Our health and beauty experts evaluated over 60 different models before purchasing 14 of the best hair dryers on the market to test side-by-side. We designed a test plan in conjunction with a professional stylist, measuring important characteristics like temperature output, airspeed, and styling versatility. We used each of these blow dryers in our own homes for an extensive testing period, to dry our hair straight, with curls and waves, and as fast as possible. Whether you're looking for something to tame flyaways, a hair dryer that actually works on textured hair, or a model you can travel the world with, our comprehensive testing will help you find the best hair dryer for all of your styling needs.
Included attachments: 2 different shaped concentrators | Cord length: 8 ft 10 in
REASONS TO BUY
Effective concentrator nozzles
Dries without overdrying
REASONS TO AVOID
Doesn't get as hot
Lacks styling diversity
Though not as flashy as some others, the Sam Villa Light Professional Ionic is an excellent hair dryer that we'd recommend to just about anyone. Its two concentrator nozzles do an excellent job pushing air at above-average speeds, exactly where you want it to go. This allows the Sam Villa to use lower temperatures for just as effective styling, thereby saving your hair from the ravages of too much heat. Both attachments stay solidly in place and never once got knocked off during our testing. This dryer is more compact than most full-sized dryers, making it easier to wield as you style and dry your hair — and easier to justify bringing along when you travel. Its rounded cord is plenty long without being bulky, and the handle's matte texture and ergonomic shape make it comfortable and easy to hold.
That matte finish shows fingerprints and scuffs more easily than glossy dryers, if that matters to you. And while the rocker controls are in a convenient place with just the right amount of resistance, their kiddish colors aren't our favorite, and their indented Roman numerals aren't super easy to read. If you have exceptionally thick or curly hair and want to create your style with a low-powered diffuser dryer, the Sam Villa might not be quite what you need. But if you're here for high, concentrated power in a pleasant-to-use package, this is our number one recommendation.
Included attachments: 5; concentrator, diffuser, comb, gentle air, flyaway tamer | Cord length: 8 ft 7 in
REASONS TO BUY
Huge diversity of attachments and styling versatility
Lots of temperature and speed options
Smaller size is easier to handle
REASONS TO AVOID
Large, inconvenient electric box in the cord
If you have textured hair and you want the best of the best, the Dyson Supersonic is the hair dryer for you. This unconventional-looking dryer is the only model we tested with the versatility to style nearly all hair types, thanks to all the included attachments. It comes with five magnetic attachments (and no duplicates, like most other models), three speeds, and four temperature settings. Though it took some testing to figure out the best settings to use, it's the only one we could consistently get to actually style hair in waves and curls. Even straight-haired users have lots to get excited about, as the odd-looking flyaway attachment worked wonders at taming our locks all day, with no touch-ups required. Understated controls are easy to operate without getting in the way during use. By moving the air intake to the bottom of the handle, the balance of this dryer is much more in-hand than any other model we tested.
The Dyson Supersonic is unlike any other dryer we've ever used, and there was a learning curve to figuring out what settings worked for different hair types. The Dyson is designed to be versatile enough for any thickness and texture of hair — and sometimes we overdried our hair while trying to find that perfect combination of heat and speed. But if you're willing to experiment, this model is the only one we tested that actually styles not-straight hair well. Of course, all those styling options and that unique design come with a very high price tag. We're also not in love with the excessively thick cord (with no cord-wrangling strap) and its chunky electric box dangling in the middle of the wire about 18 inches above the plug. It's no peach to stuff into a suitcase, but the styling versatility of the Dyson is more than enough to convince us to bring it along on all but the most minimalist of trips. If you're sick of torturing your hair straight every day and are ready to let your waves or curls shine, there's no other dryer we would recommend for styling textured hair than the Dyson Supersonic.
Included attachments: 2 different shaped concentrators | Cord length: 7 ft 5 in
REASONS TO BUY
Effective concentrator nozzle
Good range of speed and temperature
REASONS TO AVOID
Still allows frizz
If you're looking for a hair dryer that styles and dries without spending a small fortune, the Trezoro Professional Ionic is a solid bet. This lightweight styling tool is easier to wield with a brush in hand than others of its size. It offers a solid range of temperatures, and its two concentrator nozzles make a good pair for drying large areas of hair and styling small sections. Though its two speeds are on the lower end of the spectrum, we didn't find that to hamper this model's drying ability in any way, thanks to the effective concentrator attachments. The matte finish and bumped handle aren't quite as ergonomic as some, but they still offer a good handhold and a secure way to wrap the cord before putting it back in your drawer.
