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The Ultimate Hair Dryer Buying Guide 2020
Of course, you can’t get to the salon every day to get your hair professionally blow dried, but we’d all like to look salon fresh as often as possible right? So you want a hair dryer that helps you get that salon-like finish at home. Nowadays there are a huge range of professional hair dryers on the market that use expert technology, like ghd and Parlux, and figuring out all the technical blurb can be a nightmare. With words like ‘ionic’ and ‘ceramic’ thrown around it can make the process of choosing your hairdresser complicated, for the non-scientists amongst us at least.
What do all of these things actually mean? Do they make for a better hair dryer? And if so (or if no), what should you actually be looking for in your hair dryer, and how do you choose which is the best for your hair specifically?
In short, what do you actually need to know to find the best dryer for you?
In reality, the requirements are not very scientific at all. A good hair dryer will blow dry your hair quickly, but have a flexibility in the range of air temperature that allows you to achieve your desired style. Because if you can’t achieve the look you want with your blow dryer, then clearly that is not the right tool for the job.
Whether you’re after a tousled and volumised look, or a more smooth and sleek finish, the hair dryer you choose is crucial. In this guide, we’ll tell you when to replace your hair dryer, break down all the tech into layman’s terms, and show you how to choose the right hair dryer for your hair type. We’ll also give you our best hair dryer recommendations for your hair type. If you’re looking for a straightener, check out our guide to the best hair straighteners for salon-perfect hair.
Best Hair Dryers
So it’s time to decide. Below we’ve recommended some different models for different hair types to get you started on your journey. These are though, in our opinion, the best in class, and we’ve tested extensively on your behalf.
Whether you want to invest in the $599 Dyson, spend a couple of hundred on a professional salon-grade hair dryer or get one for under $100, we recommend a range of models at different price points in our latest hair dryer reviews to suit your hair care regime and price range.
1. Parlux Power Light 385 Ionic & Ceramic Hair Dryer
Best Hair Dryer For Thick Hair
For obvious reasons, for people with very thick hair, blow-drying can be a daunting task. There is so much hair to work through and let’s be honest, you’ve got better stuff to be doing with your time. Also holding your arm in an unnatural position as you blow dry your hair can cause strain and pain, you need to find the sweet spot between power and comfort.
The Parlux Power Light is extremely powerful and lightweight, meaning you can blow dry your hair quickly without any aches or discomfort. This is our top pick if you’re trying to manage thick hair.
It’s also equipped with both ceramic and ionic technology, so you should be frizz free and protected from heat damage.
- Super lightweight at 465g.
- Four air temperature controls and two speed settings.
- Cold shot button to cool down your hair and lock in your style.
- Two concentrated nozzles to customise your blow drying experience
2. Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
Best Hair Dryer For Hair Health
If you already know the Dyson brand name, then you’re probably aware that their cutting edge design sets them apart. In fact, they’ve quickly become market leader in nearly everything they’ve turned their highly skilled hands and minds too, and their pro dryer is no exception.
The controlled airflow can produce the same result as other dryers in half the time. There’s a built-in microprocessor that measures the temperature of the air output 20 times per second, keeping a constant watch on the heat so you never damage your hair while also reducing your drying time. Paired with a digital V9 ac motor, this hair dryer offers all the power, balance and performance you could possibly need. Revolutionise your blow-drying experience with innovative Dyson design.
The Bio Ionic is often compared with the Dyson and is quite high end. While as a brand bio ionic has come a long way in a short time, you can’t beat the decades of engineering precision packed into Dyson products.
- 1600W of power minimizes electricity usage whilst delivering fantastic results.
- Four heat settings and three-speed settings offer an array of blow dry modes for any demands.
- Smoothing nozzle and diffuser tools included.
- Ionic system reduces static.
- Two-year manufacturer warranty.
3. Remington Aero 2000w Hair Dryer
Best Hair Dryer On A Budget
If you don’t want to spend big on a pro dryer, but still want big results, the Remington Aero 2000W hair dryer is super affordable, yet still has all of the versatility and functions you might expect in a professional dryer.
