The GHD Helios is our #1 hair dryer this month. We've reviewed it, we're still using and we continue to be impressed by how quickly it heats up and drys our wet and wild hair. We've put the Dyson Supersonic as a very close runner-up - it's a very good blow dryer, but it is very expensive so how likely you are to buy it depends on your budget.
We're starting to see and hear more about new hair dryer release dates, particularly State side. Once we've called them in, tried them out and scored them, we'll be sharing our thoughts with you - they may even effect the rankings in this guide, we'll see.
Jennifer Oksien, Editor - Homes
Owning the best hair dryer or hair blower is essential for getting the look you want with the minimum of time, effort and fuss. It'll do this without causing any damage to your hair and will create a lasting shine.
We appreciate that there are a lot of hair dryers to choose from, and it can be overwhelming to hone in on a brand and an appliance which you feel confident enough about to tame your mane. This is why we have curated this guide to help you navigate through all the options to find the hair dryer that's perfect for your hair, your style and your lifestyle too.
As we're sure you know, there's more to hair dryers than just blowing hot air. Hair dryers come in all shapes and sizes, with different amounts of power and often differing accessories too. Some use clever tech to turbo-charge the drying process; others do a brilliant job at boosting your curls or straightening your locks – in the latter case, often coming close to the results you'd get from one of the best hair straighteners.
If you've found your style and plan to stick with it, we have the best hair dryers for that – but we've also covered more versatile options for those of us who like to mix it up and try new looks without having to step into a salon. And if you have fine hair, we've included a number of models that offer lower temperature and airflow speeds to help protect your hair from breakage.
No matter what kind of hair dryer you buy, it's important to use it in the best way. So to help with that we've put together some helpful guides on how to blow dry your hair the right way and which hair dryer settings you should use to get the results you want without doing any damage. Once you know how to use it, it's just a matter of finding the best hair dryer that ticks all the boxes you need – from price to power, attachments and any special features.
We've tested tons of the best hair dryers that we could find to put together this guide, and our testers' hair ranges from super-flat to brilliantly bouncy and everything in between. The hair dryers have been ranked in positions 1 to 9 to help with your search. Keep scrolling to see which brands made the cut.
Best hair dryer: tried and tested by us
If you're looking for the best hair dryer then the GHD Helios is it. This blow dryer combines the aesthetic of the GHD Air with a brushless motor, which the company claims has a longer lifespan. The result is a stunning, well-balanced, fast-drying hair care appliance. Until we’d used the Helios, Dyson’s Supersonic was the fastest hair dryer we’ve tested, but GHD's newest haircare appliance took an entire minute off the drying time. Lighter than the GHD Air and with a longer power cable, it’s a whole decibel quieter too.
Our very own Homes Editor, Jennifer Oksien, is one of its many loyal users: "This is by far one of the best hair dryers I've every used. It's quiet, powerful and dries my long, damp hair in less than 60 seconds. Oh, and it's available in a selection of gorgeous colors, though I have it in midnight blue.”
The sacrifice you make for this advanced drying performance is that our hair lacked the volume and bounce we enjoy after using other dryers in this list, namely the Revlon Pro. However, this was the only real negative from an all-round fantastic hair dryer.
Read the full GHD Helios review
There's no hiding the fact this is an expensive hair dryer – and let’s be honest, is beyond many people’s budgets for a haircare appliance. But Dyson has crammed a shed-load of tech into its Supersonic dryer making it the best hair dryer you can buy right now.
Instead of having the motor behind the nozzle, Dyson has moved it to the handle and this motor sucks in air via a filter in the base rather than through a vent in the barrel. This design shrinks the size of the Supersonic considerably, so it's one of the most compact and lightest hair dryers we've tested.
During testing, it was extremely quick to use and provided enough shine to negate the need to run the straighteners over it afterward. However, we often blocked the filter with our hand and the buttons are a little fiddly to access mid-dry. We also couldn't get the eye-watering price out of our minds but if you really, really need to have this hair dryer in our life then check out our constantly updated guide to the best Dyson Supersonic deals which could see you save some dollars.
Read our full Dyson Supersonic hair dryer
If you’re on a budget this hair dryer from Hot Tools is worth considering. On test, we found the hair dryer, which is known as the Hot Tools Pro Signature Salon 1875 Watts Ionic AC Motor Hair Dryer in the US, was simple to use and it took our shoulder-length fine hair from wet to dry on the hottest setting in a similar time to more expensive models in this list. Although on the lowest temperature setting, after six minutes we gave up as our hair wasn’t anywhere close to dry.
We feel that it is a good option for holiday go-ers or business travellers because the UK version comes with a dual plug. It's also not the bulkiest or heaviest hair dryer we've seen so it'll help when you're trying to pack light.