It's not without a few shortcomings, though. Despite being lighter than many, the Trezoro is still rather bulky and not something we're excited to travel with. With "ionic" in the name, we expected better results when taming frizz, but this dryer proved to be just average. And though the end looks like it should be able to come off to give you access to clean the intake filter, we couldn't actually get it off. Any hair dryer that gets used regularly needs cleaning from time to time. The Trezoro isn't great for all hairstyles, but it's a straightforward model that performs well for a reasonable price and gets our recommendation for its good value.
Included attachments: 1 concentrator, 1 diffuser | Cord length: 5 ft 7 in
REASONS TO BUY
Cool setting locks into place
REASONS TO AVOID
Can create frizz
Buttons bite into your hand
If you're searching for a basic budget hair dryer that's a step above the cheapest options, we recommend looking at the Conair Infinitipro 1875W Salon Performance. This model has plenty of airflow, a convenient interface, an ergonomic grip, and a hanging loop for storage. It has three different temperature settings, along with a locking cool shot button, and includes a flat concentrator and a circular diffuser. Its twist-off filter allows for easy maintenance.
Compared to the premium products in our test, this model is very basic, and if you are prone to frizz, you might want to choose a different model. The cord is less than 6', which can be restrictive. We also noticed the rocker switches could bite into your hands a bit when at their extreme positions. Flaws aside, if you're in the market for an affordable blow dryer, the Conair Infinitipro 1875W Salon Performance will get the job done fast at a tiny fraction of the price of the high-end models.
Included attachments: 2 different shaped concentrators | Cord length: 8 ft 10 in
REASONS TO BUY
Attachments are effective yet diffuse
Smaller, lighter size is easier to use
REASONS TO AVOID
Lacks high heat and power options
Less versatile styling ability
Are you sick of feeling like your hair is fried, no matter what heat setting you use? The Bio Ionic Graphene MX could be the answer to your struggle. This gentle dryer is kind to hair on all settings. Its hottest temperature is on par with most models' "warm" setting. To make up for these lower temperatures, the Graphene boasts some of the highest speeds we tested. Its concentrator nozzles are rounded on their ends, allowing a more even spread of air, while still reasonably concentrated — no tornado effect here. It's also shorter than most full-sized dryers, lightweight, and boasts a long cord. And though the looks of a hair dryer don't matter — or factor into our scoring — the deep glossy navy of this model earned "ooh"s from more than one of our testers.
If you've got super thick hair that only dries with hot air, the Graphene MX probably won't be enough for you. And though we love the effectiveness of the rounded concentrators and circular nozzle, they're less effective at rigid styling and best employed to dry hair into its naturally loose texture (if "naturally loose" doesn't describe the texture of your hair, this may not be the dryer you're searching for). It's also one of the more expensive options we tested, so not something to purchase on a "maybe". But if you've almost given up on hair dryers because they're all too harsh for your hair, the Bio Ionic Graphene MX may just be your hair's new best friend.
Included attachments: Concentrator | Cord length: 5 ft 9 in
REASONS TO BUY
Included concentrator nozzle
REASONS TO AVOID
No cool option
Whether you're packing for a long journey or just looking for something small to stuff in the drawer of the guest bathroom, the BaBylissPro TT Tourmaline Titanium Travel is our favorite mini hair dryer. It folds in half, to more easily slide into cramped quarters and is the only micro dryer we tested to come with any attachments at all — a small concentrator nozzle. For overseas travel, no matter where you call home, this pocket-sized hero lets you easily swap from 125V to 250V with just a twist of your nail file or the help of a small coin. Even stationed at home for several weeks, we enjoyed using the Nano Titanium Travel Dryer and never once got our hair caught in the back of this short dryer.
The BaBylissPro Travel Dryer has fewer settings — just Low and High, to oscillate from lower speed and lower heat to a higher speed and heat. It has no cool setting, and both the heat settings run very hot. Further minimizing its footprint, the Nano Titanium Travel Dryer has a shorter cord than we like, although it's significantly longer than any other travel option we tested. Despite its obvious limitations, this pint-sized product still offers solid styling and drying power in a very travel-friendly package and is our go-to choice for vacationing abroad.
Why You Should Trust Us
Over the past couple years, we've tested nearly two dozen different hair dryers. We combed the internet to find the most promising hair dryers to test side-by-side in this review. From professional models used in salons to budget-friendly options available at the local drugstore, we bought and tested a wide range of hair dryers. While every hair dryer will dry your hair, we dove beyond the name to see how well they actually perform. Styling and drying ability were our top considerations — we tested these hair dryers on curly and wavy hair, on straight hair, thick hair, and fine hair to see which ones can handle the diversity of hair types and desired hairstyles. We spent months styling and drying our hair with every model, gaining detailed insights into each dryer's strengths and shortcomings. We measured every aspect of them, including all temperature settings, every speed setting, their size, and the length of their cords. We even traveled with them to see how well they handled the journey — and how worthy they are of precious suitcase space.
