(Pocket-lint) - Finding the right hair dryer isn't as straightforward as it may seem, with every type of hair requiring a different approach.
Whether your hair demands frequent washing, endures daily straightening or is left largely to fend for itself, though, it will eventually need a wash and dry.
To help make that process as seamless as possible, you'll need to invest in a top hairdryer. You could stick with your older model - or the humble towel - but we really can't stress how much of a quality of life improvement a good hairdryer provides; no more rushing to social engagements with half-wet locks is worth it alone.
Luckily for you, the Pocket-lint team has been putting a bunch of hair dryers to the test. Most modern options promise to dry your hair speedily and safely, with all the temperature control you could ever want, but we wanted to find out which are the very best to recommend. Let's dive in.
Our Top Pick: Best Hair Dryers
- Incredibly efficient drying
- Hard price tag to justify
Dyson made real waves when it debuted the Supersonic a few years ago, and with good reason. We'll get the first obstacle out of the way immediately - this is a massively expensive hair dryer. Compared to even the more luxury options on this list, it's seriously expensive.
Then again, it's also indisputably great. You get incredibly quick-drying, but, with gentle use of temperature, that means you'll never feel that uncomfortable kind of heat. It's a high-tech solution that is the best user experience you can get, but you will, of course, have to pay for it.
Hair dryers we also recommend
It may be our current favourite, but the Dyson detailed above isn't for everyone. That's why we've also listed the other models we've tested and recommend.
Cloud Nine The Airshot
- Solid drying performance
- Fiddly controls
Taking a big step down in pricing terms, but remaining very much in the realms of premium dryers, we have The Airshot from Cloud Nine.
It says this dryer has vitamins infused into its ceramic heating elements to nourish your hair - whether that works or not, well, it's hard to test, but it does dry quickly and effectively.
You get heating options, too, and its Cool Shot setting will give your hair a final whoosh of cold air that should hold your style in place longer, which is a nice touch. The dryer is also impressively compact, so won't take up too much space at all.
- Great build quality
- Not mind-blowing performance
One of those brands that just has pedigree, ghd and is close to the top of our estimations, and, just like its hair straighteners are, this hair dryer is extremely easy to recommend.
The Air's motor means that it can dry your hair super quickly, up to twice as fast as some competitors, ghd say, and an ionic system also makes for frizz-free drying, which is always a bonus.
For us, the well-made, solid construction are its biggest strength, as well as the three options each for speed and temperature, putting the control in your hands. Another nice feature is also the quiet operation of the Air - compared to rival dryers, at least.
However, while it's definitely one to consider - not least because ghd's typical build quality will see it remain functioning for years to come - we weren't totally blown away by the performance, either. It certainly reduces drying time, but there are slightly better dryers in the performance category.
BaByliss 2100 Salon Light
- Superb value
- Not an elite dryer
We know that many people won't want to break into triple figures for a hairdryer, and there are multitudes of cheap options out there. Many, though, are risky propositions. Not so the BaByliss 2100. This is a cheap and cheerful dryer that works efficiently for a great price.
It's got controls so that you can choose its power and temperature, and a nice long lead to ensure that you can actually use it easily.
It's also light to hold, making it a great all-around package if your budget is more limited. Just don't expect performance on par with Dyson and the likes.
- Innovative drying that actually works
- Clunky and heavy design
Panasonic's funky dryer brings some interesting changes to the table compared to most.
For one thing, it claims to leave you with smoother, shinier hair than most dryers, through the clever use of water vapour. As it dries out your hair it actually powers tiny amounts of water back onto it, to keep it from actually drying out unhealthily.
The best part, of course, is that it works, and that's why it's on our list. It's a great dryer that is also gentle on your hair, which is a pretty useful combination, especially if you're prone to frizziness or want to add some tidy volume.
Other products we considered
The Pocket-lint editorial team spends hours testing and researching hundreds of products before recommending our best picks for you. We consider a range of factors when it comes to putting together our best guides including physically testing the products ourselves, consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. Many of the devices we consider don’t make our final best guides.
These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our list:
How to choose a hair dryer
When looking for the best dryer for your hair, there's actually quite a lot to consider. Each hair type requires different needs for a start, and that's before you get into your personal preference of drying time, design, features and, obviously, the price you're willing to pay.
That's why we're here to deliver some answers to common questions about hair dryers. Keep them in mind as you browse through the intimidating amount of dryers on the market.
How much should I spend on a hair dryer?
As we all know, there are plenty of budget-level hair dryers that are the plug-in equivalent of a soft breeze. We chose not to feature them in this guide, which we explain more on below. That means the options we've considered are firmly within the mid-range and high end of the market.
In our experience, you're looking $50 / £50 or above for a hair dryer that offers a quick clean, solid design, some haircare features and more. Just how much you cap that price tag at is personal preference, of course, but, like with anything, it's fair to say that the hair dryer market features the same kind of diminishing returns the more you pay.
How powerful does my hair dryer need to be?
It's easy to get lost in the wattage numbers when looking through hair dryers, but, really, this isn't everything. What we'd say is more important is finding the dryer for your hair type, and that means taking into account features and attachments.
That's not to say power doesn't matter, though. As we've already alluded to, if your dryer has no power, then you may be sitting trying to dry your hair for twice as long as with a solid model.
Which hair dryer is right for my hair type?
If you have curly or frizzy hair, it's important to let your hair dry slowly and carefully. This is where a dryer with considered drying techniques really comes into its own, and where you'll quickly discover if your model has the necessary power control.
If you have fine hair, though, you may want something with greater temperature control, since it's better to dry your hair at lower temperatures. In order to add volume, it may also be worth considering a dryer with a concentrator nozzle attachment.
For those lucky souls with relatively straight or wavy hair, consider the above but also know that most hair dryers will work for you.
Depending on how much you want to spend, add-ons like diffusing and ionic treatments can really pay dividends - particularly for those who style their hair frequently.
More about this story
Every hair dryer in this list has been tested in our day-to-day lives, just as you would use them.
As we do with many of our guides, we collected the opinions and experiences of the wider Pocket-lint team in order to deliver the top picks. Many of the dryers have been our go-to picks for years, though, of course, we are always on the lookout for more options to test against our featured models.
Testing hair dryers, as you might expect, is very much dependent on the user's hair. Not every hair dryer will work best for every type of hair, and there are many on the market that will barely achieve the basics of what a hair dryer should be.
In this guide, then, we stuck to the options that do what they claim - and that was usually drying our hair fast with decent control settings for several hair types, not just our own. While the options above do feature some pricey options, we also took price tags and value for money into consideration, as ever.
In all of our buyer's guides, we tend to skip over the spec comparisons and marketing spiel; we just want to provide an easy to understand review that gives you an idea of what it's going to be like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is in the interest of brevity - rest assured all the things on this list have been fully tested.
In all our guides, there are also plenty of models we consider that don't make the cut.