To keep the price low, there are some compromises with this hair dryer. It doesn’t have the look and feel of more premium hair dryers and the cable is shorter than we’d expect too. On top of that, the filter isn’t removable, which makes cleaning the hair dryer fiddly, but for those on a budget, these compromises are worth making.
Read our full Hot Tools Pro Signature Salon Ionic AC motor review
In what should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever used GHD’s range of luxury straighteners, the GHD Air hair dryer is solid and stylish. Where it really excels is noise - it's the quietest dryer we’ve tested.
In stark contrast to the Dyson Supersonic’s lightweight, streamlined design, the GHD Air is a large machine with a thick handle, solid switches, and a long barrel but rather than feeling bulky, this sturdiness adds a sense of luxury and craftsmanship to the whole thing. However, its larger size meant we often found it unwieldy in our attempt to get the perfect angle.
During our test, we found that it wasn't the fastest dryer we’ve used, nor was it the slowest. However, if you want a touch of luxury and style, this hair dryer certainly gets the job done.
Read our full GHD Air review
The Revlon Pro Collection One Step Dryer & Volumiser is a slight wildcard in this list of best hair dryers because it’s classed as a 2-in-1 styler and dryer. If you don’t have the time, patience, or skill to fully blow-dry your hair with barrel brushes, the Revlon combines the two. It’s effectively a large brush with air vents below the bristles and two heat settings, plus a cold shot. As you move the brush through your hair, it dries and styles at the same time. This gave our fine hair a decent shine and levels of volume we typically only get from a professional blow-dry.
However, the Revlon is noisy and heavy, coming in at 850g. That said, on test it was fast to dry our hair. While it’s near-on perfect for creating voluminous, bouncy blow dries there is no versatility beyond this. You can’t rough dry your hair with it, or create different styles like you can with traditional dryers and this was a significant downside for us.
For those that have curly hair, a diffuser is a must as it disperses the air stream to ensure the curl pattern of the hair isn’t disrupted. However, while many hair dryers ship with a diffuser, the Shark Style iQ, which is known as the Shark HyperAir in the US, goes one step further.
The diffuser it ships with has extendable prongs that ensure the roots, as well as the ends of curly hair, can be dried evenly, reducing the risk of heat damage, which is why it's our pick for those with curly hair. Even better, the hair dryer will automatically adjust the temperature and air flow settings when you connect the diffuser and other attachments it comes with, so ensure they're at the optimum. It was also fast at drying out hair too.
However, while it's not as expensive as the Dyson Supersonic, it's expensive compared to the rest of the market and the attachments are bulkier than we'd have expected. We were also disappointed during testing to find that it lacks a removable filter, which makes removing lint and dust a breeze.
Read our full Shark Style iQ hair dryer review
If you’re looking for a hair dryer that is ideal for taking away with you, the GHD Flight is the ideal choice. At just 0.9lb / 422g, it's 50% lighter than the GHD Air, but is still 70% as powerful, ensuring quick drying times.
This lightweight model is complemented by a foldable design that sees it transform into a more compact, easy to pack appliance, and it supports dual voltage so really can be used anywhere in the world. During testing, we found it was quick to dry our hair but couldn’t achieve the shine and smoothness other hair dryers could.
It also lacks the array of attachments other hair dryers come bundled with - it comes with just one concentrator nozzle, so while good for creating sleek styles, it may not suit those that want to achieve an array of different look. The filter isn’t removable either, which makes it slightly more difficult to clean.
Read our full GHD Flight review
The Panasonic EH-NA65 is a good hair dryer if you want fast drying times and shiny locks every time. On test, it took just under four minutes to fully dry and style our shoulder length fine hair, while the ‘quick dry’ nozzle, which splits the airflow into four sections – two strong streams in the center and two softer streams on each edge, sped this up by a further 30 seconds.
Our hair was left with a shiny, healthy look after each blow dry, thanks to the ‘nanoe technology’ which uses negative ions that penetrate the hair’s cuticle, reducing static and frizz to ensure a shiny finish. However, the outlet the negative ions are ejected from sits on top of the barrel, set slightly back from the air outlet and forms a hump on top of the barrel, creating a look to the hair dryer you’ll either love or hate.
Read our full Panasonic EH-NA65 review
When it comes to hair dryers - there’s a fine line between enough heat to ensure a quick drying time, and too much heat that can damage the strands leading to breakages and split ends. The Remington Hydraluxe Pro EC9001 strikes the right balance with a sensor that regulates the temperature of airflow to ensure hair isn’t damaged by excessive heat build-up.
On test, it was certainly one of the faster hair dryers we’ve reviewed, taking just 3 minutes and 47 seconds to fully dry our below-shoulder-length fine hair, but it’s also one of the noisiest too - measuring 82db on it’s fastest setting. This is equivalent to a diesel truck travelling down the road at 40mph.
