Top Blow Dryers for Travel, Frizzzy Hair – The Hollywood Reporter

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For some people, a blow dryer might seem like a beauty tool that has one job and one job only — to get your hair dry. But it’s not that simple. Everyone’s hair is different, and a hair dryer that might do wonders for someone with fine, unprocessed hair might not be the greatest for someone with curly, bright green hair. That’s why knowing what the best hair dryers are can be helpful for one’s beauty routine.

Back in the day, there were only a few options for drying your hair at home, but now there is a massive assortment to choose from. Some of them have cool innovations — such as Dyson’s newest Airwrap multi-styler— that would look like science fiction to our grandmas, while others are customized to work for any hair type, or can just dry your hair in a matter of minutes. Hair dryer technology has truly evolved.

Related: We Tried It: Is Dyson’s New Airwrap Multi-Styler Hair Tool Worth Buying?

There’s nothing like going to the salon and getting a professional blowout, but unless you have unlimited spending, you most likely have to make do with what you can do yourself at home. So, it’s worth it to know what the best hair dryer is for your own needs. Whether you need something that can conquer frizz or one that will be your best friend when your hair is soaking wet and you’re in a hurry, we’ve gone and done the hair dryer homework for you.

Keep reading for our honest reviews of the best hair dryers for every hair type, need and budget.

The Best Hair Dryers At a Glance

For this multi-product review, The Hollywood Reporter tested more than 12 hair dryers from a wide variety of popular hair tool brands, taking into consideration everything from ease of use, to dry time, and any additional standout features. If you’re looking for a new hair dryer to add to your beauty tool arsenal, keep scrolling for THR’s honest reviews for the best hair dryers.

BEST OVERALL T3 AireLuxe Hair Dryer, $199 — Amazon | Dermstore | Nordstrom | Sephora | T3 | Ulta
RUNNER UP GHD Helios 1875W Advanced Professional Hair Dryer, $279 — Amazon | Dermstore | GHD | Nordstrom | Sephora | Ulta
FASTEST HAIR DRYER Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, $430 — Dyson | Nordstrom | Sephora | Ulta
BEST FOR FRIZZY HAIR Drybar Reserve Ultralight Anti-Frizz Blow-Dryer, $285 — Amazon | Drybar | Nordstrom | Sephora | Ulta
BEST AFFORDABLE HAIR DRYER Hot Tools Pro Signature Salon 1875W Turbo Ionic Hair Dryer, $36 — Amazon | Bed Bath & Beyond | Hot Tools | Kohls | Ulta | Walmart
MOST LIGHTWEIGHT HAIR DRYER Bio Ionic 10X Pro Ultralight Speed Dryer, $295 — Amazon | Bio Ionic | Nordstrom | Sephora | Ulta
BEST HAIR DRYER FOR TRAVEL T3 Afar Lightweight Travel Size Hair Dryer, $180 — Amazon | Bluemercury | Sephora | T3 | Violet Grey

THR Hair Dryer Reviews: How We Tested

We received complimentary review units of hair dryers and tested each one on freshly-washed, straight hair that is very processed (bleached blonde!) Since this hair type is more susceptible to heat damage and frizz than virgin (or undyed) hair, finding a proper hair dryer is crucial. The testing took place over several weeks, allowing ample time to evaluate the heat settings, drying time, physical features and other important factors that you should look for in a hair dryer.

We assessed each tool according to the following criteria:

Heat settings How much control do you get when it comes to heat?
Sound How many decibels does it have? Does it produce a nice ASMR buzz or have an unbearably noisy motor?
Drying time How many minutes it takes to completely dry a full head of hair.
Frizz control Whether or not it tames flyaways before using additional hair care products.
Weight Will tired hands or those with limited mobility find it tough to hold?
Size Is it travel-friendly? Does it take up too much space in a bathroom?
Overall look Is it a modern design or clunky and outdated?
Special features Does anything make this particular dryer stand out?

