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Best hair dryer 2022: top blow dryers for home and travel

Dyson Supersonic best hair dryer on a blue-green background reading "TechRadar"
(Image credit: TechRadar)

For many of us, hair is a crucial part of our look and our confidence – and whether it's bouncier than Beyonce´s or supremely sleek and straight, the best hair dryer will help you get the look you want with the minimum of time, effort and fuss. Most importantly of all, it'll do it without damaging your hair. We've curated this guide to the very best hair dryers 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 a hair dryer than just blowing 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 hair dryers to put together this guide, and our testers' hair ranges from super-flat to brilliantly bouncy and everything in between. If you're looking for our best recommendation we think the Dyson Supersonic is the best hair dryer for most people, but it's also quite pricey – so if that's the one you want, check out our constantly updated guide to the best Dyson Supersonic deals

Best hair dryer: tried and tested by us

The back view of the Dyson Supersonic best hair dryer on a white background

(Image credit: Dyson)
The best hair dryer you can buy

Specifications

Wattage: 1600
Weight: 1.5 lb / 697g
Speed settings: 3
Heat settings : 3
Cord length: 9.1 feet / 2.8 meters

Reasons to buy

+
Fast drying times
+
Array of heat and speed settings
+
Lightweight design 

Reasons to avoid

-
Most expensive model on the market
-
Controls can be fiddly to use

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.

Read our full Dyson Supersonic hair dryer

best hair dryer Hot Tools Pro Signature Salon Ionic AC motor hair dryer with its attachments on a white background

(Image credit: Hot Tools)
The best budget hair dryer

Specifications

Wattage: 2000 / 1875
Weight: 1.3lb / 565g
Speed settings: 2
Temperature settings: 3
Cord length: 6ft / 1.8m cable

Reasons to buy

+
More affordable than many in this list
+
Simple to use
+
Fast drying times

Reasons to avoid

-
Filter isn’t removable
-
Lacks a premium feel
-
Shorter-than-average cable

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. 

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

best hair dryer GHD Air hair dryer on a white background

(Image credit: GHD Air)
The best hair dryer with a quiet operation

Specifications

Wattage: 2,100
Weight: 1.8lb / 0.82g
Speed settings: 3
Heat settings: 3
Cord length: 8.8 feet / 2.7 meter

Reasons to buy

+
Sturdy
+
Well-balanced

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey compared to other models
-
Large barrel not ideal for drying

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

best hair dryer Revlon Pro Collection One Step Dryer & Volumiser on a white background

(Image credit: Revlon)
The best hair dryer with brush

Specifications

Wattage: 800
Weight: 1.87 lb / 850g
Speed settings: 2
Temperature settings: 2
Cord length: 8.2 feet / 2.5 meter

Reasons to buy

+
Fast drying speeds
+
Makes blow drying easier

Reasons to avoid

-
Very loud
-
Lacks versatility

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.   

Read the full Revlon Pro Collection One Step Dryer and Volumiser review

The side view of the best hair dryer GHD Helios on a white background

(Image credit: GHD)
The best fast-drying hair dryer when you're always on a time crunch

Specifications

Wattage: 1,875
Weight: 1.7 lb / 780g
Speed settings: 3
Temperature settings: 3
Cord length: 9.8 feet / 3 meter

Reasons to buy

+
Super fast drying times
+
Left hair shiny and fizz-free
+
Stunning, well-balanced design

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive compared to the rest of the market
-
Hair lacked volume and bounce

The GHD Helios 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, aside from the price, this was the only real negative from an all-round fantastic hair dryer.

Read the full GHD Helios review

best hair dryer Shark Style iQ hair dryer on a white background

(Image credit: Shark)
The best hair dryer for curly hair

Specifications

Wattage: 1600
Weight: 500g / 1.1lb
Speed settings: 3
Temperature settings: 3
Cord length: 8.2 feet / 2.5m

Reasons to buy

+
Fast drying speeds
+
Automatic temperature and air speed adjustment
+
Diffuser features extendable prongs

Reasons to avoid

-
Attachments are bulkier than expected
-
Lacks a removable filter
-
One of the more expensive hair dryers on the market

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

best hair dryer GHD Flight travel hair dryer folded ready to be packed in a bag

(Image credit: GHD)
The best travel hair dryer

Specifications

Wattage: 1400
Weight: 0.9lb / 422g
Speed settings: 2
Temperature settings: 2
Cord length: 6ft / 1.8m cable

Reasons to buy

+
Fast drying speeds
+
Foldable design
+
Dual voltage

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks additional attachments
-
Filter isn’t removable

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 side view of the best hair dryer Panasonic EH-NA65 hair dryer on a white background

(Image credit: Panasonic)
Excellent hair dryer for leaving your hair shiny

Specifications

Wattage: 2,000
Weight: 1.3lb / 600g
Speed settings: 4
Temperature settings: 3
Cord length: 9 feet / 3 meter

Reasons to buy

+
Fast drying speeds
+
Shiny hair every time
+
Choice of attachments

Reasons to avoid

-
Unusual design
-
Bulky

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

The side view of the best hair dryer Remington Hydraluxe Pro EC9001 on a white background

(Image credit: Remington)
Perfect hair dryer for minimizing heat damage

Specifications

Wattage: 2,200
Weight: 1.7lbs / 800g
Speed settings: 2
Temperature settings: 3
Cord length: 9 feet / 3 meter

Reasons to buy

+
Fast drying speeds
+
Regulates the temperature
+
Choice of attachments

Reasons to avoid

-
Unusual design
-
Bulky

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.    

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.

Jennifer Oksien
Jennifer Oksien

 Jennifer Oksien is TechRadar’s Homes Editor. Jennifer (Jenny) has over a decade of experience as a digital product writer specialising in appliances, smart tech and mattresses for some of the UKs leading retailers and magazine titles such as Real Homes, Ideal Home and Livingetc. Generally, you’ll find her watching the latest Netflix series, digging around in the garden or attempting to make a cake that is edible. 

With contributions from