and travel.

See our full Panasonic Nanoe & Double Mineral hair dryer review

best hair dryer BaByliss 3Q Hairdryer

Best hair dryer for frizzy hair

Specifications
RRP: $133.99/£120
Weight: 1.25lb/567g
Power: 2200W
Warranty: 10 years for motor, 5 years for parts
Reasons to buy
+Ultra-powerful drying and smoothing+Strong ionic capabilities +Lightweight+Reliable, with long warranties 
Reasons to avoid
-Can get very hot

Albeit pricey, the BaByliss 3Q is worth the investment. And after we put it through its paces, this stalwart for pros has earned a coveted spot in our styling regimen.

The 3Q's competitive edge is its digital and brushless motor. In general, brushless motors generate less friction and vibrations for a quieter drying experience. Furthermore, many last far longer than the average motor. Luckily for you, this one comes with a 10-year guarantee.

But more notably, brushless motors cut drying time and the duration in which heat blasts onto your hair. The muscular airflow also accelerates styling time, shifting to precise temperatures in seconds.

Much like its contenders, the 3Q is ionic and sends out negatively charged ions that interact with frizz-causing positive charges in your hair. They break down water molecules, so expect a sleeker blow-dry overall.

The settings are customizable and handy, with three heats, two speeds, and a cold-shot switch, rather than the usual hold-down button. The cooler settings deliver a noticeably smoother blow-dry with The ultra-skinny nozzle. However, full heat may feel uncomfortable when applied directly to your entire head. Should you go down this route, be sure to have trusted heat protection nearby.

Fortunately, the thoughtful gizmos don't end there. The 3Q is adorned in a velvety matte casing and comes with a lengthy 3m cord and hanging loop. In addition, the dryer features an energy-efficient filter, which can be easily clicked off for cleaning out hairs, flotsam, and jetsam. The instructions manual underscores styling tips, plus suggested heat and speed combinations for each hair type.

Overall, the BaByliss 3Q offers reliability and convenience for all hair types. Backed by high-performance tech, it creates specific styles and cares for your hair along the way.

See our full BaByliss 3Q hair dryer review

best hair dryer Hershesons Ionic Professional Hair Dryer

(Image credit: Hershesons)

15. Hershesons Ionic Professional Hair Dryer

Best hair dryer for wispy fine hair

Specifications
RRP: $174/£110
Weight: 1.98lb/900g
Power: 2200W
Warranty: 180 days
Reasons to buy
+Smoothes as it dries+Attractive and sleek+Professional xl cord
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy-Nozzles require force

Hershesons is a big name in the professional world, renowned among us beauty insiders for “cool girl’ cuts and high-concept salon spaces. Their styling tools like the Hershesons Ionic Professional Dryer fly a little further under the radar than some of the big mass brands on this list, but definitely have a strong following with those in the know.

Starting with aesthetics (because if you’re spending $100/£100+, that’s important), this is as slick as they come, all glossy white casing and chic grey attachments. It certainly has the feel of a professional bit of kit, with its long 3m cord, large hanging hook, designer travel bag, and a full complement of speed and heat settings—two apiece plus a properly cold cool-shot button. 

This was technically one of the heaviest models tested, although you really wouldn’t know it when drying your hair; the design feels ergonomic, comfy in the hand, and easy to control. This weight probably makes it one of the best hair dryers for fine hair or short styles rather than thick or very long locks.

It’s not super quiet, but not loud either, and comes with two smoothing nozzles of varying widths, the narrower of which was particularly good at adding volume to the roots of my fine hair when drying upside down. You do need to use a bit of elbow grease to get the nozzles on and off at first, but I’d rather a sturdy fit than flimsy and flying off mid-dry.

The best thing about this dryer is how it makes hair look and feel, which is noticeably soft and frizz-free. There’s no immediately obvious reason for this, so I’ll go with some very effective ionic technology, which sends out negative ions to smooth positively charged frizz and break down water in the hair to cut down damaging drying time.

The heat settings likely play their part, too; even at their highest, they don’t feel outrageously hot and damaging but still offer a rapid blow dry. Whatever the reason, this is a results-driven yet kind dryer that has plenty of style to boot. As a side note, the Hershesons Tourmaline Professional Curling Tong is also worthy of very high praise indeed, but that’s a different review for a different guide.

best hair dryer Cloud nine airshot

(Image credit: Cloud nine)

16. Cloud Nine Airshot

Best hair dryer for curly hair

Specifications
RRP : $231.95/£109
Weight: 1.79lb/810g
Power: 2000W
Warranty: 1 year
Reasons to buy
+Ions and infra-red +Powerful smoothing+Strong variation in heat settings
Reasons to avoid
-Diffuser sold separately

Cloud Nine is better known for straighteners than hair dryers. But lo and behold, the brand's top-rated Airshot ticks just about every box in our research criteria and then some. 

The Airshot dryer has similar features to a few other professional dryers in our roster, primarily Parlux and Hershesons. However, it's a notch above in some respects. The main draw? It combines ceramic and vitamin-infused tourmaline. This clever combo evenly distributes heat and delivers a major ionic boost, imparting noticeable shine even after one use. Needless to say, it performs miracles on thick, curly, and frizzy hair types. (Hence why we've declared our best hair dryer for curly hair.)

By construction, the Airshot is easy on the eye: The original model is matte black and compact—plus there is a beautiful limited edition Evergreen model if you can get your hands on it quickly enough. It includes two nozzles and switches easily between three heat and two speeds, too. Though sold separately, the diffuser is a step above the usual flimsy numbers included in dryer boxes. It incorporates uniquely shaped contoured 'fingers' that lift and separate curls without causing frizz. Still, given the cost of the dryer, we wish it was included without the extra expense.