Based on the above, we reviewed and rated more than 12 hair dryers, eventually selecting the six best models. There were a number of options that didn’t make the final lineup (such as ones by Sultra and Nume), but were somewhat comparable to other models.

1. T3 AireLuxe Hair Dryer

BEST HAIR DRYER OVERALL

T3

Pros

  • Best for all hair types and textures
  • Lightweight
  • Ergonomic

Cons

Buy T3 AireLuxe Hair Dryer, $199 — Amazon | Dermstore | Nordstrom | Sephora | T3 | Ulta

When it comes to customization in the hot tool arena, no one does it like T3. The hair tool brand is famous for their innovative products that are tailored to a variety of hair types, and the AirLuxe is no exception. With five heat settings and a controlled airstream, anyone can feel confident drying their hair with this bad boy without worrying about it sucking out all the moisture or damaging it. It’s a great choice for people with curly, fine, long or processed hair, pixie cuts and everyone and everything in between.

If you crave a sleek, smooth look, the AirLuxe is able to generate 10 million negative ions into your hair cuticle, drying it fast and friendly while fighting frizz. On the other hand, if you need a little more oomph in your hair, it comes with a volume boost switch. Two concentrators are included with the blow dryer, one for drying large sections and another for sleek styling.

While it may not be as compact as the Dyson and closer in size to a standard-size hair dryer, the Airluxe is lightweight and easy to hold. I was able to dry my waist-length hair quickly, and it was still smooth and shiny. Though nearly $200, it is still less costly than many other high-end hair dryer brands. All of this, including the price, is why it wins our approval as the best hair dryer overall.

T3 AireLuxe Hair Dryer Specifications

  • Price $199
  • Heat and speed settings Five heat settings and three speeds
  • Voltage 125V
  • Wattage 1875W
  • Weight 1.56 lbs
  • Noise 70.6 decibels
  • Attachments Two concentrators (one wide for drying, one narrow for styling)
  • Cord length 9 feet
  • Colors available 2

T3 AireLuxe Hair Dryer

$199


Buy now

2. GHD Helios 1875W Advanced Professional Hair Dryer

BEST RUNNER UP

Pros

  • Precise, concentrated airflow
  • Lightweight
  • Quick to dry

Cons

Buy GHD Helios 1875W Advanced Professional Hair Dryer, $279 Amazon | Dermstore | GHD | Nordstrom | Sephora | Ulta

Since launching in 2020, the GHD has gone on to win numerous awards, and once it gets in your hands, it’s easy to see why. With its stunning design, the hair dryer is impressive to look at right off the bat (it also comes in an array of color options). But the real magic lies in the GHD’s proprietary Aeroprecis technology, which produces a precise and concentrated 75mph airflow. That focused and direct air results in a finish so sleek, I didn’t have to follow it up with a flat iron, like with the T3 Airluxe.

Even with all that power, the GHD Helios is lightweight and easy to use. It has three heat settings and a cool shot button to set your style for the day. It was a tight race with the T3, but ultimately came in second due to the higher cost. Nearing $300 in price, it’s on the pricier end of the spectrum, but the dry speed, technology and features make it absolutely worth it if you have the coin.

GHD Helios 1875W Advanced Professional Hair Dryer Specifications

  • Price $279
  • Heat and speed settings Three heat settings, two speed settings
  • Wattage 1875w
  • Weight 1.7 lbs
  • Noise 77 decibels
  • Attachments 1 8.8cm-wide styling nozzle concentrator
  • Cord length 9 feet
  • Colors available 5

GHD Helios 1875W Advanced Professional Hair Dryer

$279


Buy now

3. Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

FASTEST HAIR DRYER

Dyson

Pros

  • Fastest at drying
  • Quiet
  • Compact
  • Most number of attachments included

Cons

Buy Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, $430Dyson | Nordstrom | Sephora | Ulta

The Dyson Supersonic has been dubbed “the Ferrari of hair dryers,” and it’s a pretty accurate comparison — given that it’s the most expensive option on our list, and lightning-quick to boot. The technology is unmatched, as it uses a controlled, high-velocity airflow due to Dyson’s powerful V9 digital motor. A worry that people have with the Dyson is that it might be too strong, producing too much heat and causing damage. However, it’s built with an intelligent heat detector, which measures the airflow temperature over 40 times so damage isn’t a concern. Hair is fully dry in a flash.

