best in class

The 8 Very Best Hair Dryers

Including lightweight, foldable, and high-speed options.

Photo: Hugo Yu
Photo: Hugo Yu

In this article

While there’s nothing wrong with letting your hair air-dry to its natural texture, if you’re looking to achieve a salon-quality blowout at home, you’re going to need a hair dryer (and a good one at that). “You want something sturdy, powerful, and the right size,” notes Ryan Trygstad, celebrity stylist and co-founder of New York’s Mark Ryan Salon. A truly excellent blow-dryer will work on many hair types and textures, whether that’s fine, curly, coarse, straight, or any combination of the above. So we turned our hair-drying inquiries over to Trygstad and nine other experts to find the best, hardest working blow-dryers for all hair types. Since I’m a hair-care obsessive (and cover the category quite extensively for the site, sniffing out everything from the best hair masks to curling irons), I also tested several of their recommendations out to see how they perform at home.

What we’re looking for


Anyone who has felt their arms start to ache halfway through a blow-dry knows how strenuous styling your hair can be. Obviously, the more lightweight the dryer, the better, so I’ve noted the weights of each below. Dryers that weigh less than one pound would be considered lightweight.

Heat and speed settings

The more heat and speed settings, the better you can customize the dryer to your hair’s needs. Lower heat and speed are great if you have fine, fragile, or damage-prone hair, while higher setting options are best if your hair is thicker.


The dryer’s wattage measures how powerful the motor is, which in turn will determine how fast the dryer will work. If you have a thicker, curlier, or coarser hair type that takes longer to dry (or if you are really tight on time), a higher-watt dryer is a good investment. Many professional, high-powered blow-dryers clock in at 1,800 watts and above (less powerful dryers will be below 1,800 watts).

Best hair dryer overall

Photo: Courtesy of the vendors

Weight: 1.8 pounds | Heat and speed settings: 4 heat, 3 speed settings | Power: 1,600 watts

Of course, it’s hard to talk about the best hair dryers without mentioning the Dyson Supersonic. It’s become the most-talked-about new hair invention of recent years. Celebrity stylists, like Adel Chabbi, use one in their salon; beauty veteran Linda Wells is a fan; and with plenty of accolades to its name, it’s definitely a top-of-the-line choice if you’re a professional or are just super-serious about at-home blowouts. Chabbi told me it’s great for all hair types, including women who wear extensions, and will leave every head of hair smooth and shiny.

Of all the hair dryers I’ve tried in my life, the Dyson is far and away the best in its class for its fast dry time (it takes less than ten minutes for my long hair), lightweight construction, and quiet motor. Plus the dryer never exceeds 300 degrees, ensuring I don’t accidentally apply excessive heat to my hair, a must for minimizing damage while styling. And if you’re looking to save a few bucks, Dyson has just released the Supersonic Origin, a simplified version of the dryer that comes with only one smoothing attachment, but it is $30 cheaper than the original Supersonic (which comes with five).

Best (less expensive) hair dryer

Weight: 1.98 pounds | Heat and speed settings: 3 heat, 2 speed settings | Power: 1,875 watts

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, this hair dryer from Remington is extremely popular among Strategist readers and with hairstylist Fiona Guidice, who noted that getting a dryer with a diffuser and concentrator nozzle for less than $25 is a steal, considering the fact that many diffusers on their own cost more than that. The dryer also has plenty of heat settings, high wattage, and a cool shot to help set your style, which is an impressive number of features at that price.

Best powerful hair dryer

Weight: 1.1 pounds | Heat and speed settings: 4 heat, 2 speed settings| Power: 2,100 watts

Two of our stylists directed me to the Parlux models for their power and resilience. The brand was created in Italy, just celebrated its 40th birthday (mazel!), and has 13 different models that are — according to Parlux itself — known for their light bodies and powerful, but quiet, motors. Rubi Jones, the Bumble and Bumble–trained stylist that we once dubbed “the Braid Whisperer,” tells me that the Parlux Eco-Friendly 3800 model is her favorite because it ticks off all the boxes: 2,100 watts for speedier blowouts; a nozzle that is small and narrow, so it’s easier to direct the air; multiple heat and airflow settings, plus a cool shot.

Best high-speed hair dryer

Weight: 0.9 pounds | Heat and speed settings: Adjustable temperature and speed settings | Power: 1,800 watts

Across the board, when I asked what made for a good-quality hair dryer, everyone mentioned the word “lightweight.” If that’s your priority, you wouldn’t be wrong to reach for the 1.8-pound Dyson or Parlux 3200, but you’d probably be better off with Bio Ionic’s 10X Ultralight Speed Dryer, which the Cut last year also dubbed the fastest hair dryer of all. At under one pound, Andrew Fitzsimons says it’s remarkably lightweight even after using it for long periods of time as a professional. “I can imagine women at home appreciate the lightness, too, as we all know that a self-blowout can feel like a Pilates class,” he says.