Designed with everyday convenience in mind, it still features three different heat settings and a cold shot button function to lock in styles, and all of this for around $20! It’s lightweight, fast drying, and comfortable to use, and for the price this simply cannot be beaten as a budget hair care option.
- 2000W motor provides all the power you need.
- Three heat settings and two-speed settings.
- Lightweight, comfortable to hold and easy to use.
- Cool shot function to lock in your style.
- Decent cord length
- Two-year manufacturer warranty.
4. GHD Helios Hair Dryer
Best Hair Dryer For Curly Hair
To control the curls in your hair, it’s important to lock in the hair’s natural moisture, as if curly hair gets too dry (or doesn’t dry correctly) we all know what happens next – frizz, unwanted volume, and a head of hair that’s just completely out of control!
The ghd helios hair dryer uses some pretty innovative technology to do just this. The ghd helios is fitted with unqiue Aeroprecis™ technology, channeling airflow through the longer-life, brushless DC motor to create a powerful airflow. It also prevents moisture loss and cuticle damage for maximum shine, making this perfect for curly hair. ghd air is more delicious somehow.
- Unique Aeroprecis™ technology
- Longer-life, brushless DC motor
- Powerful but focused airflow
- advanced ionic technology
- Lightweight and ergonomically balanced for styling comfort
- Bespoke acoustic system to ensure low sound levels
- Fast Drying Time
- Heat setting options
5. Silver Bullet Travel Hair Dryer Set
Best Travel Hair Dryer
At a weight of 225g, the Silver Bullet Travel Hair Dryer Set is a great choice for the avid world traveller. You’ll never have to travel without your hair styling tools because of luggage limits again. The travel set also comes with a travel hair straightener so you’ll be able to curl or straighten your locks on the go.
In stylish rose gold, this travel set makes a luxe gift for friends or family who love their vacation time. It’ll also look gorgeous on your vanity. Travel in style today with the ultimate travel hair dryer set at a backpacker price tag. Don’t be scared off though, still delivers salon results.
Hair Dryer For Fine Hair
People with fine hair often find achieving voluminous looks difficult. We’d recommend the Silver Bullet Travel hair dryer, as it is the most likely to give your hair a new lease of life.
The 1200 watt airflow is designed to blast volume into your locks and is actually rather easy to use, which is a big plus. The included concentrator and diffuser attachments also combine to give your hair a volume boost. Its two two heat/speed settings are perfect for carrying off that wind-swept style you’ve been struggling to achieve!
- Dual voltage for worldwide use
- concentrator nozzle and curling diffuser
- 1200 watts of controlled power
- 15cm high x 13cm long x 6cm wide
- Weighs 225g
Should I Replace My Hair Dryer?
Many of us will find a hair dryer we trust and stick with it for years, but it’s important to know when it’s time to switch it up. If your hair dryer is on the way out, it’s not only going to be detrimental to your style: it could be downright unsafe.
Here’s a few indicators to look out for that will let you know when it’s time to upgrade.
Your Hair Dryer Is Blowing Hot
If the air from your hair dryer is feeling super hot, something is awry! There are any reasons why this can happen, but the end result is you lose control over your styling, and potentially dry and damge your hair in the process. Even worse, in severe cases you can burn you skin and scalp. Not what you’re looking for at all. The solution? Upgrade.
A Burning Smell
Hair dryers work by sucking air from the surrounding atmosphere, heating it and then jetting the hot air through the nozzle. Of course, this means it also sucks in the dirt and dust floating around in the air. There is a filter fitted to remove this, but like all filters, over time it can become clogged and dirty and unable to suck in enough clean air to run the hair dryer effectively. This can cause the hair dryer to overheat and you may even notice a burning smell – a sign that it’s time to replace your hair dryer.
Safety Trip Switch Not Working
How Should I Dispose Of My Old Hair Dryer?
What's Important When Buying A Hair Dryer?