Even with the high-powered motor, it’s much quieter than many other hair dryers on the market. We tested the Dyson late at night and didn’t have to worry about waking up anyone thanks to the quiet buzz. The size is much more compact than a standard dryer, making it easy to travel with (it’ll be hard to resist parting with it even for a few days). Another bonus? It comes with the most attachments than any other hair dryer on our list, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing any separately.

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer Specifications

  • Price $430
  • Heat and speed settings 4 heat, 3 speed
  • Wattage 1600w
  • Weight 1.8 lbs
  • Noise 79 decibels
  • Attachments 5 attachments (styling concentrator, gentle air attachment, diffuser, flyaway attachment and wide tooth comb)
  • Cord length 11 feet
  • Colors available 4

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

$430


Buy now

3. Drybar Reserve Ultralight Anti-Frizz Blow-Dryer

BEST BLOW DRYER FOR FRIZZY HAIR

Drybar

Pros

Cons

Buy Drybar Reserve Ultralight Anti-Frizz Blow-Dryer, $285 — Amazon | Drybar | Nordstrom | Sephora | Ulta

If you’re the kind of person whose hair is a frizz magnet no matter what you do, the Dry Bar Reserve Blow-Dryer might just be your holy grail. The beloved Dry Bar blow dryer works its magic against frizz and flyaways with Ionic Desiccant Technology. Dry time occurs at an impressive speed of 100mph while humidity levels are greatly reduced 87 percent so your strands are smoothed out by the time you’re done.

Weighing in at just a pound, it is the second lightest hair dryer we’ve reviewed. However, the body is a little clunky, and the overall look of the hair dryer isn’t as flashy or sleek as the Dyson or GHD. That being said, if aesthetics are not a major factor for you, then you’ll be happy with the Dry Bar Reserve.

Drybar Reserve Ultralight Anti-Frizz Blow-Dryer Specifications

  • Price $285
  • Heat and speed settings 2 speed, 3 heat
  • Wattage 1875 watt
  • Weight 1 lb
  • Noise TBD
  • Attachments 2 concentrator attachments
  • Cord length 9 feet
  • Colors available 1

Drybar Reserve Ultralight Anti-Frizz Blow-Dryer

$285


Buy now

5. Hot Tools Pro Signature Salon 1875W Turbo Ionic Hair Dryer

BEST BUDGET PICK

Hot Tools

Pros

Cons

Buy Hot Tools Pro Signature Salon 1875W Turbo Ionic Hair Dryer, $36 — Amazon | Bed Bath & Beyond | Hot Tools | Kohls | Ulta | Walmart

A great hair dryer doesn’t need to cost hundreds of dollars, and the Hot Tools Pro Signature is proof of that. Priced under $50, the Pro Signature has everything you’d want in a hair dryer, such as a turbo motor, two speed and three heat settings, and two attachments including a diffuser.

While my hair didn’t dry quite as quickly with the Hot Tools Pro Signature as it did with the T3 or Dyson, it was still pretty fast, and frizz reduction was also decent. Measuring six feet in length, I noticed that the cord was shorter than many of the other models, which average around nine feet. However, if you’re not drying your hair too far from the power source (or are a hairstylist), then the cord length shouldn’t be a big deal. All in all, the Pro Signature makes a great budget pick for at-home styling.