Best lightweight hair dryer

Weight: Less than one pound | Heat and speed settings: 3 heat, 3 speed | Power: 1,875 watts

Harry Josh made a name for himself as the man behind Gisele’s beachy waves, and the signature mint green of his line of hair tools is instantly recognizable to beauty lovers. It’s unsurprising that his Ultra Light Hair Dryer is Dermstore’s best-selling option. And true to its name, the dryer is very lightweight, clocking in at under a pound. The Cut’s former beauty director Kathleen Hou calls this the Bentley of hair dryers for its speed. “It’s probably faster than the car you drove in high school, since it blows air at a consistent speed of 94 miles per hour,” she says. “On top of all that, it’s so quiet that you can actually have full-on conversations while using it.

Best hair dryer for styling

Weight: 1.6 pounds | Heat and speed settings: 5 heat, 3 speed settings | Power: 1875 watts

The Featherweight StyleMax, which is as nicely designed as all of T3’s tools, works differently than any other hair dryer I’ve ever tested. Instead of the traditional heat and speed settings, the dryer has settings for hair texture (fine, medium, coarse), as well as styling type (rough dry, smooth, diffuse, volume). After making your selections, the dryer then auto-adjusts the heat and speed settings for you to achieve your styling goals while keeping heat damage to a minimum. This feature makes the dryer great for beginners, but if you prefer to be in control of your own blowout, you can also manually set the heat and speed settings yourself. Either way, I was impressed with the dryer’s power, which left my hair completely dry in about 15 minutes. While the price point is a bit steep, the T3 also includes four different attachments in addition to the dryer: a styling concentrator, a drying concentrator, a diffuser, and a smoothing comb.

Best hair dryer for travel


Weight: 1.27 pounds | Heat and speed settings: 3 heat, 2 speed settings | Power: 1200 watts

Or if you want something that will help you avoid using an awful hotel hair dryer, try my favorite foldable hair dryer. This T3 version (made by the brand that’s famous for its stylist- and Strategist-approved curling irons and flat irons) is dual voltage, which makes it perfectly suited for travel, and comes with tourmaline and ceramic-ion technology to keep hair smooth, even in humid weather. While I still prefer the Dyson for at-home use, I can’t deny that the lightweight dryer, which weighs a little over a pound, is easier on the wrists and doesn’t add unnecessary bulk to my carry on.

Best hair-dryer brush

Weight: 2.6 pounds | Heat and speed settings: 3 heat settings | Power: Not available

Drybar’s Double Shot Blow-Dryer Brush took the top spot in my story dedicated to the best hair-dryer brushes, which is not surprising for a brand known for its speedy blowout salons. “It takes the crown,” says Elizabeth, meaning it both figuratively and literally. Not only is it best in class but it also creates lift and volume starting at the crown, she explains. The brush features a combination of tufted and nylon bristles, which allows for both tension and control so you can achieve a super-sleek blowout.

As I mentioned in the criteria above, temperature control lets you tailor your blow-dry to your hair type. The Double Shot has three — cool, medium, and high. I used the medium and cool settings only, which gave my fine hair shine and bounce without subjecting it to damaging higher heats (a problem I encountered with the more viral Revlon One-Step). I also noticed that the strategically placed vents on the brush allowed for greater airflow, which resulted in a speedy blowout. And it’s powerful enough to be fast, confirms stylist Takisha Sturdivant-Drew, whose celebrity clients include Kerry Washington and Renee Elise Goldsberry. I found that the brush worked particularly well with my longer length, though if you have shorter, thinner hair, I would recommend trying Drybar’s smaller model: the Single Shot.

Some more hair styling tools we’ve written about

Our experts

• Adel Chabbi, hairstylist
Maria Elizabeth, founder of Salon deZEN
• Jessica Prince Erlich, beauty writer
Andrew Fitzsimons, hairstylist and founder of Andrew Fitzsimons Hair
• Fiona Guidice, hairstylist and owner of Fiona Hair NYC
• Kathleen Hou, former Cut beauty director
Rubi Jones, hairstylist
David Mallett, hairstylist
Takisha Sturdivant-Drew, hairstylist
• Ryan Trygstad, co-founder of Mark Ryan Salon and celebrity stylist

Additional reporting by Lori Keong

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The 8 Very Best Hair Dryers