Another drawback: The Airshot is a tad bulky and it wasn't even the heaviest dryer we tried. Luckily, there are plenty of features that compensate for this flaw, like its low-pitched motor noise, cool button, and LED indicator on the back of the handle. Whereas the cool button quickly cools down the temperature, the LED indicator lights up as a guide for users. As one would expect with Cloud Nine, this dryer is an excellent, easy-to-use tool that pays more attention to hair health than others within its price category.

Which is the best hair dryer for me?

The three most important considerations you need to make when picking the best hair dryer for you are your hair type, styling behavior, and, of course, budget.

If you have low-maintenance hair and use a hair dryer every so often, you can easily go with a basic, lightweight model, whereas if you have thick, unmanageable hair and spend hours creating a professional blow-dry most mornings, it’s worth investing in something with a few more bells and whistles, as well as a higher price tag.

Noise levels are best considered if you use your dryer on others, perhaps in a professional hairdressing environment or on children, where the weight of a dryer becomes more important the longer your hair takes to dry. If you have curly or textured hair, avoiding arm ache is essential, so heaviness needs to be factored in when selecting the best hair dryer.

Finally, think about the condition of your hair—if damage is an issue, look for even heat distribution and several heat and speed settings. If your hair’s in good nick, lots of power, an effective cool button, and plenty of attachments for styling may be more of a priority.

What are the types of hair dryers?

There are three main types of hair dryers. The best hair dryer type for your hair will depend on the condition of your locks and how long it takes to dry them.

  • Ionic hair dryers: One of the most popular features in modern dryers and with good reason. Our hair has a natural positive charge, which causes frizz and static. Ionic hair dryers release a stream of negative ions, which grab onto the positive ones and neutralize them for a smoothing effect. Ions can also help reduce drying time as they break down positive ions in the water in your hair, dispersing it so you can dry for less time on a lower heat, thus reducing damage.
  • Ceramic hair dryers: Essentially, hair dryers work by pushing concentrated air over something hot, then said heated air blasts your wet hair dry. The material of the “something hot” affects the efficiency of this process and, to many, ceramic is the gold-standard material. The reason for this is ceramic heats up extremely quickly and evenly, so every iota of air emitted from your dryer retains a consistent temperature and no one section of your hair is frazzling while a surrounding area is out in the cold.
  • Tourmaline hair dryers: Another material used for “the hot bit,” tourmaline is a gemstone that’s crushed into a powder then reformed to be used in dryers and other hot tools. The reason it’s so popular is that, when heated up, it generates infrared heat and an ionic charge, both of which help dry hair quickly—with less damage and good smoothing properties too.

How powerful does a hair dryer need to be?

In simple terms, the more powerful a dryer is, the hotter the element will get and the faster it can blow-dry your hair. However, this doesn't take into account technology, such as airflow concentrators and brushless motors, plus extreme heat causes damage, so bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to power. As a general guide, the best hair dryers have more than 1500W of power.

Do I need a diffuser on my hair dryer?

If you have curly hair, yes, although some would argue that very curly hair types shouldn't go anywhere near a dryer. Nonetheless, waiting to air-dry is neither practical nor enjoyable a lot of the time. A diffuser attachment will simply cradle hair as it gently dries, rather than forcing the cuticle this way and that, and destroying the lovely natural movement.

Do I need a cold-shot button on my hair dryer?

For anyone who likes to dry their hair into a particular style, such as using tension to straighten it or a round brush to add in flicks or add root lift, a cold-shot button is essential. This is because the cooler air will set in place whatever style you have just used heat to create. If you only use your blow-dryer to give your hair a general blast and rough-dry, a cool-shot button is probably negligible.

What hair dryers do professionals use?

That really depends on the professional. Well-known salons often work with specific brands preferred by their big-name stylists, as well as the ones said stylists have relationships with—Dyson and GHD are brands we see a lot in a professional capacity. 

Then there are the hair dryer brands that are widely used in salons and by session stylists on location and shoots but aren't widely available in the places that we would look for beauty tools. These are brands like Elchim and Parlux, whose Alyon model won our best salon dryer award for 2020. 

Ask a professional what they look for in a hair dryer and three themes will emerge: Power, reliability, and ergonomics. That last factor might sound strange, but even if your hair is seriously thick and takes what feels like an age to dry, the average hairstylist still spends ten times longer than you with a hair dryer in their hand on any given day, so the comfort of holding and movement is crucial. 

This is why we often see more compact models, such as the Dyson and Parlux, in the hands of the pros, over powerful but heavier options here.

Fiona McKim

As woman&home's Beauty Channel Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more beauty products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about a brilliant find on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair experiments and cute shih-tzus)

Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013, working under industry legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know (clue: learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism). 


In a previous life, Fiona studied journalism back home in bonnie Scotland and honed her skills as a features writer at publications including Junior and Prima Baby, with a brief and terrifying stint on the showbiz pages of a tabloid newspaper in between. She's a skincare fanatic who can’t resist adding an extra step to her routine, adores fragrance, has fun with makeup and never turns down the chance to test a new hair tool. Basically, she loves it all.

When not slathering herself in self tan or peering at a tiny ingredients list on a moisturiser, you’ll probably find Fiona enjoying something to do with food - cooking it, eating it, cajoling her friends into trekking across London to try a hyped pop-up in a dirty car park. 


Come to think of it, the hot dinners and beauty products are probably about even.