You've upgraded your jacket game, slipped on new pairs of shoes, added a new piece of jewelry to your game, but have you invested in a high-quality hair dryer?
Everyone can benefit from a hair dryer (unless you've got a buzz cut or shorter, then there's not much use other than blowing hot air on your head). The hair dryers of yore were loud, bulky and worst of all, bad for your hair.
Today's dryers are different; for starters, many of them implement materials like ceramic, tourmaline or titanium, which minimize damage to your hair. The tech is better, too; for example, ionic dryers emit negative ion energy to mitigate static and frizz.
Our top picks are quieter, more compact and come in more varieties, including brushes that style and tame at the same time. If you've craving volume, shine and health for your hair, check out our selectionss below.
Best All-Around Hair Dryer
While this is not your standard blow dryer, it still makes the cut for best overall for its attention to detail, ease of use and performance. For anyone that's in a hurry in the morning, is a frequent traveler or just an admirer of convenience, this drying brush is for you. The Hot Tools one-step dryer uses a proprietary ceramic coating to create even heat distribution and add shine to hair. A detachable head design means you can use different attachments, depending on your hair length and desired style. Charcoal-infused boar bristles neutralize odors, absorb dirt and grime and reduce breakage. Considering all of the above is wrapped into a lightweight package that costs less than $100, it's no mystery why we think you should pick one up.
Best Upgrade Hair Dryer
Rich materials, incredible performance, a whisper-quiet motor and a cult following. These attributes and more make Dyson's Supersonic dryer one of the most popular and highly-rated options on the market. By using direct heat to dry and control the hair, the Supersonic eliminates frizz, increases shine and improves texture. The Supersonic comes with five attachments including the new Flyaway, which uses the Coanda effect to lift longer hairs, and hide flyaways. If you've got long, textured, wavy or curly hair, consider the Dyson — these hair types are dryer, and therefore more susceptible to damage from heat styling tools. By cutting drying time and eliminating extreme heat, the Dyson protects and enhances your hair.
The Dyson is as attractive as it is powerful, and comes in a special-edition carrying case for storage and travel. Buyer beware: if you've got a live-in partner that likes to style their hair, consider this thing already stolen. It's that good.
Best Affordable Hair Dryer
A relative newcomer on the scene, Kristin Ess was founded in 2008 and has been steadily expanding its empire since. Easily recognizable on crowded shelves due to its minimal aesthetic. the brand is a mix of high-end design and affordable pricepoints. We love the Space Saving Compact Pro — it's ideal for travel, as well as everyday use. Ionic tech locks in moisture and reduces frizz, and a cool shot button allows you to set your style once you've got it down. Dual voltage and a folding handle mean you can stow this away in your carry-on for domestic and international travel without missing a beat.
Best Frizz-Fighting Hair Dryer
Conair is one of the most well-known names in hair care, and the brand leveraged its decades of experience and product development to develop a simple, streamlined dryer that won't break the bank. The classic design of the InfinitiPro by Conair may be the answer to your coif quandaries: Dual Ion Therapy uses positive and negative ions to control frizz and enhance shine, and ceramic tech protects strands from heat damage. Three heat settings and two speed settings allow you to customize to your comfort, and two attachments cater to different hair types.
Best Underrated Luxury Dryer
If you're not familiar with Drybar, it's an insanely popular chain of salons focused on one thing: the blowout. In 2018, Drybar had more than 100 locations and 3,000 employees, and reportedly generates $100 million in revenue. (That's a lot of blowouts.) If you're looking to replicate the quality of Drybar's services without the price tag, or if you're social distancing and don't feel comfortable in the salon environment, consider investing in the Reserve Ultralight blow dryer for at-home use. Featuring proprietary Ionic Desiccant Technology, which reduces the relative humidity level by 87 percent, the dryer locks in moisture and reduces dry time, protecting your hair. At less than a pound, you won't get any shoulder tightness or stiffness, and the ergonomic design makes for comfort while styling.
Best 2-in-1 Hair Dryer
Two-in-one is good for a few things: jackets, bottle openers and hair dryers. (Never, ever shampoos and conditioners.) That's why we love this dryer from Revlon — this name-brand wonder is affordable as far as heat tools go, and packs ergonomic, lightweight design, three heat settings, strategically-placed air flow vents and ionic tech into one small package. Whether you've got long or short strands, this dryer is great for quick touch-ups, easy morning styling and on-the-go grooming.
Best Travel Hair Dryer
Now that many of us are traveling again for work (and pleasure), it's time to reassess what we're bringing on the road. For the frequent flyers and weekend warriors out there, consider T3's travel-focused option, the Fit Compact. It's 30 percent smaller than traditional dryers, and T3 is known in the beauty and grooming industry to stand for reliability and quality. The T3 uses ionic tech to infuse negative ions into the airstream, drying hair gently and quickly. The quiet design, durable motor and nine-foot cord make it great for travel, especially for hotel rooms and Airbnbs with awkward outlets.
Best Simple Design
If utility and reliable performance are top of mind when looking to invest in a hair dryer, consider this option from Paul Mitchell. This full-size dryer is simple and gets straight to the point: ergonomic design makes for a more comfortable drying experience, while negative ion emission maintains hair health and shine. The digital LCD display shows temperature, airflow and cool shot settings, and the dual voltage makes traveling pain-free. The Express Ion Turbolight+ features five heat settings as well as five speed settings, accommodating a variety of hair textures and lengths.