It’s unusual design has a much wider-than-usual barrel, making it bulky and heavier than most hair dryers. It definitely made our arms ache when using it, but if you’re concerned about reducing heat damage, we still think it's a worthy hair dryer.
Read our full Remington Hydraluxe Pro EC9001 review
How to choose the best hair dryers for you
When it comes to buying the best hair dryer for you, there are a number of features you should consider starting with three different types of heating element, which warm the air before its projected from the barrel, used in modern hair dryers. Metal elements ensure the hair dryer is more affordable but will cause more heat damage, while ceramic elements ensure the heat is more evenly distributed to diminish the damage. Finally, tourmaline elements release negative ions in the air flow, which speeds up evaporation of the water molecules reducing drying time but also make hair appear smoother.
The higher the wattage of a hair dryer, the faster the air flow, which means it will dry your hair quicker. However high wattage hair dryers are usually powered by an AC (alternating current) motor, which makes them heavier. Lower wattage hair dryers are more lightweight because they tend to use lighter DC (direct current) motors but they’re not as powerful.
Also, consider whether you want a hair dryer that has ‘iconic technology’. These hair dryers usually feature tourmaline elements, and as we’ve already mentioned release negative ions to speed up evaporation and reduce flyaway strands, but some will also eject positive ions that can be used to boost the volume at the roots of the hair.
Hair dryers with cool shot buttons are ideal for those that painstakingly style their hair rather than rough dry it, as a blast of cool air will set the style. It’s worth checking out the attachments included with the hair dryer; nozzles are good for sleek, smooth styles, while diffusers ensure curly hair is defined and bouncy.
How we test hair dryers
To compare hair dryers we assess how quickly they dry a below-shoulder length mane on all of their heat settings and how shiny and frizz-free they left our hair. We also monitored the sound level, and factored in how comfortable and balanced they were to use. We also considered cable length, and handy features like hanging loops, cord storage, and even cool shot buttons.
Which hair dryer brand is best?
From our at-home testing we can say with confidence that the best hair dryer brand is GHD. We love the GHD Helios. It's quick to heat up and has a super-fast hair drying time. We're also a big fan of the stunning design - it's available in different colors and just feels nice to hold.
A very close runner-up is from Dyson. It's not surprising that the Dyson Supersonic happens to be the most expensive on our list but aside from this, it is one of the best hair dryers we have reviewed which would be our #1 choice it it wasn't for the money.
Does a good hair dryer make a difference?
A good quality hair dryer will have the heat control and power to dry hair quickly. The quicker you can dry your hair, the better. This is because the hair will be less exposed to the direct source of heat.
Keep a look out for tourmaline and ceramic technology. Ceramic will help to distribute the heat more evenly, and the tourmaline is a mineral that'll help to combat frizz by helping to retain some moisture.
What hair dryer is best for curly hair?
As we've already mentioned, those with curly hair should opt for a hair dryer that includes a diffuser. This attachment, which has a head much wider than the barrel of a hair dryer, features prongs designed to lit each strand of hair so the hot air can penetrate it. At the same time, the diffuser disperses the air stream to ensure the curl pattern of the hair isn’t disrupted.
While many hair dryers come with a diffuser, we particularly rate the Shark HyperAir, which is known as the Shark Style iQ in the UK, for two reasons. First the diffuser it ships with has extendable prongs, so the roots as well as the ends of curly hair, can be dried evenly - this helps reduce the risk of heat damage to the hair.
Secondly, the hair dryer will automatically adjust the speed and temperature to the optimum levels for the attachments connected to the hair dryer, including the diffuser. So you don't have to worry about changing these yourself - again helping to reduce the amount of heat damage or curl disruption caused by the hair dryer.
Is a hair dryer harmful to hair?
Using any heat on your hair will damage the outer protective coating, known as a cuticle layer. Tiny holes will start to appear, and continued use of high heat will see these grow bigger and bigger, with the cuticle layer disintegrating completely, leaving the inner layer of hair strands. When these are exposed, the strands very quickly suffer from breakage.
However, leaving your hair to dry naturally isn't an option for many of us. With that in mind, if you are planning on using a hair dryer, apply a heat protection styling spray before blow drying, and keep the heat level to a medium, to reduce the amount of damage a hair dryer causes to your hair.
What’s the difference between a hair dryer and a hair blower?
A hair dryer and a blow dryer is the same product, they are just different terms used depending on whether you live in the United States of America or United Kingdom. For more context, one uses a hair dryer to blow dry their hair.
How does a hair dryer work?
A hair dryer - aka blow dryer - is an electrical home appliance which uses a fan to blow air around a heating element. This warm air can then be directed onto wet hair to evaporate the water.
The appliance can also be used for styling purposes by using various attachments and heat settings to style a particular look.