Best hair dryers for 2021

Tired of your less-than-stellar hairdryer? Here are the pros’ picks.

Mercey Livingston

The wrong hair dryer can literally make or break your strands and leave your hair frizzy or fried. The best hair dryers are game-changers — they don’t cause heat damage to your strands and they can transform wet hair fast and leave your locks perfectly soft and shiny.

We tested five of the top hair dryers that stylists swear by that you can purchase without access to hair stylist-only suppliers. Stylists spend hours and hours every day drying people’s hair, so they know a thing or two about efficient, quality hair dryers.

This list is periodically updated as we review new products.

Best hair dryer for budget shoppers and short hair

Remington Hair Dryer with Ionic + Ceramic + Tourmaline Technology

Amazon/Remington

The Remington Hairdryer is a great traditional hairdryer option for a basic hair dryer that performs well, protects your hair, and won’t break the bank. The hairdryer has a damage-protecting coating and three different heat settings. It also comes with two attachments, a diffuser and a concentrated nozzle for two styling preferences. “This is a decent lower priced dryer that features current technology to help keep hair healthy,” says Shelly Aguirre, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.

Personally, I prefer a more powerful hairdryer since I have thick, coarse, curly hair and it needs a lot of power and heat to get it into a sleek blowout. But for a budget dryer, this one is lightweight and gets pretty hot, which is great for smoothing strands.

The Remington blow dryer is the best option overall for someone who is on a budget, or seldom uses a hairdryer. Someone who has short, fine hair or thin hair or does not use a blow dryer very much would be happy with this value hairdryer.

$18 AT AMAZON

Best hair dryer for thick, coarse hair

BaBylissPro BAB2000 Ceramix Xtreme Dryer

Amazon

The BaBylissPro dryer is a midpriced option that performs similarly to its $100-plus counterparts. When I tried the ceramic dryer myself, I was impressed by the drying power in such a sleek and relatively compact design. The dryer comes with one concentrated nozzle attachment (no diffuser) which is something to keep in mind. You get the standard three heat settings — hot, warm and cool — plus two different speed settings.

“This is another lower-priced dryer, but it still performs well making it a good bang for your buck,” Aguirre says. For $60, you get a great blow dryer — stylist approved! — and you can feel confident that the ceramic technology isn’t doing more harm to your hair than necessary.

$60 AT AMAZON

Best hair dryer for: Fans of blow-out salons

DryBar Buttercup Blow Dryer

Sephora

DryBar is known for making salon blow-outs into an entire experience (complete with rom-coms and wine) and you can bring some of that experience home with its professional-quality blow dryer.

The Buttercup blow dryer is the same professional blow dryer that DryBar stylists use in the salon. It features an ultra-powerful motor and wave heater to help distribute heat evenly and dry your hair faster. The brand promises that the dryer, priced at $199, will get you a frizz-free blowout 20% faster than other professional hairdryer options.

When I tried the Buttercup Blow Dryer I was impressed by how comfortable the dryer was to hold and style my hair — it’s not ergonomically awkward, bulky, or too heavy. I have a lot of hair, so I need something relatively lightweight.

The dryer definitely delivers on power and heat. I was able to get my hair smooth and dry fast when I used the dryer with the concentrator nozzle and a round brush.

If you’ve ever had a blowout at DryBar, loved the results, and want to try your hand at getting the same result at home, you’ll be a fan of this hairdryer.

$199 AT SEPHORA

Best quiet hair dryer that protects strands

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

Dyson’s Supersonic hair dryer goes above and beyond when it comes to style and function. When I first turned on the dryer I was amazed — this is unlike any hair dryer I’ve ever used before. The motor is super powerful and blows an intense jet of air that dries hair fast.

I used it without an attachment at first to rough dry my hair and then I attached one of the nozzles to concentrate the heat with a round brush. The attachments (there are a variety of nozzles and a diffuser) are super easy to use and attach to the nozzle via a magnet almost instantly.

Besides the fact that it looks (and sounds) super cool, this dryer delivers when it comes to hairstyling and function. There are four heat settings and three speeds. The high speed and heat setting will likely dry hair faster than anything you’ve tried before — it’s worth the splurge if you have hair that takes forever to dry (like mine) and use a hairdryer every day. This could be a real game-changer for your morning routine.

Dyson claims that the dryer can prevent hair damage since it contains technology that controls overheating the hair. It’s also celebrity-stylist approved. “My favorite hairdryer is the Dyson dryer because it gives just the right amount of heat with the least amount of damage,” Justin Anderson, celebrity hairstylist and co-founder of DPHue, tells CNET.