We divided our dozens of tests, measures, and assessments into the following four metrics:
Styling Ability (35% of overall score weighting)
Drying Ability (30% weighting)
Ease of Use (25% weighting)
Packability (10% weighting)
Our expert testing team is lead by Senior Review Editor, Maggie Nichols. Maggie's background and her multiple degrees involved designing and carrying out rigorous scientific testing. Her hair has continued to change texture over the past 20 years, constantly challenging her to find new and effective ways to coax it into doing what she wants. She has had hair as long as the small of her back and as short as a single inch and has used a hair dryer regularly for over two decades. From growing up styling her hair in muggy Midwestern summers to keeping it healthy in dry desert winters, there is no climate Maggie hasn't dried and styled her hair in.
Analysis and Test Results
Across our four metrics of testing, we combined objective, measurable aspects of each model — like their airspeed and temperature output — with more subjective and experiential features — like how well they tame flyaways or set curls and waves. In what follows, we will break down our testing to shine a light on the best models in each specific area.
There is a huge range of possible costs you might pay for a new hair dryer. And the several-hundred-dollar question is, "Are the more expensive models really worth it?". The simple answer is that it depends on what you're looking for. The best value model we tested is the Trezoro Professional Ionic. This dryer offers solid styling and drying performance without breaking the bank. If you're looking to do basic drying and maybe a little bit of straight-styling, the Trezoro will get the job done for less than the premium models. If you're here to find out how to upgrade your hair dryer to something that cuts down frizz, styles straighter hair well, and is pleasant to use, the Sam Villa Light Professional Ionic is that dryer. It left our hair feeling silky and smooth and not at all fried and is a downright joy to use. For drying textured hair, the solution becomes a bit more spendy. The vast majority of models we tested just don't do well drying curly or wavy hair. The only one that actually worked well for styling and drying without frying is the very expensive Dyson Supersonic. While this dryer may not be particularly affordable for most of us, it's the only one we tested that actually has the range to manage textured hair.
Testing the styling ability of every dryer took a lot of time, extra hair washings, and plenty of trial and error. We first took note of everything measurable, including the number and type of attachments and the temperature range and options available. We checked for tips and tricks for using each model — both those included in the box and recommended on their websites. And then we styled our hair with them over and over (and over) again. We tried every attachment the way it is intended to be used and gauged its effectiveness over multiple sessions. We styled our hair at the beginning of the day and noted how well it stayed by the day's end. We tried every logical combination of heat, speed, and attachments to create hairstyles that were straight, wavy, curly, and natural.
If you have suggestible hair that can be dried straight or wavy, or textured hair that's decidedly not straight, the best tool we found for versatile styling is the Dyson Supersonic. No other hair dryer comes close to matching the Dyson when it comes to non-straight hair — and it wows us with its performance on straight hair too! With five attachments, this expensive product may seem like a gimmick, but every one of these pieces did exactly what Dyson advertises it to do. While there are many options for folks with mostly straight hair, the Dyson Supersonic is the only one that excels at styling textured hair.
If you mostly find yourself drying your hair straight, the Sam Villa and Harry Josh Pro Dryer 2000 both made our hair silky smooth when dried with a brush. The Drybar Buttercup has an excellent range of temperatures and an exceptionally lengthy barrel that work well together to let you achieve that "blowout look" at home. The Bio Ionic Graphene MX combines lower temperatures with higher speeds that are a dream for fine-haired folks and those looking to protect their locks from heat damage without sacrificing style. The Trezoro Professional Ionic and BaBylissPro Nano Titanium have effective concentrator nozzles and wide ranges of temperature to help you style your hair — though both lack the same level of frizz-taming finesse found in the previously mentioned models.
Over the months we spent testing these hair dryers, we gauged their ability to dry our hair quickly and effectively into whatever style we were trying to accomplish. We measured air speed at every setting to understand the full range available for use. We used them with attachments and without attachments. We considered how closely we could comfortably hold them to our heads to speed up the process. And we dried our hair repeatedly to better understand the speed at which each model consistently dries our hair.
The fastest drying models we tested are the Sam Villa Light Professional Ionic and the Harry Josh Pro Dryer 2000. Though they're on the higher end of the range of airspeeds among models we tested, neither is the fastest (or even the second-fastest). However, both have exceptionally narrow concentrator attachments that very effectively point air exactly where you need it, resulting in a faster dry time, even at lower temperatures. The DryBar Buttercup and Dyson Supersonic are also quite fast, particularly at their higher settings, both in temperature and speed. However, we found both these models to lose out in their detailed styling when drying too fast, whereas the Sam Villa and Harry Josh dry quickly while styling well.