When asked what they look for in a blow dryer, most consumers cited the following three things as the most important when choosing a hair drying styling tool:
Lightweight and maneuverable. Weighty hair dryers can put strain on your wrist and hand which can lead to more than discomfort: if you use it regularly you run the risk of strains or even RSI type injuries. Have a hold of it in store before you buy if you can. Get a feel for how comfortable the hair dryer is and see if it’s well balanced.
Ease of use. Seems obvious, but being able to quickly and easily change settings, heat, and add and remove the nozzle etc is the most important thing for most people make their choice. After all, you don’t want to have to be consulting the manual very time you want a slightly new look!
Comfortable hold. For most of us our hair dryer will be used if not every day, then often enough, and over time an uncomfortable grip will really start to grate. So choosing a hair dryer with ergonomics that fit your hand is important.
Ionic, Ceramic, Tourmaline – What Does It All Mean?
Special features and the type of technology used are generally ranked low in importance by consumers, when it comes choosing a hair dryer. Despite this, the marketing for most hair dryers uses a lot of confusing technical terminology, whilst promising it is the key to delivering salon-perfect, natural and shiny results. But what do these terms mean, and do they actually make any difference? Here’s a few of the more common terms explained:
Ionic – Possibly the most confusing, Ionic technology claims to condition hair by using negatively charged ions. These are created by passing air over an electric current. It is claimed that this dry hair faster, retains moisture, and creates less static to reduce frizz. Ionic technology creates exponentially more negative ions than ceramic.
Ceramic – Ceramic technology is widely marketed to those of us who suffer from frizz-prone hair. Ceramic is used to evenly distribute heat, protecting hair from heat damage whilst promoting natural shine.
Tourmaline – A different approach to the ionic products but the same outcome. Tourmaline is used to generate negative ions (rather than an electric current), with the aim of speeding up drying while reducing static.
We’ve found no conclusive evidence that these technologies improve hair dryer performance, but although it’s hard to say for sure, most users indicate that these claims at least appear to be true.
What Are The Features To Look For In A Hair Dryer?
The position and design of the switch can be so important with hair dryers. As they are often placed on the handle, striking a balance between ease of use whilst avoiding accidental switching is key. They should be accessible, easy to operate and well-labelled. Sliding switches are set in the handle and can be hard to use if they’re stiff, but rocker switches require you to push the raised end down and can be accidentally activated. Make sure the switches on your choice are cleverly designed and positioned to avoid these issues..
Multiple Heat Options And Airflow Settings
This is a nozzle which narrows and concentrates the airflow where you want it. It’s designed for spot-drying and controlled styling and from our research is the most commonly used accessory
Diffuser / Volumiser
Other nozzle feature which used short fingers to dry curly hair, by spreading the airflow to prevent frizz. Diffusers with longer fingers – sometimes called volumisers – are designed to add volume to all types of hair by directing heat to the roots. So if your looking for curl or volume, look out for a diffuser attachment.
Turbo (or Boost)
Are There Any Safety Tips For Using My Hair Dryer?
Yes! We all know that water droplets and electricity don’t mix. Given that they are used around wet hair, no wonder then that hair dryers are one of the most common household items associated with electric shock. It’s vital that we use them safely to prevent injury to ourselves and others.
- Make sure your hair dryer is in good working order – our guide above tells you what to look out for.
- If the power cord is damaged, do not use it until it has been replaced by a professional.
- If you can, avoid using your hair dryer in damp or wet areas, for example the bathroom.
- And if you do get your hair dryer wet, turn it off and unplug it immediately. Do not use it until you’re confident it has dried out completely.
Choosing The Best Hairdryer For You
OK so now we have covered the tech and safety, we can nearly start choosing a professional hair dryer! Excited? Just a few more things to think about before we do though.
To choose the right hair dryer, you need to think about what effect you want. Here are some key questions to ask yourself:
- What effect are you trying to achieve?
- What heat setting do you need?
- Does drying time matter?
- What’s your budget price point?
This should be easy enough for you as you’ve had your hair for a while now. You might also want to consider what styles you might like to try, and factor this in, to make sure you buy a hair dryer which has the flexibility to allow you to experiment.