$400 AT AMAZON

Best for Curly Hair

DevaCurl Hair Dryer

DevaCurl

One of the toughest things about having curly hair is taming unruly frizz and getting definition in your curls. It takes a combination of good products to help style curls — and the DevaCurl dryer is one addition for those with curls who want to use a dryer made specifically for their hair. Many people with curly hair can air-dry and go — but sometimes you need to dry your hair quickly or you want some extra definition and volume, which a diffuser can help you get.

Although the dryer itself is designed to use ionic generator technology that doesn’t fry your hair, the star of the DevaCurl hairdryer is really the diffuser. You can buy a universal dryer attachment for other dryers, although the one that comes with the DevaCurl dryer only fits on that specific dryer.

I have to admit that I all but gave up on being happy with my natural curls until I tried this diffuser. I don’t love air drying my hair because it holds so much water and takes forever. But when I tried the DevaCurl diffuser, it really helped tame my curls and dry them without making my hair huge.

It’s a bit tricky to learn to use the diffuser, but since it’s shaped like a hand you get the hang of it pretty quickly. Depending on the result you want, you can either rake the diffuser through your hair to calm curls or use it to “cup” them from the bottom, which gives them some volume. The hand-shape also makes it easy to reach your roots without messing up your curls, which is nearly impossible with most diffusers.

For someone who uses a diffuser or wants to try one soon, the DevaCurl dryer set is a good investment in the essentials you need (you also get a concentrator nozzle for when you dry your hair straight). If you already have a blow dryer you love but are interested in the diffuser, save some money and order the diffuser attachment for your current dryer.

$159 AT SEPHORA

How to buy a hair dryer

Since technology has ushered in even more benefits and features in hair dryers, there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re shopping for one, according to Aguirre. “I blow dry up to 15 people a day, so the ergonomics mean a lot to me in addition to the technology behind the dryer,” she says. “Today, most dryers offer ceramic, tourmaline, and ionic benefits.”

Here’s how each compares, according to Aguirre:

Ionic hair dryer: Negative ions break up the positive ions in water more quickly, preventing frizz and speeding up drying time.

Ceramic: Creates infrared heat that penetrates the hair shaft, preserving hair’s natural moisture and luster. The benefit of a ceramic hair dryer is that it heats up quickly and evenly across its surface.

Tourmaline: A mineral that produces negative ions when heated, so this closes the hair cuticle, creating smooth hair.

“The nozzle on the dryer is also very important — don’t remove it (as most people do),” Aguirre says. “Your cuticle lays like shingles on a roof and you want to make sure to lay the cuticle down on top of itself. You can achieve this by pointing the nozzle down towards the ends of the hair. This will increase the shine and body and make the hair look super glossy. This may seem a little awkward at first, but get those arms up and you will definitely notice a difference right away.”

How much should you spend on a hair dryer?

How much you spend on a hairdryer depends on what kind of dryer you want, how much power you need, and any other special features important to you. If you have very short hair, you may not need to invest in a dryer as much as someone who has very long hair or a thick hair type that needs a lot more power to dry quickly. Also, if you have very straight hair or thinner hair you won’t need the same dryer as someone who has curly hair and wants to get it straight.

“The reason prices vary so much is because some dryers may have a ceramic coating versus a more expensive version that is actually 100% ceramic,” Aguirre says. “I inform my clients that if the dryer they are using at home was purchased more than five years ago, it’s time to invest in a new one as the technology will be greatly improved from the prior. With that being said, the investment in this tool will last you years to come.”

 

New Panasonic hair dryer promises healthier hair in 2021

New Year, new hair — or so Panasonic claims with its latest hair dryer.

Megan Wollerton

I typically air dry my hair, or dry only my bangs and briefly enlist a diffuser to bring out my natural waves. Despite my infrequent use, I still want to ensure I’m using a decent product that won’t damage my hair, even if I’m only turning it on for a few minutes every week.

At CES 2021 on Monday, Panasonic introduced a new entry in its Nanoe hair dryer line, the Nanoe EH-NA67-W. This new Nanoe promises to “reduce hair damage from everyday brushing” thanks to its “Nanoe technology.”

According to Panasonic, the Nanoe tech pulls moisture from the air to dry your hair, without drying out your hair. It’s also pet-friendly, the electronics company claims, as well as easy to clean via removing the intake filter in the back of the hairdryer.

I’m most interested in the “oscillating quick-dry nozzle,” though. In its official press release, Panasonic says the oscillating nozzle “evenly distributes the heat generated from the hair drying process to prevent concentrated heat blasts and reduce the chance of overheating the hair.” I don’t know about that, but we’ll just have to test it out to see if the Nanoe technology and the oscillating nozzle really do make a difference.

The hairdryer also has the basics, including hot, warm, and cool temperature options, as well as high and low speeds and a “cool shot button” you hold down to get cooler air quickly. The Panasonic Nanoe Hair Dryer costs $150 (about £110 or AU$195) and will be available on Amazon at the end of January.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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