The Bio Ionic Graphene MX dries quicker than we expected for a model with pretty low temperatures. Its high speed and effectual concentrator nozzles more than make up for its lower heat settings. The BaBylissPro Nano Titanium also dries fairly quickly, though this is achieved through its use of higher temperatures, which often results in a frizzier outcome. Not far behind is the Trezoro, though it also produced less-than-sleek results when drying hair quickly, as it employs higher temperatures to achieve those quick results. The CHI Pro Dryer and Conair Infinitipro 1875W Salon Performance both dried our hair with above-average expedience. The CHI does so through some of the highest temperatures of any model we tested, while the Infinitipro manages it by blowing fast-moving air in more directions with a very rounded concentrator.
Ease of Use
To test ease of use, we measured important things like cord length. We used controls with wet and slippery hands to see how easy they are to manipulate. We considered attachments — how easily they can be swapped from one to another while the dryer is on and off and how well they stay on when bumped against your head during drying. We checked the weight and balance of each model and evaluated their handle textures and ergonomics. When possible, we removed and cleaned filters to assess the long-term maintenance of each hair dryer.
The Bio Ionic Graphene MX is so easy and pleasant to use. Its rocker switches are lightly embedded into the handle, offering the perfect resistance to changing that makes them simple to operate with product on your hands but not too easy to accidentally switch while styling your hair. It has one of the shorter barrels for a full-sized hair dryer and is very lightweight and easy to maneuver. A long cord and attachments that never got dislodged during our testing (unless we were trying to remove them!) also make this one of our favorite hair dryers to hold. The Dyson Supersonic is the shortest full-sized hair dryer in our lineup, with its balance farther down in the handle, making it easy to aim and style at the same time. Its five magnetic attachments attach solidly and remove easily, and the dryer remembers your last-used setting, even after you've unplugged it. The Sam Villa is very similar in size, weight, and overall feel but has larger rockers and a too-small cool button that we like a little less. The Harry Josh Pro Dryer 2000 has a super short, well-balanced barrel with easy-to-read rocker switches cleverly placed into a small cavity on the back of the handle. However, it's one of the heaviest hair dryers we tested and has no cool setting — just a button.
The DryBar Buttercup has a matte finish and ergonomic handle that make it pleasant to hold. However, its extraordinary length barrel (even before its longer-than-average concentrators are attached) means you'll have to hold it quite far away from your head. We got used to it after a time, but it's much easier to use on someone else's hair than our own. It has the longest cord of any we tested, which we appreciate. The BaBylissPro Nano Titanium and Trezoro Professional Ionic have similar feels, with decently long cords and rocker switches on their handles. Both are a bit easier to bump into a different setting while in use, though not unduly so. The BaByliss sometimes drops its attachment if bumped too hard, and the Trezoro can't be opened to clean the intake filter.
Though it is our lowest-weighted metric, we also considered the packability of every dryer we tested. Whether you're planning to take it overnight at a friend's house or on a multiweek international journey, we evaluated the feasibility of doing so. We looked at how easy it is to wind up their cords. We took note of which ones were dual-voltage (thereby not needing a converter in places like Europe). We assessed their overall size and weight. And we considered which ones do a special enough job at styling and drying your hair to be worth the precious suitcase space they will inevitably take up.
In terms of sheer space, the BaBylissPro TT Tourmaline Titanium Travel and Conair 1600 Watt Compact Folding are roughly on par with each other. Both are much smaller than a standard hair dryer and can fold in half to more easily fit into awkwardly small spaces. Each has a similar twistable setting on its handle to easily switch between 125V and 250V input. We couldn't get either of them to move with just our fingernails, but both easily fit a small coin or a metal nail file. These scaled-down dryers give up many of the settings and long cords of their full-sized brethren, though both still have at least two settings.
Trying to stuff a full-sized hair dryer into a carry-on bag with limited capacity is a challenge. And since most hotels and vacation rentals have hair dryers you can use when you get there, it's often not worth the luggage space to bring your hair dryer along on vacation. The Sam Villa and Bio Ionic are both smaller and lighter than average, making them slightly better candidates for travel. However, neither has any voltage-switching abilities, meaning that if you're heading overseas, you'll likely need a bulky converter too. Ultimately, if you're willing to make space for a full-sized hair dryer in your bag, we're not going to try to talk you out of it — we've done it too.
Choosing the right hair dryer can be tricky. Every single hair dryer we tested does exactly what it's made to do — dry your hair. But if you're picky like we are, we hope that our deep dive and intensive testing of these models helps you to find the perfect hair dryer for your styling, drying, and even traveling needs.
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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.