Hot Tools Pro Signature 1875W Turbo Ionic Hair Dryer Specifications

  • Price $36
  • Heat and speed settings 2 speed, 3 heat
  • Wattage 1875w
  • Weight 1.9 lbs
  • Attachments 2 (1 concentrator and 1 diffuser)
  • Cord length 6 feet
  • Colors available 1

Hot Tools Pro Signature Salon 1875W Turbo Ionic Hair Dryer

$34.87

on Amazon.com


Buy now

6. Bio Ionic 10X Pro Ultralight Speed Dryer

BEST FOR TIRED HANDS

Bio Ionic

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Weighs less than 1 pound

Cons

  • Combined speed/heat settings
  • Not as travel-friendly

Buy Bio Ionic 10X Pro Ultralight Speed Dryer, $295 — Amazon | Bio Ionic | Nordstrom | Sephora | Ulta

Holding a hair dryer for a long time can be tiring, especially when you have a lot of hair to dry. Until they invent hand-free hair dryers that we can use at home, it’s best to find something that is light and easy to carry. While many of the hair dryers on our list are lightweight, the Bio Ionic tops the list, weighing in under one pound.

Another highlight of the 10X Ultralight is how quiet it is. While the motor is 50 percent more powerful than a regular motor, it’s one of the least noisy blow dryers on our list. In fact, it’s 16 decibels less than the Dyson, which we already thought was pretty quiet! Still, hair dries fully and fast without getting burned out — it’s made with volcanic material that keeps it hydrated and shiny. One downside, and it’s a big one, is that the speed and heat settings are combined, which means if you want a high speed but a low heat, you won’t be able to do that.

While the weight of the dryer will help meet luggage limitations, the barrel is long and skinny, so it’ll take up more space in your suitcase than more compact models. Bottom line: Whether you are someone with limited hand mobility, has easily tired hands or just prefers a super light hair dryer that gets the job done, you can’t go wrong with this Bio Ionic hair dryer.

Bio Ionic 10X Pro Ultralight Speed Dryer Specifications

Price $295
Heat and speed settings: 3 speed and heat settings combined
Wattage 1800w
Weight Less than 1 pound
Noise 63 decibels
Attachments One concentrator
Cord length 9 feet

Bio Ionic 10X Pro Ultralight Speed Dryer

$295


Buy now

7. T3 Afar Lightweight Travel Size Hair Dryer

BEST FOR TRAVEL

T3

Pros

  • Designed for traveling
  • Speed and heat settings
  • Includes travel bag

Cons

  • Not as powerful as T3’s Aireluxe

Buy T3 Afar Lightweight Travel Size Hair Dryer, $180 — Amazon | Bluemercury | Sephora | T3 | Violet Grey

If you’ve ever stayed at a hotel and lamented having to use the in-room hair dryer, you already know how beneficial it is to just pack a hair dryer with you. But not all travel hair dryers are the same, and you have to find one that will not only justify the luggage space, but will actually give your hair a good DIY blowout when you’re away from home. With its compact size and conveniently foldable handle, the T3 Afar is a welcome respite from the low-powered hotel dryers that so many of us have been forced to use. 

With two speeds, three heat settings, and a cool shot button, the Afar offers as many options as many of the full-size hair dryers in the market. While it may not be as powerful as its bigger sister, the T3 Aireluxe, it did dry hair very fast with no sign of frizz. 

One of the biggest selling points has to do with the travel aspect. It has automatic dual voltage, so if you’re traveling overseas, you won’t have to stress about getting a voltage converter. Whether you’re an avid traveler or are just looking for an easy-to-pack hair dryer to take on weekend getaways, the Afar is a safe bet.

T3 Afar Lightweight Travel Hair Dryer Specifications

  • Price $180
  • Heat and speed settings 3 heat, 2 speed
  • Wattage 1500w
  • Weight 12.2 oz
  • Attachments 1 concentrator
  • Cord length 9 feet


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