Hair Dryers for All Hair Types

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

The Best Affordable Hair Dryer

For an all-around classic under $20, you can’t beat this one. It has excellent reviews on Amazon, with people praising how well it performs basic tasks. And it’s light — only 1.2 pounds. True, it isn’t as famous or beloved as the Amazon favorite Revlon One-Step, but it’s a lot cheaper.

The Best Affordable Hair Dryer for Shiny Hair

Many cheap blow-dryers don’t come with cool settings, which are essential for sealing the hair shaft. A closing blast of cold hair after a blowout helps hair to look especially shiny and smooth. This one does both hot and cold air especially well for a very reasonable price.

The Best Affordable Hair Dryer for Natural Hair

“Curly” is a word that comes up a lot in reviews of this dryer. As the Strategist mentioned, it has more power wattage than the Dyson, making it a great option for those with natural hair who praise its three strong-but-not- too-strong heat settings. And it only weighs about 1.7 pounds — less than a barre-class weight.

The One With a Cult Following

This hair dryer is an internet phenomenon thanks to Amazon. It’s currently the No. 1 best seller in its Beauty & Personal Care section, with over 32,000 five- star reviews. And the rumors are true: Because it styles and dries hair at the same time, it works very well at delivering salonlike blowouts (particularly for people with especially curly or thick hair). Average dry times range from eight to 12 minutes. Many reviewers call it a “game changer.”

The Fastest Cheap Hair Dryer

Many of the nearly 4,000 Amazon reviews of this dryer include the phrase “half the time” — as in, “I blow-dried my hair in half the time!” Reviewers love how quickly this dryer works to dry hair. At only 2.2 pounds, it’s pretty lightweight, too.

The Fastest Fancy Hair Dryer

This weighs less than a pound and gives you a frizzless, easy blowout very quickly. ishonest’s former beauty editor Ashley Weatherford once wrote an ode to it in which she said, “It cuts my typical drying time by a third.” Multiple reviewers claim that it works so well that it’s replaced their flat iron. It also comes with a nice ten-year warranty.

The Best Hair Dryer for Frizzy Hair

This dryer comes with a feature called “Nanoe™ Moisture Infusion,” which allegedly infuses your hair and scalp with 1,000 times more moisture while drying. Although it sounds counterintuitive, it’s meant to make hair smoother and less frizzy. The proof is in the Amazon reviews, where people rave about getting smooth blowouts that hold up even in humid, rainy weather.

The Brand All the Professionals Love

Parlux might not be super-popular Stateside, but I often see the brand backstage during Fashion Week. It’s superlight, compact, and durable, and because it’s made in Italy, it will work across countries (you just need the right converter).

Strategist reports that this other Parlux dryer is beloved by one of Paris’ most famous hairstylists, David Mallett, for being light and virtually indestructible. Use it whether you want a smooth blowout or French-girl hair.

The Best Hair Dryer If You Hate Flat Irons

To hold this one-pound, handleless dryer, you actually grip the barrel itself. Don’t worry, a protective rubber coating keeps it from getting too hot to touch. It does take some getting used to, but once you adjust, the control you achieve is a godsend for taming unruly roots.

After going to bed with wet hair (including four inches of root regrowth from my last keratin treatment), I woke up with a curly, frizzy crown that would normally require the attention of a flat iron.

The Best Hair Dryer for Travel

If you want a blow-dryer you can take abroad, look for one that’s dual voltage. The Amazon reviews (3,000 of them) are full of moms who gift this to their kids prior to backpacking adventures because it’s foldable, durable, and performs the basic functions well enough. You still obviously need to bring an adapter.

The Best Fancy Hair Dryer for Travel

Sephora and Ulta reviewers love this dryer because it’s foldable and dual voltage, making it perfect for travel. Even though it’s small and lacks a temperature setting, it doesn’t get superhot, won’t dry out your hair, and isn’t very loud. It’s also bright yellow, if you like that sort of thing. Compared to the other travel blow-dryers, it doesn’t feel flimsy, and works well enough to continue using at home, too.

The Investment Hair Dryer

Yes, this dryer is expensive, but here’s why it’s worth it: First, if you’re not one to frequent blow-dry bars and prefer a DIY style at home, this tool will completely dry your head three times as fast. If you are a regular salongoer, this machine will pay for itself after ten blowouts. With my usual dryer, it takes me 30 minutes to dry my hair from start to finish. With the Dyson, I’m done in ten — and it looks good, too. My hair appears glossy and smooth, and my frizz-prone roots look as if they had been run over with a flat iron.

The dryer is powerful yet quiet, and remains cool to the touch courtesy of what the company calls “heat-shield technology.” Even on the hottest power setting, I never burn my scalp. I found myself reaching for this one again and again throughout the testing process. It also has magnetic attachments and a sleek carrying case for travel. Dyson has successfully turned a dreadful chore into a task I don’t mind doing.

The One That Truly Does It All

This is like a fancy version of the Revlon Amazon dryer. It can dry, style, straighten, and give you waves. It can be used on wet hair — without danger of sizzling — to give you either a straight waterfall or nice, voluminous whorls of curls. Despite all the attachments, including a dryer nozzler, three different brushes, and multiple barrel sizes, it’s light and and fairly intuitive to use. Thanks to something called the “Coanda effect,” you don’t even have to physically wrap your hair around the “barrel.” When you place your hair near the barrel, air gently pulls it in and, like magic, it wraps around the barrel itself. When you pull away and release, you get one big, fat curl. It’s entirely unique.

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